Maria Altman


Maria is a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio, specializing in business and economic issues. Previously, she was a newscaster during All Things Considered and has been with the station since 2004. Maria's stories have been featured nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on Marketplace.

Maria has won numerous awards, including from the Illinois Associated Press, the Missouri Broadcasters Association, the Missouri Bar Association, and the Missouri State Teachers Association.

She came to St. Louis from Dallas, where she worked at KERA. Maria has also worked at WUIS in Springfield, and WSIU in Carbondale, Ill. She received her M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa.

In her spare time she serves as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Maria lives in St. Louis with her husband and two kids.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of the Illinois Farm Bureau

Hopefully you got your fill of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. It may be your last until next fall.

Canned pumpkin supplies are expected to run out after the holiday. This year’s yield was down by about half in Illinois, where 90 percent of the crop for canned pumpkin is produced.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

An 86-mile stretch of levees along the Mississippi River was a source of hand-wringing from Alton to Columbia, Illinois, back in 2007.

Now local officials speak with pride about the work to improve the levee system.

(Maria Altman|St. Louis Public Radio)

When the Starbucks in Ferguson opens in the spring, it will be more than a new coffee place.

Getting a Starbucks is a big deal for the small city that saw several businesses go up in flames in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in 2014.

"There’s probably that belief in some people’s minds that people would be hesitant to make an investment along West Florissant or an investment in north county," said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles. "The fact that Starbucks has stepped up to do that, we’re very excited and very appreciative."

Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 1:45 p.m., Nov. 16 with revised Illinois proposal - Metro East officials are sweetening their offer to attract a federal spy agency and its roughly 3,000 workers. St. Clair County officials said Monday that they are adding 200 acres to its proposal for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Boeing FA-18 Super Hornet
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen G. Hale II | U.S. Navy

Updated 1:33 p.m., Feb. 16 with rejection of protest -  Boeing is considering its options following the denial of a protest over the military's decision to award a lucrative contract to a rival contractor. The U.S. Government Accountability Office says it has found no issues with the Air Force’s move to award the contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber to Northrop Grumman. Boeing's St. Louis-based Defense, Space & Security division still claims the Air Force's evaluation of the competing proposal was "fundamentally and irreparably flawed."

The engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the deal is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion


(Illustration by Susannah Lohr, St. Louis Public Radio)

In May of last year, BioGenerator officials crunched the numbers and realized about a  dozen companies in their portfolio would need to raise $60 to $90 million in order to keep growing.

BioGenerator, which formed in 2003, is a sort of incubator for biotech companies in St. Louis, providing early stage funding and support for 65 companies to date.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A non-profit aimed at developing more programmers in St. Louis is launching a new center on the north side.

The LaunchCode Mentor Center will open its doors Thursday evening at 4811 Delmar Boulevard, in a former state unemployment office.

Center director Chris Bay said they hope to engage the surrounding Fountain Park neighborhood with the kickoff event.

"We want people to not just come and celebrate and see a ribbon being cut. We want people to interact," he said.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis can start the legal process to move residents from a north side area that would instead become home to a federal spy agency.

The city's Board of Aldermen passed a resolution Friday allowing the use of eminent domain against 19 property owners. They live within a 100-acre acre that is the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The vote was 19- 5 with one abstention.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis soon could begin using the eminent domain process against land owners within the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on the city's north side.

Members of the aldermanic Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee voted 8-1 on Wednesday for a resolution that listed 37 property owners who could be forced to sell their land to the city. The resolution is  expected to go before the full board on Friday.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

International accounting firm KPMG looked at cities all over the United States and landed on St. Louis for its information tech expansion.

The company already has an office in downtown St. Louis with 270 employees. Over the next three years, it plans to add 175 IT positions, the company announced at a press conference today.

Karen Vangyia, the managing partner of the local office, said St. Louis is one of the fastest growing markets for technology jobs. She pointed to computer science programs at several local universities and the availability of professionals.

(Flickr/Laurence Livermore)

BioSTL has grabbed a $500,000 grant from the Small Business Administration.

It was one of just three Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative grants the SBA is giving out nationally and is meant to spur small business growth.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Mississippi River basin got its first-ever report card from the America’s Watershed Initiative ... and it was nothing to write home about.

The overall grade is D+.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District

A study of four possible sites for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s relocation is out, and the city of St.Louis is very much in the running.

(You can read the 468 page report here.)

The NGA is planning to move from its current location south of downtown St. Louis and build a new $1.6 billion facility.

Monsanto announced Wednesday it would shed 2,600 employees in the next 18 to 24 months as the company deals with declining seed sales.

The seed giant reported a $495 million loss, or about $1.06 per share, for its fiscal fourth quarter.

It’s not clear how many jobs will be affected at its Creve Coeur-based headquarters. The cuts represent about 12 percent of Monsanto’s workforce, and spokeswoman Sara Miller said they will take place globally across all functions.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The coal industry has hit hard times.

