Breakfast with the Chairman

Supporting Employees’ Mental Health in Today’s World

DuPage County business leaders gathered on Wednesday, February 24 at a virtual breakfast to have a meaningful conversation about supporting employees’ mental health. The event was moderated by Lisa Paolantonio LCPC, a senior counselor at Metropolitan Family Services.

Chairman Cronin opened the discussion with welcoming remarks. “Today’s topic impacts all of us. Mental health has always been a sensitive subject, especially in the workplace. Simply put, people experiencing stress, anxiety and other symptoms are less productive and less engaged. We can no longer ignore the negative effects of the health crisis on our businesses. According to the CDC, of the nearly 410,000 adults aged 19-64 in DuPage County, approximately 75,000 are experiencing mental health issues. Of that group, nearly 18,000 will not receive treatment. This is why we are here today— this is our workforce.”

Following Chairman Cronin, Lisa gave a presentation on supporting employees’ mental health in today’s world. Her presentation focused on how the pandemic has affected the workforce and what employers can do to support them.

Lisa began by stressing the importance of acknowledging what we’ve been through and validating those experiences. “When we name those experiences, it’s much easier to manage them,” she said.

In terms of how the pandemic has impacted employees’ mental health, Lisa said “I like to think of this as the pandemic onion, because there are so many layers to it.”

The Pandemic Onion:

  • Blurred Boundaries – are we working from home or living at work? We’re working longer when we work at home and sharing office space with our living space. This leaves less time for self-care and quality time with family and children.
  • Zoom Fatigue – this is the tiredness or burnout from overuse of screen time. According to Lisa, new data suggests that people feel that they need to make more emotional effort to appear interested while video conferencing, because we are missing out on those non-verbal cues that can be picked up while meeting in-person. This takes a lot more of our emotional energy.
  • Constant Risk Assessment – “This is taking up so much mental energy. It’s the questions we are constantly asking ourselves about our situation,” says Lisa. “The new and shifting information we are constantly getting is making it difficult to process it all. This is creating higher rates of anxiety and stress.”
  • Vaccine ‘Hunger Games’ – “While the vaccine is giving us hope, the roll out has been Hunger Games-style…. it’s confusing and frustrating,” says Lisa.
  • Toxic Positivity – This is the over-generalization of a happy state that results in the invalidation and minimization of the authentic human experience. “We don’t want people’s positivity to result in the invalidation of their own emotions,” says Lisa. “If there is a time you are venting to a colleague about how you are stressed and they respond by telling you to cheer up and not be negative, those are not responses that make people feel heard or validated. It’s possible for us to hold multiple emotions at once. You can be thankful you have a job and also feel overwhelmed by your workload.”
  • Myriad Types of Grief – “Collectively, we are experiencing grief…. And it’s difficult to move through that grief due to the trauma we are experiencing,” says Lisa.

Supporting employees’ mental health is a multi-prong approach. To offer support in a successful and sustainable way, Lisa suggests:

  • Use your resources – lean on your Employee Assistance Program
  • Model healthy behaviors
  • Set the tone and destigmatize mental health
  • Be as flexible and generous as is realistic
  • Communicate more than you think you should
  • Create an employee resource group

Available Resources

At the conclusion of the presentation, Lisa and other attendees shared resources available for businesses to support their employees’ mental health.

American Academy of Pediatrics

DuPage Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Mediation for Healthy Living

DuPage County Community Resource Information System (CRIS)

DuPage County Health Department

Linden Oaks Behavioral Health

Metropolitan Family Services

Watch the Program

STRATACACHE

STRATACACHE Announces New Facility in DuPage for Research, Support and New Product Development

100,000 square foot facility to focus on digital menu, mobile device and application development

DAYTON, Ohio, Feb 22, 2021 — STRATACACHE today announced the purchase of a 100,000 square foot facility in Lisle, Illinois (Chicago), which will house new research and support teams for the digital signage, intelligent display and sensor systems company. The location marks the third facility STRATACACHE has acquired in the past year, in order to support the growing global clientele of the STRATACACHE family of companies, adding several hundred highly technical jobs to the US market.

Despite a globally challenging economic environment, STRATACACHE continues to experience rapid growth in providing advanced technology solutions, such as intelligent display and sensor systems, to clients in key verticals including retail, restaurants, banking, entertainment, transportation and corporate communications. The new facility, a four-story class A building in the western Chicago suburb of Lisle, was formerly a U.S. headquarters for McCain Foods, Inc. More than a dozen large STRATACACHE customers have headquarters in Chicago, and the new location will allow for enhanced local support, as well as a fully outfitted support lab, meeting room space and X2O One Room, an immersive collaboration environment for in-person and remote participation created by X2O Media, a STRATACACHE company.

