Antunes

With Creativity, Innovation and Care, Antunes Grows amid Pandemic

CAROL STREAM, IL – At a time when good stories are hard to find, here’s one from the heart of DuPage County.

Headquartered in Carol Stream, Antunes is both a leading manufacturer of custom foodservice and water treatment solutions and a third-generation, family-owned business—a rare combination of global scope and family values.

Like virtually all businesses, Antunes was put to the test this spring when the pandemic swept across the globe, first affecting their China facility before arriving on the doorstep of their Carol Stream headquarters. The company, which serves the foodservice industry, was forced to briefly halt its operations. However, by adopting innovative technologies, pivoting to new market segments and investing in the well-being of their team members, Antunes has weathered the economic and public health crisis of 2020.

Now, the company is not only back on its feet. It’s hiring.

“Our business needs people, and people need jobs,” says Stephanie Allen, head of HR Operations at Antunes. “Just this week alone, we had four interviews and made three offers. We currently have over 22 openings for direct-hire positions. These are full-time, benefit-eligible positions.”

 Antunes  

Two of the keys to Antunes’ success amid the pandemic are its foresight and flexibility.

Even before COVID-19, Antunes saw that the foodservice industry was on the brink of a major technological evolution. Rather than waiting for the change to come, they made it happen. 

Antunes, which serves many of the world’s largest quick-service and fast-casual restaurants – as well as gas-station convenience stores, among other market segments – began investing in automated technologies well before the rest of the foodservice industry, which has often lagged behind other fields in adopting breakthrough tech. Today, the Antunes team envisions a “connected kitchen,” where everything from food temperature to hygiene is monitored through a network of sensors and analyzed by algorithms to maximize quality, safety and efficiency. To that end, Antunes acquired Storelynk in 2019, a brand that specializes in cloud-based analytics platforms and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for food vendors.

It’s true that Antunes manufactures equipment like toasters, steamers, grills and water treatment systems. But, with custom solutions that often integrate technology like automation and touchless dispensing (a hot product in 2020), quality toasters are far from the whole story.

“We’re a little different from other manufacturers,” says Anthony Muñoz, Global Marketing Manager of Antunes. “We really partner with our customers to create the right solution that fits their organization. That’s both from a physical standpoint, but also understanding their operations. Do they need the equipment to do certain things to fit their menu? Do they need it to operate at a different speed? What’s the volume of output?

“We have a lot of products, but they’re really custom solutions. The products change depending on who our customers are.”

That emphasis on custom solutions – as opposed to off-the-shelf products – has enabled Antunes to pivot quickly amid the pandemic and serve their clients’ rapidly changing needs. Many of their clients have managed to expand their customer base amid the pandemic by focusing on drive-thru, delivery and pickup capabilities. However, these businesses face a trio of challenges: They need an environment where team members can work safely; they need to minimize contact with food; and, at the same time, they need to produce just as much – or more – product as before. As a solutions provider, Antunes is able to work with companies like McDonald’s and Panera, which have distinct kitchen layouts and products, to design solutions for their unique challenges.

For example: This year, Antunes has ramped up production of its touchless dispensing systems. These devices automatically dispense different types of sauces – with varying viscosities and temperatures – to minimize employee contact with food. This product, like all Antunes products, can be customized to the clients’ unique foodservice environment, whether they need a compact unit, a device that’s integrated with their refrigeration system or another customized solution.

As the company expands their capabilities, Antunes is finding demand for their work in new markets—some of them surprising. Coffee shops, for example, can use the touchless dispensing systems to distribute various types of milk and milk substitutes. Convenience stores that want to do-away with messy condiment packets and hand-pump dispensers can use the touchless system for distributing ketchup and mustard.

Antunes isn’t limiting themselves to a single market, product line or solution. They’re flexible, and that’s allowed them to keep up with the rapidly changing foodservice industry – both before and during the pandemic – and expand into new markets.

Today, their manufacturing facility in Carol Stream – which, along with their innovation center in Crystal Lake, produces every product for Antunes’ domestic clients, including electronic components and even the products’ boxes – has been reconfigured to meet their clients’ new demands. That includes products like translucent shields and stands for universal hand-sanitizer.

Antunes

The other key to Antunes’ success has been the company’s ongoing investment in its people.

That story begins long before the pandemic. In fact, it goes all the way back to the early 20th Century, when the Antunes family immigrated from Portugal to the United States.

At the time, the family didn’t have many resources, but they wanted to provide the best for their son, August J. Antunes. From a young age, August had a passion for building things, and this passion came to define his life. After training in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Machinist, August started a family in Chicago – in fact, he met his wife, Virginia, on the first night of Basic Training – and, with the support of his growing family, founded the company that would one day become Antunes. The fledgling business had its big break when it partnered with McDonald’s in 1970, just as the fast-food empire began to expand globally. As McDonald’s grew, Antunes grew with it.

But some things never changed. Even as August’s company grew – its products eventually reaching more than 150 countries – it remained a family business committed to treating every team member like one of their own.  

As an employee at Antunes, the company goes above and beyond to care for your well-being. The Carol Stream headquarters has a cafeteria, where you’ll find fresh fruit and healthy snacks throughout the day; a company library filled with books related to professional development; and quiet rooms where employees can unwind. Team members and their families even have access to an on-site health center, created in partnership with Advocate. The center is staffed with a nurse practitioner and a medical assistant, and there is no co-pay and no pharmacy charges for team members enrolled in the company’s health insurance plan. Staff also benefit from an on-site fitness center, open during and after work hours, with treadmills, weights and elliptical machines, as well as on-site trainers and a golf simulator. At the end of the workday, employees will often meet at the fitness center for yoga and Zumba classes (prior to the pandemic).

In 2016, Antunes expanded, adding 55,000-SF to their Carol Stream facility, which is now 170,000-SF. The expansion created a dedicated space for the company’s maintenance apprenticeship program, which offers employees up to 100 hours of foundational coursework and 400 hours of specialized maintenance training, covering topics such as OSHA safety, blueprint reading, precision measurement and asset management. So far, more than 70 team members have completed the program.

“We’re a learning organization and a learning culture,” Stephanie says. “We want to ensure that our team members continue to develop, which is why we offer continued education and opportunities to advance within the organization.

“We invest heavily in our people, because we want the best for them.”

Giving back is baked into the culture of Antunes. Employees are encouraged to take paid time off to volunteer. Many team members donate time and/or money to Splash, a nonprofit organization that brings clean water and other essentials to children throughout the world. In 2011, Antunes named Splash their official corporate charity. So far, the company has raised more than half a million dollars for Splash through various initiatives and events, and they continue to manufacture the organization’s water filters in their Carol Stream facility. Splash, in turn, has installed more than 1,140 Antunes water filtration systems for people in need.

“Our team members are really motivated by our work with Splash, because they’ve seen the video footage and photography that comes back,” Anthony says. “They see the impact that it has on the kids, and they get moved by it.”

For all the reasons described above, Antunes was listed among the Chicago Tribune’s Top Workplaces in 2019 and was named the 2017 Family Business of the Year by Loyola University Chicago.

Antunes

As the COVID-19 epidemic accelerated in the spring of 2020, Antunes, like many businesses, was met with the dual challenges of keeping their employees safe while continuing to run their operation.

