Chamber Welcome

The Chamber of Commerce plays an integral part in the successful cultivation of a vibrant business community. As an organization, we are the voice of the business entrepreneurs and small businesses in our town. Our commitment to our members is to be energized and passionate about our businesses and ultimately their success in Village of Wheeling and the City of Prospect Heights.

In 2019, the WPH Chamber will be 90 years old. It took a lot of dedication and vision in part of the businesses, governmental entities, and the residents to come together to build this association and make it an integral part of our region. A “can do” attitude and a service centered approach is how we made it from 1929 to today.

The engagement and leadership of our members is also what makes us vibrant. Your participation in all aspects of the Chamber embodies our mission to stand as the voice of business, support our members’ success and champion community prosperity. From attending events and programs, contributing to leadership discussions and acting as strong business advocates, the Chamber owes its continued achievements to your efforts. This is why we are still standing strong at 90!

There has never been a more exciting time to do business in Wheeling and Prospect Heights, so let’s take this momentum into the next 90 years. Through the strength of our members, a continued focus on collaboration and championing the advancement of our local community, we are confident that the Chamber can tackle any challenge, creatively solve any problem and ensure we remain the best place to live, work, learn, and play.

Together, we can make the Chamber and the Wheeling Prospect Heights community one of prosperity and growth. Congratulations to us for 90 successful years!


Board of Directors

Board Leadership

The Chamber is governed by leaders in industry, government, education, and culture. The Board meets monthly to guide the strategy and activity of the Wheeling Prospect Heights Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Board commitment is instrumental in driving the organization forward.

President
Joe Vito
Lavelle Law Ltd.

Vice-President
Aaron Bastable
Westin Chicago North Shore

Treasurer
Miriam Campbell
Buffalo Grove Bank & Trust

Immediate Past President
Michael Looby
PostNet

Directors

Dean Arigiris
Kolssak Funeral Home

Marlena Dodd
Reynolds Consumer Products

Matt Eggemeyer
Keats Manufacturing

Brad Freidman
The Lynmark Group

Peter Hestad
Tool King

Denise Katz
Rand Manufacturing

Erin Morgan
Devon Bank

Wendy Morgan
City of Prospect Heights

John Melaniphy
Village of Wheeling

Executive Director
Neena Pottoore

Membership Services
Pam Dorband


About the Chamber

The WPH Chamber is an active, membership-based organization committed to maintaining a healthy and progressive business environment. Each Chamber member has access to programs, events, publications and benefits that strengthen and promote the business community. The Chamber partners with local, state and federal government to attract and retain commercial and industrial development. Joint initiatives include providing assistance to existing and prospective businesses.

Mission Statement

To provide resources and an environment that promotes the success of our member businesses.

Vision Statement

For the Wheeling/Prospects Heights area to be a highly innovative and business friendly region that attracts and retains businesses and intellectual capital.

Values

The Wheeling/Prospect Heights Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

  • Is a Member Driven Organization – focusing on programs and services that contribute to our members’ success.
  • Creates Member Value – by providing an effective return on investments of resources, time and participation.
  • Provides Leadership with a Network of Partners – encouraging a single vision for economic growth and prosperity.
  • Champions Diversity 7 Inclusion – creating opportunities for all member businesses.
Committees

Joining a committee is the best way to get involved, meet area business leaders and help set the direction of the Chamber. All employees of the company are welcome to get involved.

Ambassadors
Ambassadors are the face of the Chamber. These dedicated members are fully committed to furthering community- based business, assisting with Chamber events, participating in ribbon cuttings and helping orchestrate membership campaigns. The ambassadors also welcome new members to the Chamber, and serve as educated contacts within the Chamber network.

Marketing & Communications
Faced with the challenge of promoting the Chamber and its events, this committee will provide input and assist with marketing tasks. All marketing methods, both traditional and online media, are addressed to further the mission of the Chamber, increase visibility of membership benefits and host and promote all Chamber events.

Golf
Conduct business on the green by planning, networking and playing.

