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posted: 10/12/2016 1:00 AM

Klein Tools working hard to help electricians

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  • Klein Tools in Lincolnshire is investing another $2 million to train the next generation of electrical workers.

    Klein Tools in Lincolnshire is investing another $2 million to train the next generation of electrical workers.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Mark Klein

    Mark Klein

  • Jason Hammerberg, the founder of Hammer Made.

    Jason Hammerberg, the founder of Hammer Made.


Klein Tools, a family-owned company in Lincolnshire is investing another $2 million to train the next generation of electrical workers.

The company announced it is continuing its long-term partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association, investing $2 million over the next five years in training and educational programs. The pledge follows Klein Tool's original 5-year "Million Dollar Pledge," which provided resources and support to IBEW-NECA and The Electrical Training Alliance training centers.

"We decided to partner with these organizations because of their commitment to the training and education of apprentices and young electricians entering the industry," said Klein Tools Co-president Mark Klein. "Klein Tools encourages men and women to enter this challenging industry and we do everything we can to ensure they receive the necessary tools and training they need to have a long, successful career," he said.

He added that the company decided to double its donation after they saw the program's initial success. "We want all electricians to have access to the best training, best safety practices and best tools at every stage of their careers. It's one way we combat the skills gap and ensure electricians are prepared to do the job, as well as keep up with ever-changing technology and challenging jobs. By doubling our commitment, we are able to reach more electricians in a more meaningful way," he said.

The donation is important to the company, Klien said.

Klein Tools, has 1,300 employees worldwide. "As the industry leader it is our job to give back and to ensure we are setting the standard on everything from training to job site safety to quality and durability of our products. We want apprentices to know that someone is out there trying to make their jobs a little easier and a lot safer," Klein said.

He said the company recognizes electrician's contributions to the trade and to their community. To show this recognition, the firm created the Electrician of the Year award to showcase the nation's most outstanding electricians. The honor celebrates electricians for their professional achievement, safety excellence and community dedication. A grand prize winner will receive $2,500 a year in free Klein Tools products for 10 years. Bill Budz of Schaumburg is the regional winner for the Central Northwest.

He's an electrical instructor at HVAC Technical Institute in Chicago. The Electrician of the Year will be announced this month.

Since 1857 Klein Tools, a family-owned and operated company, has been designing, developing and manufacturing professional-grade hand tools. The majority of Klein tools are manufactured in plants throughout the U.S.

Prestigious roofing award

Firestone Building Products recently presented Waukegan Roofing Company Inc. in Waukegan and Weatherguard Roofing Co. in Elgin with the 2016 Partner in Quality Award.

The suburban firms are among 133 Firestone Building Products Red Shield licensed roofing contractors in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to achieve the honor.

Firestone Building Products Red Shield licensed roofing contractors are required to complete extensive product installation training and their work must meet Quality Incidence Rating criteria. QIR measures each contractor's performance based on the number of warranty repair incidences per million square feet.

"Our Firestone Building Products Red Shield Licensed Roofing Contractors are among the most elite in the business," said Tim Dunn, president of Firestone Building Products.

Hammer Made expands from Twin Cities

Hammer Made, a men's clothing retailer that specializes in limited edition dress shirts, plans to open a store at Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook this month.

The Minneapolis-based company opened another store about two months ago at Westfield Old Orchard Mall in Skokie.

"We have a lot of enthusiastic fans who have visited our stores in Minnesota, especially business travelers at the airport location. With our expansion to the Chicago area, Atlanta and beyond, we are able to better meet the growing need for upscale, unique menswear that makes a statement," said Jason Hammerberg, founder and CEO of Hammer Made.

The specialty store fills a niche in the growing $60.8 billion U.S. men's apparel industry.

Because Hammer Made works directly with mills and factories, it eliminates the typical markups seen in designer clothes.

Made with the same premium European fabrics found in luxury brands, the limited edition shirts have three price points, $98.50, $128.50 and $148.50.

Using his education, experience and inspiration from thousands of European fabrics, Hammerberg designs all the products in the Hammer Made portfolio, including ties, socks, pocket squares, belts, leather goods and more. The diverse customer list includes casual dressers and businessmen to the who's who among NHL, NFL, and MLB players and news reporters.

Hammer Made currently has four locations in Minnesota, including the Mall of America, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, the Galleria in Edina and Ridgedale in Minnetonka.