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 Business > Manufacturing

11715 Main Street | Roscoe, IL 61073 | www.forestcitygear.com

Fred Young, Chairman of Forest City Gear (FCG), turned the company his father and mother started in 1955, with an order for $17,000 worth of gears, into one of the ­premiere gear manufacturers in the world.

While Young worked for the company in high school and college, it wasn’t until he left the Navy in 1968 that he took the helm. Today, Forest City Gear employs over 120 people and boasts over 350 customers in the United States and abroad.

About one-third of the company’s clients are in the aerospace industry; Forest City Gear has delivered precision gears for three generations of the Martian Rovers, while another third are for the robotics industry. The remainder of business involves manufacturing gears and thread grinding for clients in the military, heavy construction, medical, and auto racing industries.

For over 35 years, the company has reinvested 25-40% of its gross annual sales into buying new, state-of-the-art equipment. “We have perhaps the most modern gear job shop in the world,” says Young, past chairman of the American Gear Manufacturers Association. New equipment allows FCG to produce higher quality parts and perform tasks that are impossible for most competitors. Those high standards draw manufacturers from around the world to tour their Roscoe facility.

A multitude of local suppliers and a dedicated workforce keep Forest City Gear in the area. Along with other gear manufacturers, the company has invested in an intensive apprenticeship program to ensure a highly skilled workforce for years to come.

Forest City Gear is a true family business. Young’s wife, Wendy, is president and CEO; their middle daughter serves as Director of HR and Corporate Administration. Additionally, FCG dedicated to giving back to the community, something reflected in the 17-point list of core values Wendy reviews with each new employee.

“We share our interest in philanthropy,” Wendy Young says, noting that area museums, The Rockford Symphony Orchestra, local park districts and golf courses, community service organizations, and even three major hospitals rely on fundraising in an effort to keep their doors open and to expand what they offer to the community. “If these entities supported in part by private donations ceased to exist or offered reduced services, a shell of a community would remain, a type of community does not attract businesses and professionals, and Rockford, as we know it, would be a very different place to live.”