Bales Wins 2024
Spark Award for Culture

Bales Metal Surface Solutions won a 2024 award for excellence in manufacturing in the Culture, Small Division category at the eighth annual Spark Awards.

Presented by the Valley Industrial Association (VIA), the Spark Awards were held at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois, on March 6, 2024. Spark honors the best of the best among Chicago area manufacturing, celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of member companies in six areas:

  • Culture
  • Innovation
  • Operational Excellence
  • Safety
  • Social Responsibility
  • Workforce Development


Manufacturers compete by completing a detailed benchmarking self-assessment that measures their aptitude in the six categories. Those with the highest benchmarking results become finalists. A panel of industry experts interviews the finalists to determine winners in each category.

This is Bales’ first Spark Award in Culture, but it is the second straight year that the VIA has recognized Bales as a finalist in the Culture category. This year, Spark also recognized Bales as a finalist in the Workforce Development category.

“Bales has set the standard for culture among Chicago area manufacturers,” said Kathy Gilmore, president of the VIA. “This award is a testament to their commitment to best practices and continuous improvement.

”Our hard-working, knowledgeable team has been the backbone of our business for over 45 years. We are proud of our efforts to take care of employees and hope they reflect in our top-notch service to customers.