Forum March Program: STL Regional Freightway Connects the Dots

By on January 12, 2017

Logistics are an economic driver that create growth and jobs across virtually all economic sectors. The St. Louis region is aggressively using its clear advantages in river, road, rail, and air to fuel future commercial, industrial, and infrastructure development, construction and jobs.

Capitalizing on inherent logistical advantages is a development strategy that has been proven in multiple locations across America. A 2012 article in the MIT Sloan Management Review titled, “Driving Growth and Employment Through Logistics“, carried the subheading “Logistics clusters create jobs that are difficult to move offshore and lead to economic growth in multiple sectors.”

Mary Lamie, appointed in July 2015 as executive director of Bi-State Development’s newly-formed St. Louis Regional Freightway has a story of the region’s future in logistics to tell that traces back 250 years. Lamie, the speaker at Construction Forum STL’s next networking/speaker event on March 15, is uniquely qualified to talk about the opportunities that port, logistics, rail, and road construction offer our area in terms of economic and job growth.

The St. Louis region has ebbed and flowed in its role as a conduit for the world’s freight. From the French fur traders, to the riverboats of Mark Twain’s era, to Samuel Cupples’ rail warehouses Downtown, merchants and shippers have taken advantage of the region’s strategic transportation advantages.

The event will be held from 7:30-9 a.m. March 15 at Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 Hall at Jefferson and Chouteau. Following the Forum’s typical format, registration will open at 7:30, followed by 45 minutes of networking and Lamie’s presentation. A continental breakfast is provided. As with all Forum events, there is no charge to attend but registration is required.

Click here to register. For information, call (314.880.2063) or email Dede Hance, director of administration for Construction Forum STL.

Lamie came to the Freightway position with more than 25 years of experience in transportation, engineering and management — including 22 years with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Her initial responsibilities are to evaluate the freight needs of the bi-state region and the freight network’s current operational status. She will develop public-private partnerships and create the foundation for planning, marketing and advocacy of the bi-state region as a national freight hub.

St. Louis Regional Freightway’s Executive Director Mary Lamie
will speak at Construction Forum STL’s March 15 event. 

John Nations, President and CEO of Bi-State Development stated, “Her experience with public and private projects in Missouri and Illinois, combined with her technical expertise and proven track record of regional collaboration, make her uniquely qualified to manage the coordination of the roads, rails, rivers, airports and pipelines that are some of our region’s most important assets.”

“Mary has earned the respect of leaders on both sides of the Mississippi River, and her recent experience with the High Speed Rail Corridor project and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge are just two examples of how she’s been able to get private, public, federal, state and local entities to successfully work together,” said Ed Hillhouse, executive director of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. “Quite simply, she has the vision, leadership and commitment necessary to put the St. Louis region on the global stage as a premier multi-modal freight center and a competitor in international markets.”

The freight district was created as a public-private partnership to optimize the region’s freight transportation network. It is the newest business enterprise of Bi-State Development, and was established in response to recommendations made in the 2013 Saint Louis Regional Freight Study commissioned by East-West Gateway. The study identified existing capabilities, gaps and growth potential in the freight segment of the region’s economy.

East-West Gateway then formed the Regional Freight Working Group, a team of regional leaders and industry experts from Illinois and Missouri, to develop a regional strategic freight action plan. That plan called for the establishment of a regional freight district to capitalize on an anticipated 60 percent increase in national freight volume by the year 2040. Because Bi-State Development is uniquely positioned as both an economic development leader and as an implementation arm for regional projects, it was selected by the East-West Gateway Board in September to lead this freight initiative.

“Our region has the capacity, infrastructure and a strategic location in the heart of the country to become a major freight gateway and distribution center,” said Lamie. “This is an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to working with all of our partners to grow this sector of our economy and position the St. Louis region as a comprehensive solution for moving cargo and goods to all corners of the country.”

The selection of Lamie as Executive Director of the freight district was based on the recommendation of a special subcommittee of the Regional Freight Working Group that was responsible for interviewing and evaluating candidates. The subcommittee was comprised of representatives from both Missouri and Illinois.

Lamie’s career spans a quarter of a century in transportation and engineering. Prior to her current position at EFK Moen, LLC, Lamie spent 22 years with the Illinois Department of Transportation, with the last seven years as Deputy Director of Highways Region 5 Engineer, where she was responsible for more than 800 employees, 3,300 miles of state highways and 1,700 bridges. She has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri – Columbia, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri – Rolla), and is a registered professional engineer in both Illinois and Missouri.


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