The REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois (RASI), hosted an event Friday, February 14th titled What’s New with M.E. (Metro-East)? at the Regency Conference Center in O’Fallon. The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Ronda Sauget, Executive Director of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, Gary Hoelscher, Director of Milennia Professional Services’ Metro East Office, Mark Harms, CEO of SCI Engineering, and Steve Zuber, Principal for Barber Murphy Group.
Keynote Speaker Dr. Ronda Sauget gave an overview of the Southwestern Illinois Leadership Council and the Building Workforce 2030 initiative, which is trying to address the current and future shortage of skilled STEM workers. She also spoke to the economic and workforce impact of Scott Air Force Base. Dr. Sauget closed the event with the strategies being used to attract new businesses, external marketing plans, and economic power zones.
Gary Hoelscher’s presentation focused on the American Bottoms Levee Project. He explained how the levee districts in Southwestern Illinois received full FEMA accreditation in 2020 and over $220 million in federal and local funds have been invested to reduce flood risk in the Metro-East.
Mark Harms presented on Southwestern Illinois Transportation Enhancement, which includes rivers, roads, rails, air, and pipelines. He informed the audience of the Agricultural Coast of America, which is a 15-mile section of the Mississippi River (mostly the Metro-East area) that provides the highest level of barge capacity anywhere along the Mississippi.
Steve Zuber’s presentation enlightened everyone about commercial real estate in the surrounding area. Steve mapped out each area that is currently available for commercial properties, what types of businesses could potentially build in those areas, and future plans for other commercial lots.
“We felt this event was important for our members as they conduct business directly with homebuyers. Our REALTOR® members in attendance are now more aware of the many exciting commercial and structural developments taking place in our region and will be able to share these with clients. The Metro-East is a thriving region and these speakers were able to provide a broad overview of these developments to better assist our REALTOR members in keeping their clients informed.” says Donna Baker, President of the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois.