The Smartest, Sleekest & Healthiest Workplaces in DuPage: 2023

Smartest, Sleekest, and Healthiest Workplaces: 2023 Office

The world gets pretty complicated, so when it comes to 2023’s Smartest, Sleekest & Healthiest Workplaces, we’re keeping things simple.

This year, we’re featuring workplaces in DuPage County that are designed, above all, for workers.

Why? Because a thoughtfully designed workplace is more than just a place to work. The right workplace can:

  • Motivate employees to be more productive.
  • Provide flexible spaces to account for varying workday needs.
  • Entice hybrid and remote workers to come into the office.
  • Help companies attract talent in a competitive market.

As always, we only featured the best of the best. Each workplace here is among the Smartest, Sleekest & Healthiest in DuPage County. Above all, these spaces are designed for the employee experience—they work harder, so you can work smarter.

Ready? Let’s get to work!

Ag Growth International (AGI)

Naperville, IL | Farm & Commercial Equipment Solutions 

Ag Growth International (AGI)

Housed in The Shuman (a Class-A office building in Naperville we featured in 2022) AGI’s 45,000-SF U.S. headquarters features a sleek modern design.

But wait—there’s a twist. Among the polished glass and trendy furniture, you’ll find vases of dried wheat, fields of green, corrugated metal a la grain silos, and images of corn about as high as an elephant’s eye.

Beyond the silos and soybeans, what makes this office distinctly “AGI” is its adaptability.

Since 1996, AGI has continuously evolved to keep up with the ever-changing agricultural landscape. Likewise, their Naperville office is designed to keep up with employees’ ever-changing workday needs.

Quick brainstorm? Grab a booth. Need to focus? There’s a space for that. Celebrating a birthday? Get together at the social hub—and maybe grab an espresso or sparkling water on the way.

As a workplace that puts the employee experience first, AGI’s Naperville headquarters is the cream of the crop.

About AGI

Founded in 1996, AGI is the global leader in the planning, engineering and manufacturing of solutions and systems for five key sectors: fertilizer, seed, grain, feed, and food. Today, AGI produces more than 35 brands and partners with customers on six continents.


Naperville, IL | Engineering Consultants

IMEG Office

Another company that understands the value of employee experiences (and happens to be a fellow Shuman tenant) is IMEG.

Located on the fifth floor of the Class-A Naperville office building, IMEG’s 20,000-SF office has everything you’d expect from a world-class engineering firm: thoughtfully designed workspaces for collaborative and individual work, an industrial-chic vibe with playful pops of color, and the occasional engineering-themed art piece (including a framed patent of that all-important industry tool, the protractor).  What makes this space truly unique is what’s not there. IMEG went with a clean, no-frills design. With few exceptions, the floors are exposed, polished concrete. And the ceilings? What ceilings? Look up, and you’ll see a network of exposed pipes, valves, and ducts.  

In part, this industrial aesthetic is a nod to the company and its team members—engineers, after all, love taking things apart to see how they work. But it also aligns with IMEG’s sustainability goals. Less materials, more purpose.

While the office’s design is minimalist, its views are anything but. A glass-enclosed conference room near the fifth-floor entrance offers a spectacular view of The Shuman’s Main Atrium—making it the perfect place to get clients thinking about the “big picture.” The lunchroom, meanwhile, features 40-foot-high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a gorgeous view of Naperville, including the iconic Carillon.

IMEG is all about “people-centered engineering”—the idea that spaces should be designed for the people who use them. That philosophy has served the company well over its hundred-year corporate history, and if you want to see it come to life, we recommend a trip to The Shuman.

About IMEG

As a leading design firm, IMEG delivers a powerful combination of comprehensive technical expertise and deep collaborative partnerships. Their trusted engineers design high-performance buildings and industry-leading infrastructure – everything from wastewater treatment plants to surgical suites – all while expertly navigating regulatory and teaming challenges. Today, IMEG has more than 2,200 team members across 75 locations.

Contractor: JC Anderson

Architect: G|R|E|C  

Leeco Steel

Lisle, IL | Steel Processing & Distribution

Leeco Steel Office

Given that they’ve been working with metal for 140 years, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Leeco Steel is a bit rigid. But before you make any assumptions, you should see their newly renovated Lisle headquarters.

Like many businesses in the post-pandemic world, Leeco Steel was working hard to get employees excited about returning to the office. The company had already built a forward-thinking, people-first culture, but there was one thing holding them back: the office itself. In 2022, they set out to change that.

Fast-forward to 2023, and Leeco has transformed a potential pain point into one of their best assets.

Their newly renovated, 19,119-SF Lisle headquarters provides the flexibility today’s top workers demand. Collaborative workspaces and private focus rooms make it easy to work how you want, where you want, while open seating areas are the perfect places to chat and blow off steam. Meanwhile, state-of-the-art technology facilitates smoother video conferences and presentations with clients and offsite team members.

Here, the sparks fly. No, really—large-format pictures from Leeco Steel’s processing centers show how the metal is cut for customers. For team members, these serve as a good reminder of their work’s tangible impact.

At the same time, with big windows and bright pops of color, this modern office feels less like a factory and more like a creative workshop, a space where good ideas are made and bonds are forged. Strong as steel, of course.

About Leeco Steel

Leeco Steel is North America’s largest steel plate supplier. Founded in 1882, the company is well-known for its deep inventories of steel plate, which it processes and distributes from 10 locations. Leeco also provides processing services, including flame cutting, drilling, and shot blasting.

Architecture & Design Firm: Wight & Company

Photo Credit: Ross Creative Works


Oak Brook, IL | Accounting

BDO Offices Oak Brook

When it comes to work, boundaries are usually a good thing. At the same time, some of the best workplaces are the ones that blur the lines between the office itself and the environment around it. Especially when that environment is really, really beautiful.

Case in point: BDO’s Oak Brook headquarters.

