Kane County, IMEC name first grant recipients for manufacturing program

Kane County and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center recently announced the first grant recipients of the Kane County Manufacturing Program. These grants represent a significant boost for local manufacturers, showcasing their commitment to excellence and innovation.

The program is a joint initiative between Kane County and IMEC that equips companies with the resources and support needed to excel in their industry. The Lighthouse Manufacturing Grants, awarded to these exceptional companies, are a testament to their dedication to continuous improvement and growth.

Kane County Board Chairman Corinne Pierog expressed appreciation for the invaluable contributions of manufacturers to the local economy. “Our manufacturers are one of the essential cornerstones of Kane County,” Pierog said. “We are delighted to commemorate their achievements and foster their ongoing expansion."

The awardees include: Aeromotive Services; Aurora Defense Group; HARTING of North America; JN Machinery; Richards Wilcox; UCAL Systems; and WPA Works,

Dave Boulay, Ph.D., president of IMEC, emphasizes the importance of empowering manufacturers, saying, "At IMEC, we’re passionate about supporting companies like these who drive innovation and economic growth. We’re proud to partner with Kane County in this endeavor."

Among the recipients, companies like Aeromotive Services Inc. and WPA Works LLC are poised to leverage this program to drive meaningful improvements and lead the way for manufacturing excellence in Kane County.

"Thanks to Kane County’s grant, we’ve turbocharged our lean manufacturing processes, igniting growth not just for us, but for our suppliers and the broader community," shared Carl Dumele of Aeromotive Services Inc. “Their commitment to local manufacturing and community prosperity shines through, giving us the opportunity to strengthen our workforce, deepen employee camaraderie, and bolster our communication channels. It’s a win-win for us all."

Patryk Barszczuk, vice president of business development at WPA Works LLC, emphasizes the significance of partnering with the Kane County Manufacturing Grant program and IMEC. He highlights the appeal of local collaboration and outside expertise in driving productivity and growth. Barszczuk underscores the grant’s importance for Kane County’s economy, foreseeing job creation and cost-effective manufacturing solutions.

With IMEC’s guidance, WPA Works LLC aims to expand efficiently and innovate, envisioning substantial growth by 2027. Their plan includes tripling machining centers and quadrupling space, benefiting both the company and the local community.

The celebration will continue as the grant recipients convene for peer learning sessions, marking a pivotal moment in fostering collaboration and sharing best practices. These sessions are strategically designed to integrate coordinated operations and workforce actions, ultimately raising manufacturing standards across the board.

Manufacturers looking to join the ranks of excellence can learn more at

​This grant is available through funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. ARPA includes a variety of economic incentives to address COVID-19 impacts. Project awards will be prioritized with the following metrics in mind: location, business viability, economic potential, and leveraged business investments.

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