City Club of Chicago: Greg Baise – President and CEO, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
August 30, 2016
Greg Baise – President and CEO – Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
Gregory W. Baise is the President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA), a statewide advocacy organization representing more than 4,000 manufacturing companies. Since assuming leadership in 1991, the IMA has earned many legislative victories that have resulted in benefits for Illinois businesses and families.
Some of the IMA’s most significant achievements include the repeal of the Illinois Structural Work Act, the institution of the Manufacturers’ Purchase Credit, and the passage of major reforms to Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment insurance. During Baise’s tenure, the IMA has also achieved the enactment of more business-friendly environmental legislation, the passage of landmark hydraulic fracturing legislation, and major reforms to tort law and education policies
In 2004, Baise established Xpress Professional Services (XPS), a political fulfillment firm which delivers direct mail, radio, and television production and placement for candidates. Today, XPS also operates a polling service, We Ask America, which has earned a national following for its innovation and accuracy.
Also in 2004, the IMA became the lead co-founder of the Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth & Prosperity, a 501(c)(4) dedicated to educating Illinois taxpayers about the benefits of a pro-jobs, pro-employer statewide economic agenda. Through numerous activities, the coalition supports progressive initiatives aimed at making Illinois a destination economy for business and industry.
In 2008, Baise and Ronald Gidwitz—former owner of Helene Curtis Industries—formed the Economic Freedom Alliance (EFA), a 527 political organization designed to fight the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (better known as Card Check). Baise coordinated a grass-roots public information campaign that included television and radio ads, billboards, web sites, social media and earned media in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. The EFA earned praise from employers and pro-business organizations throughout the nation for its cutting-edge approach to modern political discourse. Card Check remains dormant in the halls of Congress, and EFA remains active and watchful of initiatives that would harm job growth in this nation.
Prior to the IMA, Baise served in various capacities for Gov. Jim Thompson, including as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation and as head of his gubernatorial re-election campaign in 1986. During his political career, Baise also served as the Illinois Campaign Manager for Presidents Reagan and Bush (41), and in 1990 he was the Republican candidate for Illinois State Treasurer.
Baise is a 1974 graduate of Illinois College and has served on the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers.