With Creativity, Innovation and Care, Antunes Grows amid Pandemic

Antunes

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.

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)

What the Toilet Paper Shortage Taught Us about the Supply Chain

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.

Department of Energy selects Argonne to lead national quantum center

Q-NEXT

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.

Q2 Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage has released its Second Quarter Economic Indicators Report.

Report Highlights:

  • DuPage County’s unemployment rate was 12.6% in May; down from 14.8% in April. DuPage has the lowest unemployment rate in the region.
  • In May, 83% of those laid off said it was temporary.
  • Unemployment claims dropped 50% from April to May.
  • At the end of Q2, there were over 55,000 job opportunities posted in DuPage County.
  • The office vacancy rate remained at 13.8% in Q2, slightly lower than it was during the same time last year.
  • The industrial vacancy rate dropped to 6%, from 6.5% during Q1.

Click here to download the Q2 2020 Economic Indicators Report.

Governor Pritzker Releases Guidelines for Businesses and Workplaces to Safely Reopen During Phase 3 of Restore Illinois

Springfield – Governor JB Pritzker [May 24, 2020] released industry-specific guidelines that allow for the safe re-opening of businesses as the state progresses into the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of the state are on track to advance to Phase 3 of the plan in the coming days, allowing thousands of residents to return to work, and the reopening of businesses in the following industries: retail, offices, manufacturing, barbershops and salons, summer programs, various outdoor recreation activities and bars and restaurants for outdoor dining. 

Guidelines as well as toolkits for businesses can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website, HERE

“In every aspect of our pandemic response, and especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy, our number one priority must be the health and safety of our workers, our customers, and Illinoisans at large,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The industry-specific baseline guidance for businesses the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released today will help employers re-open their doors in Phase 3 in line with that priority. In order to cover as many unique aspects of industry as possible, my administration collected input from hundreds of industry participants across the state and these guidelines reflect the questions and ideas brought to us by businesses of every size, background, and region in the state – and prioritize public health as our guiding light. You can’t build a strong economy if people aren’t comfortable being a part of it.”

Phase 3 of Restore Illinois is expected to bring approximately 700,000 Illinoisans back to the workplace, a key step towards getting the Illinois economy back on track—with an estimated 20 percent, or $150 billion in annual GDP, of the overall economy returned to operations.

In addition to industry-specific guidelines, DCEO and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) developed a common set of standards all businesses must follow. Those standards include the required use of face coverings, social distancing, and informational signage on site, among other preventative measures. 

DCEO also developed a downloadable toolkit for businesses to help them re-open and comply with new guidelines.  The toolkit includes signage, training checklists and other resources to help business owners and workers implement safety procedures and precautions from IDPH. Materials will soon be made available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Polish, Chinese and other most commonly spoken languages in Illinois.

The Pritzker administration has launched nearly $100 million in resources in the past few weeks to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 – including the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, the Emergency Hospitality Assistance Grant, and the Fast Track Capital Grants. The administration continues to look for ways to provide ongoing assistance for businesses across the state. A full list of resources made available to small businesses and communities can be found on DCEO’s website.

“The move to phase 3 marks a milestone achievement in our efforts to protect all Illinois communities and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of IDPH. “IDPH will continue working closely with local public health departments, businesses and communities across our state to refine our public health response based on the latest data, expand testing and contact tracing, and sustain our overall progress in overcoming COVID-19.”

DCEO consulted extensively with over 200 businesses, industry leaders, chambers of commerce, industry associations and trade representatives from around the state to consider the unique aspects and operations of each business industry that is preparing to re-open. 

In addition to the return to work and reopening of specific businesses, Phase 3 permits the following: small group gatherings of 10 or fewer; participation in select sports and outdoor activities, including tennis, boating and camping; and other activities where safe social distancing can be practiced. Residents must continue to follow public health guidelines around social distancing, sanitization and face coverings.

“New guidance provided by the State today will help ensure a safe reopening for businesses, customers and communities at large,” said Michael Negron, Assistant Director of DCEO. “As Illinois works toward its recovery, DCEO is committed to providing businesses across our state clear and actionable guidance that will allow them to implement safe operations so they can get back on track.”

