Nov 7, 2013

World Business Chicago

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Chicago Growing Q3 2013

Companies – both international and domestic – continue to locate and expand in Chicago to take advantage of all the city has to offer, including its tremendous talent pool and access to the world.
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Gogo to Relocate Headquarters and Expand in Chicago 

Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gogo president and CEO Michael Small announced that Gogo, the world leader in in-flight connectivity, will move its corporate headquarters and commercial aviation business to 111 N. Canal St. in Chicago.
Read more…


Why Chicago’s Water Industry Matters

Last month, more than 17,000 water quality professionals from around the world convened in Chicago for the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference at McCormick Place. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had the unique opportunity to address the group and announced $50 million of water infrastructure spending to improve green stormwater management in the city.
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Chicago by the Numbers

World Business Chicago tracks indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s regional economy, including employment in major sectors, residential and office real estate data, price and purchasing indexes, freight demand, and auto and truck sales.
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Chicago Growing Third Quarter 2013

Companies – both international and domestic – continue to locate and expand in Chicago to take advantage of all the city has to offer, including its tremendous talent pool and access to the world. In the third quarter, World Business Chicago has worked with companies from airberlin to Catamaran to help grow their businesses in Chicago. This quarter’s Chicago Growing identifies more than 40 growing companies* and illustrates company locations within the city on this interactive map which includes links to company websites (red map markers indicate a headquarters):


*This list is not exhaustive and comes primarily from local media sources.


Why Chicago’s Water Industry Matters

Last month, more than 17,000 water quality professionals from around the world convened in Chicago for the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) at McCormick Place. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had the unique opportunity to address the group and announced $50 million of water infrastructure spending to improve green stormwater management in the city. The conference also provided a reminder of the enormous economic opportunity that water technology investment and job growth can bring to the region.



The global water industry today is estimated to generate between $360 billion and $600 billion in annual revenues. By 2030, global water requirements will grow from 4,500 billion M3 today to 6,900 billion M3. While advanced nations invest in increasing efficiencies and developing technologies within the water industry, developing countries invest in new ways to increase water-related health standards.

Holding 84% of North America’s fresh water, the Great Lakes play a particularly significant role in the water industry. Chicago’s position as the paramount Great Lakes city places it at the center of traditional water industries, in-demand water management technologies, global goods and services trade relating to water systems, and industries with a strong reliance on water.

World Business Chicago (WBC) has noted a progression of water-related companies relocating to or expanding in the Chicago region. For example, in a recent interview, Grundfos Pumps Corporation explained that it relocated its corporate headquarters to Downers Grove in order to be closer to the Great Lakes and the burgeoning water economy. Another example is Ostara, a Canadian company that announced at WEFTEC that it will launch the world’s largest nutrient recovery facility of its kind in Chicago in 2015.

Chicago is off to a good start: there are least 1,500 unique companies in the Chicago area that provide water-related goods and services. Nalco, for example, is one of the world’s leading providers of for water treatment chemicals, is based in the Chicago area. Private water-related industry employment is approximately 17,000 – a greater employment concentration than in New York, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee.

In addition to specializing in pumping equipment, surface agents, and fluid power valve and hose fitting manufacturing, Chicago currently serves several heavy water-using industries. For example, Chicago is the nation’s top food processing center; Chicago data centers have the lowest total occupancy cost among the top U.S. markets; and Chicago accounts for 17% of pharmaceutical employment in the U.S., with major companies Abbott, Baxter, Takeda, and Astellas all based here. It is also home to leading civil engineering and environmental consulting services companies, including Veolia Water.

The Chicago Customs District handled $1.3 billion in water-related exports in 2012, with 11% average annual growth since 2002 (total customs district exports grew at 7% over the same period).

And, the city is striving to be even better. The University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev recently announced a series of ambitious research collaborations that apply the latest discoveries in nanotechnology to create new materials and processes for making clean, fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by 2020.

The Chicago area’s water sector is an important pillar of the economy and one that must be supported. Chicago has great opportunities: to build on a strong pumps and valves industry (a growing industry nationally); to bolster water-related exports (which have had higher than average growth); to partner with outstanding institutions to make Chicago a major player in water technology; to promote thriving pharmaceuticals industries, data centers, and select chemical industries that utilize water; and to involve Chicago's 28 international sister cities for relationship building and export potential in industries including water.