“As STRATACACHE continues to grow, we look forward to tapping the Chicago market for development and engineering talent to further our work on our new mobile platforms, our advanced tablet compute devices as well as key projects in retail self-service systems,” said Chris Riegel, STRATACACHE CEO. “We will be adding significant staff in the new STRATACACHE Chicago center over the next several months and look forward to enabling world class customer interactive solutions designed to help our customers reduce costs and improve sales in this uncertain economic time.”

STRATACACHE provides a full scope of technological solutions to help retailers, marketers and customer experience teams use intelligent digital display and sensor systems to optimize interaction and engagement with consumers and employees. The new location outside Chicago will allow STRATACACHE to recruit local technical talent and expertise to further the research, development and business development efforts of hardware and application development.

STRATACACHE acquired a 1.4 million square foot factory in Eugene, OR, in March 2020, and is equipping it as a full 300mm wafer microLED display manufacturing facility. STRATACACHE made an additional client support investment in a new 1100+ seat Network Operations and Data center in Waterloo, IA, in November 2020.

About STRATACACHE
STRATACACHE delivers in-store retail experience transformation and exceptional customer journeys through a wide array of marketing technology. Our solutions enable retailers to learn deeply about their customers’ shopping preferences and behaviors, delivering targeted promotional or task-based messaging on any digital display. With 3.3 million+ software activations globally, we power the biggest digital networks for the world’s largest brands. Across the STRATACACHE family of complementary Marketing Technology solution companies, we have the technology, expertise and track record to bring retail innovation that delivers results. Follow STRATACACHE on Twitter @STRATACACHE or on LinkedIn. Learn more about the STRATACACHE family at www.stratacache.com

DuPage Community Vaccination Clinic

DuPage County’s pandemic response is all about collaboration

There isn’t anything quite like visiting a mass vaccination clinic.

When you park at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, the site of a new COVID-19 vaccine center, you’ll head to Building 1, a massive, echoey, hangar-like structure with a high oval ceiling and a floor that’s been painted for an indoor tennis tournament. Inside, there’s a meticulous organization at work. Chairs are arranged in a grid, six feet between each; signs point to important areas; staff in neon vests direct you from station to station.

First, you’ll check in. As long as you scheduled an appointment in advance and aren’t feeling sick, a worker will scan a QR code on your phone and let you in. Now, take a seat. A few minutes later, your name will be called, and you’ll receive a vaccine, perhaps from one of the graduating Elmhurst University nursing students who recently joined the team. After your shot, you’ll return to your seat for fifteen more minutes, to make sure you don’t experience any adverse symptoms. Then, you can leave this otherworldly bubble and get back to your day.

It’s like clockwork. If there were enough vaccines—there aren’t—this site alone could process a thousand people or more each day. In fact, the clinic is so organized, so fast, so factory-like, you almost get the sense that distributing and administering vaccines to the public is, well, easy.

“It’s not easy,” Christopher Hoff told us on a recent Zoom call. Normally, if there wasn’t a global pandemic, Chris would be introduced as the Director of Community Health Resources at the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD). Today, he is the Deputy Incident Commander. Chris oversees the DCHD’s COVID-19 response; he and his team have orchestrated everything from testing and contact tracing to communication and vaccination in DuPage. Right now, the primary focus is vaccination.

The day we spoke to Chris, DuPage had just reached a milestone: The number of residents vaccinated had surpassed the number of local COVID-19 diagnoses since the beginning of the pandemic. Since mid-December, DuPage had administered about 100,000 doses—and, as reported by local media, had vaccinated a greater percentage of its residents than any other Illinois county.

While only a small portion of the local population has been vaccinated—just shy of 3 percent, as of writing—the DCHD has built a coordinated infrastructure of providers, clinics and staff to quickly get vaccines to the residents next in line. The infrastructure is flexible; it’s designed to scale based on the volume of vaccines DuPage receives from the State of Illinois.

So far, that’s mostly meant scaling down to accommodate an extremely limited and inconsistent supply. However, in the coming months, as the State delivers more vaccines, DuPage’s distribution infrastructure will be ready to quickly scale up—reducing the time residents have to wait for vaccines and potentially saving lives.

***

Vaccine distribution is the art of managing uncertainty.

The DCHD doesn’t know how many vaccines they’ll receive a few weeks from now. Each week, the State tells the DCHD how many vaccines they’ll have to distribute over the next seven days (so far, the number has wavered from less than 10,000 up to 20,000). They have no idea how many vaccines they’ll have to distribute and administer until, essentially, it’s on their doorstep.

Despite the uncertainty, DuPage has managed to move vaccines quickly and efficiently. The success is largely due to a community-wide collaboration, formed of new and existing partnerships across the private and public sectors, that’s unique to the region.

The DCHD isn’t a huge agency; they have a staff of about 600. With more than 900,000 residents in DuPage County, a few hundred people couldn’t possibly vaccinate the target 80-100% of the population. While the health department of a smaller county might handle distribution on their own, it just isn’t practical in a place as large as DuPage.

