The executive director of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce has accomplished something that only about 20 other chamber leaders in the state have done.
Jon S. Ridler was recently awarded the title of accredited chamber executive from the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
"The accreditation by my state association is truly an honor as I collaborate with some great leaders who run very effective chambers across the state," said Ridler, who has been the executive director in Arlington Heights since 2004 and also serves on the IACCE board of directors as treasurer.
Applicants for the designation must have at least five years of service as a chamber professional, be an IACCE member, engage in continuing professional development, exhibit strong leadership ability and demonstrate involvement and proven accomplishments at the local chamber level and in the community.
Over the years Ridler, 49, has created changes at the chamber in an effort to address the needs of members and adapt to changes in the business climate. Several years ago the chamber altered its membership fee structure. Members now pay for what they want to be part of, he said.
In addition, he said the chamber has formed a stronger partnership with the village in an effort to create a thriving business community. "We work with Mayor Hayes and the village to focus on small business development and retention," said Ridler, who moved from Elgin to Arlington Heights about three years ago.
"This has been a great game changer," said Ridler about the connection between the two entities.
In addition, the chamber has been working to add additional communication with residents in town. "We want to connect the residents with our businesses," Ridler said.
Looking ahead to next year, Ridler said the organization will be celebrating its 70th year as a chamber, which now has 510 members. "The chamber incorporated in 1947," he said.
Ridler, who grew up in a small town in Minnesota, was in the hospitality industry and then worked with convention and visitors bureaus before coming to Arlington Heights. "I saw the opportunity to be involved with the community development part of the chamber," said Ridler, who with his wife, is raising four children ranging in age from 6th grade to 18 years old.
Prairie Farmer, believed to be the oldest continually published magazine in America, is celebrating its 175-year anniversary.
What began in Chicago in 1841 to serve farmers on the prairie, continues to be an information authority for today's producers.
"We're very proud to have served Illinois agriculture for all of those years," said Holly Spangler, editor of Prairie Farmer, which has operations in St. Charles. "Our mission has never wavered: We exist for farmers. We're here to help them build a better farm, a better environment, a better community and a better family," she said.
Prairie Farmer traces its roots to 1841 when entrepreneur John S. Wright founded The Union Agriculturist and Western Prairie Farmer, now known as Prairie Farmer, in Chicago as pioneers made their way across the prairie and settled new ground to begin searching out the crops that would ultimately make Illinois farmland some of the most prolific in the entire world.
"One of the fascinating things we learned in pouring over archival volumes is that Wright founded Prairie Farmer in the wake of a fiercely partisan presidential election between Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison. He wanted an agricultural paper that would be nonpartisan and unpolitical," Spangler said.
From radio to finances
Neil Sant, who started his career as a producer and on air with the Danny Bonaduce Show on the LOOP in Chicago, is now the chief operating officer at Klein Hall CPAs in Aurora.
Neil's diverse business experiences include helping clients to create business and strategic plans, negotiating contracts, structuring merchant service accounts, developing and manufacturing product. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and has earned a certification from Harvard's program on negotiation.
"Anyone who has worked with Neil could tell you that he knows the keys to successful operations are a company's people, systems and processes -- and he's an expert in all three," said Klein Hall managing partner Christina Klein.
Sysmex based in Lincolnshire announced that it is ranked 28th on the Forbes 2016 List of The World's Most Innovative Companies.
The Forbes list identifies 100 global companies that are the most innovative and projected to continue or increase their innovation in the future.
Sysmex develops, manufactures, and sells clinical laboratory instruments, reagents and software used for in vitro diagnostics. Sysmex America Inc., the company's American affiliate, employs approximately 1,000 people in the Chicago area and its other U.S. locations.
With the increased emphasis on early detection and preventive medicine, Sysmex plays a prominent role in shaping the future of health care through in vitro diagnostics. "Sysmex innovation expands the boundaries of diagnostic science and automation," said John Kershaw, Sysmex America CEO and president.