Page 1

the April 2020 | Volume 33 | No. 4





of the rockford business community

UPCOMING CHAMBER EVENTS Please add these events to your calendar!

By Eileen McDargh, CEO Chief Energy Officer The Resiliency Group


Make no mistake, COVID-19 is very serious and requires precautions, attention, and vigilance. However, fear and panic run counter to what will help us move through this global threat. Stockpiling toilet paper and water, incessant reading and watching multiple news sources, and staying caught up on social media only serves to underscore the feeling of panic. It reminds me of the time my husband insisted I become licensed to carry mace when I’d walk thru campus at night. There had never been an incident and I walked fearless; until I started carrying the mace. Then, every shadow, noise, or movement struck terror in my heart. In short, my brain now imagined all sorts of horrors. I was no longer able to rationally and literally move forward.

Resilience lesson #1: Stop living in the projected future that envisions the worst. Imagined fear paralyzes us. Follow the recommended guidelines for logical preparation and personal care and hygiene. Then, stop. Live in today. Now. It’s the only place of power you have. Resilience lesson #2: Stop feeding your brain with too much information. Find two news outlets (one national and one local) that you trust and let the others go. You do

not need to know everything. Be a smart consumer of information. If you are brave, don’t watch television news. Remember that the 24-hour news stations have to fill up the air and pundits pontificate! Let it go. Resilience lesson #3: Action is the antidote for anxiety. Put yourself in gear first. Take a walk outside. Go for a run. Exercise in whatever way gets your heart moving from exertion and not from fear. Try yoga. You can Continued on page 10

Critical FFCRA Guidance for Employers


Join the Chamber on Social Media

The Voice is online at rockfordchamber.com

On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (“FFCRA”). The Act states that the sick pay and leave provisions discussed would be effective “no later than” 15 days after the Act was signed (i.e., no later than April 2, 2020). However, late in the day on March 24, the U.S. Department of Labor clarified that the paid leave provisions will be effective on April 1, 2020. The Act provides for certain tax credits to pay for mandated sick pay and leave, but beware: payment of sick pay or leave that is not mandated will not qualify for the tax credits. Also, many employers have been concerned about the timing of the credits. On March 20, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that employers would be able to immediately recoup funds for the benefit payments by keeping a portion of the deposits it otherwise would pay

as part of their employees’ federal, social security and Medicare taxes. Here is a summary of what the Act provides for employers and employees: ■ Up to Eighty (80) hours of paid sick leave (or the equivalent of two weeks for part-time employees) paid at the employee’s “regular rate” for many workers affected by the coronavirus. ■ Up to twelve (12) weeks of jobprotected leave for parents caring for a child under age 18 due to school closures, daycare closures, or childcare disruptions. The first ten (10) days of this leave may be without pay; the remainder is with pay at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate. However, the eighty (80) hours of paid sick leave discussed above may in many situations run concurrently with the expanded leave described in this paragraph. Continued on page 3

Visit www.rockfordchamber.com to get the latest details for each event. See you on the links!

MONDAY, MAY 18 Golf Classic Rockford Country Club

THURSDAY, JUNE 25 Pow(H)er Embassy Suites

THURSDAY, JULY 16 Celebration of Manufacturing Embassy Suites

THURSDAY, JULY 23 Courage & Conflict Hoffman House

THURSDAY, AUGUST 6 Celebration of Leadership Cherry Valley Fire District

THURSDAY, AUGUST 13 Strategic Doing: 10 Skills for Agile Leadership Hoffman House

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 Heartbeat of Healthcare Forest Hills Country Club

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 Likeable Leadership Hoffman House

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 Confluence Honors Illinois Bank & Trust Pavilion

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15 Mayor’s Business Address Cliffbreakers

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19 Education Outlook Radisson

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10 Behind the Badge: The State of Public Safety Tebala Event Center


Golf Classic

MONDAY, MAY 18 Rockford Country Club For more information, see page 23 SPONSORED BY


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020


MICHELE PETRIE Rockford Chamber Board Chairman

Bringing out the best

Hello membership. Especially at times like these, I like to start off with some positive highlights: ■ Thank you to all first responders and community leaders working to support our citizens and businesses during this turbulent time. ■ Congratulations to Rockford Chamber Board members Jean Crosby and Rob Young on successful Winnebago County Board primaries. ■ I posted a LinkedIn story of a distillery in Rockford. Seeing an opportunity, they converted the distillery from making alcohol to making hand sanitizer. The product is going out to first responders for free. There are thousands of stories like this. When you see them, be sure to post them on LinkedIn so we can see the American spirit in full force. I read an article several years ago that my mind keeps coming back to given the stress COVID-19 virus has put on the world. The article talked

about periods in life where tragic and chaotic events create “life-quakes.” We have all had them (the loss of family members, a house catches on fire, an illness of a child) and after these events we likely experienced a period of growth as a result. But while you are in the thick of the “quake” here are some things to keep in mind: ■ Remember this too shall pass. Sometimes awful things happen to people who have done nothing wrong. Sometimes you have no control over very important parts of your life. Always remember times of incredible uncertainty don’t last forever. ■ You are only as strong as you will let your self be. Turn off (or at the very least recognize) those negative voices in your own head. As an old friend once told me “learn to separate the ice cream from the horse poop.” ■ Never let other people dictate your reality. Years ago, Muhammed Ali was losing a highly publicized

The article talked about periods in life where tragic and chaotic events create “life-quakes.” fight to Joe Frazier. He was knocked down and when the referee came over to give him the 10 count, the crowd ruled him out. He eventually stood up. Later Howard Cosell asked him how he was able to stand up and he said “the ground is no place for a champion.” It’s important that you decide “there are things I can do,” “actions I can take,” so you are not crippled by fear, judgement, loss, or sadness. ■ Turn it over. Learning how to ask for help, letting that help arrive in whatever form it chooses and then trusting that help will change your outcomes. When I was in college, when I had a paper due, I would complete the work and then worry or lose sleep over what my grade would be. As I gained more experience, I realized I’d done the heavy lifting to the best of my ability

and obsessing over the result wasn’t going to change anything. It wasn’t easy but I began to sleep. Remember humans aren’t the only avenues for help - walk your dog, go to church, meditate, write in a journal. ■ Wayne Gretzky once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” You are strong. You have experience. Tap into that power and get back to making decisions. No decision has to be perfect. Make decisions and stay engaged so you can actively tweak them along the way. As we sift through the turbulent impact of COVID-19 over the next weeks, be sure to tap into your experience and strength to endure this uncertain time in our lives. Be safe and be kind.

Digital services available while you stay-in-place Rockford Public Library is closed for walk-ins and all events canceled for the time being, yet it still offers a host of digital services to cardholders.

■ Students can keep up with their academics during the break from school by accessing HOMEWORK HELP as well as DMV PRACTICE ■ Keep up with current, as well as EXAMS. researching historical news, through Visit www.rockfordpubliclibrary.org/aNEWSBANK. to-z-all-databases. ■ Stream tens of thousands of digital materials including: ebooks, Other Details audiobooks through CLOUD LIBRARY, Library staff will continue to work and HOOPLA, children’s audio and animated be available to provide telephone books through TUMBLEBOOK, music and email services. Expired Rockford through HOOPLA and FREEGAL, Public Library cards may be renewed movies, television programs through by calling any RPL location or www. selecting HOOPLA and KANOPY, magazines rockfordpubliclibrary.org, “MY ACCOUNT” on the top navigation through FLIPSTER and RB DIGITAL. bar and following the prompts. If ■ Learn something new by taking cardholders are unable to travel to a one of our hundreds of digital courses location to return materials, fines will through UNIVERSAL CLASS or one be waived. of dozens of “Great Courses” through Eligible borrowed materials will be KANOPY. Learn a new language renewed according to RPL’s automatic through ROSETTA STONE. Stream renewal process or return to any hundreds of children’s video lessons branch location through external walkup/drive-up receptacles. through SCHOLASTIC GO.

Let your Voice be heard The Rockford Chamber of Commerce welcomes and encourages member submissions for The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community. Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication date. 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.

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020

COVID-19 Closures and Rescheduling Announcements Apologies for any inaccuracies, as announcements are ongoing. Please check organizations’ websites for updates. Center for Sight & Hearing’s Dining in the Dark date has changed. Visit cshni.org. Midway Village Museum is closed and all special events, programs, activities, field trips, tours and other activities cancelled temporarily. Visit midwayvillage.com Mercyhealth has postponed all community events, seminars, dinner series events and support group meetings. mercyhealthsystem.org. Rockford Area Arts Council is cancelling its biannual Spring ArtScene gallery walk, April 17 and 18. All participants will be reimbursed. Call 815-963-6765. artsforeveryone.com. Rockford Symphony Orchestra and Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra rehearsals, performances and public events are cancelled through April 30. The

hope is to reschedule all affected performances. Ticket holders have the option to contribute tickets back as a charitable gift. Visit rockfordsymphony.com. Events at Coronado Performing Arts Center and BMO Harris Bank Center will adhere to the Governor of Illinois’ closure guidelines. Events will be postponed, canceled or otherwise impacted. Scheduled arts events at NIU are being cancelled, postponed and modified. go.niu.edu/arts-eventsupdate. Forward Janesville has postponed all large group events for March and April, including its Annual Dinner, April 8. Rosecrance Foundation’s annual benefit on April 27 will be rescheduled with an alternative event and date at a later time. Goodwill Industries has changed their Springs Fling Golf Outing date to September 28. goodwillni.org/ springsfling.

FFCRA GUIDANCE Continued from front page

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“PSL”) ■ The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act portion of the FFCRA requires all public employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees (measured at the time an employee’s leave is to be taken) to provide an employee with up to two (2) weeks of paid sick leave (“PSL”) if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because: (1) The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. (Important Note: there is uncertainty surrounding whether an employer who is forced to close because of a federal, state, or local shelter in place or stay at home order, for instance non-essential employers subject to Illinois’ Executive Order No. 8, is required to provide PSL. The spirit of the FFCRA indicates yes, but Department of Labor FAQs issued on March 26 call this conclusion into question.) (2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. (3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. (4) The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as


described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2). (5) The employee is caring for a child of such employee if the school or place of care of the child has been closed, or the child care provider of such child is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions. (6) The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. ■ All employees are entitled to PSL, regardless of length of service. However, there must be work available which the employee is unable to perform due to a qualifying reason. Laid off and furloughed employees are not eligible. ■ Employees are entitled to the following amounts of PSL: u For full-time employees, up to 80 hours. u For part-time employees, up to the number of hours that the employee works, on average, over a 2-week period. u When needed for reasons #1, #2 and #3 above, sick leave is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay and is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate. u When needed for reasons #4, #5 and #6 above, sick leave is paid at twothirds (2/3) of the employee’s regular rate; and is capped at $200 per day and Continued on page 4


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020

FFCRA GUIDANCE Continued from page 3

$2,000 in the aggregate. ■ Paid sick leave gratuitously provided prior to April 1 does not count as part of the 80 hour entitlement and would be paid in addition to the PSL. ■ PSL does not carry over after the end of the year. If unused, it is not payable on termination of employment. ■ Employers may not require employees to use employer-provided sick time benefits before using PSL. This likely means that PSL must be paid in addition to (but not at the same time as) other paid sick time benefits available to the employee. ■ An employer and an employee may mutually agree to an intermittent leave teleworking schedule due to one of the qualifying reasons for PSL or to an intermittent leave working schedule if an employee needs to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose care provider is unavailable. However, PSL for any other qualifying reason must be taken in full-day increments, unless an employee is able to telework, and will continue to be taken until the full amount is used or until the employee no longer has a qualifying reason for taking PSL. If the latter, the employee may take any remaining PSL until December 31, 2020 if another qualifying reason occurs. ■ A failure to comply with the law is treated as a violation of the minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, such that liquidated damages and attorney’s fees are awardable in addition to amounts owed. The law also includes anti-retaliation protections.

Public Health Emergency Leave (“E-FMLA”) Expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act ■ All public employers and all private employers with fewer than 500 employees (measured at the time an employee’s leave is to be taken) are covered. ■ Anyone who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days is entitled to E-FMLA leave, whether full-time or parttime. Laid off and furloughed employees are not eligible. ■ An eligible employee can take jobprotected E-FMLA leave if he or she is unable to work or telework only if the need for leave is due to the need to care for a child under 18 years of age (or a disabled adult) if the school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency (defined as “an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a Federal, State, or local authority”). ■ The first ten (10) days of the E-FMLA leave may be unpaid. The employee can choose to substitute accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or other medical or sick leave. Also, an employee who

qualifies for E-FMLA leave, due to a school or daycare closure, may use his or her 2 weeks of PSL sick benefits (paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate) for this purpose. The employer may not require the employee to use previously accrued vacation, personal or sick leave time to cover this initial ten (10) day period. ■ After the 10 days of unpaid leave (or paid leave (paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate if PSL is applied to the first 10 days)), employers must pay employees during E-FMLA leave (for the reason listed above) at no less than twothirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the number of hours the employee would have been normally scheduled to work. This paid leave is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate. An employer can (but does not have to) agree to allow employees to supplement the amount received under the E-FMLA leave, up to normal earnings, with preexisting leave. For example, an employer may permit an employee receiving two-thirds of his or her regular rate to use preexisting paid leave to get the additional one-third. ■ E-FMLA is coordinated with traditional FMLA, such that the amount of E-FMLA available to an employee will be reduced by any traditional FMLA used with the employer’s 12-month period, and use of E-FMLA will reduce the 12 weeks of traditional FMLA an employee might otherwise be entitled to. ■ An employer and an employee may mutually agree to an intermittent leave schedule for E-FMLA leave due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or an unavailable child care provider. ■ As with the existing FMLA, E-FMLA leave is job-protected, meaning the employer must return the employee to the same or equivalent position upon their return to work. There is an exception to this requirement for employers with fewer than 25 employees if the employee’s position does not exist after E-FMLA leave due to an economic downturn or other operating conditions that affect employment caused by a public health emergency during the period of leave (subject to certain conditions, including reasonable attempts to return the employee to an equivalent position, and required efforts to contact a displaced employee for up to a year after they are displaced).

Exemption for Small Businesses The Department of Labor (DOL) has clarified when businesses with fewer than 50 employees may claim an exemption from providing certain paid sick leave (PSL) or extended FMLA (E-FMLA) because doing so would “jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern”. The DOL now says that at least one of the following 3 criteria must be met to claim the exemption:

1. Providing PSL or E-FMLA would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity. 2. The absence of the employee(s) requesting PSL or E-FMLA would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities. 3. There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee(s) requesting PSL or E-FMLA, and such labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity. Remember that PSL and E-FMLA benefits are available only if there is work available for an employee and the employee requesting leave is has a qualifying need for the PSL or E-FMLA. Individuals who have been laid off or furloughed are not eligible for benefits. Importantly, qualified small business employers are not required to provide PSL or E-FMLA to employees requesting either leave because of a child’s school or place of care being closed, or a child care provider being unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; however, PSL for non-childcare related reasons must still be provided.

Exemption of Health Care Providers & Emergency Responder The DOL advises that, for the purposes of employees who may be exempted from PSL and/or E-FMLA, a “health care provider” is: “… anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, postsecondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions.” The DOL’s definition also includes any individual employed by an entity (such as a staffing company) that contracts with any of the above institutions, employers, or entities to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility. The DOL also advises that, for the purposes of employees who may be exempted from PSL and/or E-FMLA, an “emergency responder” is: “ … an employee who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, health care, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel,

physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. …” Employers may choose to provide PSL and not E-FMLA to their health care providers or first responders, or may choose to entirely exempt these employees from both benefits. It also appears that exclusions could be handled by job classification or on a case-by-case basis, so long as the employer does not engage in acts that would be prohibited discrimination or retaliation.

Notice Posting Covered employers are required to post an FFCRA notice, by posting at the worksite, emailing or direct mailing to current employees, or posting on an employee information internal or external website. The DOL’s model notice can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/ files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_ WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

Documentation Requirements Employers may require an employee requesting PSL or E-FMLA to provide documentation in support of such leave, to the extent permitted under the certification rules for conventional FMLA leave requests. Documentation of school or day care closure could include a notice issued or posted on a government, school, or day care website, or an email from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider. Employers that provide PSL or E-FFMLA required by the FFCRA are eligible for reimbursement of the costs of that leave through refundable tax credits. To claim a tax credit under the FFCRA, the employer should retain appropriate documentation of the need for leave and benefits paid. The IRS may issue forms, instructions, and information for claiming a tax credit, including any needed substantiation to be retained to support the credit. Employers are not required to provide leave if materials sufficient to support the applicable tax credit have not been provided.

Tax Credits for Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Public Health Emergency Leave. The Act provides for a series of tax credits for certain employers providing PSL benefits or paid E-FMLA leave, including tax relief for self-employed individuals. Notably, public employers, including the federal and state governments and political subdivisions, agents, and instrumentalities thereof, are ineligible for the tax credits Continued on page 10


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020

DR. EHREN JARRETT Superintendent RPS 205

Increasing kindergarten readiness for every child

We’ve found that the six to eight hours a day we have with students is not enough.

Their holistic look is backed by the community partners in the project: RPS 205, Transform Rockford and Alignment




received a grant to lead the project. No Nothing is more critical in a child’s life than his or her first 1,100 days. That’s the principal message from Dr. Geoffrey Nagle and the Chicagobased Erikson Institute he leads. They are foremost authorities on the importance of the first 30 months -- or 1,100 days -- of life. Their insight led to a comprehensive and unprecedented effort in Rockford to increase kindergarten readiness: the Early Development Instrument and the Ready to Learn project. The latest phase of this work is the formation of five teams, made up of people from public and nonprofit organizations in Rockford. The teams began their training last month. The premise of the work is the first 1,100 days are foundational. They either provide a solid base for emotional, physical and intellectual health or they cause a child to play catch-up the rest of his or her life. The work began in 2019 with the Early Development Instrument or EDI. As part of the EDI, teachers in Rockford Public Schools and private and parochial schools completed surveys about each kindergarten student. More than 2,000 records were collected, highlighting strengths and vulnerabilities in categories such as social competence, language and cognitive development and communication skills. The findings were overlaid on maps. (These maps are available to the public at edi. erikson.edu. Click on the map for Rockford.) The maps were a visual representation of data trends regarding resources such as bus routes, medical clinics, parks and community centers. They show where we are doing well for our children and where we are falling short. The five Ready to Learn teams I mentioned earlier are studying that data right now. They are studying the information from the perspective of policies, community services, neighborhood action, parents and caregivers, and system design.

less than nine top-level leaders from the school district are immersed in this work, which shows just how critical we believe it is.

Early Development Instrument The district has been on this path for many years. Shortly after I joined the school district in 2011, we started an initiative called Readiness Rocks. One “rock” was expanding access to early childhood education. We increased the number of all-day and part-day pre-kindergarten seats. We won gold-level recognition for all of our early childhood centers. We’re proud of our work. Even so, we’ve found it’s too little, too late. We’ve found if we support students only from ages 3 to 5 to age 18, we’re missing a chance to have the greatest impact on the developing brain. We’ve found that the six to eight hours a day we have with students is not enough. If the community wants the best outcomes possible, it’s time to do more. The EDI project is the more we need. We need more focus, and we need more rowing in the same direction. We need the children who enter the doors of our schools to have significantly greater chances of being successful in college, career and life. Our community has been on the cutting edge of early intervention, but we’ve learned we can’t be too early. Our goal is the day when students -- all students -- get the best start they possibly can. Dr. Ehren Jarrett is superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. The views expressed are those of Dr. Jarrett’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com


April 2020



Dixon Automatic Tool, Inc.

Dixon Automatic robotic screwdriver for manufacturing medical devices, electrical components, and automotive and truck components.

Company ‘retools:’ From government artillery to automated screwdrivers By Paul Anthony Arco In 1946, Paul H. Dixon founded Dixon Research Inc., a Rockford-based company that focused on research and development of artillery for the U.S. government. Dixon focused on development and testing of feed systems to handle shells for automatic weapons. Dixon also contributed to the .60 caliber, 20 mm, and 37 mm automatic weapons, as well as anti-tank bazooka rocket launchers and Vulcan weapons. “My grandfather was self-taught,” said Paul T. Dixon, current company president. “He loved solving problems. He was always several steps ahead of everyone else and was always coming up with solutions.” Today, the company Dixon built remains strong, just with a different focus. Dixon Automatic Tool, Inc., designs and builds automated screwdrivers for robotic end-of-arm tooling and stationary screwdriving for applications including medical devices, electrical components, and automotive and truck components, among others. Its subsidiary, Rodix, Inc., was founded in 1971 from control product ideas created by Robert Rose, control engineer, and John

H. Dixon, the president at the time. Rodix designs, manufactures and distributes controls for vibratory part feeders, bulk parts delivery storage hoppers and inline vibratory feeders.

Three Generations of Ownership Dixon Automatic started out in the former Rockford Central High School building before moving to its current location on 23rd Avenue in 1950, where it has expanded many times over the years. “Our big shift occurred in 1952 when we reincorporated to Dixon Automatic Tool,” Paul T. said. “We still do several military projects a year, but it’s not our primary focus. Screwdriving and part placing is our business now. We design and build high-quality machines to run many years and millions of assemblies for our customers. We support our customers with spare parts and service repair.” Dixon Automatic serves customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and exports to many countries. Customers range from family-owned manufacturers to large international companies including ABB, Honda Power

Equipment, Schneider Electric and Stanley Black & Decker. Paul H., the founder, passed away in 1991. His son, John, ran the company for many years. Now Dixon Automatic is operated by third-generation owners – three of Paul H. Dixon’s grandsons – Paul T., president; Jim, vice president/ engineering manager, and Lee, vice president of operations. Great grandson Jonathan oversees Rodix. The three grandsons grew up working at the family company during summers and holiday breaks – cleaning, painting and learning machining skills. “Our family taught us to work hard,” said Paul T. Dixon Automatic employs 42 people, ranging from machine assemblers to project engineers. Many of the staff have been with Dixon from 20 to 40 years. “It’s tough finding replacements,” Paul T. said. “Our employees are what makes our company function. We have people who make machine parts, build machines and test them thoroughly before shipment.”

While business remains vibrant, there were some lean years along the way. “The world economy shifted some products and assembly overseas and that hurt us,” Paul T. said. “But we keep looking for opportunities and try to stay up-to-date on the markets that use high volume, repetitive assemblies – drive screws, nuts, clips and pins. We serve our customers wherever they are. We provide equipment to many machine integrators, who in turn serve diverse and distant markets.” As a family, the Dixons are involved with a number of nonprofit organizations including the Pregnancy Care Center, Salvation Army and various churches. “Hopefully we’ve impacted many lives for the good,” said Paul T. “We’re invested in Rockford. There are many excellent companies in Rockford, which is why my grandfather came here in the first place.”

DIXON AUTOMATIC TOOL President: Paul T. Dixon 2300 23rd Ave. (815) 226-3000 www.dixonautomatic.com


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020

B2B buyers most concerned about transparent costs on company websites Highlights importance of trust in B2B sales funnel The report shows that B2B services and software companies must proactively build trust with customers through their online presence. A new survey by B2B ratings and reviews platform, Clutch, finds that one-quarter of B2B buyers value transparent information about cost as the most important characteristic of a B2B company’s website. It surveyed 451 employees involved in helping their business hire a service provider or invest in software in the past 12 months. The next most important characteristics were case studies/ testimonials at 22 percent and immediate access to information at 17 percent. The report shows that B2B services and software companies must proactively build trust with customers through their online presence. Thirty percent of B2B buyers now rely on more information sources — search engines, industry-specific content (e.g., blogs, whitepapers, etc.) and online reviews — to hire a business services provider compared to previous experiences. Similarly, more than one quarter of B2B buyers rely on more information sources to invest in software than in the past.

Companies offering business services or software should work to increase trust across their whole online presence — not just their website.

Nearly All B2B Buyers Use Online Reviews to Evaluate Purchases The survey found that 94 percent of B2B buyers have used an online review to help make a B2B buying decision. Furthermore, nearly half of B2B buyers, 47 percent, read at least six reviews in the process. Not all reviews are created equal, however. Half of B2B buyers said the validity of an online review is more important than its overall score, 22 percent, or recency, 11 percent. “There’s so much ‘noise’ on the internet that it’s challenging to find good, honest, reliable reviews about vendors,” said Greg Fung, North American partner specialist team manager for HubSpot, a marketing software company. “However, there are usually a few trusted review sites for most industries, and it’s well worth a vendor’s time, attention and resources to show their best selves in those arenas.” B2B buyers most commonly read online reviews on companies’ websites, 68 percent, followed by search engines, 61 percent, and B2B ratings and reviews sites, 53 percent. Source: Clutch on PRNewswire

Business growth through partnership with NIU EIGERlab

Region’s manufacturers support each other along the journey Superior Joining Technologies, Inc., (SJTI) has been working closely with NIU EIGERlab since its founding. In the early 2000s, the Rockford manufacturing community started to experience a decline in Tier One manufacturing companies, after a long run as a premier global manufacturing community. For decades, you could go anywhere in the world, and people would know of Rockford’s manufacturing excellence. A small group of concerned citizens, led by Jon Lundin, came together to write a white paper about how to revitalize the manufacturing community. EIGERlab was one of the outcomes of that community effort. Teresa Beach-Shelow, president of Superior Joining Technologies, Inc., was there at the inception of EIGERlab, and SJTI has partnered with and promoted EIGERlab at every opportunity since then. We were pleased to see EIGERlab become part of NIU five years ago.

Quick Fluid Response Environment SJTI was established in 1992 and has grown by providing customers with complex metal fabricated parts. It has done this by joining its areas of expertise with other like-minded manufacturers in the industry. As a result, it consistently outsources a third of its annual sales and is dedicated to doing business in a spirit of mutually supportive collaboration that helps customers and partners. In a similar vein, NIU EIGERlab collaborates with and supports businesses around the region and around the world. It operates within an innovation network; offering business incubation as well as design prototyping and business consultation at the Center for Product Development. The Center for Product Development currently is partnering with SJTI, and its process knowledge has been helpful during several business development projects. SJTI, on the other hand, has completed threedimensional laser scanning of objects for parts provided by the center’s customers. The NIU EIGERlab staff uses the data generated by the laser scans to create CAD models that can be used for reverse engineering of a component. This collaborative relationship has created a quick fluid

Superior Joining Technologies uses the GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab to convert a CAD model into a form for the 3D print process. NIU EIGERlab staff create the model in reverse engineering a component. response environment.

Building a ThreeDimensional Object A current focus for our relationship has been 3-D printing, fused filament fabrication, laser powder deposition -- and now direct metal laser melting. We collaborate during development, print and inspection of plastic parts. Direct metal laser melting, or selective laser melting, is very similar to more traditional direct metal laser sintering processes, except the material used is completely melted to create incredibly thin liquid pools that solidify as they cool. In 2019, SJTI purchased the GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab. These machines need unique software to convert the CAD model into a form that can be interpreted by the Mlab for the 3D print process. SJTI invested in the software module and installed it onto the system held at NIU EIGERlab. The staff there performs the conversion and delivers that file to SJTI for processing on the Mlab. As a result, we are currently doing development for a Chicagoland-based government lab, in a partnership with the NIU College of Engineering & Engineering Technology. The NIU EIGERlab/SJTI collaboration stemmed from local community collaboration and support; an ambitious vision of what manufacturing development could be more than 15 years ago. This foresight has proven to be relevant and more valuable than ever in 2020. Thom Shelow, vice president of new business development, and Teresa Beach-Shelow, president, are owners of Superior Joining Technologies, Inc. Beach-Shelow chaired the Rockford Chamber’s Manufacturing Council from 2009 to 2011. Visit www. superiorjt.com. The views expressed are those of Shelow’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020

Essential services during Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order The city of Rockford has put together a guide to essential businesses and operations that can continue during the Stay-at-Home Order: The order is in effect starting at 5 p.m. Saturday until April 7. ■ Government, including police, fire and 911 ■ Health care facilities

■ Stores that sell groceries ■ Pharmacies

■ Medical and adult-use cannabis dispensaries

■ Food production and agriculture

■ Charitable and social service organizations ■ Media

■ Gas stations and auto services

■ Banks and other financial institutions ■ Hardware and supply stores ■ Critical trades

■ Mail, shipping and logistics services

■ Educational institutions (to facilitate distance learning) ■ Laundry services

■ Restaurants for carryout orders ■ Transportation services

■ Home-based care and services

■ Residential facilities and services

■ Professional services such as law firms, accounting and real estate ■ Certain day care centers

■ Manufacturing and supply chain

■ Critical labor union functions ■ Hotels and motels ■ Funeral services

Business owners with additional questions about whether their businesses are essential, should review Executive Order 10 and FAQ document available on the City’s website at www.rockfordil.gov or email COVID19@wchd.org.



Hours of Operation

Senior/ Compromised Hours

Farm & Fleet - West State

(815) 964-8320

Mon.-Sat. 8a-7p Sun. 10a-5p

Mon.-Sat., 8-9a Sun.,10-11a

Forest Plaza

(815) 484-2453

Daily, 6a-10p

Daily, 6-7a

State Street

(815) 397-6080

Daily, 6a-10p

Daily, 6-7a

11th Street

(815) 398-0440

Daily, 6a-10p

Daily, 6-7a

Cherry Valley

(815) 332-7078

Daily, 6a-10p

Daily, 6-7a


(815) 986-0220

Daily, 7a-10p

Wed., 6a-8a

Meijer Rockford McFarland Rd.

(815) 721-8600

Daily, 8a-10p

Tues. & Thurs., 7-8a


(779) 513-8397

Mon.-Fri. 10a-6:30p Sat. 9:30a-6p Sun. 10a-6p

Tues., Wed., & Thurs. 8-10a


(815) 394-1212

Mon.-Sat. 9a-8p Sun. 10a-6p




THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020

FFCRA GUIDANCE Continued from page 4

PLSA Tax Credits Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, employers are entitled to a refundable credit against employer Social Security and Medicare taxes for up to ten days of each employee’s compensation paid under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. The daily tax credit is limited to either $511 or $200, depending on the reason the leave was taken, in alignment with the maximum payments under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Certain payments made by an employer to a group health plan may increase the credit. There are technical provisions to prevent multiple tax benefits from arising out of this credit (i.e., no “double dipping”). In addition, wages paid as a result of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act are not included for purposes of determining employer Social Security taxes owed.

PHE Tax Credits Employers are entitled to a refundable credit against their Social Security and Medicare taxes for up to $10,000 of each employee’s compensation paid under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The daily tax credit is limited to $200, which again aligns with the maximum payment under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. This credit may also be increased by certain payments made by an employer to a group health plan, and again there are technical provisions to prevent multiple tax benefits from arising out of this credit. In addition, wages paid as a result of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act are not included for purposes of determining employer Social Security taxes owed.

How The Tax Credits Will Work: The IRS says employers will be able to recoup this money immediately and that, under further guidance to be announced this or next week, eligible employers will be able to retain an amount of their payroll taxes (federal

income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes) equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid to employees, rather than deposit the payroll taxes with the IRS. If there are insufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able to file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this expedited procedure will be announced this or next week. This means employers will be able to retain taxes for federal, social security and Medicare taxes, rather than pay the taxes to the federal government, in order to pay employees taking paid leave under the FFCRA effective April 1, 2020. Employers may retain the specified employment taxes for all employees to pay for FFCRA benefits, and not just the taxes for the employees to whom they must provide benefits under the new statute.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Tax Credits Separate and apart from tax credits available under the FFCRA, Section 2301 of the CARES Act, (which became a law on March 27) provides for a one year employee retention tax credit for eligible employers impacted by COVID-19. This allows such employers to take a tax credit against employment taxes equal to 50% of qualified wages for each employee up to $10,000.00 total per employee. There are 2 categories of employer eligibility: (1) employers who were carrying on trade/business in 2020 and had to fully or partly suspend operations due to government orders limiting commerce, travel, and group meetings because of COVID-19 or (2) employers that were able to remain open, but had gross receipts less than 50% of their gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019. In the latter instance, the employer remains eligible until its gross receipts in a given quarter exceed 80% of what they were for the same quarter in 2019.

RESILIENCE STEPS Continued from front page

find basic yoga online. Meditation is also an action. Do it first thing in the morning. Insight Timer is a meditation app I use. I sit for 20 minutes while I listen to the sound of the ocean before I get into the day. Resilience lesson #4: See non-work time as a gift. In our 24-7 always-on world, this time-out even if forced upon us can be reframed as an opportunity to do things we never seem to find time for in our hurried lives. When was the last time your family played games and did a jigsaw puzzle together? What about the books you’ve wanted to read, the painting you’d like to do? I’m going to watch YouTube and learn how to refinish my desk. It’s how my granddaughter taught herself to play the ukulele. Growing and learning are positive steps with the gift of time. Resilience lesson #5:Think and act for others. Because action is the antidote for anxiety, consider how you might help others who are more impacted by the virus than you. Right now, parents might not have child care for children sent home from school. Offer your services to help. Nurses and

If an employer has fewer than 100 employees, all wages are eligible for the credit, not just wages paid to employees unable to work. Thus, wages paid to employees who continue to work also qualify. Such wages include health plan expenses allocable to the wages. The credit is refundable if it exceeds the employer’s liability for payroll taxes. Importantly, any wages subject to the tax credit for PSL or E-FMLA under the FFCRA may not be taken into account in determining qualified wages for this employee retention credit. Additionally, and equally important, if an employer takes out a payroll protection loan under Section 7(a) of the Small Business Act under

doctors and medical personnel may have their lives in danger. Offer to make a meal and leave it at their door. And speaking of food, sadly numerous children depended upon a hot meal at school as their best (and maybe) only meal of the day. Find out how you might volunteer at a shelter or a soup kitchen. And call people who have been forced into lock down. My dear 90 year-old friend just had her birthday party canceled as no one can go in (or out) of the facility. I’ll be making more regular phone calls to check in and chat. You get the idea. Resilience lesson #6: Be gentle with yourself. It’s ok to worry and feel bad as long as you name the worry and what you can do if anything about it. Is it a rational fear or a product of an overly-active imagination? Help your children understand and validate their fears while teaching them the power of positive perceptions. Remember, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was right when he proclaimed, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We can do as the British WWII poster insisted, “Keep Calm and Carry on”! v

the CARES ACT, it is ineligible for this retention tax credit. Interestingly, this tax credit applies to wages paid between March 12 and December 31, 2020. This may also impact the credit’s interplay with the FFCRA credit and be helpful to employers. Contributors: Roberta “Bobbie” Holzwarth and Alexander Mezny, HolmstromKennedyPC Sam Castree, Staff Management, Inc. Troy Haggestad, Williams McCarthy LLP James Pirages, Eileen Caver, Evan Bonnett, and Maryjo Pirages Reynolds, Hinshaw John Rearden, Oliver Close LLC

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com


April 2020

As a precaution, all bars and restaurants are closed through April 7 to reduce the number of individuals affected by the COVID-19 virus. In the meantime, many of our Chamber Member establishments are offering delivery and curbside pickup options to the public. Also, please keep DoorDash and Grubhub in mind, as they are each offering assistance to our local eateries for delivery service. Here is an up-to-date list of our Chamber member restaurants that are still serving the community. Please note that this information is subject to change. For the most current updated information, please contact each restaurant directly. NOTE: Pickup COULD include curbside … just ask. BUSINESS






A B C Catering, Ltd.

(815) 316-3016



Beefaroo, Inc.

(815) 637-1008



Capri Restaurant, Inc.

(815) 965-6341



Chick-fil-A Rockford

(815) 381-1010

Cookies by Design

(815) 282-5400

Culvers Restaurant

(815) 398-9938

D Q Grill & Chill - Perryville

(815) 332-2000






D Q Grill & Chill - Sandy Hollow

(815) 398-3303






Forest Hills Country Club

(815) 877-5733

Franchescos Ristorante

(815) 229-0800


(815) 398-5700

Giovannis Inc. (Alchemy/Legacy)

(815) 398-6411



Jason’s Deli

(815) 397-8606

Jimmy John’s

(815) 874-6900

Johnny Pamcakes

(815) 229-7415

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

(815) 477-1100


Maciano’s Pizza - Columbia Parkway

(815) 227-5577



Macianos Pizza Broadway Parkway, Loves Park

(815) 633-7500



The Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Club

(815) 399-0711

McDonalds (Bear) - Kishwaukee Street

(815) 877-3028






McDonalds (Bear) - Auburn Street

(815) 962-2100






McDonalds (Bear) - Northridge Drive

(815) 965-5700






McDonalds (Bear) - West Riverside Blvd. (815) 877-1775






















Order and pay inside

Order online


Order and pay inside








Megs Daily Grind - North Alpine Road

(815) 316-7669


MOD Pizza

(815) 977-8941

Nettie’s Mercantile & Café

(815) 977-4361

Nothing Bundt Cakes

(815) 580-8170

Panino’s Restaurant (Main Street)

(815) 636-0036


Panino’s Restaurant (State Street)

(815) 227-9200


Pizza Hut - Eleventh Street

(815) 229-2929




Pizza Hut - North Main Street

(815) 963-6363




Pizza Hut - South Perryville Road

(815) 395-9595




Pizza Hut - South Alpine Road

(815) 399-0128




Pizza Hut - W. Lane Rd, Machesney Park (815) 639-1111







Prairie Street Brewing Co.

(815) 277-9427


Rockford Country Club

(815) 968-9881


Rockford Roasting Company

(815) 290-9591



YES YES YES - To Go Drinks

Shogun Japanese Restaurant Izakaya 88 (815) 394-0007



Smokey Bones

(815) 516-1291



Stockholm Inn

(815) 397-3534


Taco Johns - South Alpine

(779) 386-0832

University Club

(815) 962-1730

Wendy’s - East Riverside Blvd.

(815) 636-9612




Wendy’s - 6390 East State Street

(815) 229-7992




Wendy’s - 1110 East State Street

(815) 962-1101




Wired Café

(815) 316-2524

Wonderland Sweets

(815) 978-7874

GreenFire Restaurant Bar and Bakery

(815) 316-3473


Hoffman House

(815) 397-5800

TEMPORARILY CLOSED (Open Easter Sunday for Pickup)

Giuseppe Verdi Society / Verdi Club

(815) 968-8119


Marys Market - East State St.

(815) 397-7291


Olympic Tavern, Inc.

(815) 962-8758


Tavern on Clark

(815) 708-6569








YES (7:30 am - 1:30 pm only) YES



THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020






Leadership Development Our lives, businesses and communities have been

See what falls CAITLIN PUSATERI Rockford Chamber

“A tree is known by its fruits.” I’ve thought a lot about this proverb over the past few weeks of chaos. Actually, my thoughts have extended a bit more –

Bump into a tree, and see what falls ... Sometimes it’s love and gentleness ... Sometimes it’s jealousy, anger, and power plays ... Sometimes it’s lawyers ... Sometimes it’s patience and kindness ... Now you see what kind of tree it is. We are in quite the time of treebumping. Our lives, businesses and communities have been disrupted. We’ve been challenged, restricted, scared and forced into action that, comically, looks like inaction. Our trees have been bumped. Hard. And often. I’ve been thinking about my own tree. I tend to pride myself on clearthinking and level-headedness in times

— Brant Hansen

of crises. I tend to thrive under pressure and actually enjoy, so to speak, new challenges that tend to be high stakes. I like moments that count – that force you to be your best. But I also like day-to-day stability, an overarching understanding of a plan or routine, and clear endpoints to projects and events. But as my tree has been bumped, it has been interesting to see what has

disrupted. We’ve been challenged, restricted, scared and forced into action that, comically, looks like inaction.

fallen. Unexpected traits have hit the ground hard – fear, a desire to find creative solutions, a strong want to connect with others and be of service in some way, vulnerability, anxiety… I’m trying to spend this time noticing my reactions, acknowledging my feelings and processing through. Sometimes that means extra selfcare. At other times, it means calling a friend or reaching out to a loved one to check in. With a raging level of uncertainty, it’s important to be able to focus in on small areas of control and constantly be evaluating my health – not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Observing Reactions of Others

gallons of generosity and understanding while others hug fast to rigid (and now irrelevant) rules and a lack of empathy. I’ve seen others hoard in fear (hello toilet paper smugglers …) while others extend hands of generosity through the fear. Some lash out in anger at the inconvenience or grab for power plays and quick-selling opportunities. Others look for ways to be creative, find solutions and serve others. I’m hoping that the tree bumping is short lived and we can go back to life in the forest as usual. But hopefully, we’ll have learned something – about ourselves, about our leadership, about what is truly important. And maybe next time, when we’re bumped, we’ll be better prepared with ripe fruits to fall.

I’ve also started paying attention to Caitlin Pusateri is vice president, leadership the fruits falling from other people’s development at the Rockford Chamber of trees. I’ve seen leaders respond with Commerce.

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020






Small Business Enterprise Working with the SBDC: Two success stories MIKE MASTROIANNI SBDC

Entrepreneurs who have made their businesses work

Edward Caceres and I have had the privilege of working with many small business clients at various stages of development in their business. This month, we would like to highlight two individuals who have worked with the SBDC on business planning, social media, marketing and website development, and have successfully started their businesses. We’ve helped them with financing, and at times, licensing, permitting and even incorporation.

A Look at Two Success Stories RONIT GOLAN (Ronit’s Kitchen) Ronit Golan came to Edward Caceres at the SBDC asking for assistance with the development of a

business plan, marketing, social media and website development. She had been a physical therapist for more than 30 years, but her dream was to open a restaurant. Six years ago, she went to the city market and got a booth. She knew what she wanted to do and had the talent for cooking, but she didn’t know how to open the business. Edward helped her with the development of a business plan. With her steps in place, she knew what she needed to do first, second and beyond to get her business going. She got space at the Indoor City Market in Rockford, and today has Ronit’s Kitchen. Ronit felt that the most challenging part of starting the business was how to break things down into manageable steps. Through the assistance she received, she now has

her Mediterranean cuisine at 116 N. Madison St.; open Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. She has hired employees and been successful.

everyone was on the same page. Larry

BOB BLOSSER (Bennie’s Cleaners)


Bob Blosser and his wife had always wanted to buy a business, so when Bennie’s Cleaners in downtown Rockford went up for sale, they decided to purchase it. Bennie Callea opened the cleaner in 1946 in one of the upper floors of the Faust Hotel. After 30 successful years, he sold the business to Larry and Julie Sheets. The business was relocated to 118 N. First St., Rockford, and it grew in revenue each year, thanks to a very successful reputation. It received many awards throughout the years. Bob visited Mike Mastroianni at the SBDC for assistance with a business plan, finance advising, incorporating, and code and permitting. The two met with Bob’s accountant to make sure

Sheets was tremendously helpful as the business seller. Bob said that the SBDC helped him build his plan, develop projections and make local banking and financing The Blossers kept the employees that worked there and likely are going to add more jobs. They expect to close before this article is printed, and like the owners before, will be supporters of Art Scene in Rockford. The SBDC assists business start-ups and growth businesses in a number of ways. Feel free to use the contact information in our ad in The VOICE to work with us for your business needs. We are here to assist in every stage of business, from growth and expansion, to purchasing additional businesses, or even the sale of a business. Mike Mastroianni is director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020





economic development MAC2020 is going virtual IMTS and the Rockford Region Economic development efforts are focused around touchpoints. The more companies, decision-makers and individuals the organization connects with, the better the chance to provide assistance for expansion, increased opportunities for recruiting businesses to locate in the region, connect companies into resources necessary to sustain or grow, make B2B connections and further strengthen existing supply chains. Through trade shows, conferences and exhibitions, the RAEDC cultivates opportunities for primary job growth that increases the economic well-being of our region. We are already starting to gear up for the IMTS show, Sept. 14 to 19, 2020 at McCormick Place in Chicago. If your company is attending or exhibiting, we would like to know. This allows us to push your company’s participation through our network and helps promote your business at no cost to you. Contact Anna Garrison, manager, projects & events, at AGarrison@ RockfordIL.com or 815-969-4261.

Midwestern conference in May includes online matchmaking sessions MAC2020 is still the Midwest aerospace conference you have to be at on May 6. The day will feature the Industry Update from Kevin Michaels, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory, and matchmaking sessions. “Innovation and technology is at the heart and soul of aerospace,” said Nathan Bryant, president & CEO for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. “We are making the best of this situation by leaning in and continuing to connect the dots for our community, businesses and supporters.” “The organizers of MAC2020 are

excited to welcome this opportunity to demonstrate how RAAN and the Rockford Region can pivot and create opportunities for success,” stated Jarid Funderburg, VP of business & investor relations and RAEDC staff liaison for RAAN. “Our advanced manufacturing companies consistently demonstrate their expertise in creative problem solving.” In addition to offering the industry update, we will continue to offer the matchmaking sessions in an online environment. As we get closer to the event, details will be announced about the vetting process and scheduling.

The event itself is organized by the Rockford Area Aerospace Network, which is a solutions team for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. RAAN helps represent the Rockford Region at tradeshows by working together to create a larger impact for companies in the area at events such as The Paris Airshow and MRO Americas. To learn more about how you can join the Industry Update or get additional information about the matchmaking sessions for MAC2020, visit MidwestAerospaceConference. com.

2020 Quick Reference Guide now available

Includes information valued by site selectors, brokers The Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area, covering Boone and Winnebago counties, has an updated and redesigned Quick Reference Guide. The Quick Reference Guide is now a 14-page document providing highly desired data in a more userfriendly format. Updated by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, the guide provides a better connection between the MSA’s data and the quality of life benefits. This data-driven marketing piece provides high quality information commonly requested by site selectors and brokers when evaluating our region on behalf of their clients. The data in the QRG is updated from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, C2ER and Region 1 Planning Council.

The guide is utilized when promoting the area at trade shows, online and as part of business attraction packages. Some of the MSA’s assets highlighted include logistics, skilled workforce, lower cost of doing business and living, population and incentives available to businesses located here. The Rockford MSA, which encompasses Boone and Winnebago counties, sits contiguous to the Chicago Metropolitan Area in northern Illinois, 90 minutes northwest of the city of Chicago. The region’s history of manufacturing and innovation position the region as a leader in aerospace, advanced manufacturing, automotive and healthcare. To download the Quick Reference Guide, visit RockfordIL.com/QuickReference Guide.

Help us help them: medical supply sourcing In an effort to assist our local medical infrastructure, here is a list of medical items needed. These items are in critically short supply and are on back order, or unavailable from traditional ordering sources. If you have access to any of these items, or any variations, and are willing to assist to acquire these products, please respond to Jerry Sagona, VP Business Development at gsagona@rockfordil.com or (815) 979-5621. Thank you for your support of our medical community! Yellow Isolation gowns


Blue isolation gowns


Procedure masks

Precept Medical: MASK PROC W/SHIELD 14410

Nitrile Exam Gloves Any brand, all sizes

Eye Protection (Goggles, face masks, etc.) Any brand, all sizes

PDI™ Super Sani-Cloth™ Germicidal Disposable Wipes PDI: Manufacture # Q55172

DLC lens covers

Sizes Small/Med and Med/Lrg (the consumable face shield associated with the Max Air CAPR System) 2365-02ML- Standard Md/Lg 2365-02SM- Std Small


Need to be resistant against infectious disease.

Thermometer kits (oral/rectal)

Medline: Any No Touch Thermometer that is Similar

Shoe covers


Nursing bouffant


Mask Face Isolation


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020


A rewarding, yet risky business TIMOTHY J. ROLLINS WilliamsMcCarthy LLP

Identifying and mitigating the legal landmines of the 21st century

Running a business can be an incredibly enjoyable, rewarding, invigorating experience. Yet, it’s not without risk, especially in this age of rampant regulation and non-negotiable 20-page contracts. Risk management is a critical component of doing business in the 21st century. While a transactional attorney cannot make the determination of how to proceed, they can help business leaders identify, weigh and ultimately mitigate risk for their organization. This empowers leaders to make key decisions in a fully informed and calculated way. Here are the major areas of risk facing business leaders today.

Deal Risk/Contract Risk Any sort of contractual relationship, from the simplest supply agreement to complicated mergers and acquisitions, is, in reality, nothing more than a formal allocation of risk between the parties. Which party is responsible for what costs? Who is responsible if something goes wrong? Who gets the benefit if something goes right? A thorough understanding of contract terms, including the allocation of risks, is critical to a business leader’s ability to make an informed decision about whether to enter into any sort of agreement with a third party.

Regulatory Risk

regulated area for business, with seemingly every area of the employment relationship covered by one or more acts and the State of Illinois annually adding new statutes. Wages and hours worked, safety and health standards, discrimination, work authorization for non-U.S. citizens, health benefits, retirement standards, Worker’s Compensation and whistleblower protection, are just some of the examples. While many business leaders are familiar with the basic contours of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, the interactions among these statutes can be complex and other lesser-known regulations, like the Biometric Information Privacy Act, also are a source of regulatory risk. Violating these regulations can yield a significant impact on a business, resulting in hefty fines, reputational damage and the possibility of criminal prosecution in some cases.

