Address for Success: O’Fallon, MO is a Premiere Business Destination
From one-person startups to large corporations, businesses are choosing the O'Fallon region
From entrepreneurial startups to established enterprises, businesses of all sizes are choosing O’Fallon, Mo. and St. Charles County as the place where they want to grow, create jobs and invest in the future.
The pace of business creation and expansion is brisk as businesses discover the advantages of being located in O’Fallon, including the strong economy, skilled workforce, low costs, superior infrastructure, good schools and safe neighborhoods that make the area an attractive place to live, work and raise a family.
“When you add all of those factors together, including the low cost of living, quality of education and our ranking as one of the safest cities in Missouri, O’Fallon is a great place for families and a great place for locating a business,” says Patrick McKeehan, the city’s director of economic development.
That’s exactly what Caleb Hunter decided. An O’Fallon native, Hunter chose the city as the place to purchase a home, raise his family, send his children to school and start a business – Extreme Electrical Contractors.
The experience of starting and expanding the business has been positive, he says.
Public, Private Partnership
“There really isn’t a better place to start a business than in your hometown where people know you and you have a warm market. So I started Extreme Electrical Contractors,” says Hunter.
“I think the business climate is very conducive to becoming an entrepreneur. The city alone has a team to help individuals with their business to an extent. There are numerous business mentor organizations here as well. The Chamber has a very loyal membership base,” says Hunter.
The city’s business community, represented by the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce, and elected officials have developed a strong partnership, he says.
“I have since purchased a building in O’Fallon for my business and am currently looking for another one because we have outgrown our current location,” says Hunter.
Other business owners have similar experiences in O’Fallon. In the past year, there has been more than $56 million in commercial construction, including renovations and new structures. New and expanding businesses created 630 new jobs, and the city issued 125 new business licenses, says McKeehan.
“They range from businesses with one person to sizeable companies,” he says.
Destination of Choice
Businesses choosing O’Fallon include Air Evac Lifeteam, the air ambulance service with more than 130 bases across 15 states. It selected the city for its headquarters.
“It’s like a command center, tracking flights and weather,” says McKeehan.
The company’s mission is to provide air medical transportation for patients in remote communities, with the medical helicopters accessing rural areas of the United States that most other air ambulance companies don’t service.
Along with the pilot, every medical crew consists of one nurse and one paramedic, with every nurse and paramedic having at least three years of experience in a critical care or pre-hospital setting. They must also be certified in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, neonatal resuscitation and pre-hospital trauma life support.
O’Fallon is the setting for helicopter air evac training for pilots, nurses and paramedics from around the country, and established crews are available 24/7/365 to respond to a variety of emergencies.
Another large business, SAK Construction, has expanded its operations over time. The company’s innovative products and services allow utilities and businesses to repair underground pipelines without the costs and disruptions of digging. The company’s headquarters and manufacturing facility are in O’Fallon.
Strong Education & Government Resources
In addition to good public schools, St. Charles County is home to two institutions of higher learning. Lindenwood University is a private school with more than 8,600 undergraduate and graduate students. St. Charles Community College is one of Missouri’s top-rated schools. Graduates of both schools provide growing employers with a job-ready pool of talent, says McKeehan.
St. Charles County’s economic strength has a firm foundation in a number of sectors, including transportation, logistics, information technology and manufacturing, says Greg Prestemon, president and CEO of EDC Business & Community Partners.
“The county is blessed with a very diverse economy, so we are not overly reliant on one sector. In fact, if one part of the economy is experiencing hard times, we usually have other parts that are doing extremely well. We have companies of all sizes and types, which is a very good thing,” he says.
Prestemon says one strength stands out above all others.
“The biggest advantage our county has is its business friendly local government atmosphere. Local governments are enthusiastic about business growth. It is no accident that O’Fallon and other communities have been recognized as top places to live and to do business,” says Prestemon.