By the time the pandemic hit the U.S., Antunes had already experienced an early wave in China, where the company has a facility in Suzhou. The Antunes leadership decided early on to temporarily close their Carol Stream facility, even before the Illinois government effectively shut down the state. Office team members were told that they would temporarily work remote, while assembly and warehouse team members were given one week of paid time off as the company reconfigured production lines and shifted schedules, modelling their decisions based on successful practices of their colleagues in China.

Production lines and the cafeteria were reconfigured to allow for social distancing. PPE was made readily available. Every employee had their temperature taken upon arrival. A new shift was added, allowing employees on the production line to socially distance and team members with children to be home during school hours.

Some employees were temporarily furloughed. However, the company kept their on-site clinic open for all team members, including those furloughed, and provided additional resources and education.

After six weeks, Antunes began inviting furloughed employees to return to work.

“We gave team members an opportunity to return based on a schedule that worked for them and their family, but we were also supportive and understanding of their challenges,” Stephanie says. “Initially, there were people who weren’t ready to return. Jane and Glenn were really sensitive to that, and we put in processes and protocols to make sure people felt good about coming back.”

Some were hesitant to return to work because their children were participating in online learning during the fall, so Antunes worked with these team members to coordinate work schedules around school schedules.

“Our message was: We got this. We’re all going to be okay, and we’re going to get through this together.”

Today, all of the company’s furloughed employees have returned to work. And now, due to the company’s creativity, innovation and genuine care for their people, Antunes is on a path to growth and success.

In DuPage County, our businesses, people and institutions are working together to succeed today and create a better tomorrow. Click or tap here to learn more about DuPage.

The Smartest, Sleekest & Healthiest Workplaces in DuPage: 2020

What are the elements of a great workplace?

Okay, how about a tougher question: What are the elements of a great workplace… in 2020?

This year, many of us are spending an unusual amount time thinking about the places where we work. When it comes to offices, we still care about the things that we’ve always cared about. We still want an attractive space where we can be productive, efficient and comfortable. But now, it’s pretty much impossible to talk about a workplace without bringing up COVID-19.

The pandemic has raised the bar on what makes a great workplace ‘great’. A good-looking building with excellent amenities is no longer enough. Now, to win us over, a workplace has to work extra-hard to keep us healthy.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 9 of our favorite workplaces in DuPage County. We selected our picks based on three criteria:

  • Is it smart? Is the office designed to make your workday better, to encourage collaboration, to make workers feel good about going to work? Does it incorporate cutting-edge technology? Does it challenge the notion of what a workplace can be?
  • Is it sleek? Is it attractive? Does the look of the office embody the company’s character, impress clients and add to the fun of working there? (For the record, we’re pretty loose with our definition of ‘sleek’. A grungy, industrial-chic space can definitely be sleek, by our standards.)
  • Is it healthy? What amenities does the workplace offer? Does it allow for social distancing? Is it healthy for the environment? Have the tenants, building managers and architects found creative solutions for comfort, safety and sustainability?

Each of our selections earned high marks in all three categories. But, as you’ll see, they couldn’t be more different. Some are playful and imaginative, alive with vibrant colors, murals and sculptures. Others are cool and sophisticated. One has a pickup truck parked in the middle of its workspace; another has a garden where employees pick fresh produce for lunch.

That’s what makes each space unique, but here’s what they all have in common: Each workplace listed here embodies the spirit of its occupant. Each one is smart, sleek and healthy. Most importantly, each one is a place where we would love to work—this year, and any other.

In no particular order, these are the smartest, sleekest and healthiest workplaces in DuPage County…

 

WernerCo Corporate Headquarters

Itasca, IL | Manufacturer & Distributor

   WernerCo HQ in DuPage County WernerCo HQ in DuPage County WernerCo HQ in DuPage County

There’s a pickup truck and a cargo van parked in the middle of the WernerCo Corporate Headquarters. Don’t worry; they’re supposed to be there. The company’s brand-new office, which opened in October 2019, is a state-of-the-art facility with an industrial-chic vibe, mirroring the customers and industries the business serves. The vehicle replicas at the center of the space serve dual purposes: as a mark of the company’s personality and as functional life-sized models used to demonstrate WernerCo products. Sometimes, standing in the middle of the 34,500-SF office, you get the feeling that you’ve been transported to an active construction site—this, too, is by design. The building’s concrete columns are visible throughout the headquarters; cement floors cover the common areas; light pours in from floor-to-ceiling windows. As WernerCo employees buzz between the office’s conference rooms, labs, studios and social spaces, you may forget that you’re at an office altogether—until you realize that no one’s wearing a hard hat.

What we love about it:

  • The creative use of space. Some of our favorite offices in this feature transport employees to another place and time. The WernerCo headquarters accomplishes this act of teleportation with bold moves, like the truck parked in the middle of the reception hall, as well as more subtle touches, like the variety of materials used to evoke the atmosphere of a construction site or manufacturing facility.
  • The brand presence. The WernerCo brand is imbued into nearly every aspect of the new office. Wall graphics showcase customers using WernerCo products, while the authentic details of the industrial-chic vibe pay homage to their clients’ industries. Some workplaces are designed for employees; others are designed for clients—the WernerCo office seems to have struck the right balance between the two.
  • The variety of gathering spaces. At a company like WernerCo, the size and makeup of collaboration is always changing. The company’s new Itasca headquarters provides a dynamic space for any situation, giving employees the flexibility they need to be productive, efficient and comfortable. The office features eight conference rooms, a boardroom, a training room, a reception hall and a café, among other gathering spaces.

Architect: EWP Architects

 

Marquette Companies

Naperville, IL | Real Estate

Marquette Companies office in DuPage County

Marquette Companies office in DuPage County Marquette Companies office in DuPage County

Not only did Marquette Companies design and build their new office; they actually created the entire district around them.

The development and property management company’s workplace is in the heart of Naperville’s hottest new development: the Water Street District, a project spearheaded by none other than Marquette. Located along the famous Naperville Riverwalk, on the south end of Downtown Naperville, Water Street is a highly walkable destination featuring premium retailers, innovative restaurants, a high-end hotel and an events venue. The district’s aesthetic is pure Naperville. Marquette drew inspiration for the development’s various materials and key design elements from the city’s historical hallmarks, such as the former limestone quarry (now Centennial Beach), its origins as a farming community, and the Kroehler Manufacturing plant that assembled furniture on the north side of town.

What we love about it:

  • The amazing location. Employees can step out onto a balcony for a gorgeous view of downtown Naperville. Plus, some of the area’s hottest cafés and restaurants are within a minute’s walk of the office.
  • The thoughtful design and attention to detail. We love how nearly every aspect of the Water Street District and the Marquette office is inspired by the history and culture of Naperville, the company’s hometown, while also drawing upon European space-use theory. The attention to detail is incredible: from the carefully chosen materials to the size and separation of the buildings. Every element was meticulously planned, and it shows.
  • The story. This one’s hard to beat: A hometown company transforms what was formerly a 24-acre eyesore into one of DuPage County’s hottest developments, drawing inspiration for the site’s design and materials from the surrounding community. And then, the cherry on top: They love the space so much that they actually move into it. Read more of the Marquette story here.

Architect: Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson

Contractor: LendLease

 

American Academy of Pediatrics Headquarters

Itasca, IL | Health Organization

American Academy of Pediatrics HQ in DuPage County

American Academy of Pediatrics HQ in DuPage County American Academy of Pediatrics HQ in DuPage County

The employees at the AAP’s Itasca headquarters are on a mission: “to obtain optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.” They work hard to achieve this goal. In turn, their Itasca headquarters works hard to keep them happy, healthy and motivated—through thoughtful design elements, plenty of wellness-related amenities, and creative solutions to keep workers healthy in 2020.

