McHenry County EDC News

Metro Chicago Exports

MCEDC has been working with our economic development partners as well as county officials from the seven counties in Northeastern Illinois and the City of Chicago over the past several months to create Metro Chicago Exports (MCE). This unprecedented collaboration is designed to increase exports from small and midsized enterprises and to support regional job growth. MCE aims to catalyze a shift in economic development priorities and practices resulting in more globally connected metropolitan areas and more sustainable economic growth.

The reason for this effort is that growth has accelerated outside the Unites States and it is felt that continued economic growth and vitality lies in exporting. The Chicago region is the nation’s 4th largest exporter at $65 billion according to data from Brooking Metropolitan Policy Program report, but ranks only 28th in exports as a share of GRP. The report further identified that only 6% of the regional small and mid size enterprises actually export.

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Photos by Robin F. Pendergrast Photography, Inc.  rfpphoto

This pilot program will assist manufacturers and business service companies to reach international markets and will focus on 3 initial strategies:

  1. Build the pipeline of export ready firms
  2. Strengthen the export ecosystem and
  3. Reduce the initial business costs to reach new markets.

Metro Chicago Exports will provide guidance to public services specifically tailored to their export opportunities and needs; Provide connections to private sector partners based on industry and market opportunities needs reducing the informational barriers to exporting; Provide access to market analyses, business plan development and referrals to help realize export opportunities; engage export mentors to facilitate best practice exchange and secure resources to lessen the burden of starting the exporting process.

Your MCEDC is proud to be a part of this exciting effort.

2014 Legislative Breakfast

Over 100 business executives attended the McHenry County EDC Annual Legislative Breakfast. State Senator Pam Althoff, District 32, and State Representative Mike Tryon, District 66, Provided highlights on the recent legislative session as well as their committees, legislation they have introduced and their primary concerns.

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Setting for the 2014 Annual Legislative Breakfast   MCEDC President Pam Cumpata
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Representative Mike Tryon   State Senator Pam Althoff


MCEDC Legislative Breakfast 2014

MCEDC Legislative Breakfast 2014 from McHenry County EDC on Vimeo.


Photos by Robin F. Pendergrast Photography, Inc.  rfpphoto

Workforce Development Week

More Details about the upcoming Workforce Development Week

Visit for more information.

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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.

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