• St. Louis Regional Chamber’s 180th Annual Event Honors Regional Game Changers

    Aug 18, 2017

    ST. LOUIS, Aug 17, 2017 – The St. Louis Regional Chamber paid tribute to the people who work to make St. Louis a more prosperous region at its 180th Annual Event at Chaifetz Arena on Thursday evening. The event celebrated Game Changers – ideas, policy, organizations, and people who embrace change, discovery, continuous improvement and exploration into the uncertain future.  During the program, Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan gave highlights of the Chamber’s results, observing that the Chamber is having one of its strongest years ever in economic development and is getting results on its strategic priorities.  Reagan also challenged leaders in St. Louis to find a meaningful way to participate in the complex discussion around local government unity, calling it the most important Game Changer for St. Louis.  Five community college students were awarded the first-ever Gateway Game Changer award, a scholarship recognizing student dedication to degree completion.  In addition, the event honored the St. Louis Public Schools Special Administrative Board and SLPS Superintendent with the Right Arm of St. Louis, the Chamber’s highest award for community impact.

    Regional Chamber Board Chairman and Ameren Chairman, President and CEO Warner Baxter joined Dr. Fred Pestello, President and CEO of Saint Louis University, in welcoming the nearly 800 attendees. In addition to the yearly results and formal award presentation, the evening included a VIP reception for new Chief Executives and multiple opportunities for participants to network with other regional leaders.

    Mastercard President of Operations and Technology Ed McLaughlin presented the Right Arm of St. Louis to St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams, Richard Gaines and Rick Sullivan for leading SLPS to becoming the first district in Missouri to regain full accreditation after the district lost accreditation in 2007.  Noting that SLPS now has a 95% attendance rate, graduates 72% of its students and operates with a $20 million cash surplus, McLaughlin congratulated the SLPS leadership team and said that full accreditation is the beginning of making SLPS one of the best urban school districts in the country.

    The Regional Chamber joined with Express Scripts in creating the Gateway Game Changer Award, which recognized the central role community colleges play in helping St. Louis become a top ten region for degree attainment by 2025.  Five regional community college students were recognized on stage with $2,000 scholarships for their academic excellence, community leadership and persistence in completing their degrees.  Winners included Madelynn Clevenger from Lewis and Clark Community College, Tamara Zakaria from St. Charles Community College, Benjamin West from St. Louis Community College, Oscar Rodriguez from Southwestern Illinois College, and Wade Stuart from Jefferson College.

    Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan and Executive Vice President Gisele Marcus provided results of the Chamber’s work on it’s ONE Plan for Regional Prosperity, the Chamber’s strategic plan for economic growth.  Reagan noted the Chamber focused on executing a limited number of strategic priorities, and is getting the intended results.  Among other highlights, Reagan and Marcus noted:

    • The Chamber and its partners have secured 25 deals – twice the rate as in 2016 –  resulting in over $1.4 billion in new investment and 3500 new jobs, with an average salary of over $70,000. So far in 2017, the Chamber has attracted 76 new active clients and is having one of its strongest years ever working to create net new jobs for the region.
    • The Chamber brought together 100 colleges, universities, businesses and corporate leaders across the region to support the Regional Education Commitment, which will help make college education and finishing a degree more attainable for both current and returning students. This fall, the Chamber will launch the Gateway to Degrees service, which provides advising services to working adults looking to further their education or training. 
    • The 11th cohort of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellows Program was the largest yet, with 78 fellows from 37 companies.  This month the Chamber will welcome 80 new Fellows into the program.  The Chamber also founded LouFestU, an event focused on showing current college students the best of St. Louis to help retain this huge potential talent base for St. Louis employers.
    • The significant progress made since 2016 in passing a Missouri Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax cut for 515,000 working families across the state. 

