Elgin IL Digital Publication

Elgin Area Referral Network E.A.R.N. Groups

What is E.A.R.N.?

E.A.R.N. referral groups consist of owners and sales professionals from non-competitive industries. The groups provide its members with the chance to learn from experts, to be part of a support community of like-minded peers, to forge partnerships, and — especially if you’re a B2B business — find and share leads.

What are the benefits of being in a leads group?

A referral group is a valuable resource to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business. Following are the core benefits of our E.A.R.N. groups:


Perfect your sales presentations, speaking skills, marketing plans, selling techniques and many other skills. By capitalizing on the varied abilities of your peers you will become more polished and greater able to achieve results.

Strategic Partnerships

Focus on uncovering and identifying your power partners. History has proven this process to be a quick and meaningful way to build relationships. Members of the group will help you discover and meet individuals with similar customers, needs and values.

Social Capital

Form business friendships that will last for years.


Engage in giving and receiving business. As the most sought-after benefit of each referral group, receiving referrals cannot be rushed. Meaningful referrals are rarely exchanged without an investment in professional development and personal capital, which is why joining a referral group will place you on a better path to success.

What members say about E.A.R.N. Groups

“I value the friendships I have made through E.A.R.N. and the fact that we can sit down in that casual environment and actually help each other. I value the networking and all the information that I can receive when I reach out for help. The Chamber has been one of the most informational and best resources I could have ever asked for and the E.A.R.N. group is the icing on the cake.”

Tina Green
Errand Girl Courier Service

“As a salesperson, the E.A.R.N. group helped me gained knowledge about the Elgin community and its business owners. The E.A.R.N. group is literally my extended sales force. It’s good to have extra people in my network to help me promote our business.”

Janice O’Dell
Comfort Inn & Suites

“Not only has the E.A.R.N. group expanded my professional network, they have shared useful knowledge through our regular ‘craft talks,’ as well as casual conversation over pancakes and coffee. In this group I’ve found trusted partners whom I support and am proud to refer to others, and my business has secured new clients and enjoyed increased awareness, thanks to their recommendations. Most importantly, I have discovered a group of stellar colleagues whom I look forward to laughing and swapping stories with every other Thursday. I am confident that my first few years as a business owner were better equipped, less lonely and more fun because of their moral support and rich, collective experience.”

Amanda Garcia
ColorWord Creative Inc.

“It’s difficult to make time for professional development when you’re focused on making connections with fellow business professionals. The Elgin Area Chamber’s E.A.R.N. groups made it easy for me to accomplish both.”

Mike Storey
Beckatt Solutions

Chamber Welcome

The Elgin Area Chamber is the voice of business. The Chamber works to create value-added membership opportunities and a business climate that attracts new businesses and enhances growth and expansion opportunities for existing businesses. As the leading local advocate for business in Elgin and South Elgin, the Chamber helps create a climate of growth and success in which all companies – regardless of size or industry – can prosper.

The strength of the Elgin Area Chamber comes from over 600 members and continues to grow daily. Through a solid network of 140+ volunteers and a talented professional staff, the Chamber has:

  • Core member services include networking, education, marketing and advocacy.
  • Strong partnerships.
  • Community involvement.
  • Ongoing solid support from the business community.
  • A rich history of accomplishment.

The Chamber hosts more than 75 programs and events each year. These include high-level speaking programs featuring our region’s foremost leaders, issues-based roundtables, open networking, educational opportunities and formal awards and recognition ceremonies.

Our programs provide a platform for all our members to gain valuable insight from prominent business and government leaders, exposure to pertinent issues affecting the area’s leading industries, and the opportunity to build a valuable network of peers.

We look forward to working with your business in 2019!

Tony Sanders
School District U-46
2019 Board of Directors Chair

Thank you for considering becoming an EAC Member.

I believe supporting the Chamber in its vision to improve our quality of life and economic vitality is paramount to sustaining Elgin’s competitive advantage.

Through your Chamber membership, you contribute to the community in a very practical, effective way. The Elgin Area Chamber works for the business community on the most critical issues facing business today:  education, transportation, healthcare, economic development, and many more.

Your business can be part of all of this and more. I encourage you to become a member today.

