Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Henning Graduates from U.S. Chamber Foundation Education and Workforce Fellowship Program

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Fellowship Provided State and Local Chambers with Opportunities to Engage Nationally on Critical Education and Workforce Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced Joseph B. Henning, IOM, CAE, president and CEO of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce graduated from its premier business leadership program. The inaugural Business Leads Fellowship Program trained and equipped leaders from state and local chambers of commerce with resources, access to experts, and a network of peers to build their capacity to address the most pressing education and workforce challenges.

“The Aurora Chamber has been involved in education attainment and workforce development for many years,” Henning explains. “This Fellowship gave me the opportunity to not only learn from national experts, but also to share and gain information from other chamber professionals who are involved.”

“As clearly displayed throughout this program, state and local leaders know better than anyone the critical link between education and economic development,” says Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce. “Not only did the Fellows gain a network of peers and experts in the field, the program is designed to help these leaders find opportunities to develop initiatives that will continue to advance the growth of their local economy and put education policy into practice.”

Following a competitive application and selection process, Henning was selected along with 34 other state and local chamber executives to participate in the inaugural class. The four-month program, which ended this week, covered the entire talent pipeline, including early childhood education, K-12, higher education, and workforce development.

Upon completion, Business Leads Fellows join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s dedicated network of 200 chambers of commerce and statewide associations from around the nation who regularly engage on education and workforce initiatives.

Given the overwhelming interest in the program, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host a second cohort in spring 2019.

For a full list of participants in the Business Leads inaugural class, visit the U.S. Chamber Foundation website.

Illinois Communities Preparing for Solar

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Illinois’s Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) will be the premier legislation to drive renewable energy and economic development in the state of Illinois. Many communities, townships, school districts, colleges, and building owners are gearing up for this legislation.

Along with energy efficiency improvements, this legislation calls for 1.3 GW of wind and 3 GW of solar by 2030. About 1500 MW of solar needs to be built by 2021 and of this approximately 670 MW is distributed generation. The Illinois Power Agency has issued the Renewable Energy Procurement Plan.

The intent of this blog post is to summarize the new “Adjustable Block Program” program.

In a market where energy prices are cheap, the primary mechanism to incentivize these projects is via Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). One REC is equivalent to 1 MWh and it’s the “clean energy” attribute of generating renewable energy. These certificates will be set according to the “Adjustable Block Program” for community solar and behind the meter projects.

Depending on the size of the project and the utility company whose territory the project lies in, the Illinois Power Agency will grant REC values to incentivize these projects. There are separate blocks for community solar and those for distributed generation (DG), which consists of commercial, industrial, and residential.

On the community solar side, based on IPAs draft procurement plan, these REC values may range from just above $100/REC to just under $50/REC. Similarly on the DG side, these REC values may range from close to $80/REC to $30/REC, depending on size and the block.

IPA has issued the first three blocks and the REC values in these blocks will reduce over time. Hence it is important to get in early. These REC values will be paid at an accelerated level of 100% up front for residential solar and within five years for commercial and community solar projects. All incentives along with the federal investment tax credit and accelerated depreciation are expected to defray the upfront cost of doing solar.

On the net meter side, community solar will be net metered at wholesale electricity rates while commercial and residential will be compensated at retail electricity rates. Therefore, depending on the situation, commercial and industrial clients will benefit from “behind the meter” applications since they will earn retail rates for excess electricity sold back to the grid. Residents that cannot or do not want to put solar on their dwellings will benefit from subscribing to a community solar garden.

Overall, the program will boost solar for all communities, while enabling job creation and economic development. Companies that are early movers can reap the rewards of this opportunity while helping local communities in Illinois.

Amit Shukla is a veteran of renewable energy and sustainability with more than 20 years of experience. He has MBA and BS degrees in both engineering and science. He has broad experience in renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainability, biobased chemicals, and water. He has worked for startups, utilities, engineering consulting firms, government, and renewable energy companies. He has been a professor of Renewable Energy at New Mexico State University and Triton College where he designed, developed, and launched Renewable Energy Technology AAS programs. Currently, Amit is working as the vice president of business development for IPS-Solar, a leading solar development and construction company in the Midwest. He leads solar growth for his company in Illinois and is based in Naperville.  He can be reached via email at or phone at (952) 239-5896. His company website is .

#AuroraChamber News: Still Time to Register for Friday’s Events

Monday, October 15th, 2018

In three weeks, voters have a wide range of issues to consider.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

From The Aurora Chamber »
Premier Investors »
Public Policy Updates »
Welcome New Members »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Caught On Camera »
Member News »
Did You Know? »
Spotlight On Membership »
Money-Saving Programs For Members »
About The Aurora Chamber »


2018 State of Business: Innovation
Presented by OnLight Aurora
Friday, Oct. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Annual Celebration of Membership at 11:30 a.m.
Belle Salle Banquets, 1920 E. New York Street, Aurora


On Friday, Oct. 19, The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce will focus on the State of Business: Innovation. The first of its kind summit will include exhibitors spotlighting their innovation through products and services, panels of innovators sharing their experiences, and our Annual Celebration of Membership at noon.

