Q4 2017 Economic Developments Newsletter
The Lake County Partners Quarterly E-Newsletter: October 2017
The Suburbs are the Place to Be & Young Professionals Know It
Bloomberg recently spoke with leaders in the region and found that suburbs like those in Lake County offer an attractive and affordable alternative to Chicago, as young professionals increasingly seek suburban office parks with urban amenities, homes near top-ranking schools, and a high quality of life. Read the article here and see why Lake County is poised to capture the attention of younger professionals.
Crain’s Chicago Business Spotlights Lake County’s Strength
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Lake County’s strength in the manufacturing industry is nearly unparalleled in the region. Lake County is set apart from others because local employment has rebounded to pre-recession numbers. One local CEO, Jim Fitzgerald of Lincolnshire’s Flexan, noted that the choice to locate his business in Lake County was easy due to the heavy concentration of medical device manufacturers, deep talent pool and “curb appeal.” Click here to read the article or click here to watch Jim tell us why he chose to relocate his business in Lake County.
Manufacturer Nypro Nearly Doubles the Size of its Gurnee Facility
Medical device manufacturer Nypro, a Jabil company, held a ribbon cutting to commemorate the expansion of its facility in Gurnee from 90,000 sq. ft. to nearly 157,000 sq. ft. The project represents a $21.7 million-dollar investment and will add an initial 60 new highly-skilled jobs.
Nypro is planning for a second phase which will add an additional 11,000+ sq. ft. The company has been in Gurnee since 1994, and its current client list includes Abbott, AbbVie, Siemens and LifeHealth. This investment marks Nypro’s commitment to making the location its healthcare customer base in the Midwest. Click here for additional project information.
Sysmex America Celebrates its Expansion in the Village of Mundelein
Sysmex America, a global leader in hematology and urinalysis equipment manufacturing, celebrated the opening of its expanded state-of-the-art reagent manufacturing facility in the Village of Mundelein. Sysmex America has exhibited double-digit growth in recent years, and this $24 million investment will almost double the square footage of the facility and increase production capacity by 80%.
Products made at the expanded facility will reach customers in the U.S., Canada and parts of Latin America. Sysmex America has grown from 30 employees in 2003 to over 1,200 worldwide, with 400 based in Lake County. The Mundelein facility is one of several local Sysmex properties—the company also operates its main headquarters in the Village of Lincolnshire and a distribution center in the Village of Buffalo Grove, and it is in the process of constructing a training center in the Village of Vernon Hills. We would like to acknowledge Sysmex America for its local leadership and commitment to Lake County and its communities.
Rosalind Franklin University of Science and Medicine Breaks Ground on New Facility in North Chicago
In September, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science broke ground on a new Innovation and Research Park in North Chicago which is expected to be complete by 2019. The facility is a four-story, 100,000 sq. ft. addition that will house research labs and incubator space for university faculty and commercial biotech startups as well as national and international life science firms. Lake County Partners anticipates that this project will create an estimated 498 new jobs and have a total economic regional impact of $117 million per year. Take a virtual tour of the new facility here or get in-depth project information here.
Lake County Workforce Ecosystem Assists E.H. Wachs with Locating Talent
As precision tooling manufacturer E.H. Wachs looked to consolidate its facility in Harvard with the company’s existing facility in Lincolnshire, partners in the Workforce Ecosystem worked together to assist them with tapping into Lake County’s vast talent pipeline.
In response to their need for skilled engineers and a videographer, the Lake County Workforce Development Department sourced resumes for the company’s consideration, paying particular attention to finding a pool of candidates affected by previous layoff events. As a result, E.H. Wachs was able to seamlessly hire a full-time permanent Electrical Engineer and 2 temporary CAD Engineers and contract with a videographer to capture instructional footage. Get additional insights in the latest Workforce Development Department newsletter here or click here to request a visit with Lake County Partners and receive assistance to meet your business needs.
Lake County Partners Welcomes New Business Engagement Director Dru Garcia
Lake County Partners is proud to welcome new Business Engagement Director, Dru Garcia, to the team! Dru will lead the development of key relationships with stakeholders such as the Lake County Workforce Development Department and the College of Lake County to fuel business growth and expansion and provide custom support. Get to know Dru here and click here to schedule an appointment with her to tap into our extensive business services.
