NCI Honors those Making a Difference in North St. Louis County
North County Inc. Honors Community Leaders
Making a Difference in North St. Louis County
As part of the organization’s 36th Annual Breakfast celebration, North County Incorporated (NCI) recognized several area leaders for making a significant positive impact in North County. At a sold out event on Friday, May 10, more than 550 business, civic, and community leaders gathered to honor this year’s award recipients.
Kim Bakker received the prestigious Elmer Belsha Leadership Award. This award is presented annually to an individual who has made a long-term commitment to NCI and North County, and has had a positive impact on the community and/or public body that they serve.
Employed by SSM Health Care – St. Louis, Bakker is currently the Network Director of Community Affairs. In her role one serves as a listening post in the community and identifies opportunities to collaborate with other organizations to strengthen the community as a whole. Bakker became a North County Inc. board member in 2007 and joined the Executive Board in 2008. She served as vice chair in 2009 and served as board chair in 2010. During her term as chair, she was instrumental in strategic planning with the organization’s stakeholders.
Bakker also lends her skills to strengthen the business community by serving in leadership roles for the Greater North County, the Northwest, Maryland Heights and the Clayton Chambers of Commerce. In 2009, Bakker was recognized by the Maryland Heights Chamber with their Volunteer Leadership Award. In 2007, she received the Northwest Chamber’s Person of the Year Award and a NCI Community Development Award. SSM DePaul Health Center is a member of North County Incorporated.
NCI’s Business Development Awards were presented to those whose efforts have positively affected the economic development and business climate of the North County area. These awards were presented to National Retail Properties, Inc. and World Wide Technology, Inc.
National Retail Properties, Inc. invested more than $9.2 million in order to bring a blighted, distressed property back to life, changing the site completely into a more useful and financially productive retail mix on North Highway 67 in Florissant. National Retail Properties completed the redevelopment project without any type of public incentives. It is estimated that the construction process created 250 union jobs, as well as additional jobs to work in the stores and maintain the center.
World Wide Technology, Inc. provides technology and supply chain solutions to the commercial, government and telecom sectors. November 2011, they announced their plans for new headquarters, facility upgrades and workforce expansion over the next five years. With the assistance of St. Louis County Economic Council, they developed plans that included both a real estate investment of up to $16 million, $4 million in personal property tax investment. A new 50,000 square foot headquarters building has recently been completed in Maryland Heights, 300 new jobs have been created, including 100 at their new headquarters.
NCI’s Community Development Awards were presented to those whose efforts positively benefit youth, residents, civic organizations, or others through selfless acts. Citizens for the Advancement of Normandy and the St. Louis County Nuisance Property Clean-Up Initiative were chosen for this award.
Citizens for the Advancement of Normandy (C.A.N.) began in 2006 when a group of like-minded residents began meeting to discuss ways to promote, beautify, educate and preserve the City of Normandy. In their first few years, C.A.N. was instrumental in getting an economic sales tax initiative passed, and for beautifying the intersection of Florissant and Natural Bridge Roads, known as “The Wedge”.
St. Louis County Nuisance Property Clean-Up Initiative recognized that vacant and abandoned properties contributed to a myriad of community problems including crime and decreased property values. St. Louis County realized that strong action had to be taken to try and stem those problems in some key communities throughout unincorporated St. Louis County. Many of these commercial and residential properties were located in North County.
Over the past year, St. Louis County adjusted the demolition code to now allow for demolition of structures that have lost 50 percent of their value as a result of fire and/or abandonment. Then, they increased the demolition budget from $72,000 to $722,000. The bold initiative kicked-off with the recent demolition of the long-vacant Glasgow Village Shopping Center. By the end of this summer, St. Louis County will demolish four additional fire-charred homes in the Spanish Lake and Glasgow Village areas
Public Service Awards were presented to outstanding individuals, elected, appointed, or employed by a public body whose long-time service has had a positive impact on the community and/or public body they serve. George Albin III, Ritenour School District Board Member (retired); St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley; Dwayne T. James, Councilman, City of Ferguson; and Rosemary Johnson, president of Jennings School District’s Board of Education were this year’s Public Service Award recipients.
George Albin III’s 24-year career on the Ritenour Board of Education reflects his commitment as a public servant to the children, families and staff in the District. Dr. Albin retired after his 8th term as a board member, of which he served as president for two years and vice president for four years. He is well known to Ritenour third-graders for teaching them about good dental hygiene. During his service, a school for early childhood education, a long-awaited performing arts center, classroom additions, new libraries at two of the schools and safety upgrades at every school were added to the District. These improvements were funded through a $50 million dollar bond issue. Through the years
St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley has lived in North County for 50 years. He has served our community for decades. After returning from serving the U.S. Army in the 60’s, he went to work for McDonnell Douglas, after thirty years, he retired and became active in public service. He has had a strong commitment to the growth and development of North County during his 12 year tenure as St. Louis County Executive and his previous 8 years as a member of the St. Louis County Council.
Since becoming County Executive, he has worked to galvanize interested parties in the development of NorthPark, a 550 acre premier business park, attracting major employer Express Scripts our area’s largest employer with more than 4,000 employees. When the National Archives and Records Administration needed a larger location, he worked to keep them in North County. They have now built a new $112 million dollar center
Dwayne T. James is currently a councilman for the City of Ferguson. James was one of the original creators and planners of the Ferguson Twilight 5K Run. 2013 will be the fourth year of this event and over eighteen-hundred people are expected to participate. All funds raised from the race benefit the Emerson Family YMCA and provides youth scholarships for camps.
In addition to his participation with the Twilight 5K Run, James is also one of the creators and planners for the Ferguson Youth Initiative and the Ferguson Youth Advisory Board. He serves as the City Council representative for the Youth Advisory Board. James also serves as a key figure in creating and maintaining the “Live Well” Ferguson Program. This program serves to encourage citizens to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
Rosemary Johnson currently serves as board of education president for the Jennings School District. She has continuously served on this Board since 1994 and has held the offices of vice president, secretary and treasurer throughout this time. Johnson’s Board leadership has witnessed the successful passage of 3 multi-million dollar bond issues. Throughout the years, she has also served the school district by volunteering on many committees examining ways to fund education and improve student achievement.
Johnson is a retired U>S> Army Master Sergeant from Army Reserves. During her time, she received medals for service including the Army Achievement Award, National Defense Service Medal, Army Reserves Commendation Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Command Sergeant Majors Medal.
NCI’s 36th Annual Breakfast presenting sponsors were: HDR, Progressive Waste Solutions and SSM DePaul Health Center. The corporate plus sponsors for this event were: Metro; St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley; U.S. Bank
North County Incorporated is a regional development organization, which acts as a catalyst to define and advocate economic and community development for North St. Louis County. NCI was established in 1977. The Board is composed of community leaders and business owners. Ron McMullen with Christian Hospital is the current board chairman.
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