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Midas Hospitality Family Foundation Raises $15,000 for Three Nonprofit Agencies

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The Midas Hospitality Family Foundation recently raised $15,000 at its third annual “A Night for the Children” trivia night.

The three local organizations that will split the funds include Gwendolyn’s Gifts, which provides emotional and financial support to families of children on palliative and/or hospice care; June Jessee Memorial Foundation, which supports children with devastating medically complex, neurological conditions and their families, aiding their physical, emotional and financial needs; and Tiny Superheroes, whose mission is to empower extraordinary children who are overcoming illness or disability by gifting them their very own superhero cape encouraging them to feel strong and proud of the qualities that make them unique.

Pictured from left to right are June Jessee Memorial Foundation’s Genny Jessee, TinySuperheroes’ Robyn Rosenberger, and Gwendolyn’s Gifts’ Erin Kramer.

The Midas Hospitality Family Foundation was created by Midas Hospitality, which specializes in the development, management and investment of award-winning hotel properties across the U.S.  Founded in 2017, Midas Hospitality Family Foundation enables Midas’ team to provide time and raise funds to improve the communities in which the company serves, as well as to help others in times of need.  Midas’ headquarters are located at 1804 Borman Circle Dr. in Maryland Heights, Mo.  For more information, call (314) 692-0100 or visit

St. Louis Regional Freightway’s 2020 Priority Projects List Advance to Construction

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Projects to strengthen critical roads and bridges in the bi-state area, where more than 50% of all freight moves by truck 

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCOG) Board of Directors last week unanimously endorsed the St. Louis Regional Freightway’s 2020 Multimodal Transportation Priority Projects List, a valuable tool used by the St. Louis Regional Freightway to advocate for support and funding for infrastructure improvements.  The St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), generated 384 million tons of freight in 20161, ranking it first among Midwest peer cities along the Mississippi River Basin and highlighting the importance of investment to modernize the region’s freight infrastructure. Representing the infrastructure needs of the manufacturing and logistics industries, the updated list for 2020 reveals that eight of the 20 projects on the list have advanced to various stages of construction. Collectively, those eight projects represent an investment of more than $830 million in the region’s freight network, with an emphasis on enhancing key bridges and interstates utilized by the trucking industry, which moves more than 200 million tons of freight through the region annually2.

“Each of the priority projects identified on the 2020 list is important at the individual level, but collectively, they are essential to the continued growth of the St. Louis region as a global freight hub,” said Jim Wild, Executive Director of East-West Gateway Council of Governments. “I salute our Board of Directors for their bi-state leadership in recognizing the benefits of having a priority list like this and uniting in support of it.”

“The Freightway’s ability to continue to build consensus around the top transportation infrastructure priorities remains a key accomplishment of the organization as it works to grow the $6 billion in goods traveling through the St. Louis area by road, rail, river and runway,” said Mike McCarthy, president of Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA) of St. Louis and Chairman of the Freight Development Committee, which compiles the priority projects list annually. “With more than 50% of all freight volume generated in the St. Louis region moving by truck, and 25% of it moving internally3 putting additional stress on our region’s roads and bridges, it’s clear the priority projects on this list truly reflect the real needs of the bi-state area.”

Among the priority projects funded and under construction are the Interstate 270 corridor improvements in north St. Louis County (MO) and Madison County (IL); where nearly $500 million is being invested; the $59 million Interstate 255/Davis Street Ferry Road Interchange in St. Clair County in Illinois, which was elevated to one of the Freightway’s highest priority projects over the winter based on the growing importance of Union Pacific’s intermodal yard and the role the new interchange would play in facilitating growth there by reducing travel times and lowering transportation costs; and the $32 million project to widen a key stretch of Interstate 64, also in St. Clair County. A combination of state and federal funding is supporting these and various other projects on the list. Meanwhile, work is also underway on the $222 million project to replace the Merchants Bridge, thanks to funding from Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, which owns the structure.

