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PR: The East-West Gateway Council of Governments Board of Directors Hires New Executive Director

September 29, 2010 Press Release 4 Comments

The following is a press release.  Mr. Hillhouse & his wife are moving to downtown St. Louis.

Ed Hillhouse
Ed Hillhouse

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments Board of Directors Wednesday approved the hiring of Ed Hillhouse as the metropolitan planning organization’s new executive director, effective Nov. 1. Hillhouse currently is chairman of the board for East-West Gateway and the presiding commissioner for Franklin County, Mo.

Hillhouse was elected as a county commissioner of Franklin County in 2002 and has served as the county’s presiding commissioner since that election. During that time he also has served on the board at East-West Gateway. He has a doctorate degree in education from St. Louis University and served as superintendent of schools for the Meramec Valley School District in Pacific from 1988 to 2002.

East-West Gateway is the St. Louis area’s federally designated metropolitan planning organization responsible for approving federal funding for major local transportation projects. East- West Gateway’s 24-person board, which includes the top elected officials of the region’s seven counties and the mayor of the city of St. Louis, meets monthly to consider issues of regional significance.

Hillhouse sees regional collaboration among local governments as one of his highest priorities, both to better coordinate services and to share resources so that financially constrained municipalities and counties can better serve their citizens. He also sees an increased role for East- West Gateway in bolstering the region’s economy, particularly at a time when the world is becoming increasingly urban and metropolitan areas are the focus for global competition.

“Economic development is critical to the region and East-West Gateway will play its part, both in analyzing the region’s fiscal condition and helping coordinate efforts to create jobs and pursue a sustainable regional economy,” Hillhouse said. “When East-West Gateway was formed, its main purpose was to address surface transportation needs, but we also have grown to address other regional problems in a cooperative way, such as homeland security and disaster preparedness.” For the last eight years Hillhouse has been the presiding commissioner of Franklin County, which at 922 square miles is Missouri’s 4th largest county and with a population of 101,263 according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates, is the state’s 10th most populous county. The county seat is Union and its largest municipality is Washington. The county’s population increased 8 percent from 2000 to 2009, making it one of the state’s fastest growing counties.

That experience governing a county that has rural, suburban and urban aspects will benefit Hillhouse, according to the vice-chairman of the East-West Gateway Board of Directors, Mark Kern, the Belleville-based chairman of the St. Clair County Board.
“At a time when regional perspective is needed more than ever, Ed Hillhouse has shown by his eight years on the East-West Gateway board that he has a clear grasp of both the need for that effort and the challenge of pursuing it,” Kern said. “Ed’s experience governing a fast-growing county gives him a background in economic development and government collaboration that should serve him well as East-West Gateway leads the metropolitan area in maintaining the St. Louis region’s growth and stability.”

Hillhouse is married to Shirley Hillhouse, a fourth-grade teacher at Labadie Elementary School in the Washington School District. In 2009, she was named the Gilder Lehrman American History Teacher of the year for Missouri. The Hillhouses have two sons, Heath, a graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield; and Hart, a teacher in Pacific.

Hillhouse is a member of the advisory board of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association and the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging Board. He replaces Les Sterman as East-West Gateway’s executive director. Sterman was executive director for 26 years, leaving the post in June 2009. Since Sterman’s departure, Maggie Hales has served as the interim executive director. On Nov. 1, Hales will return to her prior position as deputy executive director.


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Cheryl says:

    Has Hillhouse shown support for transit, complete streets, etc.?

    • Mahic says:

      Yes. Ed has been a vocal supporter of the Great Streets Initiative, including the demonstration project in Labadie. Although, transit is certainly not an issue in Franklin County, I think he will be a supporter once in the position.

      • Cheryl says:

        Glad to hear Hillhouse has been vocal on Great Streets. Re transit in Franklin County, maybe it has not been an issue, but it should be an issue. Rural areas need transit as much as urban areas. My 88 year old mother lives in a more rural area of Illinois and experiences the lack of transit first hand every day.

        • Mahic says:

          Yes, I agree. I didn't mean to say that transit shouldn't be an issue in exurban or rural counties…just that Hillhouse has no track record on the issue because it doesn't come up very often in Franklin County.


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