Archive for September, 2017

IMSA Named One of the Top 100 Finalists for the 16th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Out of 530 nominees, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) of Aurora has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 16th annual Chicago Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries. 1500 business and civic leaders will come together to honor the winners when they are announced on October 30th at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

The innovation nominated by IMSA is IN2 Steve and Jamie Center for Innovation and Inquiry. IN2 is Illinois’ first secondary school innovation center. The IMSA startup raised $2M in private funds to renovate 6,400 square feet, opening formally in 2017. Bridging talented Illinois students and staff to Chicago-area startups and mentors, IN2 brings together external students, teachers, corporations and problems. IN2 focuses on entrepreneurship and makerspace education, STEM programs and innovation with the 17 UN Sustainability Goals as the foundation to catalyze IMSA’s mission of “advancing the human condition.”

“This year’s nominees demonstrate the economic impact that innovation is having within organizations and on the Chicago region as a whole,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “This year’s nominees generated $3.39 billion in new revenues through their new products and services alone, and created over 24,000 new jobs.”

As one of the Top 100 Finalists, IMSA will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend The Practical Innovator, a day-long executive education course on September 27th led by top faculty who teach innovation at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Each of the Top 100 Finalists is also in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at

Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as 10 winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards representing innovation in the start-up community, the Social Innovator Award, the Collaboration Award, and 3 Neighborhood Award winners, which will showcase innovation occurring in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and receive widespread media recognition.

Bipartisan Legislation an Important Tool for Job Growth in Illinois

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed legislation (HB162) that overhauls the EDGE Tax Credit Program and provides much-needed transparency and taxpayer protections. “The EDGE Tax Credit Program overhaul is a bipartisan job creation program that is innovative and competitive for businesses,” Gov. Rauner said. “This legislation is another tool to use in our quest to bring high-quality and good-paying jobs to Illinois. It is crucial for the future success of our state that we make Illinois a more business friendly environment through pro-growth measures.” The EDGE tax credit program is a critical local economic development tool that incentivizes job creation, growth and competitiveness in the state. The new law extends the program until June 30, 2022. Among the key components in the EDGE tax credit overhaul is that incentives will encourage companies to expand or move to underserved areas in the state, and eligibility thresholds will be lowered to allow more small businesses to grow in Illinois. The overhaul also implements a Gov. Rauner transparency measure, requiring all EDGE agreements be posted within 10 days of the project being secured in Illinois.

Here are a few key updates to the EDGE tax credit program:

  1. Incentives will encourage companies to expand or move to underserved areas in the state.
  2. Eligibility thresholds will be lowered to allow more small businesses to grow in Illinois.
  3. Implements a Rauner Administration transparency measure by posting all EDGE agreements within 10 days of the project being secured in Illinois.

This Week’s News for Aurora Chamber Members

Monday, September 18th, 2017
September 18, 2017
In This Issue


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For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Above Board Indoor Environmental
Accurate Personnel
Advance Auto Parts
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora Bank & Trust
Aurora Limousine
Aurora University
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Beans Greens Proteins
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Steel Hockey Team
City Segment
Company 251
Copy King Office Solutions, Inc.
Do or Dye Designs
Dolan & Murphy
Downtown Auroran Magazine
Eagle Digital Marketing
Endiro Coffee
First Secure Community Bank
Ice Miller LLP
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Inc.
Meyer Wealth Advisors
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Old Second National Bank
OnLight Aurora
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pilmer Real Estate
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
Pure Skin Solutions, LLC
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
S&S Metal Recyclers II
ServPro of Aurora
SmithAmundsen, LLC
Steffes & Associates Language and Translation (SALT)
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
The Voice
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company

Welcome New Members

Beans Greens Proteins (Elite)
Andrew Schoenwetter
300 E. Indian Trail Rd., Aurora
(630) 692-9879
Restaurants & Taverns

SupportTechs, LLC
Melinda Kruder
1 E. Benton, Aurora
(630) 240-9215

Art Bar 39 Illinois
Michelle Fitzsimons
(630) 730-5962

Ultimate Sports Dome II
Tom Clifford
100 Route 30, Aurora
(630) 820-8624
Sports & Recreation

LeaderOne Financial Corp.
Eric Orozco
69 E. Downer Place, 1st Floor, Aurora
(630) 908-7060
Mortgages Companies