Lake County Partners Teams with Municipalities to Attract Business
Lake County Partners recently teamed with a multitude of Lake County municipalities to host a booth at the International Council of Shopping Centers Deal Making Show, where representatives interacted with site selectors, brokers and retailers from across the country to promote local economic development opportunities.
Meanwhile, our latest Economic Update finds that retail vacancies in Lake County have hit a ten-year low as storefronts find new ways to stay relevant in the changing consumer landscape and in-store purchases continue to dominate sales.
This retail-focused Economic Update demonstrates strength in the County’s retail sector. Despite growing online sales and shrinking store counts in some categories, retail vacancies in the County are at a ten-year low.
“Retail vacancies are down to 7.6% in Lake County, the lowest they have been since late 2007,” said Kevin Considine, president of Lake County Partners. “Given the key role retail plays in the fabric of our communities and the local economy, we are thrilled to see a continued decline in Lake County’s retail vacancy rates.”
Considine notes several trends that are contributing to the decline, including consumer preference for in-store purchases. “The vast majority of all purchases still happen at a brick and mortar store,” said Considine. “In addition to seeing a product firsthand before making a purchase, many consumers also want to support retailers that are operating in their communities.”
More than ninety percent of purchases in the U.S. are still made in person, and Americans say that all things being equal, they would prefer making purchases from physical stores as opposed to buying online. Further, 78% think it is important to be able to try a product out in person before making a purchase.
Retail real estate expert Allen Joffe, Managing Broker and Principal of Baum Realty Group, LLC also credits a move toward experiential retail with keeping storefronts in Lake County occupied. “Consumers are looking for unique and new concepts, to be entertained and, as always, the highest quality and service. There is a huge move to add entertainment to the retail mix to attract consumers.”
New Lake County developments such as Mellody Farms in Vernon Hills play to this trend, mixing retail with dining and space for entertainment and programming. Considine says this trend is also playing a key role in revitalized downtowns throughout the County, where demand for restaurant space has been high. “We are seeing an influx of young families and former city dwellers, that want a combination of dining, entertainment and shopping options close to home.”
Expansion in the grocery and discount retail sectors has also helped Lake County to weather store closures of large retailers that are shrinking store counts and decreasing square footage. Other shuttered storefronts are finding new life beyond retail, including redevelopment as healthcare facilities.
Considine says keeping storefronts full in Lake County is not just good for the economy, but essential to the quality of life. “Our retail sector greatly enhances life in Lake County by providing convenient access to goods and services as well as new entertainment options and amenities. These are one of the many reasons why Lake County is such an attractive place to live.”
World-class Healthcare Industry Contributes to a Healthy Lake County Economy
Lake County now ranks sixth out of 102 counties in Illinois for health outcomes, and the healthcare sector currently employs nearly 27,000 workers—a number that is expected to grow 6.4% by 2020. In 2016, health care workers in Lake County earned more than $1.8 trillion in wages. In this recent Economic Update, we examine how state-of-the-art facilities and technology coupled with excellent employment opportunities in the healthcare field are positively impacting the Lake County economy.
Lake County Partners’ recent Economic Update on the healthcare industry gives the County high marks for health care, noting the development of several new state of the art facilities, increases in health outcomes, and excellent employment opportunities in the health care field.
The report notes steady increases over the past three years in Lake County health outcomes, with Lake County now ranking sixth out of 102 counties in Illinois for health outcomes (measured by length of life and quality of life) according to the 2017 County Health Rankings, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
A further testament to the the healthcare system in Lake County, several local hospitals were recognized for quality of care. Advocate Condell Medical Center (Libertyville), Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital (Barrington), Cancer Treatment Center of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Zion), NorthShore Highland Park Hospital, and Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital all received the highest honor from the American Nurses Credentialing center for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.
“Access to quality healthcare directly correlates to the quality of life here in Lake County, but it also has a significant impact on the health of our local economy,” said Kevin Considine, president of Lake County Partners. “We are pleased to see many new developments that not only make Lake County a hub for world-class patient care care, but also a destination for healthcare career opportunities.”
The healthcare sector in Lake County currently employs nearly 27,000 workers, a number that is expected to grow 6.4% by 2020. In 2016, health care workers in Lake County earned more than $1.8 trillion in wages, a number with sizeable impact to the local economy.
“Continued growth in the healthcare sector benefits everyone, increasing consumer spending power and bringing quality career opportunities,” said Considine. “Most health careers offer a well-defined pathway to advancement, and here in Lake County, health care employers stand out as great places to work.”
