Archive for March, 2019

Data Center Bill Passes First Hurdle

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

This week, the Senate Revenue Committee approved SB 1591(Sims) that will be brought back with an additional amendment in the coming week. The legislation is an initiative of the Illinois Chamber and would create a sales and use tax and electricity excise tax exemptions for data centers.  Today, 30 states (from Washington to Florida, New York to Arizona) have incentives that are specifically targeted at attracting data centers as part of expanded economic development efforts. However, 24 of these states have enacted legislation since 2012 in an effort to capture a greater percentage of the growth. Illinois is surrounded by states that offer data center incentives. The legislation is designed to compete with surrounding states and to help boost our demand for data centers and therefore strengthen our stature as a digital powerhouse.

Ill. Chamber Backs Transportation Modernization Plan

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce backed a transportation modernization program, HB 3823, introduced Wednesday evening by Representative André M. Thapedi, D-Chicago, to raise $2 billion in annual revenue offset with pro-consumer and pro-business reforms. The bill phases out the state sales tax on motor fuel with consumers realizing a combined 15 cent per gallon Motor Fuels Tax increase. The sales tax swap eliminates a state tax on motor fuel, narrows the price gap between Illinois and neighboring states, and will create consumer savings when gas rises above $2 per gallon. While the Chamber does not take tax increases lightly, Illinois must act now to improve and invest in our infrastructure system to ensure the state remains the transportation hub of North America. The bill includes:

Annual funding of:

  • $600 million for IDOT
  • $240 million for local governments (a 40% increase over today’s funding)
  • $672 million for transit capital expenses
  • $20 million for the Grade Crossing Protection Fund to fund better rail/highway grade crossings
  • $2 million for construction trades training for disadvantaged populations

Bond funding of:

  • $4 billion to IDOT to accelerate bridge improvements
  • $1 billion for other needs (ports, federal grant match for local governments, transit)

Join JA at the Middle School Career Fair

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Junior Achievement is partnering with the Aurora middle schools to host an after school Career Fair on Tuesday, April 16th.  We would love you or your organization to participate!!
What?    Career Fair for Aurora Middle School Students
Who?     Roughly 200 Students
When?   Tuesday, April 16, 3:30–6:00pm
Where?  Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora, IL 60506
Why?      Explore career options with experienced professionals. Research shows that getting students interested in careers in middle school helps improve school performance and job readiness after high school.

Our goal is to bring in people working in the trades or manufacturing to talk informally with individual or small groups of students about their careers from experienced professionals who have been there and are doing (or have done) that!  Students love hearing about what you do, what you like and dislike about your field, how you found your career or how it found you!  The format is strictly conversational – no presentations needed!  You will have the opportunity to setup a table/booth; hands on and interactive activities are welcome and encouraged!


Please let me know by Friday, April 5th if you or someone from your group will join us for a great event!

Open House, Expo Planned at Abbey Farms: The Emporium

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Abbey Farms announces that their annual open house will take place on Sunday, April 14, at Abbey Farms: The Emporium, from 1 to 4 p.m. Located at 2855 Hart Road in Aurora, this rustic-chic barn venue is in its fifth year of hosting wedding receptions, fundraisers, corporate outings, and other events. Abbey Farms specializes in creating personalized events that will wow guests.

According to Wendy Felder, venue and resource manager at Abbey Farms, the event gives the public the opportunity to tour the venue and surrounding grounds.

“The Emporium Annual Open House is for everyone and anyone who would like to learn more about hosting an event here,” Felder stated. “Admission is free, and it is a great opportunity to see the beautiful venue and its stunning surrounding landscape and outside spaces.

“Whether you are just starting to plan, thinking about planning, or well into your plans, this is for you,” she continued. “Everyone is welcome!”

Adam Voirin, chief operations officer, further commented on the flexibility of the venue space.

“Each of our wedding receptions is as different as the couples who book with us,” Voirin explained. “If vintage and country is your sweet spot, our reclaimed barn board walls are a perfect backdrop. If your tastes are more sophisticated, upgrade the elegance with perfectly chosen décor and floral arrangements.

“Our wedding partners and preferred vendors will expertly guide you toward achieving the desired atmosphere,” he added. “An event planner is included with a booking, which helps ensure your planning process is simplified.”

Upon arrival, attendees will be greeted with champagne and Abbey Farms’ famous apple cinnamon donuts. Besides touring the venue, attendees can visit with wedding ceremony partners and preferred vendors while enjoying light refreshments and catering samples. Vendors will include transportation specialists, hotel partners, ceremony and design planners, caterers, bakeries, florists, décor specialists, hotels, photographers, DJs, and more.

