Collaboration is essential.
If there was one common theme or message presented at the third annual Southwest Regional Economic Summit on Oct. 17, 2018, those three words provided an accurate summation.
More than 100 people gathered at Sunset Country Club for presentations and a discussion by Better Together STL and Cities Strong. The event was presented by of the Crestwood-Sunset Hills, Kirkwood-Des Peres and Fenton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Internal competition, disparity in services and a lack of vision for regional success are three impediments to successful growth in our region, according to David Leipholtz, Director of Community-Based Studies for Better Together STL. Leipholtz, a former history teacher at Lindbergh High School, offered to visit or speak with any group in the region about their organization. He emphasized the rumors about Better Together STL—those around pushing for a merger of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County and a statewide vote mandating the merger—were false.
Leipholtz shared a story he heard from a recruiter in St. Louis that painted a picture of our current situation. Allow me to paraphrase:
What if you had the choice of eating at a restaurant with a Grade A rating by the health department or a Grade C? Most people would choose the Grade A restaurant. But, what if I told you that if you went to the Grace C restaurant and ordered the chicken dish, you would not get sick?
That’s the dilemma we’re facing in our region. We’re not at a Grade A level, but you can move or start a business here in a very selective way and not be harmed.
Pat Kelly and Jim Brasfield represented Cities Strong. Brasfield emphasized the need to collaborate and for cultivating leadership.
“There are no heroes,” Brasfield said, “just us.”
Kelly noted several problems caused by the lack of a leader and leadership throughout the region. He also predicted a formula for improving the region.
“Economic growth with follow population growth,” Kelly said.
It was an honor to end the program with some closing comments. Thanks to my good friend, David Straub, for sending me the recording.
The St.Louis Regional Chamber invited me to attend a presentation by Better Together STL in June. David Leipholtz, Director of Community-Based Studies, asked a simple question: If our region possesses outstanding resources--world-class resources--why are we struggling to thrive and complete?
Leipholtz and Kyle Juevers, Associate Director of Community-Based Studies, will attempt to answer this question during the Southwest Regional Economic Summit. We'll start with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Sunset Country Club and adjourn by 9 a.m.
Cities Strong, an organization dedicated to fostering and engaging in regional collaboration, also will make a presentation. They'll be represented by their President, Jim Brasfield, and Pat Kelly, a member of the Board of Directors and currently with the St. Louis Municipal League.
Click here to register as we begin a dialogue and have a conversation about how we can better communicate, collaborate and develop a shared vision for our region. If we all can agree that any organization must improve efficiencies and lower costs, we have a good place to start.
The front table at our October membership luncheon was full as candidates for Missouri State Representative, candidates for St. Louis County offices and spokespersons for a number of ballot initiatives joined us for an election-year forum at Andre's West.
Thanks to Paul Carcagno, President of the Board of Directors, for moderating the event. With more than 13 speakers, each person was limited to three minutes. Paul diffused any tension at the beginning of the event by informing the candidates and spokespeople he would treat them the way he treats his children when they won't stop talking: "I'll just take your phone away."
We received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the event. All were appreciative of the candidates and spokespeople respecting the time constraints. We received the most feedback on the courtesy and respect the candidates showed to one another.
The November, 2018, ballot in St. Louis County will be the longest ever assembled. We always encourage voters to be knowledgeable of the candidates and issues before they head to the polls. However, this year some additional time spent reviewing the ballot will save themselves and their fellow voters time at the ballot box.
Review your ballot by visiting the St. Louis County Polling Place and Sample Ballot Lookup.
The PDF below contains the sample ballot for my residence:
The Fenton Area Chamber of Commerce supports, promotes & encourages shopping local and keeping business in Fenton. The organization also serves as a link between our members and the community, providing members with tools to succeed in business through networking, marketing, and educational opportunities.