Alliance’s Johnson, LHM’s O’Loughlin Round Out 2019 Forum Events

By on August 14, 2019

Construction Forum STL announced today (Aug. 14)that Alliance STL’s Steve Johnson and LHM’s Bob O’Loughlin will be the Forum speakers for the remainder of 2019.

Johnson will speak on Sept. 20 and O’Loughlin will speak Dec. 4. Both presentations will be held in the Mildred E. Bastian Center for the Performing Arts at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Admission is free, but registration is required.

Registration is now open for the Sept. 20 Steve Johnson event. To register, click here.

Building Collaboration for Economic Growth 

Steve Johnson will speak on the effort to build a collaborative effort for economic development in the St. Louis Region. Johnson brings a vast amount of experience to his role coordinating regional collaboration for economic development in his new role as CEO of AllianceSTL. He will examine the drivers that invigorate the pace of STL growth, and discuss the strategies his organization is mobilizing to help create that environment.

Johnson has led business recruitment efforts in local, regional and statewide organizations for more than three decades. As the leader of AllianceSTL, he loves seeing the surprise on people’s faces when they begin to realize what makes the St. Louis region special.

He counts the easy accessibility of urban amenities as perhaps its biggest draw. “Within 30 minutes of leaving my house, I can be riding my bike alongside the Missouri River on the Katy Trail or parking my car to go to a Cardinals game,” he marvels. “It doesn’t get much better than that.” As the AllianceSTL team earns success, he says, “Many people throughout St. Louis will have a better life. A good job – or a better job than the one you have now – changes everything, and it’s a change that ripples through multiple generations.”

Creating Reasons to Come to STL

Bob O’Loughlin will speak on the economic impact of developing St. Louis as a travel destination.  Joining him on the dais will be other members of the Union Station construction team.

To Bob O’Loughlin, CEO of Lodging Hospital Management (LHM), the aquarium under construction at Union Station was a no-brainer. LHM purchased the property in 2012 and set about refurbishing its rooms and amenities. The changes — and LHM’s knack for building guest experiences with “Polar Express™” train excursions — had brought the hotel, now under the Curio Collection by Hilton banner and a member of Historic Hotels of America booking half a million room nights a year.

The shopping space at the east end of the property, just south of the headhouse, had been converted to 120,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, one of the largest non-convention-center venues outside of Vegas. But then there was the mall, another 120,000 sq. ft. at the southwest quadrant of the property, emptying into the 1,100-space parking lot.

“Retail isn’t going anywhere,” O’Loughlin said. He wanted something that would bring three audiences — meetings; the millions of family vacationers in St. Louis for the Cardinals, Arch, Zoo, etc.; and locals — onto the property and keep them there.

St. Louis has been talking about an aquarium for four decades. O’Loughlin and his team at LHM don’t just talk, they dream big and then do. That vision is why the romance of the Cheshire Inn has been revitalized with new restaurant venues and guest rooms themed after famous authors. It’s behind 360™ restaurant at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. It’s behind the Westport Social game and event venue that LHM opened adjacent to its two properties at Westport Plaza.

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