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Rozen joins B2B

Back 2 Basics Marketing in St. Charles has hired Bill Rozen as associate creative director and copywriter. Rozen has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising. His work background includes stints with the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons; Momentum-St. Louis; and “Pittsburgh Magazine.”

Rozen’s duties will include handling copy for social media, Web sites, and print, television and radio advertising, as well as press releases.

Nichols to head Highway Commission

The Missouri Highways and Trans-portation Commission last week elected Grace Nichols to a one-year term as the panel’s chairman. The former mayor of St. Charles has served on the commission since March 2008. The six-member, bipartisan commission governs the Missouri Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for building and maintaining the state’s highway system.

“My focus will be on supporting the department in its efforts to provide a high level of service while getting smaller and curbing services, necessitated by reduced funding levels from the gasoline tax and federal programs,” Nichols said in a written statement. Prior to her appointment to the commission, Nichols served as a senior circuit judge in St. Charles County. She served eight years as mayor beginning in 1987, and before that had a private law practice.

LU’s Evans gets contract extension

Lindenwood University’s board of directors has extended the contract of President James D. Evans through May 2015. Evans has served as the school’s president since 2006.

Board chairman Jim J. Shoemake said the decision to extend Evans’ contract “was meant not only to encourage him to continue his good work here, but also to express our confidence in the future the university under its present leadership and our collective vision.”

Since Evans became president student enrollment has increased, the university’s endowment has grown from $50 million to more than $110 million, and the school has carried out more than $100 million in physical improvements to its campuses.

DIGEST

St. Peters company invited to present at InvestMidwest 2011

Eleven Missouri companies, including one in St. Peters, will be among 44 companies trying to convince venture capitalists to invest in their enterprises during the 2011 InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum. The companies’ presentations will take place March 30 and 31 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan.

Seven of the Missouri companies are located in St. Louis, two are in Columbia, and one is in Chesterfield. The names of the participating companies will not be released until after the forum gets under way.

Some 75 representatives of the country’s venture capital firms attended last year’s forum in St. Louis, according to Christine Walsh, the event’s executive director. She said she expects that many to attend this year’s forum.

Convention center exceeds expectations

The St. Charles Convention Center exceeded its 2010 revenue projections by $171,353, according to Global Spectrum, the facility’s manager. The center generated approximately $4.9 million in gross revenue last year by hosting 305 events and attracting more than 253,000 people.

Revenue was up by $300,000 last year compared to 2009, Global Spectrum said, even though there were 73 fewer events held. The Philadelphia-based company said more conventions booked the center this year, generating not just more revenue for the facility but also more business for local hotels. The company said it secured almost 21,000 room nights last year in local hotels as a result of business at the center, an increase of some 7,000 from the previous year.

Global Spectrum estimated the economic impact of these hotel nights at $7.6 million. The convention center has exceeded budget expectations for six consecutive years since opening in 2005, according to Shura Garnett, Global Spectrum’s general manager of the facility.

Ameristar buying back 26 million shares

Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos says it plans to buy more than 26 million share of its common stock held by the estate of Craig H. Neilsen at a price of $17.50 per share, or a total price of $457.6 million. The shares to be repurchased represent approximately 45 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, and 83 percent of the Neilsen estate’s current ownership.

Founder and former CEO Craig Neilsen died in 2006.

Ameristar also said it plans to obtain about $2.1 billion in new debt financing, the proceeds of which will be used to retire its $1.5 billion of existing debt, to fund the share buyback and for use as working capital. The estate’s decision to sell the shares was “based on the unique financial needs of the estate and its beneficiaries, including the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation that my father established as his legacy to support spinal cord injury research and treatment,” said Ameristar Chairman Ray Neilsen in a written statement.

Consort Homes recognized

National homebuilding organization Builder Partnerships has presented its annual Achievement Award for Highest Distinction in customer satisfaction to Consort Homes, which has housing developments in five St. Charles County communities. The presentation took place during the recent International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla.

Consort was one of eight builders to receive the award, and the only one from the St. Louis area.