McHenry County business leaders honored at economic development corporation's annual dinner

Posted11/19/2023 6:00 AM

The McHenry County Economic Development Corporation hosted its annual dinner and awards banquet last week at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn Express.

About 400 people were in attendance at the dinner, including business leaders, politicians and community members, organizers said.


The dinner featured the presentation of the Business Champion awards to outstanding businesses in McHenry County.

Rock Solid Builders of McHenry won the award for businesses with fewer than 25 employees, while Heartland, formerly Heartland Computers, also of McHenry, won the award for businesses with 25 to 100 employees. Crystal Lake-based General Kinematics won the award for businesses with more than 100 employees.

"This year, in recognition of the resilience and ingenuity during the past year, we honored local companies and entrepreneurs who were proactive amidst economic fluctuations and saw opportunities to address a need to help their community, their neighbors, or employees who took a leap of faith and started a new company," MCEDC officials said.

Comedian Cash Levy delivered the keynote speech, roasting members of the crowd, making fun of the number of Walgreens pharmacies in the area and jokingly inviting himself to all the attendees' annual upcoming holiday parties. He also offered his thoughts on artificial intelligence, and also praised McHenry County's friendliness and business climate.

"Everybody is friendly in Crystal Lake," Levy said.

He noted many of the county's business leaders were in attendance.

"You live in a great place," Levy said.

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Stephan Ballot, incoming chair of the MCEDC, spoke about the county's economic development partnerships with other surrounding counties and the trend of investments in the region, and economic growth.

"We need growth that is smart," Ballot said.

Aside from the business awards, leaders announced MCEDC President Jim McConoughey is leaving the organization after accepting another job out of state.

MCEDC is a nonprofit public-private business advocacy group that helps leverage resource in the county to support economic development, according to the corporation's website.

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