EDWARDSVILLE, ILL., Sept. 1, 2011. The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is pleased to announce the addition of Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., Hortica Insurance and Bi-State Development Agency/Metro to its growing list of members. Representatives from the three companies will join other leaders in the business, industry, labor, education and government sectors to encourage business investment and development in Southwestern Illinois.

Highland-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. (K&L), will be represented by its Manager of Business Development Bill Rickher, who has more than 30 years of experience in the heavy metal and manufacturing industry. His background in controlling costs to maintain market competitiveness for businesses provides him with insight on why clients should consider and prioritize their needs, while addressing the most economic sustainability for the long run. K&L is a family-owned, full service general contractor established in 1958. The company's portfolio includes water and wastewater treatment facilities, county incarceration centers, production and warehouse facilities, restaurants, YMCAs, schools, office buildings, hospitals, corporate headquarters and a museum.

Mona Haberer, president and CEO of Hortica Insurance, is serving as the Edwardsville-based insurance firm's representative on the Leadership Council. Hortica now has offices in six states after being founded more than 120 years ago. The firm specializes in providing business insurance, employee benefits and personal insurance to the horticulture industry. Haberer has worked at Hortica for nearly 25 years and was promoted to president and CEO in 2008 after serving nine years as CFO. She is responsible for the strategic leadership of the company.

Representing Bi-State Development Agency/Metro on the Council is John Langa, president of economic development. Bi-State is the operator of the Metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region and also oversees the operations of the St. Louis Downtown Airport and surrounding industrial business park, the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center, the Gateway Arch Transportation System, the Gateway Arch Riverboats and the Gateway Arch Parking Facility. Langa has served as Bi-State's president of economic development since March, and has 10 years of public sector experience in the economic development field and 12 years of experience in the real estate brokerage and development fields.

The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is a member-based, economic development organization that has worked for more than 25 years to attract/retain jobs and stimulate capital investment through its coalition of leaders in business, labor, education and government. These effective partnerships have served as a driving force behind a number of successful regional economic development efforts. The Leadership Council also publishes the annual Market Review & Investment Update, which chronicles the total value of projects announced, under construction or completed each year in Madison and St. Clair counties, with the 2010 edition showing $6.56 billion in investments. 

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