What we love about it:

  • The creative safety solutions. With plenty of indoor and outdoor workspaces, employees are encouraged to work wherever they feel comfortable on campus—including the beautiful patio, which features high-speed WiFi. The stairwells are extra-wide, with large windows offering gorgeous views that encourage employees to take the stairs. The spacious entryway, which was formerly used for large gatherings, offers extra room for social distancing.
  • The artwork. Turn just about any corner on campus, and you’ll encounter a beautiful mural, sculpture or other work of art. Many of the works feature children, reminding employees of the impact of their work. A mural on the fifth floor depicts an adult and child dressed as superheroes, preparing to fly. Beside them is a quote from Mr. Rogers: “Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”

Even the exterior of the building is a work of art, with colored semi-transparent panels that appear to change the color of the building, depending on your perspective and the time of day.

  • The healthy amenities. Workers at the office enjoy a beautiful courtyard and walking space, a workout area with locker rooms and showers, a cafeteria offering fresh food, as well as EV charging stations and bike racks for commuters. On every floor, you’ll find a kitchen, treadmill desks, common areas and adjustable sit-stand workstations. Meanwhile, huddle rooms and numerous collaborative workspaces encourage teamwork and socialization.
  • The sustainability. The building features HVAC systems in the highest category of energy-efficiency. Also, the campus itself features environmentally friendly design, with native landscaping, large natural areas and bioswales.

Architect: Stantec, with architects Ken Novak, Angie Lee and Chris Keller.

Builder: Opus, with tenant rep Eric Kunkel from JLL.

 

Molex Headquarters

Lisle, IL | Electronic Solutions Provider

Molex HQ in DuPage County

Molex HQ in DuPage County Molex HQ in DuPage County

The Molex headquarters in Lisle is a story of constant reinvention—fitting for a global technology innovator.

Molex, which has a presence in more than 40 countries, has been headquartered in Lisle since 1970. The campus encompasses five buildings and 440,000-SF of office and laboratory space, all of which has been custom-built or renovated to Molex’s specifications. Since the company moved to Lisle, 100% of the space on campus has been renovated at least twice.

What we love about it:

  • The experimentation. The company’s Lisle location serves as a living laboratory. When Molex introduces a new technology or design feature within their headquarters, the changes are then brought to other locations throughout the world. Some of those developments include Molex-created LED lighting fixtures, security and video surveillance systems, access controls and building automation.
  • The constant reinvention. The Molex mission is to make a connected world possible by enabling technology that transforms the future and improves lives. We love how the company fully embraces the spirit of this mission by continually reinventing and implementing new technologies within their Lisle headquarters.
  • The healthy amenities. Molex goes all-out to encourage healthy lifestyles at their office. Some of the amenities include: a fully staffed fitness center; a cafeteria serving fresh, healthy meals; and various outdoor sports facilities for basketball, tennis, pickle ball, volleyball and frisbee golf. Their campus is set on 60 acres of beautiful wooded land, so employees are encouraged to explore the walking paths that wind through the property.
  • The global impact. We love having such a prominent global technology innovator at the heart of DuPage, especially when that innovator is committed to making the world a better place.

 

Edward-Elmhurst Health Corporate Center

Warrenville, IL | Healthcare Provider

Edward-Elmhurst Health HQ in DuPage County

Edward-Elmhurst Health HQ in DuPage County Edward-Elmhurst Health HQ in DuPage County

The Edward-Elmhurst Health Corporate Center in Warrenville is not only an outstanding office space; it’s played a crucial role in the health system’s response to the pandemic.

One of Illinois’ larger health systems, Edward-Elmhurst Health is comprised of three hospitals: Edward Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital and Linden Oaks Behavioral Health, and provides comprehensive healthcare to residents throughout Chicago’s west and southwest suburbs. In December 2019, 900 members of the Edward-Elmhurst Health System relocated to the state-of-the-art Corporate Center in Warrenville, a 190,000-SF space with amenities like micro-kitchens, outdoor seating and volleyball courts. The move was well-timed. As demand for healthcare surged in early 2020, the system’s hospitals had significantly more space to care for patients, while employees at the Corporate Center had a safe, healthy and beautiful place to work.

What we love about it:

  • The role of the Corporate Center during the pandemic. As we mentioned above, the Center has opened up much-needed space at Edward-Elmhurst hospitals and given 900 employees a safe place to work. In addition, Edward-Elmhurst worked with the City of Warrenville to set up a temporary outdoor testing site in the Center’s parking lot.
  • The modern design. The building is spacious and minimalist, with plenty of windows and glass walls that allow natural light to filter through. Live plants and colorful murals add a touch of color, bringing the office to life. There are even living room-like nooks, where employees can unwind by a fireplace.
  • The thoughtfully designed workspaces. Need to work with a team? Head to a conference room or shared space. Need to focus alone? Head to an individual workspace. Each floor features ergonomic desks that can be raised or lowered, as well as privacy panels and adjustable white noise. These thoughtful design elements make it easy to focus and collaborate.
  • The healthy amenities. No one knows health better than Edward-Elmhurst, and the Corporate Center works hard to keep employees rested, refueled and well. Each floor of the office space features a fully stocked micro-kitchen, while a café on the ground floor offers fresh meals for breakfast and lunch, with indoor and outdoor seating. There’s also a fully equipped fitness center and volleyball courts to promote active team-bonding.

Architect/Builder: The Corporate Center was redesigned by Whitney Architects and remodeled by Executive Construction, Inc.

 

CityGate

Naperville, IL | Mixed-Use Campus

CityGate Centre in DuPage County

CityGate Centre in DuPage County CityGate Centre in DuPage County

There may have been a time when you had to go downtown to find a cool place to work, but those days are over. West-suburban pioneers like Calamos Real Estate helped flip that paradigm, and they continue to lead the way today.

CityGate, developed by Calamos, is one of the largest properties on this list. Built between 2004 and 2008, CityGate encompasses a 31-acre main campus, with an additional 25 acres of undeveloped land across Ferry Road. It’s a great place to work, but it’s also a popular spot to shop, eat, relax and stay. The campus features two Class-A office buildings, as well as retail space, restaurants and a full-service luxury hotel. CityGate serves as the headquarters for the Calamos companies, and its office buildings also house numerous tenant businesses, including General Motors, PMA, Forecast5, Commercial Credit, Kinectrics and Informatica.

What we love about it:

  • The walkability. CityGate doesn’t feel like a typical corporate campus. It’s laid out like an upscale urban neighborhood, with a walking trail that meanders through the beautiful property.
  • The high-end amenities. Some of the hottest restaurants in the area are located on campus – like Che Figata, which serves authentic Italian in a modern, open-kitchen setting, and CityGate Grille, serving UDSA Prime steaks & seafood with a Mediterranean flair – along with other unique amenities, including a spa, fitness center and various health and wellness providers.
  • The accessibility. The campus couldn’t be more conveniently located. Right off I-88, it’s an easy commute to Chicago, O’Hare and Midway. Plus, its parking garages are ideal for unpredictable Midwest weather.
  • The sustainability. CityGate is a green campus with LEED-certified buildings. That includes Hotel Arista, the first Illinois hotel to receive the certification. The hotel boasts the latest in energy-efficiency and indoor air-quality systems.
  • The comprehensive safety measures. This spring, CityGate took a variety of smart safety measures to protect workers and visitors on campus. That includes: touch-free temperature checks and security checkpoints at building entrances; hand sanitizer stations throughout the building; limited elevator capacities; dedicated one-way staircases; plexiglass barriers at strategic points; touch-free menus and online ordering at campus restaurants; PPE and frequent sanitization; designated seating and workout equipment; and the latest Global Plasma Solutions™ indoor air quality ionization system, which is currently being installed.

