President Pam's Blog

Pam Cumpata

Pam's Blog - March 2017

"Knowledge is power" Francis Bacon

Recently I was spending time with my grandchildren and thinking about how different life will be for them compared to how it was when I was growing up. Take for example, the process of writing a school report. When I was a kid, it involved a trip to the library and a card catalog that really was cards. Or, if you were lucky enough, your parents or a friend's parents had a set of encyclopedias that you could use in a pinch. Now we have the internet, and with just a few clicks of the mouse, my granddaughter can unlock an entire world of information. For her, the issue is not finding it, but sorting through it and deciding what is good. The same holds true for businesses today.

Businesses thrive on access to solid information. Just like my granddaughter, the internet has opened an entire world of data that is relatively easy to access. Many businesses are struggling not with quantity, but quality. How do I know the data is any good? Does it really pertain to me? Is it accurate? These are the questions being asked. Business leaders know the quality of the data could be the difference between mediocre or amazing when it comes to crafting strategy and making decisions. That is why the McHenry County Economic Development Corp. (MCEDC) works hard to provide our local business community with data and research that is both meaningful and trustworthy.

A perfect illustration of our work in this area are the business visitations we conduct each year. Over the course of a year, MCEDC staff, board members and partners conducted 100 individual one on one business visitations. Why? First, we want to let our businesses know that they are valued and appreciated for their impact on our economy. Secondly, through these meetings, we can see trends, issues and concerns that need to be communicated and addressed.

For example, a recurrent theme we heard during the visitations in 2012, 2013 and 2014 was a concern for developing a skilled workforce to replace an aging one. To act on this issue, MCEDC has been partnering with McHenry County College, the McHenry County Workforce Investment Board and others to provide skills training and to establish a youth outreach program on the value of, and need for, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. From intern programs to facility tours, we are actively engaging our youth and encouraging the development of skills which we need in our workplace today and tomorrow.

Using the insights gained in the business visitations, the MCEDC has also been able to provide customized assistance either by connecting companies to resources that they may need, advocating for solutions to the challenges they are facing, or finding solutions to obstacles they are experiencing. Odds are if one company is working to overcome a challenge, other companies in the county are facing similar situations. For this reason, we also seek to communicate the knowledge we gain and the data we collect in a meaningful way that benefits all the businesses in the county through educational forums for municipal staff and elected officials as well as economic development presentations before business groups.

These presentations provide information on basic economic development practices as well as current trends, highlight the collaboration that occurs regionally, as well as with municipal staff and MCEDC through partnering for business visitations, providing research and proprietary reports (over 1000 during the last 5 years) as well as sharing information on initiatives and programs that could support municipalities and local businesses. We also have a wide range of data and resources including Economic Modeling, which is available through our website or by giving us a call. Think of it as a "one-stop-shop" for business information.

Francis Bacon stated that "knowledge is power" and I couldn't agree more. At the MCEDC, we work diligently to empower our businesses and municipalities with reliable knowledge that truly fuels economic growth. If you haven't used our resources in the past, I encourage you to visit our website (Click here) and check out all of the available support and data that can help your business grow.

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Pam Cumpata

Pam's Blog - January 2017

The pessimist complains about the wind;the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails. William Arthur Ward

The start of a new year is a great time to take a moment to think through our goals and aspirations for the months ahead. As I was doing that myself for the MCEDC, I came across this quote from the ‘King of Inspiration’, William Arthur Ward and I was struck by how true this really is and how our attitudes and perceptions can form our outlook and impact how we lead our businesses.

Our attitude ultimately becomes the lens through which we view our world. If we focus on the positive, then the world becomes tinted by the proverbial rose colored glasses. If we choose to focus on the negative, then we will see the negative in everyone and everything around us. These images of the optimist and pessimist are nothing new and have been around a long time. They are the traditional black and white of attitudes. But if there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that life is a whole lot of gray.

Enter the realist. One of our recent Business Champions was faced with the realty that he needed to broaden his outreach and find new markets for his products. This company adjusted their sails and forged ahead creating their own new reality. ( Another McHenry County company had the need to expand...the realty of an expansion meant it would impact not only the company and its employees, but the community as well. These companies were realists and unlike the pessimist, these realists didn’t look at the inevitable ups and downs of life as a bad thing. They understood it for what it is; a fact of life and an opportunity. They didn’t become immobilized by fear, slash budgets and wait for the sky to fall. They also didn’t dismiss the signs of change in their industry or the economy with an optimistic “everything is fine” attitude either. Instead they did their research, analyzed their situations and decided on the best path for moving forward. And then they moved, full sail ahead. (

We are fortunate here that we have many such business leaders from both large and small companies that call McHenry County home. They took action...expanding their footprint, innovating, provided up training for employees and developed new products...which is what sets the realist apart from others. Realists don’t wait for things to get better, they make them better. Realists are Doers. They understand that it is up to them to find the path for their own success and help their people get there. They help inspire the pessimist and lead the optimist to action. They set goals that are actionable, measurable and attainable. They look for ways to improve themselves and their business.

