MBX Systems leaves Wauconda for Libertyville

  • MBX CEO Tom Crowley

    MBX CEO Tom Crowley

Daily Herald Reports
Updated 6/13/2012 5:06 PM

Wauconda-based technology manufacturer MBX Systems will get a state incentive package of about $750,000 to relocate to Libertyville, allowing it to quadruple its space and accommodate a 25 percent growth in its workforce.

The company plans to invest about $2 million in remodeling and equipping its new 84,000-square-foot headquarters at 1900 Winchester Road, once occupied by Motorola and now called 1200 Technology Way, before taking occupancy in October.


MBX signed a seven-year lease with Lake Barrington-based K&R Enterprises I Inc., the property owner. The site is located south of the Libertyville Township Soccer Complex along Route 45 and is not part of Motorola Mobility's headquarters, also in Libertyville.

"It's a great business and we're very pleased they're moving in," said Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler. "I know the mayor of Wauconda is disappointed, but we're not."

Wauconda Mayor Mark F. Knigge did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The 20,000-square-foot Wauconda site later will be available for sale or lease, a company spokeswoman said.

MBX is a privately held company that designs and makes hardware appliances and embedded systems for applications for software companies worldwide.

A key factor in MBX's move to Libertyville was its eligibility for the Illinois Economic Development for a Growing Economy program, which provides a tax credit to qualifying companies that locate or expand operations in Illinois in lieu of moving to another state. In return for the tax credit, companies with 100 or fewer employees must invest at least $1 million in the build out, create at least five new full-time jobs in Illinois, and maintain all new and retained jobs to continue to qualify for the tax reduction, the company said.

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The Edge credits for MBX are for the next 10 years, said MBX Chief Financial Officer Len Petty.

"If we simply meet our growth projections for the next 10 years, we'd see a tax credit of approximately $750,000," Petty said. "However, if we continue down the path of exceeding our growth projections, it will easily go above $1 million and it would max out at the total project cost, which is projected to be over $2 million."

Spokeswomen for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity were not immediately available for comment.

MBX has added 12 people to its 110-employee staff in 2012 and plans to hire at least 12 additional manufacturing and business development staff this year. At current growth rates, including projections by industry analysts that the demand for security appliances alone will increase by 18 percent annually over the next four years, the company expects continued expansion with a possible workforce of 200 by 2017, the company said.

"We strongly considered a new site in Wisconsin, but the Libertyville building gives us a more desirable location for recruitment purposes, higher power density that will allow us to build more systems simultaneously, enough space for an 'innovation room' where we can experiment with new manufacturing methods, and ample room to grow," said MBX Systems CEO Tom Crowley. "All of these benefits, along with the EDGE credits, convinced us to stay in Illinois."

MBX moved to its existing facility in Wauconda in 2005 and expanded the building to 19,000 square feet in 2009. First-quarter 2012 performance included a 60 percent increase in sales to existing customers and a 226 percent rise in revenues from new customers, the company said. MBX was selected as the 2012 Quality Plant of the Year by Quality Magazine, the company said.

"More technology companies like MBX are choosing Illinois over other states because we have proved time and again that we have the tools a company needs to succeed and expand," said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. "We work with companies from large corporations to tech startups on a daily basis and have the best workforce in the world, and we're pleased that MBX has selected Illinois to grow their operations."

•Daily Herald Business Writer Anna Marie Kukec contributed to this report.

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