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Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Hosts Virtual 2020 Annual Luncheon

December 4, 2020

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Hosts 2020 Virtual Annual Luncheon

Biopharmaceutical company AbbVie of North Chicago honored as Manufacturer of the Year

CHICAGO – The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) will bring together business leaders from across the state during its 2020 Annual Luncheon on Friday, a virtual celebration honoring the important work of manufacturers, who have played a critical role in responding to the coronavirus pandemic and will be vital to our nation’s long-term recovery.

Receiving special honor this year is North Chicago-based biopharmaceutical company AbbVie, which will be presented with the 2020 Barry L. MacLean Manufacturer of the Year award. Founded in 2013, AbbVie is focused on developing new ways to address today’s toughest health challenges, from life-threatening illness to chronic conditions. The company’s 47,000 employees worldwide include scientists, researchers, manufacturing specialists and regulatory experts who are dedicated to delivering transformational solutions that go beyond treating the illness to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

During the pandemic, AbbVie has worked to ensure employees remain safe and its patients receive their medicines. The company is also actively collaborating with health authorities and institutions around the world to identify potential treatments, including supporting clinical studies and basic research of its medicines. AbbVie directly supported the state’s response to the virus, converting lab space to testing facilities and manufacturing viral transport media for the Illinois Department of Public Health for use in testing, among other efforts.

“AbbVie represents the best of Illinois manufacturing, using research and technology to take on our toughest health care challenges and make a remarkable impact on people’s lives. I’m so proud to recognize AbbVie as the 2020 Barry L. MacLean Manufacturer of the Year,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “During the pandemic, AbbVie’s amazing team stepped up to answer our state’s call by producing critical products needed for testing while adhering to the highest standards in quality. AbbVie’s innovation, integrity and investment in our communities is making the world a better place every single day.”

The annual award is given to a company for their leadership in six core areas: Manufacturing advocacy, operational excellence, innovation and technology, workforce development and diversity, community engagement, and sustainability.

“This award means a great deal to us, as does our partnership with the IMA to advocate, promote and strengthen the manufacturing sector across Illinois,” said Russ Garich, Vice President, Operations, AbbVie. “We believe this achievement is not only an acknowledgement of our local contributions and COVID-19 response, but also an acknowledgement of the incredible work our people have done throughout the crisis, allowing us  to deliver an uninterrupted supply of medicine to the patients we serve in Illinois and around the world.”

The IMA virtual luncheon will also feature keynote remarks delivered by Michael Vale, Executive Vice President of 3M’s Safety & Industrial Business Group. Vale led the 3M team’s effort to produce and distribute personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, including N95 masks. Previous pandemics including H1N1 and Ebola led 3M to develop a “surge capacity” to meet rapid increases in demand which includes the production of 1 billion masks by the end of the year.

Longtime IMA members will be honored throughout the program with Legacy Awards, and participants had access to breakout panels heading into the luncheon on topics including a market outlook and industry trends, diversity and inclusion, and cybersecurity.

The manufacturing industry in Illinois generates $304.8 billion in output each year – the single largest contribution by any industry. Statewide, manufacturers directly employ 592,200 women and men. These are good paying, middle-class jobs with an average salary of $88,691, providing a total of $52 billion in wages and benefits across Illinois.

“As we continue to grapple with the coronavirus, Illinois manufacturers remain committed to leading the way forward. Manufacturers are not only developing life-saving vaccines and treatments, but also producing needed personal protective equipment, keeping store shelves stocked with important goods and nutritious foods, and powering our homes and businesses,” said Denzler. “Manufacturers will play an important role in our recovery from this public health crisis as they seek to hire more workers and pour billions of dollars into our economy.”

About the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA)

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities. For more information, please visit

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