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BUILD St. Louis podcast launches, hosted by veteran journalist and IBJ founder


Kerry Smith, the original founder of the Illinois Business Journal, has stepped into the digital media platform spotlight as she launches and leads a new podcast: BUILD St. Louis.

Back in 2000, Smith had a vision of leading a business news publication focused on Southwestern Illinois, and she launched the Illinois Business Journal that fall. And in 2003, she reinforced that vision with Alan J. Ortbals, bringing him on board at that time as its co-owner. 

After 13 years at its helm as founding president/CEO, and as its first editor, Smith passed the torch on to Ortbals and its next partner/editor, Dennis Grubaugh. She returned to the IBJ briefly in 2018 as marketing manager.

Smith has remained a reputable media mainstay throughout the St. Louis market since her tenure at the IBJ, evidenced by the indelible marks of her visionary content and storytelling talents throughout the metro region.

By launching her own content writing and editing firm, Informationworks, she continued her work with clients from a myriad of industries including construction, engineering, architecture, commercial real estate, transportation, economic development and more. She also filled the editor role for St. Louis CNR, a bimonthly magazine for the St. Louis commercial construction and design industry.

With this new podcast launched on May 1, BUILD St. Louis just seems like a natural next step for Smith.

“After interviewing and learning from the brightest minds in construction and real estate development for more than 20 years as a print journalist, I often regretted the fact that, due to a word count limit on printed stories, so much of the expertise I’d gleaned from subject matter experts wasn’t shared with readers,” Smith said.

“Also, frequently during these interview conversations, an additional concept or entire topic popped up that we weren’t able to explore due to time constraints and content limits. It seemed like a natural evolution to create a podcast that could capture so much more of the heart of these discussions. Not to replace traditional journalistic content, BUILD St. Louis is the go-to podcast for our region that expands and grows these conversations,” she added.

As for the “nuts and bolts” of BUILD St. Louis, it is an audio, recorded podcast, with each episode lasting approximately 20 minutes. The first six episodes launched May 1. These will be followed by a new episode each week. The podcast is available through Apple, Google and Spotify platforms.

Invited guests are top executives from public and private organizations that are specific to the fields of construction (including design and engineering) and real estate development. 

Smith’s first six guests that are part of the May 1 episode launch include St. Louis Regional Freightway’s Mary Lamie, Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council’s Scott Byrne, BARBERMURPHY’s Steve Zuber, Clayco’s Sandra Marks, SIUE’s Tim Sullivan, and Sandberg Phoenix’s Quinn Murphy.

Early sponsors of the BUILD St. Louis weekly podcast include Contegra, BARBERMURPHY, Clayco, Sandberg Phoenix, S. M. Wilson, Trivers Associates, Midas Construction and KWAME Building Group. Smith noted that additional sponsorship opportunities are still available. 

Anyone interested in learning more about the newly launched BUILD St. Louis podcast can reach out to Smith at or (618) 225-2253.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story also appears in the May 2023 Illinois Business Journal print edition.)

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