By Eric Humes, CEO, Keystone IT
50 years ago, engineers faced a challenge when trying to put the crucial keystone section into the Gateway Arch. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, “one leg of the steel structure was expanding in the sun—pushing it out of alignment. So city firefighters were called in to spray down the leg and cool off the hot steel. That allowed a derrick to wedge in the final piece perfectly after the massive legs were spread apart.” Like the Arch, St. Louis and the people here have faced large obstacles and challenges. We have struggled to find our alignment, but also like the Arch, we always find our place and soar above it all.
The Arch is more than a monument to the city of St. Louis. It is part of our core being. It is included in logos, art, architecture and design. It is cut into the grass of the outfield of Busch Stadium where our beloved Cardinals take the field. As citizens of the region, we take pride when we near downtown and see its curvature, and we miss it when we travel elsewhere.
The shiny Gateway Arch reflects the city and soars and falls as the city does. As the population has declined, so too has tourism to the Arch. When buildings downtown became dilapidated and crime increased, much of the community lost focus on the bright future the Arch promised St. Louis.
However, the Arch has served as the “gateway to the west” for 50 years. This is a point of pride for our city and region. We view our central location as the opportunity to welcome people from the east and the west. Most recently, we have opened our doors to technology and innovation. Young, bright talent is flocking to the region to take part in the opportunities provided by Arch Grants and incubators like Cortex and T-Rex. Some of the best doctors in the world are work in our health systems and are housed in our city. Our educational institutions are producing well-rounded, strong students, who are changing the world. Even as our community struggles with racial and economic division, we are still able to come together to create a vision for our future that is exciting and driven by change.
While the region plans for the future and sees something bright and exciting, the CityArchRiver Foundation is coordinating a project to ensure that the Arch and its grounds remain “alive, vibrant, exciting and refreshed into the future.” The Arch is a part of who we are as a community and for that we celebrate this historic 50th anniversary.
The Gateway Arch is also a part of who we are at Keystone IT. Like that final stone, this company is the keystone that helps bridge healthcare and education with technology. We improve clinical and educational outcomes through innovation. We are the piece of the puzzle that allows doctors and teachers to use technology to serve their patients and students. We too have been changing and growing.
Our company is a product of the technology boom in St. Louis. Since 2008, Keystone IT has doubled in revenue and staff every year and has expanded into Illinois and Wisconsin. As the St. Louis Business Journal reported this spring, since 2012 we have seen 258.74% increase in revenue. In that time, we proudly worked from downtown St. Louis, where we could see the Arch from our offices. We were motivated and driven by the culture of innovation fostered in St. Louis.
Recently, we outgrew our downtown office and had the opportunity to explore the entire region of St. Louis in search of a space that could house our team. In doing so, we got to see the possibilities and beauty that the entire region offers. We discovered that there was a creative opportunity in nature and space. We ultimately decided to take a risk and move our headquarters from downtown to Eureka where would create, through design and location, a space that would foster our staff’s disruptive instincts, love for the outdoors, and passion for physical health and fitness. Eureka provides us with space to grow, quick and easy access to interstates, and almost endless bike and running paths.
While the Arch grounds have been reworked and designed, Keystone IT has re-imagined our look and feel. As the city of St. Louis welcomed technology and innovation, we too have opened our doors to extremely talented employees and are currently housing three other innovative companies within our offices. Furthermore, as we look to expand our reach beyond the Midwest, we hold dearly the idea that we have been working in a gateway city. In St. Louis, we welcome and guide everyone from both coasts through the Midwest, and we know that our company’s values, strengths, talent, and city will be welcomed when Keystone IT reaches new geography.
The 50th anniversary of the keystone being placed in the Arch is exciting for the region. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the work being done here. It is also an exciting time at Keystone IT, as we too grow and improve our work and our mission. Thank you to the St. Louis region for supporting us, and thank you to the Gateway Arch for symbolizing who we are as individuals, a company, and a region.