Architect: Dirk Lohan

Developer: Calamos Real Estate

 

NAI Hiffman Headquarters

Oak Brook, IL | Commercial Real Estate

NAI Hiffman HQ in DuPage County

NAI Hiffman HQ in DuPage County NAI Hiffman HQ in DuPage County

The centerpiece of NAI Hiffman’s Oak Brook headquarters is “The Market,” a community area where employees gather to exchange ideas and eat, celebrate or just unwind. While there are plenty of spaces in the office where employees can focus individually or gather in small groups, The Market is the beating heart of company-wide culture and collaboration.

NAI Hiffman, the largest independent real-estate services firm in the Midwest, built their DuPage headquarters from scratch in 2015, with the help of international design firm Ware Malcomb, also based in Oak Brook.

What we love about it:

  • The way office design has transformed company culture. While many modern offices have shared spaces, we love how NAI Hiffman branded theirs as “The Market” – the perfect name for a place where ideas are exchanged – and dedicated the space to company-wide socialization and collaboration. In addition to The Market, the company invested in new technology, furniture and team spaces. They say this radical transformation of their workspace has, in turn, transformed nearly every aspect of their company, from their ability to serve clients to their brand and culture.
  • The local collaboration. Not only did NAI Hiffman design their Oak Brook headquarters from the ground up; they partnered with another Oak Brook-based company (Ware Malcomb) to make it happen. This kind of hyper-local partnership may be rare elsewhere, but we’re seeing it happen all over DuPage.

 

CBRE Office

Oak Brook, IL | Commercial Real Estate

CBRE HQ in DuPage County

CBRE HQ in DuPage County CBRE HQ in DuPage County

As an employee at CBRE’s 45,000-SF Oak Brook office, you don’t have an assigned workspace. Instead, you work where it makes sense to work at any given time. At one moment, you might be alone at an individual sit-stand workspace or in one of the many focus rooms. The next, you could be collaborating with a small team in a huddle room, having a large group meeting in the RISE Café, or meeting with a client in The Heart, a dynamic space that serves as a concierge, lobby, meeting and workspace. Where you work and how you work is up to you.

In 2017, CBRE, a giant of the global real-estate industry, consolidated several of its Chicago suburban offices in the Oak Brook workplace, which they expanded and renovated. The redesign was driven by the principles of Workplace 360, a company-wide initiative that eliminates traditional assigned seating and replaces it with a variety of different workspaces for different needs, giving employees the freedom to choose where and how they work. With this flexibility, employees can choose to work where they are most productive and efficient for the task at hand, whether that’s a quiet focus room or a bustling communal space. The days of endless cubicles are behind us.

What we love about it:

  • The balance of individual & group workspaces. When companies first began creating open, collaborative workspaces, some overdid it. Suddenly, everything was an open workspace. There was no privacy, no quiet and – as many found – no way to focus. We love how CBRE’s office provides a smart balance of group workspaces, open community areas and individual ‘focus rooms.’
  • The urban-meets-rural aesthetic. Much like the western suburbs, CBRE’s Oak Brook office celebrates the coming together of urban and rural elements. This is reflected in the aesthetic of the office, which balances warm organic materials with striking urban accents.
  • The radical flexibility. No assigned workspaces. That may sound scary to those of us who have had an assigned workspace since we began our careers, but the company’s commitment to radical flexibility means that you, the employee, can work where it makes the most sense at any given time. This philosophy strikes us as particularly smart during COVID-19, when many companies are having teams work at the office in shifts. Maybe we’ll see more companies adopt the Workplace 360 philosophy in the months ahead.

Architect: Gensler

General Contractor: JC Anderson, Inc.

 

Wight & Company Headquarters

Darien, IL | Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Transportation Firm

Wight & Company HQ in DuPage County

Wight & Company HQ in DuPage County Wight & Company HQ in DuPage County

Step into the Darien headquarters of global Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Transportation firm Wight & Company, and one of the first things you’ll notice is that the space is somewhat narrow. That narrowness is by design. The firm is a pioneer in sustainability – in fact, they designed the first building in the U.S. to receive LEED certification – and the slim shape of their Darien office allows natural light to shine through the entire inside of the building, one of the keys to LEED certification.

When the firm created their Darien office in 2004, their goal was to make a space that connected employees with nature. That goal informed every aspect of the building, from its location and décor, to the way the office blends interior and exterior spaces. Nature is all around; the Wight office abuts an equestrian farm, and there’s a forest preserve right down the street. Then, there’s the workplace itself.

At times, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the Wight office ends and the natural world begins. Earlier, we described the office as “narrow”—and it is, but it’s far from cramped. The expansive windows create a feeling of radical openness, dissolving the boundary between inside and outside, while the ground floor opens onto two patios, where employees work and collaborate, as well as walking paths and a garden. The office’s interplay between indoor and outdoor workspaces has been especially valuable during the pandemic.

In addition to connecting employees with nature, the designers of Wight & Company’s Darien office wanted visitors to feel as though they were entering a home, rather than a corporate office. To achieve this, they built an open lobby that leads directly into the kitchen area, with the intent that the common space could be used by local schools and community organizations.

What we love about it:

  • The ahead-of-their-time sustainability. The employees of Wight & Company like to say that their office was sustainable before it was the cool thing to do. Some of their sustainable practices and features include: LEED certification, compostable waste bins, decks and furniture constructed of mindful materials, a bioswale that collects storm runoff and recharges groundwater, car-pooling spots and EV charging stations.

    For this feature, we looked for offices that embody cultural hallmarks of their occupants, and the sustainability of the Wight & Company office clearly reflects the company’s history and design philosophy. As we mentioned above, Wight designed the first building in the country to receive LEED certification. In addition, they have created 30% of all Net-Zero buildings in the state of Illinois and were the first company to receive a Green Firm Certification from the Sustainable Performance Institute (SPI).
  • The commitment to wellness through nature. While many office spaces now offer gyms and rec areas, we love how the Wight & Company’s Darien office promotes wellness through nature. The organic world is present all through and around the office, from the courtyards and the garden, to the natural light shining through the large windows. Employees frequently take walks (socially distanced walks, these days) along the nearby paths, and many tend to the garden at lunch time, harvesting produce and sharing it amongst the staff.
  • The uncommon attention to air quality. While the Wight staff follow CDC guidelines, the company has gone a step further with air quality, installing a state-of-the-art Bipolar Ionization filtration system that removes air impurities, including viruses and bacteria. The technology, which can be retrofitted into existing offices, charges ions that enter the space. The ions, in turn, neutralize contaminants at their source. Pretty cool, right? Wight says they’re currently testing several technologies in their headquarters, like their new air quality system, and recommending their favorites to clients.
  • The cool factor. In the words of a Wight & Company rep: “While we aren’t zipping around on scooters or sipping kombucha on tap (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those!), we feel our cool factor comes from being intentional and thoughtful stewards of the space we are fortunate to inhabit.”

