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updated: 1/23/2012 5:28 AM

'Fun trio' makes cookbook a part of Wauconda company culture

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  • Benedictine University, located in Lisle, is looking to expand to Mesa, Arizona.

    Benedictine University, located in Lisle, is looking to expand to Mesa, Arizona.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Green Oaks Business Center

    Green Oaks Business Center

  • Liz Molli, Karen Niziolek and Kim Becker, the "Fun Trio" at MBX Systems, make up a group tasked with keeping the culture of their business.

    Liz Molli, Karen Niziolek and Kim Becker, the "Fun Trio" at MBX Systems, make up a group tasked with keeping the culture of their business.
    Courtesy of MBX Systems


While MBX Systems is growing rapidly, the leaders of the Wauconda company say it's important that they keep the feel of a small company.

To help achieve this mission, CEO Tom Crowley has created a committee to make sure the "culture" remains the same, despite its growth.

"The culture of our company is important to us," said Marketing Manager Liz Molli. She said MBX Systems, a contract manufacturer of hardware appliances for software companies, saw 116 percent growth last year.

Molli, a resident of Barrington Hills, is one of the "fun trio," a threesome designed to carry out the task and to keep the camaraderie at the company.

The trio, consisting of Molli, Karen Niziolek and Kim Becker, is given an annual budget and is charged with planning an employee appreciation week, a holiday party and other events as they come up.

For example, last winter, right before the record-setting blizzard hit the area, the trio brought in Blizzard ice cream desserts from Dairy Queen for everyone at the company.

The latest mission for the trio is publishing a company cookbook filled with favorite recipes submitted by employees. The book, titled "Good Taste, Good Times," consists of favorite recipes submitted by more than 40 employees.

Molli says that the grilled herb crusted beef tenderloin is one of her favorites in the book. She says they are asking that employees pay $5 for the cookbook with the money going to assist the Wauconda Township Food Pantry.

"The culture of our company is important to us," Molli said. She said the book has allowed her to get to know the employees better. "And in the break room, people are talking about the recipes in the book and what they cooked for dinner," Molli added.

Under construction

• Reed Construction has completed a new medical office build-out at the Elmhurst Medical and Surgical Center, 340 W. Butterfield Road. The project, done on behalf of Dr. Esther H. Lyon, includes a new surgical procedure room, recovery and examination rooms, laboratories and doctors offices as well as reception area and nursing stations.

• J.C. Anderson Inc. has started a 22,132-square-foot build out at Leeco Steel within Arboretum Lakes at 1011 Warrenville Road in Lisle. Leeco Steel, part of the O'Neal Steel family of companies, offers extra-high-strength and abrasion-resistant steel.

• Avondale Custom Homes is the general contractor for the new Chez Moi Cafe at 415 W. State St. in Geneva. Beth Cull, owner and executive chef, says French-style restaurant will seat 50 people and will be open for breakfast and lunch and will feature a crepe bar.

Recent acquisition

Duke Realty Corp. announced that it has acquired two, fully leased industrial buildings in Carol Stream, totaling 436,200 square feet. This increases Duke's total industrial portfolio in the Chicago area to more than 9.5 million square feet and more than 108 million square feet nationwide.

The local building at 720 Center Ave. is 100 percent leased to Peacock Engineering, a food packaging company. The 75,500-square-foot building at 189-199 Easy St. is leased by Chicago Title Co.

A warmer campus

Benedictine University could soon expand to Mesa, Arizona.

The university, based in Lisle, and the city of Mesa have a proposal that would pave the way for a branch campus in downtown Mesa.

Benedictine, an independent Roman Catholic institution founded about 125 years ago, currently offers about 50 traditional undergraduate majors and a select group of these would be brought to Mesa starting in the fall of 2013.

Benedictine has agreements with dozens of public, private, governmental and nongovernmental institutions in the United States and abroad to reach a wider audience.

The university must obtain approvals and licenses and dialogue with Diocese of Phoenix officials about the new branch.

Bridging the gap with new building

Bridge Development Partners acquired Green Oaks Business Center, a three-building, 462,000- square-foot industrial park in Green Oaks from Highland Park-based International Airport Centers.

The office center is on 25 acres along Route 176, just east of I-94, and is currently leased to ITW Paslode, Neptun Lighting Inc., Office Concepts and Advanced Packaging and Fulfillment.

Chicago-based Bridge recently purchased a cold storage facility in Lyons as well, bringing its industrial property acquired in 2011 to almost 800,000 square feet.

By the numbers

How did the area business-for-sale market fare in 2011? recently released some promising numbers.

• If you want to buy a business in Chicago, the current median asking price of businesses for sale is $254,500. A year ago, at the end of the fourth quarter, the median asking price for businesses in this area was $235,000.

• During the fourth quarter 2011, businesses in the Chicago area had a median revenue of $457,769, up from $400,000 at this time last year.

• The median cash flow, meaning the money that comes out of the business over the course of a year, is $103,500 versus median cash floes of $95,000 last year.

• Kim Mikus is editor of the Daily Herald Business Ledger. She welcomes business news at

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