McHenry County EDC News

Workforce Development Week

More Details about the upcoming Workforce Development Week

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National Workforce Network Development Week SKILLS FAIR

On Tuesday August 26th, The McHenry County Workforce Network and the Illinois Manufacturing of Excellence Center (IMEC) will kick off National Workforce Development week with a Skills Fair. Rather than a traditional hiring fair where candidates dress up and deliver resumes, this Skills Fair will put local plastics manufacturers face-to-face with job seekers who will demonstrate their job skills.

Workforce Network & IMEC have teamed up with Skill Scout, a Chicago start-up who has created this new way of hiring by helping companies communicate what their job actually entails with a compelling video and skill-based job profile. Similarly, companies review candidates by seeing them demonstrate job skills.

“Job postings and resumes don’t work. They don’t represent the job or the candidate very well,” says Elena Valentine, co-founder of Skill Scout. “Companies spend billions of dollars on job boards only to receive an overwhelming pile of resumes. It’s because of this misalignment that thousands of jobs go unfilled and thousands of candidates go unhired.”

This collaborative effort has been supported by the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance who focuses on ways to increase employment and earnings for underprepared workers.

“These companies, like many, are facing the skills mismatch challenge” says David Boulay, President of IMEC. “They have worked together over the past few months to find new and unique solutions to solve their workforce challenges. This skills fair is the culmination of their work.”

But, Skills Fairs don’t just benefit companies; they benefit the candidate as well. One candidate who recently attended a manufacturing Skills Fair in Chicago said, “I didn’t have to sell myself with my words. I could sell myself with my work.”

The ability to showcase one’s talent gives candidates a better shot at an interview and eventual hire. For companies, a short list of candidates to observe and interact with enables better hiring decisions. Companies can see a candidate’s technical and personal skill.

“We look forward to working with Skill Scout to showcase the Skills Fair concept as a new way of recruitment for employers and job seekers in an interactive setting,” says Julie Courtney, Director of McHenry County Workforce Network.

Candidates interested in participating in the Skills Fair are welcome to apply by taking a short online recruitment survey to ensure they meet the minimum criteria. Only 40-45 candidates will be invited to attend. For those who don’t qualify, the McHenry County Network wants to connect and provide support for other employment opportunities available in the area.  Visit to learn more.

Supplier Symposium - August 13th

Connecting Rockford Region Suppliers to Opportunity


Adam-KinzingerHosted by Congressman Adam Kinzinger
U.S. House of Representatives
16th Congressional District of Illinois



August 13, 2014

8:00 am - 8:30 am ~ Check-In
8:30 am - 12:30 pm ~ Presentation & Individual Meetings
Northern Illinois University-Rockford, 8500 E. State St., Rockford, IL

Congressman Kinzinger has invited Lockheed Martin representatives to speak with regional suppliers, and to share insights on how to do business with Lockheed Martin. This free event includes:

  • A presentation by Lockheed Martin on how to become a supplier.
  • 10-minute individual meetings with a Lockheed Martin representative.

Registration is Required, by August 6 
Contact Bea Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 815.969.4255.

Please indicate the supplier categories* in which you're interested, to be considered for an individual 10-minute meeting. You'll be notified prior to the event if you're scheduled for an individual meeting. - Veterans, service-disabled veterans, and women-owned businesses are encouraged to attend.

*Supplier Categories:

Lockheed Martin Enterprise Operations and Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS), with requirements for IT goods and services and other commonly used services across the corporation. The Information Systems and Global Solutions are Information Technology Requirements with expertise in supporting government agencies preferred.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Space Systems, and Missiles and Fire Control, with components and services for aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, defense systems, logistics support, software development, and communications systems.

Lockheed Martin is a global security company with about 116,000 employees worldwide. Lockheed Martin is the partner of choice for government and industry, with more than 300 alliances in 70 countries. Our areas of focus include intelligence, homeland security, government information technology, defense and space. The Corporation consists of five core business areas: Mission Systems and Training; Space Systems; Information Systems & Global Solutions; Missiles & Fire Control; and Aeronautics.

Aeronautics is engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, sustainment, support, and upgrade of all of our advanced military aircraft. This includes combat and air mobility aircraft, unmanned air vehicles, and related technologies, including the F-35 Program, C-130J, and F-16 assembly and integration.

Mission Systems and Training(MST) provides systems engineering, software development, complex program management, supply chain solutions and logistics,and training and simulation technologies for global security, civil and commercial markets.

