Q1 2017 Economic Developments Newsletter

The Lake County Partners Quarterly E-Newsletter: March 2017

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Click here to see the economic indicator charts from the January 2017 newsletter.


Lake County Partners Board Names Kevin Considine as New President & CEO

The Lake County Partners Board is pleased to announce the recent promotion of Kevin Considine to the position of President and CEO. Considine has been the Managing Director at Lake County Partners since 2014, and his leadership has been instrumental in the creation of the Workforce Ecosystem initiative. Considine replaces former President and CEO Michael Stevens, who after a successful 5 years with Lake County Partners, was recently tapped by his hometown of Columbus, Ohio to lead its Smart City initiative. 

“Based on his contributions to Lake County Partners and strong relationships with stakeholders throughout the county, Considine was a natural choice to lead the organization into the future as President and CEO,” said Joseph Luna, Lake County Partners Chairman. “He has made significant contributions to job growth in Lake County and collaborated with partners throughout the region to drive economic growth, build our talent pipeline and position Lake County as a premier destination for business.”   

Considine was instrumental in the creation of the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem, forming groundbreaking partnerships with the Lake County Workforce Development Department, the College of Lake County and other stakeholders, which has helped to fill over 600 new jobs. He also played a critical role in developing Lake County Partners’ business outreach program which works to identify and address critical marketplace needs in Lake County.

“Considine has elevated the role of business insight and data intelligence within the organization to serve the needs of our constituents better,” added Luna. “Insights from the business outreach program he created guide strategic planning and are at the core of many new initiatives developed in direct response to the needs of the local business community.”

“I’m excited about the opportunity to build on the work Lake County Partners is doing to advance the region,” said Considine. “As a resident of Lake County, it’s personally rewarding to lead an organization that is making an impact locally. I know first-hand the quality of life here in Lake County and look forward to working with businesses, municipalities, educational institutions, and other organizations to maintain our first-rate communities and drive our future growth.”

Before joining Lake County Partners, Considine held senior management roles in successful technology start-ups, including regional Vice President for Rapt Technologies (acquired by Microsoft in 2008) and Vice President of National Sales for Cars.com. In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Georgetown University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Crummer Graduate School of Business, Considine holds a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Direction from Loyola University Chicago.

Considine is a life-long Chicagoan who moved to Lake County in 2003. He lives in Lake Bluff with his wife Jami and two children. He is the past President of the Lake Bluff Park District Board of Commissioners, and an avid volunteer in and around the community.

Considine replaces former President and CEO Michael Stevens, who after a successful 5 years with Lake County Partners, was recently tapped by his hometown of Columbus, Ohio to lead its Smart City initiative and serve as the city’s first Chief Innovation Officer. The organization is grateful for Stevens’ many contributions and leadership, and appreciative of his strong efforts to advance economic development in Lake County.


Lake County Residents Enjoy Shorter, Alternative Commutes

A recent snapshot published by Lake County Partners and reported on in the Lake County News-Sun shows that commuters are finding ways to beat traffic with alternative commutes and benefitting from shorter commute times than those in more urban areas.

With nearly a quarter of its commuters taking advantage of alternative transportation modes such as carpooling and commuter rail service, Lake County now leads suburban Chicago counties in non-traditional commuters.

“Aside from Chicago, where there is greater use of public transit, Lake County has fewer people driving alone than any other suburban region,” said Kevin Considine, President and CEO of Lake County Partners. “Commuters are taking advantage of the region’s wide range of options to ditch their cars and long commute times.”

Moreover, Lake County residents are enjoying shorter commutes relative to their Cook County counterparts. Nearly 25 percent of Lake County residents travel less than 15 minutes to work each day compared to just 12.6 percent of Chicago residents and 16 percent of Cook County residents. A key driver of quick commutes for Lake County residents is the number of residents that both live and work in Lake County. Nearly 70 percent of residents stay in Lake County for work, more than any other suburban county in the region.

“The number of people both living and working in Lake County is a testament to the region, its thriving economy, and quality of life,” noted Considine. “With a strong and diverse base of business headquartered here, Lake County affords many residents the ability to work where they live, reducing commute times and enhancing the quality of life. Our residents don’t need to leave our borders to find quality employment and great communities in which to live.”

The Lake County Transportation Alliance (LCTA), a group that advocates for multi-modal transportation goals in the County, weighed in on the analysis, noting the importance of continued transportation investment and infrastructure in the region. “With more Lake County commuters opting for alternative transportation modes and a unique number of in-county commuters, we must continue to improve and enhance our local transportation infrastructure,” said Suzanne Zupec, President of LCTA. “Development of new roads and investment in mass transit options are essential to ease local traffic congestion and sustain Lake County’s high quality of life.”


