DIXON, Illinois - A longtime Dixon, Illinois, company is calling for reforms to make Illinois more business-friendly and preserve manufacturing jobs.
Raynor Garage Doors has battled back from the 2008 recession and unveiled a $1-million plant upgrade on Monday, but its chairman says Illinois can still do much more to help businesses like Raynor thrive.
The downturn sliced roughly a third of the workforce from this third generation, family-owned business, said Ray Neisewander III, the company's chairman and CEO.
"Illinois doesn't make it easy," he said. "It's a very difficult state to do business in."
Raynor, which makes garage doors for homes and businesses, has been a fixture in Dixon since 1945.
While it still employs some 500 employees in a union shop, automation is prompting the need for more highly skilled workers.
"We've got to start focusing on the schools getting skilled trades, all that technology back into the school system," said Mike Dean, Raynor's operations manager. "That's so they get awareness of what's needed in this sector of Illinois."
With October being Manufacturing Month in Illinois, it comes with some troubling facts.
Illinois has lost more than 304,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. That's prompting a call for change.
While Raynor competes globally, it also needs Illinois to be more business-friendly.
Company leaders support Gov. Bruce Rauner's Turnaround Agenda of political and economic reforms.
Reforms involving taxes and workers comp could help Raynor in its home state.
"These are real issues," said Senior Vice President Rick Considine. "Despite that, we've been able to move on and grow the business."
By investing in its future, Raynor is also supporting Illinois.
The company is counting on its new Aspen line, which retails from $800-2,000, to eventually boost its workforce.
"It's just incredibly important for private companies, family-owned businesses to be able to compete effectively," Neisewander concluded.
At Raynor, keeping the door open for future growth in Dixon, Illinois.