    In addition to highlights of accomplishments since the previous Annual Event, Reagan announced the investment of the Spirit of St. Louis Fund I, in partnership with Cultivation Capital, Twain Financial Partners and local banks, which will open up $5 million in new seed capital for the region’s highest impact startups

    Continuing its work on a unified brand strategy with regional marketing partners such as Explore St. Louis, the Chamber also debuted the group’s new brand book and provided copies to attendees. Produced in conjunction with Alive Media, the brand book is a digital and print tool for recruiters and businesses to tell the St. Louis story and share a common message about St. Louis, allowing the region to attract and retain talent and businesses.

    See more photos from the event on the Chamber's Flickr page.

     AE180_Marcus and Reagan
    St. Louis Regional Chamber Board Chairman and Ameren Chairman, President and CEO Warner Baxter welcomes guests to the 180th Annual Event. St. Louis Public Schools' Rick Sullivan (second from the left), Richard Gaines (center) and Dr. Kelvin Adams (third from the right)  wins the Right Arms of St. Louis Award. The St. Louis Regional Chamber's new Executive Vice President, Gisele Marcus (center), addresses the crowd as Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan (left) looks on.
     AE180_crowd  AE180_Gamechanger AE180_guests 
     Guests file into Chaifetz Arena before the start of the program.
     Madelynn Clevenger (center) from Lewis and Clark Community College is awarded the inaugural Gateway Game Changer Award.
     Guests mingle after the run of show. Over 800 people came to the event.

  • Mizzou Tech Roadshow & Mixer

    Jul 26, 2017
    St. Louis does not exist in isolation.  At the St. Louis Regional Chamber, we talk a lot about regionalism—the idea that the economic well-being of 2.8 million people in the greater metropolitan area is interconnected, that job growth in St. Charles County or across the river in St. Clair County is good for St. Louis as a whole. When one part of our region wins, we all win. This is the abundance mentality we all must adopt if we’re going to compete effectively in the global economy.

    But we’re also part of an even bigger ecosystem—the state of Missouri. And while a little healthy competition between, say, Kansas City and St. Louis doesn’t hurt, it’s far too easy for us to lose sight of the common resources and infrastructure that all of us depend on to drive innovation and workforce development. Parochialism and scarcity are arguably our two greatest obstacles.

    Just an hour and a half to the west sits University of Missouri-Columbia, home of some of the most cutting-edge research going on anywhere in the US. The work being done in Columbia has a tremendous impact on the innovation ecosystem in St. Louis and vice versa.

    On Tuesday, August 8th from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., area innovators and entrepreneurs will have a chance to learn more about that cutting-edge research at the inaugural Mizzou Tech Roadshow & Mixer. The event will be hosted at Thompson Coburn’s downtown office.

    The keynote speaker will be Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the MU College of Engineering, and Mark McIntosh, who VP of Research and Economic Development for the University of Missouri system.

    I got the chance to meet Dean Loboa at a recent Roundtable discussion as part of Gov. Eric Greitens’ Innovation Task Force. She is a force of nature!  Brilliant, deeply knowledgeable, and passionate about the opportunities and challenges facing Missouri.  A biomedical engineer by training, she came to Mizzou by way of Stanford and the North Carolina research triangle. She has real-world innovation and commercialization experience, and she will tell you that Missouri can absolutely compete with and win against these innovation hotbeds in our areas of strength.  In other words, she is exactly the kind of leader and ally we need in order to drive the broader innovation agenda for our region and our state.

    After the keynote presentation, MU and University of Missouri-St. Louis will share future trends in biotechnology and faculty inventors will do eight-minute presentations about their new medical devices, diagnostics, and therapeutics.  A networking reception will follow the program.

    While the Chamber is not involved at all in the planning, I hope that the St. Louis innovation ecosystem turns out for this event.  If we want support from other parts of the state for the work we’re doing here, we have to return that support in kind. You can’t collaborate if you aren’t willing to show up.

    For more information, please contact Laura Roloff at 573-884-0023 or RoloffL@missouri.edu. Register for this free event here.