 

Helping Businesses Navigate the Pandemic

DuPage Communities Meeting, September 2020

On Thursday, September 24, Choose DuPage hosted a meeting for the DuPage County municipalities, elected officials, and economic development professionals. The topic was how local governments can help workers and small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. 

Below is the list of panelists that spoke at the meeting, along with their presentations. 

Rita Haake, Center Manager, College of DuPage Business Development Center, Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Illinois SBDC, and Illinois International Trade
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Sanjeeb Khatua, MD, Executive Vice President, Physician & Ambulatory Care Network; Chief Physician Executive and Covid-19 Incident Commander for Edward-Elmhurst Health
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Travis Linderman, Managing Director, Innovation DuPage
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Lisa Schvach, Executive Director, workNet DuPage
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As transportation & logistics operations face mounting pressure, DuPage County offers critical strategic advantages

As the economic aftershocks of COVID-19 reverberate through the global economy, transportation and logistics operations face mounting pressure to meet consumer demand, deliver essential goods and find cost-effective solutions. Meanwhile, these companies must contend with an uncertain future and a volatile market, where demand in some sectors skyrockets even as it plummets in others.

Now, transportation and logistics businesses are rethinking where and how they operate, and many are finding a home that offers the strategic advantages they need at the heart of the United States’ transportation infrastructure.

A Perfect Storm: The Pandemic Complicates an Already-Stressed Supply Chain

Before COVID-19, global demand on the supply chain was rising for decades, fueled by the rapidly growing e-commerce sector, rising populations, advances in technology, changing consumer and business preferences, and increases in standards of living, among other factors.

Take the U.S., for example. Since 1998, the country’s e-commerce sector has grown, often exponentially, year over year. As a result, U.S. intermodal volume – the total volume of standardized shipping containers that can be interchanged between multiple transportation modes, like cargo ships and freight trains – increased by more than 170%. This led to a boom in industrial development, as new warehouses, manufacturing facilities, ports, cargo centers, railways and other infrastructures were built to support the growing industry. In addition to the increase in volume, e-commerce conditioned consumers to expect deliveries in less time, presenting the industry with a dual challenge: Move more, and move faster.

This trend is not unique to the United States. During the same period, developed nations throughout the world experienced similar growth in e-commerce and other sectors, and previously undeveloped countries began to join them. As nations like China continued to develop – and more consumers, with increased spending power, participated in e-commerce – sharp increases in demand followed, in a pattern of economic growth, increased demand and further growth. Analysts expect this trend to intensify over the coming decade, even as the global economy faces the economic fallout of the pandemic and the transportation and logistics industry contends with emerging challenges.

COVID-19 has led to a devastating loss of human life. Meanwhile, its economic aftershocks have created unprecedented volatility within the transportation and logistics industry, with some sectors experiencing spikes in demand even as others plummet. For example, at the beginning of 2020, truck volumes surged by nearly 30 percent, and last-mile deliveries increased more than ten times over. However, as the GDP plummeted by a historic 32.9% in the second quarter, truck volumes fell with it, and other modes of transportation saw even steeper declines. U.S. passenger air travel – which is responsible for moving people as well as cargo, as goods are transported in the belly of passenger aircraft – fell by about 75% from the beginning of the year to April.

Now, as some sectors begin to see a resurgence in demand and certain transportation modes become available, businesses are discovering that the nature of their industry is changing.

<transportation & logistics - rail

An Answer to the Challenge

The combined pressures of the decades-long increase in global demand and the volatility brought on by the pandemic has forced transportation and logistics operations to become more flexible, efficient and cost-effective. Consumer demand is expected to rise exponentially in the coming decade, and several emergent factors – such as the rapid and reliable delivery of medical supplies and other essential goods (including vaccines, in the near future) – further stress the supply chain.

The industry is facing unprecedented challenges, at a time when it is interwoven in nearly every function of human life and society. Families, communities and economies throughout the world depend on supply chains that can deliver—especially in times of crisis.

To continue to meet consumer demand, businesses must locate their operations in a place that answers the complex challenges they face today and positions them to meet the demands of tomorrow.

Now, many of these companies are finding the strategic advantages they need in DuPage County. DuPage is located just west of Chicago, at the heart of an international freight gateway, offering convenient access to the region’s multiple transportation modes, as well as key advantages unique to DuPage.

Let’s take a closer look.

Where Water Meets Road, Rail and Sky: The Strategic Location of DuPage County

Located at the convergence of critical waterways, interstates, airports and railways, Northeastern Illinois is considered by many to be North America’s preeminent international freight gateway. Today, one fourth of all U.S. freight originates, terminates, or passes through the region. That’s approximately $564 billion in goods each year, weighing some 269 million tons, and includes half of the nation’s rail freight and nearly one-third of its air cargo.

The region is a critical link in the national and global supply chain, and its access to multi-modal transportation means that, when an area of the transportation infrastructure is disrupted – as we have seen during COVID-19 – operations in the region can continue to move products through other modes. The region’s flexibility is key to the transportation and logistics industry’s ability to deliver essential goods in times of crisis. For example, when passenger air travel dipped by 75% in the U.S. at the peak in the pandemic, the cargo typically transported by passenger flights could be averted to other transportation modes, like waterways and rail. Of course, that can only be done quickly and efficiently if operations have convenient access to multiple modes of transportation, as they do in DuPage County and the surrounding region.

Clearly, the Northeastern Illinois region has a tremendous economic impact on the Midwest and the entire U.S.—as well as countries, companies and people throughout the world. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the area including DuPage County has an essential role in strengthening and re-imagining the nation’s supply chain, offering multiple transportation modes and providing a strategic, flexible and cost-effective home for businesses.

transportation & logistics - air

Regional Highlights:
  • As mentioned above, operations in the region have access to multiple modes of transportation. This allows for more flexibility and efficiency in all times—however, it’s particularly important during times of crisis. When certain modes of transportation are disrupted, operations in the region can continue to move goods, including essential supplies, via other transportation modes. The region’s access to multiple transportation modes – via water, rail, road and sky – makes it a critical link in the global supply chain.
  • Located 40 miles from Chicago, the CenterPoint Intermodal Center, North America’s largest inland port, provides direct access to the BNSF Logistics Park and Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal, as well as a 6,400-acre intermodal complex. Tenants, on average, save 50% on operating costs due to the transportation savings of locating on campus.
  • The Port of Chicago offers the only direct maritime connection from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mississippi River. Today, more than 19 million tons of goods are moved through the port.
  • The region offers access to more than a thousand miles of navigable waterways throughout Illinois, with more than 100 miles of navigable waterways within the Northeast.
  • Northeastern Illinois is home to three international airports: O’Hare, Midway and the DuPage Airport. O’Hare is responsible for moving nearly one third of the nation’s total cargo, valued at $170 billion annually. With infrastructure improvements over the coming decades, O’Hare’s cargo campus will allow up to 50% more cargo and freight traffic.
  • Seven interstates and some 30,000 miles of highways connect operations in the region to cities throughout the Midwest and the entire continental U.S. In less than eight hours, trucks can travel from Northeastern Illinois to 28 of the top 30 cities in the Midwest.
  • The region is home to one of the nation’s busiest rail gateways, with more than 3,900 miles of rail. The gateway is North America’s main interchange point between western and eastern railroads. Today, 50% of all U.S. rail freight passes through the region, which offers freight access to more than 80% of the continental United States in 72 hours or less.
  • Northeastern Illinois accounts for about half of all domestic intermodal container traffic.
  • More than a billion square feet of industrial development support the region’s freight and manufacturing activity.

transportation & logistics in DuPage County

The DuPage Difference

While Northeastern Illinois is home to seven counties, DuPage County offers unique strategic advantages that make it the premier choice for the transportation and logistics industry.