Taste of The Town
Plan and throw the greatest party in NorthShore Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Restaurant & Hospitality
This group opens an avenue of communication between restaurants and hotels to meet the daily challenges of promotions and marketing.

Industrial & Manufacturing Committee
The industrial and manufacturing business sectors are an essential cornerstone of our regional economy, particularly in Wheeling. The IMC exists to serve this critical base.

Network for Enterprising Women
This networking group connects, educates and supports women of all business back-grounds and helps to build strategic alliances within our communities. This group seeks to share ideas, inspire entrepreneurial spirit and encourage women to pursue of long and successful careers in senior roles in their respective professions.

Wheeling Prospect Heights Area Chamber of Commerce is a 501 (c) (6) nonprofit membership organization that was founded in July 22, 1929.


What’s Happening in Wheeling

On behalf of myself and the Wheeling Village Board, thank you for supporting the Wheeling / Prospect Heights Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Chamber works collaboratively with the Village and supports local business expansion. The Chamber provides essential resources, programs, events, job fairs, business seminars and networking opportunities that help connect area businesses.

I am a small business owner. I recognize that businesses small and large sustain our local economy by creating employment opportunities, meeting local shopping, dining, and professional service needs, providing business-to-business patronage, supplying tax revenues that support community services, and more.

Wheeling is the hub of commerce and industry in the northwest suburbs home to over 850 licensed businesses across a range of 50 business sectors, with more than 14 million square feet of industrial space. Wheeling is likely best known as home to the beloved Restaurant Row along Milwaukee Avenue, which continues to attract visitors from throughout the North Shore and northwest suburban region.

I am proud of our business community’s achievements and positive growth. The industrial vacancy rate of only 4 percent continues to reflect strong market demand. New spec industrial buildings were constructed for the first time in over two decades and provide modern, prototype space for today’s growing industrial needs. Progress has been achieved on Wheeling Town Center, Northgate Crossing, the Whitely, Wolf Crossing, and Uptown 500 and we look forward to building on this momentum. Regional and national institutional investment firms recognize Wheeling’s potential thanks in part to the over $230 million in new development projects. The Wheeling Town Center’s residential building and retail portions are well underway and slated to open in early 2019 and the Northgate Crossing townhome development was recently completed.

The Village values our cooperation with neighbors and partner agencies to deliver core services and enhance our community, and this includes our collaboration with the Chamber to support our business promotion and attraction efforts. For instance, the Village of Wheeling and the City of Prospect Heights partner together for Rock ’n’ Run the Runway, our annual Independence Day weekend festivities at Chicago Executive Airport, as well as for the Taste of the Town, which features Wheeling’s Restaurant Row.

The Village’s Department of Economic Development promotes business attraction, business retention, marketing, grant administration and incentive programs and assists existing businesses to manage future growth and space needs. Although Wheeling is an established suburb of Chicago, there are prime development opportunities available for commercial and industrial development along our commercial corridors including two Village-owned lots. For additional information on development opportunities, please contact the Department of Economic Development at (847) 459-2605 or ed@wheelingil.gov.

We are excited about Wheeling’s bright future, and I personally look forward to serving this dynamic community in the years to come.

Sincerely,
Patrick Horcher
Patrick Horcher | Village President

Wheeling is located in the heart of the prominent northwest suburbs along the Des Plaines River with beautiful Heritage Park, the Aquatic Center, forest preserves and diverse housing stock. Wheeling is best known for the popular Restaurant Row, one of the thriving culinary destinations in the Chicago area. The variety and quality of dining options is unmatched in the north and northwest suburbs. Wheeling is also home to over 800 businesses, leading manufacturers, a fast-growing residential market, Chicago Executive Airport, National Lewis University and the Korean Cultural Center of Chicago.

A diverse and dynamic community of 40,000, Wheeling is strategically located in immediate proximity to interstate highways 90 and 94, a short Metra commute to downtown Chicago and just nine miles from O’Hare International Airport making it a key destination to live, work, dine and play. Wheeling’s appeal includes quality schools, parks, aquatic center, an award-winning library, forest preserves, regional bike trails, shopping, dining, lifestyle amenities and strong sense of community.

