Established in 1902, the organization we know today as the Valley Industrial Association was founded to give area manufacturers and the businesses that serve them a place to connect for professional growth, shared information and common resources that can help operations, and to support causes important to industry. Originally founded by 16 member companies, three of which remain members today (Richards Wilcox, Aurora Metals, and Aurora Textiles), the VIA currently serves more than 200 members, including manufacturers and businesses that serve them, area educational institutions and municipalities. The VIA’s service area includes Kane, Kendall, DeKalb and western DuPage Counties.
The Valley Industrial Association will be recognized by our manufacturing members as an integral resource contributing to their ongoing success.
The VIA will add value to its member companies by providing strategic resources and educational and networking opportunities that help our members meet or exceed their business objectives.
Current Structure and Initiatives
Today’s VIA is served by four staff members; the president, office manager, program manager and marketing and membership associate. The board of directors has 20 members, who represent the composition of the VIA membership, including small, medium and large manufacturers.
Key service offerings include:
- Education and training organized by job function.
- Annual salary survey focused solely on the Fox Valley
- Biennial employee practices and benefits survey, also focused solely on the Fox Valley
- Grant opportunities when available
- Representation on many committees and consortiums attempting to address the skilled labor shortage manufacturers face at local, state and national levels
- Introducing high school students to careers in manufacturing by conducting Career Awareness Day, a partnership between the VIA, Valees, the River Valley Workforce Investment Board, and Waubonsee Community College and numerous other vocational groups.
VIA Historic Milestones and Initiatives
- Established on Nov. 4, 1902, as the Fox River Valley Manufacturers’ Association, with 16 founding companies (three, Richards Wilcox, Aurora Metals, and Aurora Textiles remain members today).
- Appointed the association’s first executive in 1920 (there have been only ten CEO/presidents throughout the life of the association)
- In 1964, started the process to bring a community college to the area. Waubonsee Community College held its first class in 1967.
- Took its current name, the Valley Industrial Association, in 1965
- In 1966, began the process to have Fermilab located in the area.
- Moved to Plum Street, Aurora location in 1971
- In 1985, successfully lobbied the Illinois General Assembly for creation of the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA)
- Selected the organization’s first woman president in 1988.
- In 2008, elected the first female board chairman.
- In 2015, moved from Aurora IL location to 2000 S. Batavia Avenue, Suite 110, Geneva IL 60134
- In 2017, selected the organization's 10th president.