About 200 workers from units of Underwriters Laboratories have started moving into newly renovated space in the office tower at 1603 Orrington Ave. in downtown Evanston.

The employees of UL Research Institutes and UL Standards and Engagement are relocating from an office park in Northbrook, and are expect to bring more daytime traffic to downtown businesses that have been suffering in the wake of the pandemic. UL Solutions, the testing and certification entity, is remaining in Northbrook.

Charlotte Farmer, chief operating officer of ULRI, says her company is concerned with research discovery regarding emerging safety issues related to changing technology, while its affiliate entity, ULSE, works to translate scientific discoveries into standards and policies that impact public safety.

She said the new Evanston space can be used for educational purposes, as well as a place where “scientists and other thought partners” can convene to “collaborate and co-create potential solutions around safety science discovery.”

That, she said, helps the public understand “the risks associated with…consumer products whether it be at work, home or play.”

ULs new offices are on the top floors of Evanston’s tallest building, which was completed in 1969.

UL has experimental labs across the U.S. but considers the Evanston site its headquarters. It is also building a facility in Skokie, according to Kristen Delphos, head of communications and public affairs.

Delphos said Evanston is a good fit for the organizations’ needs, because it provides good transportation, access to talent pipelines coming from nearby universities yet, “still kind of has that nice sort of village/small town feel” one would not experience in Chicago.

Farmer says UL’s core values align with the values she sees on display in Evanston, such as
“collaboration, respect, integrity and beneficence.” She says her organization practices beneficence by making life safer for the public, whom she considers stakeholders.

Delphos said that she was impressed with Evanston’s civic mindedness and philanthropy, as reflected by the many non-profits which call the city home. “We are committed to being here and giving back and helping…to make Evanston the great place it is to live, work and play.”

Desiree Shannon relocated to Evanston in 2022 from Columbus, Ohio. She has a journalism degree from Otterbein College of Ohio. During her undergraduate studies, she completed an internship with the Washington...

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