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Business Champions crowned in Crystal Lake

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CRYSTAL LAKE – Three McHenry County businesses were crowned Business Champions Thursday night at the McHenry County Economic Development Corp.'s Annual Dinner.

Fourteen companies nominated for the awards were introduced at the dinner at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake

The three winners were:

• Divison 1 (fewer than 25 employees): Impact Plastics Inc. in Huntley. After a four-year hiatus, Impact Plastics returned to Huntley in May to take advantage of improved tollway access. The recycler of plastics and wholesaler of industrial refuse container replacement parts had been located in Elgin. The company employes 15 full-time and five part-time employees. Company President Scott Lemajeur said the company was able to combine its operations under one roof, and expects to expand its recycling operations.

• Division 2 (25 to 100 employees): All-Rite Spring Co. in Spring Grove. All-Rite Spring broke ground in August on a $4.6 million, 51,000-square-foot expansion project in Spring Grove. The family-owned company is a leading manufacturer of springs to a variety of clients in diverse industries. Owner John Bilik said the company has seen its greatest growth in the automotive sector, and credited MCEDC President Pam Cumpata for making the connection recently with two new automotive customers.

• Division 3 (more than 100 employees): Chroma Corp. in McHenry. Chroma Corp. manufactures colorants for thermoplastics. Last year, the 45-year-old company added six new extruders to its McHenry production facility to enable the company to offer quicker turnaround and shorter lead times on its growing small-order segment of the business. Tom Bolger, Chroma’s president and CEO, said the company's green technology has allowed it to reduce its carbon footprint.. "We're inventing products that require less energy to be produced," he said.

Other nominees in Division 1 were CalCo Cutaways in Crystal Lake, and Tegel Design Inc. in Huntley. Nominees in Division 2 were Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical Inc. in Crystal Lake, Genesis Medical Imaging in Huntley, GKI Inc. in Crystal Lake, Haiges Machinery in Huntley, and Induction Heat Treating Corp. in Crystal Lake. Nominees in Division 3 were Centegra Health System, H.S. Crocker Company Inc. in Huntley, Master Coil Spring in McHenry, and Metalmaster Roofmaster in McHenry.

Cumpata said the winners in each category were decided by a panel of business leaders and professionals from outside McHenry County.

Keynote speaker at the event attended by about 400 people was Rick Stephens, senior vice president of human resources for The Boeing Co. Stephens urged parents and schools to take steps to better prepare children for the workforce.

"We need to get a broader perspective about what's going on in the workforce," Stephens said. "Not everyone needs to go to college, but everyone needs to be job ready," he said.

Cumpata introduced retiring U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, and called him a friend of business for championing many causes in McHenry County, most notably the Algonquin Western Bypass.

Previous Business Champions were: 2011 – Other World Computing, Dordan Manufacturing and Joule Technologies; 2010 – Scot Forge, Jan Air and Astro Craft; 2009 – Medela, Millennium Electronics and Stan’s Office Technologies; 2008 – Pioneer Center for Human Services, Prairie Ridge Media/McHenry County Living, and New Concepts Development Corp./Other World Computing.

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