“We really need those partners,” Chris said. “They all have a role to play.”

Within the pandemic response, the DCHD plays the role of coordinator. They’re the conductor, focusing on the big picture, organizing all the disparate parts, cuing organizations when it’s their turn to step up. The DCHD makes sure the right people and resources are in the right place at the right time. Nearly every week, the department meets with mayors, village managers, school superintendents, fire chiefs, police chiefs, hospital administrators, business leaders—all the stakeholders.

As the chief coordinator of DuPage County’s pandemic response, the DCHD shares tools and resources with partner organizations throughout DuPage. They hire nonmedical staff to shepherd people through vaccination sites (110 part-time staff for the fairgrounds alone). They sit down with the leaders of public schools, some of the biggest employers in the state, to answer questions and help them make key decisions. As vaccines become available, the DCHD has partnered with 96 providers across DuPage County—including hospitals, medical offices, your local Jewel, among many others—to coordinate distribution.

“These organizations and leaders have to know what they should do, what their role is. Every aspect of the pandemic response, we’ve coordinated to some extent.”

Elmhurst University is a good example. In February, 60 graduating students from the school’s nursing program joined the DuPage County vaccination team. Working with an instructor from the University, the students are learning to administer COVID-19 vaccines, monitor patients and educate community members about the vaccine.

“The students are thrilled,” said Diane Salvador, PhD, Executive Director and Professor at Elmhurst University’s Department of Nursing and Health Sciences. “They’re serving the community, learning important population health concepts, and being a part of this historic endeavor as we fight to conquer the pandemic.”

In addition to providing much-needed volunteers, the partnership helps DCHD solve a particular challenge. The process of training volunteers is often resource-intensive and logistically complex. But, with the new partnership, Elmhurst University is handling the major components of the training: providing the structure for the course, working out schedules and communicating with students. This takes a burden off DCHD.

“When we work with programs like Elmhurst University to figure out these logistical hurdles, like training personnel, it makes it ten times easier,” Chris said.

DCHD has relationships with higher education institutions throughout DuPage. In the coming months, Chris said, the DCHD’s partnership with Elmhurst University serve as a model for training additional staff.

“I think this kind of collaborative thinking is engrained in DuPage. We have all these partners in the community we can draw on, no matter what the issue is. We couldn’t execute this level of pandemic response without it.”

***

With all the careful planning, coordination and collaboration, why is it so many of us still can’t get a vaccine?

The problem isn’t the County’s distribution effort. If it were, that would be an easier problem to solve. The problem is the supply shortage, the gap between the volume of vaccines DuPage County is capable of distributing and the volume they receive from the State government.

Currently, there just aren’t enough vaccines. As you read this, the DCHD and their partners have the resources to distribute more than five times the volume they’re receiving from the State. (The week we spoke to Chris, they had the capacity to distribute 53,000 vaccines; they received 10,000.)

For those of us waiting for a vaccine, that’s a frustrating figure. It’s also a reason for hope. When the vaccine supply increases—and it will increase—the network of providers lead by the DuPage County Health Department is poised to quickly scale-up their operations, so they can get vaccines to residents as soon as possible.

When it’s your turn to be vaccinated, and you sit in that chair and roll up your sleeve, you probably won’t be thinking about all the time, planning, energy, resources, creativity and community-wide collaboration that went into bringing the vaccine to you. In fact, it will all look pretty ‘easy.’ And that’s kind of the point.  

Lee & Associates of Illinois Brokers Sale of Newly Constructed Property in North DuPage Market

February 2021 — Lee & Associates, the largest broker-owned commercial real estate firm in North America closed on a sale of a brand new 207,575-square-foot industrial building located at 1560 W. Stearns Road, Bartlett, IL. This property is in DuPage County and features 32’ clear ceilings, 28 docks doors and 246 car parking.

Mark Baumhart, CCIM and Jeff Janda, SIOR, principals at Lee & Associates’ Illinois office, represented Platinum Converting in their acquisition of this property from Logistics Property Company. Platinum Converting is a leading provider of finishing services to the print and graphic arts industry both locally and nationwide. Platinum will be relocating from their Itasca location during the summer of 2021.

Adam Marshall, SIOR, CCIM and Mark Deady, CCIM of Newmark Knight Frank represented the seller, Logistics Property Company. The building is part of the Brewster Creek Logistics Park that LPC built in 2020.

Comcast

Comcast Provides Update on Decade-Long Commitment to Digital Equity; Announces Plans to Accelerate Efforts in 2021

Increases Speeds to 50/5 Mbps for All New and Existing Internet Essentials Customers at No Additional Cost

Accelerates Lift Zone Community Center Rollout to Reach 1,000 Sites in 2021

Commits More Than $40 Million in Cash in Digital Equity Grants

Comcast made several recent announcements that build on its longstanding commitment to advancing digital equity, closing the digital divide, and addressing both digital literacy and the homework gap. The new and expanded efforts are designed to help connect as many Americans to the Internet as possible and create new opportunities for underrepresented communities through the education, resources, and skills training they need to succeed in today’s digital economy.

“We’ve been on a mission to address digital inequities in under-resourced communities through Internet Essentials for a decade and there’s never been a greater need than now,” said Dave Watson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Cable. “As a media and technology company, we have a unique opportunity to provide meaningful connection to the communities we serve – whether that’s through access to the Internet, programs to support creativity and digital literacy and skills training for young people, or workforce development opportunities for adults. Our commitment has never been stronger, and we are dedicated to leveling the playing field and making a lasting impact for generations to come.”

In 2020, Comcast redoubled those efforts, as COVID-19 shined an even brighter light on this important equity issue in our society. And at the onset of 2021 – which coincides with the 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program – the company is once again advancing its digital equity commitment.

Accelerating the Nation’s Largest Broadband Adoption Program

For more than a decade, Comcast has focused on connecting millions of low-income families to the Internet through Internet Essentials, the largest and most comprehensive low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income Americans. Since 2011, Comcast has connected millions of people to the Internet at home, donated tens of thousands of free laptops to students and families across the country, and invested $700 million in digital literacy, skills training and awareness programs that have reached 11 million people. Comcast is now doubling the program’s Internet download speed to 50 Mbps and increasing the upstream speed to 5 Mbps for all new and existing customers at no additional cost. To receive the increased Internet speeds, existing customers will not need to do anything. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally beginning March 1. This is the sixth time in 10 years that Comcast has increased broadband speeds for Internet Essentials customers while keeping the cost of the service at $9.95 a month. In addition, Comcast rolled out its xFi and xFi Advanced Security product features to Internet Essentials customers for free and

the company continues to offer 60 days of free service to any new Internet Essentials customer who signs up before June 30, 2021.

Launching 1,000 Lift Zones by December 2021

Comcast recently announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 Lift Zones in community centers across the country by working with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners and city leaders. So far, Comcast has installed several hundred Lift Zones to further address the homework gap. Lift Zones provide safe spaces for students to access free WiFi so they can participate in distance learning and do their schoolwork. Comcast is now accelerating that timeline to connect 1,000 Lift Zones by the end of this year – more than a year ahead of its original plan.

“Transforming our Boys & Girls Clubs into Lift Zones has made a huge difference in the lives of the students we serve in Philadelphia,” said Lisabeth Marziello, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. “Many of the kids who come to our clubs either don’t have the Internet at home or they have it, but they can’t study at home for a variety of reasons and they need somewhere to go. We’re so happy to be able to work with Comcast to give our students a safe, clean space where they can stay in school even when schools are closed.”

Investing in Education and Equity-Focused Organizations

Comcast is also expanding its targeted philanthropic investments in organizations working to increase digital equity and contributing to the collective action needed to drive sustained change. These new organizations and investments are focused on creating greater pathways to opportunities for communities of color, particularly in media, technology, arts, and entrepreneurship.

Since last year, Comcast has committed more than $40 million in cash to education and equity-focused partners that share the company’s goals of advancing social justice and equality. A selection of these partners include Per Scholas, Coded by Kids, Center for Black Innovation, Inner-City Arts, and BUILD.org. As part of the $40 million, Comcast today announced $3.5 million in commitments to partners including CodePath, Genesys Works, Jobs for the Future, NPower, i.c. stars, Opportunity at Work, Goodwill Industries International, YWCA, and Philadelphia Youth Network. Together, Comcast and its partners are helping more people of color gain the education and critical workforce development skills needed to access career opportunities in media and technology.

“Comcast’s investment in CodePath will help us double our impact to reach nearly 5,000 students and over 60 university partners in 2021. As disadvantaged communities struggle with mass job losses in the wake of the pandemic, our courses are one of the few holistic programs placing thousands of underrepresented minorities into our nation’s most competitive technical roles,” said Michael Ellison, Co-Founder and CEO of CodePath. “Through partnerships with CodePath and many other dedicated organizations, Comcast continues to demonstrate its commitment to creating tangible and systemic change, while providing new opportunities for people of color in the tech sector and beyond.”

For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one

of the United States’ largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed Internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources Webinar

On Thursday, February 4, Choose DuPage hosted the COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources Webinar. The webinar discussed federal programs to assist businesses, non-profits, and sole proprietors as you navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic. Bo Steiner from the U.S. Small Business Administration shared updates on the most recent iteration of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other small business/non-profit financial assistance programs.

 

Watch the Webinar

 

Ver el webinar (subtítulos en español)