Steve Johnson, executive vice president for economic development at the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth
Association (RCGA). “Highly sophisticated workers who
can add value to the manufacturing process—to me, that’s
a description of St. Louis as a manufacturing center.”
Part of the credit for this talent pool goes to the region’s
educational resources, such as courses at the Emerson
Center for Engineering Manufacturing at St. Louis
Community College to engineering programs at Saint
Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and
University of Missouri–St. Louis.
Proximity to research institutions such as Washington
University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University makes
the city an ideal spot for such an operation. “We’re very
engaged with those institutions,” says Matt Harbaugh, interim president and chief financial officer at Mallinckrodt.
For example, the Covidien unit sponsors students to work
within its research and development group.
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Manufacturers operating in the St. Louis region include
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Space and Security, for example), electrical equipment
(Emerson), automotive manufacturing (General Motors),
food and beverages (Anheuser-Busch, Bunge, Solae) and
alternative energy (Zoltek, MEMC Electronic Materials,
Mallinckrodt also benefits from its access to major health
care organizations such as Barnes-Jewish Hospital and
SSM Health Care. “It’s a premier setup for a health care
company such as ours to be able to connect and under-
stand what is going on in those hospitals—how we can
help make their lives easier, take costs out and improve
conditions for patients,” Harbaugh says.
One of the newest additions is Emerald Automotive,
which in July made public its intention to manufacture
hybrid electric vans in suburban Hazelwood. Another re-
cent arrival is Halcyon Shades, a maker of high-tech so-
lar control window shades that moved its manufacturing
from Mexico to St. Louis.
For Sigma-Aldrich, ties to the St. Louis research com-
munity stretch back to the late 1940s, when the Sigma
Chemical Company started making chemicals for use in
labs at Washington University in St. Louis. Today, operat-
ing in 40 countries, Sigma-Aldrich produces thousands of
chemical and biochemical products and kits used in re-
search and in high-technology manufacturing.
Along with its headquarters, Sigma Aldrich’s facilities in St.
Louis include a major biochemical manufacturing plant,
a research and development lab and a facility where em-
ployees assemble and package chemical kits for shipment
As new companies arrive, others continue to prosper in the
city they have called home for decades. One such longtime
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insulating materials for motors, generators, circuit boards
and other products, Elantas has operated in St. Louis since
1919. Over the years, it has acquired at least eight competi-
tors around the U.S. and folded them into the St. Louis
operation. In 1996, the German company Altana Group
Elantas companies that manufacture products developed
at the St. Louis facility.
Tax credits and other assistance from the city of St. Louis
have helped Sigma-Aldrich grow. One good example
of cooperation between the corporation and the city in-
cluded improvements to the Sigma-Aldrich Life Science
Production Center on the site of some former breweries.
“;e city helped us to form a redevelopment area where
we created a park-like, campus atmosphere with walking
paths, park benches and the like,” says Franklin Wicks,
president of Sigma-Aldrich Corp.’s research strategic busi-
“St. Louis has a great workforce,” says Sue Graham, presi-
the North American continent from, because of the rivers
and highways that are here. It’s a great place to get raw ma-
terials in and out of. It’s a great technology location because
there are lots of universities and scientific organizations
here.” And, she adds, the city is extremely business-friendly.
Like Mallinckrodt, Sigma-Aldrich gains many advantages
from its relationships with the region’s universities. “Not
only do we collaborate on the scientific side, but we’ve
worked closely with business professors who have helped
us develop strategy,” Wicks says.
Another longtime resident, the Mallinckrodt pharmaceutical business of Covidien, traces its roots in the city back
to 1867. Today, as a $2 billion division of Covidien, the
company manufactures products for imaging diagnostics
as well as a variety of pharmaceuticals to treat pain.
St. Louis is also home to Ameren Corporation, whose
Ameren Missouri subsidiary delivers electric power to 1. 2
million customers in central and eastern Missouri and
natural gas service to an additional 126,000 customers.