By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
Jay Beard didn’t envision a home away from home for local business people when he purchased a downtown Edwardsville building, but the subsequent renovation process nudged him toward the growing field of coworking space.
Now, he’s all in. The result, after what will be more than a million-dollar investment and months of revitalization, is The Lodge, which opens in February at 231 N. Main St.
The structure is one of Edwardsville’s oldest buildings, known to old timers as the former home of Moose Lodge 1561, an organization that relocated long ago. Now, the building is going to be home of a different kind of camaraderie — among people seeking to build their businesses and networks.
The second floor of the building contains a new co-working space and small private or open offices, most of which have already been accounted for, simply through word of mouth, Beard said.
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
Graduate students appear solidly behind a new online MBA program begun this year at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
“There’s been tremendous interest actually, beyond expectations,” said School of Business Dean Timothy Schoenecker. “So far, we have nearly 60 students that enrolled for the pure, online MBA program. In addition, we have had other students that enrolled in what we are now calling our flex MBA program where they can take courses on line or do some face-to-face classes as well.”
The implementation of a 100 percent online Master of Business Administration program is the university’s effort to reach students where they are, rather than have students necessarily come to them, Schoenecker said.
The SIUE School of Business’ 36-credit hour online MBA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
The online MBA program can be completed in as few as 12 months for $17,269. Students may choose from a general MBA or high-demand specializations in management, management information systems or business analytics to prepare for higher-level roles as business management professionals and leaders.
Initial online MBA classes started on Jan. 19.
“In terms of coursework, regardless of online or face to face, the courses are the same,” Schoenecker said. “Our courses are in seven-week time blocks. There are actually six of the seven-week ‘mini semesters’ throughout the year.
T student theoretically could take two courses during each of those seven-week blocks and get through our entire program in one year. Six credit hours at a time, six mini semesters per year to get you to 36. Now, will most students do that? Probably not, because the vast majority of students are working full time and doing this part time, but some could do this in a year if they choose to,” he said.
Courses include such topics as quantitative analysis, accounting, finance marketing, management and people skills.
In addition to those core courses, there are a number of specializations students can take, such as a business analytics option, information systems or a variety of electives.
The type of person showing interest in the online option is not dramatically different than what the MBA program looked like before.
“The vast majority are working professionals,” he said. “Typically, they have about seven years of work experience. More are SIUE graduates than from any single institution, but the majority of applicants got their degree from somewhere other than SIUE.
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
When Derik and Whitney Reiser decided to turn the page, they opted for the local newspaper.
They bought the historic building that once housed the Collinsville Herald, transforming it cover to cover during a two-year, multi-million-dollar renovation.
The result is the Old Herald Brewery and Distillery, which opened Jan. 3 at 115 E. Clay St. in the heart of Uptown Collinsville.
The operation offers several styles of beers brewed in house as well as distilled spirits, such as gin, vodka and rum. Whiskey will be offered after it has been properly aged. A complete restaurant menu is offered for lunch and dinner.
The building, first constructed in 1924, sat vacant for most of the last 20 years, but Derik Reiser said the location was perfect for splitting up the brewing and distilling processes, which are highly regulated.
“We were interested in doing a family business and were also into home-brewing of beers since the early ’90s,” Derik Reiser said. “I got caught up in the craft spirits movement over the last 10 years.”
Collinsville didn’t have the kind of venue like the Reisers sought when they traveled, so the couple decided to start one.
They started doing their research about three years ago and set their sights on the Herald building two years ago, eventually purchasing it from a doctor in St. Louis, who had purchased it along the way but had not really done much with it.
“As soon as we walked into it, we realized it was perfect for what we wanted to do,” Reiser said. “We want this to be something the community is proud of. We’re in it for the long haul.”
The general contractor on the project was Highland-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors. A number of other local companies were needed, including the Collinsville office of Volkert engineering.
Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s leading mass tort and consumer protection law firms, is pleased to announce attorney Jason “Jay” Barnes has joined the firm as a shareholder in its Complex Litigation Department and will focus his practice on consumer class action cases. Barnes previously served as a state representative in the Missouri General Assembly.
“As a law firm dedicated to holding corporations accountable for wrongdoing, we are thrilled to welcome Jay to Simmons Hanly Conroy,” said Managing Shareholder Michael J. Angelides. “Through his work investigating waste, fraud and abuse as both an attorney and state representative, Jay brings invaluable experience that makes him a strong advocate for our clients. We are proud to have him on our side.”
Barnes served for eight years as a representative for Jefferson City. As chairman of the House Committee on Government Oversite and Accountability, Barnes led several investigations during his tenure, including the investigation of former governor Eric Greitens. After Greitens resigned, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board called Barnes an “independent-minded lawmaker and experienced litigator” who “never backed off.”