Located in Oak Brook Reserve on the former McDonald’s campus, BDO’s 25,000-SF office blurs those lines in the best way.

Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the lakes, fields, and tree-lined walkways just beyond the former Hamburger University building. Meanwhile, natural materials like wood tambour panels, National Park-themed conference rooms, and other subtle touches bring the outside world in.

The result? Team members and clients never feel far from nature.

Speaking of nature, employees at the office are free to work in whatever way feels most natural to them. Like many of the workplaces featured here, BDO’s Oak Brook office is designed for maximum flexibility, with a variety of working environments for collaboration and focused tasks.

Nowhere is this approach more prominent than the café. While most businesses would be satisfied with a nice lunchroom, BDO wanted to do more with their space. Now, they have a single room that can easily transform from a café to an employee training center, or even an auditorium-style setup for events and presentations.

As the inaugural prominent occupant of Oak Brook Reserve, BDO’s new office is a showcase for the sprawling suburban campus. Gensler, the architecture firm that designed the original McDonald’s headquarters in 1988, took point on the BDO design. Together, Gensler and their first major tenant are reusing and revitalizing the iconic Oak Brook space, welcoming others to bring nature into their workdays—and vice versa.

We’d say they’re off to a beautiful start.

About BDO

BDO is a leading global accounting network headquartered in Chicago. Their experienced professionals provide middle-market leaders with insight-driven perspectives, as well as assurance, tax, and advisory services.

Architecture & Design: Gensler

Engineering: Cartland Kraus Engineering, Ltd.

General Contractor: Norcon Inc.

Furniture Solutions: Corporate Concepts

West Side Tractor

Lisle, IL | John Deere Parts Supply, Repair & Customer Service

West Side Tractor Lisle

Arriving at West Side Tractor’s Lisle headquarters, you can’t help but notice all the “toys.”  

The facility, which opened in 2020, features a glass-enclosed “toy box,” a towering showroom housing ten (literal) giants of the tractor world. These include the 1920 Waterloo Boy, John Deere’s first foray into the tractor world, as well as a 1959 Model 440 Loader Backhoe – one of the first machines that West Side Tractor founder Richard W. Benck sold. (Look closely at the Model 440, and you’ll even find a decal from the family-owned business’ original Lisle facility.)

History is front and center at the new West Side Tractor headquarters, but with cutting-edge customer and employee experiences around every corner, it very much feels like a workplace of the future.

For customers, there’s an accessible parts counter, an interactive lobby kiosk, and a curbside pickup zone, all of which make it easy to get in, get out, and get on with your day. For those looking to take a deeper dive, there’s the state-of-the-art training area. Here, West Side team members can deliver custom presentations, like machine walk-arounds and safety courses.

For employees, it’s all about having what you need, when you need it. Each of the 16 bays in the servicing and repair shop features a tool bench and ergonomic workstation, complete with a laptop technicians can use to run diagnostics and access records.

Collaborative spaces throughout the facility encourage teamwork and creativity, while large touchscreens in the service manager office make it easy to access helpful information, including a digital map showing the real-time locations of service vehicles. Finally, the attention to accessibility extends to the female technician locker room, which features a nursing room.

“This is a place where we can innovate and grow, add new products, and expand our team,” says Lauren Coffaro, third-generation owner. “This new Lisle facility, this is for the future,”

Want to see the future of West Side Tractor for yourself? Take a tour of their Lisle headquarters here.

About West Side Tractor

Founded in 1962, West Side Tractor is the John Deere construction heavy equipment distributor for Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Family-owned and operated for more than 60 years, West Side Tractor provides sales, service, rental, parts, and technology solutions to construction companies across the Midwest.

Architecture & Design

Barnes Architects

Rieke Interiors

Greenleaf Foods, SPC

Lisle | Plant-Based Food

Greenleaf Foods Lisle

For office workers everywhere, lunch is serious business. Beyond the necessity of replacing burned-up mental calories, the midday meal is a chance to talk turkey with coworkers, get some fresh air, and divide the day into manageable, bite-sized pieces.

But nowhere is lunch – and food, in general – more serious than in the kitchen of Lisle’s Greenleaf Foods Innovation Center.

This is no ordinary office kitchen, mind you. This is the Greenleaf Test Kitchen, a Dexter’s Laboratory of culinary creation. Here, among the high-end ovens, stovetops, fryers, and presses, the pioneers of the #1 meatless hotdog are cooking up their next ingenious invention.

Greenleaf Foods, SPC (which we previously featured) makes some of the world’s most popular plant-based protein brands, including Lightlife® and Field Roast Grain Meat Co. Of course, in a competitive market, where new products hit the shelves every day, Greenleaf can’t afford to rest on its lettuce (we mean ‘laurels’).

That’s where the Innovation Center comes in. Expanded in 2020, Greenleaf’s high-tech, 23,000-SF facility has all the right ingredients for creativity and collaboration. A variety of social spaces, brainstorm rooms, conference rooms, and focus areas give team members the flexibility they need to do their best work. Meanwhile, the office’s cutting-edge laboratory, pilot plant, and test kitchen provide spaces where fresh ideas can grow from scratch.

About Greenleaf Foods, SPC

Plant-based pioneer Greenleaf Foods, SPC produces some of the most popular meatless foods on the market. Their portfolio includes Lightlife®, maker of the #1 brand of tempeh and the #1 plant-based hot dog in the U.S., as well as Field Roast Grain Meat Co.

Project Manager & General Contractor

RE Development Solutions

Conference Center at Hamilton Lakes

Itasca | Event Space

Hamilton Lakes Conference Center Office

If you’ve ever planned an event, you know that finding the perfect space can feel next to impossible.

Unless, that is, you’re at Hamilton Lakes Business Center in Itasca, in which case the event space of your dreams is just a quick elevator ride away.

