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Joe Franco named recipient of the inaugural IMPACT Award by Economic Alliance of Kankakee County


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2022



The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County has named Joe Franco of Kankakee as the inaugural recipient of the IMPACT Award for his commitment to the growth of sustainable development in the region.

“This award is meant to honor and celebrate the investment of time, treasure and talent to our community over the course of decades, and Joe Franco is the epitome of that,” said Tim Nugent, President/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County.

“Joe has gone from humble beginnings to a very successful businessman, and through it all his heart and soul has been here in Kankakee County.” Nugent added, “For that, Kankakee County will continue to flourish because of the foundation Franco has laid.”

Franco was born and raised in Depue, Illinois and attended Illinois Valley Community College in LaSalle-Peru and St. Joseph School of Medical Technology in Bloomington. He came to Kankakee at the age of 23 to work in the medical lab for St. Mary’s Hospital.

Over the course of decades Franco built his own medical labs in Bourbonnais, Clifton, Kankakee, Manteno, Peotone and Momence, and took the lead on more than 30 projects in Kankakee County and across the region. Among these is the Bourbonnais Med Center, the Heritage Med Center, the administration building for Olivet Nazarene University’s graduate programs, and the Executive Centre in Kankakee which houses the Kankakee Public Library. Franco was the trailblazer on renovating the David Bradley building on North Street in Bradley, converting it into a business incubator where several successful manufacturers operate today.

Regionally, Franco’s developments include the John Deere building in the Quad Cities, the ‘Super Block’ in east Moline and additional developments in Moline, East Moline and Chicago Heights.

Franco’s projects include 22 glass elevators in these buildings, as well as the bridge that spans Court Street in downtown Kankakee, connecting what is now Ascension Saint Mary to Med Center West.

Franco was instrumental in forming the unified Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County as a central point of contact for businesses and developers in the area.

“Franco knew our community would prosper by working together. And he was right,” said Jeff Hammes, Chairman of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County and President of Peoples Bank. “Joe recognized talent among groups, and he made things happen. He saw a future in Kankakee County, and it has paid off. Our community is prospering.”

“Joe Franco’s work in Kankakee County and beyond is truly incredible,” said Phil Kambic, President of Riverside Healthcare, the largest employer in Kankakee County. “The buildings he created, the work that he has done, has impacted so many people in our area. He has created jobs and livelihood for our residents, and for that we are forever grateful.”

The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County is a public-private partnership that works to expand the economic base by improving the local business climate in Kankakee County. The Alliance employs a collaborative approach to support development in the strategic areas of business retention, expansion and attraction, and workforce and community development.

For more information contact Tim Nugent, President/CEO at tnugent@kankakeecountyed.org or 815.935.1177; or Angela Morrey, Director of Marketing & Business Attraction at amorrey@kankakeecountyed.org or 630.800.0006.

IMPACT Award recipient Joe Franco.