Made in Illinois Featured Company: Testor Corporation

For over eight years in Rockford, IL the Testor Corporation has been manufacturing inspiring products for hobby, craft, home decor, auto-touch-up, and nail color. Since 1929, the oval Testor logo has been associated with the quality and integrity of these creative products for building, educating, and decorating.

Testor hobby finishing materials and accessories, plastic model kits, craft paints and supplies, airbrushes, auto touch-up sprays and markers, and nail color products are sold world-wide, satisfying the demand for these fine products. Testors… for Every Surface – Inspiration for Creative Minds.

Some of our top products are brushable paints, aerosol paints, adhesives, airbrush paint, and adhesive markers and applicators models. Testor offers exact color match paints and adhesives in small and unique packaging.

Contact Testor Corporation:

440 Blackhawk Park Ave
Rockford, IL 61104
Phone (815)967-4074

Interested in joining Made in Illinois? Click here to begin promoting your business today!

IMEC Made in Illinois program logo

Welcome the newest IMEC team member: Andy Cave

Andy CaveIMEC is proud to announce Andy Cave as the newest Regional Manager to the team.  Andy will have primary responsibility serving the north and northwestern Chicagoland region.

With more than 25 years of manufacturing experience, Andy is a results oriented Operations Executive with a strong background in process re-engineering using Lean and Six Sigma tools. He has a solid track record of improving profitability through hands-on change management, implementing process improvements to increase margins, quality and customer satisfaction.

Along with significant experience driving business growth by executing strategic plans and successfully introducing new revenue streams, Andy excels in examining current processes, determining areas for improvement and delivering targeted objectives.

Welcome Andy!

For more information about IMEC’s team of manufacturing improvement specialists, please contact Amanda Hawley or

Retirement through Employee Ownership: The Select Machine Story


Contributed by Project Equity, an IMEC partner

Like many business owners nearing retirement age, when it came time for Select Machine owners Doug Beavers and Bill Sagaser to think about stepping away from the company, they investigated a range of options. They ultimately decided that selling their business to their employees was the option that best met their retirement goals of keeping their company healthy and profitable, and keeping their trusted employees in their jobs.

Select Machine, founded in 1994, manufactures and sells custom parts for demolition and construction equipment. When founders Beavers and Sagaser decided that the time had come to retire, they were confronted with a difficult choice. Their children weren’t interested in taking over the company, and prospective buyers planned to dismantle the company and lay off its workers, preserving only the company’s client list. Sagasar said of their employees, “These are our guys, our family, and we wanted them to keep on working.”

Why employee ownership?

Studies demonstrate that worker-owned businesses are stronger businesses: they outlast their competitors in economic downturns, have higher productivity and growth, and lower employee turnover. Plus, employees, their families, and their communities are better off: worker-owned businesses have higher wages, better benefits, and workers build assets through business ownership.

How does it work to retire by selling to my employees?

Tactically, a “conversion” to a worker-owned business is three things:

1) The creation of a new business entity that is a worker-owned co-op

2) A sale of the business (or its assets) to the worker co-op

  • The sale is often financed by a lender (which could be the owner) or by selling non-voting equity shares; loans are paid back out of future profits from the business.
  • Financial buy-in by workers is usually required but doesn’t cover the entire purchase amount. Businesses often allows employees to pay some or all of this out of their paychecks over time to make worker-ownership broadly accessible.
  • After the ‘founding’ worker-owners, there is typically a candidacy period for new employees to assess fit from both sides.
  • Not all employees have to be worker-owners, but there needs to be a genuine offer to all permanent employees who are interested.

3) A transition over time of roles and culture as new worker-owners take on the ownership and governance responsibility of the new entity.

And depending on the specifics of your company, there may be significant tax advantages to selling your business to your employees.

Does your business have a succession plan?

Surprisingly few U.S. business owners have an ownership succession plan. When looking at family-owned businesses, it turns out that only 30% of family businesses succeed to the 2nd generation, and only 15% to the 3rd generation.

With baby boomers currently owning an estimated two-thirds of all businesses with employees, there is a potentially huge impact of keeping those businesses anchored in our communities. Doug Beavers, one of the selling owners of Select Machine, expressed his thoughts on the conversion: “We did not set out to establish a precedent or develop a model. We wanted to do what was best for the employees of our company and for ourselves. We chose the employee-owned cooperative because it made sense.”

How can I learn more?ProjectEquityLogo_LowerRes

Project Equity, a nonprofit that assists businesses through the process of assessing, then transitioning to employee ownership, provides information about conversions to worker ownership and hands on support to businesses throughout the transition. Visit their website to read Select Machine’s and many other case studies, or to sign up for an upcoming webinar or individual consultation.

