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WIU Hosts New Regional Office for Corn Belt Ports in Strategic Partnership for Mississippi River

Western Illinois University is proud to announce a partnership with Corn Belt Ports (CBP) to establish a new regional office for the Upper Mississippi River Ports on the WIU-Quad Cities Campus. This strategic collaboration signifies a significant step toward fostering sustainability, enhancing transportation logistics and driving community and economic development throughout the Quad Cities region.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Corn Belt Ports in advancing environmental responsibility, optimizing transportation logistics and fostering community and economic growth throughout the expansive CBP region, “ WIU Institute for Environmental Studies Director Roger Viadero said. “The placement of the CBP office at WIU's Quad Cities campus exemplifies our joint efforts to dismantle obstacles to collaboration. This marks a triumph for WIU, benefiting its students, faculty, and the Quad Cities community."

Key Highlights of the WIU-CBP Partnership:

Sustainability Focus: The new regional office is dedicated to promoting the sustainable, multi-purpose utilization of the Upper Mississippi River. It will actively work to protect the integrity of the region's supply chain while also making climate-informed adjustments to existing water resources infrastructure.

Economic Development: WIU and CBP aim to create a regional, port-based economic development cluster, stimulating economic growth, job creation and innovation within the region.

Environmental Stewardship: The partnership is committed to responsible environmental practices and preservation of natural resources, ensuring the region's waterways remain pristine and thriving.

Advancing Collaboration: The establishment of the CBP office on WIU's Quad Cities Campus fosters collaboration, reducing barriers to working together for the betterment of the community.

Additionally, this partnership will provide WIU Environmental Science Ph.D. students with enhanced resources for their research and degree completion, all while contributing to environmental improvement for everyone.

A ribbon cutting was held Oct. 19 and included multiple speakers and special guests, including Col. Robert Sinkler of Corn Belt Ports, WIU Dean for Innovation and Economic Development and Director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs Chris Merritt, Roger Viadero, WIU Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management Honey Zimmerman; invited guests; senior elected officials or their representatives; Port District and Port Commission representatives; federal agencies; state agencies; regional leaders and community leaders.

“This new partnership of proximity establishes a strategic physical location that promotes river commerce activity, and also deepens connections between Corn Belt Ports with WIU faculty and students in environmental science, economic development and supply chain management programs.” Vice President for Quad Cities Campus Operations Kristi Mindrup said.

Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the WIU Quad Cities campus is the public four-year regional university serving the Quad Cities region and beyond. Designed as a metropolitan commuter campus, WIU-Quad Cities students engage in classes and activities on campus, and live, work and enjoy the benefits of internships, employment, cultural experiences and entertainment within the community. The campus features state of the art classrooms, STEM laboratories, environmentally sustainable buildings, a fitness center, Esports room, natural landscape and inspiring views.

Corn Belt Ports is a leading organization dedicated to enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of river transportation and logistics in the region. The new regional office on WIU's campus reflects its mission to contribute to economic growth, protect the environment and ensure the integrity of the supply chain.

For more information on the partnership, visit

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