“Where else can you find a restaurant mecca with such an array of eateries like Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Saranello’s, Bob Chinn’s, Cooper’s Hawk, Tuscany, Benihana and Buca di Beppo within blocks of each other along Restaurant Row?” asked John Melaniphy, Director of Economic Development for the Village of Wheeling.

“Wheeling is a bustling dining scene welcoming diners from the North Shore and northwest suburban region to over a dozen eclectic culinary destinations,” he continued. “Boston Fish Market, which began in Des Plaines, will soon open a 250-seat restaurant and a 50-seat bar in the heart of Restaurant Row. The full-service seafood restaurant will also sell fish and other seafood to take home and prepare.”

The Village of Wheeling originated as an overnight rest stop for travelers journeying from Chicago to Wisconsin territory via the overland trail known today as Milwaukee Avenue. Keeping Wheeling’s hospitality heritage as an overnight resting stop alive, the visitors of today can enjoy lodging at the upscale Westin Chicago North Shore. The inns, taverns, and eateries established in the 1830s on this main corridor developed into Wheeling’s Restaurant Row. Ironically, Wheeling never had a downtown—which is about to change in early 2019 with the development of the Wheeling Town Center.

Wheeling is at a unique crossroads in the Village’s history evolving from a farming community to a major suburban center of commerce and industry with key manufacturers as well as big box retailers, hotels, specialty retail shops, and restaurants.

Village President Pat Horcher said, “Village trustees are proud to see a new generation of professionals, first-time home owners, empty nesters, singles, and millennials making Wheeling their home. Wheeling’s diverse housing stock serves the needs a wide variety of residents from world-class condominiums, affordable rental properties and single-family homes on tree-lined streets.”

While the big news in Wheeling is the transit-oriented development called Wheeling Town Center, which is under construction south of Dundee Road alongside the Wheeling Metra Station, exciting things are also happening elsewhere in the Village, according to Melaniphy.

Uptown 500, a $90 million mixed-use development planned just north of Wheeling Town Center, will begin construction in summer of 2018 and will include 321 luxury apartment units and 10,500 square feet of retail space.

A spike in residents is coming soon. In addition to the approximately 1,000 apartments that are springing up around Wheeling Town Center, D.R. Horton is constructing 39 townhouses on the former site of Deerfield Moving and Storage at 415 N. Wolf Road, known as “Wolf Crossing.”

The Economic Development staff is also engaged in aggressive business attraction efforts focused upon regional, national and international businesses. Despite Wheeling’s mature status, there are prime properties available for development in Wheeling. At the intersection of Route 83 and Dundee Road, Melaniphy said the Village is targeting a sales-tax-producing use like a home improvement store, supercenter, auto dealership, or other junior-anchor retailers for the former Kmart site.

And at the north end of the Village, Melaniphy said that they are working with ownership of the 17 vacant acres across the street from the Westin Hotel for a mixed-use development. This is the site immediately north of the Prairie Park condominium development.


What’s Happening in Prospect Heights

I want to thank the Prospect Heights / Wheeling Chamber of Commerce for keeping our joint Chamber a viable, hard-working, well-recognized organization throughout the Northwest suburbs,” Mayor Nick Helmer recently told a gathering. “Director Neena Pottoore and the entire board of directors with President Joe Vito deserve our gratitude.”

“Thank you to President Pat Horcher and his entire Village of Wheeling staff for their support and cooperation with mutual interests to both cities,” he continued.

Under the category of “Show Me the Money,” he continued, “I can tell you that our budgets are balanced and we have adequate reserves. But it is the Fixed Base Operators at the Chicago Executive Airport including Signature, Atlantic and Hawthorn, along with the Priester Operations, that make both of our cities as co-owners of the airport, even more successful.”

Prospect Heights always keeps its bald eagle’s eyes open to the horizon, pointing them to potential jobs and business opportunities. Our visiting bald eagle often stops at our lake and slough area to roost, feed and admire the surroundings’.

