Amy Fitzgerald

Recent Posts

Why Manufacturing Day Matters

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Jun 28, 2018 8:22:22 AM

Your Day to Open Doors & Open Minds

A recent study by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte revealed that more than 8 out of 10 Americans acknowledge the importance of the manufacturing industry but less than one-third of those surveyed would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career due to concerns around job security and stability, weak career paths, and poor pay.

As anyone close to the modern manufacturing industry knows, these concerns couldn’t be further from reality!


Business Strategy and Sales Specialist joins IMEC Team of Regional Managers

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Jun 22, 2018 9:29:00 AM

Dean Harms is the newest addition to the IMEC team, bringing a strong background in business strategy, marketing and cross-functional improvements to northern Illinois organizations. As a Regional Manager with more than 30 years of experience working in OEM & MRO markets, Dean has a passion for engaging customers through diverse channels of communication in order to provide them with the best possible solution.


The Four-Part Test: Your Next Step in Reaping the Rewards of the R&D Tax Credit

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Jun 21, 2018 2:00:41 PM

Written by Chris Blaylock, CPA and Partner - Wipfli LLC

Take Advantage of Opportunities for R&D Credit

First enacted in 1981, the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credit is one of the most valuable tax credits available to businesses today. While in the past, the R&D credit had expired eight times and was extended 15 times, it was finally made permanent in the PATH Act of 2015. Its permanent status makes planning much more feasible for companies intending to apply for it.

And apply they do. In fact, U.S. companies claim $7.5 billion in R&D credits annually. While many large manufacturing and distribution companies have taken advantage of the credit for years, smaller and midsize companies can also qualify. 

The result? Big tax savings: a 20 percent credit for qualified research expenses exceeding a base period based on gross receipts and qualified expenditures, or a 14 percent alternative simplified credit if certain base levels of R&D expenses are exceeded.


Help Us Welcome Two New Members to "Team Marketing"

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on May 30, 2018 11:33:00 AM

This month, IMEC welcomed two new Marketing Coordinators to our statewide team of excellence-focused specialists.


It's Not Too Late to Plan for 2018: The Power of Goal Setting

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on May 29, 2018 1:03:00 PM

Written by Randy Slechta, CEO and contributed by Jeff Johnson, President - Leadership Management International, Inc.

Question #1: Did you accomplish your most important goals in 2017?

Research shows that only about 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.

Question #2: Have you set your goal(s) for 2018?

If so, do you really, really, really want to achieve your 2018 goal(s)?

If your answer is absolutely, then you have to be willing to make some changes to ensure this happens. I find that almost everyone has good intentions to achieve the goals they have set. Most people start the new year optimistic that this will be a good year, this will be the year they finally achieve those important goals. 

Yet 92% fall short. Why? There are of course many reasons, but I find there are a few big stumbling blocks that trip up most people. If you can overcome these obstacles, you can almost guarantee yourself success.


Unlocking Global Growth Opportunities with ExporTech

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on May 9, 2018 2:42:01 PM

Calling all Chicago metro manufacturers with an eye on global sales!

Are you struggling to take advantage of growth opportunities in global markets?

Are you re-actively selling to international customers who find you, rather than taking a proactive and strategic approach to international sales?

If YES… ExporTech could be the answer.


Capturing Employee Tribal Knowledge - Before It's Too Late

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on May 4, 2018 10:35:00 AM

By 2025, nearly 25 percent of the United States population is expected to be 60 years of age or older. With this demographic preparing to exit the workforce and enter retirement, what can be done to retain their knowledge and pass it down to the next generation of employees? After all, a good portion of the knowledge that our “employee elders” possess is not written down or stored within a computer—it’s stored in their head. And this is especially true within the manufacturing sector.


Quality Management Expert joins IMEC Team of Technical Specialists

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on May 2, 2018 10:56:21 AM

David McFarland is the newest addition to the IMEC team, bringing a strong background in quality management and data analysis to Illinois organizations. As a Technical Specialist with more than 25 years of experience working in academic and industrial settings, David has a passion for assisting companies with their culture of continual learning and improvement in pursuit of organizational excellence. 


Spotlight on Success: Focusing on flow and maximizing space to increase employee and customer satisfaction

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Apr 30, 2018 8:13:00 AM

Doran Scales Inc.  |  20 employees  |

Doran Scales is a digital scale manufacturer located in St. Charles, Illinois.


As competition began to grow and internal processes became more cluttered, Doran Scales faced the realization that they could no longer operate as an “80’s” manufacturing company – living off of high profits, consistent customers, and minimal demand for quality products. Mark Podl, CEO, knew the operation needed significant improvement and by starting with the shop floor operations he could begin the transformation to an up-to-date, lean and quality-minded, 21st century organization.


Mark first engaged IMEC in setting the framework for how they would approach and prioritize the many improvements through education on the fundamentals of lean manufacturing. By then identifying the need for a shop floor “clean-up,” the Doran Scales team alongside IMEC laid out a plan for an improvement to the physical plant layout through several Kaizen events. By streamlining manufacturing processes and organizing tools and people in a more efficient flow, the team was able to kick start the journey to lean – each individual owning their incremental improvements and committing to the new way of working. “Pushing past the initial stigma of needing to be ‘fixed’ was difficult for some,” said Podl, “but having the guidance of individuals [IMEC] with experience has been extremely helpful. They provided us with the support we needed to get from point A to point B.”


Spotlight on Success: Leveraging lean for an organization-wide efficiency transformation

Posted by Amy Fitzgerald on Apr 24, 2018 11:34:34 AM

Advantage Components, Inc.  |  60 employees  |

ACi is a contract cable and wire harness manufacturer located in Joliet, Illinois.


In early 2014, Advantage Components, Inc. (ACi) began to see exponential growth in sales and subsequent production. But with space constrained in their current facility, the company knew it was time to make room in the existing facility or expand beyond their four walls. ACi leadership, had previous experience working with the principles of lean manufacturing and were interested in committing to increasing efficiencies in the current space before committing to a new facility. Through a quick online search of experts in the field of lean, ACi discovered IMEC.


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