Learn more about this dynamic program and our loyal annual event sponsors.

Meet our Annual Event Sponsors-



Bayer is a global company, active in the fields of health and nutrition. We operate worldwide and see ourselves as an active member of society in all communities in which we are present. With this presence comes responsibility, which we live up to by pursuing clearly defined principles expressing our basic ethical philosophy. These principles govern how we measure ourselves as well as how we want to be measured.

Mission Statement:

Advancing life – that’s what we at Bayer are all about. We put ourselves to the test day in, day out. All together. All over the world. With enthusiasm for new ideas.

The steadily growing and aging global population presents fundamental challenges in health care and nutrition. How will we feed up to ten billion people by 2050 while contending with the impact of climate change? How will we ensure the quality of life for an ever-increasing number of elderly people? To learn more about Bayer, please click here






City of DeKalb

Mission Statement

Deliver high-quality municipal services
to those who live, work, learn in
or visit our community

Core Values 

Core values are beliefs or convictions that guide and direct behavior and support purpose and vision. The City of DeKalb will utilize the following core values to guide its actions, shape the culture of the city government, and form the basis of its standards-based performance review process.

• Integrity: The state of being honest, fair, and ethical in every situation, even if it’s unpopular.
• Professionalism: Serving with the highest level of respect, skill, and judgment in each situation.
• Excellence: The expectation of engaging in outstanding levels of performance.
• Service: Providing City services at the highest level for the advancement of the community.
• Collaboration: Working together to benefit from the resources, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of others.
• Accountability: Taking responsibility for our decisions and actions while doing everything possible to achieve the desired results.

Vision Statements 

Vision statements complement the mission by describing the future state of the community if the mission were fully realized. DeKalb’s vision statements, which are complemented in the plan with detailed goals, strategies, and actions, are as follows:

Vision of a Sense of Place
DeKalb is proudly known as a welcoming, safe, and vibrant
city offering economic, educational, social, cultural, and
recreational opportunities for everyone.
Vision of Community Vitality and a Vibrant Downtown 
DeKalb’s neighborhoods, the downtown, and NIU’s campus are
interconnected in a dynamic interplay of energy and creativity
that retains and attracts businesses with living-wage jobs.
Vision of Inclusiveness
Diversity is valued and celebrated, with
all people treated with dignity, equity
and respect.
Vision of Accessibility
DeKalb’s diverse and integrated transportation network provides
a wide variety of local and regional transportation options in an
efficient and user-friendly manner.
Vision of Efficient, Quality, Responsive Services
Through sound fiscal stewardship and collaboration with
community stakeholders, City government identifies and

coordinates the resources needed to sustain a vibrant DeKalb.

To learn about the goals, strategies, and actions associated with each vision statement, see the full plan.




ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC). Exelon is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 4 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.

ComEd’s service territory borders Iroquois County to the south (roughly Interstate 80), the Wisconsin border to the north, the Iowa border to the west, and the Indiana border to the east.

ComEd Economic Development Factsheet – May 2020

DeKalb County Sustainable Energy Success-2020

Mission Statement:

We are dedicated to safety.
We actively pursue excellence.
We innovate to better serve our customers.
We act with integrity and are accountable to our communities and the environment.
We succeed as an inclusive and diverse team. Please click here to learn more about ComEd


First Midwest Bank


At First Midwest Bank, we provide more than just solutions. We provide momentum. For your business. Your finances. Your life.

We are proud to have the reputation as the “Friendly bank”, with the bank with deep financial resources. We combine size and stability with a quick response. A large array of products with close personal service. And a global perspective with strong local knowledge.

Whether you’re looking for commercial expertise, agricultural banking, wealth management, or just a family bank, consider the bank with energy, ideas, and resources.

Team up with First Midwest Bank. A partnership with momentum.

Mission Statement: 

We are in the business of helping clients achieve financial success throughout their economic life.  We do so by focusing on the broad range of their financial needs and delivering quality services that truly fulfill those needs.

