Business and Industry in Chicago Southland

By Joe Morris on May 29, 2014 at 6:50 pm EST

Some of the country’s best-known companies can be found in the Chicago Southland, and thanks to a business-friendly climate and strong workforce, they continue to expand their operations here. It’s a diverse group, too: From major utilities to quarrying operations all the way to food processing, health-care facilities and career training centers, and even automobile construction, the Southland has been home to success for more than 100 years.

Rail, Gas, Automotive

Canadian National, or CN, has been here for more than 100 years, and anchors a thriving rail industry that also includes terminals for Union Pacific and CSX

Major utilities find the area attractive as well. Nicor Gas Co. has been here since 1954, and grown to become the largest natural gas distributor in northern Illinois, with more than 2.2 million customers.

On the automotive front, Ford Motor Co.'s Southland presence goes back 90 years, and the factory here produces the Explorer, Taurus, Taurus SHO, Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility models, and the Lincoln MKS.

Another big presence is the Thornton Quarry, now owned by Hanson Materials. It is a 1,000-acre giant that’s been mined since 1837 and currently has the world’s largest reservoir at 30 stories deep.

Health Care

Southland residents benefit from several leading health-care providers, including: Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate South Suburban Hospital, MetroSouth Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center, Franciscan St. James Health, Silver Cross Hospital, Palos Community Hospital and Ingalls Health System.

What’s more, the Southland Health Care Forum offers several career programs, including training for dialysis technicians, certified nursing assistants and clinical medical assistants.

Food Manufacturing

The Southland also is home to many well-known food brands, including Land O’Frost, which began in 1941 and is now a third-generation, family owned business; Buddig Meats, which has called this area home for more than 100 years; and Marie’s Salad Dressings.

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