At Prospect Crossing Shopping Center—across from Hersey High School—Tony’s Fresh Foods serves our area with unbelievably great produce, meats and grocery items from their huge 87,000 square foot state of the art location. In addition at that shopping center, “Sweet and Savory Crepes” recently opened, as did Senor Pollo’s, a restaurant featuring grill-fired Mexican food, and the 20,000-square-foot Ambiance Furniture, located next door to the House of Entertainment. The Atlantis Banquet facilities can accommodate 650 people for weddings and other celebrations.

A new Thornton’s gas station and convenience food store is being built across the street on the northwest corner of the intersection of Rand and Thomas, replacing a small restaurant and an auto shop.

Across town in the Palwaukee Plaza on Milwaukee Avenue, just south of the Chicago Executive Airport, LolliPop Korean Chicken is preparing to open and Rocky Vander’s (now known as Rocky’s American Grill) has been completely refurbished with all new decorating, tables, chairs and bathrooms. It is now open for lunch and is offering a full-service brunch on Sundays.

Up the street a bit at the Ramada Inn, The Tap House Grill recently opened offering great beer and food selections, there is even an on-site four-lane bowling alley. The Hilton and the Crowne Plaza hotel along with three more hotels can accommodate your guests and large or small functions.

Much of Prospect Heights’ officials’ attention this year, however, will focus on the redevelopment of the area around the intersection of Elmhurst Road and Camp McDonald Road where most of the city’s public services are centered.

“We have a great location for the development of our City Center. Our new contract city planner and architect will show us the way to develop a vibrant and relevant northwest suburban city,” Mayor Helmer said. “And after we make progress there, we will spread our eagle wings to add other areas to this five-year project.”

“So you can see all the opportunities you can muster in the beautiful city of Prospect Heights. Our single family homes, both new and old, boast very large lots to buy or to build on. Our school district is the best rated in the northwest suburban area; we have swimming pools, golf clubs, libraries and even an airport. Jobs are plentiful and transportation is readily available via highways, tollways and our Metra train station. Police protection is as good as it gets. And there is so much more!” Helmer added.

“Start a business, get a job, buy a home, bring your family for the schools and the space and enjoy the fruits of your decisions.

Come to Prospect Heights and meet with me and our staff. We will make it happen for you!”

Sincerely,
Nicholas J. Helmer
Nicholas J. Helmer | Mayor of Prospect Heights


Important Phone Numbers

WHEELING

Village Hall
2 Community Blvd.
Wheeling, IL 60090
Phone: (847) 459-2600
Fax: (847) 459-9692
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday
www.vi.wheeling.il.us
To report code violations:
(847) 459-CODE

Village President
Patrick Horcher
(847) 499-9095
phorcher@wheelingil.gov

Trustees
Ken Brady (847) 499-9233
Joe Vito (847) 499-9234
Mary Krueger (847) 499-9232
Ray Lang (847) 499-9236
Mary Papantos (847) 499-9234
Dave Vogel (847) 499-9237

Clerk
Elaine Simpson
(847) 499-9231
esimpson@wheelingil.gov

Village Manager
Jon A. Sfondilis
(847) 499-9090
jsfondilis@wheelingil.gov

Village Hall Offices

Administration
(847) 499-9085

Finance Department
(847) 459-2600

Community Development
(847) 459-2620

Economic Development
(847) 459-2605

Fire Prevention Bureau
(847) 459-2669

Permits: Fire Alarms & Sprinklers Inspections

Fire Department
499 S. Milwaukee Ave.
(847) 459-2662 (non-emergency)

Police Department
1 Community Blvd.
(847) 459-2632 (non-emergency)

Public Works Department
77 W. Hintz Rd.
(847) 279-6900
7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday

Human Services/Senior Center
199 N. First St.
(847) 459-2670

WHEELING TOWNSHIP
1616 N. Arlington Heights Rd.
(847) 259-7730
www.wheelingtownship.com