A Town Smoke
Jay Gadhiya
4432 E. New York St. Aurora
(630) 618-1687


Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189


What You Need to Know:
Emergency Preparedness
Emergency PreparednessWhen business is disrupted, it can cost money. Lost revenues plus extra expenses means reduced profits. Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition. A continuity plan to continue business is essential. This WYNTK seminar will assist businesses and organizations in developing a preparedness program by providing tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards.
Premier Members
Premier Members
Calendar of Events
Grand Opening: Garage 31
Monday, Sept. 18, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
102 S. Lincolnway, North Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 8:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Painters District Council #30, 1905 Sequoia Drive, Aurora
Sponsored by Endiro Coffee35th Anniversary: Lindstrom Chiropractic
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 3:30 – 7 p.m.
1965 W, Downer Pl., Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 4 p.m.Grand Opening: Huntington Bank
Thursday, Sept. 21, 8 – 10 a.m.
2430 W. Indian Trail Rd., Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 8:30 a.m.

WYNTK: Emergency Preparedness Plannings
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, Sept. 28, 8 – 9:30 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant, 55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by City Segment

5th Anniversary: McLaughlin & Associates
Thursday, Sept. 28, 3:30 – 7:00 p.m.
495 N. Commons Dr. Ste. 103, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 4:15 p.m.

Jump Start Your Membership Profile
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Chamber Offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd, Aurora

Public Policy Update
For the latest in public policy news, be sure and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.Visit the Chamber blog:

Illinois: Gambling

Illinois Education

Illinois: Opioid Epidemic

Economic Development: Amazon

Reps. Currie, Sente to Retire; AG Madigan Out

Procurement Streamlining a Win for Illinois Business

Ill. Senate, House Release Fall Veto Schedules

New UI Process Streamlines Tax Experience

U.S. Chamber: Tax Reform

U.S. Chamber: Overtime Rule Update

New Form I-9 Required by Sept. 18, 2017

Join Us for an Ill. Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Oct. 18
Gubernatorial Candidate ForumOn Wednesday, Oct. 18, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce will join Daily Herald Media Group, Business Ledger, ABC-7 News and several other business organizations to host a gubernatorial candidate forum focusing on business-related issues facing Illinois. The event will be from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Victoria in the Park, 1700 Elmhurst Road, Mount Prospect.

Candidates confirmed to attend include J.B. Pritzker, Daniel Biss, Ameya Pawar, Bob Daiber, Scott Drury, Alexander Paterakis, Chris Kennedy, and Tio Hardiman.

$25 admission includes breakfast, networking, and forum. Register at -candidate-forum-tickets-37242741041. When ordering your ticket(s), enter Aurora in the Promo Code box.

Member News
If you have news to share with your fellow members, please forward to Be sure and check out our blog and social media for what’s happening in our region.World-Renowned Artist Paints Multicultural Mural in Aurora

GAR Museum Earns Top Honors from Ill. Assoc. of Museums

Naperville Heritage Society Receives $1,000,000 for Naper Settlement’s Heritage Gateway

EEI Announces Newly Licensed Professional Engineer

Martin Lipton Joins Team at Konen Insurance

Making Global Local: Third Annual Exports Conference

Residents Invited to Explore Opportunities Sept. 16 at Volunteer Mania Fair

Nicholas Knudtson Joins Team at Konen Insurance

West High to Host World Language Career Expo

Waubonsee to Host Aurora Downtown Career Fair This Month

Join Us for an Ill. Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Oct. 18

West Aurora School District 129 Approved for Federal Registered Apprenticeship Program

Fox Valley Mall, Simply Destinee Partner for the Shining a Light on Suicide

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Theme Announced: ‘Inclusion Drives Innovation’

Thermamax, Inc. Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Don’t Take the Bait: Watch Out for the W-2 Email Scam

Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 |
This email was sent by Bee Atomic on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Illinois: Gambling

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

COGFA releases annual report on “Wagering in Illinois.” The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) closely monitors public-sector revenue streams, including taxes and fees paid by gamblers and gambling facilities. This is a very significant sector of the U.S. economy for both the public and the private sector, with Illinois tax revenues from gambling activities rising in FY17 (ended June 30, 2017) to $1.31 billion. This was up 7.9% from FY16.

While gaming tax revenues increased overall, the 2017 annual report shows continued changes in the types of gambling that are yielding growing streams of tax revenue. Video gaming has continued to grow as a share of overall State wagering tax revenues, up from 9.1% of total State gambling taxes in FY14 to 22.6% in FY17. Video gaming tax revenues are now the second-largest component of overall Illinois wagering tax revenues, behind the Illinois State Lottery (56.3% of the FY17 total). However, Lottery ticket sales and state revenues are largely flat, while the revenues of video gaming parlors and the taxes they generate continue to increase.

