President Preckwinkle pleased with CRGI Collaboration
President Preckwinkle and Aaron Lawlor, Chairman, Lake County, (standing to her right) stop for a brief photo at the end of the meeting with two of the other County Chief Executives.

President Preckwinkle and Aaron Lawlor, Lake County Board Chairman (standing to her right); Joseph Gottemoller, County Board Chairman, McHenry County (standing to her left);  and Larry Walsh, County Executive, Will County (far right), stop for a brief photo at the end of the meeting.

On July 9th, Lake County hosted the Chicago Regional Growth Initiative (CRGI) at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Deerfield, Illinois. The Chicago Regional Growth Initiative (CRGI) is an outgrowth of a regional initiative beginning in December of 2013, under the leadership of President Preckwinkle. For the first time in decades, leaders from the region’s public and private economic development sectors gathered to discuss how they can work together to promote a stronger regional economy. County board chief executives from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will counties and the City of Chicago/World Business Chicago meet regularly to discuss opportunities for collaboration to further the economic growth of the region. After welcoming remarks on July 9th from David Dieter, Vice President, Government Affairs, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A.,Inc. and Aaron Lawlor, Chairman, Lake County, President Preckwinkle noted the progress  of the CRGI’s  efforts – the Chicago Metro Metal Consortium, Metro Chicago Exports, and the streamlined truck permitting initiative –   suggested that they serve as examples of what regional collaboration can achieve. She also  introduced a special guest, Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, U.S. EPA, who spoke briefly in regards to the Obama administration’s support for manufacturing communities through its “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) program. He commended the Chicago region for its regional approach and the work of the Chicago Metro Metal Consortium. He also discussed the U.S. EPA’s commitment to transforming former brownfield sites for new uses in manufacturing. Jim Schultz, Director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), offered his perspectives on regional collaboration and expressed the State’s support for the group’s work. Joseph Szabo, Executive Director, CMAP, served as moderator and introduced the remaining speakers and panels. Each speaker, noted below, shared short updates and next steps in their respective areas: • Michael Jasso, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Economic Development, speaking about the Chicago Metro Metal Consortium (CMMC) • Tom Hulseman, Managing Director, Metro Chicago Exports (MCE) • Doug Whitley, Executive Director, SINC, speaking about streamlining truck permitting The focus of the meeting then turned to the topic of Foreign Direct Investment in the regional context. FDI benefits businesses and the economy and is consistent with Cook County’s asset based growth strategy. With the bulk of economic growth occurring outside the US, FDI attraction presents and an opportunity to capture this value to further strengthen Chicagoland’s economy. CRGI is exploring how the region can best pursue the opportunity FDI presents and structured two panels to discuss the issue from the perspective of the company, followed by the perspective of a metro area. Two panel discussions followed. The first panel discussion focused on: "How Foreign Owned Enterprises (FOEs) View the Chicago Region". Moderator: Susan Comstock, Managing Director, Multinational Corporations, Commercial Banking, J.P. Morgan Chase and featured the following panelists: • Steve Kermisch, National Director, State Governmentt Affairs, Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. • Martin Lu, Ph.D., President, Polymax Thermoplastic Elastomers • Dan Olsen, Director of New Business Development, Sunstar Americas Second Panel Discussion: Regional Approaches to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) • Moderator: Joseph Luna, Chair, Lake County Partners • Deb Scherer, Director of Global Markets, Columbus 2020 • David Griggs, Vice President, Business Investment and Research, Greater Minneapolis–St. Paul Regional Partnership View photos