Chicago Executive Airport
1020 S. Plant Rd.
Wheeling, IL 60090
(847) 537-2580

PROSPECT HEIGHTS

City Hall
8 N. Elmhurst Rd.
Prospect Heights, IL 60070
Phone: (847) 398-6070
Fax: (847) 392-4244
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
www.prospect-heights.il.us

Mayor
Nicholas Helmer
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 231
nhelmer@prospect-heights.org

City Administrator
Joe Wade
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 202

Aldermen
Lora Messer (Ward 1)
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 233
lmesser@prospect-heights.org

Lawrence Rosenthal (Ward 2)
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 234
lrosenthal@prospect-heights.org

Scott Williamson (Ward 3)
swilliamson@prospect-heights.org

Patrick Ludvigsen (Ward 4)
pludvigsen@prospect-heights.org

Matthew Dolick (Ward 5)
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 230
mdolick@prospect-heights.org

City Clerk
Wendy Morgan-Adams
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 220

City Treasurer
Richard Tibbits
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 221

City Hall Office Administration
(847) 398-6070

Engineering
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 210

Finance
(847) 398-6070

Health Inspector
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 222

Building & Development
Daniel Peterson, Director
(847) 398-6070, Ext. 208
dpeterson@prospect-heights.org

Fire Department
10 E. Camp McDonald Rd.
(847) 253-8060 (non-emergency)

Police Department
14 E. Camp McDonald Rd.
(847) 398-5511 (non-emergency)
Hours: Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
Monday-Sunday

Public Works Department
401 Piper Ln.
(847) 398-6070

WHEELING/PROSPECT HEIGHTS CHAMBER Of COMMERCE
2 Community Blvd., Ste. 203
Wheeling, IL 60090
(847) 541-0170

LIBRARIES
Indian Trails Library District
355 Schoenbeck Rd.
Wheeling, IL 60090
(847) 459-4100
www.indiantrailslibrary.org
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,
Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m., Sunday

Prospect Heights Public Library District
12 N. Elm St.
Prospect Heights, IL 60070
(847) 259-3500
www.phpl.info
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.,
Monday through Thursday;
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday (during school year)

HOSPITALS
Northwest Community Hospital
800 W. Central Rd.
Arlington Heights
(847) 618-1000
www.nch.org

Glenbrook Hospital
2100 Pfingston Rd.
Glenview
(847) 657-5800
www.enh.org

Lutheran General Hospital
1775 W. Dempster St.
Park Ridge
(847) 696-2210
www.advocatehealth.com


Manufacturing Hub

Wheeling is one of Illinois’ most exciting manufacturing success stories. It boasts the fifth largest concentration of manufacturing businesses in the state of Illinois, trailing only Chicago, Elk Grove Village, Rockford and Elgin – in that order.

“Wheeling is attractive to manufacturers because of the many facilities we have available, but also because we are so close to I-294, commuter and freight rail lines and both O’Hare International Airport and the Chicago Executive Airport,” said John Melaniphy, director of economic development for the Village of Wheeling. “In addition, we have a wonderful labor pool here, which is extremely important to employers. Communities that are farther from the city cannot attract the kind of labor that we can attract.”

And the village has nearly 14 million square feet of industrial space where manufacturers like Hidden Valley Manufacturing, Reynolds Consumer Products, Penray, Creation Technologies, SG360°, Block & Co, Handi-Foil, Valspar, Wieland Metals, Argon Medical Devices, Durable Packaging, Richelieu Foods, Keats Manufacturing and Tool King Inc. all have a presence.

More industrial and logistics space is also under construction or has recently been completed. Hamilton Partners constructed a 181,000-square-foot industrial structure at 720 Northgate Parkway, the former site of Frito-Lay. They recently sold the facility to a New York investor who plans to lease it to a user specializing in warehouse/distribution functions.

In addition, the Sitex Group and Missner Group have joined forces to construct a state-of-the-art 84,000-square-foot industrial building at 1075 S. Chaddick St., the former site of an ABF Trucking yard. They are targeting large warehouse/distribution/logistics companies to become possible tenants.

