Q4 2018 Economic Developments Newsletter

The Lake County Partners Quarterly E-Newsletter: November 2018

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Click here to see the economic indicator charts from the November 2018 newsletter.


Groundbreaking Transportation Partnership Addresses Talent Attraction

To address one of the county’s top business challenges – attracting and retaining young professional talent living downtown - Lake County Partners has formed a public-private partnership to launch enhanced reverse commute Metra train service. With this new schedule, it will now be easy to live downtown and work in Lake County.

Together, Lake County Partners, AbbVie, Horizon Pharma, the City of Lake Forest, Metra and others will jointly fund a pilot schedule of enhanced express service between Chicago and Lake County along the Milwaukee District North Line. This pilot schedule will begin in January and run for up to two years.

As a part of the public-private partnership, the group will also work on a definitive agreement to share the cost of installing a universal crossover near Lake Forest to create additional opportunities for enhanced service.

Read more about this partnership from Crain’s Chicago Business here

To stay informed on this important project, connect with us online

Introducing Careers in Modern Manufacturing at North Chicago High School

Introducing the next generation to the great careers in modern manufacturing is a key initiative for Lake County Partners. In the lead up to the new school year, North Chicago High School faculty participated in a tour spearheaded by the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem partners, to explore promising careers in advanced manufacturing and to meet with corporate executives at top Lake County skilled manufacturers, Flex, Laser Precision and LMT Onsrud. The event was just one of the many important ways in which the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem is driving more young adults to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing.

AbbVie Makes a Long-Term Investment in Lake County

Global pharmaceutical leader AbbVie enjoys its Lake County location so much that it purchased the 560,000 sq. ft. property the company has been subleasing in Mettawa for $154 million—the largest suburban Chicago office sale in nearly two years. As Lake County’s largest local employer, AbbVie’s transaction signals an important long-term investment in the local community. 

Lake County Celebrates a Flurry of Openings & Expansions

The local groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings are at an all time high, with many new and existing businesses and institutions choosing to invest in Lake County as decision-makers continue to recognize Lake County’s ability to provide a high quality of life and easy access to talent and a thriving business network. 

Assertio Therapeutics Relocates Headquarters to Lake Forest
Newark, California-based pharmaceutical company, Assertio Therapeutics, is relocating the company headquarters to the Landmark Conway Farms complex in Lake Forest, which also houses Abbott Nutrition and Horizon Pharma. As part of the move, Depomed is also changing its name to Assertio Therapeutics. The new headquarters will house approximately 70 employees, many of whom will be new local hires. Arthur Higgins, the company’s president and CEO, noted that the Lake County location supports Assertio’s strategy to become more entrepreneurial, puts the company in close proximity to a growing number of specialty pharmaceutical companies and provides access to the talent needed to take the business to the next level.

Valent Biosciences Cut the Ribbon at Innovation Park in Libertyville
Valent Biosciences has opened the doors of its new global research facility at Innovation Park in Libertyville, boasting of 65,000 sq. ft. of open-concept lab and a state-of-the-art 20,000 sq. ft. greenhouse. The move will allow the company to streamline team collaboration in a way that brings solutions to agriculture, public health and forest health professionals around the world.

Heathrow Scientific and Daigger Break Ground in Lincolnshire
Medical companies Heathrow Scientific and Daigger recently broke ground in the Village of Lincolnshire for a new 186,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters to house 55 employees. The development is on a 10-acre lot to accommodate the development of a third company and future growth. 

AKHAN Finalizes New Patented Diamond Production Facility in Gurnee
Advanced manufacturer AKHAN Semiconductors recently debuted its new cleanroom in the Village of Gurnee. The facility will produce the company’s patented “Miraj Diamond” technology, which makes smartphone screens six times stronger, 10 times harder and 800 times cooler than other glass. AKHAN is already receiving orders from well-known cellphone companies, and it has also piqued the interest of the Pentagon. The company is one of 125 nationwide to advanced past the first round of a U.S. Army-sponsored competition to engage high-tech companies in defense work, and AKHAN stands to win a $331,000 contract with the government if selected. 

Sysmex Launches State-of-the-Art Training Center in Vernon Hills
Diagnostic hardware and software provider Sysmex recently opened a new 98,000 sq. ft. “Center for Learning” in Vernon Hills to meet the training needs of Sysmex’s growing customer and employee base in the U.S. and Canada. The multimillion-dollar facility triples the company’s training capacity and provides the ability to train up to 4,400 people per year, both virtually and on-site. Sysmex is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary and has a large presence in Lake County—the company is headquartered in Lincolnshire and, in addition to the new training center, has a manufacturing facility in Mundelein and a distribution center in Buffalo Grove.

