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Photo by Eric McRoy
(From left) Coyle Supply Marketing Manager Adam Heil and Bob Roseman, recently retired plant manager from Ehrhardt Tool and Machine.
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Photo by Eric McRoy
Executive Director of Madison County Employment and Training and president elect for the Chamber of Commerce Southwestern Madison County’s Board of Directors David Stoecklin moderated an “evening discussion” onstage during the chamber’s 75th anniversary gala in St. Louis on Oct. 24. (From left) Stoecklin and SCF Lewis and Clark Captain Ray Richmond.
We make it here and we move it there.
That was the theme to not only the Chamber of Commerce Southwestern Madison County’s 75th anniversary gala on Oct. 24, it is also the mindset of the organization and, to a larger degree, Granite City as a whole.
The event, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis, highlighted the area’s manufacturing industry and transportation system, showcasing the country’s reliance on goods and services provided here in Granite City.
Manufacturers recognized during the event include Abengoa Bioenergy, Aero Aviation, Air Products, Arizon Structures, Amsted Rail, Coyle Supply, Custom Steel Processing, KraftHeinz, Lapham-Hickey Steel, Magnesium Elektron North America, Prairie Farms Dairy, John Sakach Co., SunCoke Energy and U.S. Steel Granite City.
Transportation systems recognized include America’s Central Port, Clarke Power Services, Koetting Ford, Riechmann Transport, SCF Lewis and Clark, Terminal Railroad of St. Louis and Weber Chevrolet.
The event benefits the 2017 Leadership Program, designed to develop competencies, knowledge and technical skills necessary to advance driven and goal-oriented employees to supervisory positions within their organizations. Partnership sponsors Custom Steel Processing, Icon Mechanical Construction, The Korte Co., Korte Luitjohan Contractors, Magnesium Elektron North America, Metro East Dental Care, SunCoke Energy, The Bank of Edwardsville, Terminal Railroad and Weber Chevrolet have made the program possible to run through 2017.
“In this ever-changing competitive business world, our goal is to grow future leaders by developing those who have the capacity, desire and drive to contribute more,” speaker Scott Frick with Kraft Foods said.
Following a reception and red carpet recognition, Melanie Keeney and Sarah Pistorius sang “For The Good,” underscoring the importance of the region, both here and overseas.
Chamber of Commerce Southwestern Madison County Executive Director Rosemarie Brown praised the hard work, unity and community support of the area’s businesses.
“(These are) people who have the tenacity to start their business from scratch and build that one-man shop into a million-dollar business,” Brown said. “This chamber is so fortunate to have a mix of huge corporations and very small businesses; it gives us that perfect balance.
“If one of our businesses is experiencing a problem, we all come together and we work like a well-oiled machine, resolving that problem presenting to us and moving on.”
Executive Director of Madison County Employment and Training and president-elect for the chamber’s Board of Directors David Stoecklin moderated an “evening discussion” onstage with Bob Roseman, recently retired as plant manager from Ehrhardt Tool and Machine, SCF Lewis and Clark Capt. Ray Richmond and Coyle Supply Marketing Manager Adam Heil.
Stoecklin said more than 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs are not filled in the United States.
“It is a perception that manufacturing is dead, yet those gathered here tonight can tell quite a different story,” he said. “We need to be aware that manufacturing can provide a great living wage for a family, and it doesn’t require a four-year degree or college loan debt that will take years to pay off. We need to change how our community sees the manufacturing industry.”
Richmond noted opportunity for advancement and stability of employment as reasons for choosing his industry path, while Heil described starting “at the bottom” and working his way up through the ranks at his company to carve out a successful career.
He also praised the leadership program.
“You may be able to quote textbooks and formulas, but there is a certain knack that you can only learn from the leadership program because you have industry leaders teaching you,” Heil said. “My one piece of advice is to work hard. There is nothing that you are overqualified for, and always be eager to learn.”
Roseman said his company looks for immediate skills and the ability to learn when searching for a new employee, as well as respect for skilled and experienced workers who have put more time into the industry.
“If they come in recognizing that it is OK to be wrong; we can show you how to be right, then we are delighted to have them,” Roseman said.
Stoecklin also said approximately 3,000 jobs will become available in the Metro East over the next five years, mostly through attrition.
“When you look at the plant floors, you see people getting older and more tired,” he said. “Those jobs will become available, and jobs (in the industries) average a total of $80,000 a year. The opportunity to have a living wage is out there.”
The transportation system was recognized as well, highlighting the fact most goods created by the manufacturing industry travel through the Granite City and Metro East area to their destinations.
Rosemarie Brown, born and raised in Granite City, also was recognized during the event for her work and dedication to the chamber and passion for the community.
Melanie Keeney, along with Donald and Lynda Stratton, closed the presentation with a rendition of “I Was Here,” as photos of community leaders, past and present, were displayed on the screens.
To emphasize the theme, the organization included a quote from Jimmy Carter in the program.
“Each of us must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good. We are a community. Our individual fates are linked, our futures entwined, and if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit together, as the Bible says, we can move mountains.”
Established in 1940 by a group of area businessmen, the Southwestern Madison County Chamber of Commerce serves the Granite City, Pontoon Beach, Mitchell and Madison areas. Many of those founding companies still are involved with the chamber. For information, visit www.chamberswmadisoncounty.com.
The manufacturing industry comprises 10 percent of the state’s total workforce, employing more than 576,000 workers. As of 2014, Illinois has the third-largest manufacturing output.
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