“These are the first new warehouse/industrial spaces we have had built in Wheeling in over two decades.” Melaniphy said. “We are very pleased to have a total of 265,000 square feet of prototypical industrial/logistics space being built to meet the needs of modern companies.”

Existing Wheeling companies are also adding space and making improvements.

For instance, Richelieu Foods has recently added both employees and production lines to their Wheeling facility and SG360°, a large direct marketing/mail printing company, has expanded to 900 employees, making it Wheeling’s largest employer.

New firms have also moved into Wheeling, largely thanks to Cook County’s Class 6B tax incentives, Melaniphy said.

“We have recruited Swiss Precision Machining Inc. to move here from Skokie. They make dental and medical instruments,” he said. “And Chris Industries moved from Northbrook into a vacant facility in Wheeling. They make custom metal architectural/roofing products.”

W.B.M. Inc. also moved from Elk Grove Village to a 30,000-square-foot facility at 112 Carpenter Ave. in Wheeling in order to take advantage of those 6B tax incentives. They are a custom product CNC machining shop that manufactures components for the aerospace and medical industries.

Senju America, Inc., a small firm that makes solder powder and paste for use in the automotive and electronics industries, has also announced an intention to move from Mundelein to 1200 S. Wolf Road in Wheeling. They are anxious to locate closer to other Japanese firms and also want to take advantage of the 6B tax incentive, Melaniphy said.

“Using this 6B tax incentive we have managed to backfill over one million square feet of empty space in Wheeling in recent years. We are now down to under a four percent building vacancy in the village,” he said.

“If a property has been empty for 24 contiguous months, we can get the tax incentive from the County for 12 years because everyone wants such facilities put back into productive use,” he added.

Success in attracting new companies also depends on where the CEO happens to live. Melaniphy said industrial leaders are always interested in less challenging commutes, as well as good schools for their children. They also want close proximity to large labor pools, their company’s suppliers and other similar companies so that they can establish fruitful business-to-business relationships—all assets that Wheeling can provide to help industry and commerce thrive.

“We also have a great mix of housing at many price points. We have affordable apartments where the hourly workers can live, affordable single family homes for management and we are a short commute from Lake Forest and the other North Shore communities where top management may choose to live,” he added.

He also cites Harper Community College and Wheeling High School, both of which are working to expose students to the advantages of working in modern manufacturing and training them to do so through job fairs, plant tours, workshops, courses, degrees, internships and apprenticeships.

The Wheeling-Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce and Industry also has an Industry and Manufacturing Committee that began as a subgroup and now has grown. It works to support current manufacturers and create further synergies by attracting additional manufacturers. Manufacturers who are active in the Wheeling-Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce and Industry are some of Wheeling’s most ardent cheerleaders.

Argon Medical Devices, a manufacturer of medical devices such as bone marrow and biopsy needles, as well as drainage catheter needles, moved to Wheeling from Skokie about 18 years ago. They had previously been known as Manan Medical, according to Karen Silverberg, Argon’s North American Director of Human Resources.

The 300-plus employee firm is pleased with Wheeling’s proximity to various modes of transportation for its goods but is challenged by the shortage of public transportation for prospective shift work employees, Silverberg noted.

High Chicago area wages and a shortage of young people interested in manufacturing jobs have prompted Argon to invest more heavily than others in robotics. They are also working through High School District 214 and the Illinois Department of Employment Security to recruit additional workers and to convince parents that manufacturing can be a great career for their young adult children.

“Manufacturing is not what it used to be. It’s cleaner, more efficient, and offers diversity and the ability to grow within the industry,” said Matthew Eggemeyer, Chief Operating Officer of Keats Manufacturing Company. “Manufacturers across the nation talk about a skills gap, but I see it differently. At Keats Manufacturing, we invest in people and train them with skills that go beyond what you learn in school. Only time will tell if this is a success. Along with other manufacturers in the region, we are rethinking manufacturing by making it accessible, profitable, and relevant.”