Governance and Succession Risks For a business to be successful, there must be clear designations of who is responsible for what. That not only holds true for employees and senior leaders, but for business owners as well. In a multiple-owner situation, governance (outlining who decides what) is of utmost importance. Thus, laying out a clear governance framework is crucial. Succession planning (or the lack thereof) also has the potential to create governance challenges. Transitioning a business from one generation to the next is an emotionally charged process, often complicated by power struggles and hidden agendas. This creates considerable anxiety in the workforce, apprehension among investors and significant risk for the business. Every business has a different level of risk tolerance. Ultimately, each business leader must decide for him- or herself which risks are worth taking, how to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, and what kind of governance model is appropriate for the organization, both now and in the future. An experienced and knowledgeable transactional attorney can identify, weigh and mitigate risk; giving leaders the necessary insights to make informed, thoughtful, calculated decisions that protect the organization and lay the groundwork for continued success.

Since the 1960s, businesses have become increasingly regulated by the government, and the rate of regulation continues to accelerate -- antitrust laws, labor and employment laws, environmental protection statutes, licensing requirements, import and export regulations, financial regulations, and data protection regulations are just a few of the areas where regulation continues to increase. The impact on individual businesses is largely dependent on industry and location. Businesses that generate or have access to “protected health information” are subject to and are now regulated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Businesses that use consumer data are subject to the FTC’s “Red Flag Rule.” States like California are starting to impose their own regulatory standards that are stricter than federal standards and, because of their market size, can drive national compliance. A change in regulations can increase the cost of operations, introduce Timothy J. Rollins is a partner with legal and administrative challenges, alter WilliamsMcCarthy LLP. Contact him at 815the competitive landscape or even restrict 987-8942 or trollins@wilmac.com. a company from doing business. The views expressed are those of Rollins’ and do Employment Risks not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Employment continues to be a heavily Chamber of Commerce.

SPECIAL SECTION: Personal Advisors



THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020



Rockford Chamber opens online


Is your company looking for good, local employees? In an effort to support local businesses and economic development, and develop local talent, the Rockford Chamber has launched a Job Bank at www.rockfordchamber.com.

CONNECTING THE COMMUNITY WITH OPPORTUNITY Our active job board intends to connect local job seekers with local jobs and opportunities – even jobs that might be hard — or even impossible — to find on other job boards, or not advertised at all.

PROVIDING MORE VALUE TO MEMBERS Some local businesses may not have the tools or expertise to recruit and hire their ideal employees. One goal of the Job Bank is to help members reach a wider range of people in the community.

▶ Job seekers are invited to submit their resume and view

available jobs that match their skill set.

▶ Employers

that are Rockford Chamber of Commerce members may post jobs at NO CHARGE. Rockford Chamber of Commerce members need their login and password to submit jobs to the Job Bank or to view resumes. You can request a password reset if you’ve forgotten it.

We invite you to see how easy it is to post jobs online today! Visit https://web.rockfordchamber.com/jobbank

ADVANTAGE CLUBS/ BNGROUPS Dedicated groups for networking and referrals Advantage Clubs/BNGroups are made up of business owners, decision makers and sales associates dedicated to networking and referring business to one another. Only one member from each industry is permitted in the group.

MEETING AGENDA ■ Self-introductions. ■ Announcements by leaders. ■ One member at each meeting gives a referral/testimonial to help other members understand their organization.

Visitors are welcome to attend a meeting before making a decision to join.

If you are interested in joining one of these clubs/groups, please contact Kristin Muehlfelder, Member Relations at 815-316-4315 or kmuehlfelder@rockfordchamber.com.


IGNITE Cup 2020: A summer-long series of events

Interact with a diverse group of young professionals

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Carmen Brenz and I am the Event and Program Coordinator at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. I also go by the title of IGNITE Coordinator. Along with the Leadership Team, I help run the young professional group, IGNITE. I am excited to announce that IGNITE Cup 2020 is approaching quickly and we would love to have you sign up and join a team!

What is IGNITE? IGNITE is the region’s young professional group and is a part of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. IGNITE members do not have to be Rockford Chamber of Commerce members to join, but IGNITE members are always welcome to learn more about being a Rockford Chamber of Commerce member. Our mission is to attract and retain young professionals to the Rockford region. We do this by connecting and engaging young professionals with leadership, professional and personal development and volunteer opportunities. IGNITE’s program is suitable for individuals between the ages of 21-40; however, all are welcome in our group! Young professionals can be found in a wide variety of careers and IGNITE is not limited to any specific line of work. Our group is full of diversity and we would love to keep it that way! IGNITE focuses on professional development, volunteering, community and social aspects of life. To learn more about IGNITE, check out our website (igniterockford.com), our Facebook at IGNITE Rockford or our Instagram (igniterockfordyp).

What is IGNITE Cup? IGNITE Cup is a summer-long event series designed to connect and engage young professionals in the Rockford region. Teams of 10 (comprised of co-workers, friends, or friends-to-be) compete in games to earn points. The team at the end of the summer who earns the most points wins the coveted IGNITE CUP! IGNITE Cup 2020 is sponsored by Blackhawk Bank.

Events for IGNITE Cup 2020 ■ Kick-Off: June 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Greenfire. ■ Bowling: June 23, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., at Cherry Bowl.

■ Canoe Battleship: July 8, 6 to 9 p.m., at the YMCA of Rock River Valley (downtown Rockford). ■ Trivia Night: July 22, 6 to 8 p.m., at Forest Hills Country Club. ■ Foot Golf: July 27 (tentative), 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Elliot Golf Course. ■ Game Night: August 12, 7 to 9 p.m., at The Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Club. ■ Mini Putt: August 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Volcano Falls. ■ Closing Ceremonies – Dinner on the Dock: August 24, 6 p.m., Prairie Street Brewhouse

FAQs About IGNITE Cup I’M NEW TO TOWN AND DON’T REALLY KNOW ANYONE. Can I still participate in IGNITE Cup? YES! We’d love to have you! IGNITE Cup teams are a mix of people – some are friends, some co-workers, and some are future-friends (aka, strangers). If you’re new to town (or even if you’re not!) and want to get to know the city and make friends in the process, IGNITE Cup is for you. We will put you on a great team with an engaged captain who will make sure it’s a great experience for you. No awkward “I don’t know anyone” moments here! I can’t make all of the events. Can I still participate? YES! Actually, it’s better if you can’t make them all! Each event has a minimum and maximum number of players for each team. So, not everyone will be able to participate in every single event. That takes the pressure off of you, and lets you do what best fits in your schedule and area of interest. Work it out with your team captain. So, all of this for $50? YES! The cost per person is $50, which includes all of the events as well as a t-shirt. A few things to keep in mind, however. You’ll also need to register for our Closing Ceremonies in advance to receive a complimentary dinner and drink. We’ll keep you updated with deadlines. Beyond that, you’re on your own for beverages (cash bar) at events. To sign up for IGNITE Cup, please visit igniterockford.com and find the IGNITE Cup 2020 tab. If there are any questions, please feel free to reach out to Carmen Brenz at info@ igniterockford.com.

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020

 Destination



JOHN GROH Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Novel challenges. Clean hands. Open hearts.

Reach out with creative, daily acts of kindness At least for a while, the novel coronavirus will disrupt the work and leisure pursuits we value and love here in the Rockford region. And it will disrupt business. And our lives and those of our friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, the many small businesses, cultural organizations, hotels and entertainment venues that give our community its unique Real. Original. character are now at their most vulnerable. There are real concerns, too, for the broader business community.

As you practice social distancing, think, too about social connecting. An oldfashioned phone call might make the day of someone who can’t venture out. Mail a card or a letter or deliver it to a neighbor by leaving it on their doorstep. Our region’s businesses are taking careful public health measures to protect their employees and customers while finding new, creative ways to serve their customers and guests. I’ve also been so pleased with our local government leaders, including our public health officials, who have made clear, decisive decisions to protect the public. As I and my family go about our lives in these interesting times, it dawns on me that there’s nowhere I’d rather face the challenge than in this resilient community. Examples abound of the unique Real. Original. character of our city. Pausing to reflect on who we are as a community is a hopeful thing to do. We are a creative, compassionate, generous, enthusiastic, fun-loving, culture-appreciating, determined and optimistic people. Rockfordians are famously welcoming and hospitable, but some of our neighbors may be struggling. In the days to come, think about how you can make them feel more at home, more secure, more loved: perhaps an elderly neighbor, someone out of work or home alone. Reach out. Ask if you can help. Offer to make a trip to the grocery store or pick up a prescription. You can do all of this while maintaining social distance as prescribed by health officials. And, don’t forget to take care of

yourself. We are blessed here in the Rockford region with a wealth of green spaces. If you are in good health, get out and go for a walk or run – even if it’s just around the block. This past week, my family has enjoyed daily walks and the fresh air has been wonderfully relaxing.