Offering 8,400-SF of flexible space, the Conference Center at Hamilton Lakes is designed for gatherings of up to 200 people. Whether it’s a big client meeting or an informal brainstorm, an employee education seminar or a networking event, the Conference Center has everything you need to make it amazing.

Here, flexibility is king. The four main rooms can be configured in a variety of arrangements, while state-of-the-art technology ensures a smooth experience for you and your guests.

Most importantly, the Conference Center is simply cool. Abundant natural light, pops of color, and a sleek modern design create a vibe somewhere between energetic startup, high-end office, and your favorite coffee shop. Meanwhile, the sheer variety of workspaces – from cozy nooks and collaboration-friendly corners to large conference rooms – make it easy for guests to find their ideal space, even as their needs shift throughout the day.

Whether you’re entertaining clients in the kitchen or soaking up the lakeside views, the Conference Center at Hamilton Lakes is a place where you can feel creative, focused, collaborative, and free to be you.

Book Now

The Conference Center at Hamilton Lakes is currently available for full-day and half-day rentals, with discounted pricing for tenants. Contact Hamilton Lakes to learn more.

About Hamilton Lakes

Located at the intersection of the Elgin O’Hare Expressway and I-355 in Itasca, Hamilton Lakes Business Park offers 3.5 million square feet of office space and 32 additional acres of undeveloped land. The Business Park is also home to the Westin Hotel, beautiful outdoor areas, social gathering spaces, an athletic club, a daycare center, and full-service restaurants and delicatessens.

2200 Cabot

Lisle | Office Space

2200 Cabot Drive Lisle Office

If 2200 Cabot Drive feels like a fresh twist on a classic office design, it’s because that’s exactly what it is.

Even before its recent renovation, this iconic five-story glass-and-granite building had “good bones.” Located in Lisle’s 64-acre Corporate Lakes development, 2200 Cabot already had a convenient location, ample parking (including heated underground executive spaces), and a stunning two-story atrium. What more could you ask for? 

Quite a lot, apparently. In 2020, RE Development Solutions gave the building a full renovation, modernizing its design and introducing several new amenities to enhance workday experiences.

This was no mere facelift. The renovation included a full lobby refresh – it now feels like the grand entrance of a boutique downtown hotel – as well as the addition of a full-service deli, a building conference room, and a penthouse lounge space with panoramic views of nature.

Somewhat less dramatic (but no less important) are the infrastructure upgrades, including a new roof, HVAC automation, and more.

With good bones and a sharp new design, the newly renovated 2200 Cabot has everything tenants need to deliver outstanding employee experiences—and we can’t wait to see what they do with the place.

Learn more about 2200 Cabot here.

Project Manager & General Contractor

RE Development Solutions


Desa Design Studio

3500 Lacey

Downers Grove | Office Space

3500 Lacey Downers Grove Office

The day’s winding down (and so is our list). Before heading home, you grab a quick bite at your favorite wine bar, chat with a colleague, listen to some live music, then swing by the local library.

And if you’re a tenant at 3500 Lacey, you can do all this without leaving the office.

The largest building in Downers Grove, 3500 Lacey was built in the late 1980s and acquired by KORE Investments in 2019. KORE, which has offices in Chicagoland and the Denver area, specializes in workplaces centered on health, wellness, and community.

After acquiring “Lacey,” they knew they wanted to incorporate new features that would bring their tenants and guests together like never before, while encouraging remote workers to return to the office.

In 2022, they set out to do just that. KORE transformed the lobby of 3500 Lacey into an inviting social space, complete with comfortable furniture, a stylish lighting fixture, and a piano for live music. The centerpiece of this renovated space is the Coffee/Wine Bar, 3500 Lacey Spirits. Here, guests can relax with a midmorning latte, a lunchtime snack, or an after-hours glass of wine.

KORE also introduced a cozy library and fitness center, as well as the new 3500 Lacey App. Using the app, tenants can easily order coffee, breakfast, and lunch, and stay up to date on what’s happening in the Lacey community.

“Just another day in the office” has never felt better.

About KORE Investments

KORE Investments is a commercial real estate owner/operator of office properties in Chicago and Denver, with an emphasis on suburban developments. KORE focuses first and foremost on the experiences of their tenants and the people who work in their buildings, delivering flexible spaces that activate communities, promote healthy lifestyles, and foster positive workplace cultures. Today, the company donates a portion of their profits to local charities and nonprofits.

Take a tour of 3500 Lacey here.


OKW Architects

General Contractor


Keep Exploring the Offices and Workplaces of DuPage County, Illinois

DuPage is home to a diverse ecosystem of businesses from a variety of industries. Over decades of growth and evolution, this ecosystem been nurtured by our diverse workforce (more than 640,000 strong), our education system, our regional supply chain, our pro-business policies, and the high quality of life that helps us attract top talent.

With that economic growth has come a flourishing office market, where local businesses are introducing bold innovations that turn their ‘workplaces’ into collaborative environments, social spaces and impactful customer experiences.

Want to see more of DuPage’s smartest, sleekest and healthiest workplaces? Take a look at our past lists:

The Smartest, Sleekest, and Healthiest Workplaces: 2020

The Smartest, Sleekest, and Healthiest Workplaces: 2021

The Smartest, Sleekest, and Healthiest Workplaces: 2022



ComEd Economic Development Fact Sheet


ComEd recently updated 2023 Economic Development Fact Sheet, which highlights ComEd and Illinois’ competitive power advantages, as well as ComEd’s latest programs and incentives designed to help power business growth and allow their customers to meet their sustainability goals.

Key Points

Northern Illinois offers new and existing businesses many strong energy-related assets, including competitive power prices, industry-leading reliability, clean energy options, and more:

  • Competitive Power Prices: In ComEd’s service territory, energy charges remain among the most competitive in the Midwest, and commercial rates are sizably smaller than in other U.S. metro areas. ComEd’s average commercial rates are 20% lower than the utilities that serve the top 20 metropolitan areas in the US and 35% lower for industrial customers based on the most recently available data. Additionally, Illinois’ deregulated/competitive energy market provides long term benefits to businesses by providing the ability to negotiate nearly 60% of their electricity costs from more than75 certified suppliers. 