Although wedding receptions are the focus of the open house, anyone considering an event can find answers to their questions.  This might include corporate events and fundraisers, along with family reunions and graduations.

All attendees will have the opportunity to register for an hourly raffle giveaway of a Picnic Movie Night for Two. The Picnic Movie Night for Two includes: two Pumpkin Daze tickets, two tickets to a movie night with s’mores and a private firepit, $20 gift certificate for concessions, six apple cider donuts, a bottle of wine (from the Abbey Farms preferred wine list), and more.

Pre-registration is suggested by visiting, or attendees can register at the door. For more venue information, visit or call (630) 966-7775, ext. 3.

About Abbey Farms: The Emporium: A venue with more than 8,000 square feet of private space, The Emporium’s hall is clad in antique reclaimed barn wood and lit with elegant chandeliers. Visitors can take in sweeping views of the Fox River Valley outside under a covered porch or on a custom brick patio with a stone fireplace. The vintage-inspired barn seats up to 300 guests and is fully heated and air-conditioned for comfort, no matter what the weather.


The Intentionality of Creating a Safe Space

Friday, March 29th, 2019

As I think about building organizations and developing leadership potential, I wonder about how we make our organizations and businesses attractive to all people. My belief and value systems include the intentionality of creating safe space for all people to feel welcome. When I go to new places and meet new people in their places of employment, I intentionally look at the art work on the walls. I look at the faces of the people in that work space. Do all the people look the same or is there a rich tapestry of diverse faces? I listen to what people say about their businesses, their customers or clients and the colleagues and I imagine myself becoming engaged with that organization or business.

It is amazing to me what I learn in a relatively short period of time. Along the way, I have learned that perception often becomes reality and that folks rarely get second chances in this space. I have, at times, participated in meetings where there is no complexity of complexions or variance in ages, just a very visible homogeneity. And, in these meetings, I have observed decisions being made and plans being created for groups of people who are not represented. And I marvel at the arrogance of these practices.

I weigh intention versus impact. At times, there is no evil or bad intention behind these situations but the impact is that groups of folks are being left out and excluded. And then I wonder, is the leaving out by design? And if my perception is that folks are not welcome, I will intentionally walk away from that business, organization and opportunity and the impact will be that business has lost a customer, participant or supporter.

We (This is a “global” we) have a very rich history of institutionally and systemically excluding access to opportunities in education, employment, housing and public accommodations to certain groups of people. I believe it is up to current leaders to right these wrongs boldly and without question. Leadership in this space involves having courageous conversations that are uncomfortable with one’s colleagues, business partners, senior management teams and frankly appraising where the organization is along the lines of truly welcoming diversity (in all of its forms) and demonstrating that there is value in being welcoming to all people.

Danise Haburn is the director of resource and development department with Open Door Health Center of Illinois with offices in Aurora and Elgin. Danise has served on the Elgin Human Relations Commission for 12 years and is active participant in creating courageous conversations on the inequities within our communities.

It Starts with a Signature

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

A common theme that has emerged over the last several weeks has been the one of being genuine: sincere or authentic. Leaders of any organization come in contact with many people in their daily course of work. Something I find myself thinking about is whether I am being genuine.

I once attended a workshop on fundraising where the presenter described how every time her husband received a letter in the mail with a signature, no matter the reason of the letter, he would run it under water to see if it was a genuine signature. If it was not, he would usually throw it out without even reading it.

As the leader of a nonprofit, I am constantly sending out letters to people I do and do not know seeking their support, inviting them to events, and thanking them for their help. While it is often times just one or two letters, there could be as many as 100 needing my signature at any time. When faced with this task, there are many options for signing my signature. I could simply print my signature on the letter when I print it or buy a stamp of my signature. However, in every instance, I choose to personally sign each letter that comes across my desk.

While that may sound like a lot of work at times, it is worth it. Including an authentic personal touch provides an opportunity to show your colleagues, supporters, and donors how much you truly appreciate them. It also gives you a moment to add an individualized note to them or provide some personalization to the letter.

Being genuine can mean many things, but next time you send a letter, think twice before you decide how you will sign it.

Brian Failing has been the executive director for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum for three years. Brian earned his Master of Arts in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University and his Bachelors of Arts in History and Urban & Suburban Studies from North Central College. He currently lives with his wife, Jackie, in Plainfield.

#AuroraChamber News for Week of March 25, 2019

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Join us in welcoming Kristine Walker to the Aurora Chamber team.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Welcome, Kristine »
State of The Village Set »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Businesses Help Combat Opioid Crisis »
We’re Hiring »
Board Nominations Sought »
Member News »
Welcome New Members »
Spotlight On Membership »
About The Aurora Chamber »

Welcome, Kristine

Join us in welcoming Kristine Walker to the Aurora Chamber team. Kristine began last week as Membership Development Manager. Her role is to support current and prospective members in accessing the benefits of chamber membership. She may be reached at or (630) 256-3184.


State of The Village

Public Policy Updates

The City of Aurora has launched a pilot citizen engagement website at This project will allow the City to share information on projects with constituents and to receive feedback that can inform future project action and/or activity. There are currently three projects on the site: Business Registration, Senior Services, and Citizen Engagement.

Business Registration: The City of Aurora is developing a proposed business registration program for City Council consideration. On the engagement site you will find documents associated with the program and related outreach activity. Engagement tools on this project page include: Forum: moderated discussion among site (registered) participants; Q&A: Participant asked questions with staff responses; Ideas: participant shared ideas.

City of Aurora Launches Engagement Website »
House GOP Lawmakers Urge: ‘Stop Ignoring Tax Realities’ »
COGFA Issues Report on State Employee Group Insurance »
Major Sports Wagering Proposals Introduced »
Tobacco 21 to Governor »
Consumer Liquor Home Delivery Passes Committee »
Gov. Pritzker Unveils Graduated Tax Proposal »
Illinois GA Bills to Watch »
COGFA Reports on Impact of Local Government Pensions »
Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s Respond Negatively to Pritzker Budget Proposal »
House Republicans File Resolution Opposing Gov. Pritzker’s Unfair Tax »
$15 Minimum Wage Passes Senate »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      AMITA Health Mercy Medical Center      Artesan Lofts      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Best Rates Heating and Cooling      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      Energy Bot      ERC Delivery      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Luke Singh – Country Financial      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.       New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC- Duckie Huynh      Obregon Medical Clinic      Ochoa & Associates LTD.      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Orchard Wine & Liquor      Painters District Council 30      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Quality Logo Products      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      Stonebridge Country Club      T-Mobile     Tempur-Pedic Stores      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      WSPY      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation 

Calendar of Events

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, March 28, at 8 a.m.
Location: Luigi’s Pizza and Fun Center,
732 Prairie Street, Aurora

State of the Village Address
Wednesday, April 10, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Oak Street Restaurant
945 Oak St., North Aurora
Sponsorships Available

Grand Opening: Art of Emergency Care Exhibit
Friday, April 12, 4-7 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting at 4:30 p.m.
Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway, Aurora

Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, April 12, 8:30-10 a.m.
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Coffee with Congress: Rep. Lauren Underwood
Friday, April 19, at 8:30 a.m.


The Aurora Regional Chamber is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation on the launch of the new Sharing Solutions resource hub designed to empower businesses to help combat the opioid crisis. We hope that you will take the time to explore the site and benefit from the information provided.

Sharing Solutions highlights employer and employee resources and showcases innovative solutions to address the opioid crisis. Resources include – education and prevention techniques, how to create a drug free workplace, how to work with benefit providers and more. This site also offers the ability to suggest a resource or story you have found helpful.

Join businesses across our community and country in combating the crisis and saving lives.


The Aurora Chamber is looking to hire a part-time Office Manager. If you know of anyone who meets the requirements and may be interested, please share the link(s) with them.

Board Nominations Sought

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for members willing to be considered to serve on the Board of Directors. All eligible nominees will be considered by the Nominating Committee. Nominations may be found online. Forms should be returned by Friday, March 29, at 12:00 p.m. To be considered to be a Director, nominees must be members in good standing.

Member News

Asking “Why” »
CFFRV Seeks Director of Development »
Rich Harvest Farms to Host 2019 Western Junior »
Leadership Not One-Size-Fits-All »
Learn the Signs of Teen Dating Violence »
Leadership Is Service »
Aurora Farmers Market Announces New Season, New Location »
US DOL Opens Applications for HIRE Vets Medallion »

Welcome New Members

American Diabetes Association
55 E. Monroe St., Suite 3420, Chicago 60603
(312) 346-1805
Yamileth Coreas
Service Organization

Fox Valley Music Consortium
91 S Hankes, Aurora 60506
(630) 891-2525
Kerry Rieder-McLaughlin
Community-Based Organizations

shobanasbookkeeping LLC
Aurora 60502
(862) 216-8272
Meenakshi Nadathur


The #AuroraChamber has a number of videos online to assist you in using your member profile to your advantage. Current videos include:

How to Pay Invoices Online
How to Post a Hot Deal
How to Add a Job Posting
How to Update Your Personal Profile
How to Update Your Company Profile
How to Manage and Post Events

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.

Facebook    Blog    Twitter

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

CFFRV Seeks Director of Development

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Are you highly organized, detailed, and creative?