Just 20 miles west of Chicago, DuPage offers convenient access to all of the regional transportation amenities described above, including North America’s largest inland port, three international airports, seven interstates, the nation’s busiest rail gateway, and more. In addition, DuPage offers unique strategic advantages for businesses.

transportation & logistics - interstate

The DuPage Difference:
  • A strategic location just 20 miles west of Chicago, DuPage offers convenient access to the region’s international transportation infrastructure, as described above.
  • DuPage is home to 127 square miles of prime real estate that will soon offer direct access to O’Hare through the region’s Western Access initiative.
  • Local businesses benefit from a business-friendly climate with low commercial property taxes and a highly skilled and educated workforce.
  • Our residents enjoy a high quality of life, with easy commutes, excellent schools, numerous recreational amenities and more space for work and life.
  • DuPage County’s highly desirable commercial properties offer space for large industrial facilities and flexible leases.
  • Our collaborative local leadership is committed to the success of your business and our communities.

In a challenging and uncertain time, DuPage County offers businesses a strategic home, where they can quickly and efficiently get their goods to market through the region’s access to multiple transportation modes, while benefitting from DuPage’s unique advantages and business-friendly climate.

We all depend on transportation and logistics operations for the goods we need, as well as the health of the national and global economy. DuPage provides the comprehensive solution that these operations need to be cost-effective, flexible and efficient, so the industry can continue to meet the demands of today as we work together toward a better tomorrow.

Click or tap here to learn more about transportation, logistics and warehousing in DuPage County.

Sources:

Intersect Illinois

Statista

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)

McKinsey & Company

“CenterPoint offering timely cost savings with North America’s largest inland port” by Paul Scott Abbott, American Journal of Transportation (2020)

Gov. Pritzker Announces $245 Million in Grants for Businesses and Communities Impacted by COVID-19 and Civil Unrest

$220 Million Available for Business Owners through Second Round of the Business Interruption Grants; $25 Million Available for Communities through the Rebuild Distressed Communities Program.

Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today in the Bronzeville community to announce the latest in a series of grants made available for small businesses in Illinois suffering losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as communities impacted by the recent civil unrest. Applications for the second round of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program will be made available this Thursday afternoon and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.

The Governor also announced applications for the new Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) program will become available in the coming weeks. This program will provide $25 million in funding to cover the cost of civil-unrest related repairs while also supporting new investments in economically distressed communities across Illinois.

“Support for small businesses has been one of the central features of our COVID-19 response: Helping entrepreneurs stay afloat, giving business owners the help necessary to keep the lights on and payroll flowing, is vital to preserving jobs and businesses until we get to the other side of this pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These two new programs, combined with the first round of Business Interruption Grants, deliver nearly $300 million in aid to the very small businesses that bring jobs and vibrancy to their communities –offering them increased stability so those jobs and that vibrancy can live on.”

BIG continues to prioritize equity by setting aside a substantial portion of funds for businesses located in economically vulnerable communities. The second round of BIG builds on over $49 million in grants awarded just last month – with initial grants allocated to approximately 2,800 businesses in 400 communities in every corner of the state. Application information for the second round of funds and can be found on DCEO’s website at Illinois.gov/dceo and the application form will open for submissions later this week.

The second wave of funds from BIG aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, with a focus on businesses located downstate or in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs). The latest wave of funding includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:

  • Heavily Impacted Industries$60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theaters, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, event spaces located at banquet halls and hotels, and more.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Areas$70 million set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19.  A map of DIAs can be accessed here.
  • Downstate Communities – DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois.
  • Priority Businesses Apart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds:  businesses directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.
  • Agriculture – $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions.
  • Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipientsAs authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program.  This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.

“From day one of this crisis, the Pritzker administration has prioritized bold and equitable solutions to address the issues facing businesses and communities across our state as a result of COVID-19,” said Director of DCEO, Erin B. Guthrie. “While the first round of funds has helped 2,800 businesses in 78 counties across the state make ends meet, an additional $200 million in BIG grants will help ensure that even more businesses across our state have a shot at unlocking funds that will help them pay the rent, the payroll and other costs to help them safely reopen and regain their livelihoods.”

“The pandemic has taken a real toll on our community, our restaurant and our staff in ways we could never have prepared for. As a full-service restaurant, accustomed to serving hundreds of guests daily, suddenly we found ourselves with an empty dining room, our table servers missing out on much needed income and skyrocketing operating expenses, including new costs for protecting our staff and our guests,” said Darrell Green, Co-Owner of Pearl’s Place Restaurant in Bronzeville. “Along comes the State of Illinois’ BIG grant, which offered us much needed resources for PPE to protect our team and maintain a safe environment for our guests. This grant is helping us to do our part in rebuilding public confidence to welcome more of our customers back safely.”

Earlier this year, DCEO issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity and has identified a qualified administrator to disburse the remaining funds for BIG throughout the rest of the year. Working with administrators Accion and the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), the department will take a tailored approach to processing grants in this round. Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000, commensurate with revenue losses incurred and business size.

“This additional funding is critical for Chicago’s diverse business community, which has faced significant economic impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward). “The most recent round of grants will help lift small businesses, like Pearl’s Place, that are an integral part of the Bronzeville community. I thank the Governor and his administration for continuing to support our vibrant business community throughout the ongoing pandemic.”

Eligible businesses will include for-profit and nonprofit entities with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019 (annualized for businesses that started after January 2019). All businesses that receive a BIG award must have experienced losses due to COVID-19 that exceed the size of the award.

“The hotel industry has been an integral part of the state’s economy and the anchor of our tourism industry. We generate over $4 billion in state and local taxes a year supporting more than 290,000 jobs and generating $16 billion in wages and salaries to hard working men and work in Illinois. Unfortunately, this pandemic has decimated our industry overnight,” said Michael Jacobson, President of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association. “As hundreds of hotels throughout the state struggle to survive, some of whom remain shuttered altogether, this is a positive step towards providing much needed assistance to the Illinois hospitality community. As one of the largest employers in the state, these grants provide a much-needed lifeline to the hotel industry while we await the opportunity to welcome back visitors and put people back to work.”

“Over the past six months, our Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has heard from hundreds of business owners who have suffered significant financial losses due to COVID-19. Many who have received emergency assistance have found that they still need additional support to keep their businesses afloat and to continue to provide jobs and goods and services in their communities,” said Karen Freeman Wilson, CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “These programs offer a real opportunity for businesses and communities to recover. We are pleased to continue working with Governor Pritzker and his team to help distribute grants to small business owners, as well as to provide business coaching, mentorship, and technical assistance where it is needed.”

“This round of BIG grants will offer a lifeline to the devastated Illinois cultural sector. Our beloved music venues, performing arts centers, museums and other critical community assets remain either fully closed or severely restricted given capacity limitations, and we have yet to see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of reopening,” said Claire Rice, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois. “This type of government support is essential to our field as the COVID crisis continues, and we will need our Illinois artists and creative workers more than ever to connect us to our collective humanity, both during the pandemic and into our future.”