Space Systems Company designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include human space flight systems; a full range of remote sensing, navigation, meteorological and communications satellites and instruments; space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; fleet ballistic missiles; missile defense systems and nanotechnology and solar research and development.

Information Systems & Global Solutions, or IS&GS, brings together the full range of the corporation's information competencies with an expansive global delivery capability. It is a leading federal services and information technology contractor with a strong heritage of delivering world-class solutions and delivering advanced technology across a broad spectrum of domains. Whether it's providing real¬-time data to warfighters, benefits to seniors, or managing the safe movement of cargo around the world, IS&GS offers a broad range of capabilities to deliver solutions with speed and agility.

Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is a recognized designer, developer and manufacturer of precision engagement aerospace and defense systems for the U.S. and allied militaries. MFC develops, manufactures and supports advanced combat, missile, rocket, manned and unmanned systems for military customers that include the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, NASA and dozens of foreign allies. MFC also offers a wide range of products and services for the global civil nuclear power industry and the military's green power initiatives.



Congressman Kinzinger serves in the U.S. House of Representatives on the:


Committee on Energy & Commerce
- Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade
- Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
- Subcommittee on Energy and Power

Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa
- Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade

In regard to manufacturing, Congressman Kinzinger states on his website:
"Preserving our status as the world's leading manufacturing economy is vital to maintaining a thriving middle class, a bright economic future, and our nation's spirit of invention and innovation. As emerging economies create a more competitive global economy, the United States needs a renewed focus on preparing for a new manufacturing renaissance and a national manufacturing strategy that can get us there."


2014 Business Champion Award Nominations

For the past six years, McHenry County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) has recognized outstanding companies who have made a positive impact on McHenry County’s economy and who are exceptional primary employers. (A primary employer is defined as the one creating a product or service that is principally sold outside of a region, thereby generating new money and profits into the region. Examples include manufacturing, back-office operations or service centers, corporate headquarters, distribution facilities and research and development to name a few.) These companies have vision, strategy, as well as best practices that make them stand out among others.

You may have a corporate park neighbor, a supplier or customer that you find exceptional or you may be an employee who feels their employer provides a great work environment or goes the extra mile to help the employees. Nominations are being accepted for the 2014 Business Champion Awards. As a CEO or a member of the executive team of a company that is proud of recent expansion, acquisition, special project or growth, we welcome your self-nomination.

Nominations categories are based on the number of employees - small -24 or less, medium – 25 to 100, large - over 100, as well as a special category for those companies who have over 300 employees. Judges are business leaders from outside of the county.

After a company is nominated, members of the MCEDC Business Champion task force will reach out to the nominated companies to explain the Business Champion program and provide assistance. All nominees are introduced during the MCEDC Annual Dinner Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake, and also have an opportunity to display their product or company marketing materials at the event. The 2014 Business Champions will be announced at the dinner and presented with their awards by our keynote speaker, Eric Tech, Senior VP Strategy & Planning, President Global and Specialty Businesses of Navistar Inc.

Pam Cumpata, MCEDC President stated “MCEDC’s previous Business Champions – Phoenix Woodstock, Advanced Flexible Composites, Watlow and Covidien in 2013; Chroma Corporation, All-Rite Spring, Impact Plastics in 2012; Other World Computing, Dordan Manufacturing, Joule Technologies in 2011; Scot Forge, Jan Air, Astro Craft in 2010; Medela, Millennium Electronics, Stan’s Office Technologies in 2009; Pioneer Center for Human Services, Prairie Ridge Media/McHenry County Living, & New Concepts Development Corporation/Other World Computing in 2008 are all exceptional primary employers and valuable corporate citizens. We look forward to adding to this prestigious list of McHenry County employers”.

The deadline for submitting Business Champion nominations is August 30, 2014. CLICK HERE for the Nomination form or call the MCEDC office at 815.893-0895.

Burnex Corporation Acquires Diemode Tool, Inc.

Burnex Corporation Acquires Diemode Tool, Inc.RINGWOOD, IL – Burnex Corporation is pleased to announce the acquisition of Diemode Tool, Inc., formerly located in Genoa City, IL. Burnex has acquired the assets including the production tooling along with their current customers. Chuck Duha, President of Diemode, will bring his experience and expertise along with him to Burnex. We are pleased to have him joining our team! As explained by Manfred Suhr CEO and Scott Suhr President.

“Diemode Tool Inc. has been in business since 1984; a family owned and operated business. Their manufacturing and die design is a perfect match for how Burnex prides themselves on building and designing high quality dies to last. All of their parts will fit into our production presses with no additional capital equipment required”.