Lake Forest College Celebrates Grand Opening of Lillard Science Center
Lake Forest College recently celebrated the grand opening of its new $43 million 130,000 sq. ft. Lillard Science Center building. Over the past two years, a dramatic addition was built and existing science buildings were renovated to create the state-of-the-art facility that brings together biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, chemistry, environmental studies, neuroscience, physics, and psychology.

The College of Lake County Commemorates New Spaces and Manufacturing Month
The College of Lake County (CLC) recently celebrated its new Science and Engineering Building—a state-of-the-art facility designed specifically for science and career programs, including mechantronics, photonics and science—featuring five new chemistry labs, including one organic chemistry lab, two anatomy and physiology labs, two cadaver labs, two microbiology labs and four upgraded biology labs. The building is LEED Platinum designed and features a solar photovoltaic system, geothermal heating and cooling system, green roof, rainwater harvesting, variable speed exhaust fan and daylight harvesting capabilities. This $28.3 million Illinois Capital Development Board project had $17.5 million from state funds. This semester, there are 553 students taking various chemistry classes in the new building.

Days later, CLC also celebrated the grand opening of its new Baxter Innovation Lab at the Grayslake campus. Funded by Baxter International, Inc., the Baxter Innovation Lab is a nonprofit instructional makerspace/fab lab and the first public lab of its kind in Lake County. The lab provides the space and equipment for individuals or groups to design and fabricate prototypes, as well as proofs of concept, with a variety of software, tools and equipment.

The college rolled out a series of events throughout October in honor of Manufacturing Month, kickstarting the festivities with a manufacturing-focused job fair. Nearly 25 leading manufacturing employers participated to connect with Lake County talent and meet with over 100 job seekers. CLC also hosted a Manufacturing Career Expo featuring representatives from many of Lake County’s top manufacturing companies and organizations who shared information about in-demand jobs and careers.

CLC will be hosting its annual Open House from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, November 8th at each campus: Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan. Come check out how CLC can help make dreams come true. Take tours, speak with faculty about a variety of in-demand transfer and career programs, and participate in informative presentations. Click here to register in advance; though note walk-ins are welcome.

Lake County Employers Continue to Receive National Recognition

Lake County boasts of global industry leaders, and nowhere is the award-winning caliber of businesses more on display than in recent accolades from prominent sources including People Magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business and Great Places to Work. Click here to see why companies like Horizon Pharma, RevenueWell, Zebra Technologies and Klein Tools are receiving national recognition.  

Horizon Pharma Applauded by People Magazine
Horizon Pharma, in Lake Forest, was recently recognized by People Magazine on their list of the “50 Companies that Care.” This is a phenomenal honor, as it distinguishes the pharmaceutical company among the best in the nation in terms of the care that they show for their community, their employees and the world. This award is further cemented by the company’s recent recognition as one of the Best Small and Medium Workplaces in the country by Great Places to Work. This is the third consecutive year that the company has received the honor, which is impressive given that the awards are based on feedback from over 100,000 employees around the country.

Crain’s Chicago Business Recognizes 2 Lake County Companies
Crain’s Chicago Business recently recognized Bannockburn’s RevenueWell and Lincolnshire’s Zebra Technologies on their “Fast 50” List—a list that represents the Chicago area’s fastest growing businesses. RevenueWell, a patient communications software provider, was placed in the top 10, after the company expanded to add an additional 28 employees last year to meet demand. Zebra Technologies, a printing technologies manufacturer and provider, was awarded with the honor for experiencing 273.6% growth over the past 5 years.  

Klein Tools Represents Lake County at the White House
Klein Tools, a sixth-generation, family-owned Lincolnshire company recently brought its innovative U.S.-made products to the White House as part of its "Made in America Product Showcase.” In recent years, Klein Tools has invested over $200 million in U.S. manufacturing facilities to support high-quality American-made products.

Retail Flourishes in Lake County as Mellody Farm Draws Huge Crowds

Our recent retail-themed Economic Update finds that in-store purchases are still dominating sales, vacancy rates are down and retail absorption remains positive in Lake County.  The data is supported by enthusiastic celebrations at Mellody Farm, a new 272,000 sq. ft., $200 million lifestyle center in Vernon Hills, where crowds were triple the anticipated number as new anchor stores REI, Barnes & Noble, HomeGoods, Nordstrom Rack and Whole Foods opened to great fanfare

Visitor Spending is Again on the Rise in Lake County

As reported in our recent fun-focused Economic Update, visitor spending in Lake County is on the rise, topping $1.34 billion in 2017, which represents a 2.8% increase and a new record for the county. Tourism-related employment has increased 1.7% and local tax receipts rose to $30.8 million—a 3% increase from 2016. Visitors generated nearly $82 million in state tax receipts in the county—an 8.5% increase, which solidified Lake County’s position as one of the top counties in the state for visitor expenditures. With this growth has come an even greater interest in development and investment, as evidenced by recent capital and program enhancements at venues such as Great Wolf Lodge and Six Flags Great America. 

