Missouri governor honors business and leaders at 2015 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development


ST. LOUIS – Gov. Jay Nixon today recognized outstanding leaders in business, community engagement and economic development at 2015 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in St. Louis.

Sherry Turner was presented with the Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction for her dedication to assisting women on their quest for professional, financial, and personal self-sufficiency. Turner is the founder of OneKC for Women, an umbrella alliance that brings together three area nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing resources, opportunities, and connections for women. Through a long career working on behalf of small businesses in the Kansas City area, Turner has remained committed to making the region a stronger entrepreneurial community with a talented workforce.

The Governor’s Career Service in Economic Development Award was presented to Denny Coleman, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Coleman has been one of the most influential figures in economic development locally, statewide, and even nationally for years, negotiating several mammoth business development deals and strategic community developments throughout his career. He was instrumental in forming the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, a union of the St. Louis County Economic Council and St. Louis Development Corporation. Since the Partnership’s inception in 2013, the St. Louis area has seen more than 11,800 jobs announced and over $1.25 billion in private investment.

Rug Doctor, Inc., in Fenton, received the Governor’s Innovative Industry Training Award, which recognizes a company that demonstrates outstanding success in workforce training and education. Rug Doctor has served the professional and do-it-yourself carpet cleaning market through manufacturing, sales, and service of carpet cleaning products and machines for over 40 years. In 2009, the company’s Fenton plant partnered with St. Louis Community College to transition to lean manufacturing, a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste and inefficiencies within a manufacturing company. Now in its fifth year of lean implementation, the company has seen savings of more than $500,000 through inventory reduction and the elimination of waste, and has increased order fulfillment capacity by 40 percent.

The Governor’s Rural Community/Redevelopment Project of the Year Award was presented toMissouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, a family-owned quilting fabric and supplies business. Since its founding in 2008, the company has purchased and fully redeveloped 15 vacant buildings in downtown Hamilton, and now owns a total of 21 buildings in the town. In just the past few years, Missouri Star Quilt Company has created 140 new jobs in the community, and employs more than 180 overall, making it the largest employer in Caldwell County. Additionally, the company attracts as many as 10,000 visitors to Hamilton each month. Earlier this year, company owners Sarah Galbraith and Alan Doan were named the 2015 National Small Business Persons of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis was awarded the Governor’s Metropolitan Community/Redevelopment Project of the Year Award. Together with Green Street St. Louis, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC) recently converted the former Renard Paper Co. warehouse and distribution building in St. Louis’ Forest Park Southeast (the “Grove”) into a new, LEED Silver brewery and bierhall for UCBC. The new location is one of only a few LEED-certified breweries nationwide, meaning it has embraced the principles of environmental stewardship and social responsibility from the U.S. Green Building Council, and also gives UCBC the largest footprint of any craft brewer in the St. Louis area. The UCBC Brewery and Bierhall created 20 new full-time jobs and 30 part-time jobs.

TK Architects International, Inc., in Kansas City, was the recipient of the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award for its outstanding export performance and growth. Over the past few years, the company has been working to increase its global exports, an effort that has led to exponential growth in sales and resulted in the hiring of nearly 10 new employees. From 2012 to 2014, TK Architects International’s export sales total increased more than 700 percent, and the company is currently aiming to increase its export sales to 10 percent of total company sales by 2016. The company has exported to 42 countries.

The recipient of the Governor’s Minority or Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award was Clearview Window Cleaning, Springfield. The company, which recently celebrated 40 years in business, has grown its workforce from three employees to 15 window cleaning technicians and three support staff in the 20 years since current owner Teresa Emerson assumed the helm. Additionally, the company has been able to secure many large contracts and expand its geographical footprint. Clearview is a past recipient of the Show-Me Heroes Flag of Freedom Award, and currently participates in an on-the-job training program for military employees. Seven of its current technicians are Missouri Veterans, active military personnel, or members of the National Guard and Reserve.

John Engelmann was presented with the Hawthorn Foundation Volunteer Economic Development Award, which honors a person that has made a significant contribution to enhancing the economy of their community through volunteerism. Engelmann has been employed in the field of economic development in the Kansas City metropolitan area since 1988, and currently serves as manager of economic development for KCP&L. He has served on the board of the Missouri Economic Development Council (MEDC) for over 10 years, and in 2015, was elected by his peers as president of the organization. He is also the current president of the board of directors for the Utility Economic Development Association, a board member of SupportKC, and a board member to numerous local, regional, and state economic development organizations within the KCP&L service territory.

The Governor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Jim Eberlin, CEO of St. Louis-based startup TopOPPS, Inc. TopOPPS, a software-as-a-service company that is revolutionizing sales process management and forecasting, is Mr. Eberlin’s third St. Louis startup company. He also founded Host Analytics in 2001 and Gainsight in 2011, both of which have raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital and maintain a presence in the city. Since its founding in 2014, Eberlin has already raised more than $4 million in capital and grown TopOPPS to over 25 employees, earning him a spot among the highest-grossing single entrepreneurs for venture capital currently active in the state of Missouri.

Owens Corning was presented with the Governor’s Business Project of the Year Award for its commitment to investing and creating jobs in Missouri. Headquartered in Ohio, Owens Corning is a global manufacturer of residential and commercial building materials. In July, the company announced plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Joplin, a nearly $90 million project that is expected to create more than 100 local jobs. The company expects the new location to be fully operational in 2016.