Some revenue streams are declining in trends associated with changes in the gambling industry. State taxes on the overall horse racing “handle,” reflecting bets on races in Illinois and (through intertrack and off-track betting) out-of-state races, continue to decline. In FY17, Illinois collected only $6 million in total taxes in horse racing, less than 0.5% of its total gaming revenues. Admissions to casino riverboats, adjusted gross riverboat casino receipts (riverboat AGRs), and taxes on riverboat AGRs also declined in FY17. COGFA analysts believe that increased competition from video gaming continues to be a major contributing factor toward changes in the Illinois riverboat casino industry.

Illinois Education

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Illinois Education Secretary Purvis to join national nonprofit. Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis will be leaving the Office of the Governor on Friday, Sept. 15. Dr. Purvis will be joining a national nonprofit organization where she will oversee educational philanthropy.

“Beth has been a tireless advocate for Illinois children and families,” Gov. Rauner said. “We are deeply grateful for her efforts.”

Dr. Purvis co-chaired the governor’s education transition subcommittee, where she first announced the state’s goal of ensuring Illinois children, regardless of zip code, have access to high-quality programs from cradle-to-career.

During the past two-and-a-half years, Dr. Purvis worked with leadership of the 17 state agencies that oversee educational programing, chaired the P20 Council, co-chaired the Early Learning Council and chaired the Illinois School Funding Commission in order to deliver on the governor’s promise of a “children first” administration.

“It has been a privilege for me to work with Governor Rauner and his team,” Dr. Purvis said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished and know that his administration will continue to ensure that Illinois children have access to high quality programs that will prepare them to be engaged community members with meaningful and rewarding careers.”

Emily Bastedo, who has served on the governor’s legal team and as the First Lady’s chief of staff, recently was promoted to senior adviser to the governor and will assume oversight of the governor’s education policy team. An attorney, Bastedo has been a member of the governor’s senior team for the past two years and has worked closely with Dr. Purvis in preparation for this transition.

Illinois: Opioid Epidemic

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Toll of heroin, opioid abuse continues to increase in Illinois. Public health officials counted 1,889 people who died from opioid overdoses in Illinois in 2016.

Illinois is fighting back through implementation of the new Prescription Monitoring Program, mandated by the General Assembly in 2015 to cut down and eliminate multiple scripts of opiates and other potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals to a single patient. Law enforcement is taking steps, coordinated by the Criminal Justice Information Authority, to reduce opioid use in Illinois and make police contacts into a gateway to abuse treatment.

Through 2017 Executive Order #5, Gov. Bruce Rauner has created the Governor’s Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force. To be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, the Task Force will develop an Opioid Action Plan to increase the coordination of state and local governments in the fight against opioid abuse.

Economic Development: Amazon

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Amazon urged to pick Illinois for its new headquarters. The Seattle-based retailing giant Amazon has announced that it is running out of headquarters space in its current city and would like to open a second headquarters in a centralized U.S. location. The second headquarters could contain as many as 50,000 workers, who would occupy a potential eight million square feet of office space to be constructed for as much as $5 billion. Amazon has cited good transportation, strong schools, and a tech-oriented workforce as elements in their decision.

Amazon headquarters operations oversee the firm’s network of warehouses, transfer stations and delivery solutions for the firm’s hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. Chicago, with the nation’s largest workforce skilled in logistics technology, would be highly suited to serve as Amazon’s choice. Competition for the selection is expected to be heavy.

Reps. Currie, Sente to Retire; AG Madigan Out

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

The continuing barrage of statehouse retirees continued this week.  However, the announcement from Attorney General Lisa Madigan today to not seek re-election in 2018 took almost everyone by surprise.  The daughter of Speaker Michael Madigan (D – Chicago) has served as the state’s top lawyer since 2003.  Replacement rumors are swirling in what is expected to be a crowded field.

Longtime House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D- Chicago) also announced this week that she would not be seeking re-election in 2018.  BFC, as she’s often referred to, has been Speaker Madigan’s number two since Rep. Jim McPike retired in 1997.  Her first year in office was 1979. Rep. Currie’s institutional knowledge will be missed.

Also announcing her intention to not seek re-election is Rep. Carol Sente (D – Vernon Hills).  Sente has been in the General Assembly since 2009.

