Missouri businesses, organizations and economic development leaders honored at Governor’s conference

Governors Conference

Gov. Jay Nixon and Department of Economic Development Director Mike Downing recognized outstanding leaders in business, community engagement and economic development at the 2016 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Kansas City.

Dr. Mary Jo Gorman was presented with the Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction in recognition of her role as a nationally recognized innovator, leader in hospital medicine, and serial entrepreneur. Since 1991, Dr. Gorman has founded and operated four successful companies, and her extensive knowledge and dedication to healthcare has made her a pioneer in critical care medicine, ensuring that thousands of patients in the ICU receive quality care. Dr. Gorman currently serves as the Lead Managing Partner of the Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator in St. Louis, one of the country’s first programs designed exclusively to help women-led businesses succeed and tackle the entrepreneur gender gap.

The Missouri Arts Council Alchemy Award was presented to the City of Kansas City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services. The OCCS was established in January 2015 to lead cultural development efforts for Kansas City, focusing on serving residents by bolstering and catalyzing arts, culture, and creativity, as well as leveraging the arts as a strategy for economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and cultural vitality. Using the KCMO Arts Convergence Plan as a roadmap, the OCCS has collaborated with community partners to launch the only micro-loan programs specific to artists and art businesses. These two programs have to date provided nearly $70,000 in loans to area artists and businesses in creative industries.

David Crump was presented with the Hawthorn Foundation Volunteer Economic Development Award, which honors a person that has made a significant contribution to enhancing the economy of their local community through volunteerism. Mr. Crump has dedicated much of his life of volunteerism to the economic growth and development of the Jefferson County community. Through his local volunteer service, he has directly impacted the lives of thousands of people and has had a positive impact on the creation and development of more than 20 local and regional organizations. Among his numerous volunteer efforts, Mr. Crump has served on the board of the Jefferson County Port Authority for over 15 years, the Jefferson County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors since 2000, for which he is currently the Chapter’s volunteer President and Daily Operations Manager, the Jefferson County Certified Work-Ready Leadership Council and the Jefferson-Franklin County Workforce Development Board. He has also created a successful ReStore in Crystal City and runs a 24-hour emergency food pantry with his son.

The Governor’s Career Service in Economic Development Award was presented to Ed Dust, Director of the City of Sikeston Department of Economic Development. Mr. Dust, who has 44 years of experience in economic development, has served as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Sikeston for the past 12 years. Working tirelessly with the business community, local leaders, and the state, he has helped bring more than 2,030 jobs to Sikeston, including the recruitment and expansion of several large businesses. He has also worked to increase the local job and tax base through new retail developments; last year alone, commercial construction in Sikeston was valued at $42 million.

The Governor’s Career Service in Economic Development Award was also presented to Otis Williams, Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). Mr. Williams joined the SLDC in 1998 and has served as Executive Director since 2013. His leadership in the organization has played a key role in many multimillion dollar development projects that have revitalized the city’s downtown and neighborhoods, including the new Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village, Cortex Innovation District, the North Riverfront Industrial Corridor, and the NGA’s decision to remain in St. Louis. Through fostering unprecedented partnerships among local, state, and federal leaders and organizations, he has focused his efforts on furthering economic development through development incentives, real estate development, neighborhood support and development, and minority access and inclusion.

Metal Container Corporation in Arnold received the Governor’s Innovative Industry Training Award, which recognizes a company that demonstrates outstanding success in workforce training and education. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, MCC recently unveiled a new, $160 million aluminum bottle line that will double production at its Arnold facility, the company’s second production line and the completion of its larger $280 million expansion. Jefferson College, with support from the Missouri Works Training program, were key to this large-scale expansion, providing essential training that allowed the company to grow while ensuring the retention of a highly skilled, quality workforce. The college worked with MCC to apply for and successful secure Missouri Works Training funding, focusing on new employee training in three key areas. With the expansion, MCC added more than 70 new employees.