As manufacturing evolves, those in the industry are working together to find solutions to common issues. “The more and more we tour the different manufacturers, the more we realize we all have something in common. We face the same challenges,” said Peter Hestad, president of Tool King Inc. and chair of the Industry and Manufacturing Committee. “By getting together, we end up helping each other. For instance, one member may need a roofer and another member shares a recommendation. We may compare insurance carriers or ways to recruit new talent. Together we are creating best business practices.”

The committee includes members who are not only in manufacturing, but also in finance, human resources, software engineering and other sectors who offer potential services to manufacturers and are interested in helping manufacturers thrive in Wheeling.

“I think the Industry and Manufacturing Committee membership will continue to go up and up. 15 years from now, I anticipate the membership to double,” Hestad said.

This is further evidence that manufacturing is strong and leaders in this sector will continue to be instrumental advocates for Wheeling’s prosperous industry and commerce.


Members of the Year

Tool King, Inc.
Manufacturer of the Year

Peter Hestad, owner of Tool King, Inc., was named the Wheeling-Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce’s “Manufacturer of the Year” for 2018.

Hestad first located his metal service center business in Prospect Heights in 1980 and the moved to the current location in 1985. His 35 employees process coils of carbon steel, stainless steel, copper and aluminum-based alloys and change the widths or edge shapes to provide metals for fabrication to companies such as Black and Decker (so they can make jigsaws), Pella (for use in their windows) and nearby Keats Manufacturing (for various spring applications). They also export to manufacturers in Canada, Mexico, China, India and Costa Rica.

Unlike many manufacturing firms that run CNC machines, Tool King employees operate slitting lines and edging or skiving lines that allow them to slit and round edge metal of many types (including high carbon, pre-tempered and annealed alloys) into narrower strips and then transform the edges into custom shapes for different applications.

“Many of our competitors are also good customers of ours,” Hestad said. “We found that working together with our competition is mutually beneficial to everyone, including the end users.”

“The Manufacturer of the Year award from the Chamber was certainly a surprise to me,” Hestad said. “Wheeling has been very kind to us over the more than 30 years we have been here, so I am happy to be able to give back through my participation in the Chamber.”

Hestad is currently serving as chairman of the Industrial and Manufacturing Committee of the Chamber. He originally joined when few manufacturers were a part of the Chamber and the membership mostly consisted of restaurants and retail companies, so he left for a number of years. “We didn’t have much in common,” Hestad said.

But recently he returned at the urging of Neal Katz of Rand Manufacturing and Matt Eggemeyer of Keats Manufacturing who wanted to form an industrial group within the Chamber.

“And I have enjoyed it and found that membership has been beneficial. Wheeling is the fifth largest manufacturing community in Illinois, so I enjoy meeting regularly with other manufacturers and touring their facilities. It is cool to see how other companies contribute to the Wheeling community and attack many of the same challenges we face at Tool King,” Hestad said.

One of their biggest common challenges, he noted, was attracting entry-level workers. So the Chamber’s industrial group has been working with Wheeling High School to promote industrial careers, dispelling the image of factories with dirty environs and ugly smokestacks. Today, manufacturing in Wheeling is very high tech, Hestad said.

“During the work fairs which the high school sponsors we explain to them that they can have a lucrative and happy career in industry, complete with great health insurance and 401K plans. We have even suggested that our employees who have been renting for several years think about buying a nearby house. We have even gone to the bank with them to help with the process,” Hestad said.

“I am so happy that I joined the Chamber again. Those of us on the Industrial and Manufacturing Committee help each other by discussing best business practices, health insurance and other typical business issues that we all have. Networking with other manufacturers can only have a positive result for all of us,” he added.

“We love Wheeling. I always recommend and tout it to my friends. The close proximity to the Chicago Executive Airport, O’Hare Airport and the tollway system makes it easy to ship product and conduct business in Wheeling,” Hestad said. “Another big plus is the excellent choice of restaurants which makes entertaining visiting clients and vendors a very simple process. We don’t have to drive to Chicago to have a great culinary experience. It’s all here in Wheeling!”