Empowering Communities

Smart Streetlight Projects Drive Growth for Small Chicago Business

December 21, 2017

When he started The Will Group (TWG), Stephen Davis had a vision of owning and operating a business that would honor his father, William Davis, by promoting the values of integrity, pride and hard work and enable him to give back to his community. TWG’s growing role in streetlight assembly, including a new project involving up to 140,000 ComEd-owned smart LED street lights, the company is in a good position to deliver on its vision.

“We started introducing smart fixtures to the City of Chicago in the early 2000s and we’ve since engaged in numerous projects focused on emerging technologies that use wireless communications and advanced lighting and control systems,” says Stephen, who started his company after working at General Electric.

“It’s always exciting to be on the leading edge and that’s where we are as the smart LED streetlights are installed throughout the area, providing a backbone that will soon be used to support smart city technologies,” he says.

Major projects like this are creating job opportunities at TWG ‘s fixture assembly and testing facility in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, and that includes giving a second chance to ex-offenders, who face unique challenges reentering the workforce.

The Will Group is one of ComEd’s many diverse suppliers. Since the smart grid program began in 2012, ComEd’s spend with minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses has increased by 207 percent. Last year, ComEd added more than 100 companies to its growing lineup of more than 500 diversity-certified suppliers.

Watch the video to learn more about TWG and how they, along with ComEd, are helping to create a bright future for Chicago’s small minority businesses and the communities they serve.