Seventeen years ago, MBX Systems opened its first facility in Island Lake with three employees in a 500-square-foot space.
On Thursday, the company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its new headquarters at 1200 Technology Way in Libertyville. The 83,000-square-foot facility is set to employ more than 200 people by 2017.
"I would've never envisioned it would grow to something we're celebrating here today," said Tom Crowley, founder and CEO of the technology manufacturing company. Crowley said the Libertyville headquarters is the biggest location MBX Systems has had since it first opened on April 10, 1995. MBX was most recently located in Wauconda.
"We're very happy to be here," Crowley said, adding that he is happy to be able to bring manufacturing growth to Illinois and jobs to Libertyville.
According to a press release from the company, MBX Systems "manufactures custom-built server appliances for software vendors in more than 40 industries who deliver their applications pre-loaded on hardware systems for optimized performance and ease of deployment in business data centers."
"Our business involves custom-engineering each hardware platform for every customer," Crowley explained in the press release. "No two platforms are alike."
The move to Libertyville, he added, "gives us both the space and the expanded infrastructure we need to accommodate more customers and larger orders, plus a desirable location for recruiting new employees."
Jill Bellak, president and chief operating officer, and Carl Nothnagel, director of operations, pointed out some of that added space and infrastructure during building tours after the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. Nothnagel highlighted the octagon-shaped cubicles, open office space and variety of conference/meeting rooms. One of the conference rooms features ottomans to sit on, while another has a high table with no chairs. The latter, he said, results in shorter meetings.
Bellak and Nothnagel also showed off the facility's sizable production and warehouse spaces, which Bellak said will allow MBX Systems to increase its production.
"The production is probably eight times as much as the previous facility," said Bellak.
Nothnagel also highlighted the facility's "Customer Lab," which is a dedicated space where clients can work with MBX employees on new products. There is also an innovation lab where engineers can test new products.
Dan Seals, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Commerce, said he appreciates that MBX Systems has been able to expand and grow, especially in this economy. He highlighted Illinois' appeal to businesses, which he said began with the state's ability to get products out across the country, thanks to Illinois' location.
Seals said that helped grow the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, resulting in businesses like Kraft and McDonald's choosing Illinois for their headquarters. Seals said the first remote control was developed in Illinois, and the first cell phone call was made here.
"The first Twinkie was made in Illinois," Seals said, sparking laughter from the crowd. "They're all innovations."
Seals said MBX Systems is "also part of Illinois' story."