We believe that only if each of us, those dealing directly with clients as well as those who support clients contact people, assume personal responsibility for the financial success of every client we come in contact with, will their success be assured.

We further believe that in fulfilling clients’ financial needs we are creating significant value for them while at the same time creating value for ourselves and the company.

The financial success of our clients, thus, will define our success as well as the company. Learn more by clicking here


First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO)

At FNBO, we like to think of ourselves as a “great big, small bank,” large enough to provide the expertise and resources necessary to handle any financial need, yet small enough to know you personally. We are a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, with nearly 5,000 employees and $23 billion in assets.  With nearly 100 retail banking locations in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas, we help our customers and communities to succeed by focusing on building relationships at a local level.

We have a history of doing what’s right for our customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities in which we serve. Our Operating Philosophy and independent ownership have guided our long-term investments in facilities, processing technologies, and infrastructure, rather than managing from quarter to quarter to satisfy Wall Street. We’ve been independent and family-owned since 1857, which has been our recipe for success for six generations.

We strive to empower and foster strong and supportive communities in all the places we call home.  Since, 2016, we have invested more than $747,000 with community organizations in the DeKalb area so they can improve the availability of affordable housing and the vitality of the disinvested business, help entrepreneurs build businesses, and create jobs, and create pathways to financial well-being for individuals.

FNBO has been recognized at the highest levels.  We are currently ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the Midwest” by J.D. Power; named a MONEY “Best Bank in the Midwest;” and ranked one of Forbes “Best Banks in America.”

Visit the First National Bank of Omaha Home Page


FNBO Slide Show



Have you ever wondered about pet health insurance and all of the various costs associated with owning a cute little fur baby? What about a “magic formula” for handling a financial emergency, or how credit scores work and what you can do to improve yours? If so, we have answers!

Based on FNBO’s popular Cashology® program, we have launched “Cashology®” the podcast – hosted by our very own Juli Wians. Like the program, this podcast aims to help people develop successful financial habits by way of tips and practical advice for controlling their finances.

Our first three episodes of “Cashology®” – dealing with those topics mentioned above – are now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.

We hope you can tune in and give “Cashology®” a listen. We promise to provide all sorts of interesting information – like explaining the “Four Cs” of determining a personal credit score: Character, Collateral, Capacity, and Capital.


And while you are at it make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, join our Facebook group, and follow our blog for the chance to check out our very own Dollar Belles series – three financially-focused ladies that spill the tea on all things cash-related in your life, from checking to savings to credit and all things money that may be on your mind.



Heartland Bank & Trust Company

We’re a community bank whose roots are right here in the heartland with the Drake family. The Drakes, who came to Central Illinois in 1852, has been in banking for nearly 100 years. With the third generation of the family taking an active role in the banking business, we continue this tradition.

Fast, efficient service is important. For example, when you need a personal or business loan, you’ll avoid going through several layers of management. Management decisions are made locally every day at Heartland Bank, not by some out-of-state corporation. We set banking policies and philosophies to suit the needs of the communities we serve.

Banking is personal. We build strong customer relationships by getting to know our customers and understanding their needs. The phrase “small enough to know you, big enough to serve you” is what Heartland Bank is all about.

At Heartland Bank, we’re proud of the strength of our bank, the capabilities we have, the services we offer, and the people who offer those services to you. When you compare banks in terms of their strength, Heartland Bank stands tall. Get to know us and you’ll understand why.

Click here to be directed to our homepage




Our name comes from our founding principle. When J. Walter Becker started this company in 1916, he based it on an unshakable belief in ideal relationships, with his employees, his community, and of course his customers. These are relationships built on fairness, transparency, trust, and fellowship.

People are the foundation of IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. We strive to ensure that every member of the IDEAL INDUSTRIES family is valued as an individual and treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. We expect the very highest levels of performance and integrity of our employees, but we also strive to create opportunities for those employees to develop and reach the heights of their own potential. Learn more by clicking here

IDEAL’S New Chairman of the Board

Meghan Juday, a fourth-generation family executive, became the Chairman of the 103-year old family business upon Jim James’ retirement. This long-planned succession was effective February 1, 2020.  From the day Jim James accepted the role as Chairman of the Board, he began working with Meghan to help prepare her to lead the Board of Directors. Meghan has served as the Board’s Vice Chair since 2018 and has been on the IDEAL Board as a Director since 2008.