Restore Illinois is a five-phase plan focused on saving lives, livelihood, and safely reopening Illinois. The phased approach is guided by health metrics and coupled with investments in hospital capacity, ramping up testing, and establishing a comprehensive contact tracing system to ensure communities continue to make progress in bending the curve of COVID-19. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized. All guidelines for phases are informed by public health data, a review of other states, and CDC guidelines.

“All manufacturing in Illinois will be able to operate under these guidelines as Illinois moves to the next phase of Restore Illinois. This is a milestone for the manufacturing sector that employs 592,000 women and men on factory floors, many of whom were already working on the front lines making life-saving equipment, producing food, or equipping first responders,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We appreciate the Governor’s Administration for engaging with the IMA and manufacturers across the state in this process and accepting some of our recommendations. Manufacturers look forward to releasing their collective economic might to help our economy recover.”

“The outdoor operational guidelines provided by Governor Pritzker and his team prioritize health and safety while allowing our state’s eating and drinking establishments to start bringing their team members back to work,” said Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association. “We are pleased to see Phase 3 outdoor guidelines extend to a range of food and beverage service providers, and while we recognize this is not a solution for every business, we are encouraged by the creative plans in progress by local municipalities to implement measures that will help broaden the opportunities. This is one step forward in getting our restaurants and bars open in a safe, measured way while allowing diners to come back to the places and experiences they’ve missed.”

“While all of us are focused on maintaining the health, safety and welfare of our residents, we are equally focused on returning to an active, meaningful economy and positive, interpersonal social interactions,” said Brad Cole, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League. 

“On behalf of the businesses in Coles County, I appreciate the effort the Pritzker administration made to consider and solicit guidance from regional businesses as the state moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan,” said Angela Griffin, President of Coles County Together. “Listening to leaders across sectors and across the state assures the nuances of operating a business in the central region are given adequate consideration in ways that both protect our citizens’ health and preserve their livelihood.” 

“Thanks to the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity for hosting the Focus Group on Covid-19 and the impacts on business operations,” said Kevin Davis, Vice President of Pepsi MidAmerica. “We have maintained a very clean and safe environment as an essential employer throughout this entire process, so the check-list we went through was of value to confirm all of our responses and determine all of the areas to be considered.”

“The Great River Economic Development Foundation and several key Quincy and Adams County businesses were very appreciative of the opportunity to meet with representatives of DCEO to discuss our regional challenges, the status of our businesses and to work on strategies within the guidelines of the ReStore Illinois plan,” said Marcel Wagner, Executive Director, Great River Economic Development Foundation. “Quincy and Adams County have been working on a toolkit for businesses to use which aligned very well with the information in presented yesterday by DCEO.  All of our participating businesses felt that our information was well received and be a part of the Phase 3 planning.”

“As we start to reopen our businesses and workplaces, having guidelines and best practices will be beneficial to our employers and staff.  Thank you for taking time to hear local input into the process,” said Alene Carr, Executive Director of Southeastern Regional Planning.  

“The Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance appreciates Illinois DCEO allowing us and our area businesses to provide feedback and suggestions for these important guidelines,” said Ryan McCrady, CEO of Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, Springfield Illinois. “Gaining input from those businesses affected by the guidelines will certainly improve the compliance and practicality of the provisions.”

“The Quad Cities Chamber continues to advocate for a timely, safe and responsible reopening of the Quad Cities economy. I appreciate Governor Pritzker’s willingness to allow us to review and provide input on Illinois’ draft guidelines in advance of their release,” said Paul Rumler, CEO of Quad Cities Chamber. “As impacted Illinois businesses look forward to the Phase 3 reopening, the Chamber asks the state to provide clear guidelines to companies for robust, yet manageable, health protections.  Doing so helps balance businesses reopening in a safe manner while also protecting the health of their employees and customers they serve.”

“The pandemic has brought Illinois’ tourism and hospitality industry to its knees and that has translated to more than half of the employees in the sector becoming unemployed,” said John Groh, President/CEO of Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Reopening our state’s economy safely, responsibility and sustainably is critical. So, I was very pleased to have bene invited to represent our local industry partners in reviewing and providing feedback on Phase 3 re-opening guidelines.”

“On behalf of the many health and fitness centers that operate as business units within Illinois Park Districts and Recreation Departments, we appreciate the thoughtful considerations made by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Public Health in regard to Phase 3 opening  procedures,” said Ron Oestreich, Execitove Director of Bolingbrook Park District. “Our members’ health and wellness will be the ultimate beneficiary of these considerations.”