The Freight Development Committee is a nationally recognized model of partnership and productive collaboration between the public and private sector across the eight-county area the St. Louis Regional Freightway serves, and it has driven the success in regional project prioritization. Business and industry leaders work directly with local and state officials and DOT’s to set infrastructure priorities by helping them to understand how infrastructure and efficiency impacts on-time delivery and costs.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau Economic Census, freight-based industries represent over 75% of the total economic output in the St. Louis MSA. Located at the confluence of three navigable rivers, the border between the east and west coast railroads, and with its four interstate highways and four interstate linkages, the St. Louis region’s central location and robust infrastructure afford many advantages for shippers and contribute to the region being one of the largest inland freight hubs in the nation. The 384 million tons of freight generated in the St. Louis MSA in 2016 exceeded the tonnage generated in peer cities such as Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis and Columbus.

“Our leadership position in the freight industry further underscores the importance of maintaining and enhancing our freight network,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises at Bi-State Development, which oversees the St. Louis Regional Freightway as one its enterprises. “We greatly value the East-West Gateway Council of Government’s unanimous endorsement of what we have identified as the region’s current infrastructure improvement priorities, because that regional support is helping to ensure these priority projects do move forward. We will continue to use this valuable tool as we advocate for the funding necessary to advance other projects on the list in the months ahead.”

The updated list groups the projects into three categories, based on where they are in the planning, funding and construction cycle. Following is a summary of the 2020 priority projects, with the St. Louis Regional Freightway’s highest priorities underlined. More details on each of these projects and the various parties involved in compiling the 2020 Priority Projects list can be found at

Advanced to Construction (Funded)

  • Merchants Bridge (TRRA) Replacement over the Mississippi River (MO-IL). ($222M) Funded by TRRA in summer 2018. Replacement of Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis’ 130-year old rail bridge.
  • I-270 Improvements from I-70 (MO) to Illinois Route 157 (MO-IL). Funded spring 2018.
  • Improvements to portions of I-270 in Missouri ($250M)
  • Chain of Rocks Bridge Replacement ($211.6M)
  • I-270/Illinois Route 111 Interchange Reconstruction (IL) ($19M)
  • I-255/Davis Street Ferry Road Interchange (IL) ($59M) Funded in 2019.
    • New interchange and connecting roadways to serve emerging industrial area near Union Pacific Dupo Intermodal Yard, including future grade separation over five rail tracks.
  • I-64 Improvements from Green Mount Rd to IL 158/Air Mobility Dr (IL) ($32M) Funded in summer of 2019.  Expansion of I-64 to six lanes as well as other safety and capacity improvements.
  • J.S. McDonnell Connector Ave. Improvements (MO) ($20.7M) Construction funding approved in 2019. Roadway improvements to enhance truck traffic movements and replace deteriorated rail crossing.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Lenox Tower Replacement (IL) ($9M) Funded in spring 2018 and spring 2019.
    • Remove Lenox Rail Tower in Mitchell, Illinois in order to centralize dispatching in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • North Park Access Improvements (MO) ($3M) Funded in 2018.
    • Safety and capacity improvements along Hanley Road from I-70 to Madison Avenue.
  • Earth City Access Improvements (MO) $4M – Construction work is nearing completion on two projects:
  • Charles Rock Road preservation of 1.3-mile corridor and arterial roadway pavement repairs in Earth City.

Partially Programmed for Construction

  • I-270 Widening from I-70 (MO) to Illinois Route 157 (MO-IL) ($1.2B)

This project is partially funded and portions that are funded are identified above.

  • North Riverfront Commerce Corridor Improvements (MO) ($33.9M)

Continuing project will build on work completed to relocate the I-70 westbound off-ramp to North Broadway by making additional improvements to Hall Street and Riverview Drive, as well as Branch Street.

