I am happy to get up every day and hustle for work, as I’ve successfully done for 20 years now. But sometimes a project falls in my lap, and being asked to contribute to St. Louis Visions was certainly one of the best, most satisfying bits of luck I’ve had in a long time.
The phone rang one morning, and Regina from Cityscape was on the other line. She explained that the company published coffee-table books on a specific city that featured some history, an overview, and lots of photos. They also featured profiles on local organizations and businesses, and for that part would I consider contributing to it?
Of course I said yes, because it combined two of my passions: St. Louis and promoting local business. I grew up here, but then I left for over 20 years, living in places including Kansas City, San Francisco, and finally LA for a decade. Moving back after marrying to start a family, I had a fresh perspective of the town. While I had no delusions of the challenges the city faces (and still don’t), I noticed in my return a vibrancy that wasn’t here when I was growing up. Early on I got to profile local businesses for various magazines, wrote about civic leaders and trends for St. Louis Magazine, and then developed a relationship with Explore St. Louis (Convention & Visitors Commission), passionately writing about the best this town has to offer.
Since the beginning of my freelance career, I’ve done profiles on businesses, usually the smaller to medium-sized ones. I’m comfortable saying I’m good at them, in part because I’m always inspired by the people who start and run a business. Everyone has a story, they are all different, and they are all fascinating. To do what it takes to be successful requires a combination of many things, and I admire and respect all who pull it off.
For St. Louis Visions, I got to learn about Artur Express, a trucking company rapidly expanding with a rich history; Arco Construction, a national build-design company whose HQ happens to be in my neighborhood (I had no idea!); Fischer & Frichtel Homes, which has built more than 20,000 homes in 200 local neighborhoods; MTM, supplying much-needed rides to seniors and disabled persons to important appointments and running necessary errands; Gateway YMCA – you think you know the YMCA, but you don’t!; St. Joseph Academy, an all-girls Catholic school with a rich pedigree; and Lindenwood University, which I’ve written about on several occasions before yet still learned a lot about.
Extra bonus: Cityscape needed some additional writers, and I got to recommend my pal Larry O’Neal, who wrote about one-third of the profiles. Fun to share a byline with him!
I’m told this book is going to be primarily used by the companies and organizations featured in it to keep in their waiting rooms and, most important, gift to those considering moving here to live and begin a new chapter of their career. I definitely feel good being a part of that.