Inaugural Chicago Manufacturing Awards Honor Local Businesses

October 27, 2023

Department of Planning and Development    312.744.9267

Seven local businesses were honored today for exemplary and innovative work in their field at the inaugural Chicago Manufacturing Awards. 

Presented by the City of Chicago and World Business Chicago for Illinois Manufacturing Month, the awards ceremony recognized the importance of manufacturing businesses and advocates within the local and regional economy. 

"The manufacturing sector is a critical source of opportunity for Chicagoans with more than 400,000 jobs across the city and surrounding area," Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “Today’s manufacturing awards honor the most exemplary of these businesses while also emphasizing the sector’s vital role in our city."

Award categories and recipients include: 

CHICAGO LEGACY INDUSTRIAL BUSINESS: Awarded to businesses that are multigenerational, family-owned, locally operated, and that hire from the neighborhood.  

Recipient: Horween Leather Co., 2015 N. Elston Ave.  
Horween is a Lincoln Park leather producer founded in 1905 that utilizes old-world craftsmanship with modern updates to produce leather products for some of the world’s leading consumer and sporting goods manufacturers. 

COLLABORATION AND BUILDING A MANUFACTURING ECOSYSTEM: Awarded to businesses that proactively engage and collaborate with workforce development agencies that connect Chicago residents to manufacturing jobs. 

Recipient: The Will Group, 4647 W. Polk St. 
The Will Group is a North Lawndale manufacturer of electrical equipment for utility companies, municipalities and private clients. 

CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY: Awarded to businesses that are committed to the socioeconomic interest of the neighborhood through events, activities and programs that aim to build social community cohesion. 

Recipient: Begyle Brewing, 1800 W. Cuyler Ave.  
A premier craft manufacturer in North Center’s “malt row,” Begyle brews a variety of ales, lagers and ciders, which are available at their taproom, community events, retailers, and through its monthly subscription service. 

Recipient: Brown Sugar Bakery, 7637 S. Western Ave. 
Brown Sugar is a southern-style baked goods producer that recently expanded into an Ashburn factory to support its nationwide distribution.  

EMERGING LEADER IN MANUFACTURING: Awarded to business leaders who display a track record of advocating for Chicago’s manufacturing sector.   

Recipient: Unah Choi of Choi Brands, Inc., 3401 W. Division St. 
In addition to manufacturing martial arts supplies and uniforms in Humboldt Park, Unah Choi advocates for the advancement of manufacturing as the president of the Industrial Council of Northwest Chicago board of directors. 

INNOVATION IN MANUFACTURING: Awarded to businesses investing in innovation and process improvements with results such as business modernization, reshoring production, reduced energy consumption and local expansion. 

Recipient: PVS Chemicals, 12260 S. Carondolet Ave.  
Located in South Deering, PVS provides sustainable solutions to the chemical needs of diverse industries that include electronics, steel, agricultural, metal finishing, water treatment, and food processing. 

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTIVITY: Awarded to businesses with a track record in implementing training programs to prepare their workforce for jobs of the future, closing the skills gap and empowering their employees for promotions. 

Recipient: S&C Electric Co., 6601 N. Ridge Ave. 
Specializing in the manufacture of high-voltage power interrupter switches, fuses and control devices, S&C employs more than 1,700 people at its 51-acre Rogers Park campus. 

The event was held at the headquarters of the mHub product innovation center and micro-factory at 240 N. Ashland Ave. on the Near West Side. 

More information on the awards and videos highlighting each honoree are available at