The Fabricators & Manufactures Association (FMA), currently based in Rockford, announced in December that they’re packing up and moving to Elgin. But their president says the idea isn’t to abandon Rockford, but to go where the industry takes them.
“We fish where the fish are, essentially. In that, when we look at our analysis and our constituency, there’s a large percent are in the Chicagoland area,” says FMA President, Ed Youdell.
Elgin is a city that’s very heavy in the metal fabrication field, the company’s specialty, and also very close to I-90.
FMA recently donated half a million dollars to Harper college in Palatine to fund their metal lab. With this move, they’ll be able to promote the new technology they’ll have in that facility, and also bring in local workers. “Our hopes [are to] take in the students who come through that program, and then being able to place them in jobs in our industry,” says Youdell.
FMA specializes in helping factory managers run their business effectively, but also to provide helpful education to the professionals in their industry.
Right now, 65 employees are from the Forest City. Despite the move, Rockford is a place they still plan on having ties to, like the Chamber of Commerce and local fundraisers.
”We’re not going to stop doing that. That’s really important to our staff. They live here. They’re from here. They want to see those organizations continue to thrive,” says Youdell.
With the transition comes a lot of driving. Right now Youdell is working on a plan to reimburse the drivers with mileage and tolls, and to also assist with their work load. “We can create some flexibility for people to work from home a certain amount of time. So, they’re not making the commute everyday,” says Youdell.