  • Sustainability & Clean Energy: ComEd’s region is a national leader for clean energy generation. Illinois electricity generation ranks in the top 5 for carbon-free states in the country and the 6th largest for installed wind capacity. Through Illinois’ competitive energy market, customers already have access to 100% renewable and clean power options, while the state transitions to a clean energy future as part of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). In addition, ComEd also provides solar and storage rebates for customers and new incentives to support the electrification of the transportation sector to increase societal sustainability. More information available at, and

  • Industry-Leading Reliability: ComEd offers our customers the most reliable electricity in the nation, due to our ongoing investments to prepare the grid to stand resilient amid increasingly severe weather and changing electricity uses. Investments in the Smart Grid program over the last decade have helped customers avoid 19 million outages, saving more than in $3 billion in outage related costs, including avoided business losses.

  • Additional Considerations: ComEd customers have access to one of the nation’s largest utility energy efficiency programs, with more than $160M in annual incentives available. Since 2008, ComEd customers saved over $8 billion in electricity costs. Earlier this year, ComEd revealed a $231 million investment to help boost electrification, including EVs, over the next three years, which includes new rebates, rates and infrastructure programs designed to help lower upfront cost barriers for commercial customers looking to electrify their fleets. ComEd’s innovative line-extension program (Rider DE), provides large upfront credits that reduce costs of grid expansion work for qualifying new large customers. Lastly, our workforce development programs are building a strong and diverse talent pipeline through education and training for new and highly specialized jobs across key industries, including EV and solar. More info available at and

Download the Fact Sheet.

How Do Big Ideas Become Successful Businesses?

DuPage Business Beat Podcast


Turning a good idea into a real business can be daunting. Between marketing, finance and countless logistical hurdles, it’s hard to know where to start—much less how to build a profitable, sustainable business.

In today’s episode, host Greg Bedalov introduces listeners to Innovation DuPage (ID), an incubator that provides valuable resources to local startups and small businesses.

Greg is joined by two special guests: the Managing Director of ID and the CEO of a member business. Together, they break down how local entrepreneurs can access everything from workspaces and mentorship to “Owner-2-CEO” education programs, marketing support, networking events, and investment opportunities.

Guests: Dan Facchini, Managing Director, Innovation DuPage; Larry Blackburn, Founder & CEO, Datatelligent

Host: Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage

Dive Deeper:

  • Want to build a more environmentally friendly business? Choose DuPage’s Green Business Assessments provide custom, no-cost sustainability evaluations.
  • Whether you own a local business or are looking for vendors, check out Connect DuPage. This program connects minority, women, disabled, and veteran-owned businesses to helpful resources and new opportunities.
  • Learn more about one of Chicagoland’s hottest startup sectors: quantum technologies.

A special thanks to the College of DuPage for supporting today’s episode. To keep up with what’s happening in DuPage County and the Chicagoland region, follow Choose DuPage on social media or visit

2023 DuPage County Trade Apprenticeship Expo

DuPage County Trade Apprenticeship Expo

PowerForward DuPage will be hosting the 2023 DuPage County Trade Apprenticeship Expo on Wednesday, November 1st from 3:30pm – 6:30pm. The event features interactive, hands-on demonstrations by the county’s building trade organizations as well as opportunities to meet with instructors to learn more about each individual trade apprenticeship program.

“This is our annual opportunity to open the doors and invite students, parents, guidance counselors, and teachers in to learn what each trade is about and more importantly, outline the career potential that exists outside of the traditional collegiate path,” said PowerForward DuPage Executive Director Karyn Charvat. The expo started in 2018 when Charvat noticed a gap forming in the construction trade industries. It is held at the IBEW Local 701 Union Hall, home to PowerForward DuPage.

The DuPage County Trade Apprenticeship Expo is free to attend but requires online registration. Register HERE!

If you are a DuPage County educator and would like your high school to be contacted directly for participation, please contact PowerForward DuPage at 630-791-2660.

IBEW Local 701 Union Hall
28600 Bella Vista Parkway
Warrenville, IL 60555

At “Breakfast,” Great Conversation (and Coffee) Flows

Deborah Conroy

By DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy

I’ve always been a big believer in the power of a good breakfast. After all, many say it’s the most important meal of the day. And when you can combine a good breakfast with wide-ranging, open-minded conversations on topics relevant to the business community in DuPage County, well that’s even better. Get a bunch of smart people around a table, add caffeine, and magic happens.

Somehow, Choose DuPage has taken the magic of a good breakfast chat and scaled it up. We call these events Breakfast with the Chair, and since joining the Choose DuPage community, these AM get-togethers have been one of my favorite things we do.

For those who are unfamiliar, Breakfast with the Chair operates by a simple but ingenious formula. Each quarter, entrepreneurs, experts and community leaders from across DuPage County come together; we give them a good topic and a hearty breakfast, then let the conversations flow.

Often, there are formal presentations, but dialogue is the name of the game, and big, blue-sky ideas are more than welcome. Come with an opinion, leave with a nuanced perspective, a whole lot of facts on the topic and best practices that businesses employ concerning the topic.

Topics on the menu include anything that affects the DuPage community, from technology and sustainability to health and wellness. Since the beginning of 2023, I’ve attended three Breakfasts, and we’ve already covered Artificial Intelligence, Talent Recruitment, and Mental Health in the Workforce.  

The topics vary, but tying all of these Breakfasts together is that key ingredient: conversation. Perhaps many of us spend too much of our time in the world of Likes, Shares, and Posts. I consider these Breakfasts a welcome antidote to our social media-driven, 24-hour-news-cycle culture. Here’s a chance to slow down, think deeply, dance with bold ideas, and walk away with both a richer understanding of important issues and greater respect for other viewpoints.