Our featured presenter will be Tom Kuczmarski. He is president and founder of the global consulting firm Kuczmarski Innovation and an internationally recognized expert in the innovation of new products and services. Kuczmarski is the author of seven books on innovation and leadership, including his most recent book, Lifting People Up: the Power of Recognition (Book Ends Publishing, 2018), co-authored with Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski.

Please note: Innovation Summit registration includes ticket to Annual Celebration of Membership at 11:30 a.m.

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Public Policy Updates

Every vote matters.

In three weeks, voters have a wide range of issues to consider: the state of the economy, taxes, regulations and legislative initiatives, and the overall political landscape in Springfield and Washington. Whatever your reason for voting, there has never been a more important time to make your voice heard.

On Nov. 6, Illinoisans will go to the polls to elect our representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, State Constitutional officers, Illinois General Assembly members, and County Board members.

By being a part of the political process, we can elect officials who are willing to get things done in support of pro-growth policies that promote opportunity and job creation for our region. The business community has too much at stake to sit on the sidelines.

The single most powerful tool each one of us has is our voice and our vote.

Kane County voters
DuPage County voters
Will County voters
Kendall County voters

Other Recent Policy News

Highlights of Tax Reform for Businesses »
U.S. Chamber Foundation Launches Education, Workforce Fellowship »
Governor Signs Bill to Transition to Multi-year
Vehicle Registration Opportunity
Governor Signs Legislation to Help Keep Illinois Students in Illinois »
State of Illinois Sells $965 Million in Bonds »

Welcome New Members

OSH Compliance Training and Consulting
Joseph Garcia
(630) 329-6668

Total Charter Bus Chicago
Hala Faruqi
10 S. LaSalle St., Chicago
(312) 766-2242
Trucking & Transportation

Burger King
Andrea Placzkowski
1775 N. Farnsworth Ave., Aurora
(815) 356-9770
Restaurants & Taverns

Sales Empowerment Group
Vickie Drendel
6 W. Hubbard St., Ste 400, Chicago
(312) 374-3500
Business Consulting

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC
Jonathan Rosenfeld
225 W. Wacker Dr., Ste 1760, Chicago
(847) 835-8895
Legal Services

Clear Channel Outdoor
Tony Pontikis
4000 S. Morgan St., Chicago
(773) 843-2000
Marketing & Advertising

Nock & Feather Kustom Archery
Dallas Colburn
439 S. Lake St., Aurora
(630) 896-3854
Sports & Recreation

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Beans Greens Proteins      Best Rates Heating and Cooling      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      Gateway Mortgage Group      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Lendio of Naperville      Magick Woods, Inc.      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group, LLC      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.      New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Orochem Technologies, Inc.      Painters District Council 30      Palo Creative, PLL      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Presence Mercy Medical Center      Pure Skin Solutions, LLC      R.C. Wegman Construction Company      Rasmussen College      Rich Harvest Farms      Rush Copley Medical Center      S&S Metal Recyclers II      Scientel Solutions      ServPro of Aurora      Sign*A*Rama      SmithAmundsen, LLC      Staffing Network, LLC & QPA       Staffmark      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      T-Mobile     Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation      WSPY 

Calendar of Events

State of Business Summit: Innovation
Presented by OnLight Aurora
Friday, Oct. 19, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Belle Salle Banquets, 1920 E. New York Street, Aurora

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, Oct. 25, 8 – 9:30 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant, 55 S. Commons, Aurora
Sponsored by Pure Skin

Grand Opening: TempurPedic
Friday, Oct. 26, 12 – 1:30 p.m.
740 North Route 59, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 12:30 p.m.

Grand Opening: Hairy Beast Dog Pawlour
Monday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
215 W. Galena, #4, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.

Grand Opening: Burger King
Friday, Nov. 2, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
1775 N. Farnsworth Ave., Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 9:30 a.m.

Grand Opening: Tredwell Coffee
Monday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
14 W. Downer Place, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.

Red Kettle Kick Off: Salvation Army
Friday, Nov. 9, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Paramount Theatre, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 7 p.m.

Grand Opening: Sport Clips
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
1720 N. Orchard Rd. Ste 130, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 9 a.m.

Save the Date: Holiday Celebration
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Aurora Country Club

Caught On Camera

Caught On Camera

Recently, the Aurora Chamber team and membership celebrated the 30th anniversary of Mercyfest (left) with Our Lady of Mercy and the 50th anniversary of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (right). For these and more photos of recent activities, please visit our Facebook page.

