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Impact Networking to Build New Headquarters in Mettawa

Construction of Impact Networking’s new corporate headquarters, across from the company’s iconic distribution center in Lake Forest, is set to begin this week.

Rising up from the ashes of the Great Recession, Impact Networking is back on track and ready to start construction on a new headquarters in Mettawa.

The 30,000-square-foot, two-story office building at 13875 W. Boulton Blvd. will house 75 employees when it opens in March 2015. But there will be room for double that number, which aligns with CEO Frank Cucco’s strategy for growth for the company that specializes business automation services.

The new corporate headquarters will sit across the street from the iconic 40,000-square-foot distribution center located at 13860 W. Boulton Blvd., which opened in 2007.

When he first bought the adjoining properties, Impact was growing 40 percent annually, Cucco said. He liked the visibility from the Tri-State Tollway and easy access to its offices in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and intended to build a new home office the year after the new distribution center came online.

The 2008 economic downturn forced a change in that plan. Instead, employees have hunkered down in cramped facilities in Waukegan until the time was right. With Impact’s growth at 20 percent a year, the time is right now.

“Now we’re finally able to break ground on the home office,” Cucco said.

The extra room and visibility will make it possible for Impact to reach the $100 million a year mark by 2017, a goal Cucco set when he started selling copiers from his basement in 1999 with just one employee.

Now the business of acquisition can begin.

“We’re going to have traditional organic growth out of our seven locations and we’re in the process of doing acquisitions,” he said. “We will purchases $15 million a year in companies that do what we do.”

He intends to follow the acquisition strategy for three years.

Impact already is unrecognizable from its beginning. The company’s list of services have expanded to include information technology, creative services, full document consulting and a growing list of products and manufacturers it represents.

Cucco estimates his distribution center today moves approximately 200 units of hardware a month – from small desktop multi-function printers and copiers to huge 20-foot-long laser printers that can spit out 32-page booklets, folded and saddle-stitched, at the rate of 100 a minute.

Software, a growing part of the business, doesn’t even figure into the distribution center figures.

Cucco credits diversifying and staying on top of change for his company’s upward mobility.

“You’ve got to be willing to adapt to the market and the product. You can’t be afraid to embrace these new technologies that are coming out,” he said.

At 52, Cucco labels himself one of the older workers in his company.

“We have a lot of younger people in here who are a lot more astute at all these technologies and things. A lot of owners are afraid of that,” Cucco said.

But learning new technology and investing in training are key to success, he continued.

“You don’t need to know everything yourself,” Cucco said. “You just need to have good people around you.”

Cucco recommends that businesses owners create a plan, stay focused and execute their plan.

“That’s what I’ve always done,” he said. “In 1999, I knew where I wanted to be and knew what I was going to do. I knew we were going to get to the $30 million, then the $50 million and now $100 million.”

Cucco has stuck to his plan every year.

“Maybe it wasn’t as fast as we wanted to execute it, like the stalling out of building this building because of the economy, but once things picked up we got right back on course,” he said. “We’re doing what we originally set out to do.”