  • Illinois Route 3 Access Improvements (IL) (Estimated $147-$192M; Unfunded $135 – $180M)

(A) Illinois Route 3 relocation from River Park Drive to Monsanto Avenue

  1. B) Falling Springs Road/Illinois Route 3 railroad bypass (Partially Funded)
  • America’s Central Port Improvements (IL) (Estimated cost $22.5M; Unfunded $12.5M)

(A) Granite City Harbor track revitalization

(B) Granite City Harbor general cargo dock revitalization (Funded)

(C) Union Pacific/Kansas City Southern connection through A&K yard

(D) New port entrance at IL-3 (Funded)

  • Louis Lambert International Airport North Cargo Improvements (MO) ($18.2M)

Although Taxiway V Connector was completed, North Cargo improvements include reconstructing both Banshee Road and the McDonnell Boulevard/Airport Road intersection 

Concept Development or Planning

  • I-70 Improvements from Warrenton to Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge (MO) ($650M)

(A) Improvements from Wentzville to Stan Musial Memorial Bridge (40 miles)

(B) Expansion to six lanes from Wentzville to Warrenton (20 miles)

  • MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Distribution Improvements (IL) ($45M)

New two-mile rail spur from Norfolk Southern mainline to enable freight rail access for industry on the eastern side of airport

  • Louis Lambert International Airport Access Improvements (MO) ($30.25M)

(A) Cargo City access analysis

(B) Fee Fee Road bridge improvement

(C) Gist Road upgrade

  • Illinois Route 158 (Air Mobility Drive) Expansion from Route 161 to Route 177 (IL) ($20M)

One-mile extension of two lanes along a growth corridor near I-64 and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport

  • Kaskaskia Regional Port District Improvements (IL) ($11.2M)

(A) Terminal #1 second rail loop track and lead track rail upgrades

(B) Terminal #2 second entrance and third dock

(C) Port Development at Fayetteville

  • I-255/Fish Lake (Ramsey Road) Interchange (IL) ($27M)

New interchange to provide additional access to the Union Pacific Dupo Intermodal Yard

  • Mississippi River Port Development Projects (MO) ($17.5M)

(A) Crystal City Port development with access roadway

(B) City of St. Louis south riverfront site

(C) St. Louis County Port development north/south sites

Note:   On October 21, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the Illinois Department of Transportation’s annual Multi-Year Improvement Program, containing $239.5 million in additional funding for several other projects on this Priority List, including:

  • $20M for I-270 to add a lane from Mississippi River to the Chain of Rocks Canal
  • $64.5M for I-270 from .4 mile E of IL 3 to .5 miles W of IL 203 for additional lanes and bridge superstructure
  • $15M for IL-111 at Chain of Rock intersection
  • $115M for Relocated IL Route 3 from .1 mil south of River Park Connector to Monsanto Ave. in Sauget
  • $5M for IL Route 3 South for a bridge over the Alton & Southern Railroad tracks in Sauget.
  • $20M for IL Route 158 (Air Mobility Drive) expansion from Route 161 to Route 177 (IL)

Project funding from this announcement will be reflected in the 2021 Multimodal Project list. 

About St. Louis Regional Freightway

The St. Louis Regional Freightway is a Bi-State Development enterprise formed to create a regional freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in Illinois and Missouri which comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. Public sector and private industry businesses are partnering with the St. Louis Regional Freightway to establish the bi-state region as one of the premier multimodal freight hubs and distribution centers in the United States through marketing, public advocacy, and freight and infrastructure development. To learn more, visit 

  • United States Department of Transportation Freight Analysis Framework (FAF4), 2016.
  • United States Department of Transportation Freight Analysis Framework (FAF4), 2016.
  • United States Department of Transportation Freight Analysis Framework (FAF4), 2016.

M Property Services to Bring Much Needed Hospital, Healthworks Village to NorthSide Regeneration Development

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St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson signed legislation last week approving up to $8 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance for a new hospital in the city’s most impoverished neighborhood of North St. Louis City. M Property Services (MPS), led by Chairman and CEO Paul McKee, Jr., partnered with medical entrepreneur Dr. David Lenihan, President and CEO of Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), to bring his vision for minority-focused healthcare, which includes 92 new jobs, to North St. Louis as part of the NorthSide Regeneration development.

St. Louis City Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard (D-Ward 5) introduced legislation for the TIF assistance, which the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen passed with a 23-2 vote on Oct. 18, supporting the proposed three-bed hospital with emergency room at Jefferson and Cass Avenues, plus infrastructure improvements to the surrounding area. The project has a projected total cost of about $22 million.

The approved bill also provides that the developers must prove by the end of 2021 that they have financing for a larger, second phase of the project in order to qualify for all of the TIF assistance. This second phase is presently anticipated to include construction of a $73 million, 103,000-square-foot hospital, to be named Homer G. Phillips Hospital, and medical school. TIF financing works by allowing a developer over time to recover costs it has previously expended in completing public infrastructure and other qualified improvements, by accessing a portion of the increased real property and economic activity taxes generated in the future by the new development.

“It’s been a long road, but we definitely need a hospital in North St. Louis – an area that has high rates of hypertension, the most Medicaid recipients within the entire city, lowest life expectancy, and highest infant mortality rate. On a bigger level, this will be the only hospital in North St. Louis,” said Hubbard. “This will be more than just the three-bedroom urgent care hospital; it has a phase two connected to it, which will be a healthcare village that will offer so many needs and services to people who have lived in an impoverished community in excess of 60 years because the city has failed them and not given them the resources to live in a viable, workable community with access to healthcare. This issue has been one that has been near and dear to my heart; it has been definitely near and dear to my constituents because they are the ones who have been suffering.”

The proposed Homer G. Phillips hospital, named after the only hospital for African Americans in St. Louis from 1937 to 1955 when the city still had segregated facilities, would be constructed on the former site of defunct urban housing project Pruitt-Igoe. The site is part of the 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration redevelopment area in North St. Louis.

“I thought it was important to the revitalization of North St. Louis City that a hospital be brought back to the community. In working with Dr. Lenihan, we were able to develop a plan that addressed the residents’ needs and desires for local healthcare that has been lacking in the community for decades. We commend Alderwoman Hubbard for her tireless efforts to help make the hospital a reality for her constituents and the forgotten residents of North St. Louis,” said McKee.

United Bank of Union, Sterling Bank and the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council will provide a combined $8 million in loans to get the hospital project underway.

“We are proud to provide financing to the new Homer G. Phillips Hospital to bring a much-needed healthcare facility to the North Side,” said Al Bond, Executive-Secretary Treasurer of the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council. “We invest in projects that benefit our community, and we believe this facility will achieve that.”

Global architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK has been contracted to design the hospital. KAI will provide design/build services to complete the project.

M Property Services, LLC (MPS) is a full-service real estate development, property management and brokerage firm based in O’Fallon, MO. For more information about M Property Services, visit or call 636-561-9300

National Month of Veterans & Military Families Job Fair

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November is the National Month of Veterans and Military Families and DAV / RecruitMilitary are proud to host the St. Louis Veterans Job Fair on Thursday, November 21st from 11am to 3pm at Chaifetz Arena at St. Louis University. This free event for veterans, military spouses, transitioning military, National Guard members and Reservists features 40+ employers ready to hire.

In addition to providing career opportunities for veterans, RecruitMilitary is also focusing efforts on the more than 600,000 military spouses in the United States who are unemployed and/or underemployed in their professional careers. The company is actively working to help address the exorbitantly high unemployment rate of military spouses – nearly 25% – a rate more than six times the national average. This is the highest unemployment rate of any singular group in the U.S.  Through its partnership with Google, a new job search tool is now available to assist military spouse and military trained talent to explore 8,000 remote work options in the RecruitMilitary database of more than 250,000 jobs. With more than 140 veteran and military spouse job fairs this year, RecruitMilitary offers veterans and military spouses the most opportunities of any organization to help facilitate their future career goals.

RecruitMilitary’s Event Director, Jennifer Hadac who is also a US Navy Veteran, is available to discuss the hiring event and how we’re helping St. Louis veterans, transitioning military and military spouses find meaningful career opportunities.