Member News

If you have news to share with your fellow members, please forward to Be sure and check out our blog and social media for what’s happening in our region.
EEI Announces Two New Project Managers »
Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Konen Insurance »
Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Umbrella Technologies »
Dart Foundation Donates $40,000 to VNA Health Care »
Aurora Named a Top 100 Finalist for the Chicago Innovation Awards »
W-2 Wage Earners Should Do a Paycheck Checkup ASAP »
An Estimated Tax Payment in 2018 Could Help Avoid a Penalty in 2019 »
Free Fall Leaf Collection Begins Next Month »
House Method Names Aurora ‘Most Underrated Town’ in Illinois »
Mayor Irvin Selected for Prestigious Leadership Program »
Aurora Police First in State to Join ‘Neighbors’ App »

Did You Know?

The #AuroraChamber recently was published in The Daily Herald. Titled Aurora Regional Chamber Strengthens Economy, the article highlights the organization’s (and its members’) role as catalyst, champion, and convener for our region’s successes. To read the article, click here.


The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce has a number of shared interest groups (SIGs) to support those members with, well, a shared interest. This month, we’d like to highlight the Retail Roundtable, sponsored in part by Fox Valley Mall.

Recently, the group met to discuss the upcoming #ShopLocal Saturday on Nov. 24. In addition, those in attendance shared concerns and tips. For those unable to attend, please click to download our 2018 Shop Local Tip Sheet.

For details on the Retail Roundtable, please contact Maureen Gasek, director of events & marketing, at (630) 256-3182.

Money-Saving Programs For Members

Money-Saving Programs For Members

About The Aurora Chamber

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-for-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 700 members representing nearly 40,000 employees. Our mission is be the catalyst for business success by providing leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for our members.

Not a Chamber member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.
Already a Chamber member? Make the most of your membership today.

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Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189

Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Konen Insurance

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

2018 State of Business Summit: Innovation

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Belle Salle Banquets, 1920 E. New York Street, Aurora

8:30 a.m.     Doors Open

9:00 a.m.     Panel Discussion on Business Innovation

10:30 a.m.   Keynote with Tom Kaczmurski, entrepreneur, innovator, and author

12:00 p.m.   Annual Celebration of Membership


For information and registration, click here.


Summit Sponsor Highlight: Konen Insurance

Contacts: Jerry Knudtson and Brian Konen


What makes your product or service impactful for businesses?

We are the best thing to happen on your worst day! We are here to safeguard what matters most and provide peace of mind in the neighborhoods where we live and work.


How do you encourage innovation?

We start by investing in the latest technology and mobile automation. But much more than new technology, we invest in advancing our staff’s knowledge and expertise in order to bring creative ideas and solutions to our clients’ insurance and risk management program.


What are the most interesting challenges your team is working to address?

It’s challenging to continue to provide our “high touch” service in a technology driven world. While we pride ourselves on being available to our clients, many are now looking for new ways to interact with our staff other than on the phone, by email or in person. We are exploring texting, soon to offer a chat box from our website, just launched a mobile app and currently interact with clients and prospects alike through social media.

Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Umbrella Technologies

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

2018 State of Business Summit: Innovation

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Belle Salle Banquets, 1920 E. New York Street, Aurora

8:30 a.m.     Doors Open

9:00 a.m.     Panel Discussion on Business Innovation

10:30 a.m.   Keynote with Tom Kaczmurski, entrepreneur, innovator, and author

12:00 p.m.   Annual Celebration of Membership


For information and registration, click here.


Summit Sponsor Highlight: Umbrella Technologies

Contacts: Samantha Mosher and Thomas Carnevale


What makes your product or service impactful for businesses?

For more than 10 years the founders of Umbrella Technologies have created innovative products within the security industry including HD cameras, video management software, and business intelligence analytics. Time and time again we have gotten a first-hand look at the core frustrations of end-users. We saw an incredibly urgent need to create true convergence of their security technologies. We have seen them been provided unrealistic expectations, ridiculous price gouging, inconsistent service and support, and even complete project failure! Finally, we said “ENOUGH!” and decided to bring our best individuals together to create the perfect solution. That solution is Umbrella Technologies. The mission of Umbrella Technologies is to fulfill the growing demand of true security system integration bridging the gap between physical and cyber security infrastructure. Unlike other companies, we have the experience, knowledge, and proper technology to make sure every single area is covered!


How do you encourage innovation?

Understanding the problem before implementation is our code. Our team handles each project with great care and patience. Every project is a puzzle that needs to be solved. The answers to these puzzles belong to those who are willing to work hard to figure them out. The team at Umbrella Technologies is always devising innovative and creative solutions, for both new and returning customers. Every single day, we hear phrases such as “I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, so I must know what I’m doing!” every single day. Well, 20 years ago everything was completely different. To be honest, everything was completely different even three years ago! We do not carry the attitude of knowing it all, but success is the reward to individuals who are continuously prepared – and we always come prepared!


What are the most interesting challenges your team is working to address?

The convergence of physical and cyber infrastructure security.


Any other comments or thoughts you would like to share?

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to add value to this event!