In other words, these Breakfasts are old-school in the best way. They facilitate the kind of give-and-take conversations that leaders need to be having, and the fact that we host them regularly is a small testament to the distinctively collaborative atmosphere of DuPage and the Chicagoland region.

They’re also, critically, a whole lot of fun. At the end of each Breakfast, I always walk away full of fresh energy and new ideas—and hungry for more.

About the Hon. Deborah Conroy, Chair, DuPage County Board

In 2022, Deborah A. Conroy was elected as the first female Chair of the DuPage County Board. Prior to winning that election, Chair Conroy served in the Illinois State House of Representatives for ten years, beginning in 2012.

During her tenure in the General Assembly, Chair Conroy co-founded the House Democratic Women’s Caucus and served as the first Chair of the Mental Health and Addiction Committee. She advocated for expanded mental health and addiction services, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. She passed legislation expanding access to Naloxone, a life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.  Chair Conroy was also lead negotiator on legislation that expanded access to telehealth, and she sponsored legislation putting civics education back in high schools.  Prior to serving in the Illinois House, she was a member of the Elmhurst Community Unit District 205 School Board.

Chair Conroy is a dedicated public servant with a long history of supporting her community. She previously served on the board of the Elmhurst Children’s Assistance Foundation, which provides financial assistance to families with disabled or medically burdened children.

Chair Conroy attended York Community High School, the College of DuPage, and Columbia College. She lives in Elmhurst and has four adult sons.

Customers Save More than $8 Billion on Energy Bills Through Award-Winning ComEd Energy Efficiency Program


ComEd offerings ranked first in Midwest by national energy-efficiency research organization

CHICAGO (Aug. 30, 2023) – Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of families and businesses across northern Illinois have saved a total of more than $8 billion on their energy bills by participating in the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program.

The award-winning program, which is funded in compliance with state law, is one of the largest in the nation offering residents, businesses and the public sector a variety of options that help them cut back on their energy use, which reduces energy bills and helps the environment.

In addition to saving customers more than $8 billion on their energy bills, the program also helped customers save approximately 76 million megawatt-hours of electricity, which is enough energy to power more than 8.6 million ComEd customers’ homes for one year. The program has also helped reduce from the air nearly 65 billion pounds of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, which is the equivalent of removing more than 6.3 million cars off the road for one year or planting nearly 35 million acres of trees.

“As ComEd works to provide customers with clean, reliable energy, we’ve also worked over the last decade to control costs and keep rates competitive,” said Erica Borggren, vice president of customer solutions at ComEd. “Part of that effort is through the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program, which enables customers to take control of when and how they use electricity to help them manage costs and lower their electric bills.”

In January, the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) recognized ComEd’s Multi-Family Energy Savings offering with an Inspiring Efficiency Award. The offering, one of many available through ComEd’s energy-efficiency program, features assessments and free or discounted energy-saving products to help residents and owners of multi-unit dwellings lower their energy use and electric bills. In May, the program also received the highest level of recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year—Sustained Excellence Award.

“Energy efficiency plays a crucial role in meeting our nation’s energy needs,” said Mike Specian, utilities manager at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and lead author of the recently released Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranked the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program first among Midwest utility programs and fourth nationally. “It lowers customer energy bills, reduces energy burden, improves in-home comfort, enhances resilience, and improves indoor air quality.”

The scorecard evaluated 53 of the largest U.S. electric utilities on their policy and program efforts related to energy efficiency during 2021. The scorecard also looked at how utilities managed customers at risk of having their electric service disconnected, which can severely damage people’s health and well-being by depriving them of safe living temperatures, refrigeration, and the use of medical equipment, as well as evaluated utilities on how they ensure diverse workforces for their efficiency programs.

How customers can benefit from energy-saving programs

ComEd residential customers interested in taking advantage of any of the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program offerings can view a full list of services, incentives and rebates at Offerings for business customers are available at

For customers who want help getting started, ComEd recommends establishing a free, online account at Once logged in, customers can compare their current bill with last month’s bill and last year’s bill to learn more about their energy use. They can even view their bill forecast to see an estimate of their upcoming bill, so customers can make changes in energy use to manage costs before their next bill. With an online account, customers can also:

  • Click on My Usage and then Tips to find personalized, energy-saving suggestions based on the information provided in their home profile. These tips can help customers find ways to save money and energy, by cost, season, and more.
  • Sign up for free bill notifications, such as High-Usage Alerts that send notifications when energy use is trending higher than usual, and Weekly Usage Reports that summarize your daily use so you can spot trends and adjust usage before your next bill arrives.
  • Access View My Usage to obtain graphs of existing costs and energy-use patterns. In the Neighbors tab, customers get a relative comparison of energy use from about 100 comparable homes within a certain radius. To increase the accuracy of the comparison, customers can go to My Home Profile to add or change details about your home.

Argonne researchers win three 2023 R&D 100 Awards

Argonne National Laboratory

The awards program is colloquially referred to as the ​Oscars of Innovation”

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and partner organizations have been honored with three awards as part of the 2023 R&D 100 Awards, colloquially referred to as the ​Oscars of Innovation.” An additional Argonne project was named a finalist.

We are thrilled to see Argonne researchers and partners recognized by this prestigious awards program for their innovative work,” said Megan Clifford, Argonne’s associate laboratory director for science and technology partnerships and outreach. ​Argonne’s winning projects and those that were named finalists represent a wide range of cutting-edge science and engineering — from climate science to cancer research — that can have a profound impact on people and communities.”

Argonne has won 145 R&D 100 Awards since the competition began in 1963. Past winners also include Fortune 500 companies, other DOE national laboratories, academic institutions and smaller companies.

Argonne’s winning projects/technologies this year are:

CANDLE (CANcer Distributed Learning Environment) (Principal Investigator: Rick Stevens)

CANDLE is an artificial intelligence-based computer code that brings together machine learning, deep learning and cancer research to accelerate the discovery of new cancer therapies and treatments. This unique and powerful platform aims to solve three major challenges in cancer. First, it analyzes protein behaviors in tumor cells. Second, it looks at the relationship between tumors and drugs. Third, it can analyze biomedical records to extract new patterns and information. CANDLE was also used to research potential treatments for SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, scientists are using CANDLE codes to check the performance of the most advanced DOE computing systems, including Argonne’s upcoming Aurora exascale supercomputer.

CANDLE is designed in partnership with DOE and the National Cancer Institute.

This research was supported by the Exascale Computing Project, a collaborative effort of DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Cardinal: Scalable High-Order Multi-Physics Simulation (Principal Investigator: April Novak)

Scientists and engineers rely on simulation to predict the behavior of nuclear reactors under a variety of design conditions. Often, experiments are too expensive to carry out or are incompatible with fast-turnaround design cycles. Science modeling and simulation is particularly important to the advancement of novel nuclear reactor designs and can enable critical insight for making better design decisions to increase efficiency and safety.

Cardinal is an open-source simulation software package that delivers highly accurate solutions for a wide range of applications in nuclear energy sciences. Cardinal features state-of-the-art, scalable algorithms for achieving multiphysics solutions with neutron transport, fluid flow, heat transfer and material behavior on platforms ranging from laptops to extreme-scale computers. The physical phenomena that can be simulated with Cardinal range from neutron interactions with matter on the atomic scale to the whole-system response of nuclear reactors coupled to electric grids on the kilometer scale.

Funding for Cardinal was provided by DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

Climate Risk and Resilience Portal (ClimRR) (Principal Investigator: Carmella Burdi)

ClimRR is a free, web-based tool that gives emergency managers and community leaders access to localized data about future climate conditions and hazards. Climate projections and visualization at the neighborhood-level scale create opportunities for local decision makers to take informed action. This information is increasingly of interest to decision makers as the impacts of climate change become more frequent and intense.

Argonne developed ClimRR in a unique partnership with AT&T and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To create ClimRR, Argonne first used the power of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science user facility, to dynamically downscale data from three different global climate models, and then used that dataset as the basis for rendering more than 100 unique visualizations of climate impact variables over three different timeframes and according to two greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The data in ClimRR can be combined with data from the Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool to help users understand local-scale climate risks in the context of existing community demographics and infrastructure. For example, users can include locations of vulnerable populations and critical infrastructure.

ClimRR can be used to plan for and reduce heat emergency deaths or target assistance among those communities that are most vulnerable. Communities can use the tool to protect family farms and the future food security of millions of people. Decision makers can use ClimRR to help make infrastructure more resilient against increasingly extreme conditions. Also, decision makers can use the tool to help vulnerable local seasonal economies plan for change, and preserve the cultures, resources and lifeways of indigenous peoples.

AT&T originally commissioned Argonne’s Center for Climate Resilience and Decision Science to produce the climate projections in ClimRR for the company’s own adaptation efforts, but then sought to make that data publicly available.

In addition, another Argonne project/technology was named a finalist this year:

ActivO: A Machine Learning Driven Active Optimizer for Rapid Product Design Optimization (Principal Investigator: Pinaki Pal)

ActivO is an innovative software technology developed at Argonne that provides a unique turnkey solution to speed up product design optimization and massively accelerate virtual prototyping across a wide range of industries. Imagine designing a car engine or a wind turbine. You want it to work well and use less energy, but figuring out the best design can take a lot of time and money because of having to test many ideas and prototypes.

The secret to how ActivO accelerates the design process is a one-of-its-kind combination of: advanced ensemble machine learning (ML)-driven predictive surrogate models trained on simulation data; adaptive sampling of the design space via active learning for on-the-fly refinements of the ML surrogate models; and efficient algorithms for controlling the relative degree of local (exploitation) versus global (exploration) search of the design space during optimization — all within an automated, modular and scalable workflow. ActivO can be readily coupled with any simulation tool. It can also efficiently run on high performance computing clusters/supercomputers and cloud-based platforms, owing to its highly parallelizable and portable framework. The compact and end-to-end nature of ActivO enables easy adoption by engineers in industry, even those who do not have extensive ML expertise.

ActivO has wide applicability and ability to impact multiple industrial sectors, such as automotive, aerospace, chemical, iron and steel, oil and gas, carbon capture, and biomedical. Argonne has demonstrated the capability of ActivO to speed up design optimization of automotive engines by an order of magnitude — from months to a few days — compared with other contemporary commercial software tools. Companies like Dow Chemical are already leveraging it to optimize their products. By way of drastically accelerating design optimization campaigns, ActivO can shrink industry design cycles/costs and time-to-market for advanced products.

ActivO was developed under a Technology Commercialization Fund project funded by the Decarbonization of Off-road, Rail, Marine and Aviation program of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office.

The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility provides supercomputing capabilities to the scientific and engineering community to advance fundamental discovery and understanding in a broad range of disciplines. Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, the ALCF is one of two DOE Leadership Computing Facilities in the nation dedicated to open science.

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.

Learn more about opportunities to partner with Argonne National Laboratory.

Breakfast with the Chair: Leveraging AI for Business

Breakfast with the Chair

DuPage County business leaders gathered on Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at Hamilton Lakes in Itasca for an important, roundtable discussion about artificial intelligence (AI) and how to leverage it for business. A variety of businesses and organizations throughout DuPage engaged in meaningful conversations about AI’s applications, risks, and corporate policy around AI.

