Illinois SaMM Caucus exchanges ideas to encourage small and midsize manufacturers

SCHAUMBURG –  Illinois is home to a surprising number of businesses that employ less than 500, considered “small and midsized.”

Illinois’ small businesses employed 2.5 million workers as recently as 2019, accounting for 44.7 percent of the state’s total employment.

And though home to big corporations such as Boeing, Caterpillar and John Deere, the Prairie State’s small and midsized manufacturers account for nearly 40 percent of the industry’s workforce.

Those manufacturers with less than 500 employees are the focus of the 98-year-old Technology & Manufacturing Association based in Schaumburg, Illinois. TMA heard from their nearly 800 members how state laws directly affect their businesses and determined to develop an active advocacy program in the State Capitol.

“Small and midsized manufacturers have unique needs and demands,” Dennis LaComb, TMA Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, said. “While there are other groups that focus on representing the larger, global corporations in Illinois, TMA is asking state lawmakers to work together to consider the needs of the small and midsize manufacturers, as well.”

Illinois Lawmakers from both parties join effort

TMA has found an exceptional willingness among state lawmakers to participate in the newly launched, bipartisan “SaMM Caucus,” (Small and Mid-sized Manufacturers’ Caucus). As a result, TMA hopes the effort will encourage the Illinois General Assembly to address their members’ perspectives.

“The vast majority of Illinois state lawmakers have small and midsized manufacturers in their districts. They have family members and neighbors that work for SaMMs. We are encouraged that over 54 members of the General Assembly have accepted our invitation to become involved. We are thrilled,” said David Curtin, TMA lobbyist and SaMM Caucus facilitator.

In addition, small and midsized manufacturers need to have a seat at the table when measures are being introduced and discussed that affect their families and their businesses, Curtin said.

“Forty percent of Illinois’ manufacturing businesses have a huge stake in what goes on in the State Capitol,” EVP LaComb said. “A vast majority of those small and midsized businesses are entrepreneurial and innovative in nature, or are third and fourth generation, family-owned enterprises. Their voices are crucial to the industry’s future.”

Lawmakers discuss proposals for upcoming legislative session

The SaMM Caucus’ Senate and House members met virtually last week to discuss ideas for the upcoming legislative session beginning in January 2024.

“We appreciate the thought and consideration SaMM Caucus members are putting into ideas that will help small and midsized manufacturers in Illinois,” Curtin said.

The list of proposals discussed includes those addressing the state’s estate tax, educational and vocational training, business capital funding processes, and business permit simplification and other issues small and midsized manufacturers address daily.

“We look forward to adding more lawmakers to this effort, and sharing with them what our TMA members are telling us about the challenges and rewards of making a small to midsized business work in Illinois,” Curtin said.

For more information on TMA’s recent efforts in the Illinois General Assembly, see