Mike Warren
Rieke Office Interiors
Member since 2003 and
2018 Board of Directors Chair

Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce


Mike Warren, Chair
Rieke Office Interiors

Jaclyn Kator, Past Chair

Carol K. Gieske, Secretary
Elgin Area Chamber

Michael McKay, Vice-Chair
Strategic Initiatives Edward Jones Investments

Yaneth Medina, Vice-Chair Membership
Elgin State Bank & Trust

Tony Sanders, Chair-Elect
School District U-46


Nancy Abuali
Radius International

Mike Bilyk
American NTN Bearings

Jim Companik
Motorola Solutions

Linda Deering Dean
Advocate Sherman Hospital

Yvonne Irving
KCT Credit Union

Ian Lamp
Lamp Construction, Inc.

Leslie Maloney
Chase Card Services

Keith Rauschenberger
Rauschenberger Financial Advisors

Dr. David Sam
Elgin Community College

Laurie Schachtner
Amita Health Saint Joseph Hospital — Elgin

Linda Siete
Reflejos Publications LLC

Steve Super
Village of South Elgin

Jim Thomason
Grand Victoria Casino

Michael Wong

Chris Zannis
Arthur J. Rogers & Co.


Terry Gajewski
Vice President Finance/Management Information Systems

Carol K. Gieske
President and CEO

Francisco Jimenez
Member Relations Director

Tony Lucenko
Elgin Development Group Director

Robert Malm
Elgin Development Group Director

Denise Schramm
Member Relations Assistant

For the 2019 list, please visit elginchamber.com

Did You Know


EAC boasts nearly 600 members of all sizes, shapes and industries from small, one-person shops to the area’s largest employer, School District U-46.Since 1990, the Elgin Area Leadership Academy has proudly graduated more than 500 leaders now serving in their communities.

What makes a great leader? Learn from our leaders at our quarterly CEO Unplugged luncheons at Grand Victoria Casino.

You can network with all our Chamber members without ever leaving your desk. Log in to your Member Information Center to find out how!

Elgin Development Group

Helping Business: Growing Elgin’s Economy

The Elgin Development Group (EDG), a division of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, is laser-focused on helping business remain strong and grow.  EDG’s business assistance takes many forms from site selection, fast-track permitting, workforce development, international trade to providing resources for new budding entrepreneurs through the Elgin Area Small Business Academy.

Helping existing businesses and attracting new companies to Elgin builds a diverse and dynamic local economy. The EDG economic development initiatives provide Elgin with a solid tax base to support quality municipal services and educational opportunities, an improved quality of life, a vibrant economy and desirable employment opportunities.

The EDG is contracted to provide economic development services for the City of Elgin through a unique public – private partnership. Support for the EDG is also provided by over 40 leading companies through the Advancing Progress appeal.  Please let us know how we can partner to help your business.

Elgin: The City in the Suburbs

With apologies to the battery-powered bunny, the city of Elgin keeps growing and growing and growing.

Today’s Elgin boasts a thriving workforce and has become a hub for technology and innovation. Businesses both large and small flock to “The City in the Suburbs,” as do both residential and commercial developers. It is also home to many arts and cultural amenities and to leaders who know the value of economic development, special events and quality of life to a community.

Elgin has approximately 5,700 businesses of various shapes and sizes spanning nearly every conceivable industry. Its ability to offer top-notch, easily accessible facilities that are not burdened by heavy taxation, in a community with a diverse workforce who are willing and able to work, is a huge advantage.

As with most communities, growth begins with financial stewardship by municipal leadership. For the seventh straight year, Fitch Ratings affirmed the City of Elgin’s AAA bond rating, the agency’s highest rating.

“The high ratings allow the city to borrow money at favorable interest rates, making the city’s debt attractive to potential investors and reducing the burden on taxpayers,” said Elgin Chief Financial Officer Deb Nawrocki. “Elgin’s excellent bond ratings are also a factor in attracting businesses to Elgin, as it speaks to the city council’s sound fiscal stewardship and the financial stability of the city.”

Elgin recently conducted a community-wide survey of its residents in which 76 percent of those surveyed who offered an opinion rated Elgin as an “excellent” or “good” place to live. Relative to the quality of police, fire and ambulance service in the city, 86 percent gave a rating of “very satisfied” or “satisfied.” In fact, satisfaction ratings for the City of Elgin rated above the U.S. average in 45 of the 57 areas that were assessed.

The results of this survey helped Elgin’s Strategic Plan Advisory Commission develop its new 2018-22 Strategic Plan for the city to be adopted by the City Council. Among the plan’s stated goals are for Elgin to be a “City of Choice,” known as a top place for people to live, create opportunities, grow their families and businesses and enjoy visiting year-round, for Elgin to be known as a safe and healthy community and to have a high performing, financially stable government.