Advocate Health Care is just one of many employers in Lake County recognized as a great place to work. It has been named a Chicago Tribune Top Workplace, was recognized as the 6th best hospital for nurses to work by Nurses.org, and was listed as one of the Top 12 Hospitals and Health Systems by Diversity Inc. Advocate also encourages careers in healthcare through its Healthcare Workforce Collaborative, an innovative program to provide training, mentorship and wrap around services to support those seeking to enter healthcare professions. The program will train more than 1,000 individuals by 2020.
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare has also achieved recognition as a great place to work, especially for women. Working Mother magazine has ranked it among the 100 best places to work for the 17th consecutive year. It was also recognized as one of the Top 10 Nonprofits for Executive Women for the 9th consecutive year by the National Association for Female Executives.
Beyond a growing workforce, Considine also noted growth in healthcare infrastructure in Lake County. “We are seeing major investments in new facilities,” said Considine. “All of the major players are adding, expanding and renovating facilities.”
Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital will open a new, nearly 500,000 square foot hospital on its campus in Spring 2018. The new hospital takes patient care into account with streamlined design to optimize care and promote healing and calm. Additionally, NorthShore Highland Park Hospital is nearing completion of a multi-million-dollar modernization project that includes a new state-of-the-art Women’s Hospital and an advanced pulmonary diagnostics program—the only one of its kind in the northern suburbs. Advocate has also added several new care facilities including a new Immediate Injury Clinic Advocate at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, a new Advocate Surgery Center in Libertyville, as well as new regional Immediate Care Centers throughout the county, and Advocate Clinics at Walgreens.
Thank You to Our Board of Governors
Lake County Partners benefits from the dynamic leadership and support provided by our Board of Governors. We are proud to welcome new members Patricia Eaves-Heard of Nicor Gas and Dr. Rich Haney of the College of Lake County to the Board.
Patricia (Pat) Eaves-Heard received a Bachelor's Degree from Governors State University and a Master’s Degree from DePaul University. Pat is now a Manager of Community Relations and Economic Development for Nicor Gas. In this role, Pat serves as the liaison with municipal officials, fire service professionals and Nicor Gas constituents during field-related incidents. Pat also manages the involvement with local associations and organizations (i.e. chambers, business associations, economic development organizations, service clubs/organizations). Pat has been with Nicor Gas, a member of the Southern Company family, for nearly 27 years.
In addition to her role in community relations, Pat has held numerous roles in customer service, supervision and supplier diversity. Pat serves as event chair of the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC), an organization made up of Illinois utilities with a common vision to expand access and opportunities for diverse businesses in the state.
Dr. Rich Haney
Dr. Rich Haney was appointed Interim President at the College of Lake County (CLC) in May 2017. He has served as Provost at the College since 2013 and was the Chief Academic Officer and provided leadership for Student Development and all academic programming at the College including adult education and workforce development. He joined the College of Lake County in 1999 as the Dean of Business and Industry Services and served as the Assistant Vice President for Educational Affairs, and Vice President for Educational Affairs prior to being named the Provost.
Before coming to CLC he held leadership positions at Parkland College and Southwestern Illinois College. Dr. Haney has an extensive background in developing and implementing training and education partnerships between employers, educational institutions, business associations, international partners, and community/economic development groups. He received both his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Lake County Partners Has Moved
We are still your partner in business, but we’re now in another Lake County location while serving you. Please note that our new address is: One Overlook Point, Suite 280, Lincolnshire, Illinois, 60069. Our phone numbers and email addresses remain the same, and we look forward to seeing you in our new space soon.
College of Lake County Seeks Business Input to Set Direction
Local employers are being asked to help set the direction of the College of Lake County’s efforts at preparing graduates for the workforce. Click here to learn more about a survey that will be sent in late October to assess the training and educational needs of Lake County businesses, local units of government and non-profit organizations.
The College of Lake County is working with the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University to assess the training and educational needs of area businesses, units of local government and non-profits. Employers will be asked to identify essential skills that every graduate should have upon entering the workforce. They also will be asked about the types of training and education the College of Lake County should offer in order to keep existing workers up-to-date in their skills. In late October, local employers will be contacted by email and US Mail to answer a brief questionnaire. Responses will be kept confidential. Watch for this invitation to participate. If you have questions about the study, please contact Mindy Schneiderman, Assistant Director, Center for Governmental Studies at 815-753-0039.