Friday, February 20, 2009

Greetings from Metro East!

The editors of Tacoma Tech Connect have graciously allowed me continued access to this blog, which I helped start a couple years ago when I was in Tacoma. When we moved here last year, I told most people that we were moving to St. Louis, and I quickly learned that the Missouri city's metro area spreads across two states.

The Illinois part of the area is known locally as the Metro East, and it has some distinct characteristics beyond being under the legal jurisdiction of the State of Illinois. Metro East encompasses five Illinois counties in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2000, there were 599,845 people living in this designated area, scattered across a variety of cities and small towns, typically called "villages" here. The area's largest city is Belleville, but other large population centers include Edwardsville, Collinsville, Alton and Columbia.

A fast-growing urban/suburban area with a population under 1 million in a separate jurisdiction from the area's largest population center but still under that area's shadow. Sound familiar? The parallel to Tacoma continues...

The area's largest employer is military: Scott Air Force Base. Nearly 6,500 military and 3,500 civilian employees work at this complex, which occupies almost 4,000 acres with 900 buildings just north and east of Belleville. Scott is home to the U.S. Transportation Command, as well as the Air Force Command, Control, Communications and Computer Agency and the Air Weather Service. Long-time Tacomans may be interested to learn that the current Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command is Gen. Duncan McNabb, who led the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB in 1996-97.

What's all this got to do with technology? You'll find out in my next post.

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