Engineering Fair Highlights Lake County Career Opportunities

More than 160 students and nearly 30 Lake County businesses recently gathered for the first annual Lake County Engineering Internship and Career Fair sponsored by Lake County Partners and the College of Lake County. The event drew students interested in pursuing engineering careers from more than 13 colleges, and gave them the opportunity to interview with leading Lake County businesses for positions in a variety of fields. 

“With its high concentration of BioPharma, Health Care and Manufacturing businesses, Lake County offers students looking to start their careers a breadth of opportunities in engineering,” said Kevin Considine, President and CEO of Lake County Partners.  “Today gave students a chance to see the wide range of options available here in Lake County and the ability to interview with top employers that are looking to hire now.”

“Internship experience is a must, so being able to meet with this many potential employers and explore the range of opportunities right here in Lake County was fantastic,” said Kimberly Jacob, a Bioengineering major at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Nathan Husemoller, a Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, echoed this statement and added “I am in the early stages of my college career, and after meeting with several companies today, I am confident that I can find a quality summer internship and learn more about future career paths.”

“After speaking with companies here today, I was able to see that the skills I am building through the Engineering program are in line with local employers’ needs,” said Justin Badua, a Computer Engineering sophomore at the College of Lake County. “This event has given me the opportunity to learn more about the type of engineers that Lake County companies are looking for so that I can position myself for a future internship with a great company.”

Businesses attending the fair were hoping to connect with students like Kimberly, Nathan, and Justin, with some companies looking to hire as many as 20 summer interns. Considine notes that this is just a small percentage of the total new engineers the county will need between now and 2020. “We anticipate nearly 150 new positions each year, and further opportunity driven by an aging workforce. Twenty-three percent of the engineers in Lake County are currently over 55, and so there is a gap that needs to be filled by emerging talent.”

MAT Holdings, located in Long Grove, sees events such as today’s career fair as critical in meeting that demand. “Our internship program is a key tool in our talent development program,” said Ben Friedel, Corporate Recruiter for MAT Holdings. “We are fortunate to be in an area that is producing so much talent and to have the opportunity to meet with students here in our own backyard that have the skills we need. Our interns often go on to work for us full-time and become some of our best employees.”

Robyn Safron, Human Resources Manager of Hydraforce Inc., agrees that the fair was a success. “We were able to use today to build awareness of what we do and what a career at Hydraforce could offer.  While many students are familiar with the largest companies in the region, they aren’t always familiar with mid-size companies like ours, the innovative work we are doing and the opportunities we can provide.”

“We are excited to bring employers and job seekers together through events such as today’s career fair,” said Considine. “This is a great example of our Workforce Ecosystem in action and it illustrates how we are working together with the College of Lake County, the Lake County Workforce Development Department, local municipalities, school systems and local businesses to ensure that we have the talent pipeline in place for tomorrow as demand for technical skills continues to rise in our region.”

Lake County businesses participating in today’s career fair included Aerotek Staffing, All American Exterior Solutions, Bertsche Engineering Corporation, BRP US, Inc., College of Lake County, ComEd, Federal-Mogul Motorparts, Flex International, Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Handi Ramp, Inc., HN Precision, HydraForce, Inc., Jessup Manufacturing Company, JST Corporation, Konrad Construction, Mad Dash, MAT Holdings, Inc., MBX Systems, Midmark, Nosco, PEER Bearing Company, Profile Plastics Corporation, Progressive Components International Corporation, Stoddard Silencers, Inc., Sysmex America, Inc., TVH Americas, and United Conveyor Corporation.

To request a visit with Lake County Partners staff to get assistance with meeting your business needs, click here and submit your contact information


Boomeranging Millennials Bode Well for Lake County

Reports have broadly cast the Millennial generation as urbanites who are trading in the suburban lifestyle of their parents for the convenience of city living. But as our former President and CEO Michael Stevens notes in this recent LinkedIn blog post, the pendulum is set to swing back to the suburbs. 

Over the past few years it is likely you’ve read a headline or two about the Millennial generation flocking to our cities. Reports have broadly cast Millennials as urbanites who are trading in the suburban lifestyle of their parents for the convenience of city living. Many companies have been quick to follow this trend, relocating headquarters and opening new downtown offices with hopes of luring Millennial talent to their workforces. But as the Millennial generation comes of age, the pendulum is set to swing back to the suburbs.