Chicago has established itself as a leader in water technologies and the city must continue to innovate and build on this by supporting infrastructure, workforce and companies. Lake Michigan not only provides a tremendous tourist attraction, but it also provides an extraordinary foundation for economic growth and development.


Gogo to Relocate Headquarters and Expand in Chicago


Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gogo president and CEO Michael Small announced that Gogo, the world leader in in-flight connectivity, will move its corporate headquarters and commercial aviation business to 111 N. Canal St. in Chicago. The company will move more than 460 employees to 232,000 square feet at the new location, with plans to add more than 50 jobs within the next two years.

”Gogo is an exciting company that is a leader in its space and on the cutting edge of the technology economy,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I welcome the company to Chicago, and I am certain that Gogo will find our workforce, our transportation system, and our business climate to be exactly what the company is looking for as it grows and expands.”

Gogo has been headquartered in Itasca, Illinois since 2007, and its commercial aviation business is located in Itasca as well. Gogo’s business aviation division is based in Broomfield, Colorado and the company considered options in Colorado, but ultimately chose Chicago because of the city’s extensive talent pipeline, its access to domestic and foreign partners, and its thriving technology community.

“This is an incredibly important step for Gogo as we continue to grow and evolve into a global organization,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “As we conducted our search for a new company headquarters, it was clear the state and the city have made considerable efforts to raise Chicago’s profile as a technology hub and our new company headquarters puts us at the epicenter of that activity in a location that’s better suited for the rapid growth we expect at Gogo.”

Gogo provides in-air connectivity to more than 2,000 commercial aircraft and communication services to more than 6,000 business aircraft. The company provides its services by utilizing its own ground-based cellular air to ground network and satellite technology platforms. Gogo’s in-flight connectivity partners include American Airlines, Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Japan Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America. Gogo's in-flight entertainment partners include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Scoot and US Airways. In June 2013 Gogo began trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol GOGO.

“We truly appreciate all of the support that the Village of Itasca gave Gogo over the years as the company developed its commercial aviation business,” added Small, who received the Illinois Technology Association’s 2013 CEO of the Year Award.

In Chicago, Gogo will be joining a flourishing technology community. Gogo will join growing Chicago companies including Braintree and FieldAware which have offices at 111 N. Canal. The city is home to more than 1,500 digital technology companies, employing more than 40,000 people (up 21% in 2013), with a tech startup launched in Chicago every 24 hours, according to Built in Chicago.

Companies such as Gogo are continuously drawn to the city in large part due to its unique talent pool. Public and private post-secondary educational institutions enroll more than 65,000+ in the Chicago Loop alone, and Chicago is home to two of the world’s top business schools. Additionally, the most recent U.S. Census Bureau report showed Chicago residents over 25 with BAs in computers, math, and statistics increased by 20 percent in 2012 (nationally, this figure increased by 4.6 percent).

Fostering innovation and building momentum around the region’s technology industry is a key component of the city’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, called for by Mayor Emanuel and currently being implemented by World Business Chicago (WBC). As a part of the Plan, WBC is working to drive growth and opportunity in businesses related to science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship with its ChicagoNEXT council.

“Gogo is a perfect example of the companies we are looking to attract to Chicago and to support through ChicagoNEXT,” said WBC President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “We welcome Gogo and look forward to working together as we continue to accelerate the growth and expansion of Chicago’s tech sector.”


Chicago by the Numbers

World Business Chicago tracks indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s regional economy, including employment in major sectors, residential and office real estate data, price and purchasing indexes, freight demand, and auto and truck sales. As some data are released with a two-month lag, the points below refer to August 2013 information. Employment data is not adjusted for seasonality.

Key trends evident in this month’s Chicago by the Numbers include:
  • The Chicago area economy has expanded by 53,700 jobs since August 2012, mostly attributed to professional and business services (+28,700), education and health services (+11,600), and financial activities (+5,000) sectors.
  • Midwest housing starts increased by 19,000, a 14.8% increase over August 2012. 
  • The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 81.8, a 20.5 percentage point increase over August 2012.
  • New truck sales climbed to 6.9 million in August 2013, up 10.6% from last year, and the highest volume since 2008.
These and other trends are illustrated in this month's Chicago by the Numbers table (PDF).

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