Chuck Duha started his apprenticeship in 1981. Along with tool and die making, he has also learned die design. With those qualifications and experience, he will assist with day to day operations and engineering assistance here at Burnex Corp.

Founded in 1972 by Manfred Suhr CEO, Burnex has remained a family-owned and operated business. Burnex Corporation pioneered the planetary geared high speed stamping & bending machines and also operates traditional stamping punch presses. The planetary geared high speed stamping and bending machines have a center component which rotates and draws tools to form the product. Burnex is the only manufacturer which uses this equipment in a job-shop atmosphere. The result is the flexibility to change between production jobs like conventional punch presses at a competitive cost and consistent quality.

For more information, visit or call Matt Gilmore, Regional Sales Manager, at 815.728.1317, extension 204.

CLICK HERE to visit

I Make America Tour

Thanks to General Kinematics (Crystal Lake) for hosting the I Make America Tour on Friday June 6, 2014. Recognized for its manufacturing of vibrating feeders, conveyors and process equipment, General Kinematics is a vital contributor to McHenry County’s economy. It’s management and employees were on hand to view the specially created ‘I Make America’ Harley-Davison Road King as well as learn about the I Make America domestic public policy advocacy group of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).


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Mobile Welding Lab this Friday in Crystal Lake!

Congratulations to First Institute and the cooperative partnership efforts which has resulted in the creation of the Mobile Welding Lab. This lab is available for on-site training and will help prepare workers to meet the demands and needs of our local manufacturers.


Take a tour inside the bus on Friday, April 4th, from 2 to 4 PM outside of Knaack Mfg. Co. - 420 East Terra Cotta Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL.

Robotics Team Heading to Spain

Crystal Lake Robotics team goes to Spain

fruit-salad-robotics-teamFruit Salad, an all-girl robotics team, is traveling to Pamplona, Spain to participate in the FIRST Lego League Open European Championship. Fruit Salad is one of eight teams selected from over 14,000 to represent the United States and Canada in this global competition.

FIRST Lego League (FLL) is an international program for youths ages 8 to 14 that aims to increase interest in STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - as well as teach valuable employment and life skills.

Fruit Salad is comprised of six 8th grade girls from Crystal Lake. The team earned the First Place Champions' Award at a regional tournament in Harvard in December and advanced to the Northern Illinois state competition held in Arlington Heights in February where they took the Second Place Champions Award. As a result of their outstanding performance, Fruit Salad was invited to the FLL Open European Championship where they will compete in a field of 90 teams from 70 countries across the globe. The girls will be traveling to Spain for this competition, which takes place May 28–31.

Fruit Salad will be hosting several fundraisers to subsidize their trip. Join the girls for a meal at the following locations and help them get to Spain:

Tuesday, April 1st from 5-8pm at the Culver's in Crystal Lake
Wednesday, April 9th from 5-9pm at the Chipotle in Crystal Lake
Thursday, April 17th from 5-8pm at Nick's Pizza in Crystal Lake
Tuesday, April 22nd from 11am-10pm at the Fuddruckers in Algonquin

For more information about Fruit Salad or to make a tax deductible donation, please visit For more information about FLL, go to

Media Contact: Kathy Godsell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

McHenry County high schools students to learn about manufacturing at the Illinois Manufacturing & Technology Show

Your McHenry County Economic Development Corporation is again hoping to spark interest in manufacturing by bringing our high school students to the premier manufacturing technology show being held this September at McCormick Place.

This will be the 30th edition of the ILLINOIS MANUFACTURING & TECHNOLOGY SHOW (IMTS) with over 1,900 exhibiting companies, occupying 1,240,863 net square feet of exhibit space. IMTS is held every even-numbered year in Chicago and attracts more than 100,000 buyers and sellers from over 112 countries.

In 2012, thanks to our manufacturing partners, we were able to bring 844 McHenry County high school students via 15 coach buses to McCormick place to attend the show and participate in the student center opportunities.  This year, we already have had requests from local high schools and may need 20 to 25 buses.  Businesses, municipalities, organizations and individuals who wish to sponsor a bus should contact our office.

Here in McHenry County, the manufacturing sector is responsible for 25% of our economy. We are proactively working to address both the skills gap and the forecasted retirement impact in our workforce by engaging our youth. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education is vital and we hope to show our young people some of the opportunities in advanced manufacturing and innovative technology, and how STEM education can lead to practical applications, good paying jobs, and careers.

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F: 815-893-6542

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