For those taking a long-term view to workforce development and location strategy, here are a few trends to note before counting the suburbs out:

Affordability combined with a breadth of career opportunities, great schools, and revitalized suburban downtowns are clearly bringing back the appeal of the suburbs to what is now the largest generation.


Lifestyle Center Development in the Village of Lincolnshire Advances

Lincolnshire’s Regal Cinemas/IMAX, located at CityPark Center at the southwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Aptakisic Road, is undergoing extensive renovations as part of a major 20-acre redevelopment to include the construction of a 302-unit luxury apartment complex known as 444 Social

As a part of the project, all theater auditoriums have been retrofitted with brand new, leather reclining seats. In addition, guests can now enjoy dinner and/or beverages before or after the show. The theater parking lot has been recently redesigned in advance of construction of a 302-unit luxury apartment complex, known as 444 Social, south of the movie theater.

Apartment building construction is scheduled for 2017 and 2018. The amenity-rich apartment property will feature a fitness and media center, outdoor swimming pool, roof deck lounge, courtyards, recreational trails and indoor parking, among other amenities. 444 Social is targeted at millennials, young professionals, executives and empty nesters. The Village of Lincolnshire is understandably excited to witness the redevelopment of such a prominent commercial property which will undoubtedly ensure the long-term success of Regal Cinemas and benefit neighboring commercial and office centers.


Lake County Invites Input on Travel Needs from Local Businesses

A Paratransit Market Study is underway to evaluate transportation options for various populations in Lake County. There are a variety of services available to assist people with traveling to locations such as their place of employment, and so the perspective of local employers is important. 

Unlike a traditional scheduled bus service that runs on a published route and serves fixed bus stops, paratransit is a shared and flexible on-demand service that responds to rider requests for travel within a defined service area. Paratransit services are geared toward individuals with mobility limitations that prevent them from accessing scheduled bus service, and/or live outside of an area served by scheduled bus service. The Paratransit Market Study will evaluate the range of available paratransit services, identify gaps in service relative to community needs, and recommend improvements.

The Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) and the Lake County Coordinated Transportation Services Committee (LCCTSC) invites members of the business community to participate in the Lake County Paratransit Market Study. Your organization can share its perspective and help shape future transportation options through this quick online survey.

For additional information on the Lake County Paratransit Market Study, please contact Project Manager Ashley Lucas at ALucas@lakecountyil.gov or (847) 377-7538.


JPMorgan Chase Foundation Grant Accelerates the Workforce Ecosystem

We are proud to announce that Lake County Partners has received a $50,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to continue development of the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem initiative, where we bring together private and public stakeholders to ensure that local businesses have the talent pipeline they need to succeed. Click here to request a business outreach meeting.

“The Workforce Ecosystem was designed to ensure that Lake County has the right mix of skilled workers that our employers need today, and that we are creating a leading workforce for tomorrow,” said Michael Stevens, (now former) President and CEO of Lake County Partners.  “The JPMorgan Chase grant gives us funding to accelerate collaboration and cooperation between Lake County businesses and the local partners that are driving workforce solutions to meet their needs.”

“An educated workforce and a pipeline of available talent are at the core of what drives our economy,” Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said. “In Lake County, our main competitive advantage is the talent of our people who make up one of the most highly educated workforces in the country. This grant allows us to accelerate our efforts to empower our people with new education and training opportunities that match our employers’ current and projected hiring needs."

In an 18-month pilot of the program, Lake County Partners met with more than two hundred businesses to understand their challenges and bring findings back to its Ecosystem partners, the Lake County Workforce Development Department, the College of Lake County and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, to address their needs.

“As we talked to Lake County business leaders, it was clear that workforce development should be a primary focus of our organization,” said Stevens. “Through our efforts, we are able to connect local companies to partner agencies that can help them address their needs, resulting in job fairs, training programs, internships and full-time hires.”

Mundelein-based Amcor, a leader in flexible packaging for the medical and pharmaceutical markets, experienced the results of the Ecosystem partnership first-hand. After expressing demand for highly-skilled labor to fill precision manufacturing roles, Lake County Partners connected the company with a network of resources in its own backyard.

“Knowing specifically what Amcor needed allowed us to bring the right partners to the table and assemble programs that would help Amcor grow and develop its future workforce,” said Kevin Considine, President and CEO of Lake County Partners.