This summer several coal companies, including Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy.

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, is not immune. The coal giant’s share price has fallen nearly 97 percent in the last five years. The company recently did a reverse stock split, bundling 15 shares into one in order to avoid share prices going below $1.

Peabody Energy spokesman Vic Svec said as a commodity business, they’re used to the volatility.

(courtesy Cortex/Chris Cross)

A little more West Coast is moving into St. Louis.

The music streaming company Pandora opened an office inside Cortex, St. Louis’ innovation district, on Monday.

"Pandora came looking for us," said Dougan Sherwood, co-founder and managing director of CIC St. Louis, which is housed in the @4240 building.

Sherwood said officials with Pandora, which is based in Oakland, Calif., wanted to replicate the culture they have at their headquarters.

(U.S. Federal Reserve Board)

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen made opening remarks Wednesday at the Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Yellen’s speech did not touch on monetary policy.

The city of St. Louis may use its power of eminent domain against developer Paul McKee and 18 other land owners in its bid to retain the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

A resolution will be introduced to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday to allow the legal process to begin.

houses for sale, housing market
(Flickr, Tom Caswell)

A new economic report offers some good news for St. Louis... and some just okay news.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis released its third-quarter St. Louis Burgundy Book on Tuesday. While the housing market in St. Louis is on a definite upswing, the labor market lags behind the U.S. labor market.

Wayne Crosslin | International Institute of St. Louis

The immigrant population in the St. Louis region has been declining in recent years.

The U.S. Census released 2014 numbers on Thursday. In St. Louis’ metropolitan statistical area it showed an estimated loss of about 10,000 foreign-born residents between 2011 and 2014.

(courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center)

GMOs -- genetically modified organisms -- are not exactly a controversial subject at the Ag Innovation Showcase.

The three-day annual event is the place where the agriculture industry comes together to talk about new trends and startups to present to potential investors.

Yet this week at the seventh annual showcase at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, there was also discussion around how people outside of agriculture view the technology. The auditorium was packed for a panel discussion called "Transparency Without Prejudice--Bridging the GMO Divide."

(courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.)

The Ag Innovation Showcase began on Monday at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. In its seventh year, the three-day event includes panel discussions on trends in agriculture and technology and gives startups a chance to find investors and partners. 

This year, 19 early stage companies will present to possible investors. Those companies are focused on precision agriculture, renewables and sustainables, biological solutions and farming innovations.

(courtesy GlobalHack)

The problems plaguing the municipal court system in St. Louis County have been in the spotlight a lot lately. This weekend, coders will come together at GlobalHack V to see if they can develop some tech solutions.

It’s a shift for GlobalHack, which has focused on corporate problem-solving since it launched two years ago. Executive director Matt Menietti said the non-profit’s goal is to improve the city’s tech community, but they wanted to see if they could do more.


Bring them here.

That’s the rallying cry of a march planned for this weekend in St. Louis asking the U.S. government to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in the city.

The St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is organizing the event Sunday evening in the Delmar Loop. Executive director Faizan Syed said more than 1,000 people have indicated they will attend.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is throwing his support behind St. Louis city’s site for the relocated National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The Democrat sent a letter on Friday to NGA director Robert Cardillo. In it he proclaimed St. Louis County’s "unconditional support" for the 100-acre site in north St. Louis.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Sen. Claire McCaskill is embarking this week on an agricultural tour of the state.

The Missouri Democrat began Monday with a stop at the Danforth Plant Science Center, a non-profit research institute, in suburban St. Louis. The center’s campus also includes the Bio Research & Development Growth Park (BRDG Park), an incubator that houses and helps develop life science startups.

After touring the facility, McCaskill said such research is key to the future of agriculture.

Monsanto pulls bid for Syngenta

Aug 26, 2015

The St. Louis-based seed giant announced Wednesday its offer to buy Swiss pesticide producer Syngenta is off the table.

While Monsanto continued to argue the merger would have "created value" for shareholders of both companies, it said in a statement the most recent offer did not meet Syngenta’s financial expectations.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A tractor trailer from Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis brewery will be hard to miss.

The trucks have gone green, both literally and figuratively.

The beer giant announced Tuesday that it’s converted 97 diesel tractor trucks to compressed natural gas. To highlight the change, all of the trucks now sport a bright green exterior and Anheuser-Busch’s “Seed to Sip” logo.

(St. Louis Community College 2015 Workforce Report)

St. Louis’ economy is doing well, but employers are having a harder time finding skilled employees.

Those are among the findings in the 2015 State of St. Louis Workforce Report released by St. Louis Community College on Wednesday.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The burned-out buildings are gone, but one year after Michael Brown’s death the scars at local businesses along West Florissant Avenue are still apparent.

At Zisser Tire & Auto Service in Dellwood there is plywood on several windows. Owner John Zisser said he’s just waiting on a city permit to change the window configuration.