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The Voice is online at

IMEC Made In Illinois


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Women Business Owners Urged to Apply for ATHENAPowerLink

March 2012 | Volume 25 | No. 3

Small Business of the Year:

Alpha Controls & Services By Paul Anthony Arco Alpha Controls & Services, Inc., was named the Rockford Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year on Feb. 16 at the Chamber’s Small Business Luncheon at Cliffbreakers Resort and Conference Center before a crowd of 250. Alpha focuses on helping customers transition their facilities to be environmentally responsible and recognized by the federal government as “Energy Star-related or LEED-certified by the United States Green Building

Photos by Brian Thomas Photography

Brent Bernardi and Frank Rotello of Alpha Controls & Services receive the Small Business of the Year award for 2012. Council. Alpha designs smart buildings for customers and purchases products from local manufacturer Schneider Electric to create energy and operation savings. In 2011, Alpha experienced a 42 percent increase in sales, and the addition of new engineers and service technicians resulted in a 19 percent increase in the company’s workforce. “It’s a great recognition for our employees’ hard work in finding solutions for our customers that can help

improve their financial performance,” said President Brent Bernardi. “We emphasize being a partner with our customers.”

Grounded in the Community Alpha has partnered with ComEd, Ameren, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and other energy grant programs to secure utility rebates and grants. The company is more on page 3

Chamber urges voters to vote YES for Municipal Electrical Aggregation Visit us online at: n online registration n keynote speaker video clips n event photos n list of Chamber events Questions? 815-987-8100

Join the Chamber’s LinkedIn Group

Throughout Winnebago County on March 20 there will be public referendums at the voting booths asking you to support municipal electrical aggregation. In a nutshell, this would allow your local government to place residential and small business customer electrical usage out to bid to the lowest priced qualified bidder. You may have heard about this occurring in other Illinois cities and villages. Those already engaged in electrical aggregation are saving their residents 15 to 30 percent on electric utility rates, something that could not be achieved through going directly through discount providers.

The City of Rockford, the largest single residential base in Winnebago County, has municipal electrical aggregation as a referendum question on the March 20 ballot. Upon successful passage of the referendum, authorizing the local governments to conduct a bidding process, you can expect that many of these local governments will band together for a single large bid to achieve the greatest savings for their residents. Most municipalities will engage in an “opt-out” program. Opt-out programs must be approved by referendum and apply to all residential and small commercial more on page 6

The ATHENAPowerLink program now is accepting applications from Winnebago County women business owners to participate in a 12-month mentoring program with a panel of experts in all facets of business. Applications are due by April 13. The selected woman will be announced at the Rockford Chamber’s Women in Business Luncheon on Thursday, June 21. ATHENAPowerLink is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization that provides professional advisory panels to womenowned businesses. PNC Bank and the Rockford Chamber joined forces to bring the program to Rockford. The women business owner selected will meet with a panel of professionals from various areas of expertise who will work with her towards her business goals at no charge for an entire year. There is a $250 application fee if accepted. The estimated value of the consulting/ mentoring services is $40,000. According to ATHENA International, women business owners who participate in the program experience an 88.5 percent increase in sales, a 37.6 percent increase in business income, and a 56.6 percent increase in personal income. For information or to apply, contact Heidi Garner at 815-987-8100 or visit and click on the ATHENAPowerLink logo. You do not need to be a member of the Rockford Chamber.

Mark your calendar!

Celebration of Manufacturing Dinner & Expo 2012

March 21 • Giovanni’s For more info, see page 35

Rockford Park District Seeks Goose-Herding Dogs, Owners The Rockford Park District is looking for volunteers and dogs to expand its Goose Management Program. Two specially trained border collies, Jet and Flash, currently herd or move geese without harming them and wear life vests to chase them into the water. The park district is looking for owners and their friendly dogs to help herd geese, in particular border collies, Australian shepherds or “looka-likes.” Apply at www.rockfordpark district. org or contact 815-987-1608 or


March 2012


President’s Message VIEWPOINT

U.S. Chamber releases latest small business survey results The U.S. Chamber of Commerce conducts a quarterly Small Business Outlook Survey. The quarterly surveys are designed to track the small business community’s outlook on their business, the local economy, and the national economy over time. Following are the results for their fourth quarter survey, released in January of 2012.

Key Findings I. Uncertainty Continues to be the Biggest Challenge for Small Businesses ■■ The small business outlook for the national economy still shows that the vast majority think our country is off on the wrong track (85 percent). ■■ Of small businesses polled, 52 percent perceive their top issue and biggest challenge as the general economic climate. Half of all small businesses surveyed are not sure if America’s best days are ahead or behind, and the threat of overregulation continues to cause concern. ■■ What is the impact of regulation and

As businesses look forward, attitudes about the future are also beginning to brighten. Thirty-four percent say the climate for small businesses like theirs is likely to improve over the next two years. the new health care law? Fewer jobs. Seventy-eight percent of small businesses surveyed report the taxation, regulation and legislation from Washington make it harder for their business to hire more employees. And, 74% say the recent health care law makes it harder for their business to hire more employees. ■■ What do small business leaders want Washington to do? Eight out of ten say they would rather have Washington stay out of the way than provide a helping hand. Eighty-six percent say they would rather have more certainty from Washington than more assistance (6 percent) to deal with the economy. II. Small Businesses Recognize the Importance of Politics in Policies that Impact their Business ■■ The vast majority of small business

members surveyed (93 percent) find the Chamber’s work in educating the public on political issues and candidates valuable. ■■ Nearly all small businesses polled (98 percent) consider a candidate’s position on free enterprise and business issues as important to how they vote. Eighty-four percent of small businesses cite support for free enterprise as very important. III. The Small Business Outlook for Local Companies and the Local Economy is Improving ■■ Fewer small businesses plan to lose employees over the next year (11 percent). However, there was no increase seen in employers planning to hire in 2012, with 63 percent planning to keep the same number of employees

in the next year.

Einar K. Forsman Rockford Chamber of Commerce

■■ Small business attitudes about the local economy have improved over the last year, up 12 percentage points. Thirty-four percent of small businesses surveyed think the business climate will improve over the next two years, but have yet to resume hiring.

Analysis: Economic environment improving, but uncertainty remains Only 10 percent say the U.S. economy is headed in the right direction. However, this quarter’s data shows a significant increase in the percentage who believe their local economy is headed in the right track (up from 33 to 45 percent). And, small business owners still hold a fairly bright outlook for their own businesses, with 69 percent saying they believe their business is heading in the right direction. more on page 25


March 2012

Businesses learn tips for Guerilla Marketing from Al Lautenslager.


Continued from front page

headquartered in Rockford with offices in Champaign and Springfield and supports many local organizations, including the United Way of Rock River Valley, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful and Crusader Community Health. “They are strong civic-minded people,” said Einar Forsman, president & CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “They are loyal to their employees. Everything they do is well planned and strategized. They’re good people, who understand marketing as a small business, and are very grounded in the Rockford community.” Alpha CEO Frank Rotello offered simple advice for small businesses in any industry. “Never get complacent,” he said. “You have to challenge your company, step back and ask yourself, ‘What can we do better? What do we need to do to improve our organization?’” The Small Business of the Year Award is presented annually to an outstanding small business among the Chamber membership. The recipient must be a Rockford Chamber member with less than 50 employees, demonstrate positive community involvement and excel in its field of expertise.

Small Business Luncheon Promotes Guerilla Marketing Al Lautenslager, small business owner, marketing consultant and author of Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, was the luncheon’s keynote speaker. He shared strategies for business professionals to reach customers, experience growth and increase sales by following a 30-day marketing plan. The event also included two pre-luncheon sessions for small businesses.

Members network at the Small Business Luncheon.

“Everyone knows they have to market their company, but they tend to put it on the shelf,” Lautenslager said. “They’re good at what they do. They’re good at fixing cars, good at doing the financials or serving food, but they forget about the support functions like marketing, which is the lifeblood of the business. And you don’t need a huge budget to do it.” Theresa Wendhausen is the community affairs specialist for BMO Harris Bank. “Marketing is extremely important to any business, no matter what size,” she said. “Whether you have a lot of time or not, there is something every company can be doing to help promote itself. At BMO Harris Bank, our employees really are the marketers for our company. The passion they have for our clients and the organizations we work with shows in every interaction.” “A company has to be persistent,” said Manny Carrasquillo, chief operating officer for Lifescape Community Services, a local non-profit organization that delivers more than 200,000 meals annually to homebound seniors throughout Boone, Lee, Ogle and Winnebago counties. “It takes multiple contacts to get your message across to the customer or client. That’s crucial to our success in reaching out to the aging population.” “It just takes common sense,” added Alan Jones, marketing director for Lifescape. “A company or agency doesn’t always have time to focus on marketing. You need to focus on an idea that’s important to the agency or business, and make the effort – whether it’s a news release or a phone call to get key information out there.” The presenting sponsor for the luncheon was BMO Harris Bank. The Gold Sponsor and Small Business of the Year sponsor was Humana. n

John Morrissey and Dan Ross exchange ideas.



March 2012


Board Member PROFILE

Tourism, visitors support local economy What perspective do you offer to the Chamber board? As President/CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, it is my responsibility to bring a tourism industry and quality of life perspective to the table. Visitors have a significant impact on our community, generating an estimated $300 million annually for area businesses and our quality of life institutions.

and next.” Additionally, we work with partners to ensure visitors have a positive experience and want to return.

What is your business background/responsibilities?

How do you think you I began working in the visitor impact the community?

A strong chamber serves as a great resource and voice for the local business community. It helps set a vision for the community and advocates on behalf of local businesses, educates its members on local issues and provides networking opportunities.

industry 13 years ago. I worked for the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for eight years in marketing and communications positions, ending as executive vice president. I then joined the Rockford Chamber of Commerce in 2007 as senior vice president of marketing and public affairs, later as executive vice president. I returned to the RACVB as President/CEO three years ago, in 2009, where I am now responsible for growing the tourism industry in Winnebago County by overseeing the selling and marketing of the Rockford Region.

What is the name/current purpose of your organization?

What trends are most strongly impacting your industry?

The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau grows the local economy by working to import cash, spent by visitors, to our region. The bureau serves as a marketing arm for the community and as a tourism research and development agent advocating for what should be “new

The rapid changes in technology continually provide new forums for marketing and promotion. Also, CVBs as an industry group are facing challenges in remaining relevant in the face of rapidly changing customer expectations, shifting content delivery and marketing methods

Why is the Chamber important to business and the community?

and an erosion of municipal support during the Great Recession. I’m pleased to report that RACVB is navigating these changes well and will continue to do so.

During the last year, RACVB staff influenced the booking of 272 events, conferences and tournaments that will come to Rockford. Visitors coming for these events will use more than 94,000 hotel room nights, a 21 percent increase over the previous year. Overall, visitors spend about $300 million here each year, and that translates to jobs.

What in your career has had the greatest impact on you? I’ve had great mentors and people who invested in my career and me. They gave me opportunities to excel and grow, and I am grateful. Hopefully I can pay that forward.

What book would you recommend right now and why? Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Thomas Hoving. I read this book cover to cover, and then again. It tells the story of the New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and how Thomas Hoving, its director, dramatically transformed the institution and the museum industry. A must read for anyone looking to make bold changes.

What recent technology innovation has the greatest impact on your life? I’ve been converted – I’m now a Mac fan. The integrated, seamless nature of all these products is impressive. But, if I’d have to pick just one, I’d say my iPhone.

If you could do anything else —what? I recently completed the Executive MBA program through Northern Illinois University and found that to be incredibly valuable in gaining a forprofit, private sector perspective. My colleagues who run our cultural, arts and entertainment organizations continually impress me; I would likely enjoy that type of professional experience. I’m also a political junky, and would enjoy working in the public arena on a national or statewide level.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?

John Groh RACVB

Detailed. Details matter to me. I think in business and in life you excel by first setting a big vision and then paying attention to the details. Great differences can be made at the margin.

What are you most proud of? Personally, I’m really proud of my family – we have two great boys who enjoy discovering new things every day. Professionally, we have a great staff team who continually go above and beyond to meet and exceed the needs of our customers and partners.

What’s the one thing about you that few people know? Well, it seems relevant right now. In college, I worked as an intern for a few months for Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. So, right now it’s really interesting for me to see him campaign on the national level for President.

What are you most thankful for? Right now, I am really grateful to the Rockford community for stepping up to save Rockford’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Laurent House. In less than a month, we were able to raise the necessary funds to secure the home at auction. A group of dedicated volunteers is now working to open the home as a museum in 2013. If you are interested in giving financially or as a volunteer, please call 815-489-1678.

Anything else you’d like to share with Chamber members? Travel and tourism is an important industry. If you’d like to learn more about RACVB or the region’s visitor industry come to the RACVB Annual meeting on May 16, at 7:30 a.m., at Giovanni’s. We’ll be exploring the importance of innovation in managing and leading organizations and communities. Call 815-963-8111 for more information.

Let your Voice be heard The Rockford Chamber of Commerce ­ elcomes and encourages submissions w for The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community. Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding ­publication. Send news releases and other items of interest to the business community to: The VOICE Rockford Chamber of Commerce 308 W. State St., Ste. 190 Rockford, IL 61101

For information about advertising contact Customer Service at 815-987-8100. The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community (USPS 784-120). ISSN number 1086-0630, is published monthly by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 308 W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford, Illinois 61101. Periodicals postage paid at Rockford, Ill. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community, 308 W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford, IL 61101.



March 2012

Creating compassionate, safe environments By Bob Schlehuber, OR RRV and Ellyn Ahmer, OR RRV In the world of business, products and services are designed, produced, packaged, marketed and delivered. How do we accomplish that with a product called “respect?” Operation Respect is a movement geared toward fostering a culture of respect. It’s co-founded by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, and Dr. Charlotte Frank, senior VP of R&D at McGrawHill Education. Rockford native Bob Schlehuber launched Operation Respect Rock River Valley (OR RRV) after two years in the Peace Corps in the Ukraine, where he created an Operation Respect outreach to more than 200 Peace Corps volunteers and Ukrainian teachers. In May, 2011, Schlehuber approached Rockford community leaders. OR RRV’s goal is to transform schools into places where children feel happier and safer, and more prepared to learn. It focuses on giving children essential skills

in social and emotional learning (SEL), which are critical to their maturing into happy, successful, cooperative, responsible and engaged citizens and members of the future workforce.

‘Don’t Laugh at Me’ OR RRV is offering free training to schools, churches, businesses, city and county governments, and NGOs with the research-based “Don’t Laugh at Me” (DLAM) curriculum. The curriculum focuses on teaching children to become good, responsible and compassionate citizens, as well as in developing the whole child and enhancing academic learning. DLAM is adaptable to adults, especially those who will teach and lead our children -- as children mimic adult behavior. DLAM uses music and interactive lessons to develop healthy expression of feelings; caring, compassion and cooperation; creative resolution of conflicts, and appreciation and celebration of differences. It uses songs such as “Blowing In The Wind,” “We Shall Overcome” and

Are you money smart?

Help is on the way with Money Smart Week! By Heidi Berardi, Family Credit Management, MSW Marketing Committee This April, Rockford celebrates the fifth anniversary of Money Smart Week (MSW), a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. Once a year a partnership of local organizations, including businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, not-for-profits, government agencies and the media, come together to promote financial literacy. Together they inform consumers about where they can get help and provide free educational seminars and activities. MSW was created in 2002 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Rockford shines as one of Illinois’ most successful communities, serving thousands since 2008. A unique combination of local entities, volunteer their time and resources to make this an outstanding event every year. This year’s MSW, April 21 to 28, kicks off with a breakfast on April 20 celebrating more than 50 participating partners, who will present more than 85 programs

throughout Rockford. Topics will include: healthy saving habits, kids and money, community shred days, predatory lending, home buying and foreclosures, funeral pre-planning, understanding Medicare, retirement planning and more! In addition, an essay contest, “Money Smart Kid,” will be held for students in sixth through eighth grades. A $1,000 Bright Start scholarship by BMO Harris Bank and $500 awards by MembersAlliance Credit Union and First National Bank and Trust of Beloit will be awarded to first, second and third place winners respectively. A calendar of events and locations, listed by topic, can be found at www. Calendars also will be available at participating organizations, and a MSW calendar section in the Rockford Register Star on April 15. For information on how to help spread the word about Money Smart Week, contact Heidi Berardi at 815-484-1608. You also can contact MSW 2012 Chair Lorna Cote at 815-226-2260, ext. 313.

