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Winnings STL display

Maryville’s president, Mark Lombardi, discusses digital education and moving away from a tuition model to a subscription model.

Welcome to Winning STL

In the spring of 2001, I informed my East Coast-based father that I would be moving from Chicago to my wife’s hometown of St. . I still remember his response.

“St. , huh? It’s like Cleveland with tornadoes.”

With all due respect to the good people of Cleveland, I knew it wasn’t meant as a compliment. But, I had made a deal with my wife, so we packed the U-Haul and made the drive down Interstate 55. Twenty-one years later, the decision has proven to be one of the best and most impactful of my life. I’ve raised three children here, made lifetime friends and have had the privilege of working all of those years at the .

Like anyone that moves to the region, I’ve learned that St. punches above its weight when it comes to cultural amenities, great restaurants, world-class parks, unique neighborhoods and overall quality of life. I’ve learned how rightfully proud people are of their hometown and the city’s history. And woe to the rival sports star who dares label it “boring” (somewhere right now a Cardinals fan is booing Kris Bryant).

Of course we have our problems. Even occasional readers of the Post-Dispatch will undoubtedly know our issues with crime and public safety, economic and racial inequality and political fragmentation, to name just a few. Never mind that these are issues that every metro deals with; they are real, and they cannot be ignored. And we don’t.

But there’s another important narrative that shouldn’t be missed either. It’s the story of passionate, smart and dedicated business and community leaders who are working every day to help St. reposition itself for the future. They recognize that their businesses and organizations cannot thrive if the region can’t grow, attract talent or invest in the infrastructure that allows us to compete and win against other cities.

Through my position at the Post-Dispatch, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many business and civic leaders who, through their time, energy and resources, have bet big on our region. Their stories, outlook and wins should be shared.

To that end, we’re starting a video series where I’ll sit down with some of these leaders and listen to their perspectives and ideas while discussing the best path forward for St. . What are we doing now that is working? What do we need to start doing? How do we capitalize on our natural strengths? How do we better compete in the future?

I hope you’ll find their points of view interesting, thought-provoking and a good antidote to regional cynicism.

Oh, and my father? Twenty one years and many visits later, I can proudly report that he absolutely, positively has fallen in love with St. - tornadoes and all.

Ian Caso

Publisher, Louis

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