One great example, is the MCEDC CEO Peer Group which has just celebrated its first year. Members are from varied business sectors all willing to dive in and take action. This intensive leadership program is dedicated to helping CEO’s grow their skills, broaden their horizon, help solve opportunities for growth and improve their bottom line. (For more information on the next group being formed now, go to

Realists also know that they can’t do it alone because, in the end, it isn’t just about them. It is about their business, their team and their employees. It is about looking beyond what is good for the month or the quarter and have the vision to see what will be good for the next 2 years, 5 years and down the road and about biting a bullet for long term growth. At MCEDC we want to be on your team. We can help to set a direction from which to sail, to line up partners who can address a need, and provide resources as well as the support needed to reach a goal.

As we begin 2017, I challenge you to reflect a moment on the words of William Arthur Ward. What kind of attitude do you have? Do you see your industry as shrinking or do you actively look for new markets and new technologies that will help you move forward in ways you hadn’t thought about before? Do you keep doing things the same way you always have and hope that everything will get better, or do you look for ways to improve yourself, your businesses and your community? Do you stare at the glass and wonder if it is half empty or half full – or do you go and look for more water? How is your ship sailing?

Pam Cumpata, President
McHenry County Economic Development Corporation

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Pam Cumpata

25th Anniversary Dinner - October 2016

I am delighted with the success of our 25th Anniversary dinner.  I often say with pride that this event is the premier business event in the county.  Well, we can certainly back that up with the fact that the room was filled with over 450 of McHenry County’s business leaders. 

Full Room


The MCEDC Chairman of the Board, Jamie Maravich,  welcomed our attendees and thanked the presenting Sponsors the McHenry County Community Foundation and BMO Harris Bank as well as the Premier Sponsors, Blackhawk Bank, Centegra Health System and Innovative Component Sales and our many Investor Sponsors who all helped make this event a success.

Jamie Welcome


New this year to our event, was recognition by the McHenry County Community Foundation of the Philanthropist of the Year Award.  Robin Doeden, Executive Director presented the Award to Don & Chris Schellhaass.

Robin Announcement Robin Philsan


One of the highlights of the evening is always the recognition of the Business Champion Finalists.  Our Business Champion Co-Chairs, Steve Middaugh and Sue Dobbe introduced the 18 companies which were finalists.

Steve and Sue


Our guests enjoyed seeing the lobby display of previous Business Champions as well as those of the 2016 Finalists.

Business Champs lobby photo


Sage Products CEO, Scott Brown,  introduced our keynote speaker, Kevin Lobo, Chairman and CEO of Stryker Corporation. Not only did Mr. Lobo share information on Stryker, but he provided insight into its acquisition of Sage and what an exceptional company it is and that both companies share a philosophy, value system and vision of excellence. 

Scott Brown

Kevin Lobo at podium Kevin Lobo Pam Scott Brown


One of MCEDC’s initiatives is our CEO Peer Groups. David Hubbard, MCEDC Secretary introduced our inaugural team which celebrated their first anniversary this month.  (New teams are currently being formed and anyone interested in more information should let me know.)

Hubbard and CEO Peer Group


For the past 9 years, the announcement of the 2016 Business Champions is a highlight of the evening. As they accepted their award, each CEO shared their company’s story , all of which were enlightening, encouraging and inspiring.


Gary Reece, Heartland Cabinet Supply

Gary Reece accepting Gary Reece and team


Robert Jessup, Jessup Manufacturing

Rob Jessup accepting Jessup Team


Jill Dinsmore, JA Frate Companies

Jill accepting Jills Team


Keith Wagner, Fabrik Molded Plastics

Keith Wagner Accepting Keiths team alone


Michael Eesley, Centegra Health System

Eesley accepting Eesley team


It was a great evening and a spectacular way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our organization, dedicated to supporting our business community and to making the McHenry County a great place to do business. 

Click here to view more photos


 Pam 2


We look forward to an exciting 2017...connect with us!


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Pam Cumpata

25th Anniversary Dinner

On August 4th, Centegra Health System cut the ribbon for their new state of the art hospital. I had the pleasure of attending this regionally impactful event. As I toured the emergency room, I noticed equipment bearing the Stryker name and smiled, proud that the MCEDC’s Keynote Speaker for the 25th Anniversary Dinner is Kevin Lobo, Chairman & CEO of Stryker Corporation.

Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies and offer a diverse array of innovative products and services in Orthopaedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine that help improve patient and hospital outcomes. Stryker is active in over 100 countries and in 2016 acquired 45 year old Sage Products which has over 800 employees in Cary.

In addition to the business insight Mr. Lobo will share, the highlight of the evening will be the recognition of the 2016 Business Champions. And, this year, we are proud to be partnering with the McHenry County Community Foundation who in honor of their 15th anniversary will be presenting the Philanthropist of the Year Award.

The evening begins at 5 pm with networking, 6 pm dinner, followed by our keynote address and award presentations. Seating for this premier business networking event is first come, first served. To register, click here.




BMO logo MCCF logo


as well as our PREMIER SPONSORS for their support

blackhawk bank centegra ics






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Pam Cumpata

Current and Former MCEDC Board Members Reconnect at 25th Anniversary Celebration

Your McHenry County Economic Development Corporation is celebrating our 25th anniversary. On Thursday May 19th, over 50 current and former board members reconnected with a celebration at Three Oaks Recreation Area. In preparation for celebrating 25 years of an organization, I read through 25 years of annual reports, but nothing can replace the stories and live history shared by former board members.

Maravich speaking
Pictured, Jamie Maravich

Attendees during presentation

Pictured, Attendees gathered during presentation

Charie Strahl Carstens Koehler
(Pictured L-R) Charie Zanck, David Strahl, Kit Carstens, Ken Koehler

Dobbe Messina Orphal
(Pictured L-R) Lisa Messina, Lyn Orphal, Sue Dobbe

Originally created by business leaders to provide nimble and responsible economic development services, we still pride ourselves today in being the ‘go to’ organization. Our mission of retention, expansion and attraction is as vital in today’s economy than it was 25 years ago.

Retention - With our robust business visitation program, we are in touch with our diverse business community and can provide them with assistance and support, be it demographics, workforce, legislative advocacy, supply chain referrals, financing options and much more.

Expansion - As I have mentioned in the past, expansion is key to a vibrant economy since 80% of new businesses are born out of existing businesses. One of the results of our business visitation program is that we are top of mind when a business is thinking of expanding and we are there to provide assistance and help them along the way.

Attraction - MCEDC’s attraction efforts are multi-faceted, we continually work to raise the visibility of McHenry County both in the US as well as globally and are proud to have the ‘first in Illinois’ certified sites website for those considering relocation. The more businesses that call McHenry County home, the more diverse the tax base.

Heldt Rentzsch Saladin
(Pictured L-R) Brad Heldt, Michelle Rentzsch, Mark Saladin

As our current and former Board of Directors recalled highlights, challenges and the many successes of the organization, we recognize that the foundation building that began 25 years ago is continuing to bear fruit in 2016.

From championing transportation and infrastructure developments including our sentinel project the Algonquin Bypass; creating a ‘one voice’ concept to secure transportation funding; supporting the growing training needs of our workforce through such programs as the Welding Bootcamp, targeted manufacturing training at MCC and partnering with the Workforce Investment Board; creating a dedicated Manufacturing Directory to improve supply chain sales; providing youth career education opportunities thru our Careers in our County events and the high school trips to the International Manufacturing Technology show; creating Manufacturing Matchmaking events, planners charrettes, municipal economic development roundtables, business forums and more, we have connected and impacted the growth of this County.

Pierce Curran Blazier
(Pictured L-R) Sandra Pierce, Dan Curran, Bob Blazier


Thorpe Berry Zanck
(Pictured L-R) Jim Thorpe, Bob Berry, Tom Zanck

Often our services are behind the scenes and confidential, but know we are there connecting businesses, championing business causes through advocacy efforts, partnering with local, regional and national entities, and working to bring business such as Medela & Corporate Disk to McHenry County.

We want to take this opportunity to thank our many investor/members for their support over the past 25 years and to tell their over 15,000 employees, McHenry County businesses as well as the residents, that MCEDC will continue to be their advocate, their “Go To” organization and the voice of business as we impact and shape our economy in the future.

Visit for updates and information on the business environment.


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