Electrical Connection Members Honored at AGC Keystone Awards

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Two Electrical Connection-member contractors earned awards at the annual Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri Keystone Awards.  PayneCrest Electric, Inc. was saluted for construction excellence in the delivery of its Monsanto/Bayer Greenhouses project.  PayneCrest was also honored for its work on the Ameren Labadie Fly Ash facility, which was an award finalist.  Meanwhile, Aschinger Electric Co. earned a Specialty Contractor of the Year (SCOTY) Award in the electrical category.  In addition, Guarantee Electrical Co. was honored as a finalist for its work on The Last Hotel in downtown St. Louis and the Ameren Wastewater Treatment Process facility.

All three contractors are members of the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractor Association (NECA) which partners with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 to form the Electrical Connection.

Since 1997, when the AGC Keystone Awards competition was launched, more than 100 NECA contractor projects have been honored in the awards program, 32 of which earned AGC Keystone Awards.  According to the AGC, “the awards are a glowing recognition of construction professionals whose skill, teamwork and spirit of innovation make a lasting contribution to a community by building facilities that support and enhance the quality of life. Safety performance, use of technology or new innovations, and workforce diversity are also essential components of overall performance.”

In awarding PayneCrest its Keystone Award for the Monsanto/Bayer Greenhouses, the program noted that “PayneCrest overcame extraordinary complexities in remodeling 26 greenhouses as Monsanto transitioned to new ownership under Bayer. Each greenhouse required intense specialized infrastructure within its extremely limited space with a strict mandate to avoid shading plants with electrical systems. PayneCrest created, tested and refined mockups to guide pre-fabrication and installation with extraordinary precision, delivering on all expectations.”

Program notes for the other honored Electrical Connection-member projects included:

  • PayneCrest’s Ameren Labadie Fly Ash – “New EPA regulations eliminating fly ash ponds compelled Ameren to tap PayneCrest’s design/build skills for solutions to treat and dispose of the Labadie Power Plant fly ash. PayneCrest’s detective work revealed unknown aging infrastructure and integrated it with new electrical systems. It deftly managed work in tight spaces to power new EPA-compliant silo storage facilities to treat the fly ash.”
  • Guarantee’s Last Hotel – “Historic renovation is always tricky, when it involves digging through layers of history in a city like St. Louis. Leveraging the historic International Shoe factory building’s Art Deco elegance into the contemporary destination of The Last Hotel, led Guarantee’s project team through a century’s worth of urban archaeology, a wilderness of unmapped utilities between buildings, below streets, below the basement.”
  • Guarantee’s Ameren Wastewater Treatment Process project – “Among the challenges of the project were the uncertainties created by the innovative nature of the technology involved, which drove a relentless effort to adapt and test equipment to better calibrate performance. Working closely with Ameren’s design team and engineers, Guarantee’s installers were involved from design through commissioning, testing and adjusting sensors and equipment over the course of the project.”

“The successful and innovative delivery of these complex projects reflects the

proficiencies of our Electrical Connection NECA contractors and the skills and safety of our IBEW workforce,” noted Jim Curran, executive director, Electrical Connection.  “As we work with civic and business leadership in Missouri, we can confidently provide countless examples of IBEW/NECA’s readiness to efficiently and creatively deliver the next generation of electrical and communications projects.”

Winners of the 2019 Keystone Awards were celebrated at the AGC’s Construction Awards Gala scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at the River City Casino & Hotel in St. Louis.

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri represents more than 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties in Missouri. For more information, visit

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit

Electrical Connection Member-Supported Real Estate Investment Trusts Nears $1 Billion

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Very quietly, Electrical Connection members have been supporting nearly $1 billion in investments made in St. Louis area commercial real estate development projects.  The investments comes from a portion of union pension funds reinvested into St. Louis area projects through three real estate investment trusts.  They include AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT)AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT) and Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (ULLICO).  Collectively, these funds have invested $946 million in local real estate projects.

ULLICO 212 Meremac

Each of the real estate investment trusts are supported by pension funds of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1, which partners with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to form the Electrical Connection.

“The investments we supported were particularly valuable in the wake of the Great Recession,” noted Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local 1.”  “Projects were in danger of stalling when funding dried up and we were enduring depression-level unemployment in the trades.  The entire region needed an infusion of investment.  Fortunately, we had quality developments built with the skill of union labor that attracted investments supported by our union pension funds.”

Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter NECA, concurred and added, “These are job-generating construction projects that not only provide a good return on investment, but also add to the quality of life in St. Louis.”


The local impact of each of the real estate investment trusts on St. Louis includes:

  • Since inception 30 years ago, the AFL-CIO HIT has invested $575 million to support 32 projects with total development value of $946 million. These projects have built or preserved more than 5,065 housing units and created an estimated 13.5 million hours of union construction work.  In the last 10 years, AFL-CIO HIT has invested $260 million in 13 projects with a total development investment of $484 million in St. Louis. These projects are creating an estimated 6.5 million hours of union construction work. Those investments include:
  • Villas at Crystal Lake, Swansea, IL
  • Council Tower Senior Apt., St. Louis
  • Park Pacific Apt., St. Louis
  • The Laurel, St. Louis
  • Parkway Lakeside Apt., O’Fallon, Ill.  ·
  • Holy Infant & St. Joseph Apt., Shrewsbury, Mo.
  • St. John Neuman Apt., Jennings, Mo.           ·
  • The Heights at Manhassett, Richmond Heights, Mo.
  • The Gatesworth, St. Louis      ·
  • Hampden Hall, St. Louis
  • The Fountains of Ellisville, Ellisville, Mo.       ·
  • Covenent Place II, St. Louis

More on AFL-CIO HIT can be found at

AFL-CIO BIT has invested $180 million in nine St. Louis area projects, producing 1.5 million manhours of construction work.  Most recently, this includes the $51 million Encore at Forest Park.  It also includesthe $42 million Cortona Apartments at Forest Park.   Other projects include the Veterans Administration, IRS Building, and FBI Building in St. Louis, various projects at Fountain Lakes Commerce Center in St. Charles and more.  More can be found at

ULLICO has invested over $191 million in Missouri through its “J for Jobs” program. Most recently it invested $55.7 million to create 212 Meramec Apartments in Clayton, Mo.  More can be found at

“We work with our business, civic and economic development partners throughout the St. Louis region to find meaningful projects that would merit reinvesting union pension funds back into our community,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit

Rebuilding Together St. Louis Announces New Executive Director

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Rebuilding Together St. Louis is pleased to announce Elaine Powers as the organization’s new Executive Director. Powers comes to the group with more than 30 years of executive nonprofit experience.  In her new role, Powers will oversee strategic planning, development, and governance among other responsibilities.

“Elaine’s depth of experience and solid background in the nonprofit sector is invaluable and will be a great asset to our organization,” says Barry Upchurch, President of the Board. “She is taking the helm at a time of unprecedented growth, and we are delighted to have her join the stellar team in place.”

In addition to serving in leadership roles with  Angels’ Arms and the Lemay Child and Family Center, Powers also ran a strategic consulting practice. Her previous experience also includes St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she served as Director of Development Services. Powers holds a  Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit administration from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

For more than25 years Rebuilding Together St. Louis has provided free home repair to low income homeowners and veterans in need so they may remain safely and comfortably in their own homes.

Since its founding, the organization has rehabbed more than 3000 homes; 68 community spaces and touched more than 57,000 lives. The St. Louis affiliate is a leader among the more than 120 affiliates nationwide. St. Louis has been selected to hold the National Rebuilding Together Convention at St. Louis Union Station, November 14 – 16, 2019. For more information visit, call 314.918.9918 or email    

American Society of Concrete Contractors Presents Awards

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Jordan Ruttera (right)

The Emerging Leaders Committee of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, Mo., presented its second Gaining Strength Award to Jordan Berens, director of project management and estimating for Kent Companies, Grand Rapids, MI. The award was established to acknowledge up and coming individuals aged 40 and under, from member companies, who go above and beyond to promote and professionally represent the concrete industry, through their actions in their company and industry organizations.

Candidates are judged based on letters of recommendations and letters of acknowledgement from industry organizations with emphasis on participation, commitment, safety awareness, role modeling, and personal skills and knowledge.