OR’s anthem, “Don’t Laugh At Me.” OR RRV introduced DLAM in August, 2011, at Rockford College in a two-day training session with 80 people. Fifteen have gone through additional training. Last summer, 15 high school students trained in DLAM. They have gone on to teach 40 middle school students.

Community Discussions on Respect In order to promote a graceful transition and long-term sustainability, OR RRV is holding roundtable discussions centering on respect with individual stakeholders including the YMCA of Rock River Valley, YWCA of Rockford, Rockford Public Schools, Harlem School District, Rockford

Education Association, Regional Office of Education, Winnebago County Health Department, Rockford Health Council, Booker Washington Community Center, Winnebago County Board, Rockford Housing Authority, United Way of Rock River Valley, Rockford Park District, Hamilton Sundstrand, Bridge Ministries, La Voz Latina, NAACP, Rockford College, City of Rockford and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. OR RRV intends to work itself out of its job in two years. Bob Schlehuber and Ellyn Ahmer are coordinators of Operation Respect Rock River Valley. Michelle Griggs is director of the Kobe-Regent’s Center for Global Education at Rockford College and on the advisory committee of OR-RRV.


March 2012

Vote Yes!

Continued from front page electricity customers except those who affirmatively “opt-out.” Municipalities are authorized under the Illinois Power Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3855/1-92 (the “Act”) to: adopt an ordinance authorizing the program; approve a plan of governance for the program after conducting two public hearings; bid and award a power supply agreement, and provide notices to residents and businesses concerning participation in the program. Municipal Aggregation is truly an example of your local governments helping their residents and small businesses. There will be some customers who will be better served to “opt-out” or choose to not participate, however, this should not affect their decision to support this referendum. The typical referendum question will read similar to what the City of Rockford’s will: “Shall the City of Rockford have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

✘ Vote Yes! ❑


MEA fact Sheet WHat iS MuniciPal electricity aggregation? Municipal Electricity Aggregation (MEA) is an opt out program that allows local governments the option to bundle together, or aggregate, residential and small commercial retail electricity accounts and seek bids for a cheaper, and possibly cleaner, source of power. Right now, these ComEd customers obtain power at a fixed rate, regulated and set annually by the Illinois Commerce Commission. In contrast, large industrial and commercial customers can utilize the open market to obtain a lower rate and save money on their electricity bills. By bundling residential and small commercial accounts, municipalities can achieve the same type of savings.

wHaT aRE THE BEnEFITs oF MEa? The most important benefit to MEA is the opportunity for Rockford and other residents and small businesses in Winnebago County to save money on their electric bills. There are also opportunities for helping the environment by requiring renewable energy as part or all of the electricity supply or by funding energy efficiency programs.

How doEs MEa woRk? Municipal Electricity Aggregation was made available by new legislation in 2010. First, the local government must place a referendum on the March 2012 ballot asking voters to give the City authority to create an aggregation program. Once the referendum is approved, the City will, with public input, create an aggregation plan that includes procedures and goals for the program. The City will then seek bids from Retail Energy Suppliers to obtain competitive electricity rates for participants. If no bids are acceptable, there is no obligation to accept them. A resident or small business can choose to opt out of the City’s program, so there is little risk that your electric rate will increase and no obligation to participate.

wHaT aRE THE IMPaCTs? The impact of MEA is primarily savings. Participants will not see a change in their ComEd bill other than a reduction on the energy charge. They will continue to receive a single bill, make one payment, and continue to receive all other services through ComEd. However, if customers are already purchasing their power from a company other than ComEd, they will be ineligible to take advantage of the City’s aggregation rate. A resident or small business can join the City’s program at any time, but early termination of a contract with another energy supplier could result in fees. Check the terms and condition of the contract with the retail energy supplier.



March 2012

MEA FAQs and passes 100% of the revenue back to the power generators.

What happens if the power goes out? Who do our residents call? They will continue to call ComEd for any service issues with their power service.

Who will bill the customer?

Who is Eligible Under the Program? ■■ Residential customers ■■ Small Business customers (0 – 100 kW) ■■ Watt-Hour Delivery Class ■■ Small Load Delivery Class

ComEd will still be responsible for billing the customer. From an operating perspective customers would hardly notice any change to their billing, except the lower rates.

Will MA affect the amount of Municipal Tax that we collect?

Note: Residential space heat customers will not save reduced space heat rate

Municipal Tax is calculated on usage, not dollar amounts. Therefore, there will be no change to the amount of Municipal Tax collected.

Why is ComEd indifferent if we choose another power provider?

When will aggregation go into effect?

Moving to another power supplier would have no impact upon ComEd. They currently do not produce your power, nor do they earn any income on the power they currently sell. The power is provided by a group of power companies that generate the power and deliver it to ComEd. ComEd then bills on their behalf,

Before the City can begin implementing the program, voters must approve a referendum on March 20, 2012 to allow municipal electricity aggregation.

What component of my electrical bill will aggregation effect? Aggregation addresses only one of the

three components of an electricity bill. The three components are supply (where the power comes from), transmission (getting the supply from its point of origin or from the high voltage grid), and distribution (getting the electricity from the substation to the consumer’s meter). Aggregation concerns only the supply component, which is typically 60 to 70 percent of the electricity bill. The transmission and distribution parts of the bill will be unaffected by aggregation.

I have received mailings from retail electric suppliers offering lower electricity rates now. What should I do? The earliest the City’s aggregation program is likely to begin is summer 2012. Consumers who decide to switch to a retail electric supplier before the City’s program is available should consider several aspects of the retail supplier’s offer. What to look for in the offer: 1) Length of contract Many retail suppliers require a minimum one-year contract, which would prevent a customer from getting the City’s aggregation rate until the contract ends. 2) Termination fees Look at the cost of early termination. Some companies charge fees and others do not. 3) One bill or two? Under the City’s aggregation program,

participants will still receive one monthly bill from ComEd and make one payment to ComEd. Some retail suppliers do not have this provision meaning customers may receive their regular bill from ComEd and a separate bill from the retail supplier.

Do I have to participate in the City’s aggregation program if I do not want to? No. Residents and small businesses are free to opt out. Opt out notices will be provided through the mail before the program begins.

Who will I call if I have problems with my power or my bill? All service and billing questions will continue to be directed to ComEd.

If I heat my home with electricity, can I save money with electricity aggregation? Probably not. Residents who heat their homes with electricity already have a discounted rate structure, and electricity aggregation may not save them money on their electric bill.  If you are considering switching, it is important that you evaluate your annual usage and the rate being offered through aggregation in order to determine what electric supply option best suits your needs.  For more information, go to the Illinois Commerce Commission web site, Plug In Illinois and click on “Utility Space Heating Rate.”


February 2012


ARTRA now offers HR Recruitment Assistance Program By Mary Cacioppi, RAEDC The Attracting & Retaining Talent to the Rockford Area (ARTRA) Steering Committee was formed in August, 2006 by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) and many partner organizations. ARTRA’s task is to implement recommendations from Next Generation Consulting’s report on attracting and retaining the next generation of knowledge workers. Recommendations from the report include connecting young professionals to each other and to the community, and forming a recruiting collaborative to attract talent from outside the region. ARTRA continues to move these

initiatives forward, with the support of Next Rockford and IGNITE, and has established a Recruitment Assistance Program to assist companies in the Rockford Region who are recruiting young professionals for professional and business service jobs. We know that growing a workforce of young professional workers is critical to economic development across the region. ARTRA has developed resources to assist employers in their recruiting efforts. These include: Welcome to Rockford! Electronic Resource Packet. This document profiles young professionals that work in the Rockford Region, and provides links to many helpful websites for someone

relocating to the area. We encourage employers to share the electronic document with individuals they are recruiting, as well as with new employees who have relocated to the region. We Choose Rockford! Young Professionals Group Portrait. There is no better way to attract young people to our community than to show that we have a strong base of talented young professionals who are proud to call Rockford their home. Rockford area employers may request an electronic copy of this image for use on their website and at job fairs. Recruitment Assistance. A group of talented young professionals is ready to be of service to local employers as they are

interviewing a young professional from outside of the region. When the recruit is in town for their interview, we will plan a brief two-hour introduction/tour of the area and meet up with other young professionals who will happily share why they have chosen the Rockford area as their home. We will request background information on the recruit to understand their lifestyle and create a personalized tour on their interests. For more information please contact Mary Cacioppi at 815-969-4259 or mcacioppi@ Mary Cacioppi is director of investor relations for the RAEDC, and an active member of Next Rockford, IGNITE and ARTRA.

Rockford Area Economic Development Council – Upcoming Events Chairman Christiansen’s Coffee Talk; Friday, March 9; 7 to 8:30 a.m.; Superior Joining Technologies, 11047 Raleigh Court, Machesney Park Winnebago County Chairman Scott H. Christiansen will conduct an open forum to discuss pertinent topics in an informal setting, where attendees can ask questions and exchange ideas about various projects and plans. For more information or to register, contact Bea Miller at 815-969-4255 or Quarterly Investor Event; Wednesday, March 28; 5 to 7 p.m. Radisson, 200 S. Bell School Road, Rockford The event includes a presentation by Janyce Fadden introducing Rockforward2!, the RAEDC’s three-year strategic plan for the Rockford Region. The event also includes networking with prominent community and business leaders. For more information or to register, contact Teri Johnson at 815-969-4261 or Go Global V 2012; April 3 to 4; Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford The Go Global conference will again be delivering high-quality speakers, relevant topics and invaluable networking opportunities for all attendees at

one of the premier international business conferences in the Midwest. Day 2 of the conference will also include a Woodward Supplier Symposium from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information or to register, call 815-987-1740 or visit Mayor Morrissey’s Manufacturing Coffee Talk; Tuesday, April 10; 7 to 9 a.m.; Location TBA Leaders of Rockford manufacturing companies and related businesses will meet with Mayor Morrissey to hear his thoughts and plans for the local business climate, and to discuss with him their concerns and questions. For more information, or to register contact Bea Miller at 815-969-4255 or Save the Date - Stateline FastPitch Competition Wednesday, June 20, 2012; 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.; NIU Rockford, 8500 E. State St., Rockford 3:30 p.m. Initial Presentations, 6 p.m. Final Presentations. Open to the Public. Top prize will be awarded $5,000. Prizes will be given to second and third place. For more information, contact Sherry Pritz at 815-921-2054 or visit



February 2012

IMEC, partners launch “Made in Illinois” program Manufacturers invited to participate

From earth-moving equipment to automobiles; medical devices to consumer products, Illinois is home to 20,000 manufacturers employing nearly 600,000 people. These companies generate more than 13.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in Illinois. Their products are some of the world’s best known brands, supported by a rich network of suppliers and component manufacturers, and produced by the most skilled and productive workforce in the country. Illinois manufacturers are a significant driver of innovation and exports, and account for more Research & Development than any other sector. To celebrate these companies and showcase the diversity of products made in the state, IMEC has launched

the “Made in Illinois” program. The online campaign showcases the products made in Illinois to the public while providing an Internet-based forum for manufacturers to connect and generate business opportunities. Illinois manufacturers can register for a free profile page on IMEC’s newly re-designed website ( The section will feature Illinois-made products and services, company news, and display pictures and videos. In addition to increasing their Web visibility, IMEC will promote the manufacturers to external audiences through social media and direct marketing, and link participating manufacturers to sourcing and buying opportunities. “Illinois is the center of manufacturing excellence in the country,” said David Boulay, president of IMEC. “These companies, many which are familyowned and fixtures in their local

Are you ready for OSHA in 2012? In 2011, OSHA celebrated its 40th year. In 2010, it revealed its Severe Violator Enforcement Program with a new fine structure, resulting in more severe penalties for violations cited. Listed below are the frequently cited violations and regulations OSHA is focusing on.

■■ Inspecting companies with highly hazardous chemicals that fall under the Process Safety Management guidelines

2011 Most Frequently Cited Violations in Illinois

■■ Lock-Out/Tag-Out

■■ Haz/Com ■■ Lockout Tagout ■■ Respiratory Protection ■■ Powered Industrial Trucks ■■ Electrical Safety Violations

OSHA’s National / Regional Emphasis

■■ Dust issues that may result in explosion and or fire ■■ Fall protection ■■ Noise

■■ Haz/Com -- the number one cited violation BPI offers customized Safety and OSHA training, including 10-hour OSHA safety training. For assistance with OSHA compliance and training, please contact Bernie Luecke, Rock Valley College, BPI, at 815-9212067 or Source: John Vaughan, BPI Trainer

communities, deserve to be recognized for generating high-wage jobs in Illinois. This campaign will bring attention to the depth of the Illinois manufacturing sector and create additional business opportunities for those manufacturers who make high quality products here.”

Made in Illinois on Social Media Social media channels have been created to give participating manufacturers another voice to promote their products and services. Made in Illinois portals on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will enable manufacturers to connect with other companies and share best practices on Next Generation strategies such as workforce development, innovation, continuous improvement and sustainability. Increased social media exposure also is expected to improve search results for participating companies. “Most manufacturers have a website, but far too many do not leverage

inexpensive social media tools to increase their visibility,” said Mary Hallock, an IMEC specialist who works with local manufacturers to diversify and grow. “Made in IL will not only directly promote their capabilities to the thousands of leaders who visit IMEC’s site each month, it will give these companies an enhanced Internet presence that will increase page referrals from leading search engines.” Made in IL marketing affiliates include the Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity (DCEO), IMEC’s University partners (NIU, SIU, ISU, Bradley University, UI-C), and leading industry associations and regional economic development organizations. Manufacturers can register to participate at or e-mail their interest to Tucker Kennedy at or Rebecca Gordon at mstudent@imec. org at IMEC.

Rockford Chamber manufacturing dinner to feature Woodward 2012 manufacturing awards to be announced On March 21, the Rockford Chamber will host its annual Celebration of Manufacturing Dinner and Expo at Giovanni’s. Join area manufacturers in celebrating the Rockford Region’s manufacturing heritage and its strong future. The Rockford Chamber also will recognize the Manzullo Business Catalyst of the Year and the Manufacturer of the Year. The 2012 keynote speaker is Sagar Patel, president of Aircraft Turbine Systems for Woodward, who will share the company’s long-range strategic investment and growth strategy, as well as its keys to success. Woodward is a founding member of the Rockford

Chamber from when it first formed in 1910. The company integrates leadingedge technologies into fuel, combustion, fluid, actuation and electronic control systems for the aerospace and energy markets. Its leadership in energy control and optimization solutions is built on a strong foundation, dating back to 1870. The Celebration of Manufacturing Dinner and Expo will feature more than 50 booths of area manufacturers and related services. In an effort to support manufacturing career awareness, the Rockford Chamber Manufacturer’s Council will host several area students and high schools at the event. Manufacturing Update is sponsored by IMEC


March 2012




Member Company Profile

Key Bills Employment Law Employee Fee Recovery Act (HB3877) Status: Judiciary I Civil Law Committee Ill. Chamber Position: Support Prevailing Wage (SB2551) Status: Labor Committee Ill. Chamber Position: Support

Healthcare Premium Loss Data (HB280) Status: Insurance Committee Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Illinois Universal Healthcare Act (HB311) Status: Healthcare Availability & Access Committee Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose

Civil Law Copper Theft (HB3825) Status: 2nd Reading Ill. Chamber Position: Support

Committee Highlights The following is a small selection of bills the Chamber has on its key legislation list. Insurance Discrimination (HB2063) Rep. Flowers (D-Chicago) Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose No insurance company can permit any distinction or discrimination against individuals because of handicaps or disabilities. Employee Fee Recovery Act (HB3877) Rep. Zalewski (D-Chicago) Ill. Chamber Position: Support If a former employee files two or more complaints with two or more separate State agencies against a single former employer and each complaint is dismissed, the former employer may petition the circuit court for an award of its attorney’s fees incurred to dismiss the complaints. Prevailing Wage Exemption (HB3094) Rep. Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) Ill. Chamber Position: Support Exempts projects with a total cost of $20,000 or less from prevailing wage. EDGE Committee (HB3934) Rep. Franks (D-Woodstock) Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Requires legislative approval for EDGE credits.

Bills Effective This Year TECHNOLOGY 9-1-1 Surcharge. Establishes a mechanism to collect the 9-1-1 surcharge on pre-paid cell phones — requiring merchants to collect the surcharge at the point of sale. (SB 2063/PA 97-0463) Portable Electronic Insurance. Creates a new “limited lines” license for retailers that sell insurance to cover the repair or replacement of portable electronic devices. (HB 1284/PA 970366)

HEALTH CARE Brand Name Prescriptions. Authorizes HFS to reimburse the dispensing of a 90-day supply of a brand name drug when it is a cost effective, non-narcotic maintenance medication. This bill also authorizes the 90-day supply for brand name drugs. (SB 2046/PA 97-0426) Cancer Insurance Coverage. Mandates that routine patient medical care must be provided to patients participating in qualified clinical cancer trials, if the patient’s policy would cover that routine medical care if they were not enrolled in the clinical trial. (HB 1191/PA 0091)

TRANSPORTATION Bus Drivers. States that a non-CDL holder school bus driver will be subject to reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing that’s in conformance with federal regulations, except the results of the tests must be reported in a manner approved by the Secretary of State instead of on federal forms. (HB 147/PA 97-0466) CDL Licensing. Brings Illinois into compliance with a federal law that requires Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders who must comply with the physical qualifications requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide a current original copy of their medical examiner’s certificates to the State driver’s licensing agency before a CDL is issued, renewed, upgraded or transferred. (HB 1295/PA 97-0208) EDUCATION Background Information Sharing. Requires criminal background information on an employee that has been obtained by a school district within the last year to be shared, upon request, with any other school district. (HB 1240/PA 97-0248) College Technology Entrepreneur Centers. Authorizes the board of trustees of each public university and community college in Illinois to create a technology entrepreneur center, which will provide goods and personnel to innovators who possess an innovative concept that has not yet been offered for sale. (HB 1876/PA 97-0196) FINANCE Banking and Estate Clean-Up. Makes numerous clean-up changes and clarifications to a current law related to banking and real estate. (HB 1651/PA 97-0492) Interest Calculation Formula. Establishes a formula for interest calculation on payday loans during the initial payment period. (SB 1133/PA 97-0421) Descriptions of more of the new laws will appear in upcoming Voice issues. Source:,

Valspar’s product line includes consumer interior and exterior paints, stains, primers and varnishes; automotive refinish paints; industrial coatings, and coatings and inks for packaging containers.

Paint by numbers

Valspar Corporation is one of the world’s largest paint manufacturers By Paul Anthony Arco If you’ve ever painted a room in your home, you’re probably heard of Valspar Corporation, the fifth largest manufacturer of paints and coatings in the United States, and the eighth largest in the world. Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Valspar once was headquartered in Rockford. Today, a division, Color Corporation of America, still is located here. “We make colorant dispersions that tint the paint to different colors,” said Will Anderson, plant manager. Valspar has been in business since 1806. The company’s product line includes consumer interior and exterior paints, stains, primers and varnishes sold through home improvement, massmerchant, and other retailers; automotive refinish paints; industrial coatings for building products, appliances, automotive applications, furniture; and coatings and inks for packaging containers, especially tin and aluminum cans. Valspar’s largest customer is Lowe’s. “When people think of Valspar, they picture painting the outside and inside of their house, which still continues to be a huge part of our business,” Anderson said. “But we’re also the largest can coating manufacturer in the world with customers like Coca Cola. And our industrial division makes all the paint for John Deere and Caterpillar.”

Long History in Rockford The company’s ties to Rockford date back to 1927 when Ralph J. Baudhuin took a job as a paint salesman. He helped start the Baudhuin-Anderson Company in Rockford, which eventually became Rockford Paint Manufacturing Company and later the Rockcote Paint Company. During the 1950s, Rockcote formed two subsidiaries – Color Corporation of America, which was created to license and sell color systems and related equipment to paint manufacturers, and Midwest Synthetics, which was formed to develop synthetic resins and resin-based varnishes. In 1958, Baudhuin merged Rockcote with Valspar. The new Valspar Corporation

was headquartered in Rockford, before relocating to Minneapolis in 1970. Valspar has more than 50 manufacturing plants in the world, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland and has joint ventures in China, South Africa and Japan. In 2011 Valspar sales reached $4 billion. “Valspar has performed very well financially, compared to its competitors,” said Anderson, who has worked in the Rockford plant for 26 years. “We’re a rather lean organization and that’s allowed us, as a division, to survive and continue to be more profitable.” Last year, the parent company invested $1.2 million on capital improvements at the Rockford plant – a four-story, 100-year-old building located in southwest Rockford, which produces 2.2 million gallons of paint each year. Small batch equipment was replaced by larger pieces of equipment. “We continue to respond to different challenges,” Anderson said. “Sometimes the challenge is in terms of workforce, other times it’s responding to some type of economical situation. In the past 10 years, it’s been a push for new technology. In this industry it’s important to reinvent yourself as a company.”

Reaching Out to the Community Valspar became a Rockford Chamber of Commerce member in 1927. Supporting the community also is important. For the last 23 years, Valspar has partnered with the Salvation Army, donating 16,000 gallons of paint and volunteers for a local paint-a-thon. “This community has done a fantastic job of supporting Valspar,” Anderson said. “From a company basis we love the idea of being in a position to reach out and give back to the community you operate in. It’s a neat thing to be involved in.”

VALSPAR Corporation Plant Manager: Will Anderson 1215 Nelson Blvd. Rockford, IL 815-987-3700



March 2012

Region welcomes amateur sports tournaments Each spring RACVB gears up for the “busy season” of welcoming amateur sports tournaments to the region. The Rockford Region long has been known as a leader in the amateur sports market. Tournaments and championships at Sportscore One and Two generate more than $15 million for our local economy each year and produce nearly $2 million in tax revenue for local municipalities. Amateur sports mean big business. That’s why it’s important to properly welcome these groups and their attendees.

Building Lasting Relationships Recently RACVB announced preparations for the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation state championships, which take place March 9 to 10 at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The tournament brings more than 1,500 athletes, coaches and fans to the Rockford Region, generating more than $350,000 each year for area businesses. This is the 10th consecutive year the Rockford Region will host this event; and they’ll be back through 2014. Also, the Illinois High School Association Girls State Bowling Tournament returned to the Rockford Region for the 20th time, Feb. 10 to 11. Soccer’s Puma Champion Cup, hosted by the Rockford Raptors, will return for the 10th year this April. Rockford began hosting the event in 2003, when it was known as the Spring Fling.

Service is Key So what makes Rockford special? According to event organizers, one big reason is the commitment to service put forth by RACVB, its hospitality partners and the entire community. “IKWF chooses to return to Rockford because we are continually impressed by the partnerships and relationships developed with RACVB and BMO Harris Bank Center. Our organization

John Groh

has worked with RACVB many venues over the past few decades and Rockford is at the top. Our athletes and fans are welcomed with open arms by the hotels, restaurants and the rest of the community,” said IKWF event organizer Gene Lee.

Everyone Has a Role Organizations including RACVB, the RAVE Authority, and area hoteliers play an official role hosting and coordinating events. Others play an informal and important part by welcoming visitors to their businesses and establishments and letting groups know how important they are to our region. What takes an event from great to exceptional is not the competition itself. It’s what happens off the turf and away from the mats that makes the difference. It’s the hotel clerk that takes a moment to suggest a favorite local restaurant, or the cleaning staff that stops to ask about the big game. It’s the wait staff that keeps up a genuine smile while tackling a large order, or the person at the next gas pump willing to provide helpful directions. It’s the sign in the retail shop’s front window or on the marquee extending a warm welcome to our visitors. You can help welcome visitors by ensuring your frontline staff is prepared for this year’s tournament season. Familiarize yourself with our website, gorockford. com, download the GoRockford iPhone or Droid app or sign up for our weekly “What’s Happening” email by emailing John Groh is president/CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The views expressed are those of Groh’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


March 2012 theVoice


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Essential business process #1: Getting paid Streamlining your system from quotes to cash At the end of the day, running a financially successful business requires the ability to convert quotes into cash. Why, then, does it seem that most businesses approach this as an afterthought? While they seem to understand the importance of such processes as marketing (to create awareness), sales (to call on identified prospects) and delivery (to produce a product or service), it’s as though many assume that payment for those activities will take care of itself. But it never does. By failing to have a process in place for converting quotes to cash, we leave our very survival to chance. As a result, significant and unnecessary loss is incurred everyday by businesses who avoid this critical issue. I think some of this avoidance is because it’s simply no fun building a process to effectively produce a quote, accept a P.O., write an order, invoice the customer, deliver the invoice to the customer, and then collect on that invoice. Perhaps there’s also a lack of awareness of how available technologies can greatly simplify such a process.

Converting Quotes to Cash Since business survival ultimately depends on getting paid, I think it’s worth taking a look at. Here are what I’ve found to be the five main touch points of the “quote to cash” process, and the ways in which technology plays a role. Customer and Contact Information. The first step is to have a solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution in place. This solution should allow for all employees to view and edit relevant customer information, such as order history, contracts in place, customer authorization levels, and communication history. Quoting System. Is each salesperson taking the time to build individual quotes in Excel or Word or are you using a streamlined quoting system that ties your product catalog and your CRM system together? The ideal situation that is not too difficult to achieve allows a salesperson to go into the CRM system and build a quote without re-entering contact information or part descriptions. This also points to the fact that the CRM system should reach into the product catalog to pull out the items being quoted. The quote should be stored in the CRM system and be accessible to all employees needing it. Convert Quote to Order. Now that the customer has agreed to purchase from you, are you able simply to convert the quote to an order or does someone else have to enter all of the order information

Tim Ancona Ticomix, Inc.

into another system? Bear in mind, duplicate entry is expensive and prone to error. If your business is a service business, can the quote be easily converted to a service ticket that is automatically assigned to the correct employee resource? Convert Order to Invoice. Upon completion of the service ticket or delivery of the products ordered, how is that order converted to an invoice? Again, this should be an automated process with little or no human intervention except maybe final approval before release to the customer. Also, is your invoicing system smart enough to determine how the invoice will be delivered to the customer? It used to be that all invoices were mailed. Today, it is likely that you deliver a lot of your invoices via e-mail or maybe fax. Can your system deliver the invoice for you via the correct method without human decision-making or intervention? Automate Collection (as much as possible). Your business needs consistent automated guidelines to pursue cash. Namely, there should be automated e-mail reminders that go to customers who have not paid, and those reminders should follow a course of escalation based on the needs of your business. Of course, you will need to make some regular calls to collect certain outstanding invoices, but that’s only after automated attempts have proven unsuccessful.

Remember, “Cash is King” So many businesses have failed not because they didn’t have a great product or great market, but because they didn’t manage the process of getting paid. In fact, the ability to generate cash is what separates the winners from the losers in business. And it’s not a one-time fix either. Inasmuch as Ticomix has helped many businesses automate their processes to improve cash flow over the years, we currently are undergoing a reengineering process ourselves to make necessary improvements. I’ve learned that the ability to see from the beginning to the end of the quote to cash process is an everevolving skill, but it’s the key to fueling the growth and ensuring the success of any commercial enterprise. Tim Ancona is president/CEO of nationally known technology firm Ticomix, Inc., Loves Park. The views expressed are those of Ancona’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


March 2012



Guest Perspective INSIGHT

What’s going on every day at your business? Integrated systems can offer information An unfortunate side effect of difficult economic times is that business owners find themselves in need of implementing or upgrading their business security at a time when they are attempting to keep expenditures to a minimum. The balancing act between meeting budgets and providing adequate protection for any business, large or small, has been made easier by innovations in the electronic security industry that give “more bang for your buck.” Let’s take a look at two staples of the electronic security industry: security alarm systems and video surveillance systems. Of course, both do the bulk of their work in deterring crime and providing evidence if needed. However, with a closer look, we can see how recent innovations and a little creativity can provide savings that can have significant impact on the bottom line for any business.

System Integration Provides Access Control Would upgrading your system pay for itself in telephone bill savings alone? Integrated burglar and fire alarm systems now operate as one security system, eliminating extra equipment and installation costs and no longer requiring the one, maybe two, telephone lines per building they used to demand. New systems operate with Internet and/ or cellular communication, and the cost is significantly lower than maintaining landlines for security systems. Along with burglar and fire detection, access control typically is integrated into new alarm systems -- eliminating the need and expense of an additional system, while providing these useful and costeffective benefits: ■■ Access control to the building or certain areas, such as supply rooms -preventing unauthorized access or access outside of designated hours. This can eliminate shrinkage of office supplies, retail or warehouse products, and the protection of private documents. ■■ Documentation of employees’ arrival and departure times, including late-toopen, early-to-close, ensuring that both business hours and payroll hours are accurate. ■■ Eliminating the need to rekey doors when an employee is terminated by simply deleting their access control card or key fob. Further features of the integrated alarm system that are available include: ■■ Energy management through automation. Lights, lawn sprinklers and other systems can be controlled, even by remote access. ■■ Detecting water and high/low interior

temperatures to help catch issues early, before major damage occurs to the facility or product due to water, thaw or freeze.

those applications might be, an in-depth consultation with a security professional should include a walk-through of the facility inside and out, and a discussion addressing these questions and more:

■■ Are there products or materials that have a high street value? ■■ Is the business planning any expansions, remodels or rearranging of space? What does the future hold for that business?

Suzanne Ainsworth, CAT1, is vice president, sales & marketing, at Service Security Technologies, Inc., Loves Park.

■■ What are the day-to-day operations of the business?

Insight Into Day-to-Day Business Using Surveillance

■■ How do employees, visitors or customers enter and exit the building?

Video surveillance offers forensic evidence in case a crime occurs, in addition to the inherent deterrent effect that visible cameras provide. Surveillance systems also offer insight into the day-to-day events that occur at a business, providing valuable information that can result in a tremendous savings and reducing liability exposure. Loss prevention is an obvious use for surveillance, but when management is away, cameras serve as a second set of eyes for business owners. Images give insight into:

■■ Are there times when only one employee is on duty?

■■ Customer service: How are employees handling customers? How long is a customer in your place of business before the employee acknowledges them? How does your employee handle multiple customers at once? ■■ Are procedures adhered to when management is not present? ■■ Are there safety violations that could result in injury to an employee? ■■ Are staffing levels appropriate for the amount of activity during each shift? Could fewer employees handle the same amount of work? ■■ Are employees punching their own time cards? ■■ Were deliveries received correctly? ■■ Are monetary transactions being handled correctly? ■■ Is there loitering in areas of your facility by employees or others? ■■ Are service providers performing as contracted? Are they on site as long as they say they were?

Questions to Consider Surveillance now can be viewed live from computer, smart phone or tablet as well as remote searching and replaying archives -- giving business owners or managers eyes-on access 24/7. The individual business may have many more applications for a security or surveillance system. To find out what

Suzanne Ainsworth Service Security Technologies, Inc.

