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Corn Belt Ports opens new WIU office

The opening of the Corn Belt Ports office.
Corn Belt Ports
The opening of the Corn Belt Ports office.

An organization that works to grow commerce in the upper Mississippi River region has a new home.

Last week, Corn Belt Ports opened its office on the Moline campus of Western Illinois University.

Executive Director Robert Sinkler says the initiative is an advocate for ports from Dubuque to Keokuk.

"We want the Corn Belt Ports region not only to be nationally significant from a waterborne commerce perspective, but we also want them to be an economic development driver, and kind of an economic development and business cluster."

He says being on campus will make collaborations with the university easier.

"This gives us kind of a home, but what's special about the office being here on the campus of Western Illinois University is we can partner more easily with their transportation faculty and their transportation programs," he said.

"We can partner with their institute for environmental studies, and we can also partner closely with their institute of rural affairs."

Sinkler says Corn Belt Ports hopes to offer some internships to WIU students in the future.

The organization is also expanding its office in Peoria.

Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.