2016 McHenry County Business Champion Awards announced

 
Posted10/18/2016 1:00 AM
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  • The 2016 Business Champion Award winners, from left, Keith Wagner, Fabric Molded Plastics; Gary Reece, Heartland Cabinet Supply; Robert Jessup, Jessup Manufacturing; Jill Dinsmore, JA Frate Companies; and Michael Eesley, Centegra.

    The 2016 Business Champion Award winners, from left, Keith Wagner, Fabric Molded Plastics; Gary Reece, Heartland Cabinet Supply; Robert Jessup, Jessup Manufacturing; Jill Dinsmore, JA Frate Companies; and Michael Eesley, Centegra.

The McHenry County Economic Development Corp. recently announced the 2016 Business Champion Award winners at its recent 25th Anniversary Dinner.

More than 450 business leaders attended the event with keynote speaker Kevin Lobo, CEO of Stryker Corp.

For the past nine years, MCEDC has recognized outstanding companies who have contributed to McHenry County's economy and who have exhibited business acumen and vision. Judging is conducted by a panel of independent business leaders residing outside of McHenry County.

In the category of fewer than 24 employees, Heartland Cabinet Supply of Crystal Lake received the award. Like many others, they faced the many challenges of the economic downturn of 2009 but they faced those challenges by investing in new equipment and in employee training and learning opportunities. They also shifted their customer base focusing more on commercial clients, such as banks, schools and libraries with a product line includes custom cabinets, plastic laminates, solid surface fabrication and architectural millwork. Their residential side of their business offers custom cabinets and countertops. With their 200 percent growth over the last few years and increased profitability, they are an outstanding business deserving of recognition.

In the mid-size company category of 25 to 100 employees, Jessup Manufacturing of McHenry, a family owned company which began in a 2 car garage, received the award. They are now a global manufacturer of adhesive coated and laminated films, no-slip tapes, photo luminescent materials and specialty graphic medias. Founded in 1956 making leather welts for baseball gloves, they celebrated their 60th anniversary this year by initiating a companywide program called 60 ways to make a difference. Through scholarships, programs at the Workforce Investment Board, promoting manufacturing careers at high schools and volunteering with many organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and the Veterans resource center, Jessup Manufacturing believes in making a difference.

In the large category of companies of 101 to 299 employees, the award was presented to JA Frate Companies of McHenry. Since 1971, it has continued to expand and grow, creating additional divisions to provide transportation solutions and investing in new equipment and technology. Originally a less-than-truckload motor carrier, JA Frate handled airfreight in a 150 mile radius of O'Hare. They expanded 10 years later to handle all freight (air, ocean, surface) with expedited same day and next day services. In 2001, they began a warehouse and distribution division and in 2011 expanded into international freight forwarding. They have 24-hour accessibility and pride themselves in dependable service. Engaged in our community, it passionately supports our local veterans as well as other nonprofits and sponsors a college scholarship for area students.

In the category of over 300 employees, MCEDC presented two awards. The first went to Fabric Molded Plastics, a third generation family owned company. Recognized worldwide it is a custom plastic injection and insert molding company, they believe strongly that skill development, training and education is critical to continued success and company growth. Recognizing the innovation and automation that is occurring in manufacturing at a rapid pace, Fabric has developed internship programs for high school and college students, and they participate in the Youth Manufacturing program through the McHenry County Workforce Network. In 2016, they expanded their footprint in the city of McHenry through the acquisition of a new facility they made a significant capital investment in the community which will ultimately increase employment. Keith Wagner, President accepted the award.

The second award was presented to Centegra Health System. Centegra began its service in 1914 and since that time has continued to grow, expand and innovate. Opening the only third new hospital approved in Illinois in more than 35 years, the 128 bed, all private room hospital in Huntley includes a Level II trauma Center, 100 medical-surgical beds, eight intensive care unit beds and a 20 bed Family Birth Center. This $230-plus million state of the art facility has and will continue to have a major economic impact on our region. Over $150 million was spent locally on 800 constructions jobs which were created in the two years it took to build the facility. More than 50 percent of the subcontractors were from McHenry, Kane and Lake counties and more than half of the new hospital's employee came from locations within the county. An additional $45 million went into southern McHenry County and northern Kane County communities through salaries and the purchase of medical equipment and furnishing. Currently, they are construction an 80,000 square ft. four story medical office building immediately adjacent to its new hospital expanding their health care campus even further.

The McHenry County Community Foundation also presented its first Philanthropist of the Year award to Don and Chris Schellhaass for their dedication to making a difference. They represent the spirt of philanthropy and have given of their time, expertise and experience to many organizations. The evening culminated with the presentation of the 2016 Business Champion Awards.

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