Adding to the list of House Republicans not seeking re-election include Representatives Mike Fortner (not seeking re-election), Patti Bellock, Bob Pritchard (not seeking re-election), Bill Mitchell (not seeking re-election), Chad Hays (not seeking re-election), Sara Wojicki-Jimenez (not seeking re-election), Steve Andersson (not seeking re-election), Brian Stewart (running for Senate seat), and Barb Wheeler (not seeking re-election).  Senate Republicans include Senators Christine Radogno (resigned), Tim Bivins (not seeking re-election) and Kyle McCarter (self imposed term limits).  House Democrats include Representatives Emily McAsey (resigned), Scott Drury (running for Governor), Cynthia Soto (running for another office), Brandon Phelps (resigned), Litesa Wallace (running to lieutenant governor), Juliana Stratton (running to lieutenant governor), Laura Fine (running for state Senate), and Elaine Nektriz (not seeking re-election).  Senate Democrats include State Senators Daniel Biss (running for governor) and Bill Haine (not seeking re-election).

That brings the total amount of Illinois lawmakers not seeking re-election in 2018 to 25.

World-Renowned Artist Paints Multicultural Mural in Aurora

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

The City of Aurora, Ward 2 Alderman Juany Garza, and the Aurora Public Library are hosting artist Alejandro Loccoco of Guadalajara, Mexico, as he paints a mural, titled “Heart of America,” at the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora.

The 13-foot by 40-foot mural is being painted on a west wall on the second floor of the library at 101 S. River St. in downtown Aurora.

Loccoco will present a program on the meaning and creation of the mural at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, in Rooms 125-126 in the Santori Library. The dual language presentation will be presented in English and Spanish.

When Loccoco arrived at the Aurora Public Library this week, he hugged the wall on which he would create the mural, saying that he was happy the mural would be located indoors.

“Outdoor murals change over time,” Loccoco said Wednesday. “This mural will still be here when we’re gone.”

The mural was proposed to Second Ward Alderman Juany Garza by Pedro Garcia Aguilar, general coordinator of the Council of Hispanic Communities. The council is working on several cultural exchanges with Aurora, including the mural project.

“I’m very happy that after all these months, the mural will soon be a reality,” Garza said. It’s exciting to see that an excellent artist such as Mr. Loccoco is interested in our city. This mural is an awesome blessing.”

“Since the mural will be in a public building that is a destination for thousands, it will be an asset that can enrich our diverse community in many ways,” said Dan Barreiro, chief community services officer for the City of Aurora.

Loccoco began creating the mural with a mixed acrylic and charcoal technique on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The public will not be able to view the artist while he works, as he wishes the mural to be viewed in its entirety when it is completed at the end of the month.

The mural was inspired by the union of cultures, languages and customs of both people born in the United States and those coming from all of Latin America, Loccoco said, adding that he wants to honor and seek bonds of friendship and dignity between different cultures and races.

“We are pleased that Mr. Loccoco chose the City of Aurora and the Aurora Public Library to host this original work,” said Library Director Daisy Porter-Reynolds. “We love that he appreciates Aurora’s diversity and rich Hispanic heritage as much as we do, and we are honored that the Santori Library was asked to provide the canvas for his creativity.”

For more information, please call Aurora Public Library, 630-264-4125.

GAR Museum Earns Top Honors from Ill. Assoc. of Museums

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

The Aurora Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum (GAR) has been named the  2017 Small Institution of the Year by the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM).

“The IAM Awards Committee and Executive Board were impressed with efforts and outcomes of the City of Aurora and its dedicated citizens to restore and reopen this important historic building and preserve and tell the many stories it interprets,” the IAM said in its announcement of the honor.

The Aurora GAR Memorial Museum was built in 1877-78 as a tribute to the brave Aurora men who fought in the Civil War. Seven hundred men from 70 different Union Army regiments would become members of the Aurora GAR Post. Over the years, the GAR Hall fell into disrepair, and was closed because of safety concerns. After a 15-year $3.5-million restoration effort, the Museum was reopened to the public on Memorial Day 2016.

“The stalwart efforts to reopen the GAR have not gone unnoticed,” said Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “Visitors are in awe as they tour the museum. Statewide organizations such as the Illinois Association of Museums and Landmarks Illinois have deemed it worthy of recognition. Certainly, everyone who was involved in the restoration efforts must be applauded for their work to preserve one of Aurora’s most treasured historic assets.”

Today, the GAR Museum at 23 E. Downer Place in downtown Aurora presents a dozen exhibits focusing on the local soldiers who served in the Civil War and on the growing community of Aurora in the mid and late 1800s. The Museum is open — for free — from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and from 5 to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. The Museum also is open for tours by community and school groups, Monday through Friday.

The 2017 Small Institution of the Year award will be presented to the City at an awards dinner sponsored by the Illinois Association of Museums in October.

This is the second state award presented to the GAR Museum in the past year. In 2016, Landmarks Illinois, a statewide historic preservation organization, presented its President’s Award for Preservation to the Aurora GAR project.