Some examples of recent growth include a flexible zoning package to the developer of a 58-acre parcel at the intersection of Randall and Big Timber Roads. In exchange for preserving 11 acres of mature woodlands, the City Council approved a planned development that permits office/research/industrial uses and/or retail/commercial uses, depending upon the demands of the market.

In addition, Safety-Kleen, the environmental products and services company recently had its plans for expansion approved by the Elgin City Council to enable them to expand their vehicle maintenance facility along Route 20 and Shales Parkway.

Thanks to sustainable practices and initiatives implemented by the City Council, Elgin is able to sustain growth without markedly impacting its overall carbon footprint as well as residents and businesses’ pocketbooks. Local and state leaders recently passed legislation which has made it possible for homes and businesses to install solar panels, sell the power to ComEd and also reap a 30 percent federal tax credit.

Rainy Investments in the 1100 block of Davis Road was first out of the gate. It recently installed 4,300 solar panels on its industrial roof that are expected to generate approximately 1.2 megawatts of electricity that can then be purchased by users at a below-market rate. That is enough electricity to power approximately 170 homes.

Transportation improvements to and from Elgin, as well as within the city limits, continue.

“The construction on I-90 is now complete and everyone who lives and works here is enjoying the benefits of the improvements to an already great transportation network,” said Marc Mylott, community development director for Elgin. “The fact that we have three interchanges on I-90 and are within a half-hour of O’Hare International Airport gives Elgin a tremendous competitive advantage in terms of economic development.”

City officials are also pleased that PACE has opened a “Park and Ride” facility at the Randall Road exit off I-90 and plans to open another one at the Route 25 exit. Express buses transport people to either the Rosemont Station (CTA Blue Line), which allows for continuing transportation to Chicago or O’Hare, or the PACE Northwest Transportation Center in Schaumburg, just south of Woodfield Mall.

Within its own boundaries, Elgin has spent $9 million to extend the two-lane South Street from Randall Road to Longcommon Parkway.

New commercial development within Elgin continues to enhance residents’ quality of life and give visitors exciting things to do. The Elgin Galleria II, which is filling with retailers and restaurants, has opened along Route 20, east of Nesler Road, right near the newly-constructed gas station and convenience store. The retail out lot spaces in front of the Walmart feature several new restaurants and shops, including Denny’s and McAlister’s Deli.

The former Walmart space, near Royal Blvd. and Randall Road, is home to the newest location for Russo Power Equipment and adjacent redeveloped tenant spaces will include a 22,000-square-foot indoor playground and a neighboring fitness center. Similarly, the city council approved an indoor trampoline park at the 95,000-square-foot commercial building on East Chicago Street. The Fox Valley Shooting Club is also finalizing its plans to open a 23,000-square-foot facility at 780 S. McLean Blvd., which will feature 19 indoor shooting lanes, two training rooms and 8,000 square feet of retail space.

The Grand Victoria Casino recently unveiled the transformation of an upstairs ballroom that had been devoted to VIP gamblers into a meeting and banquet space that can seat up to 100 people. It also completely remodeled its larger Grand Ballroom that seats up to 300. The total cost of the two remodeling projects was $1 million. The casino plans to add another meeting room next year, as well as a lounge where food will be served. Retail space in the pavilion is also being considered.

Public service providers continue to expand and improve within Elgin, as well. Advocate Sherman Hospital has recently received permission from the State to build a $12.7 million ambulatory surgery center on its campus. The 15,000-square-foot center has received unanimous approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. It will include three surgical operating rooms, 12 recovery stations, six pre-op stations and non-clinical space for administration, medical records and visitors.

School District U-301’s Burlington Central High School, which educates a portion of Elgin’s residents, is also expanding. It has recently opened the first phase of its construction project that includes a new library, multimedia studio, music room, weight room and a multi-purpose room.

There are also new parks and recreation facilities opening within Elgin. A four-acre park should open next year within The Ponds of Stony Creek – a new 500-unit subdivision on Elgin’s west side. A future phase of that subdivision will include another five-acre park. In addition, the city remodeled the Centre of Elgin Aquatics Center this past summer.

According to Randy Reopelle, Parks and Recreation Director, the department also has its first outdoor fitness area at Grolich Park; has added a two-acre park with a spray playground and a shelter at Woodview Park, next to the East Side Recreation Center; and has recently finished renovating the shelter at Eagle’s Park and Forest Preserve, 1600 Eagle Road. They have also built a parking lot and a roadway to allow residents to better access the 56-acre area’s plentiful walking paths.