DCEO will also oversee the distribution of grants through the RDC program. Supported by the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, RDC funds will be made available to help businesses and economically distressed communities cover the cost of repairs already incurred, while making way for capital work to address eligible repairs or community improvements still needed in response to civil unrest. RDC funded projects may range in size from $1,000 to $200,000, based on eligibility and the extent of the damages. DCEO will prioritize contractors from minority, women, and veteran owned businesses to perform the work, and reimbursements will begin in the coming weeks for damages which have already been incurred.

To coordinate reimbursement and capital repairs, the State of Illinois has selected two community development organizations – the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and the Chicago Neighborhood Initiative (CNI). LISC and CNI were selected via a competitive process and will conduct outreach, coordinate local qualified vendors to perform repairs, and provide funds to cover the cost of repairs and new building improvements for businesses in eligible communities across the state. Additionally, LISC will host the application for the grants on its website.

“LISC is committed to supporting and strengthening communities by increasing opportunities for residents who live, work and do business throughout Illinois,” said Meghan Harte, Executive Director of LISC Chicago. “We are thrilled to be a part of Rebuild Distressed Communities and continue to invest in the prosperity and wellbeing of businesses that need it most.”

Eligibility for the RDC grants requires businesses and nonprofits to demonstrate property damage as a result of civil unrest on or after May 25, 2020 and be located in economically distressed zip codes identified by DCEO as having sustained property damage due to civil unrest. 

“We know businesses and their employees are hurting during this difficult time, particularly those in communities where resources are scarce,” said David Doig, President of CNI, a nonprofit community development organization. “CNI is honored to be joining forces with the DCEO and LISC to help businesses in under-resourced communities gain access to the financial support they need to recover as quickly as possible.”

To promote equity in the program, priority for grant funding will be given to small businesses with 50 employees or fewer, women and minority-owned businesses, underinsured or uninsured businesses, and inherently essential businesses – like grocery stores – in economically distressed areas. DCEO has created a list of impacted zip codes to help determine eligibility of project location, found here. For businesses that have sustained property damages during civil unrest but not located in a predetermined zip code, they may work with DCEO’s administrative partners to apply and request that their zip code be added to the list of eligible zip codes.

BIG and RDC build on a menu of small business and community relief programs created by the administration since COVID-19 first hit – with over $500 million in grants and programs launched by DCEO, including emergency hospitality grants, a downstate small business stabilization program, Fast Track Capital, and more. For more information on programs available for businesses and communities, please visit DCEO’s website.

DCEO will be hosting a series of webinars regarding this program.  You can register for any of the webinars by using the links below:

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held for SpecBond, Inc. in Bensenville

On Friday, August 21, 2020, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for SpecBond, Inc. located at 1000 Industrial Drive Unit 1B in Bensenville.

SpecBond, Inc. President Dan Murphy and Village Manager Evan K. Summers cut the ceremonial red ribbon while joined by representatives of the Bensenville Chamber of Commerce, Village Trustees, and Spec Bond Partners and Staff.

Since 2012, Spec Bond, Inc. has specialized in fabricating and distributing high performance pressure sensitive materials such as adhesive tape and die-cut products for applications for bonding, mounting, assembly, and masking. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they expanded their operations in March to also supply much needed personal protective equipment (PPE). Products include KN95 masks, surgical isolation masks, hand sanitizer, mask extenders, IR non-contact thermometers, children’s disposable masks, student desk dividers, and face shields.

“It is great to see business owners like Dan adapt and overcome the many challenges the pandemic has presented – a true testament to America’s entrepreneurial spirit. We are thrilled you have chosen to grow here and we wish you continued success in Bensenville,” said Village Manager Evan K. Summers.

Supply Chain

What the Toilet Paper Shortage Taught Us about the Supply Chain

COVID-19 revealed hard truths about the supply chain. Now, transportation, logistics and warehousing businesses are flocking to DuPage County, an area just west of Chicago with low population density and desirable properties, strategically located in the heart of a global freight gateway.

We will never forget the great toilet paper shortage of 2020.

It was one of the stranger side effects of COVID-19. In the early spring, as the pandemic reached the United States and the tremendous scope of the crisis came to light, consumers began panic-buying: hand gel, food, soap, face masks, surface cleaner. And, of course, TP.

For weeks, toilet paper was a scarce commodity, as were other essential goods. Shelves were picked clean. Suppliers fell behind. And while this scarcity created anxiety among consumers – and called for some truly ‘creative’ solutions – the phenomenon revealed a painful but important truth.

The supply chain wasn’t ready. It wasn’t good enough. Sure, it could handle normal market fluctuations. But as soon as it was put under extreme stress, it couldn’t take it. It was as if a bridge engineered for small cars suddenly had to bear the weight of a semi. It broke. And we all had to live with the consequences.

In 2020, we have seen just how critical it is to get supplies to the market in a timely and efficient manner.

Our operations must be flexible and reliable in times of crisis, when demand soars overnight and our work becomes radically more complex. In light of these hard-earned lessons, one area has emerged as the premier global business location for transportation, logistics and warehousing. DuPage County.

Just 20 miles west of Chicago, DuPage County is located at the heart of one of the world’s largest freight gateways. The region offers key strategic advantages:

  • 2 international airports: O’Hare and Midway, with O’Hare responsible for moving nearly one third of the nation’s total cargo, valued at $170 billion
  • 127 square miles of prime real estate that will soon offer direct access to O’Hare through the region’s Western Access initiative
  • 7 major interstates
  • 28 of the top 30 cities in the Midwest within an 8-hour drive
  • The nation’s busiest rail gateway
  • North America’s largest inland port

The strategic location means that businesses in DuPage can quickly, efficiently and reliably get their product anywhere in the world. But that’s only half the story. In addition to a strategic location, DuPage has desirable properties; a highly skilled and educated workforce; a business-friendly environment; low population-density; low COVID-19 case rate; a high quality of life; and a rich history of manufacturing. All of these factors intersect in DuPage: the premier global business location for transportation, logistics and warehousing.

DuPage has what businesses need to succeed today and respond rapidly to an uncertain tomorrow. And that’s good for all of us, because we’re all connected to the supply chain. A good supply chain means food on our families’ tables, medical supplies in our hospitals—and, yes, TP on our grocery store shelves.

Tap here to learn more about doing business in DuPage.

Q-NEXT

Department of Energy selects Argonne to lead national quantum center

Q-NEXT will tackle next-generation quantum science challenges through a public-private partnership, ensuring U.S. leadership in an economically crucial arena.

Article by: Argonne National Laboratory | See Original Article 

Recently the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the creation of five new Quantum Information Science Research Centers led by DOE National Laboratories across the country. One of the national centers, Q-NEXT, is led by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

Q-NEXT brings together nearly 100 world-class researchers from three national laboratories, 10 universities and 10 leading U.S. technology companies with the single goal of developing the science and technology to control and distribute quantum information. These activities, along with a focus on rapid commercialization of new technologies, will support the emerging ​quantum economy” and ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront in this rapidly advancing field.

The world is on the cusp of a technological revolution. Through the collaborative efforts of the national laboratories, universities and companies actively involved in Q-NEXT, we will develop instrumentation to explore and control the quantum properties of matter and translate these discoveries into technologies that benefit society,” said David Awschalom, Q-NEXT director, senior scientist at Argonne, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange. ​This partnership is essential to create a domestic supply chain of new quantum materials and devices for a robust quantum economy.”