Berens began his career in 2014 as a laborer performing placing, finishing and forming. He joined Kent Co. in 2015 as a field intern. He was promoted to project engineer, project manager, senior project manager, then to his current position. He is a respected project management expert among all seasoned field leaders and general superintendents, and, is widely recognized by customers and field leadership for developing detailed safety plans. From Kent EVP Matt Fennema, “His deep experience in concrete has positioned him as an expert to our customers. He can have tough conversations with clients while maintaining a positive working relationship.”

The president of the West Michigan Chapter of ACT had this to say: “Jordan is recognized within our chapter and the industry as an advisor and mentor to those who are beginning a career in concrete. I’ve observed senior lead construction managers seek his opinion.”

Chris Plue

The Safety and Risk Management Council (SRMC) of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, is pleased to announce that Chris Plue, senior vice president, Webcor Concrete Division, San Francisco, CA, received its ASCC Member Owner Safety Award for 2019, presented September 19 at the association’s Annual Conference in Chicago. The purpose is to annually recognize one owner/executive of a contractor member company who displays a clear focus and passion for safety, and provides the leadership that creates a best-in-class safety culture. Plue is a past president of ASCC and a past council director SRMC. The judges had this to say: “We can’t name a person we feel is more sincere in their decision to manage the people for which they’re responsible in such a way to assume their absolute best chance of working without injury or incident. “He personally has led the change to move his company’s safety culture from good to great. Great leaders make it personal and create positive change. Webcor’s EMR has been trending down to a .58 with almost 3.5 million manhours worked. That takes a lot of effort and focus.” The Safety and Risk Management Council (SRMC) is a specialty council dedicated to making ASCC contractors the safest in the industry. The Council board consists of safety and insurance professionals from all aspects of the concrete contracting industry. The group meets three times a year and spends countless additional hours overseeing safety matters for the organization. Council activities include publication development, review and monitoring of ASCC events and materials for safety compliance, member education, a safety awards program, and a safety/insurance hotline.

Thomas Ruttura

D. Thomas Ruttura, owner of Ruttura & Sons Construction Co., Inc., West Babylon, NY, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, MO on September 19 at the organization’s Annual Conference in Chicago. Ruttura is a past president of ASCC (2003-2004) and of the organization’s Education, Research & Development Foundation. He also chaired and served on numerous ASCC committees. “Tommy has always been extremely generous with his time, talents and financial contributions to this organization,” says ASCC executive director, Bev Garnant. “He has truly ‘enhanced the capabilities of those who build with concrete’ by showing his experience and expertise in concrete construction and business management with so many of his fellow ASCC members.” Ruttura has also been active in the America Concrete Institute (ACI) and with local and regional concrete and construction organizations. The Lifetime Achievement Award is ASCC’s highest honor, acknowledging recipients for their body of work within the industry and their service to ASCC.

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry. Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry such as architects, specifiers and distributors. There are approximately 760 member companies in the United States and 13 foreign countries.


Southern Illinois Builders Members Give Students Up Close, Personal Intro to Trades Careers

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During four days this week, more than 1,400 middle school and high school students from across the Metro East participated in the Southern Illinois Builders and Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program Association’s 21st annual Metro Construction Career Expo.

The event, held at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds in Belleville, afforded young people the chance for a hands-on experience courtesy of SIBA member union locals. From Oct. 28-31, students took their turn learning how to operate an orbital welder, tie rebar, stamp decorative concrete, walk a beam and operate a self-feeding screw gun, all under close supervision of skilled tradespeople. Students also learned how much money they can earn if they choose a career in the trades.

“It’s an exceptional opportunity for young people to learn exactly what each of the trades does and of the careers that are available to them,” said Donna Richter, SIBA chief executive officer. “Students are often pushed toward college degrees and aren’t aware of the viable financial, educational and experiential career paths within their grasp in the skilled trades. We’re here to share it with them, and to make sure they understand what a tremendous future they have waiting for them in the construction industry.”