Lake County Partners Teams with Municipalities to Attract & Retain Business

We continue to work closely with local municipalities to help companies tap into Lake County’s strong talent pipeline. In October, municipal representatives learned more about local workforce initiatives through a tour of the new College of Lake County facilities led by senior faculty. With Lake County Partners’ support, municipalities across the county also collaborated to strategically attract commercial investment at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Chicago Deal Making Show. To learn more about how to take advantage of municipal investor services, contact Economic Development Director Barbara Prusila at bprusila@lakecountypartners.com or 847-597-1230.

Thank You to Our Board of Governors

Lake County Partners benefits from the dynamic leadership and support provided by our Board of Governors, and we’re excited to welcome our two newest members: Highland Park Hospital President Gabrielle Cummings and Gina Schuyler, the Assistant Principal at Lake County High Schools Technology Campus. Get to know them:

Gabrielle Cummings
Gabrielle Cummings, FACHE, is the President of Highland Park Hospital in the City of Highland Park. In addition to leading Highland Park Hospital, she has corporate responsibilities for Cardiology, GI and Laboratory and Pathology Medicine. Prior to becoming President, Gabrielle was Senior Vice President at Evanston Hospital at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) in Evanston, IL.  The NorthShore system includes Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park and Skokie Hospitals, a Medical Group, Research Institute, Home Services department and Foundation.  While at Evanston Hospital, she had onsite support responsibilities for hospital planning and expansion along with corporate responsibilities for Laboratory Services, Surgery, Women’s Health, Cardiology and Support Services. Prior to becoming part of the Evanston Hospital team, she was based at Glenbrook Hospital. While at Glenbrook Hospital, she managed various Support Service departments, supported hospital planning and expansion projects and worked with physician leadership to manage the Department of Family Medicine and Surgery, Oncology and GI. Prior to Glenbrook Hospital, Gabrielle was based at Highland Park Hospital where she was responsible for providing financial analysis to the Hospital President, leading the operational planning for implementation of the electronic medical record and managing various ancillary departments including GI and Oncology. Gabrielle joined NorthShore as an Administrative Fellow in 2002.

Before coming to NorthShore, Gabrielle worked at the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company as a Senior Medical Services Underwriter. In that capacity, she provided medical malpractice insurance for healthcare providers and facilities in the New England Region. Gabrielle received her B.S. degree in Healthcare Management from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and her MHA from the University of Minnesota with a concentration in Strategic Management.

Gabrielle is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2011) and was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the 25 Healthcare Leaders Under 40, as well as receiving the Early Career Award from the Chicago Healthcare Executives Forum.  She has served on several Boards including those for Roycemore School, CASA of Cook County, Evanston Chamber of Commerce, Women Employed and the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.

Gina Schuyler
Gina Schuyler (Caravello) is the Assistant Principal for Student Services/EFE 080 at the Lake County High Schools Technology Campus. Gina graduated from St. Norbert College in Education with a minor in Early Childhood and emphasis in Business Administration. She was employed in corporate sponsored child care with the start of Motorola’s first on –site child care center. While working in corporate sponsored child care, she entered into her graduate program through National Louis University. She earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy. In her last semester with National Louis, she took a job in Career and Technical Education. Gina began working at the Lake County High Schools Technology Campus and began her career in Career and Technical Education the spring semester of the 1998/1999 school year as their early childhood instructor. This program allowed career exploration for junior and seniors in Lake County in teaching while running a lab preschool for 3-5-year-olds at the same time. During Gina’s tenure as an instructor she grew the program with advisory involvement and had many students completed internships and job shadows within Lake County.

In 2007, Gina also became an adjunct faculty with the College of Lake County in the Education Department. This was an easy adjustment since the instruction she provided at the Tech Campus offered both dual and articulated college credits. In 2014, Gina completed additional education with Concordia University in Educational Leadership. In 2016 Gina accepted the position of the Workforce Development/ Grants Coordinator for the Technology Campus. This position is part of the Education for Employment (EFE) in Lake County Illinois. Gina works throughout Lake County helping connect the dots between employers and the pipeline of talent – the Career and Technical Education students. In the fall of 2017, Gina accepted the position as Assistant Principal of Student Services of the Tech Campus, which oversees Workforce Development, Education for Employment and additional services/programs offered to students through the school.

Gina is married to an educator and together they have two children and reside in Lake County, Illinois.



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