NCI Honors Community Leaders Making a Difference in North St. Louis County

First Row (left to right): Jane Reise, Citizens for the Advancement of Normandy; Sandy Weber, 2012 NCI Board Chair; County Executive Charlie A. Dooley; Rosemary Johnson; and Megan McMichael, World Wide Technology, Inc. Second Row (left to right): Dan Link, Citizens for the Advancement of Normandy; Kim Bakker; David Reif, National Retail Properties, Inc.; Dr. George Albin III; Dwayne T. James; and Joe McGettigan, World Wide Technology, Inc.

First Row (left to right): Jane Reise, Citizens for the Advancement of Normandy; Sandy Weber, 2012 NCI Board Chair; County Executive Charlie A. Dooley; Rosemary Johnson; and Megan McMichael, World Wide Technology, Inc. Second Row (left to right): Dan Link, Citizens for the Advancement of Normandy; Kim Bakker; David Reif, National Retail Properties, Inc.; Dr. George Albin III; Dwayne T. James; and Joe McGettigan, World Wide Technology, Inc.


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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 10th, 2013 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. She is a board member for many other organizations whose missions are to better the quality of life for the people they serve, including Valley Industries Sheltered Workshop and United Services for Children and the Emerson Family YMCA. 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”.

In 2008, the historic Hardy House, which sits on 3 acres in the City of Normandy, was going to be demolished. C.A.N. stopped the demolition and negotiated a $1 a year lease for the House and the land. They are now responsible for the preservation of the Hardy Salt Family Estate, which was originally left for the advancement of horticulture. Renovation of the Hardy House has also begun through a grant from the St. Louis Port Authority. In March 2010, with the assistance of the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Gateway Greening, Beyond Housing and the Normandy School District, C.A.N. started the Wayside Community Garden. This has now become the largest organic garden in St. Louis, producing 2-3,000 pounds of food annually. A portion of this is donated to local food pantries. The City of Normandy is a member of North County Incorporated.

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. There are a total of 29 homes, two apartment buildings, one school and one commercial center targeted for demolition. This initiative rids the community of blighted properties and sites that attract unwanted crime and misuse. St. Louis County is a member of North County Incorporated.

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. Dr. 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.

Dr. 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, Dr. Albin earned the distinction as an Advanced Certified Board Member from the Missouri School Boards’ Association. He was elected four times for the prestigious MSBA Education Leadership Team Award for his commitment to professional development, participating in advocacy for public schools and implementing successful education policies. Ritenour School District is a member of North County Incorporated.

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. Before this, he served as an Alderman and then Mayor for the City of Northwoods, where he calls home.

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. This retained 800 jobs in the North County area. He was instrumental in the development of the St. Louis County Nuisance Property Clean-Up Initiative. And, it is largely due to his strong support that the Great Streets initiative for the Natural Bridge corridor, received the funding necessary to move the project forward, from a combination of federal, state and local sources; including the MoDOT, St. Louis County, East-West Gateway and Great Rivers Greenway. St. Louis County is a member of North County Inc.

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. James’ leadership has made this event one of the biggest events for the City of Ferguson.

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. Through this Board, the City seeks to empower youth to participate in improving their quality of life in the community. 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. James exemplifies the dedication and service to his community through all of these events. The City of Ferguson is a member of North County Incorporated.

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 Master Sergeant from the United States 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.

Johnson has given back to the community by serving on the Missouri and National School Board Associations and volunteering as the Director of Education and Director of Voter Registration for the St. Louis County Branch NAACP. Her community involvement has also included service with the Top Ladies of Distinction, Cardinal Chapter, the Gateway Classic Scholarship Committee, the Jennings School District’s Parent Advisory Committee and she is the former Vice-President of Middle School’s Local 44 Administrators Union. Jennings School District is a member of North County Incorporated.

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. And the corporate sponsors for this event were: Christian Hospital; Commerce Bank; Community News; Favazza & Associates; Ferguson-Florissant School District; Johnny Londoff Chevrolet; NorthPark Partners; SSM Rehabilitation Hospital; St. Louis County; St. Louis County Economic Council; Vantage Credit Union.

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 Chairman of the Board of Directors.

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