Represented at the SIBA career fair were: Boilermakers Local 363, Bricklayers Local 8, Southern Illinois Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program, Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons Local 90, Electricians, Iron Workers Local 392, Illinois Laborers & Contractors Joint Apprenticeship & Training Program, Operating Engineers Local 520, Painter’s District Council 58, Plumbers and Pipefitters Locals 101 and 553, Plumbers and Gasfitters Local 360, Roofers and Waterproofers Local No. 2, Sheet Metal Workers Local 268 and Steamfitters Local 439.

Jamie McMillan, a journeyman iron worker/boilermaker and founder of KickAss Careers, spoke to each class of students at the start of their career expo session. McMillan is a motivational speaker who travels across North America encouraging more than 25,000 students annually to consider the opportunities that accompany a career in the skilled trades. McMillan’s life was transformed when she grabbed hold of an opportunity to secure a career in the trades.

“Iron workers put the bones into buildings and boilermakers build the organs and vessels of the building,” she said. “Your career is going to occupy one-third of your life. Make sure you find a career in which you love what you do. Life is like mountain climbing,” added McMillan, who is a mountain climber. “Pick your mountain and get to the top.”

IDOT Last Mile Infrastructure Project at America’s Central Port

in Associations/News

Federally funded, the Illinois Competitive Freight Grant Program marks the first time in Illinois’ history that funds have been specifically designated for freight projects.

This IDOT program, which required a 10-20% funding match on the part of the awardee, has awarded a total of $245 million in grants for 23 projects in program years 2018-2022. These projects include roadway reconstruction, grade separation, intermodal infrastructure, port improvements, technology deployment, truck parking, and interchange construction.

As the first project slated to finish construction in the state of Illinois, IDOT’s work to revitalize the Granite City Harbor general cargo dock at America’s Central Port is a testament to Illinois’ commitment to infrastructure and the beginning of many projects slated for the next six years.

Awarded $1,092,130 with a $275,000 match on the part of America’s Central Port, this project will increase last-mile efficiency, reduce freight truck bottlenecks within the Port and enhance the intermodal connectivity of the Granite City Harbor. The projected impact will increase daily freight traffic by 60%, where an estimated 1.5 additional barges will be loaded each day, removing 31,500 long-haul trucks from the road each year.

As a result of this much needed improvement to the dock surface and rail tracks, SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals, the barge and harbor operator at America’s Central Port, is making significant additional investments.

“We are excited to announce the purchase of a state of the art Sennebogen hydraulic crane that will vastly improve loading times of trucks and railcars. In addition SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals LLC has approved the upgrade to the conveying system currently used to load trucks and railcars with a larger and faster conveying system. Together, America’s Central Port and SCF are looking to the future to serve the needs of our customers with better and more reliable services.” – Brice Power, General Manager SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals, LLC

America’s Central Port is strategically located in the heart of the U.S. on the Mississippi River, adjacent to an excellent freight highway system, with access to six of the North American Class-I Railroads. The Port’s Granite City Harbor is the proven hub within this unparalleled transportation network which helps facilitate the movement of over $1 billion dollars’ worth of freight annually.

This project awarded by IDOT consists of upgrading the general cargo dock, which plays an integral role in the overall movement of approximately 3.4 million tons of steel, general cargo and dry bulk fertilizer each year.

The complete scope of this project includes resurfacing the dock with an 18 inch reinforced concrete pavement that will meet the needs of intermodal cargo transfers, as well as enhancing the drainage system where cargo is transferred between barges, railcars and trucks. In addition, approximately 450-ft of intermodal rail track will be upgraded to a larger rail section and a new crossing surface will be installed along the length of the dock.

These updates are critical to the continued success of America’s Central Port and the role the Southwest Illinois region plays in attracting business through competitive freight and superior logistics, with excellent rail, river, and road access.

Google Drive Link to Media of Before & After Construction: Contact

Information for Comments: Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director (618) 452-8439 |

Bill Stahlman, Director of Engineering (618) 452-8450 |

Alex Burkart, Director of Marketing (618) 452-8422 |

Joe Schatteman, Community Outreach Liaison for IDOT (217) 557-3224 |


America’s Central Port Website:

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