Made in Chicago Featured Company: We Are Lions

We Are Lions

We Are Lions (WAL) showcases the talents of artists with disabilities and non-profits that provide services for this community. All of their products are designed by people with disabilities from around the world. The We Are Lions’ model is simple: for every product sold, the artists and non-profits receive 50% of the profits. Not only does the special needs community design these products, but they are manufactured, in part, by people of all abilities as well!

We Are Lions believes art has the power to transcend any boundary in the known universe. Their mission is to harness this power and use it for good. By creating art, the most universal language, on canvases everyone has access to, they give people a platform to share their stories. Some of their products include t-shirts, shower curtains, throw pillows and more!

Crossing Borders to Canada: Food & Beverage Export Workshop

Have you been contemplating an export program to Canada? Start with a closer look at key strategies for success as highlighted by The Hatchery.  On February 21st from 4-7pm, The Hatchery will host an insightful workshop on expanding your food business into the Canadian market.

The Hatchery Chicago
This event will introduce information on Canadian food, restaurant trends, labeling regulations, incentive programs, and more. They will also provide knowledge about valuable financial and distribution strategies to allow a successful launch and growth of your business in the Canadian markets. This workshop will feature an industry specialist from Toronto who will be sharing his insight on the market.

Made in Illinois Featured Company: Advanced Outsource Solutions

Advanced Outsource Solutions Logo

Headquartered in the Midwest, AOS is a social enterprise that provides secondary contract packaging services nationwide. Their core mission is to offer opportunities to people that may have experienced employment blocks in the past. These include, but are not limited to, wounded warriors, military veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those that have been at a disadvantage with a strong desire to create a positive career history. In addition to secondary contract packaging, the company provides a wide range of labor and resource management solutions in a socially responsible manner. Their custom services give corporations the flexibility to outsource their packaging needs while identifying cost savings and ways to streamline productivity.


Some of the contract packaging services include: Labeling, High-Speed Shrink Wrapping, Shrink Sleeving and Banding, Bundle Wrapping, Pallet Displays, Blister Packaging, Kitting, Gift Set Assembly, Rework, and Inspection. Advanced Outsource Solutions Inc. has access to approximately 150,000 square feet of warehouse space and offers highly competitive speed-to-market abilities. They operate with a competitive corporate structure and a management team of specialized experts. Their employees follow strict SOP’s/GMP’sTM to ensure quality work and safety in every project, and their robust warehouse management system houses lot code traceability and can recall products in a matter of seconds. The leadership team at Advanced Outsource Solutions Inc. is comprised of individuals who have worked for major consumer packaged goods companies. Averaging 15 years of experience each, team members pride themselves on a “do whatever it takes to get the job done right and on time” culture!

Made in Chicago Featured Company: Tri Lite, Inc.

Tri Lite, Inc. logo
Founded in 1987,  Tri Lite’s dock lights and signals, warning lights, back-up alarms, and sirens can be found on loading docks, forklifts, emergency vehicles, and in an array of other business and industrial settings. Their durable, high-quality components and accessories are made in the U.S.A. to be sold globally through dealers, distributors, and original equipment manufacturers.

Tri Lite, Inc. is a leading designer and manufacturer of specialty lighting and electrical products for the material handling, office supply, and safety markets.  Tri Lite, Inc. manufactures specialty electrical products including loading dock lights, portable task lights, warning lights and beacons, and personal heaters.

Made in Illinois Featured Company: Monitor Technologies, LLC

Monitor Technologies
Monitor Technologies provides practical solutions for bin level indication, level measurement, inventory management, solids flow monitoring, moisture measurement, dust monitoring and bin aeration for the storage and processing of most powders & bulk solids as well as some liquids and slurries. For over 55 years Monitor Technologies has aimed to provide high quality products, extensive application support and trusted customer service.

Some of their top products include: Model KA / KAX rotary paddle level switches, SafePoint fail-safe rotary paddle level sensors, TrueCap RF capacitance level probes, SiloPatrol plumb bob level measurement sensors and inventory management.

Some of their special capabilities include their expert advice, based on over 55 years of knowledge, in powders and bulk solids, 2-Year Warranty on most items, Full-featured website and blog packed full with information and solutions, and a service department capable of in-factory product repairs or field service. They also provide an experienced product engineering and design department, as well as quick delivery for most standard products. They are also an ISO 9001 registered quality system.

Linguistic and Cultural Barriers in Manufacturing: Understanding the Language of the Workforce

Written by Emilia Linardakis, Managing Partner – Language Advisors Network Group

language advisorsManufacturing is one of the most lucrative industries in the U.S. and there are about 251,857 manufacturing firms currently in the United States. Due to migration patterns, language and cultural diversity are becoming a theme in the majority of the workplaces. The manufacturing industry is one of the most diversified sectors of economy with a vast number of immigrant workers. 12% or 23.8 million immigrants work in the manufacturing industry. These workers have either no knowledge or very limited proficiency in English. The number of non-English speakers in the US has grown considerably in the last few years due to the influx of immigration levels that continue to increase drastically based on the Census Bureau. Foreign-born workforce is becoming a vital part of the US economy, especially in the manufacturing sector. National Census data shows that there are nearly 64.7 million U.S. residents who speak a language other than English at home; that makes about 21.5% of the total U.S. population. Approximately 46% of immigrant workers are considered limited English proficiency (LEP). Over the last two decades the types of jobs available for workers with limited English proficiency have changed. Many U.S. manufacturing jobs that used to be performed from LEP employees have now been outsourced.

Made in Chicago Featured Company: Aluminum Case Company

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For over 60 years, Aluminum Case Company has manufactured solid aluminum cases, chests, and enclosures for all types of clients: from the girl next door to Fortune 100 companies, as well as our nation’s military. Aluminum Case Company manufactures aluminum cases engineered to meet the needs of the most demanding customer. They also manufacture a stock line that includes solid aluminum carrying cases, footlockers, tool chests, storage boxes, photo/print cases, and shipping cases. Their unique manufacturing
process also allows them to customize your case needs quickly and economically. Customization includes: any color finish, special hardware, wheels, extendable handles, logos, nameplates, custom foam inserts, custom metal inserts, or anything else you can imagine!
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Featured Made in Illinois Company: McLaughlin Body Company

McLaughlin BodyMcLaughlin Body Company provides North America with engineering, fabrication and testing of operator protection systems, agriculture and military cabs (both armored and unarmored), roll over protection systems ROPS/OPS, enclosures and metal components for construction, military and agriculture industries. McLaughlin Body Company also provides a wide range of complex metal components and assemblies which include stairs, railings and platforms. Some of their top products include manufactured Cabs, roll over protection systems and large assemblies.

Tri-State Manufacturing Conference Focuses on Manufacturing Success

manufacturing conference

The first Tri-State Manufacturing Conference for Illinois, Iowa and Missouri will take place March 15 to help companies of all sizes learn more about emerging trends in the new era of manufacturing.

The event will take place at John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Key educational, business and economic development partners from three states have joined forces to create the conference to help regional manufacturers develop employees, processes and technology to grow business and expand into new markets.

Made in Chicago Featured Company: Profile Plastics

Profile Plastics
Profile Plastics produces award-winning, custom plastic thermoformed parts for diverse applications in markets such as medical, industrial and food/beverage. Profile specializes in heavy-gauge, highly detailed, close tolerance production via vacuum, pressure and twin-sheet forming processes. Profile Plastics provides an experienced project engineering team to provide innovative solutions to your most challenging projects. ISO 9001:2008 certified.

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