Second Silicon City: Chicago Selected for Digital Manufacturing Institute


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As anyone who lives here (or, has visited here) can tell you: Chicago rocks!

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Second Silicon City: Chicago Selected for Digital Manufacturing Institute

  1. 1. Second Silicon City: Chicago Selected for Digital Manufacturing Institute March 10, 2014 -Kate Kotler, Writer
  2. 2. Mobile Marketing Agency As anyone who lives here (or, has visited here) can tell you: Chicago rocks! We have the tallest building in the US (sorry New York, an antenna does not a building make and we refuse to give up our #1 ranking), Portillo’s and the Chicago Hot Dog and the Italian Beef; Chicago Deep Dish Pizza; the Mag Mile; The Chicago Cubs; the mighty Chicago Bears;  The Blackhawks;  the best inland beaches in the country;  we’re the home of improv and sketch comedy;  we have more than 50 institutions of higher learning; are home to  a pretty rad Top Chef winner and MasterChef judge; the best St. Patricks Day Parade and green river; our city boasts a pretty impressive list of Nobel Laureates and – oh yeah – the friggin’ President of the United States of America is from Chicago… Despite all this overwhelming evidence of true excellence, we gracefully accept that the rest of the country believes us to be the “second city” (though in the hearts and minds of all true Chicagoans we will always be #1.) Thusly, it came as ZERO surprise to us when last Tuesday, the aforementioned President Obama announced that Chicago will be the site of a new digital manufacturing institute backed by $50 million in federal money and $250 million in private money/other governmental resources.
  3. 3. Mobile Marketing Agency In its earlier days, Chicago was known for its’ manufacturing – primarily being home to the meat processing industry and steel works through the the early 20th century. The city also led the country in printing/publishing and commodity trading, though most recently it has been known for its’ convention business and as the home base for 29+ Fortune 500 companies that include Walgreens, Boeing, McDonalds, Motorola and others. In the past five years Chicago has also seen a rise in the number of tech startups making their home in the Loop and Near North commerce areas – observations that have given rise to the proclamation that Chicago is the “next tech city” – being the local of choice for companies who cannot afford the sky high prices of the Valley or Bay Area. The Chicago Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute - to be housed on Goose Island and run by UI Labs – gives this claim a particular amount of gravitas. It also will return manufacturing for a major industry sector to the city and create thousands of new jobs (hopefully, impacting Chicago’s drastic 8.3% unemployment rate in a positive way.) Says Michael Sacks (Mayor Emanuel’s lead advisor on the project), “This is not a think tank. This is an industry-led partnership between business and academia, which will solve real manufacturing problems and deliver goods to loading docks across America faster and cheaper.” And, indeed 41 companies, 23 universities and labs and other tech-related organizations were involved in securing the placement of this facility in the Windy City.
  4. 4. Mobile Marketing Agency “This is clearly, without a doubt, one of the most significant things to secure Chicago’s long-term economic future,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel told The Chicago Tribune last Saturday. “It is the best insurance policy you can buy, which is major research capacity.” It will be exciting to see what comes out of this institute and how it impacts the influx of tech related companies and services into our fair city. ! ~Kate Kotler, Writer