The Governor’s Community Project of the Year Award was presented by SouthSide Early Childhood Center in St. Louis. SouthSide provides high-quality education and childcare, early intervention services and a comprehensive family services program to ensure that the economically disadvantaged children it serves enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. Over the years, the center has leveraged the states Youth Opportunity Program (YOP) and Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) to support its mission and expand its capacity. Recently, it utilized NAP tax credits to raise funds to construct a new, state-of-the-art facility, which made space to serve 43 additional children and includes amenities such as a Kids’ Kitchen, dedicated room for development and medical assessments and indoor gross motor room. SouthSide has been in operation for more than 130 years and serves hundreds of families each year.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency was presented with the Governor’s Redevelopment Project of the Year Award. In need of a new, state-of-the-art facility for its West Campus, which has been located in the City of St. Louis since 1943, in 2014 NGA began looking at a number of sites in the St. Louis region for relocation. A Missouri team comprised of local, state and federal elected officials, along with key allies, focused their efforts on a strategic position near north St. Louis. Together, the team presented a package to NGA that prompted it to select the City of St. Louis as the site of its new West Campus. The NGA West project includes $1.75 billion in new investment, the retention of 3,100 high-skilled jobs, and the creation of 1,350 construction jobs annually over five years.

The recipient of the Governor’s Minority or Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award was J.M. Neil & Associates, Kansas City. Owned by Colleen Ellis, daughter of founder JoAnn Mina, JMN is a certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) through both the Women Business Enterprise National Council and the National Women Business Owners Corporation and has been honored among the “Best Companies to Work for” by Ingram’s Magazine. Under Ellis’ leadership, JMN has evolved into a national leader in providing staffing and recruiting services for commercial clients and government entities. It was the first agency in the Midwest to be awarded a General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule contract, which permits the company to provide temporary workers for any federal government agency. Today, JMN has added new-age staffing options in areas including aeronautics, avionics, telecommunications and information technology to aggressively expand its market focus based on the latest trends and technologies.

The Governor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Chris Motley, founder, and CEO of St. Louis-based startup Better Weekdays. Better Weekdays is an online and mobile job matching platform that helps universities better measure and improve the job outcomes of its graduates. Located in downtown St. Louis’ T-REX technology incubator, the startup has a touch-point with nearly every university in the region, including Washington University in St. Louis and Harvard. Since receiving a co-investment from the Missouri Technology Corporation last year, the company has grown from two to 15 team members. Last year, it raised $1.5 million in capital and was selected by the White House to participate in President Obama’s new TechHire initiative. Better Weekdays currently captures one million job openings per day, and recently signed a deal that gives it access to more than 300 universities nationwide.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was presented with the Governor’s Leader in Energy Award. Since the late 1980’s, Lambert has worked to develop and implement innovative long-term programs to achieve targeted sustainability goals in energy efficiency, alternative/renewable fuels use, and landfill diversion. In 2012, it implemented a facility-wide Environment Management System, which directed the adoption of sustainable practices including a centralized waste/recycling system, food waste composting, construction material and equipment reuse and recycling, water conservation efforts and biodiversity policies, including the establishment of a 20-hive honey bee colony. Currently, Lambert is saving more than $40,000 per month in avoided energy costs. Additionally, more than 70 percent of its fleet is powered by alternative fuels and it has diverted over 350,000 tons of solid waste from area landfills.

The Governor’s Rural Business Project of the Year Award was presented to Hartmann US, Rolla. In January, Danish manufacturing company Brodrene Hartmann A/S announced that it would locate its first U.S. manufacturing plant in the Hy Point Industrial Park in Rolla, operating under the name Hartmann US. The company is the world’s leading manufacturer of molded fiber egg packaging. From its new Rolla facility, Hartmann US will produce sustainably-made, molded fiber egg cartons for the U.S. market, with all cartons made from 100 percent recycled newspaper sourced from the Midwest. The project represents a capital investment of $30 million and will create 50 new jobs with the potential of doubling its investment and job creation in the future.

World Wide Technology was presented with the Governor’s Metro Business Project of the Year Award. In December 2015, WWT broke ground on a new global headquarters in Westport Plaza, a 42-acre commercial development center in Maryland Heights. The expansion is the centerpiece of a $95 million joint redevelopment project by WWT and Lodging Hospitality Management, and will create 500 new jobs over the next few years. The groundbreaking marked the second expansion for WWT last year, following the June announcement of its acquisition of Asynchrony Labs. With the acquisition, the company integrated over 200 personnel into the WWT family of companies.