As the Chairman of the Board, Meghan stressed that IDEAL INDUSTRIES will remain family owned. “We’re built for long-term success. We see things in generations not just quarters.” She explained the company will continue to invest in training and development, innovation and in acquiring companies that “complement our core businesses and provide us significant positions in growing global markets.”


Steve Henn was selected as IDEAL’s new CEO on September 23, 2019.  Steve worked side by side with Jim James to become familiar with IDEAL’s diverse businesses and rich culture.  Steve joined IDEAL INDUSTRIES from Illinois Tool Works where he was Group President, Industrial Equipment & Plastics, the largest Platform within the $2.0B Specialty Products Segment.  The Platform comprised 6 Divisions with more than 3,000 employees operating more than 30 facilities serving multiple markets in 15 countries.

Steve has produced sustained revenue and EBITDA growth in dynamic, challenging and changing markets. His experience running a diversified global business serving a multitude of industries has prepared him to lead a company like IDEAL.  Steve’s leadership in rapidly changing markets has helped IDEAL INDUSTRIES thrive during COVID-19 pandemic.  He believes that change is inevitable and states, “If we embrace and actively participate in it, we can help shape our own future.”




Larson & Darby Group


Larson & Darby Group is an award-winning architecture, engineering, interiors, and technology design firm of experts whose holistic approach delivers thoughtful building design solutions to a diverse client base.

As a full-service architectural, engineering, interiors and technology design firm, we are able to bring a broad, interdisciplinary perspective to the design process. Mix in a passion for great design and service that has fueled us for more than 50 years and you have a firm that’s uniquely suited to solve your design challenges.

Mission Statement: 

Our expert’s design thoughtful building solutions with a holistic, team-based approach.

We believe the design process is a collaborative one that begins with an honest dialogue about your unique goals and objectives. From the earliest stages of your project, we will listen intently and we will continue to encourage an open dialogue to ensure an effective partnership, ultimately resulting in your ideal design solution. To learn more click here

Nicor Gas


For six decades, Nicor Gas has been serving Illinois customers with clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas. As the state’s largest natural gas distributor, and owner and operator of one of the largest natural gas aquifer storage systems in North America, we deliver the comfort and convenience of natural gas to 2.2 million residential, public sector and business customers in more than 650 communities throughout Northern Illinois.

With 2,000 employees constructing, operating, maintaining and inspecting our nearly 34,000 – mile distribution center, the safety of our employees, the public and our pipelines is our highest priority. This commitment is demonstrated in our rigorous operating standards, safety training and monitoring, and our effort to continuously meet and exceed all state and federal regulations.

As an important contributor to the Illinois economy, we are dedicated to investing in programs and initiatives that enrich the community, enhance diversity, invigorate the economy, promote education and support environmental stewardship. We leverage our assets and resources to improve the quality of life for the communities where we live, work and serve. To learn more, please click here


Northern Illinois University

Mission Statement: The mission of the University is to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service.

NIU celebrates diversity in all its forms including gender, race, ethnicity, ability, spirituality, sexuality, age and all individual identities. We believe that engaging across differences enriches our students’ learning at personal growth while at NIU. If you want to learn more about NIU, please click here

Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine is an integrated healthcare system that brings together physicians and researchers from award-winning facilities in the Chicago area. Each of the Northwestern Medicine hospitals has a unique story, but the system shares the same vision. Northwestern Medicine is committed to superior quality, academic excellence, scientific discovery and patient safety. Learn more about the hospital systems that make up Northwestern Medicine

Mission Statement: We are committed to improving the health of the communities we serve by delivering a broad range of programs and services, together with community partners.

