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Success Stories

Laura Pager

Ask Gale Construction owner Laura Pager what she’s most proud of, and the answer is simple: “That we’re still standing after 20 years.”
But success didn’t happen overnight. As with so many of the projects the firm has tackled over its history, Gale Construction was built one brick at a time. 
The Joliet, Illinois-based company specializes in highway construction and heavy and civil construction projects for local, state, and federal agencies, as well as commercial customers. Since becoming certified in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program, which provides assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, it has also gained a foothold in the world of government contracting.
Pager was working in the investment world in 1996 when she got a call from an old high school friend, Mike Gale, with a plan to go into business together. She had experience within finance and money management, and Gale was knowledgeable about on-the-ground... Read More

Vasquez family

Southern Illinois-based Competitive Range Solutions started in 2011 as an information technology commodity-based business. Owner Noah Vasquez focused on leveraging relationships to make hardware and software sales. Revenue was coming in, but the company’s margins weren’t great. Vasquez knew that something needed to change.

“Our business model did not support sustained growth objectives,” he said. “We weren’t doing anything groundbreaking; we did what we could with what we had, but it simply wasn’t enough.”

The solution: move the company into value-added technology solutions and support services. After becoming certified in 2013 in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program, which offers assistance to firms owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, CRS diversified its revenue portfolio and embraced a more sustainable business model. Turning down business opportunities was at times painful for the company, Vasquez says, but... Read More

After more than a century of success, Frigid Fluid Company of Northlake, Illinois, exemplifies the talent and innovation of U.S. manufacturers, exporters and family-owned businesses.

Founded in 1892, Frigid Fluid is a well-known brand in the funeral and cemetery industry. From its earliest days, Frigid Fluid manufactured and marketed quality embalming fluids and cemetery supplies. In 1916, Frigid Fluid was credited with popularizing the first automatic casket lowering device, and has continued its tradition of innovation since then. Today, Brian Yeazel, the fifth-generation owner and executive of the firm, has charted a new course for the company’s growth, especially abroad, and has utilized SBA’s programs and partners to help him reach his goals.

As early as 1968, Frigid Fluid’s leaders knew that exporting could mean nearly unlimited sales growth, and the company made its first international sale to South Africa that year. Since then, the company has shipped its... Read More

Pactrans Air & Sea, Inc. (Pactrans) participation in STEP China Logistics Trade Mission of June 2012 was a resounding success.  The trade mission not only allowed Pactrans to expand its global business network, but it also allowed it to increase its visibility in the logistics and transportation community.  

 

As part of Illinois Logistics and Transportation business group, Pactrans had the opportunity to meet new business partners, clients, vendors and other transportation and logistics agents from all over the world.  In addition, Pactrans signed new cooperation agreements and were involved in strategic business planning with new partners.  

 

During the trade mission, Pactrans met with manufacturers and various international trade companies.  By taking the opportunity to learn more about their products, services, and their needs, Pactrans armed itself with pertinent information which made it easier to network more effectively with local... Read More