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THRIVE Technology Edition Released

The 2016-17 Technology Edition of THRIVE magazine has been released by the Daily Journal, in partnership with the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. “The intent of this publication,” explains Alliance Director of Marketing & Business Attraction Lisa Wogan, “is to showcase tech advances large and small across our community – from our vibrant manufacturing, biotech, agriculture and health care industries to the growing and rich STEM education programming in our area schools.”

Access the e-edition here.

Economic Alliance President/CEO Tim Nugent provided the forward to the issue. Following is a transcript.

Counting on Our Cutting Edge

A couple of years ago, we had a bit of a surprise. The prestigious Milken Institute in its Best-Performing Cities Index ranked Kankakee County the top small metro in the state of Illinois for job growth and, and here’s the surprise, technology growth. Interesting, we thought. Our community obviously has a strong industrial presence, but “high-tech” belongs to the big cities and the Silicon Valleys of the world, right?


We know that every single industry sector – from agriculture to finance to health care to transportation – is undergoing a sea change whereby new and better technology is being steadily infused into every element of administration and operations. More efficient systems, in turn, help meet the great and growing global demand for product innovation.
The result of all of this on the ground around the world and in our own backyard is nothing short of a new Industrial Revolution.

Our seven-story, $250 million CSL Behring expansion: The result of a plasma fractionation technology transfer from CSL’s European headquarters.

Van Drunen Farms’ multimillion dollar production expansion in Momence: The outcome of industry-leading food ingredient innovations from sister company FutureCeuticals, which currently holds more than 50 patents related to metabolic health, inflammation, cardiovascular health and healthy aging.

And these are just a couple of our biggest stories. This issue of THRIVE magazine really is a tribute to tech advancements large and small across our community.

So, the $50,000 question: How is this new Industrial Revolution impacting our jobs? The best answer is that jobs have changed forever. Today’s work is much more sophisticated, with entrepreneurial and critical thinking skills at a premium. Entirely new occupational categories and job titles are being created. Education and training at all levels are enormously challenged to keep pace with this industrial advancement.

The great news is that, here in Kankakee County, education and training are largely on course.

In May 2016, the preeminent Economic Modeling Specialists International released its Talent Attraction Scorecard. Lo and behold, Kankakee County ranked among the top 10% of counties nationally for attracting and developing talent. According to the report, we saw 8% skilled job growth from 2011 to 2015.

Another surprise? It shouldn’t be. Our community and region have a great history of innovation, hard work and agility. Education is stepping up to the plate with groundbreaking work-readiness programs. Kankakee County is ready to complete for new and exciting investment of all kinds.

Count on it.