DuPage County Executives Address Business Outlook

For Immediate Release Contact: Joy Fischer, Director of Marketing and Communications E-mail: joy.fischer@icemiller.com Phone: 317-236-2489 or Cell: 317-514-6000 Choose DuPage LogoIce Miller LogoMesirow Financial Logo
Panelists Comment on the Ability to Embrace Change DuPage County, Ill., May 4, 2011 – The Embracing Change theme resonated loudly during the Second Annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook and Executive Briefing on May 4, 2011. The event, hosted by Choose DuPage, Ice Miller LLP and Mesirow Financial, focused on how DuPage businesses are adapting to the new economy and addressed what companies can do to weather future challenges. Diane Swonk, Chief Economist, Mesirow Financial, provided the keynote address. Robert Schillerstrom, a partner at Ice Miller LLP and former Chair of the DuPage County Board, emceed the event, and the new president of Choose DuPage, Greg Bedalov, moderated the lively panel discussion that featured representatives from some of DuPage County’s leading business sectors. Public-private partnerships, human capital and employment issues dominated the agenda. Although there is a greater sense of optimism among the panelists than this time last year, there are still some challenges as the national economy emerges from recession. “Non productive costs are expected to grow more than revenue in the next four to five years,” stated Dan Cronin, Chairman, DuPage County Board. “To compensate, we need to look at ways to cut costs without disrupting services.” One idea offered by Cronin was the formation of a pension/benefit plan committee that would evaluate how government benefit programs could more closely align with those offered in the private sector. Navistar’s re-location to the former Alcatel-Lucent building in DuPage County was seen as a recent economic development success story for the region. “Even in these challenging economic times, Navistar is growing both domestically and globally,” said Dan Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and CEO. “We are investing $200 million in our facilities in Lisle and Melrose Park to support our growth efforts. Our new corporate campus will bring 4,000 good-paying jobs to Lisle—both direct and indirect—creating a ripple effect that benefits the construction industry, local businesses and the community at large.” The creation of new jobs is welcomed news. A recent Choose DuPage economic indicators report found the February 2011 unemployment rate was 7.1 percent, significantly lower compared to February 2010 when the rate was 9.1 percent. In general, the report showed the DuPage County economy mirroring the slow recovery of the national economy as evidenced by the lower unemployment rate and increased sales tax receipts. However, a stagnant commercial real estate market remains an issue as well as declining residential home sales. Consistent with the Embracing Change theme, Anne Edmunds, Regional Director, Manpower, described an epic shift to what Manpower has identified as the Human Age. “This new reality of optimizing human potential will be the single most important determinant of future business success and growth in the Human Age. It will require business and government leaders to re- examine how they unleash and leverage human potential in an increasingly volatile and shifting world.” Statistical data from Manpower shows that in 2011, 10,000 baby-boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years. According to Manpower’s most recent Talent Shortage Survey of more than 35,000 employers across 36 countries, more than 30 percent are struggling to fill jobs they desperately need in order to succeed. Leadership and human capital were also the focus of discussion for David Herro, Chief Investment Officer, Harris Associates. “We need to identify leaders who understand the macro and micro environment and who can embrace a changing economy in order to adapt and thrive. Investors look at deals from a financial perspective and they want to invest in companies with a dynamic management team who are strategic about growth.” Patrick Kelly, Managing Director, KMK & Associates indicated that KMK & Associates view of the economy is that the recovery is on sound footing. “We believe the recovery is sustainable and not dependent on government stimulus. The theme today is ‘Embracing Change.’ In my opinion you better – because the only constant in business is change. Management of change, spotting trends, expanding where appropriate is the challenge for business leaders.” In closing, Diane Swonk noted, “Economic growth slowed in the first quarter, as expected. But manufacturing remains robust, with exporters better able to pass along price increases to foreign buyers, who are experiencing stronger economic growth.” Nearly 300 executives attended the invitation only event, which offered insight into current market trends and opportunities facing businesses in DuPage County and surrounding areas as they emerge from the global recession. Video from the presentation will be made available following the event. About Choose DuPage Choose DuPage, a not-for-profit public/private partnership, is a groundbreaking concept in economic development for DuPage County. Never before has one organization solely dedicated itself to advancing DuPage County as a premiere global business location. Geographically desirable, with a highly skilled labor force, DuPage County has experienced unprecedented growth over the last two decades. Choose DuPage has been created to leverage this growth and continue its momentum for the benefit of County businesses and residents. Choose DuPage’s goals are to: retain and attract business, support local economic development efforts and address policy issues critical to the needs of business. For additional information, visit online at www.choosedupage.com. About Ice Miller LLP Ice Miller’s lawyers and business professionals, through their understanding of businesses, organizations, and government entities, help simplify the complexities faced by its clients. Ice Miller is committed to helping its clients achieve their legal and business goals. The Firm has offices in DuPage County, Ill.; Chicago; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Washington, D.C. For additional information, visit online at www.icemiller.com. About Mesirow Financial Mesirow Financial is a diversified financial services firm headquartered in Chicago. Founded in 1937, it is an independent, employee-owned firm with more than $40 billion in assets under management and 1,200 employees in locations across the country and in London. With expertise in Investment Management, Global Markets, Insurance Services and Consulting, Mesirow Financial strives to meet the financial needs of institutions, public sector entities, corporations and individuals. For additional information, visit online at www.mesirowfinancial.com. This press release is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. -30-