■■ Are there other concerns the business owner or operations manager has? A top-notch security professional will take plenty of time to get to know a business before making recommendations regarding an alarm and/or surveillance system. The information gleaned from a thorough understanding of a business will not only assist in the design of a new system or upgrade to a current system, but ensure that the system is future-proof so it doesn’t become obsolete in a short time and can grow with the business. Furthermore, the security professional can make suggestions to give business owners more return on their security dollars investment at a time when every penny counts.

■■ Controlling the security system remotely by text message, smart phone, computer or tablet. Status messages and updates allow business owners to be on top of the happenings at their business even while away.

■■ Worker productivity: Are employees at their work stations? Are they engaged in business-related activities? Are they spending an unusual amount of time in break areas?

for flooding or water seepage?

■■ Are there seasonal or shift differences in operations?

■■ Where are deliveries made? ■■ Where are sensitive documents or valuable records kept? ■■ Is the business subject to privacy law?

■■ Are there products that depend on consistent temperature? ■■ Does the building have any potential

The views expressed are those of Ainsworth’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


March 2012


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Avoid the pain of phone and Internet interruptions Most small companies have experienced the pain of losing their phone or Internet connectivity. Weather conditions, cable cuts, equipment failures and many other factors can contribute to interruptions of communication. While most small businesses understand the value of backing up their data, many don’t have a way to reach that data or communicate with the rest of the world if their Internet or phone services are interrupted. It can be very frustrating, as often orders are lost to competition, customer service fails, and work comes to a standstill. Usually, thousands of dollars are lost each time communications are interrupted. Over the past few years, several factors have changed, which have allowed many small businesses to implement great disaster recovery (redundancy) for their phone, Internet or other data services.

Availability of Low-Cost Alternatives Most companies still rely on landline phone and Internet connections for good reason. They generally are very efficient and cost-effective methods of transmitting communication. Cable providers, wireless providers and SIP trunk (virtual phone lines typically delivered through the Internet) providers have emerged in the market with several solutions that can be added to existing infrastructure to create redundancy for both voice and data, including Internet connectivity. These solutions often are much less expensive than most would expect and can help create an alternative pathway to the Internet and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). For example, it is not uncommon that a backup Internet connection can be added for less than $75 per month and additional phone connections can be added for less than $30 per concurrent call required. Often, organizations that market these services aim at replacing your existing communications services. I’m suggesting you consider these emerging alternatives in addition to your existing services, rather than as replacements. These alternative connections usually use a different route into the building, meaning that there is a low likelihood that the primary and secondary routes will be interrupted at the same time. I call this “true end-to-end redundancy.”

Affordability of Equipment that Can Accept Multiple Connections The cost of the equipment at the customer’s premise also is a factor. In recent years, the cost of firewalls that will accept two or more Internet connections has substantially decreased. On the phone equipment side, many phone systems also have substantially come down in price. Companies increasingly

are finding that they can Brad Lynde implement a new Lynde Consulting phone system with much less capital outlay than they would expect. Low interest financing often is provided by the manufacturers, making these options even more attractive. What’s more interesting is often when organizations begin looking into these solutions, they find that their existing equipment is capable of accepting more than one Internet or phone handoff. Often new equipment is not necessary to implement a redundant solution.

Cost of Telecommunications Services Has Decreased With the bundling of services, new technology, and the generally soft telecommunications market, many organizations have found that they are able to reduce the cost of their primary services without reducing the quantity or effectiveness of those services. Often these savings are more than sufficient to implement any additional redundant services and/or the equipment they may require to complete a service. In many cases, organizations are finding they can reduce cost, improve their service, and implement truly redundant solutions without increasing their budget and with little or no capital outlay.

How Should You Evaluate Your Options? IT Resource: What it would take to add a device that will accept two Internet (data) connections? Make sure to have them check to see if your existing equipment is already capable of this. Phone System Vendor: Will my current phone system support an alternative handoff for failover or what it would cost to implement new equipment that will? Phone Company: Will the products I use automatically failover in the event of an interruption, or if similar products are available within my current budget? Check to see if you are receiving the best products and pricing currently available for your needs. There also are good communications consulting companies in the area that can provide a no-risk assessment of all of this at once. If you look into this for your company, you might just find that a good communications disaster recovery plan is more within your reach than you would have expected. Brad Lynde is a telecommunications consultant and president of Lynde Consulting, Loves Park. The views expressed are those of Lynde’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Collecting E-Waste Rock River Environmental Services has registered with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as a “collector” of electronic waste. In accordance with IEPA regulations, a fee cannot be charged to customers who bring electronic waste to a collector location. As such, the public may drop off electronic waste at any the following Rock River Environmental Services locations – free of charge. Free drop-off service is limited to 10 items. For businesses or individuals with more than 10 items, arrangements must be made. All of the Rock River Environmental Services locations below can provide curbside or location specific pick up service. Call for pricing.




Gills Freeport Disposal 735 N. Van Buren 815-233-5644

Northern Illinois Disposal Services

MDC Environmental 1050 Greenlee St. 815-568-7274

Princeton Illinois Valley Waste Services 1858 Peggy Lane 866-875-2293

Rockford Rock River Disposal 4002 S. Main St. 815-965-2489 Winnebago Landfill 8403 Lindenwood Road 815-965-2489 Rock River Environmental Services 5450 Wansford Way 815-965-2489

340 West Adams St. 800-930-7321




March 2012

Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Going, Going, Gone! Three lighting mainstays, the T12 fluorescent, halogen and incandescent lamps, soon will be discontinued. Why is this happening? When is it happening? What steps do you need to take to be in compliance? How do LED lamps play a part? In 2007 the Energy Independence and Security Act issued new energy efficiency standards for lighting. These standards, enforced by the Department of Energy, go into effect July 14, 2012. Lamps affected include T12 fluorescent, incandescent and reflector lamps in both halogen and incandescent. The biggest change is a required 25 percent increase in energy efficiency of light bulbs. As of July 14, 2012, the eliminated products cannot be manufactured in, nor imported to the United States. Existing inventories of the affected products can be sold until depleted. T12 fluorescent lamps are being replaced with T8 and/or T5 lamps. Incandescent lamps could not meet the required 25 percent increase in efficiency,

so a phased elimination of this lighting Patti Thayer Thayer Lighting, Inc. source began in January, 2012. Halogen lamps that are affected include the following standard halogen shapes: PAR20 R20 PAR30 PAR30LN.

Now What? There is good news in the midst of these changes. Lighting products that meet the new energy efficiency requirements are available now and many qualify for ComEd rebate incentive programs. The rebate incentive programs are at an all-time high. After March 31, 2012, incentives will be reduced and eventually eliminated. Make the change now while the rebates are still available. Patti Thayer is president of Thayer Lighting, Inc., The views expressed are those of Thayer’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.



March 2012


Rockford Chamber, ThePensionSpecialists, Ltd hosts

401(k) Retirement Symposium for area employers, April 24 “How will 401(k) Emerge? America’s Employer-Driven Private Retirement System; Conversations About “Next Generation Retirement Plans” is the theme for a top-level symposium to address many facets of an effective 401(k) retirement system for private sector employers. The half-day symposium will feature two of the most respected national experts on employer retirement plan development and will provide attendees with key insights into their own plans. In addition, it will offer models for compliance, how to achieve key objectives for employer and employees, and out-of-the-box concepts for developing an effective plan.

Hear from the Experts The United States faces an impending crisis of worker retirement shortfalls. Chamber members and financial executives are invited to a rare opportunity for business leaders to hear America’s foremost authorities discuss how employers can drive a successful U.S. retirement system. The featured experts are: Fred Reish, one of “The Best Lawyers in America.” Reish is an ERISA expert and highly sought speaker. In 2011, he was selected by PLANADVISER magazine as one of the 5 Legends of the retirement industry, and by PLANSPONSOR magazine as one of the 15 Legends in the development of retirement plans. 401kWire consistently has selected him as one of the 401(k) Industry’s Most Influential Persons. He has written four books, more than 350 articles and a monthly column for PLANSPONSOR magazine. Ted Benna, president of the 401(k) Association, is known as the “Father of 401(k).” Benna created and gained IRS approval for the first 401(k) plan. Money magazine selected him as one of eight individuals for its special 20th Anniversary Issue Hall of Fame. Business Insurance named him as one of the four People of the Century. Benna

has authored four books. The latest is “401(k) for Dummies.” Joel Radakovitz, one of the most highly credentialed retirement experts in the United States, is president of ThePensionSpecialists, Ltd. (TPS), founded in Rockford in 1987. He has 34 years of industry experience. Radakovitz entered the business in 1978. (The same year 401(k) was enacted into law.) He began consulting in Rockford in 1982 and moved to Rockford in 1987. His first office was a mere 750 square feet. TPS now has 28 employees and $3.2 million in annual revenue. The company partners with hundreds of investment professionals to design and administer plans focused on participant success. It serves more than 900 retirement plans nationally, covering nearly 30,000 participants. Apollo Lupescu has a Ph.D. in economics and is a vice president at Dimensional Fund Advisors. He has served in a variety of roles in the U.S. State Department and frequently speaks at industry events across the country. He will address the current state of both the world and U.S. economies, and discuss other events that impact retirement plan fiduciary decisions.

Who Should Attend The target audience includes business owners, C-Suite members, benefits and plan managers, risk manager, lawyers, financial experts and accountants, as well as other key executives and decision-makers. The symposium is presented in partnership by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and ThePensionSpecialists, Ltd. Event sponsors include Blackhawk Bank, SwedishAmerican Health System, Reno Zahm LLP, Principal Financial Group, Ticomix, Mainstay InvestmentsNew York Life, Williams-Manny and WIPFLI. Endorsing sponsors include EBANI, ICPAS – Northern Chapter and SHRM. Education credits will be issued for certain professions.

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce and ThePensionSpecialists, Ltd. invite you to a Symposium

How will 401(k) Emerge? Giovanni’s Restaurant and Convention Center Tuesday, April 24 | 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Complimentary to attendees. Registration is required. Space may be limited. To register visit, event registration page. More program and speaker information also is available at the website.



March 2012 theVoice


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Ten common mistakes made by new Internet marketers Meet business goals while engaging, entertaining and educating Internet marketing is an exciting, yet complex industry. Using search engines, social media and websites to meet business goals while engaging, entertaining and educating a target audience involves an intricate series of interactions and experiences that require an understanding of and appreciation for Internet marketing strategy and tactics. As with any complicated subject, mistakes are bound to happen. Some are innocent. Some may cause irreparable damage to your company or brand. If you’re new to Internet marketing, you’ll want to read these 10 common mistakes made by new Internet marketers:

1. Tactics Without Strategy. Many of the tools available to Internet marketers are either cheap or free. As a result, many new marketers are tempted to use them all at once. Successful Internet marketers begin with a strategy that identifies the goals of a campaign, the target audience and other key planning elements. Only then

do they choose their tactics. Remember: tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

2. Not Knowing Your Audience. Not knowing your audience is a rookie mistake for marketers. How can you expect to appeal to someone if you don’t know who they are? Really take the time to figure out what your ideal customer or audience looks like. Tools such as Google’s Ad Planner and Microsoft’s adCenter Labs can help you develop a greater understanding of the demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer.

3. Speaking Before Listening. Internet marketing has reduced the cost to publish your thoughts and ideas to the masses to nearly nothing. As a result, some Internet marketers (both new and experienced) launch a website or social media presence without listening to their audience first. What types of questions does your ideal customer have? What problems can you

solve for them? Do your homework by using one of the many online listening tools and only then should begin to share your message.

4. Ignoring Web Analytics. Internet marketing has brought an unprecedented level of measurement to marketing efforts. Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics can tell you how many people came to your website, how they got there and what they did to move the needle on your marketing campaign. Ignore your web analytics at your own peril.

5. Chasing Meaningless Numbers. New Internet marketers (and experienced ones, for that matter) who don’t ignore web analytics also can make the mistake of chasing after the wrong metrics within their web analytics tool. Great online marketing campaigns consist of both the proper tactics and the appropriate metrics. Avoid useless web metrics and instead focus on the ones that best measure your campaign.

6. Building on Rented Land. Would you pay money to build a house on land you only rented? Of course not. The same should be true with your Internet marketing efforts. Don’t depend on your Facebook page or free website hosting packages to carry your marketing efforts. At the center of your online brand should be a website hosted on a domain name that you own. Things change quickly on the Internet. Don’t put your entire online marketing strategy at risk investing all your resources into websites and social networks that you don’t own.

7. Thinking in Silos. Although Internet marketing disciplines such as social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and web analytics all come with their own set of strategies and best practices, to think of them as completely separate is missing the big picture. The efforts of search and social are highly inter-related, and you can’t measure either very well without web analytics. New Internet marketers should view online marketing as a system of multiple disciplines working in concert to achieve the end result. As a result, you need to have at least a basic understanding of all Internet marketing channels, even if one doesn’t pertain to your specific role.

8. Stopping the Learning Process. You’d be hard-pressed to find an industry that is changing as quickly

Josh Braaten as is Internet Rasmussen College marketing. As a result, continuing education is not optional. There are countless blogs, certification courses and even Internet marketing degrees to keep you current on the everevolving world of online marketing. The day you stop learning in Internet marketing is the day you should start thinking about a new industry.

9. Missing Out on Testing Opportunities. With Internet marketing comes the power to test your ideas. Why commit to one approach when you can be constantly trying out new ideas and seeing how they perform? Despite best practices, research and even focus groups, you’ll never know for sure unless you test. Usability testing and conversion optimization are two examples of the tests you could be running to prove what works best for your customers. Don’t just guess. Test.

10. Failing to Make Social Connections. Mass media may still allow you to reach the largest audience, but television and radio often fail to connect marketers with the most relevant audiences. Take the time to research who the big names and major influences are in social media for your specific area of interest. Creating and fostering relationships with these folks can have a dramatic impact on your Internet marketing efforts, as they may end up sending you new leads and customers at a price (your time) far more cost-effective than advertising. These are just some of the common mistakes made by marketers, both new and experienced. And while it’s important to avoid mistakes where possible, the industry is simply evolving too quickly to avoid mistakes altogether. On the bright side, Internet marketing allows us to fail faster because all the tracking and analytics offer feedback in near real-time. New Internet marketers should be aware of the mistakes they can avoid and embrace the ones they make as opportunities for growth and learning. Josh Braaten is senior online marketing manager for Rasmussen College. He’s passionate about Internet marketing and blogs about SEO, Web Analytics and Squarespace websites on his personal blog, Big Picture Web. The views expressed are those of Braaten’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


March 2012 theVoice

FoCus on PRoFEssIonal sERVICEs

Rockford College PErSPECtiVE

navigating your story with a message map nellie Miller Rockford College

Marketing and communications professionals are in many ways storytellers. Whether the stories they tell unfold in television or in print, are 30 seconds in length or 5 inches wide by 5 inches tall, they tell the story of their company and its brand. While marketing departments do not always author these stories, they do serve two important roles - identifying their company’s narrative like a biographer and adding imagery to this narrative like an illustrator. But how do marketers begin to identify their organization’s compelling narrative and meaningful illustrations? Our society is inundated with message after message. Cutting through

the clutter in the world of advertising is no longer just about developing a clever tagline or a creative ad campaign. Instead, it’s about sharing clear and memorable messages with consistency and repetition. Enter a company’s Message Map. What better device for any type of navigational challenge – whether navigating road trips or marketing messages -- than a good, oldfashioned map?

telling the Company Story I had the privilege of learning from an industry expert by attending a seminar hosted by the Rockford Chamber back in April, 2008. Led by media expert and trainer Tripp Frohlichstein

Every organization no matter its size or industry has a story to tell, and that story shapes its brand and the interaction it has with stakeholders, customers, and prospective customers. of MediaMasters, Inc., this seminar introduced me to the Message Map, now one of my most coveted marketing tools. Simple in its design but complex in its significance, the Message Map is a one-page (or one-screen) overview of an organization’s most important messages for all of its audiences. Quite simply, the Message Map tells the story of a company and represents that infamous red dot noting, “you are here.” As instructed by Tripp, the Message Map has four important components or levels, and they include: Home Base > Positive Points > Positive Proof Points > Anecdotes. Let me explain each level.

touching home in Your Message Central to the map is your “home base” -- your single most significant message. The reference to “home” is important. Whenever talking about your company, you want to bring it back “home” -- your central message. What is this message? Is it your mission statement? Your vision statement? Or something else? Whatever this statement comprises, it is the number one statement you want audiences to know about your company. So, start with a blank piece of paper and write your home base message in the center. While your home base is your number one message, it does not stand alone. Reasons and real-life examples exist that explain and support your home base, so the rest of the map needs to represent those parts.

