About McIlwee Millwork


McIlwee Millwork was established in Chicago in 1963 by John J. (Jack) McIlwee.  Born of Irish Immigrant Parents and the son of a carpenter, Jack had the romance of the building industry always around him.  Jack contracted polio in his teen years and subsequently lost the use of his right hand.  While his brothers worked in the family building business, Jack began a career in sales for local lumber and plywood dealers.  Over 14 years, Jack developed a great expertise in millwork products, before going into business for himself.


Originally started as the J.J. McIlwee Company, operations grew from the most modest of starts delivering Chicago millwork products.  Jack’s first location was in an old freight warehouse with no heat or electricity, in the heart of Chicago.  Jack’s first office was framed 2 x 4 walls covered in cardboard. His first desks were doors layed across sawhorses. Today, the business now owns a 48,000 sq. ft. modern plant, dedicated to millwork manufacturing and distribution.  Automated and computerized machinery produces millwork that is made to order for discriminating Architects, Builders, Developers and Remodelers within the Chicago metropolitan area.  This is a far cry from the hammers and hand saws that were used in the beginnings.

McIlwee Millwork is a family business and over the years Jack was joined by three of his five children.  Brian, Peter and Tom McIlwee represent the second generation of ownership and are currently running McIlwee Millwork.

The strength of the family business endured in 1991, when the business was completely destroyed by an early morning fire. Within 3 weeks the McIlwee’s were back in business. They had sufficiently replaced machinery, inventory, computers, fixtures and supplies that allowed them to continue to service their customers.

Within two years of the fire the company was setting record levels of sales and growth. As a consequence, McIlwee Millwork was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Nations Business Magazine and Mass Mutual with the “1996 Blue Chip Enterprise Award” given to businesses that suffer adversity and succeed.

Today, McIlwee Millwork is owned by Tom, Brian and Peter McIlwee, all three former Eagle Scouts. The character building and lessons of integrity learned through their childhood along with the hard work ethic of their father continues to drive the passion that guides McIlwee Millwork. The three brothers bring the Chicago area 91 years of combined millwork experience in the shelter industry to benefit all McIlwee Millwork clients.

McIlwee Millwork prides itself on key functions that simplify the building process for its customers in both residential and commercial projects. With flexible machinery, excess capacity, effective communication, computerization and a dedicated staff of employees, the McIlwees are committed to getting premium products to their customers, on time, complete and with NO CALLBACKS!

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