The Hon. Deborah Conroy, Chair of the DuPage County Board opened the discussion by sharing the incredible growth of platforms like Chat GPT and added, “I believe Chat GPT and the larger questions around AI will all be answered in the context of our human needs. These systems are not, in fact, human. They use the data that humans feed them. And sometimes, the information they spit back out is false. It’s flawed, as are the humans in charge. These systems will not replace the human experience… The most effective communication will always tap into these uniquely human experiences to connect with others. For that, we will always depend on our own human perspectives.”

Following Chair Conroy, Bert Nuehring, Partner and Kim Yin, Machine Learning Technology Lead at Crowe LLP gave a presentation on the applications, capabilities, benefits, and potential impact of AI. Some of the benefits include:

  • Faster product development. For example, it can be used to generate 3D architectural designs and floor plans based on client requirements. Or create app prototypes based on high-level specifications.
  • Enhanced customer experience. AI can be used as virtual assistants – providing personalized support and recommendations to customers or create personalized ad experiences based on behavior and preferences.
  • Improved employee productivity. AI can automate routine document preparation or streamline manual processes.

Attendees shared how they use AI in their businesses, ranging from summarizing text to generating ideas. 

Following Crowe LLP’s presentation, Rathje Woodward LLC gave a presentation on the risks of AI, and what companies should consider when building acceptable use policies. Attorneys Heather Kramer and Yates French shared that the risks include:

  • Hallucinations: liability for inaccurate information, fraud, defamation.
  • Confidentiality: protecting trade secrets or other highly sensitive information.
  • Privacy: protecting clients, consumers, or partners.
  • Copyright: Protecting your materials or using copy written materials.

Their presentation pointed out that when you ask a platform like Chat GPT a question, the answer is based on previously written words on the internet. It’s not looking for truth, it’s looking for the most popular answer available, and in some cases, it may be making it up entirely.

Heather and Yates also warned that businesses should be cautious about what they put into public AI platforms, sharing real-life examples of businesses that have put confidential information into Chat GPT and the implications it had on the company.

In summary, artificial intelligence can be leveraged to enhance efficiency and decision-making, but it’s important to align AI initiatives with your business goals and consider factors like data privacy and ethics throughout the process.

Breakfast with the Chair events are hosted by Choose DuPage, with Hon. Deborah Conroy, DuPage County Board Chair. This series of events is an opportunity for local business leaders to connect, learn and discuss important topics effecting DuPage County. Special thanks to Hamilton Partners for hosting us at their Hamilton Lakes office development in Itasca.

ComEd Announces New Programs to Accelerate Adoption of EVs Across Northern Illinois

Electric Vehicle

$231 million investment to expand electrification includes new EV Charging Delivery Rate option to incentivize charging buildout; Expanded EV training for municipalities adds 15 new communities

ComEd joined with regional and municipal leaders to unveil its latest programs designed to accelerate the adoption of electrified technologies, including electric vehicles (EVs), in northern Illinois. As part of ComEd’s $231 million investment in new customer programs geared toward removing barriers to electrification, ComEd announced a new EV Charging Delivery Rate option to incentivize the buildout of an expanded network of EV charging infrastructure to meet a growing need in the northern Illinois region.

Additionally, ComEd and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) announced the expansion of a unique program helping local governments shape plans for EV adoption. The EV Readiness program welcomes 15 new communities to work together to develop policies and programs to safely integrate EVs and EV charging programs in their communities.

Together, ComEd’s investments and partnerships to enable the electrification of transportation, buildings and industry will play a key role in addressing the impacts of climate change and enhancing air quality for all communities and advance the goals of the state’s Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which sets a goal of putting 1 million EVs on Illinois roads by 2030. 

“ComEd is committed to helping more residential and business customers transition to zero emissions technologies needed to build a cleaner, more resilient future for all,” said ComEd CEO Gil C. Quiniones. “Working in collaboration with state, municipal and regional partners, ComEd is offering new programs to help remove barriers to going electric at home, on the road and at work – with a special focus on underserved communities that have been hit hardest by carbon emissions.”

EVs are on the rise in Illinois, with nearly 70,000 registered with the state today, and more being registered every month. The development of adequate EV charging infrastructure is essential to supporting customers in making the transition to an EV and reducing range anxiety. Thousands more chargers will be needed in the years ahead to support new state goals for expanding EVs, with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimating between 18,000-36,000 additional fast charging stations needed statewide.


To accelerate investment in charging infrastructure, ComEd is now offering an EV Charging Delivery Rate option. This new rate option is available to all nonresidential customers with EV charging and provides them with a cost-effective alternative to demand-based delivery rates. This will help business customers that are expected to have low charger utilization in the near term as the electrification efforts continue to grow in northern Illinois. All nonresidential customers are eligible, including: public sector, businesses, mass transit agencies, and other commercial categories.

“As we move towards developing a new fueling infrastructure for the state – the utility role will only become more critical. ComEd’s new rate options will complement the state’s investment in charging infrastructure and help create an expansive public charging network in Illinois,” said Megha Lakhchaura, State of Illinois EV Officer. “We hope to see continued initiatives from ComEd that align with the state’s attempts to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and fight climate change.”

“To date, ChargePoint has helped our customers in Illinois deploy thousands of public and private charging stations — and these new programs will allow us to expedite that work in the coming years,” said Matthew Deal, Senior Manager of Regulatory Policy, ChargePoint. “ComEd’s programs will lower the cost of operating EV charging stations while helping finance the actual deployment of this critical infrastructure.”

The transition to electric technologies, including EVs, offers customers a way to lower their carbon footprint while at the same enhancing air quality across our communities. ComEd’s new investments in electrification are projected to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 400,000 metric tons over the life of the plan, the equivalent of the amount of carbon sequestered by approximately 500,000 acres of U.S. forests in one year.

“This plan is clear evidence ComEd listened carefully and got the message loud and clear, communities like ours and towns and villages across Illinois need help if we expect to accelerate the transition to beneficial electrification and meet the state’s climate change goals,” said Billy Davis, Co-Founder, General Manager, JitneyEV, LLC. “These customer-focused programs and incentives go a long way to helping us get there.”