Bringing Your Story to life Surrounding home base are “positive points” or the top reasons that make the home base message true. Draw lines from the home base and then a circle at the end of each line. In each circle write one positive point. But again, these positive points don’t stand alone. So, from each positive point circle, draw another line and another circle. What proof explains each positive point? Each answer should be written in each new circle – these circles represent your “positive proof points.”

Lastly, what real-life examples exemplify the positive proof points? Draw a line from each positive proof point circle and add another circle. Write a statistic, a customer story, or etc. in each new circle. These last circles bring life to your map in the form of anecdotes.

Sharing Your Story Every organization no matter its size or industry has a story to tell, and that story shapes its brand and the interaction it has with stakeholders, customers, and prospective customers. A Message Map is the foundation for any company’s story and provides transparency and direction to that story. Just like your organization, your Message Map is a living and breathing entity. As your story grows and further develops, so does your Message Map. It is vital to revisit your Message Map on a regular basis to make sure it is current and authentic to your evolving story. The effectiveness of a Message Map lies in the adoption and use of it throughout your entire company. Your Message Map provides direction in identifying the clear and memorable messaging that your company needs to tell its story well, but just as important is the consistency and repetition of that story. By adopting an official Message Map and sharing it with all of your internal stakeholders, you not only are empowering all of your employees to tell your story, but they can now tell the same, consistent story. For people who may be navigationally challenged like me, I am happy to report that Message Maps are not dependent upon knowing where the direction north or south lies. Instead, they are dependent upon connecting your messages together to help you identify, define and uplift your unique story to the world. Nellie Miller is director of marketing at Rockford College. The views expressed are those of Miller’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.



February 2012


Tax law changes for 2011 federal tax returns Before you file your 2011 federal income tax return in 2012, you should be aware of a few important tax changes that took effect in 2011. Check before you file for updates on any new legislation that may affect your tax return. Due date of return. File your federal tax return by April 17, 2012. The due date is April 17, instead of April 15, because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia. New forms. In most cases, you must report your capital gains and losses on the new Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets. Then, you report certain totals from that form on Schedule D (Form 1040). If you had foreign financial assets in 2011, you may have to file the new Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets, with your return. Standard mileage rates. The 2011 rates for mileage are different for Jan. 1 to June 30 than for July 1 to Dec. 31. For business use of your car, you can deduct 51 cents a mile for miles driven the first half of the year and 55½ cents for the second half. Medical and moving mileage are both 19 cents per mile for the early half of the year and 23½ cents in the latter half. Standard deduction and exemptions increased. The standard deduction increased for some taxpayers who do not itemize deductions on IRS Schedule A (Form 1040). The amount depends on your filing status. The amount you can deduct for each exemption has increased $50 to $3,700 for 2011. Self-employed health insurance deduction. This deduction is no longer allowed on Schedule SE (Form 1040), but you can still take it on Form 1040, line 29. Alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount increased. The AMT exemption amount has increased to $48,450 ($74,450 if

married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er); $37,225 if married filing separately). Health savings accounts (HSAs) and Archer MSAs. The additional tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs not used for qualified medical expenses increased to 20 percent. Beginning in 2011, only prescribed





qualified medical expenses. Roth IRAs. If you converted or rolled over an amount from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA or designated Roth in 2010 and did not elect to report the taxable amount on your 2010 return, you generally must report half of it on your 2011 return and the rest on your 2012 return. Alternative motor vehicle credit. You can claim the alternative motor vehicle credit for a 2011 purchase only if the vehicle is a new fuel cell motor vehicle. First-time



The credit expired for most taxpayers for 2011. Some military personnel and members of the intelligence community can still claim the credit in 2011 for qualified purchases. Health Recent







amount of this credit, which pays qualified health insurance premiums for eligible individuals and their families. Participants who received the 65 percent tax credit in any month from March to December, 2011, may claim an additional 7.5 percent retroactive credit when they file their 2011 tax return. Mailing





changed the filing location for several areas. If you’re mailing a paper return, see the Form 1040 instructions for the correct address. Detailed information on these changes can be found at

April 2012 Special Sections Healthcare & Senior Living—Savvy After 55

Focus on Elder Services/Financial Services/Support Groups/Hospitals For information on advertising, call 815-




March 2012



Young Professionals

Income potential, diversity, volunteer opportunities Rockford’s YPs Ignite the Community Jazz Keyes IGNITE

IGNITE’s mission is to attract and retain young professionals to the Rockford area. In an attempt to make our city an appealing place for young aptitude, we first must understand what young people value, what amenities we need, and how we perceive the business market. Young professionals desire to live in a city that has high earning potential, a respect for diversity, educational opportunities, affordable housing, a booming downtown district, and a community that fosters volunteerism. With a deepened understanding of what young professionals need to be successful, IGNITE is striving to showcase Rockford as a thriving city that provides young professionals (YPs) with the same services as a big city.

We Have a Vision According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, “people between the ages of 25 to 34 are the most likely to start a business or be involved in other entrepreneurial activities.” GEM illustrates that 30.5 percent of individuals between the ages of 25 to 44 are involved with either starting a business or managing a new business. Rockford is an ideal city for young professionals dreaming to start their own businesses. I boast that we have all the necessary support to assist young entrepreneurs in bringing their imaginings into reality. IGNITE, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Rockford Area Economic Development Council, SCORE and EIGERlab all are great resources for potential business owners. For those YPs who are not interested in starting their own businesses but want to live in a city where they can

make a great income, there is potential to make a successful living in the city of Rockford. I know 275 young professionals who will agree.

universities, which provide aspiring and current young professionals access to advanced degrees and designations in the comforts of their own city.

No “Young Professional” Left Behind

Small Town with a Big City Feel

Young professionals not only desire monetary compensation, but also aspire to live in a city that encourages unity. YPs want to be part of an inclusive and welcoming community. Having a high tolerance for diversity is essential to the growth and development of Rockford. As young professionals in the Rockford area, we all may come from diverse backgrounds, study different doctrines, vote under opposite political parties, enjoy different genres of music, and have diverse cultural values. However, we all are connected by a common cause: We want the best for our city. Any young professional in this area or any potentially seeking to relocate to this area can rest assured that differences will be embraced by a community that understands we are all unique!

One distinct difference between small towns and major cities is thriving downtown neighborhoods. Although major cities are heavily congested and polluted, many YPs are willing to endure the negative aspects of bigger cities because of the misconception that metro cities offer values that cannot be found in ones that are smaller. Young professionals are desperately seeking the metropolitan appeal. Fortunately for YPs in Rockford, we have a booming downtown district that is welcoming to young adults. With the recent dedication to improving this sector of the city, we are the ideal domicile for young professionals. I purchased my home at 23 years old, and I know several friends and peers who are doing the same. While many YPs are renting small lofts and studios in downtown Chicago, Rockford’s young professionals are homeowners with the option to live in antiquestyled lofts and condos, if they prefer. We all have the same housing options at a more affordable cost, because our market is not over-saturated like major cities. By encouraging the migration of YPs to the downtown district, we will inaugurate a surge in commerce, a rise in real estate purchases, and a spike in patron of local businesses.

How Powerful is Knowledge? Educational attainment is one of the primary drivers of a region’s income and economic growth. A region with a well educated population experiences greater growth in per capita income. A region’s pool of human capital is measured by both educational attainment and occupations. In addition to welcoming educated individuals to this area, young adults are allotted the opportunity to obtain a higher education. Rockford has two local colleges and several satellite

For the Love of Humanity Young professionals are not strangers to volunteering and social

responsibility. Whether we are volunteering for the sake of resume building, developing leadership skills, forming professional networks, or maintaining a genuine aspiration to be a contributing factor in the community, young professionals are eager to be used as a vessel for community improvement. With an immense understanding of how important it is to offer “a helping hand,” young adults make up a large segment of the volunteering market. Young professionals realize that the benefits of volunteering are limitless. Rockford remains a city that warrants the relief of young volunteers. By permitting young professionals to undertake organization responsibilities, sit on boards, and share their skills, Rockford is confirming their value and faith in the ability of our future leaders. These types of relationships not only profit YPs and organizations or businesses, but most importantly, they benefit the members of the community. It is clear that YPs are vital to the growth and development of any community. By standing behind IGNITE’s efforts to attract and retain young talent to the Rockford area, you are backing a powerful initiative to make Rockford a marketplace commodity. It is essential to our restoration that we continue to furnish services that assist in retaining our current talent and alluring new talent. This city is a beautiful place to start a business, further your education, start a family and to call home. Help us IGNITE this community! For any questions, comments, concerns or ideas, email me at jazz@ Jazz Keyes is executive director of IGNITE.



March 2012

INSIGHT Guest Perspective

Readiness continues to rock! I must express my gratitude and pride in this community and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce for its show of support for the Rockford Public School District’s five Readiness Rocks initiatives. It’s obvious Rockford residents are not content to sit by and let the status quo continue. We want change for the better, and I’m confident we are well on our way. As a school district and as a community, we have created steady momentum to keep each rock rolling with a big push for College for All. The RPS 205 scholarship commitments of Rockford College and Judson College of $2 million and $1 million respectively, already have had a huge effect without one dollar being spent. Other organizations are reaching out, wanting to contribute to the scholarship pot. Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon!

Schools as 21st Century Learning Environments Preschool for All is equally important. Unfortunately, right now we just don’t have the room or the resources to offer it to every preschool-age child in Rockford. But, that’s already beginning to change. Once the school year ends, Rockford Sharefest will restore Dennis Elementary School, and it will be reopened as an early childhood center next fall, serving several hundred additional Rockford preschoolers wanting to get a jump start on their education and lifelong success. I must thank Rockford Sharefest and the awesome volunteers who already have transformed eight of our schools into superior learning environments. They have committed to making Dennis their next project, and I know it will turn out just as spectacular as the others! While we appreciate the work of volunteers such as those behind Sharefest, their efforts can only go so far. All of the schools in District 205 must be up to par with today’s standards and technology to ensure our children are prepared for the real world. School board members recently approved the transfer of $10 million to start a capital fund, however our deferred maintenance costs remain at $98 million. We need the community’s support in passing a bond referendum this fall to ensure all schools are optimal 21st Century Learning Environments. In doing so, there will be no increase in taxes, just maintaining where the tax levy rate is now.

More Time to Learn and Grow Seven Periods to Success has gained traction, as well. The board approved the addition of a seventh period to the school day, giving our children more of what they need — education. We recently

have proposed Dr. Robert Willis Rockford Public expanding the Schools creative and performing arts program, currently available only at Auburn High School and Ellis Arts Academy, to schools across the district. That curriculum will help prepare students who wish to continue on to a career in the arts, but also for those who simply wish to express their creative energies for an hour a day. Exposing children to the arts helps them develop an appreciation for all things creative. Remember, it’s not just dancers and actors who fill the seats at the Coronado and pay admission to the Rockford Art Museum. We want to produce young adults who are ready for and focused on a career path, but who also are well rounded and want to enjoy and support the arts for a lifetime.

To College and Beyond Career and College Readiness challenges all of our kids to prepare for what’s ahead. Our gifted program prepares high achieving students for college and beyond and is targeted for expansion. We have a long wait list of students who are eligible, but unable to enter the gifted program due to space restraints. We need to provide an education that accommodates all of our children’s needs and to do more of what we do well. We do gifted programming extremely well, ranking near the top in the state for student performance. Our gifted program will add hundreds of elementary and middle school seats this fall. We appreciate the Chamber of Commerce’s continued support of Rockford Public Schools. Thanks to the Chamber and community’s efforts to reinstate “zoned” elementary schools this year, the district already has saved more than 53,000 gallons of diesel fuel in busing, equating to nearly $175,000. That’s money that can be spent on education instead of being spent on transportation. RPS 250 Chief Operations Officer Todd Schmidt tells me we already are experiencing a return of students to RPS 205 from surrounding communities and from private schools this year. It’s a small uptick, but it’s a start. Thank you to the Chamber and its members for your efforts. They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, so let’s keep these rocks rolling! Robert Willis, Ph.D., is interim superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. The views expressed are those of Dr. Willis’ and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Small Business Survey Results Continued from page 2

As businesses look forward, attitudes about the future are also beginning to brighten. Thirty-four percent say the climate for small businesses like theirs is likely to improve over the next two years. This is a significant improvement from October, when only 23 percent said the environment was improving.

is a strong supporter of free enterprise. Ninety-eight





important in determining their vote – and 84 percent say it is very important.

The Debt and Deficit, Regulation and Taxes Economic uncertainty is still the overwhelming issue facing most small businesses, but there is increasing concern about the impact of regulation, and the federal debt and deficit. Almost one-half (49 percent), say regulation is a greater threat to their business than

The Hiring Outlook

taxation (29 percent) or litigation (6

As one would expect, 52 percent say economic uncertainty is among the top reasons they are not hiring. Additionally roughly one-third cites lack of sales as part of their hesitation. Thirty-six percent say uncertainty about what Washington will do next is one of the top two reasons they are not hiring, and 30 percent say they are not hiring because of the requirements in the health care bill.

regulation and the federal debt and

Washington’s impact on the economy What do small business owners want from Washington? The vast majority of small business owners would prefer that Washington simply “get out of the way” (82 percent) rather than offer a “helping hand” (10 percent). However, when voting for elected officials, small business owners want a candidate who

percent). Small business owners view deficit as equally threatening to their business (39 to 39 percent). Almost two-thirds of small business owners say the deficit and debt will have a threat to the success of their business. While only 22 percent say the debt and deficit poses an immediate threat to their businesses success, 42 percent say there is a long term threat. Perhaps for many of the reasons above, small businesses recognize the importance of politics in policies that impact their business. Out of small business members polled, the vast majority (93 percent) view the Chamber’s work in educating the public on political issues and candidates as valuable. n Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 2012


Regional, National Indicators THE ECONOMY U.S. Indicators

Midwest Manufacturing Output Increased

January, 2012

The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) increased 1.7 percent in December, to a seasonally adjusted level of 87.4 (2007 = 100). Regional output in November rose 8.4 percent from a year earlier, and national output increased 4.0 percent. Updated Jan. 30, 2012

Consumer Price Index

 0.2 percent

Unemployment Rate

8.3 percent

Payroll Employment

 243,000

Average Hourly Earnings

 $0.04

Producer Price Index

 0.1 percent

Employment Cost Index

 0.4 percent (fourth quarter, 2011)


 0.7 percent (fourth quarter, 2011)

U.S. Import Price Index

 0.3 percent

U.S. Export Price Index

 0.2 percent

Monthly Index

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment Rates—Region, State, Nation Change/Mo. Change/Yr.