Gail Borden Public Library at 270 N. Grove Ave., is well known for its community partnerships and free events. In fact, from March to July 2018, it will exhibit Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss, presented by Evergreen Exhibitions in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Designed for children and their families, interactive activities will give visitors an opportunity to learn about life at the bottom of the sea. They will even enjoy a partial replica of a deep-sea submersible. This exhibit will be an integral part of the community’s 2018 summer reading challenge, coordinated by the library.

Speaking of events, the city expanded its offering of special events this past year, adding a new Elgin Hay Day event for west side residents, Elgin Civil War Experience weekend on the grounds of the Elgin Mental Health Center and a bike race in the northeast side of town. Elgin’s signature Halloween event, Nightmare on Chicago Street, attracted a record 18,000 people to the streets of downtown Elgin for an immersive zombie-filled night of fun.

New residents continue to flock to new residential communities under construction in Elgin. In addition to the Ponds of Stony Creek, off of McDonald Road, M/I Homes has begun building 36 single family homes in the next phase of construction at West Point Gardens. In addition, 284 apartments will make up a new four-story apartment complex called Watermark at the Grove along the west side of Randall Road, north of I-90.

In the heart of Elgin, the venerable 15-story Elgin Tower Building, built in 1929, is being transformed from an office building to an apartment building by Capstone Development Group LLC. It will eventually feature 44 market-rate apartments, each with dramatic views of picturesque downtown Elgin, Riverside Drive Promenade and the Fox River Bike Trail. The adaptive reuse of this landmark building is the result of a public-private partnership between Capstone and the City of Elgin.

Elgin is well on its way to creating a city that will not only serve the needs of its present residents and businesses, but should lead the way into the 22nd century and beyond.

South Elgin

South Elgin is shedding its sleepy image, becoming a burgeoning community of the 21st century.

It boasts a population of 21,985 and large developers continue to build homes and relocate families there, thanks to top ratings from Money Magazine, CNN/Money, Nerd Wallet and Safewise.

The area is served by two public school systems – St. Charles Community Unit School District #303 and School District U-46 in Elgin and by the highly-rated Elgin Community College. There are also three outstanding full-service health care facilities nearby – Presence Saint Joseph Hospital and Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva.

“We improved a lot of infrastructure in South Elgin during 2017. We used a grant and spent $1.5 million to improve the McDonald Road bridge. Another grant is helping to widen the State Street bridge for better bicycle traffic, and is adding decorative elements and an overlook, another $1.5 million project,” said Steve Super, village manager.

“We also spent almost $4 million to reconstruct water mains, improve roads, and add sidewalks in the southeastern portion of the village. The village has committed millions of dollars to improving our older neighborhoods during the past several years, but this year’s investment is our largest,” Super said. “We are also remodeling portions of the village hall in order to separate the police and municipal lobbies.” This work is being completed with no increase in fees or taxes to South Elgin residents, something the village board is especially proud of, Super noted.

This was also an excellent year for South Elgin in terms of private development.

Two new single family home communities by national builders are building out quickly. K. Hovnanian Homes is building Sagebrook and the Pulte Group is building The Trails of Silver Glen. Both developments are offering homes from the upper $300,000s to mid $600,000s.

In addition, Cal Atlantic Homes is building new units in the formerly suspended Prairie Pointe townhouse community just north of South Elgin High School. Continental Properties broke ground on an upscale 300-unit apartment complex called “The Springs at South Elgin” at the intersection of Stearns and Randall Roads. It will feature an outdoor swimming pool, clubhouse and even a pet washing facility.

Businesses are also expanding to South Elgin. Haumiller Engineering is moving from a smaller industrial building in Elgin to a 60,000-square-foot facility in the Shannahon Commerce Park in order to hire an additional 75 workers in the coming years.

In addition, Montemayor Construction is building a new 45,000-square-foot industrial building that will house its own offices and have additional space to rent.

Commercial ventures that have opened recently in South Elgin include the Village Tavern & Grill on Redington Drive; C’era Una Volea, an upscale Italian restaurant on Randall Road; a new Speedway gas station with a café and fast diesel fill-up capacity on Bose Road at Route 31; a new Panera restaurant with a drive-through on Randall Road; and a new Dunkin’ Donuts on McLean Boulevard.

A Learning Experience childcare facility is also under construction and expected to open soon.

“We now have a vacancy rate of less than five percent along Randall Road, but throughout South Elgin we still have about 20 percent open land, thanks to several large farms which are sprinkled through the community. If those are ever developed residentially, our population could rise by another 20 or 25 percent,” Super said.