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Tim Cantwell, executive director of MidAmerica Airport, addresses members of the Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council. Also pictured is Margaret Gottlieb, trade specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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Members of the Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council recently met at MidAmerica Airport near Belleville.
EDWARDSVILLE — The Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council, established by St. Clair County Chairman Mark A. Kern and Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan to promote international trade and direct foreign investment in St. Clair and Madison counties, recently held its first meeting in 2016 at MidAmerica Airport near Belleville.
Frank Miles, administrator of Community and Economic Development for Madison County, said the meeting’s primary purpose was to formalize the new council’s structure.
“In order to operate effectively and accomplish the objectives outlined by Chairmen Kern and Dunstan, it is important the Trade and Investment Council adopts bylaws, elects officers and identifies working committees,” Miles said. “In order for the council to succeed, to improve international trade and foreign investments in our area, we have to have a cohesive team working together to implement an integrated plan. Based on what was addressed at our meeting at MidAmerica Airport, I think we have a good start.”
Council members also expressed the need to demonstrate a sense of urgency in their efforts.
“It is important that as we progress with the council’s structure, we must also quickly identify and participate in trade shows and missions where we can promote the economic opportunities available in Southwestern Illinois,” said Silvia Torres Bowman, director of the Illinois International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
“But we must also be realistic in our identification of projects,” Torres Bowman said. “We need to identify solid opportunities to showcase our area and what we have to offer, and then work to ensure those opportunities are developed into success stories.”
After the meeting, Tim Cantwell, executive director of MidAmerica Airport, led council members on a tour of the North Bay Produce distribution center at the airport. North Bay Produce is a national and international distributor of fruit.