Additional customer programs to incentivize and accelerate the adoption of EVs and other electrified technologies will be rolled out in coming months as part of ComEd’s three-year, $231 million investment. These programs, which include new rebates, make-ready infrastructure support, and pilot studies, are designed to support a transition to cleaner technologies and were informed by feedback gathered last year from hundreds of participants representing communities, health advocacy, industry, local business, school districts and other customer groups across the service region.

“Commercial EV rates and make-ready programs are both market accelerants for transportation electrification,” said Sara Rafalson, SVP of Market Development, Public Policy, and External affairs for EVgo. “Through the Beneficial Electrification Plan, ComEd has laid the foundation to rapidly grow third-party investments in public charging. We look forward to growing our fast charging footprint in ComEd’s service territory over the coming years to serve EV drivers across Chicagoland and Northern Illinois.”


ComEd and MMC today also announced its continued investment in the EV Readiness program, a collaboration with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, launched to help local governments prepare to meet the growing demand for EVs and EV charging infrastructure. ComEd’s renewed support for the program will also serve a second cohort of communities set to participate in the program, announced today. These include:

  • Batavia
  • Bensenville
  • Berwyn
  • DuPage County
  • Elgin
  • Evanston
  • Hickory Hills
  • Highland Park
  • Montgomery
  • Northbrook
  • Park Forest
  • Peotone
  • River Forest
  • Wilmette
  • Woodstock

“ComEd’s investments in electrification have been essential as community leaders move to reach new climate goals, navigate funding opportunities, and adopt local policies that will make EV integration safe and equitable for the residents and businesses they serve,” said Kevin Burns, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Environment Committee and Energy Subcommittee Chairman. “We are thrilled to welcome a second cohort of communities committed to achieving EV readiness through this program, and thank ComEd for its continued partnership in helping communities meet new demand for EV access, and the environmental benefits that comes with it.”

The EV Readiness program kicked off last year, working with a diverse cohort of 16 communities to support safe and effective plans for regional transportation electrification.  In addition to developing local plans, participation in the program has also helped position communities for competitive funding opportunities designed to support electrification. 

ComEd’s investments to support EV adoption align with its proposals filed with regulators earlier this year to enable the power grid to support the increasing number of EVs and solar resources while ensuring continued resiliency in the face of more severe and frequent weather events. ComEd’s proposed plans will build on ComEd’s record-setting reliability performance, ensuring the benefits of the clean energy transformation in Illinois are shared equitably by ComEd customers, while balancing affordability.

ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit, and connect with the company on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

DuPage’s COVID Grant Just Won a National Award. Meet the People Behind It.   

Lindsay Jirasek just wanted someone to listen.

It was the spring of 2020, peak COVID. For eight years, Lindsay’s Wheaton boutique Frocks & Frills Vintage had been a popular local shop. Now, no one had walked through the doors in months. The store was falling behind on rent and the bills were piling up.

“Despite all the ups and downs businesses usually have, I never had this feeling of helplessness I had when COVID hit,” Lindsay said.

Desperate, she joined millions of small-business owners across the country in applying for grants, money that could help her keep the lights on. Then, one after another, the grants fell through. What really stung was that many of the programs rejected Lindsay outright, without ever reaching out. They weren’t listening.

Then, Lindsay applied for the Reinvest DuPage Small Business Grant. Created by the DuPage County Board and administered by Choose DuPage, the grant was designed to distribute federal relief funds to local small businesses. In the months to come, Choose DuPage granted $36.7 million to more than 2,000 small businesses.

Lindsay’s was one.

“I felt like I had a friend who had their hand out in the darkness, willing to help,” she said.

“Before I knew it, people were reaching out and actually responding to all my questions. When I got the letter that said I was approved, I just couldn’t believe it. That check meant I could keep my lights on.”

In honor of the Reinvest DuPage Small Business Grant program, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has recognized DuPage County with an Achievement Award. Launched in 1970, Achievement Awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

“DuPage County is proud to be a leader and to provide creative and innovative programs. We are grateful for the recognition from NACo and for the opportunity to share information about these initiatives with government leaders across the nation,” said County Board Chair Deborah Conroy.

For business owners like Lindsay, how the program was executed was nearly as important as the program itself.

When DuPage County asked Choose DuPage to implement Reinvest DuPage, we knew we had to act fast. But we also had to get it right. We needed a well-designed program that was accessible for the businesses that needed it most. The experience had to be as intuitive and seamless as possible.

“There were so many factors to consider,” said Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage. “How would someone apply? What information do we need from them? How do we verify eligibility?”

There to ensure the program was a success, was a small group of hard-working people. Choose DuPage Board Members, Glenn Mazade of Old National Bank; Hugh Elliott of Dugan + Lopatka CPAs; Chris Pohlman of Mesirow; Bob Hutchinson of Wheaton Bank & Trust; and Bert Nuehring of Crowe LLP formed a committee. Together with Teresa O’Brien from Choose DuPage, and an army of interns, the Reinvest DuPage Small Business Relief Grant Program came to life.

After launching a marketing campaign to educate local business owners about the grant and how to apply, the committee reviewed thousands of applications, vetted businesses and ultimately awarded grants.

Through their hard work, and the hard work of many others, Choose DuPage delivered an accessible experience that helped deliver federal funds to business owners who needed it most. For businesses like Lindsay’s and the communities they serve, the program’s impact is still felt today.

“Reinvest DuPage happened fast, because it had to happen fast. But it has also made a lasting impact on our community, both economically and culturally,” Greg said.

“When I hear stories like Lindsay’s, I remember that this is ultimately about people helping people. This is a reminder that the bonds of our community, our relationships, our trust in one another, make us resilient in the face of change.

“We’re here to lift each other up.”