Hannibal Courier-Post

Tri-State Summit bringing region together

Floods, transportation, agriculture among many topics at event Oct. 25
By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Oct. 18, 2019 10:27 am

QUINCY, Ill. – A pair of Hannibal leaders say the Tri-State Development Summit that will be held in Quincy, Ill., next week can help unite the region to deal with common problems.

“Whether you are a volunteer, you are a leader, you are an industry official, you are an elected official, there is something important at the summit for you and you are important to the summit,” said Wendy Harrington of Hannibal Regional Hospital and member of the summit’s steering committee.

Michael Purol, a summit chairman from Missouri, said he has always come away from previous summits with “something valuable, some lesson learned, or a new network, a new person” who can The Tri-State Development Summit will convene for the first time in three years on Friday, Oct. 25, at the Oakley-Lindsay Center in Quincy.

Civic, business and community leaders from 36 counties in Northeast Missouri, Western Illinois and Southeast Iowa are slated to attend the event, which will feature talks on a wide range of topics dealing with transportation, agriculture, economic development, education and quality of life issues. The theme is "Innovation Through Collaboration."

Headlining the morning session will be Ray LaHood, who served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation from 2009 to 2013. LaHood also previously was a Republican U.S. Representative for the 18th Congressional District in Illinois from 1995 to 2009. LaHood will give the keynote address on the importance of collaboration and the "power of partnerships."?LaHood will be introduced by his son, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood of Peoria, who is the current congressman for the 18th Congressional District.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, will give remarks by video, and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri will give a short address.

Also slated to talk during the opening session are Nikki Budzinski, senior advisor to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and Illinois Agriculture Director John Sullivan, a former state senator who served the Quincy area.

The morning program also will feature an update on Mississippi River issues by Mike Klingner, a Quincy engineer who serves as chairman of the Upper Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers Association; and Robert Sinkler, a retired colonel who formerly headed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Rock Island District.

“The major economic engine of the tri-state area is agriculture, and it is our river that makes the United States competitive, getting our products to the world market,” Klingner said. “The bottom land soils adjacent to the Upper Mississippi River are some of the richest and most productive in the nation, and the world, and without flood control, nothing else matters.”

"The Complexity of Connectivity" as it relates to broadband issues will be discussed by a panel featuring Tim Fencl, general manager and CEO of Danville Mutual Telephone Co.; Bob Winsel, CEO of Ralls Technologies, which is affiliated with the Ralls County Telephone Cooperative; and Jim Broemmer, CEO of Adams Fiber/Adams Telephone Cooperative. The moderator will be Kristi Ray, executive director of the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance and chairman of the summit's Broadband Task Force.

After lunch, various awards will be presented, including a special award given in memory of the late Tom Boland of Hannibal, one of the founders of the Tri-State Development Summit.

The afternoon sessions will include a workforce education panel. Participants will include Jim Hansen, a Missouri state representative and retired educator, who will serve as moderator; Brian McGee, Quincy University's new president; Kelly Thompson, president of Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo.; Michael Elbe, president of John Wood Community College; and Michael Ash, president of Southeastern Community College.

Other afternoon speakers will include:

  • Aaron Baker, vice president of Clout Public Affairs in Missouri, on: "The Power of Lobbying."

  • Dennis Fraise, COO of Lee County Economic Development Group in Iowa, on: "Creating a Common Workforce Language Between Education, Business, and Industry."

  • Kyle Moore, Quincy's mayor, on: "Jobs, Jobs, Everywhere a Job… But Where Are All The People?"

  • Jeremy Hess, director of economic development for the Greater Burlington Partnership in Iowa, on: "Integrating Immigration Into Workforce Solutions."

Friday's schedule begins at 8:15 a.m. with registration and refreshments, then the morning and afternoon sessions will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The $45 registration fee includes lunch that Friday along with admission to a special gathering at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Dick Brothers Brewery featuring networking, brewery tours and appetizers.

This marks the 12th summit to be held since 1996. The summit originated in the aftermath of the historic flood of 1993 when area leaders on both sides of the Mississippi River decided to find ways to address common issues.

The summits are held at alternating locations in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. Starting in 1996, the first four summits were held in consecutive years. Since then, the summits have been held every two, three or four years depending on circumstances.

The last summit was held Nov. 18, 2016, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. On May 7, 2014, the summit was held at Hannibal-LaGrange University.

More information is available at tristateofmind.com.