“Thank you for inviting me to participate in a very important subject for the region, keeping employees safe while operating a manufacturing business.  I believe we are in this together and need to all do our part in staying safe.  Being part of an essential business has allowed us to experience and develop our processes to help create the guidelines for a safer future,” said Erik Perks, Plant Manager of General Cable. “Greater Peoria EDC was happy to help DCEO put a focus group of local businesses together, and was appreciative of being allowed to provide feedback around some the guidelines.”

“We would like to thank the Governor’s Office and the DCEO for putting together the task force and listening to our concerns as local and small business owners. The open discussion was refreshing and informative,” said Stephanie Clark, Chief Executive Officer and Rebecca Garland, Chief Compliance Officer, of VeriFacts, LLC, Sterling Illinois.

“I appreciated hearing the input of the other participants and plans for reopening,” said Angela Rowe, Owner of Decorating Den & Saline County Chamber.

“We would like to thank Governor JB Pritzker and DCEO for reaching out to the Greater Sterling Development Corporation to provide regional coordination of local business input into the guidelines being released for phase 3 of Restore Illinois.  When government agencies listen to business concerns, everyone benefits,” said Heather Sotelo, Executive Director of Greater Sterling Development Corporation. “Our hope is by participating in these conversations, we will keep our businesses open and provide a safe environment for our citizens to work, shop and eat thus moving more quickly to the next phase.”

“I appreciate the opportunity given to me from DCEO and Governor JB Pritzker inviting me to participate in panel discussions regarding the re-opening of Illinois, and given a chance to voice my opinions and concerns on the guidelines pertaining to retail establishments like mine,” said John Brady, Owner of JJM Printing, Sterling Illinois.

“I appreciate the chance to engage in the dialogue regarding the proposed reopening guidelines,” said Bart Hagston, Administrator, Jackson County Health Department. “Forward progress depends upon having solid, carefully considered guidelines.”    

“The Leadership Council SWIL supports DCEO efforts to reopen business in our region! We also appreciate guidelines that will inform the process of reopening given the current COVID-19 virus still existing in our communities. Reopening of our economy and putting people back to work balanced with a proactive and aggressive testing, tracking, and containment of virus hotspot areas will require all of us to lookout for each other by wearing masks and social distancing for the foreseeable future. This virus has brought out the best in many of us to do the right thing for the health of our friends, neighbors, and communities in a consistent and sustained manner,” said Ronda Sauget, CEO of Southwestern Leadership Council, Metro East. “Many businesses have worked hard to develop strong plans to follow the guidelines as appropriate for their business and for their customers. We salute all of the frontline and essential workers who have been working diligently setting a strong example for all of us to follow as we look forward to reopening more businesses. Please stay safe and we look forward to better times ahead!”

“The Professional Beauty Association is very appreciative of the opportunity to work together with the state of Illinois in a collaborative effort to implement safe guidelines for the reopening process of salons,” said Myra Y. Irizarry Reddy, Director, Government Affairs of Professional Beauty Association. “PBA applauds the administration for their careful approach to ensure the safety of licensed beauty professionals and their clients.”

Governor Pritzker Announces Updates to Phase 3 of Restore Illinois Plan in Consultation with Health Experts

Bars and Restaurants Can Open for Outdoor Seating, All State Parks to Open

Building on a robust, statewide effort to ensure Illinois can safely reopen and following the data, science, and guidance from public health experts and stakeholders across the state, Governor Pritzker announced updates to Phase 3 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan.

“We are by no means out of the woods, but directionally, things are getting better. And because of these advances, we are able to make some modifications to allow more activity during Phase 3 of our reopening plan Restore Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans.”

In the coming days, the state and IDPH will be issuing formal industry-specific guidance, particularly around workplaces and childcare, for business owners and employees in these and other sectors.

Bars and Restaurants

With Phase 3, bars and restaurants will have the option to resume operations for outdoor seating only. Tables must be six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff must continue to be followed, and other precautions and guidance will be issued.

These measures will allow restaurants to re-open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities, while giving the state’s hospitality industry a much-needed boost.

Municipalities are encouraged to help restaurants and bars expand their outdoor seating options.

