Cook County and Southland Development Authority Announce Launch of Metals Hub

Erin Matthew

The Metals Hub brings Southland metal manufacturing firms together to diversify and grow their customer base.

COOK COUNTY — (June 17, 2022) Today, Cook County and the Southland Development Authority (SDA) announced the launch of the Metals Hub, an initiative to establish a collaborative network of metals, machinery and equipment (MM&E) manufacturers committed to collectively pursuing new business opportunities. The Metal Hub’s goal is to strengthen and grow the preeminent manufacturing companies located in South Suburban Cook County.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle shared details today about the $925k investment in the Metals Hub, which represents a strategy to foster resiliency within the manufacturing sector. Amid ongoing COVID-19 disruptions, the Metals Hub will advance the Southland’s position as a nexus of manufacturing and a driver of economic growth. Cook County is providing this investment through American Rescue Plan Act funding which will support market research, identification of new business leads, and management to establish the organizational framework to operationalize the Metals Hub.

“I’m excited to see this concept, a direct outgrowth of Cook County’s 2017 South Suburban Economic Growth Initiative, come to fruition as a result of the Southland Development Authority’s leadership and commitment to helping local firms access new markets and customers,” said President Preckwinkle. “We know that COVID majorly disrupted the manufacturing industry, and the Metals Hub will help firms identify new suppliers and build a more resilient supply chain to build back better.”

President Preckwinkle, Crestwood Mayor Kenneth Klein, the Southland Development Authority, and founding members of the Metals Hub gathered today for a celebratory breakfast and meeting of Metals Hub Founders at Machine Systems Corporation in Crestwood, IL.

“The Southland has incredible strengths in metals, machinery and equipment – and the Metals Hub has already identified several solid opportunities with Original Equipment Manufacturers, and members have already begun to see returns from the network,” said Bo Kemp, CEO of the Southland Development Authority. “We are thrilled to launch the Metals Hub and know it will have a transformative impact on the Southland’s economy.”

“The Metals Hub is incredibly timely as we witness monumental shifts in global supply chains,” said Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC)President David Boulay. “The Hub will serve as a vital connector for a coordinated and comprehensive local response. The result will be manufacturers gaining new business opportunities and creating high-skill jobs.”

“The Hub, in under four months, has produced more new business than the networking in my trade association, for which I pay annually to be a member,” said Henry Peterson, Sales/Engineer, Machining Systems Corporation, located in Crestwood Illinois, a Metals Hub founder and host of today’s event. 

Cook County is home to 80% of the total manufacturing output in the state of Illinois and the sector employs over 192,000 people in Cook County alone. Small-sized firms, like current and future members of the Metals Hub, constitute 70% of manufacturers both nationally and in Cook County. These firms are typically family-owned and closely integrated into the local economy.

The Metal Hub’s services are available for free to any manufacturer seeking new supply relationships. For more information, visit

South Suburban Economic Growth Initiative (SSEGI) is a 2017 report commissioned by Cook County and the Civic Consulting Alliance, with support from the Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and  the MacArthur Foundation with design, management and research directed by RW Ventures.


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