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ST. LOUIS – Construction business in the St. Louis area is booming since the 2008 recession. The 10th Annual Construction Awards luncheon was held and leaders are filled with hope for the future.

A decade ago, the St. Louis industry hit its worst time, as workload dropped 50 percent, and unemployment was over 30 percent for a 7-year period.

But things are changing.

“We’ve improved substantially. Not back to historical levels, but we have a vibrant industry and looking for some real growth in next couple years,” said Doug Martin, executive vice president of the St. Louis Chapter for the National Electrical  Contractors Association.

The CityArchRiver project has been a catalyst for many projects, including six hotel projects, Phase 2 of Ballpark Village, and the aquarium at Union Station.

“The construction industry has lots to offer. Lots of improvement to make in St. Louis. But moving forward an exciting time to be here and be a part of it,” said Ana Leavey, director of construction for CityArchRiver.

Washington University of St. Louis is also constructing five new buildings, there’s a new BJC west campus, drug maker Pfizer has a large project, Monsanto in Chesterfield, and SLU has a construction project off Grand Avenue.

The IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) have also been reinvesting into the community.

“The IBEW and NECA have actually been pursuing the minority community trying to get them in our apprenticeship programs,” said Frank Jacobs, business manager for IBEW Local 1.