DuPage County officials tour Rev3 tech and manufacturing hub

NAPERVILLE – Several DuPage County officials got a first glimpse of what many hope to be the future of the county’s economy during a visit to the Rev3 economic hub.

The organization, which offers a Silicon Valley-style space for technology and manufacturing startups, held a tour and presentation for board members of its partner group, Choose DuPage, and a number of elected officials Sept. 24.

“The next salt shaker, the next clicker that revolutionizes the salt shaker or clicker – those are going to be designed on the computer and prototyped on a 3-D printer,” said Choose DuPage President and CEO Greg Bedalov. “That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

The space, located on Northern Illinois University's Naperville campus, features a number of offices, coworking areas and other resources to help foster business. Thanks to a partnership with Comcast, it will also offer what Comcast Officer of Government Affairs Tony Signorella called “the fastest [internet] in the state” and a variety of data services.

There are already 15 businesses signed up to use the facility, said Rev3 Lead and Choose DuPage Business Services Director Nick Zito – bringing the group halfway to its goal of 30 by the end of the year. The incoming businesses include social media groups, a manufacturer, a sales professional, a web developer and others.

The development was “long overdue,” Zito said. There are 65 such hubs in the city of Chicago, he said, and before Rev3, the next closest one in the suburbs was in Rockford.

Mike Hale, one of the first people to sign up for the new space, said Rev3 offered convenience and opportunity for his app development side projects.

“There are so many – and so many underserved – technology professionals here,” he said. “The physical space I don’t need, I have a home office … but being around people to bounce ideas off of others and learn from others' experience, the community side of it is great.”

Hale said that for years, he commuted from his home in Warrenville to one of the many hubs in Chicago to work with and meet other tech-minded professionals. With its location in the suburbs, area entrepreneurs will flock to Rev3, he said.

Getting and keeping those suburban businesses is at the center of the initiative, said DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin.

He said the county had the infrastructure, entertainment and other "raw materials" to build a strong foundation for future growth.

“It's about helping to develop regional, national, and international relationships," said Cronin "This is about ultimately harnessing the creativity of talented people and figuring out how it will make us more productive. It's really exciting, it's a lot of fun."

Other elected officials said they were impressed and ready to see the future of the initiative.

"Where opportunity comes and where buoyancy comes and where prosperity comes is where risk and reward are related," said U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R - District 6. "And there is so much potential here in this room – some people are going to be wildly successful, some people aren't, and you know what? That's economic Darwinism, and that's the way it works. And so out of this comes real opportunity."

State Sen. Michael Connelly, R - Wheaton, said it was the next step in the development of the area's Interstate 88 corridor.

"It will be fascinating to see what products and companies emerge from here, and many of them will," he said. "It's even more fascinating to look at the space, see the white boards, think about the brainpower, ingenuity and innovation that will be here in DuPage County for the foreseeable future. It's great for DuPage, it's great for Illinois."

Originally posted on www.mysuburbanlife.com

NewsMonica Kucera