EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center are combining forces to help area manufacturers maximize production, increase global competitiveness, stimulate the local economy and create jobs.
Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said as part of the joint effort to improve manufacturing in the county, IMEC representatives will work out of unused office space at Madison County Community Development.
“One of the key functions of Madison County Community Development is economic development,” Dunstan said. “IMEC, a nonprofit consulting service, helps improve the productivity and competitiveness of manufacturing companies. By working together, sharing information and opportunities, IMEC and Madison County Community Development have the opportunity to significantly benefit manufacturers in the county, generate additional economic development and, ultimately, create jobs.”
Established in 1996, IMEC is a public-private partnership that has helped more than 3,100 Illinois manufacturing companies achieve more than $1.5 billion in validated improvements in productivity, sales and cost savings. IMEC is funded by fees for project services and by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST-MEP). IMEC is based at Bradley University in Peoria, with their regional offices at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Research Park.
According to IMEC officials, on average, every dollar invested in their assistance programs generates $20 in client return.
“Our specialists offer local manufacturers more than 18 years of first-hand industry experience, allowing them to make investments in internal capabilities, production efficiency, and strategic direction that will sustain results in the long run,” IMEC President David Boulay said. “It’s a model we’re proud to replicate across the state so that more small and mid-sized companies may experience success.”
Frank Miles, administrator of Madison County Community Development, said while the number of manufacturers and production is not at the levels of the 1950s and 1960s, it is still an integral part of Madison County’s economic engine.
“In Illinois, manufacturing employs more than 600,000 people and thousands more are employed by companies which supply and service the manufacturers,” Miles said. “Locally, Beall Manufacturing in East Alton benefited from IMEC’s services which, after their analysis, recommended company officials pursue the development of an energy efficiency program. IMEC was called on to bring experts from SIU Edwardsville in to collect data on energy usage, perform engineering and economic analysis and calculate energy savings potential. Beall provided this information to Ameren Illinois and it resulted in a financial commitment to pay for much of the energy upgrades at their facility.
“Going back hundreds of years and continuing through today, manufacturing has been and remains key to the development and success of Madison County,” Miles said. “The assistance Madison County can provide IMEC can only help our area manufacturers.”
Manufacturers interested in obtaining information on the services offered by IMEC can visit the organization’s website, www.imec.org, or call IMEC at (888) 806-4632.
IMEC officials are located at Madison County’s Community Development office at 130 Hillsboro, Edwardsville. Miles said county officials have provided IMEC’s regional manager and technical support staff with office and conference room space to operate in the southwestern region of the state.
“We are already working closely with IMEC on several potential projects in our area and are excited about the opportunities this relationship will bring,” Miles said.