To date, the administration has delivered over $14 million in small business grants averaging $20,000 to 699 bars, restaurants, and hotels across 270 individual cities in Illinois.

Outdoor Activities

With the start of phase 3, all state parks will reopen on May 29.  All concession will reopen as well under guidelines set for our retail and food service businesses in Phase 3. Illinois will permit the re-opening of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) safety precautions and capacity limits.

For golf, in Phase 3, courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times. Carts will also be permitted with one person per cart, or one immediate household per cart.

With the new ten person gathering limit for all activities in Phase 3, boating or camping with up to ten people will be permitted.

The state will be providing guidance on how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, and paintball courses can safely open their doors in Phase 3.

Health Clubs, Retail, and Personal Care Services

In Phase 3, health clubs, gyms, and fitness studios can provide one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to ten people.

Personal care services, like nail salons, tattoo shops, hair braiders, spas and barbershops, can open with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

And all retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place.

Local governments retain the right to establish stricter restrictions in any areas.

“The Governor’s action to allow for expanded outdoor dining options will benefit many restaurants at a time when every dollar counts and provides a glimmer of light at the end of this long, COVID-19 tunnel. Innovative outdoor dining strategies extend a lifeline – restoring jobs and offering guests the hospitality experience they’ve been missing while prioritizing public health and safety. Outdoor dining will not help every restaurant, but it is a constructive step in the right direction,“ said Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. 

“The Allied Golf Associations of Illinois are grateful that we had the opportunity to collaborate with the Governor’s office to propose safely lifting some of the restrictions that had been in place for golf.  The Phase 3 changes will allow more people to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of the game, and do so in a way that is safe for both golfers and facility staff,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA and Illinois PGA Foundation.

Open DuPage

DuPage County, COVID-19 Reopening Guides

The following is intended to serve as a planning guide for reopening “non-essential” facilities in DuPage County. In no way does this document give the authority for businesses to open and all State of Illinois Executive Orders apply. The information is taken from industry experts, in accordance with federal, state, and county guidelines. As resources and guidelines are constantly changing, please consult the most recent documents prepared by these agencies for guidance.

Click the links below to download:

Reopening Guide for the Retail Industry

Reopening Guide for Commercial Office Space

Reopening Guide for the Manufacturing Industry

Reopening Guide for Restaurants and Food Service Facilities

 

DuPage County Launches Reinvest DuPage

Small business relief program developed in partnership with Choose DuPage

DuPage County announced it will launch Reinvest DuPage, a grant relief program developed in partnership with Choose DuPage for small businesses and independent contractors. The program will provide grants to sustain some businesses impacted by COVID-19.

DuPage County will fund this initial program with $7 million in monies received under the federal CARES Act. Choose DuPage will administer the plan with support from DuPage County and local banking and financial experts.

“We are well aware of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our small business community,” said County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. “We believe establishing this small business relief program will sustain some businesses until they can safely reopen.”

The program will provide grants of up to $15,000 for DuPage County-based businesses with fewer than 15 full-time employees and less than $1.5 million in annual revenues. Monies received under the program may be used for payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and other expenses necessary to maintain operations. A 1099 contractor whose annual income is less than $100,000 can also receive relief through the program.

Recipients may not have received assistance from either the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, any state hospitality grant, or any local loan or grant program.

Choose DuPage will hold a webinar at 11 a.m. May 15 to discuss the program with DuPage businesses. Registration for the webinar can be found here and Choose DuPage will promote the program via social media and an email outreach campaign. 

The online-only application portal is expected to launch at 9 a.m. May 18.

Further details, and a link to the application can be found here

Q1 Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage has released its First Quarter Economic Indicators Report.

Report Highlights:

  • DuPage County’s unemployment rate was 4.0%, lower than both the State of Illinois (4.6%) and the United States (4.4%).
  • The fastest growing industry in DuPage County continues to be healthcare and social assistance, employing over 77,000 people.
  • The average annual wages in DuPage County was $64,287.
  • Industrial vacancy rates are currently at 6.5%; office vacancy rates dropped slightly to 13.8% from 13.9% in the last quarter. Class-A office vacancy was 17.6% in Q1.

DuPage County is home to nearly 90,000 businesses that are taking advantage of the highly educated and skilled workforce. Together, these companies represent 653,705 jobs across a variety of industries. 

Click here to download the Q1 2020 Economic Indicators Report.