* Press release…
Gov. Bruce Rauner joined other state and local government officials today as Canadian manufacturer Brandt Industries announced its plan to grow jobs at an existing plant Brandt is buying in Hudson.
Advanced manufacturing and agriculture are target industries for Illinois, and state and local economic development officials have been working with the Saskatchewan-based agricultural manufacturer for months. Brandt’s deal with Kongskilde is expected to close Dec. 15, and will be the firm’s first manufacturing venture outside of its native Canada.
“It is terrific news that the former Kongskilde facility near Bloomington-Normal will not become another dormant site,” Rauner said of the 200,000-square-foot plant where Kongskilde employees formerly made agricultural equipment. “Brandt is a well-run and exceptionally successful firm that will add hundreds of manufacturing jobs in the years ahead. We’re thrilled to work with and welcome them to Illinois.”
“We are very excited at the prospect of saving this plant from closure,” said Brandt President Shaun Semple. “This is a world-class manufacturing facility with a highly trained workforce, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to make a tangible contribution to the growth of the American economy.”
The governor met with Brandt Chairman Gavin Semple and Shaun Semple prior to a 10 a.m. press conference, where Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council CEO Kyle Ham welcomed the governor, several Brandt officials, McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre, McLean County Unit 5 School District Superintendent Mark Daniel and others.
Legislators in attendance included state Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, and state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Normal.
“The jobs being created as part of this project will have a positive impact on our economy both locally and throughout the state,” said Bill Brady.
DCEO Director Sean McCarthy said the company’s decision to establish its first U.S. facility in Illinois was “a testament to the workforce and assets of this great region.”
House lawmaker Brady also welcomed the manufacturer.
“I am pleased to have this project call the 105th Legislative District home, along with the jobs and revenue generation for our entire area and the investment Brandt has pledged to provide,” he said.
Bloomington-Normal EDC officials said Brandt’s selection speaks highly of the state and the central Illinois region.
“We’re extremely excited about the Brandt family of companies’ decision to make McLean County their base of operations in the U.S., establishing their first international manufacturing facility in the Bloomington-Normal area,” said Ham. “Our talented workforce, central location, and long history in agriculture make this the perfect match for Brandt.”
The Brandt Group of Companies include Brandt Agricultural Products, Brandt Engineered Products, Brandt Equipment Solutions, Brandt Road Rail, Brandt Developments and Brandt Tractor — the world’s largest privately held John Deere construction and forestry equipment dealer. Brandt has 50 locations in Canada and the U.S., with nearly 2,000 employees.
Between 300 and 500 new jobs are projected at the Hudson plant over the next 10 years.
“This is great news for central Illinois, and all of Illinois,” said Barickman. “We need to make sure we enact the type of business reforms necessary so that we can have more of these celebrations of job and business growth.”
* Press release…
Today, Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission officially kicked off the state’s yearlong 200th birthday celebration at Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier. Illinois Bicentennial will pay tribute to the people, places, and things that are being BORN, BUILT & GROWN in the nation’s fifth most populous state.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate all that has been great in our first 200 years and lay the foundation for 200 more years of growth and prosperity,” Rauner said. “Illinois is home, and the Bicentennial gives us a chance to reflect on how we can continue to make it great for our children and grandchildren.”
“Today marks Illinois’ 199th birthday,” said Lori Healey, co-chairwoman of the commission and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. “Illinois Bicentennial will be a yearlong celebration between Dec. 3, 2017, and Dec. 3, 2018, which will be our state’s 200th birthday.”
“The Bicentennial is a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to fall in love with Illinois all over again,” said Gloria Castillo, co-chairwoman of the commission and president and CEO of Chicago United. “Throughout the next 365 days, Illinois Bicentennial will pay tribute to the people, places, and things that are being BORN, BUILT & GROWN here every single day.”
The Navy Pier festivities mark the beginning of events and projects that the Commission has planned to kick off the celebration around the state. In addition to the Winter WonderFest ceremony, events today and Monday include:
“Raise the Curtain on Illinois Bicentennial,” where 100 winners of the commission’s 100 Day Countdown Video Contest will share the stage with the governor and the cast of “Hamilton” following this afternoon’s matinee performance.
The Illinois Bicentennial Exhibit will be previewed today at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Springfield, with music provided by the Illinois Symphony.
A simultaneous Bicentennial flag-raising takes place at municipalities around the state at noon Monday, Dec. 4, to note the beginning of the state’s 200th year. The Illinois Municipal League and United Airlines partnered to provide complimentary flags to counties and municipalities statewide, and the Commission will also host a flag raising ceremony at McCormick Place at noon on Dec. 4.
During his kickoff address, the governor encouraged all citizens to participate in the celebration, to visit illinois200.com and to use the hashtag #IllinoisProud on their social media posts.
Fifth Third Bank hosted today’s festivities at Navy Pier, where the Bicentennial logo is featured on the Navy Pier Centennial Wheel and on signage throughout Winter WonderFest today. Guests can also purchase merchandise commemorating the state’s milestone and have pictures taken with “Big Lincoln,” near the Illinois Bicentennial and Office of Tourism booths.
Also in attendance at today’s press conference were Bicentennial Commission co-chair Randy Dunn, president of Southern Illinois University System; Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole; United Airlines Vice President State and Local Government Affairs Dan Lynch; UPS Delivery Driver Don Bence; Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner; and Fifth Third Bank Executive Leader of Civic Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Francia Harrington.
* Media advisory…
Governor to greet National Guard soldiers returning from Puerto Rico
What: Gov. Bruce Rauner along with Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes and IEMA Acting Director Joe Klinger will greet the Illinois Army National Guard Military Police who are returning from Puerto Rico after assisting with Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
Where: Illinois National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing
2416 S. Falcon Blvd.
Peoria, IL 61607
Date: Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017
Time: 3 p.m.