SIUE plays a leading role in economic development. James R. Pennekamp oversees the day-to-day operations and development of University Park, SIUE's research and technology park which occupies 330 acres of the campus. University Park is the site of research and business activity that links SIUE to regional economic development opportunities, including the biotechnology industry.
A leader in economic development for more than 20 years, Pennekamp identifies emerging regional economic issues and trends, conducts research-negotiations and develops public-private partnerships to enhance economic growth and opportunity. He was instrumental in bringing the American Red Cross (ARC) to the Metro East.
In September 2007, the ARC announced that it will locate its new state-of-the-art Blood Processing Center and National Testing Laboratory facility and more than 500 new jobs to SIUE's University Park. According to the ARC, the SIUE site offers a strategic location with a strong business climate, a highly-skilled workforce and the potential for exceptional infrastructure. The move will provide an economic boost to the region.