NMHC is a growing, nationally recognized health system that provides access to world-class care at more than 100 locations, including its seven hospitals throughout Chicago, its North and West suburbs and Northern Illinois one patient at a time. The communities served by NMHC hospitals are complex and diverse, encompassing rural, suburban and urban areas, with a range of socio-economic statuses and the social determinants of health that correspond to these demographics. NMHC is committed to providing culturally competent care that is responsive to the needs of all our patients. NMHC works closely with community partners, including community health centers, to identify priority health concerns and jointly develop community-based health initiatives designed to address healthcare disparities. Click here to learn more.

Superior Diesel Inc.


Superior Diesel has 35 years’ experience in the truck repair industry. Superior Diesel is located in the far west suburbs of Chicago, serving from two locations, Waterman and DeKalb. We specialize in truck repair, trailer repair, and engine repair. We have experience working on school buses, city buses, snowplows, fire trucks, ambulances, refuse trucks and semi-trucks. We also have a huge inventory of truck and trailer parts for all of your service repair needs. Our qualified service technicians are happy to answer any of your questions and ensure your repair is done correctly and promptly.  We have spotter trucks available for rent or lease, short-term or long-term. Call us for rates and availability.

Mobile Service: 

Superior Diesel, Inc., Mobile Service is recognized throughout the Midwest and beyond for providing exceptional quality work at reasonable prices.  Our fully stocked Mobile Service Trucks are “rolling garages” that can be quickly deployed to meet your needs.  Whether for emergency breakdowns, roadside repair, preventive maintenance inspections or DOT inspections and scheduled onsite repairs.  Our highly skilled technicians and Mobile Service Trucks are ready and at your service!

Superior Diesel, Inc., Mobile Service includes but is not limited to the following services:  fuel issues, jump-starts, air problems, brakes, drive train, emission issues, electronic diagnostics, cold weather starting issues, and cooling system-related matters.  We are committed to providing efficient and reliable service. Click here to learn more.


Tate & Lyle


Tate & Lyle is a global provider of ingredients and solutions to the food, beverage, and other industries, with operations in over 30 locations worldwide.

Tate & Lyle operates through two global divisions, Specialty Food Ingredients, and Bulk Ingredients, supported by our Innovation and Commercial Development and Global Operations groups. The Group’s strategy is to become a leading global provider of Specialty Food Ingredients through a disciplined focus on growth, and by driving Bulk Ingredients for sustained cash generation to fuel this growth.

Specialty Food Ingredients consists of three platforms: Textural, which includes specialty starches and stabilizers; Sweeteners, which comprises nutritive sweeteners and our range of no-calorie sweeteners; and our Health and Wellness portfolio which includes specialty fibers and our salt-reduction offering. Additionally, our Food Systems business provides a wide variety of blended ingredient solutions.

Tate & Lyle Bulk Ingredients include bulk sweeteners, industrial starches and fermentation products (primarily acidulous). Corn co-products from both divisions are primarily sold as animal feed.

Tate & Lyle is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol TATE.L. American Depositary Receipts trade under TATYY. In the year to 31 March 2017, Tate & Lyle sales totaled £2.8 billion. For more information, please visit here

Mission Statement: 

We make food extraordinary. For over 150 years, we’ve been driven by our passion to create food people love. Because we’re food people. It’s not just what we do. It’s what we love. Our deep technical expertise and passion drive the innovation and creativity that thrive within our business.

Venture One Real Estate

Overview and Mission Statement:

Venture One Real Estate is a real estate private equity fund manager, developer and operating company specializing in the industrial property sector. Headquartered in Chicago, we manage a series of discretionary value-add investment funds that target opportunities in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. We own and manage over 7 million square feet and control over 1,100 acres of land in corporate business parks in the greater Chicago land area. Principals of Venture One have over $6 billion of industrial investment and development experience.

Our fully integrated platform includes a best-in-class team of investment and development professionals, as well as in-house construction, property and asset management.

Our decades of successful investment experience and long-standing relationships within the industry allow us to see and create opportunities where others do not. Click here to learn more