% Change

Oct 11

Nov 11

Dec 11

Dec 10 - Dec 11

Chicago Mfg. Index








 14.8





 14.6





 12.1






National Index






Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Dec 2011

Nov 2011

Dec 2010





 0.6

 0.4





 0.5

 0.7

Feb. 21, 2012





 0.1

 0.5


United States




 0.1

 0.8

Population Clocks 313,056,254 Source: U.S. Census Bureau



Source: U.S. Department of Employment Security

Census Bureau reports post-reCession growtH in 10 of 11 serviCe seCtors

Who’s Minding the Kids? One-Third of Fathers with Working Wives Among fathers with a wife in the workforce, 32 percent were a regular source of care for their children under age 15, up from 26 percent in 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Among these fathers with preschool-age children, one in five was the primary caregiver.

otHer HigHligHts n In households with working moms, 30 percent of preschoolers were regularly cared for by grandparents, 29 percent by fathers and 12 percent by a sibling or other relative in spring, 2010. n Preschoolers with employed black and Hispanic mothers were more likely to be cared for by grandparents than fathers. Twenty-nine percent of black preschoolers were cared for by grandparents; 22 percent by fathers. A third of Hispanic preschoolers were regularly cared for by grandparents; 29 percent by fathers. n Among preschoolers of employed non-Hispanic white mothers, 30 percent were cared for by fathers; 29 percent by grandparents.

n Of the 21 million mothers who were employed in spring, 2010, onethird reported they paid for child care for at least one of their children. n Families with an employed mother and children younger than 15 paid an average of $138 per week for child care in 2010, up from $81 in 1985 (constant 2010 dollars). n Mothers with children under 5 were more likely to make child care payments than mothers who only had children between ages 5 and 14 (47 percent and 23 percent, respectively). n Families in poverty who paid for care in 2010 spent a greater proportion of their monthly income on child care than did families at or above the poverty line (40 percent compared with 7 percent). n Among all children, self-care was much more prevalent among middle school-age children: 30 percent of ages 12 to 14 regularly cared for themselves, and 10 percent of ages 5 to 11. Source: U.S. Census Bureau

otHer seCtors

Health care and social assistance revenue continued to increase for employer firms, rising to $1.9 trillion in 2010, an increase of 4.0 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau released Hospitals increased revenue up 4.5 in February its 2010 Service Annual percent from 2009. Nursing and Survey, which shows 10 of 11 of residential care facilities rose 4.4 the nation’s sectors showed an percent. increase in revenues for employer The finance and insurance sector firms between 2009 and 2010. Only had a small decline to $3.3 trillion the finance and insurance sector in revenues in 2010, decreasing showed a loss ($27.2 billion, a loss 0.8 percent from the prior year. of 0.8 percent). The figures are the Securities and commodity exchanges first findings from the survey to revenue decreased 1.5 percent, while track the revenues of services in miscellaneous intermediation revenue the December, 2007 to June, 2009 rose 16.0 percent. recession. The utilities sector showed estimated revenues of $501.7 billion, information an increase of 5.0 percent from $477.6 serviCes seCtor billion in 2009. The information sector increased The transportation and warehousing from $1.08 to $1.1 trillion. Within sector was $640.2 billion in 2010, up this sector, Internet publishing 7.6 percent from 2009. and broadcasting continued Arts, entertainment and recreation to see increased revenues, up increased 2.0 percent to $192 billion in 11.3 percent 2010. Television revenue. broadcasting increased 12.0 The real estate rental and leasing percent. Cable and subscription sector had total revenues of $356.0 other programming as well as billion, up 1.8 percent from 2009. New wireless telecommunications carriers subsectors added last year to this saw increases in revenue of 7.3 sector included real estate and lessors percent and 5.3 percent. Revenues of nonfinancial intangible assets. for newspaper and periodical The Service Annual Survey provides publishers; however, continued to the most comprehensive national fall. Newspaper publishers declined statistics available annually on service by 4.6 percent, and periodical activity in the United States. Since publishers declined 1.8 percent. 2009, the survey was expanded to Wired telecommunications carriers collect data for all service industries, continued to decline, falling 2.3 capturing 55 percent of U.S. gross percent. domestic product (GDP).



March 2012

Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Neighborhood centers align for success Leveraging resources to reduce costs, enhance services

As the importance of sustaining a healthy neighborhood continues to increase, so do efforts made by our community’s neighborhood centers. Neighborhood centers improve the quality of life for people who live, work, learn and play within their communities. Living near a neighborhood center means having ready access to a variety of affordable resources, programs and activities for all ages. Neighborhood centers reflect the needs and interests of those whom they serve. The options include: ■■ Access to technology centers and computer classes. ■■ Active and passive recreation and leisure. ■■ Employment training, literacy and GED classes. ■■ Affordable childcare. ■■ A safe harbor and supervised activities for youth and teens to learn. ■■ Mentoring, counseling and a variety family support services. ■■ A place to gather for cultural and social events. ■■ Free meals and neighborhood youth.



■■ Wellness programs with an emphasis on youth obesity.

The Challenge Over the past several years, neighborhood centers have faced the same challenges as many other community service providers as resources become scarcer and the demand for their services increase. A recent call to action, initiated by the United Way of Rock River Valley and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, brought area neighborhood

This past year, the centers were able to serve 150,000 individuals in seven neighborhood locations. center executive directors together to discuss the potential for collaboration and ways to sustain the vital services offered by neighborhood centers. As a result, the neighborhood center directors established a schedule of regular meetings, led by Pam Clark Reidenbach, Northern Illinois Center of Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE). The goal was to identify opportunities to consolidate and/or outsource back office functions and collectively leverage resources to reduce costs and/ or enhance services.

The Alliance The directors committed to join in a formal collaboration, now referred to as the Neighborhood Centers Alliance, which comprises Booker Washington Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, Harlem Community Center, Ken Rock Community Center and Northwest Community Center. The Rockford Park District joined the alliance to support the work of the neighborhood centers, as it complements the work of the park district by delivering quality recreation services to citizens. “The Rockford Park District is committed to delivering recreation services on a neighborhood level,” said Tim Dimke, the park district executive director. “We actively partner with community centers and organizations providing these needed services. By partnering and supporting these groups, we help them do what they do best, and together, we are able to give taxpayers a high return on their investment.” The alliance, with leadership

from NICNE, identified cooperative initiatives designed to achieve cost savings, reduced risk, and increased administrative sophistication. These initiatives included decreasing utility costs, increasing awareness on the changing roles of neighborhood centers, group purchasing, joint fundraising and staff training.

Decreasing Operational Costs Kyle Martinson, Rockford Park District purchasing department, met with directors to share information and options available to neighborhood centers for gas and electrical utility contracts. The result was $12,000 annually saved due to lower electrical costs. Rockford Park District Marketing Manager Denise Delanty addressed a common need for increased promotions with a workshop, which resulted in a two-page feature in the park district’s seasonal guidebook -- valued at $8,000. This extra market exposure greatly enhanced the promotion of the neighborhood centers’ after-school and summer recreation programs, which are critical to youth and families. “Being featured in the park district’s guidebook helped summer camp reach 100 percent capacity, from 60 percent when it was published,” said John Guth, Ken Rock Community Center executive director. “This was a win-win for everyone, especially families.”

Staff Training Sixty five staff from the neighborhood centers joined to continue their

Laurie Anderson Rockford Park District

professional development as they prepared to impact the lives of thousands of youth who would seek a summer camp experience. Connections were made and ideas shared as the highly motivated, young workforce participated in three training sessions: Conflict Resolution, First Aid & CPR/ AED and Active Games, led by Derricka Davis and Nikki Lynch, part of the park district’s community recreation team.

What Lies Ahead The demand for programs and services offered through the Neighborhood Centers Alliance continues to rise, as does the costs of doing business. To meet this demand, the alliance will continue on its collaborative path to leverage opportunities, increase visibility, and improve operating efficiency. This past year, the centers were able to serve 150,000 individuals in seven neighborhood locations. Alliance directors are committed to sustaining healthy neighborhoods through a collaborative approach to doing business that maximizes efficiencies, leverages additional resources and uses best practices in providing these critical community services. Final note: Mark your calendars for Oct. 11, 2012, and stay tuned for our upcoming joint fundraising event featuring Team Hoyt. Laurie Anderson, CTRS, is the manager of community & recreation services at the Rockford Park District. She co-facilitates the Neighborhood Centers Alliance. The views expressed are those of Anderson’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

State of the save the date


Featuring Winnebago County Chairman Scott Christiansen

Wednesday, April 25 11:30 am - 1 pm Best Western Clock Tower Resort & Conference Center 7801 E. State St., Rockford Sponsors: BMO Harris Bank (presenting) Humana (gold)


March 2012

Get to Know Your Ambassadors Name: Kay King Company: Servpro of Rockford Position: Marketing Specialist How long have you been an Ambassador? Three years What do you like most about being an Ambassador? I enjoy the relationships that we have developed among our members as well as the opportunity to welcome new members and greet at Chamber events. I also like visiting interesting places that I might otherwise not know about.

Member Category of the Month MEMBERSHIP The following is a listing of Rockford Chamber members highlighted in a specific industry.

Investments Alpine Bank McGladrey & Pullen LLP Pathfinder Wealth Management, Inc. RBC Wealth Management Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC


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Anderson Gary W. & Associates, Inc. Larson & Darby Group Richard L. Johnson Associates, Inc. SE Coady Architects LLC Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects

Real Estate Becker Realtors Dickerson & Nieman Realtors Gambino Realtors Home Builders, Inc. Gambino Realtors Lunde, Mike & Christine Smith Hurd Properties II, LLC IRent Real Estate Group, Inc. National Business & Industrial Centre, Inc. Rockford Area Realtors Saint Angel Real Estate & Insurance Agency Whitehead Inc., Realtors Whitehead, Inc. Realtors - Teri Watts

Real Estate, Appraisers Rally Appraisal, LLC

Real Estate, Brokerage First Rockford Group Orput Companies Inc. Ray King REALTOR Whitehead Inc., Realtors

Real Estate, Corporate Relocation Gambino Realtors Home Builders, Inc. Hampton Properties (Leasing Office) Whitehead Inc., Realtors

Real Estate, Developers, Investors Alhark Corporation CBro, Ltd.

Fridh Corporation Hampton Properties (Leasing Office) Olson Enterprises LLC Orput Companies Inc.

Real Estate, Management Hampton Properties (Leasing Office) Orput Companies Inc.

Real Estate, Rental Service Twelfth Street Business Center

Title Companies HB Wilkinson Title Company Lakeshore Title Agency Metropolitan Title Agency NLT Title, LLC Title Underwriters Agency

Graphic Design Adams Letter Services, Inc./ Magnum Creative P S Designs & More, Inc. RyCOM

Mailing Services Adams Letter Services, Inc./ Magnum Creative Midwest Mailworks Inc.

Mailing Equipment Pitney Bowes

Printers Adams Letter Services, Inc./Magnum Creative Colorwave Graphics, LLC Johnson Group, A Deluxe Company LS Label Printing MS Two Graphics Meridian Midwest Mailworks Inc. Minuteman Press PIP Printing/Mencarini Enterprises Professional Graphics, Inc. Rockford Litho Center Listings for our loyalty categories are generated directly from the Business Directory based on the category designated by the member.

Member-to-member Loyalty Card Cut out and write your company name on the card below. Give it to the member you are doing business with to show your support of member-to-member business.



March 2012

Business Briefs BUSINESS BRIEFS Rockford Public Library hosts “Still I Rise,” a writing contest on women’s voting rights with entries accepted from March 5 to 16 at Bookworm Bakery & Café, 6685 E. State St. Contest entry form and rules at library locations or www.rockfordpubliclibrary. org. Cash prizes for first, second and third place. Call 815-965-7606.

Patients receiving inpatient treatment at Rosecrance Health Network’s adult campus on Harrison Avenue and staff thanked veterans who otherwise might be forgotten on Valentine’s Day with more than 120 hand-made cards in an initiative started by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to reach out to patients in VA medical centers. Cards were given to vets in the Rosecrance program. Others were delivered to the VFW Post in Loves Park.

BMO Harris Bank Center ranked fifth in the world for minor league sports stadiums in the category of minor league/junior hockey in Stadium Journey magazine. Discovery Center Museum was named one of the 12 Best Children’s Museums in the Nation by Forbes. It was the only Illinois museum named in the article and served almost 255,000 people in 2011 -- a new record. Savant Capital Management in Rockford retained PR Etc., to continue overseeing its local, regional and national public relations initiatives. PR Etc., helped Savant gain visibility in publications like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, BusinessWeek, among others. KMK Media Group, Inc., moved its headquarters to 716 N. Church St., in downtown Rockford. KMK developed a new website for Miller, Buettner & Parrott, Inc., at www.mbbenefits. net, and was hired by Rockford-based Dial Machine to develop a company website and marketing collateral. The Rockford Housing Authority broke ground on Phase One of Jane’s Nobel Village at the former Jane Addams public housing complex. The 16-unit apartment building, four four-unit buildings and three duplexes will be privately managed, and serve a mixed-income population of about 48 elderly and individuals with disabilities. Argyle Marketing Company completed a corporate website and social media strategy for Rockford MELD at Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau was recognized as the SportsEvents Media Group’s “2012 Readers’ Choice Award” winner. It also received the 2011 United States Specialty Sports Association’s World Series Appreciation award. A definitive agreement may result in Ottawa Regional Hospital & Healthcare Center joining OSF HealthCare System. Ottawa Regional Hospital, to be renamed OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center, is expected to join the Catholic system later this spring. More than 250 people attended the GED Fair, hosted by the Boone and Winnebago Counties Workforce Investment Board, in January at Rockford Career College, including 77 individuals who took a GED pre-test

Rockford Memorial Hospital began monitoring by intensivist physicians and critical care specialists, thanks to a partnership with Advanced ICU Care®, the nation’s largest independent tele-ICU provider. to determine further preparation they might need. SwedishAmerican Health System was named to the Top 100 list of the nation’s most integrated health care networks by IMS Health Inc., the leading provider of information services for the health care industry. Valley Expo and Displays celebrates its 40th year of business in 2012. The business was founded by Robert and Louella Nelson in 1972 and currently is owned and managed by brothers Tom and Mike Nelson. The Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium, of which Winnebago County Health Department is a member, won a national bronze award for excellence in public health communication in the category Websites and New Media for the development of Woodward, Inc., reported financial results for its first quarter of fiscal 2012 with net sales of $407.9 million, an increase of 12 percent from $365.1 million in the first quarter of last year. The Woodward board approved a dividend of $0.08 per share, an increase of 14 percent from $0.07 per share, payable on March 1, 2012 to stockholders of record as of Feb. 16, 2012. theRYANcompany, better known as RyCOM, is working on the new branding effort for the Rockton Chamber of Commerce, including designing the new brand and website.

A new partnership between Rosecrance and Crusader Community Health moves towards integrating behavioral health and primary care. Rosecrance has embedded a mental health counselor at the Crusader clinic on West State Street for on-the-spot referrals for mental health services from nurse practitioners and doctors. Loomis International hired Argyle Marketing Company to design promotional banners for an upcoming trade show in Europe. Rockford Wedding Professionals Association hired Argyle to develop a brochure and membership directory to promote its services. Exothermics Inc., a division of Eclipse Inc., in Toledo, Ohio, received equipment certificates by the United States Department of Agriculture for USDA-accepted designs of indirect air heater and air-to-air heat exchangers for the dairy industry. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center received a Community Arts Access grant of $1,000 from the Rockford Area Arts Council for “Songs of the World,” with a world premiere of Donald Fraser’s choral/orchestral song cycle “Songs of the World” in a public concert and three composition workshops for local music students. The Kiwanis Club of Rockford announced a major gift of $75,000 to Crusader Community Health for “Baby Basics and More” classes for expectant parents.

Rock Valley Credit Union is offering a new private lending solution called Credit Union Student Choice. Visit to access the private student loan solution.

Ethnic Heritage Museum celebrates woman’s history in March and April with six ethnic galleries honoring local woman of good character and contributions through leadership, work ethics and volunteerism. Visit www.

The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons granted three-year accreditation with commendation to SwedishAmerican Hospital’s cancer program.

Certified arborists from Tree Care Enterprises, Inc., pruned large oak and other trees in the Rhododendron & Azalea Dell at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden on Valentine’s Day.

Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful now offers access to information on recycling “just about everything” with its Green Guide at www.knib. org/recycling/green-guide, including responsible disposal of household items. Lifescape Community Services and La Voz Latina Hispanic Resource Development Center collaborated to donate an electric mobility scooter to La Voz Latina client Jesus Loyola for his mother with arthritis in her legs and problems with her knees. SwedishAmerican Hospital’s was accredited for paramedic education by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Currently, Loyola University Medical Center is the only other accredited program in Illinois offering an accredited associate degree option. PR Etc., oversaw ribbon-cutting activities for the GFS Marketplace store opening in Knoxville, Tenn. It chose Carrie Lynn Children’s Center for pro bono public relations services. Each year it chooses a nonprofit organization for pro bono services. Impact Advisors, LLC, a health care technology consulting firm in Naperville, (Ill.), retained PR Etc., for local, regional and national public relations initiatives. Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois partnered with Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois to sell cookies every weekend through March 18 at five store locations in northern Illinois: Rockford, Machesney Park, Sterling, Huntley and McHenry. Visit The Girl Scouts have a free Cookie Locator mobile app for the nearest cookie booth searchable by GPS location or zip code at **GSCookies (**472665437) by mobile phone or “Cookie Locator” in the iPhone App Store or Android Marketplace. Super Shredders, a division of the Barbara Olson Center of Hope, has teamed with Behr Iron & Metal to help businesses and individuals safely destroy confidential information from computer hard drives and recycle metal components. Call Lisa at 815964-9275.


March 2012


the News IN Members THEin NEWS

1. Jamie Cassel

2. Justin Burke

3. Chris Paul

4. Angela Falese

5. Brent Nelson

6. Thomas R. Cross

7. Kelly Colgan Hartweg

8. Scott Brenan

9. Jennifer Wood

10. James R. Savio

11. Cary Proper

12. Kelley Peterson

13. Vershon A. Allen

14. Rick Ziebart

15. Thomas G. Peterson

16. Steve Wilkins

17. Lucille Owens

18. Kathy Perry

19. Steve Burke

20. Cathy Krusey

Board Appointments Remedies Renewing Lives welcomed Kathy Vigna, Hamilton Sundstrand, to its board. Jamie Cassel (1), partner and attorney at Reno & Zahm, joined the Rockford Park District Foundation board for a three-year term beginning January, 2012. The Alliance® elected Bill Jollie, vice president of health care service and value, WEA Trust, Madison, Wis., to its board. The Rockford Park District Foundation welcomed five new board members: Jamie Cassel, Reno & Zahm LLP; Theodore Ingrassia; Pam Maher, KMK Media Group, Inc.; Gary Marzorati, William Charles, Ltd., and Melissa Seeling, Beefaroo, Inc. Justin Burke (2), Alpine Bank, was promoted to branch manager and officer at the Gateway Center Branch in Belvidere. Chris Paul (3) joined as a mortgage banker. QCi Restoration, a local fire and flood restoration company, hired Angela Falese (4) as marketing specialist. Trisha West joined TBC Net, Inc., as sales administrator.

New Hires, Promotions, Retirements Brent Nelson (5) joined the Meridian sales team in downtown Rockford, covering customers in Winnebago and Boone counties. Rockford Rescue Mission hired Michael “Mick” Manne as director of development. Rockford Mutual Insurance Company hired Kent B. Shantz, CIC, as vice president, operations. Ben Hutchinson joined meteorologist Candice King as a new anchor of WTVO-TV Channel 17 morning news from 5 to 7 a.m. Thomas R. Cross (6) joined the law firm of Holmstrom & Kennedy, P.C., as an associate attorney.

SwedishAmerican Health System celebrated on Jan. 20 Arianna SepedaDominguez, the 100th baby born on the hospital’s 100th anniversary year. Also shown are parents Brittnee Sepeda and Ernesto Dominguez. A record 2,577 babies were born at the hospital in 2011. Rebecca Smith joined First National Bank and Trust Co., as a credit analyst. CliftonLarsonAllen LLP promoted Holly Brown and Jonathan Lapworth to managers in the Rockford office. Holly Stear joined as senior associate. The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau hired Mike Peppers and Charles Schweinler as sales manager and marketing coordinator; two vacant positions. First National Bank and Trust Co., hired Dawn Fields as a credit analyst II. Kelly Colgan Hartweg (7) joined Valley Expo and Displays as a national sales executive to expand the company’s Chicago and national client base. William Charles Real Estate hired Kerstin Grey as marketing/sales associate. Matthew Dargene joined U.S. Bank as assistant vice president of commercial banking at 1107 E. State St. Sikich LLP public accounting and advisory firm added Scott Brenan (8) Jennifer Wood (9), CPA, partner, director of international tax services, and James R. Savio (10), CPA, MAS, partner, government services team.

Napleton Auto Werks promoted Cary Proper (11) to service manager.

Program, received the first-annual Crusader Community Advocate Award.

Kelley Peterson (12) joined Barbara Olson Center of Hope as lead qualified support professional.

Kelly Johnson, CFP®, financial advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Rockford, was authorized by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to use the certification mark CFP®.

Vershon A. Allen (13) was named director of Brightside Adult Day Service, Lifescape Community Services. The Greater Rockford Airport Authority board of commissioners hired Mike Dunn as director of economic development and government affairs at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. Production Tool & Supply hired Rick Ziebart (14) as vice president and general manager. Thomas G. Peterson (15), Ameriprise Financial, earned the Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor (APMA) designation.

Employee/Community Recognitions, Awards Steve Wilkins (16), corporate pricing manager at Eclipse, Inc., earned his Certified Pricing Professional (CPP) designation. Comfort Keepers of Northwestern Illinois awarded in-home caregiver Lucille Owens (17) with the 2011 Comfort Keeper of the Year Award. Joe Flynn, CRM of Rockford Mutual Insurance Company, was honored by Certified Risk Managers International for leadership and professionalism in risk management. Kathy Perry (18), case manager in the Crusader Health Care to the Homeless

The Vikings in Black team of Svenhard Skupien, Bjorn Skupien and Thorfinn Skupien won the 26th annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition in January with its sculpture “Pocahontas.” The Rockford East High School team of Luzanna Kowalczyk, Aurora Macek, Gavin Barlow and Shanton Staten and advisor John DeRango won the high school division with “There’s No Pizza Like Snow Pizza.” Rockford Symphony Orchestra and Rock Valley College announced the 2012 Concerto Competition winners: Joanna Nerius, violin (first prize), Paul Milius, trumpet (second prize) and Thomas Wu, clarinet (third prize). Judson University men’s soccer coach Steve Burke (19) received the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association Coaching award through the National Christian College Athletic Association and the 2011 Frank Jewel award for character and coaching ability. Cathy Krusey (20), RN, pediatric outpatient surgery unit, was named Rockford Health System’s 2011 Employee of the Year. Carter Davis (21) and Oliva Tang (22) lead the Keith Country Day School Cougars, with two first place medals each in the World Youth in Science and



March 2012

the News IN Members THEin NEWS

21. Carter Davis

22. Oliva Tang

23. Mike Stine

24. Joshua Van Horn

25. Troil Vail

26. Deb Ovist

27. Jared Fewell

29. Joylyn Weibel

30. Robert Fredrickson

31. Jan Ohlander

32. Jack Ward

33. Ryan Enke, M.D.

34. Sean MacKenzie, M.D.

35. Clayton Lindsey

Engineering regional championship at Rock Valley College. The Keith Cougars won the competition for the 12th consecutive year with a perfect score of 500 and 19 individual medals. Stillman Bank held a gift basket drawing at Belvidere Chamber of Commerce’s BoCo Expo with winner, Mary Graham, Belvidere. Mike Stine (23) and Joshua Van Horn (24), Napleton Auto Werks, were certified as Audi brand specialists. Troil Vail (25) achieved MercedesBenz Master Certification.

Four Blackhawk Bank mortgage loan originators were recognized for surpassing $18 million and more in sales in 2011 at the annual employee meeting in January: Deb Ovist (26), Jared Fewell (27), Margie Nowak (28) and Joylyn Weibel (29). Reno & Zahm partners Jamie Cassel (1), Robert Fredrickson (30), Jan Ohlander (31) and Jack Ward (32) were named to the 2012 list of Leading Lawyers. Ohlander was recognized as one of the Top Ten downstate and statewide consumer lawyers, based on Leading Lawyers Network surveys.

Of GENERAL INTEREST Dr. Marie Walker, Rockford Spine Center, was the only physician outside of Mayo Clinic to present at the Multidisciplinary Mayo Spine Conference in January in Phoenix. David Roach, Heather Roach and Stacy Wallace, LDR Cleaning & Restoration, attended Insights: The DKI Conference and Trade Show in January in Austin, Texas. Ryan Enke, M.D. (33), Rockford Orthopedic Associates, Ltd., coauthored an article in the February,

28. Margie Nowak

2012 issue of Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management (JCOM), “Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Common Running Injuries.” Sean MacKenzie, M.D. (34), authored an article in the December, 2011 issue, “Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporotic Fractures of the Spine.” Clayton Lindsey (35), partner at WilliamsMcCarthy LLP, Oregon (Ill.), was featured in the real estate, construction and environmental edition of Leading Lawyers magazine, on his success in agribusiness law.


March 2012


Community Events COMMUNITY Thursday, March 1

Tuesday, March 6

Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Rockford College kicks off its Leadership Certificate ProgramAdvancement Course from 1:30 to 4 p.m., March 1, 8, 15 and 22. Instructor is Andrea Gibbs, Act2 Strategists. Call 815-394-4384.

Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Rockford College kicks off its Faith-Based Leadership Certificate Program, Money Matters: Financial Management for Effective Service, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., on March 6, 13, 20 and 27. Instructor is Bill Lewis, Rockford College. Call 815-394-4384.

Friday, March 2 Womanspace, 3333 Maria Linden Dr., presents an Opening Reception for Future Woman: Becoming from 5:30 to 8 p.m., running in gallery 1 from March 5 to April 12. Visit womanspace-rockford. org. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center presents Debussy, le magnifique, at 7:30 p.m., at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St., in downtown Rockford. Pre-concert lecture by Michael Beert, director of the Rock Valley College Community Orchestra, at 6:45 p.m. Visit or call 815-964-9713. Byron Forest Preserve District presents Spotlight on the Moons at 7 p.m., at Weiskopf Observatory. Free. Register at 815-234-8535, ext. 200, by March 1.

Saturday, March 3 University of Illinois Extension presents Gardening for Food and Fun at 7:30 a.m., featuring columnist, talk radio host and television personality, Mike Nowak, at NIU Rockford. Visit web. or call 815986-4357. Rock Valley College hosts Career Open Houses from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Stenstrom Center for Career Education, 4151 Samuelson Road, and 6349 Falcon Road. Call 815921-4091 or e-mail A.Lipnitzky@ Rock Town Strangers opens for Kashmir, 9 to 10 p.m., at Tilted Kilt Elgin/Highlands Music Lounge. Visit Cruise ’12, the SwedishAmerican Foundation’s annual fundraising gala, takes place at 6:30 p.m., at Giovanni’s Restaurant and Convention Center to benefit SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center to open in 2013. Silent auction and dancing to Rockford DJ Steve Shannon. Call 815-961-2496. Keith Country Day School, 1 Jacoby Place, presents an Information Fair with tours from 10 a.m. to noon. Call 815-399-8850 or visit

QCi Restoration presents an Ethics course from 9 a.m. to noon at 1155 Bowes Road in Elgin (Ill). Free. Includes snacks, lunch and a facility tour. Contact Angela Falese at angelaf@qcirestoration. com or 847-738-1805.

Wednesday, March 7 SCORE Counselor’s to America’s Small Business presents Using Technology to Generate More Sales from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at EIGERlab, 605 Fulton Ave. Register at

Thursday, March 8 Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Rockford College kicks off its Proposal Writing Workshop from 2 to 4:30 p.m., 5100 E. State St., room 122. Instructor is David A. Buchen, grant coordinator at Rock Valley College. Call 815-394-4384.

Friday, March 9 Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church St., presents Irish Pub Night with Joe Cullen and his Irish Band, 7 to 10 p.m. “Pub grub” from Murphy’s Pub and Grill, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Reservations by March 7 at 815-9649713.

Saturday, March 10 Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., hosts a Bubble Festival with bubble celebrity Geoffrey Akins and activities in the Bubble-Palooza Playground. Museum admission extra. Tickets at 815-963-6769. RAMP presents IEP Goals and Objectives, an informational workshop for parents of children with disabilities from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Orangeville United Methodist Church, 111 S. East St., in Orangeville. Free. Bring a copy of your child’s IEP. Contact 815-233-1128 or Boys & Girls Club of Rockford presents The Smash, a table tennis event with area businessmen and women, at 6:30 p.m., at Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Call 815-972-5973.

Monday, March 12

Monday, March 5

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center presents Music On Main featuring Women In Music at 5:30 p.m., at the historic Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., in downtown Rockford. Visit or call 815-9649713.

WQRF FOX 39 presents the first live, local 7 to 9 a.m., newscast, Fox 39 News in the Morning, anchored by Sachelle Saunders and First Warn Weather meteorologist Candice King.

Rockford Public Library, 215 N. Wyman St., presents Hire Me! March 14, 21 and 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Call 815965-7606.

Sunday, March 4 Byron Forest Preserve District presents XX Skiing from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Meet at Jarrett Center. Register at 815234-8535, ext. 200.

Wednesday, March 14

SCORE Counselor’s to America’s Small Business presents Using Technology to Improve Cash Flow from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at EIGERlab, 605 Fulton Ave. Register at

Thursday, March 15 SCORE Counselor’s to America’s Small Business presents Business Roundtable Open Forum Discussion 7:30 to 9 a.m., at Winnebago County Office, 404 Elm St., fifth floor. Free. Register at

Saturday, March 17 Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, presents Old River Tales, at 7:30 p.m. Actors will sing/act true stories about living in Rockford during the 1800s. To register call 815-397-9112 or visit MashUp Restaurant, 1601 N. Alpine Road, Edgebrook, hosts St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Guinness bread pudding and drink specials. Smokin’ Opie’s will perform at 8:30 p.m. Call 815-226-0212. Rockford Park District hosts a free Youth Sports Open House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and its annual Shamrock Skate from 2 to 4 p.m., at Carlson Ice Arena, 4150 N. Perryville Road. Call 815987-8800 or visit rockfordparkdistrict. org.

Saturday, March 24 Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois’ Diva Dress Sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center. Free admission. Proceeds fund the Jon Lundin Scholarship and the DoAnn Geiger Scholarship. Donate to the Diva Glam Auction at biddingforgood/ GoodwillDiva2012. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., hosts Nano Day from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with special demonstrations and hands-on projects on nanotechnology. Visit or call 815963-6769.

Wednesday, March 28 Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Rockford College presents Leadership Café at noon at Burpee Center. Ginnie Weckerly, human resources director at Goodwill Abilities Center, presents Work in a Small (or Nonexistent) HR Department. RSVP at least five days prior at 815-394-4384 or

Thursday, March 29

Tuesday, March 20

Rockford Public Library, 215 N. Wyman St., presents Finding Grants for a Non-Profit Organization from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Registration required at 815965-7606.

Rockford Public Library presents How Will We Pay for College? from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the east branch Friends of RPL Community Room, 6685 E. State St. Registration required at 815-9657606.

Northern Illinois University presents a Retail Leadership Expo from 5 to 8 p.m., at NIU Holmes Student Center, Duke Ellington Ballroom. No fee for students but pre-registration required at

Wednesday, March 21

Friday, March 30

Rock Valley College, 3301 N. Mulford Road, presents Introduction to Interior Decorating, on Wednesdays from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m., March 21 to May 9. Call 815-921-3900.

Rockford Symphony Orchestra presents SoundBites at noon at Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Country Club, 5151 Guilford Road, featuring Nanette Felix, principal harp, and Steven Larsen, music director. Call 815-965-0049 or visit

Womanspace presents a Lunch & Learn featuring Roseann Cannariato on Winnebago County Court Appointed Special Advocate from noon to 1 p.m., at 3333 Maria Linden Dr. Contact 815877-0118 or info@womanspace-rockfor. org or visit

Thursday, March 22 Ticomix, Inc., presents a Lunch & Learn: Using Microsoft Sharepoint for Better Information Management from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 5642 N. 2nd St., Loves Park. Free lunch for registered guests. Limited to first 18 registrations. Visit or call 779423-6200.

Friday, March 23 Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois’ third-annual Diva’s Night Out” Fashion Show takes place from 6 to 9 p.m., at Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center, 7801 E. State St., in Rockford. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, silent auction and fashion show. Tickets at or 815-987-6237.

Judson University presents the 2012 Imago Film Festival with writer, director and producer Steve Taylor as keynote speaker at 6 p.m. The festival takes place March 28 to 31 in the Marjorie Hall Thulin Performance Hall, Elgin, Ill., campus. Visit or email Rock Valley College presents Starry Night 2012 with the musical theme, Musicians Through the Decades, from 6 to 11 p.m., at Giovanni’s. Special appearances by “Elvis,” “the Beatles,” “Liberace,” “Dolly Parton,” and “Lady Gaga.” For reservations call 815-9214500. Satori Pathway LLC presents a Dinner Dance featuring Clutch Cargo to honor dementia caregivers from 6 to 11 p.m., at the Lombardi Club. Proceeds benefit a nursing scholarship fund and the Alzheimer’s Association. Call 815-3325566 or 815-395-2157.



March 2012

Members Caught on Digital ON DIGITAL

Kochi Japan, 7310 Walton St., Rockford, held a ribbon cutting on Dec. 17.

The Rockford Chamber’s Breakfast Buzz, “Sales Techniques/Perspectives to Improve Your Bottom Line,” drew more than 100 in the early morning hours of Feb. 8 to Rock Valley College, Woodward Technology Center. The event was sponsored by McGladrey.

Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 26 to celebrate the relocation of Goodwill’s Mission Services/Administration Building to 615 N. Longwood St., in Rockford. Salvino’s, 7801 E State St., Rockford, (Clock Tower Resort) held a ribbon cutting on Feb. 10.

Crimson Pointe, 7130 Crimson Ridge Dr., an assisted living retirement community in Rockford, hosted a full-day grand reopening and service fair on Jan. 17 with a live radio broadcast from 100.5 NTA FM.

Choice Furniture Inc., 1350 S. Alpine Road, Rockford, held a ribbon cutting on Jan. 27.

KP Counseling, Inc./Four Corners Wellness, 6392 Linden Road, Rockford, held a ribbon cutting on Feb. 17.

The Treasure Shop Florist, 1274 S Alpine Rd. held a ribbon cutting on Jan. 27.


March 2012


New Chamber Members MEMBERS Best Events Catering Premier Caterer in Wisconsin/Illinois Stateline, Providing Experience & Expertise for Weddings, Meetings, Seminars, Banquets and Parties 1741 Adel St. Janesville, WI 53546 Rod Oksuita 608-755-4123

Choice Furniture, Inc. Variety of Furniture at a Reasonable Price 1350 S. Alpine Road, 61108 Ali Sahori 815-226-2300

Citizens for John M. Cabello Citizens for John M. Cabello for State Representative 68th District 324 N. Pier Dr. Machesney Park, IL 61115 John Cabello 815-621-2196

DeSoto House Hotel Unsurpassed Meeting, Banquet and Wedding Facilities in the Midst of Historical Picturesque Galena 230 S. Main St. Galena, IL 61036 Debbie Bertucci


Giordano’s Home of the World Famous Stuffed Pizza, Fresh Salads, Pasta and Classic Italian Entrees, Desserts and Full Bar. Business Catering and Delivery Anywhere! 333 Executive Pkwy., 61107 Joe Centeno 815-398-5700

Now & Then Antiques and Collectibles Offering an Array of Unique or Unusual Antiques and Collectible Items 2520 Charles St., 61108 Bruce Williams 815-316-1088

PG Display Designers and Producers of Displays, Exhibits, Screen Printed Graphics and Large Format Digital Graphics 4801 Shepherd Trail, 61103 Tim Farrell 815-637-2500

Pizza Hut – South Alpine Family Restaurant Offering Fresh Pizzas, Breadstix and Hot Wings. All-

Membership Renewals Thank you to the members who renewed with the Rockford Chamber in January, 2012. Accurate Accounting and Payroll Services, LLC A-Sign Designs Barnes International, Inc. Barron Metal Finishing, LLC Bell Harbour Condo Association Bella Luna Bakery Boone and Winnebago Counties Workforce Investment Board C & E Specialties, Inc. Camp Grant Museum City Fire Fighters Union Local 413 COMTECH Corporation Creative Benefit Solutions Custom Gear & Machine, Inc. Dedicated Fleet Services Entre Computer Solutions First Benefits Group Forest Glen Apartments Forest Hills Country Club Freeway Rockford, Inc., Subsidiary of Freeway Corporation Gemini Computer Systems, Inc. Golden Apple Foundation Hanson Professional Services Inc. Judson University Kelley Williamson Company Kitchens by Diane KMK Media Group, Inc. Leading Lawyers Network Lincoln Rent-All & Sales, Inc. Martin Group Maxim Healthcare Services

Midwest Stitch Mulford Park Apartments Northern Illinois Health Plan Orput Companies Inc. Perspectives Pierce Laminated Products, Inc. Prorok Law Office, P.C. PS Designs & More, Inc. RAC Adjustment Company Rally Appraisal, LLC Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity Inc. Rockford Bank & Trust Co. Rockford Broach, Inc. Rockford Christian Schools Rockford Health Council Rockford Manufacturing Group Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects Skyward Promotions Staff On Site, Inc. The Observer Village Profile Winnebago County Board Chairman’s Office Youth Services Network TLC Construction U.S. Cellular URS Energy & Construction Windmill Hill LC Winnebago County Clerk of the Circuit Court, 17th Judicial Circuit YWCA of Rockford

You-Can-Eat Lunch Buffet with Salad Bar. Carry-Out and Delivery. 2560 S. Alpine Road, 61108 Elliott Stubbendick 815-399-0128

QCI Restoration Fire & Flood Restoration & Fire Damage 1155 Bowes Road Elgin, IL 60123 Angela Falese 847-738-1805

Regal Investment Advisors Providing Independent and Unbiased Investment Advice to Individuals & Business Owners 124 N. Water St., Ste. 306, 61107 H. Kent Heise 815-877-4787

Sherwin-Williams – Rockford Powder Plant & DSC Manufacturer of Powder Coatings 4472 Technology Dr., 61109 Lakeysha Garrett 815-398-4089

State Farm Insurance – David Zierke Insurance and Financial Services 1633 N. Alpine Road, 61107 David Zierke 815-395-1700

Sugarjones Inc. Rockford’s First and Only Dessert Bakery - Cup Cakes, Cookies, Dessert Bars, Custom Cakes 1710 Rural St., Ste. A, 61107 Kathryn Pomerene 815-708-0801

T. R. Excavating Inc. Exacation Contractor, Sewer Water Storm Utilities 3902 Blackhawk Road, 61109

Tim Boes 815-874-2145

The Treasure Shop Florist Flowers and Gifts for All Occasions 1274 S. Alpine Road, 61108 Bill Brinkley 815-397-6930

TMG Energy Source Sharing My Experiences and Energy Management Knowledge with Commercial & Residential Clients 1601 S. Indiana Ave., Ste. 304 Chicago, IL 60616 Merrill Mangalasseril 630-677-7499

Touch Points Reflexology Offering Reflexology — Refreshing Your Body, Mind & Soul. Located in Bianca’s Salon & Spa. 1325 Boilvin Ave., 61103 Shelly Garcia 815-997-7552

U Save Liquor Array of Wines and Different Liquor and Speciality Beers 7904 N. 2nd St. Machesney Park, IL 61115 Jigar Patel 815-637-6162

Verizon Wireless Smart Phones, Basic Phones, Tablet and Internet Devices and More 6387 E. State St., 61108 Steven McDowell 815-395-0150

Verizon Wireless Smart Phones, Basic Phones, Tablet and Internet Devices and More 1523 West Lane Road Machesney Park, IL 61115 Bill Craft 815-282-3385

March 2012 Member Anniversaries Thank you to the members who celebrate their anniversaries with the Rockford Chamber in March, 2012.

70-Year Member

10-Year MemberS

Associated Bank

Gunite Corporation Northpoint Benefit Group Inc. StatelineBusiness (Greater Beloit Publishing Co.)

35-Year Members The Furst Group McClure Engineering Associates, Inc. Rockford Mass Transit District Rockford Mass Transit District/Paratransit

15-Year Member Rock Valley Packaging, Inc.

5-Year MemberS DHS Division of Rehabilitation Services Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois Hurd Properties II, LLC MS2 Midland General Contractors, Inc. Shirley G. Sievers, Geriatric Consultant



Upcoming Chamber Events March, 2012 Friday, March 2 Rockford Chamber of Commerce 16th Congressional Candidate Meet and Greet Breakfast Congressman Adam Kinzinger, 7:30 a.m., Franchesco’s Ristorante,7128 Spring Creek Rd., Rockford, IL. Register at

Tuesday, March 6 Business Women’s Council Luncheon featuring a new series, “What about Rockford?” showcasing what Rockford has to offer from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road. Monica Krysztopa, vice president, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, will present. AAIM EA is the sponsor.

Wednesday, March 7 IGNITE hosts In Studio Publicity Portraits with Brian Thomas Photography, Inc., 4230 Charles St., for $20 (IGNITE members only) from 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. A $100 value. Sittings will take about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, March 21 4 - 8 pm Giovanni’s 610 Bell School Road, Rockford

Celebration of Manufacturing Dinner & Expo 2012

Keynote speaker is Sagar Patel, president of Aircraft Turbine Systems on Woodward’s long-range strategic investment and growth strategy, and keys to success. More than 50 area manufacturing booths and the presentation of the Manzullo Business Catalyst and Manufacturer of the Year awards. Sponsors: QPS Employment Group (presenting) Humana (manufacturing awards) Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (gold) Reinhard Boerner Van Deuren P.C. (gold) Rockford Bank & Trust Co. (gold) CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (silver) Thayer Lighting, Inc. (silver) SVA Certified Public Accountants (bronze)

Friday, March 9 Rockford Chamber of Commerce 16th Congressional Candidate Meet and Greet Breakfast Congressman Don Manzullo, 9:00 a.m., Franchesco’s Ristorante,7128 Spring Creek Rd., Rockford, IL. Register at

Tuesday, March 13 Advantage Club – Superstars, noon to 1 p.m., Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Denise Wimmer, Alliance Insurance,

Wednesday, March 14 Breakfast Buzz, 7:30 to 9 a.m., Rock Valley College, Woodward Technology Center, 3301 N. Mulford Road. Presenter is Mike Brown, YMCA of Rock River Valley. Sponsored by McGladrey. Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts, Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, tlwatts@ or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc., Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Stacy Wallace, LDR Construction Services, Inc. 815-874-7066 or swallace@

Tuesday, March 27 Advantage Club – Superstars, noon to 1 p.m., Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Denise Wimmer, Alliance Insurance, denise@

Wednesday, March 28 Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts, Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, tlwatts@ or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc.,


March 2012

Advertisers Index ADVERTISERS Alpine Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 11 Broadmoor Agency, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Brian Thomas Photography, Inc. . . . . 36 Comcast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Entré Computer Solutions . . . . . . . . . . 16 First National Bank and Trust Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 HR Green, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 IMEC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Larson & Darby. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Leading Lawyer Network. . . . . . . . . . . 21 Lynde Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 McGladrey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Napleton Auto Werks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Oliver Close, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Riverside Community Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Rockford Bank & Trust. . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Rockford Chamber of Commerce. . . . . . . . . . . 6, 27, 28, 31

Chamber Staff / Call 815-987-8100

Direct Line

Rockford Data Management . . . . . . . . 19 Rockford Health System. . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Select Telecom & Tech. . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Sikich LLP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Small Business Development Center. . 11 Stillman Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 TDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 ThePensionSpecialists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Ticomix. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15, 17, 19 Thayer Lighting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 25 The DataCenter Data Protection . . . . . 12 WilliamsMcCarthy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Van Galder Bus A Coach USA Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Einar K. Forsman, President & CEO.................................... 815-316-4304 Heidi Garner, Executive Assistant to the President.................. 815-316-4312 Doug Hessong, Director of Publications & Technology............. 815-316-4338 Lynette Jacques, Advertising and Sponsorship Executive......... 815-316-4317

Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Stacy Wallace, LDR Construction Services, Inc. 815-874-7066 or swallace@

Vee Jevremovic, Manager of Education Programs and Events.. .. 815-316-4337

April, 2012

Diane Navickis, Membership Development Manager............... 815-316-4315

Tuesday, April 10 Advantage Club – Superstars, noon to 1 p.m., Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Denise Wimmer, Alliance Insurance, denise@

Wednesday, April 11 Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts, Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, tlwatts@ or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc., Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Stacy Wallace, LDR Construction Services, Inc. 815-874-7066 or swallace@

Friday, April 13 Rockford Chamber Government Affairs Council Meeting from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St. Founded on saving businesses money, promoting a strong local economy and protecting the favorable business climate of Rockford. Learn how to join by contacting Heidi Garner, 815-316-4312.

Tuesday, April 24 Advantage Club – Superstars, noon to 1 p.m., Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Denise Wimmer, Alliance Insurance, denise@

Wednesday, April 25 Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry

Jazzminne Keyes, Ignite Director....................................... 815-316-4335 Cyndie Landis, Financial Assistant.. .................................... 815-316-4300 Joy Moriarty, V.P. Finance.. ............................................... 815-316-4316 Stacy Mullins, Director of Events.. ...................................... 815-316-4302 Joan Sundvall, Membership Contact Coordinator................... 815-316-4320 Valerie Tippitt, Membership Development Manager................. 815-316-4336

Chamber Board of Directors & Officers Executive Committee Chairman of the Board Mike Broski Entré Computer Solutions Chairman Elect Richard Walsh SwedishAmerican Health System Vice Chair Patti Thayer Thayer Lighting, Inc. Treasurer Larry Bridgeland Mid-City Office Products Immediate Past Chairman Pam Maher KMK Media Group

Directors Romero Bennett Blue Sky Insurance Agency, Inc.

Andrew Benson Benson Stone Company, Inc. Walt Boothe BMO Harris Bank N.A. Ryan Brauns Rockford Consulting & Brokerage Paul Callighan ComEd, An Exelon Company Joe Castrogiovanni Giovanni’s, Inc.

Paul McCann Stanley Steemer

Tim White Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation

Pat Morrow Alpine Bank

Jennifer Wood Sikich LLP

Michael Mastroianni Rock Valley College

Mark Peterson CBL Associates Cherry Vale Peter Ricker Rockford Register Star Timothy Rollins WilliamsMcCarthy

J Chapman Maverick Media of Rockford LLC

Daniel Saavedra Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects

Rena Cotsones Northern Illinois University

Henry Seybold Rockford Health System

Darlene Furst Furst Staffing

Pat Shaw RSM McGladrey

Penelope Lechtenberg Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Somchan Thatsanaphon K-I Machine Tool & Production Inc.

Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts, Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, tlwatts@ or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc., Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Stacy Wallace, LDR Construction Services, Inc. 815-874-7066 or swallace@

Richard Zumwalt OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center

Ex-Officio Directors Janyce Fadden Rockford Area Economic Development Council Einar K. Forsman President & CEO, Rockford Chamber of Commerce John Groh Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Wednesday, April 25 11:30 am - 1 pm Best Western Clock Tower Resort & Conference Center 7801 E. State St., Rockford

State of the County Sponsors: BMO Harris Bank (presenting) Humana (gold)

March Voice 2012  

March Voice 2012

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