Q-NEXT will also create two national foundries for quantum materials, one at Argonne and one at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Together, these foundries will act as a single ​quantum factory,” producing a robust supply chain of standardized materials and devices that will support both known and yet-to-be-discovered quantum-enabled applications. It will also create a first-ever National Quantum Devices Database for the standardization of next-generation quantum devices.

The world is on the cusp of a technological revolution. Through the collaborative efforts of the national laboratories, universities and companies actively involved in Q-NEXT, we will develop instrumentation to explore and control the quantum properties of matter and translate these discoveries into technologies that benefit society.”  — David Awschalom, Q-NEXT director

New technology spawned by Q-NEXT will accelerate U.S. prosperity and security,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. ​As part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Argonne is proud to be the lead laboratory for Q-NEXT in this important endeavor bringing together world-leading experts and the wealth of scientific resources at national labs, academia and industry.”

Q-NEXT will be funded by the Department of Energy at $115 million over five years, with $15 million in fiscal year 2020 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.  Additional funding from partner organizations totals $93 million. The State of Illinois General Assembly also directed $200 million in FY 2020 funding through HB62 to develop infrastructure for quantum science and technology, which will support Q-NEXT through collaborative efforts. With these resources and the strength of private-public partnerships, Q-NEXT will focus on three core quantum technologies: 

  • Communication for the transmission of quantum information across long distances including quantum repeaters, enabling the establishment of ​unhackable” networks for information transfer
  • Sensors that achieve unprecedented sensitivities with transformational applications in physics, materials and life sciences
  • Processing and utilizing ​test beds” both for quantum simulators and future full-stack universal quantum computers with applications in quantum simulations, cryptanalysis and logistics optimization

Q-NEXT will also train the next-generation quantum workforce through innovative training programs with industry, academia and government to ensure continued U.S. scientific and economic leadership in this rapidly advancing field.

The fundamental discoveries and technological advances enabled by Q-NEXT will expedite the coming quantum technology revolution and build the quantum workforce of the future. This is a very exciting time,” said JoAnne Hewett, Q-NEXT deputy director and associate laboratory director for fundamental physics and chief research officer at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Argonne and SLAC are joined in the collaboration by 21 partners that are embedded in all aspects of Q-NEXT: participation in each of the scientific thrusts, governance and development of the center strategy and training of the next generation of the quantum workforce. The collaboration among laboratories, companies and universities is crucial to speed discovery, develop quantum applications and prepare a quantum-ready workforce. Q-NEXT’s partners are:

  • Applied Materials
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Boeing
  • California Institute of Technology
  • ColdQuanta
  • Cornell University
  • General Atomics
  • HRL Laboratories
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Keysight Technologies
  • Microsoft
  • Northwestern University
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • The Pennsylvania State University
  • Quantum Opus
  • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

About Q-NEXT

Q-NEXT, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Quantum Information Science Research Center led by Argonne National Laboratory, brings together nearly 100 world-class researchers from 3 national laboratories, 10 universities, and 10 leading U.S. technology companies to develop the science and technology to control and distribute quantum information. Q-NEXT will create two national foundries for quantum materials and devices, develop networks of sensors and secure communications systems, establish simulation and network testbeds, and train a next-generation quantum-ready workforce to ensure continued U.S. scientific and economic leadership in this rapidly advancing field. For more information, visit https://​www​.​q​-next​.org.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.

Click here to download the fact sheet.

Essential Supplies: Wynndalco Donates 50 Laptops and Two Mobile LAN Carts to Fenton

As many US schools scramble to find enough technology to meet student needs, Mokena-based Technology Managed Services firm, and Choose DuPage Board Member Wynndalco Enterprises, LLC, donated 50 laptops and two mobile LAN carts on August 28 to Bensenville’s Fenton Community High School. The feeling was celebratory, with Fenton Superintendent James Ongtengco, Principal Jovan Lazarevic, and School Board President Paul Wedemann in attendance alongside various DuPage County officials, including Chairman of the Board Dan Cronin, Board Members Greg Hart and Donald Puchalski, and Choose DuPage CEO and Board Director Greg Bedalov and Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, respectively. Rounding out the reception were Wynndalco founder and CEO David Andalcio, President and COO Jose Flores, and Senior Project Manager Eva Andalcio. The technology package included premium Dell Latitude 3160 Pentium Touchscreens that had been preconfigured to support Fenton’s current hybrid onsite/remote learning efforts.

“We are thrilled to have been able to support Fenton in this manner, because Wynndalco has deep roots in the public school community in Illinois and across the United States,” says David Andalcio. “Probably better than most, Wynndalco Enterprises understands what a challenge it’s been to pivot to distance learning and ensure the technology necessary for students to succeed is not only available but up to the task in terms of hardware and software capabilities. And as Fenton serves 1,500 diverse students in terms of ethnic and financial backgrounds, we are grateful for the opportunity to give back to such a great, wide-reaching local school.”

Technology to Further Education
For decades, Andalcio has been involved in procuring and setting up needed computer technology for students at myriad school systems in and around Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver, Puerto Rico and elsewhere, as well as helping gain the most robust internet connectivity possible for students to learn well at school and at home. Further, Andalcio and his team believe all children should have equal access and opportunity to the many benefits technology can provide.

“We believe our work is truly essential, as Wynndalco has deployed close to 50,000 devices to nearly 500 locations since the pandemic began,” Flores adds. “We feel honored to partner with those on the front lines of education to help keep the learning going in this historic time at our schools.”

About Wynndalco
Established in 2009, Wynndalco is a certified DBE/MBE/SBE/BEP that serves educational institutions, state- and local governments, Fortune 500 and -100 businesses, and transportation entities with proven, affordable, professional support for End-User Device Management, Warehouse & Logistics, Project Management, Technology Infrastructure Operations, and SMART Board® and A/V services. For more information, visit www.wynndalco.com.

Hit Hard By COVID-19, DuPage County Slowly Recovering With Business Reopenings

WBBM Newsradio Interview with County Officials

Written by Craig Dellimore | See original article here

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — DuPage County has seen more than 13,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 500 deaths so far. But officials there say the county and the businesses are slowly recovering from the pandemic.

DuPage County Health Director Karen Ayala said the western suburbs are seeing the same rise in cases of COVID-19 as in other areas, but it’s simply because more people are out and about. She said generally, there was been little resistance to wearing a mask and social distancing because residents understand the seriousness of the virus. 

Click here to listen to the interview on WBBM Newsradio. 

“If we don’t maintain the health and safety of our residents, then everything else is lost,” Ayala said.

DuPage County Board Member Bob Larsen, who chairs the finance committee, said the County has lost substantial revenue but he was ready for this. He said the county plans to avoid a tax increase but may have to dip into its reserves.

Greg Bedalov, CEO of Choose DuPage said the hospitality industry, has suffered the most from COVID-19 but things are starting to get a little better. He said the county received $168 million in CARES Act dollars and immediately allocated $7 million to a small business relief program that is being administered by Choose DuPage.

“We were able to deploy over $6 million of that $7 million allocation to the small business community within DuPage in less than 60 days,” Bedalov said. 

Larsen said there’s been some relief from Washington, but not for lost revenue from taxes and fees. He’s not sure how much, if any, more aid will come for that.