“We have some incredible strengths as a region when it comes to developing technical talent, including the Mechatronics program at the College of Lake County and emerging STEM-education focused programs where students are being trained for the technical careers our local economy will demand in the future,” noted Considine. “We introduced Amcor to these programs, and also helped them to secure a workforce development grant from the Lake County Workforce Development Department that was used to fund on-the-job training. It’s a great example of how the Workforce Ecosystem is able to effectively meet local labor needs.

"Talent and community engagement are two of Amcor's core values, and our partnership with Lake County Partners supports both. The organization has listened to our needs and identified candidates with mechanical and electrical skills, which are critical to our growing business," said Cheryl Hagman, Human Resources Manager at Amcor.

Dr. Jerry Weber of the College of Lake County also touted the benefits of the Ecosystem at work. “With more direct feedback from the private sector, we are able to plan and build career pathways that will ensure fulfilling jobs for students and a high-quality workforce for our business community.”

“Expansion of the program will have a lasting, positive impact for both the people and businesses of Lake County,” said Stevens, noting its ability to provide businesses ready access to a skilled workforce and put more Lake County residents on the path to well-paying careers.

Grant dollars will be used to continue efforts to identify the needs of the Lake County Business community, connect companies to partner agencies who can address those needs and further develop relationships with key employers in the region.   Lake County Partners staff is available to meet with interested Lake County businesses to provide support and facilitate connections with local stakeholders. More information is available through the Business Outreach Program.

“When we support organizations and programs that strengthen the communities we serve, it’s a win-win for all of us,” said Joseph Luna, of JPMorgan Chase who also serves as Chairman of Lake County Partners’ Board of Governors. “The Workforce Ecosystem program is providing tremendous opportunities for our business and citizens.  We’re pleased to support the efforts of Lake County Partners with this grant to advance development of the program.”


Local Municipalities Benefit from Lake County Partners’ Expanded Services

Lake County Partners continues to ramp up connections with local municipalities by hosting quarterly meetings focused on important local economic development topics. This year, meetings will be held at the University Center in Grayslake from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on March 15th, June 14th, September 13th and December 6th. 

Meeting details, agendas and RSVP requests will be sent by email to municipal contacts prior to each meeting.  If you have questions regarding the meeting series or ideas for future agenda items, please contact Economic Development Manager Barbara Prusila at bprusila@lakecountypartners.com or 847-597-1230.


Thank You to Our Board of Governors

Lake County Partners benefits from the leadership of a Board of Governors that represents a diverse group of professionals from businesses and organizations throughout the county. We would like to recognize outgoing Board Members Nick Sauer and Kelly Waters for their service and dedication and announce the addition of several new members to our Board of Governors: Michael A. Danforth of Pluymert, MacDonald & Hargrove, Ltd., Stephen L. Madden of Libertyville Bank & Trust, and Bradley C. Mueller of HealthSmart International. 

Michael A. Danforth is an attorney with Pluymert, MacDonald & Hargrove, Ltd., where he specializes in trial civil litigation cases, Second Amendment regulations and laws and firearm law compliance.  Prior to this position, Danforth served as an attorney with Shaw Law, Ltd. for ten years. As a Lake County Partners Board Member, Danforth represents Lake County Government. He currently serves as the First Vice Chairman of the Lake County Republican Central Committee, a Precinct Committeeman for the Cuba Township Republicans and a Teen Court Judge in Lake Forest, Illinois. Danforth received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and his Juris Doctor from the Regent University School of Law.

Stephen L. Madden is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Libertyville Bank & Trust Company, a member of the Wintrust Financial Corporation family of banks that manages approximately $1.3 billion in assets. Prior to working at Libertyville Bank & Trust, Madden served as the Executive Vice President of Lake Forest Bank & Trust where he managed a team of commercial real estate lenders and small business bankers and was active in the Bank’s community banking initiative. Other previous affiliations include Biltmore Investors Bank/Johnson Bank and Mid-America Bank. Madden is the President-Elect and a current board member of The Goldie B. Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative. He is also active with the Ravinia Festival Associates Board, the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Rotary Club and the City of Lake Forest’s Housing Trust Fund Board. Madden is a graduate of Lake Forest College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Bradley C. Mueller is the Chief Operating Officer at HealthSmart International (formerly Briggs Healthcare), where is responsible for all facets of the company. Mueller previously served as Briggs Healthcare’s Executive Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing, Product Development Operations and the company’s Vice President of Supply Chain. Prior to his work with Briggs Healthcare and HealthSmart International, Mueller was affiliated with ArrowStream, Newell Rubbermaid and Baxter Healthcare International. Mueller is on the Industrial Advisory Board at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.



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