Do you thrive in situations where you can connect with individuals in your community?

Are you passionate about promoting philanthropy and providing exceptional service?

You could be our new Director of Development. 

Click here to read the full job description and application details. We look forward to hearing from you!

Rich Harvest Farms to Host 2019 Western Junior

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, will host the Western Golf Association’s 102nd Western Junior on June 17-20.
The annual championship features an international field of 156 top junior players, all vying to win the country’s oldest national junior golf championship.

First held by the Western Golf Association in 1914, the Western Junior has served as a proving ground for many future PGA TOUR stars, including past champions Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar also have competed in the Western Junior. The event was not played for several years during World War I and World War II.

The Western Junior has been played in more than 15 states and at several prestigious Chicagoland golf clubs. The event was played last year at Evanston Golf Club in Skokie, Illinois, and was won by Jeff Doty of Carmel, Indiana.

Rich Harvest Farms first hosted the Western Junior in 2003, when Brady Schnell posted a 72-hole total of 2-over-par 290 to claim the title. That remains the record for highest winning score since the Western Junior switched from a match play format to a 72-hole stroke play event in 1999.

“We’re excited to bring the Western Junior to such a distinguished venue as Rich Harvest Farms,” said Vince Pellegrino, Western Golf Association senior vice president of tournaments. “The layout of this course should again prove to be a true challenge for our entire field of exceptional junior players.”

Among those expected to be in this year’s field are: Vanderbilt verbal commit and 2018 U.S. Amateur match play qualifier Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst, North Carolina; Rolex Junior All-American Alexander Yang of Carlsbad, California; and Arizona State verbal commit Jeewon Park of South Korea.

Designed by owner and Western Golf Association Director Jerry Rich, Rich Harvest Farms was rated fifth “Best New Private Course” by Golf Digest in 1999. In designing the course, Rich drew upon his background as an avid golfer who has played many of the world’s finest courses.

“I am thrilled to once again host the best junior golfers in the world,” Rich said. “It’s all about growing the game and elevating junior golf tournaments to the level of professional ones. With the way junior golfers play today, you’d think you’re watching members of the PGA TOUR!”

Rich Harvest Farms also hosted the WGA’s 2015 Western Amateur, won by Dawson Armstrong in one of the most dramatic finishes in the championship’s storied history. On the 20th hole,

Armstrong closed out the final match against reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Aaron Wise by holing a 20-yard bunker shot for eagle.

“Mr. Rich has been a loyal supporter of our championships and of the Evans Scholars program,” Pellegrino noted. “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to return to Rich Harvest Farms for another Western Golf Association championship.”

Attendance and parking for the Western Junior are free. For more information, visit

House GOP Lawmakers Urge Colleagues: ‘Stop Ignoring Tax Realities’

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

State Representatives Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) and Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) spoke at a Capitol press conference on Wednesday to call for an end to the barrage of tax increases that earned Illinois the new title of “highest tax burden state in the nation.”

“As legislators, it is our duty and obligation to inject some realism into the debates that happen here,” Demmer said. “We can’t simply ignore that we have the highest taxpayer burden in the nation, and we can’t ignore the fact that people are leaving Illinois in record numbers. We can’t ignore that better opportunities and economic growth is occurring in states all around us. We need to get serious about making some changes to how Illinois does business, and provide meaningful tax relief to individuals. We need to provide better opportunities for families and make Illinois a place where jobs and investments grow.”

“One of the reasons I ran for office is because I’ve seen my friends, family members, neighbors, local businesses and my constituents leave Illinois for cheaper living and less regulations,” Windhorst added. “The reason people are leaving is because it is too expensive to live here and do business here. When it comes to state and local taxes, our citizens are maxed out.”

The statements from the Deputy Republican Leader from northwestern Illinois and the freshman member from southern Illinois came in reaction to a WalletHub study which found Illinois has the highest overall tax burden in the nation. Illinois’ median tax rate is 14.9%, while the national average is 10.76%. Illinois’ overall ranking in taxpayer friendliness is #49 in the nation when the cost of living adjustment is taken into consideration.

The governor’s proposed graduated income tax would only make matters worse, Demmer said. “What that does is open up the tax rates to continued interference by lawmakers. If approved, forever more, the General Assembly will no longer be bound by a flat tax mandate in the Constitution. The question isn’t ‘what is the initial rate schedule?’ The question is, ‘can Illinoisans count on politicians in Springfield to do the right thing and not overtax?’ The answer, without a doubt, is ‘no.’ With a graduated income tax, it will be too easy for lawmakers to come back year after year and take a little bit more from taxpayers until we end up with a significantly increased burden on average families.”