IMEC business transition solutions are geared toward manufacturers and small businesses interested in positioning their firm for future in the next generation. Whether a family-owned or closely-held business, we’re here to help. Visit to learn more.


Made in Illinois Featured Company: Genoa Business Forms Inc.

newGenoa Business Forms Inc. has been printing the paperwork that makes businesses run since 1957. We print custom business forms (such as Invoices and Bills of Landing), checks, envelopes and marketing pieces.

Top Products:

  • Business Forms
  • Checks & Deposit Slips
  • Envelopes
  • Advertising Items

Need it in a hurry? Genoa Business Forms offers 24, 48 and 72 hour rush deliveries. We can even product your order the same day if you need it really fast!

Contact Genoa Business Forms:

445 Park Avenue
Sycamore, IL 60178
Phone (815)895-2800

Interested in joining Made in Illinois? Click here to begin promoting your business today!

IMEC Made in Illinois program logo

Made in Illinois Featured Company: Vogel Tool & Die

yesVogel Tool & Die manufactures a wide range of tools used in the fabrication of tubular metal parts and is the inventor of the Arc-Fit tool line for coping the ends of tubes & pipes. From an exercise treadmill to wheelchairs, to truck brush guards and car mufflers, Vogel tools have helped to manufacture thousands of products you encounter everyday.

Top Products:

  • Arc-Fit pipe notchers
  • Tubing cut off dies
  • Angled notching dies
  • Ornamental picket fence tools

We specialize in custom dies for specialized tubular part fabrication and serve an extensive range of industries including automotive, medical equipment, fencing, recreational equipment and more.

Contact Vogel Tool & Die:

5 West Laura Drive
Addison, IL 60101
Phone (630)562-1400

Interested in joining Made in Illinois? Click here to begin promoting your business today!

IMEC Made in Illinois program logo

Welcome the newest IMEC team members: Jesus Dominguez and Hong Rickett

Jesus Dominguez IMECJesus Dominguez, Technical Specialist – Based in Chicago, he brings bilingual skills (English and Spanish) and United State Marine Corps discipline to work in a high performance team helping companies implement actions to improve productivity and competitiveness.

Dominguez prides himself on analyzing client business processes to identify bottlenecks and maximize efficiencies to further the success of the small to midsize Illinois manufacturer. Dominguez is an expert in creating and implementing process improvement plans with high acuity in TWI implementation.

Read more in Jesus’ bio

Hong Rickett IMECHong Rickett, Special Initiatives Coordinator – Based in Peoria, she identifies and develops collaborative partnership opportunities that align with the IMEC mission to serve as strategic advisors to small and mid-sized manufacturers. Rickett will manage a portfolio of strategic projects and serve as a liaison to a broad range of external resources available to aid in manufacturer competitiveness within the state.

Read more in Hong’s bio

For more information about IMEC’s team of manufacturing improvement specialists, please contact Amanda Hawley or

The Manufacturing Council and White House Steering Committee visit Chicago manufacturers

On Thursday, May 28, IMEC had the privilege of joining the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council’s Sub-Committee on Innovation and Research and Development, White House Advanced Manufacturing Partnership officials, Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) and local manufacturers for a round table discussion.

Manufacturing CouncilThe discussion was held at the UI LABS: Digital Manufacturing Design Innovation Institute building in Chicago and was centered on the state of innovation in the American supply chain ecosystem, and effective strategies to help small manufacturers identify opportunities for innovation, invest in innovation and upgrade capabilities.

SIU Releases Reshoring Report for Innovation and Growth

SIU ReshoringOur partners at Southern Illinois University’s Office of Economic and Regional Development recently compiled a report for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

“RESHORING An Opportunity for Innovation and Economic Growth in Southern Illinois” report is linked for your review.

Industrial Safety & Health: WEATHER

Written by Lori Amerman, IMEC manufacturing specialist and OSHA authorized trainer

weatherThere is one thing for sure about Illinois weather, it is always changing. We have made it through the snow and ice hazards and are now in the Midwest tornado season. In order to keep your organization safe from weather threats, here are a few reminders in preparedness:

Making Connections: Bolingbrook Manufacturing Matchmaking

The latest Manufacturing Matchmaking event brought together more than 35 organizations focused on manufacturing competitiveness yesterday.

Manufacturing firms represented capabilities in industries like automotive, medial devices, military and defense, mining, aerospace, construction equipment and many more. Participating manufacturers were hoping to identify future sales or procurement opportunities with others in attendance and many positive interactions were reported through initial evaluations.

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