Think About Social Connecting Yes, COVID-19 will disrupt business, and it is unfortunate that small businesses and their employees that bring so much flair and flavor to our city likely will suffer the most. Some have been required to close down but others remain open, paying special attention to new healthconscious protocols that protect staff and customers. Please, continue to frequent them, if not in person, then by ordering online or over the phone. Maybe you can order a gift card for future use. As you practice social distancing, think, too about social connecting. An old-fashioned phone call might make the day of someone who can’t venture out. Mail a card or a letter or deliver it to a neighbor by leaving it on their doorstep. But I don’t need to tell you all this. These daily acts of kindness have always been part of our community’s DNA. Now, especially, is a time to remember who we are as individuals and as a community. We are a community that supports our many worthy charities. We are people who respond to special appeals to help individuals or families in distress. We are a community that loves and supports our museums, our symphony, our sports teams, our dance company, our local makers, artisans and our beautiful Coronado Theater, which we saved from a wrecking ball only by working together. We pulled in the same direction to revive our downtown by embracing entrepreneurship and by showing up. We’ve survived depressions and recessions and still, we are good to one another. A brighter future awaits. We will be careful. We will help each other, and we will wash our hands. But we will never throw in the towel. Stay healthy. Be well. 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.



THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020


More than 250 new laws for Illinois

More than 250 laws took effect on Jan. 1, 2020 for Illinois residents. Here are some related to business, commerce, regulation, labor and licensure.

BUREAU DIVERSITY IN ACTIVE APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS (SB 534/PA 101-0170) Creates the Bureau on Diversity in Active Apprenticeship Programs within the Illinois Department of Labor. Establishes a 20 percent aspirational goal that state and university contracts be awarded to minorities, women and persons with disabilities. A fee can be charged for a request for an exemption and higher costs for hiring minority or women contractors can’t be used in an exemption request.

CHINESE HERBOLOGY (SB 1133/PA 101-0201) Provides that no person licensed under this act may hold himself or herself out as being trained in Chinese herbology without meeting certification standards set by this legislation. Allows the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to deny a license to any applicant or licensee if they do not meet the certification requirements to say they are trained in Chinese herbology.

MILITARY EXPEDITED LICENSURE (HB 1652/PA 101-0240) Requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to assign a staff member as the “military liaison” who will be responsible for administering the military expedited licensure for military members and their spouses who are redeployed to Illinois. Provides that an expedited license shall be processed within 60 days.

LICENSURE OF NOTARY PUBLIC REMITTANCE AGENTS (SB 2037/PA 101-0366) Requires persons, companies, corporations, associations and organizations that submit notary-public applications to the Secretary of State on behalf of

16. The funds in the trust for a child performer will become available when the child performer turns age 18 or is emancipated.

New law eliminates license suspension for non-payment of fines Individuals who fail to pay tickets for most non-moving violations will no longer face the loss of their driver’s license. The “License to Work Act” removes the penalty of suspension for a number of offenses, including parking tickets and tollway violations. Previously, the state suspended more than 50,000 licenses per year for failure to pay tickets, fines and fees. Supporters hope it will enable people to continue working and earning money to pay the fines and fees. Opponents fear it will make it easier to ignore fines and fees. Source: Sen. Dave Syverson’s Senate Week in Review others to qualify for licensure as a notary-public remittance agent.

CUSTOMIZED EMPLOYMENT PILOT PROGRAM (SB 2087/PA 101-0368) Creates the Customized Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Act to assist persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities (ID/ DD) or similar conditions who seek employment and require more individualized assistance to achieve and maintain integrated employment at competitive wages through the process of customized planning and negotiation.

to carry out duties established by the state board. Gives priority to a public high school and community college district with a formal agreement. Requires a private-public partnership clause that requires a business to pay up to 40 percent of the project. However, this must be negotiated before applying for a grant to the Community College Board. Subject to appropriation.

LICENSURE FOR APPLICANTS WITH CRIMINAL HISTORY (HB 2670/PA 101-0388) Provides that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, in the case of an applicant for licensure who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, shall consider the circumstances surrounding the offense before revoking the application.

MANUFACTURING TRAINING GRANT PROGRAM (SB 1919/PA 101-0437) Requires the Illinois Community College Board to establish and administer a manufacturing training grant program. Creates an advisory board

(SB 1495/PA 101-0553) Amends the Limited Liability Company (LLC) Act to make several changes to allow members to bring an action to compel the LLC to permit inspection and copying of company records and to clarify that a member or manager of an LLC may be held personally liable under another law for the member or managers own wrongful acts or omissions, even when acting or purporting to act on behalf of a LLC.



(HB 2528/PA 101-0475) Allows a person conducting business under an assumed name at their personal residence to designate the county clerk as the default agent for service of process.

(SB 1780/PA 101-0565) Prohibits an employer from inquiring into or using an arrest record as a basis for an employment decision. Stipulates that using arrest records to refuse to engage in a real estate transaction, altering the terms of a real estate transaction, refusing to receive or failing to transmit a bona fide offer for a real estate transaction, refusing to negotiate for a transaction, making representations that a property is not available or when publishing advertisements or listing property is a civil rights violation.

GRADUATE STUDENTS JOIN UNIONS (HB 253/PA 101-0380) Amends the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. Removes “graduate students” from the “student” portion of the “educational employee” definition. This would apply to research assistants, teaching assistants or those who perform duties that are pre-professional. These changes allows graduate students to join a union.


GRATUITIES (HB 3405/PA 101-0509) Provides that gratuities are the property of employees and that employers shall not keep gratuities. Requires gratuities to be paid to employees within 13 days after the end of the pay period during which the gratuities were earned. Allows the Illinois Department of Labor to file a petition in circuit court to enforce final decisions and collect amounts due.

CHILD PERFORMERS TRUST FUND (SB 147/PA 101-0526) Amends the Child Labor Law to require that a trust fund where at least 15 percent of gross earnings will be deposited must be created prior to issuance of a work permit for child performers who are younger than

HOME ENERGY AFFORDABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY ACT (SB 651/PA 101-0590) Seeks to strengthen regulation of alternative retail energy suppliers.

Find up-to-date information from trusted sources on COVID-19. Visit https://tinyurl. com/rccCOVID19

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020




Mercyhealth was awarded Gold Status by the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association as part of its 2019 Target: BP Recognition Program for achieving blood pressure control rates of 70 percent or more in their adult patient population with high blood pressure. Caravel Autism Health opened a new 6,000-sq.-ft. center at 6565 E. State St., Rockford, with clinical psychologists and individualized Applied Behavior Analysis treatment plans that help children with autism develop skills, create connections and gain confidence. Rockford Christian high school students visited Wesley Willows and Peterson Meadows on Feb. 21 for a day of service and a day of learning with introduction to aging services given by residents and department leaders.

Rockford Mutual Insurance Company received the 2018/19 ValChoice® award for A Best Value for car insurance in Illinois over a three-year period. Savant Capital Management finalized a merger with Lincolnshirebased Huber Financial Advisors; with $3.1 billion in assets under management in Chicagoland and $8.5 billion nationally. Total employees have increased to approximately 210, with nearly 70 in Chicago. Laurent House Foundation received a grant of $28,500 from the Kjellstrom Family Foundation Endowment of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois for CAMP LAURENT, its first summer camp for children, focused on “How Excellence in Design Changes People’s Lives.”

SwedishAmerican’s Caring Canines Therapy Dog program donated $3,100 from its 2020 wall calendars to the Rockford Police Department’s K9 Unit at a check presentation in February.

RAMP is offering disability awareness trainings for businesses and organizations on RAMP services, ADA laws and regulations, disability etiquette, accessibility guidelines and service dogs.

V2 Marketing Communications recently launched a new website for Mutual Re mutualre.com. The new site features a mobile-friendly responsive design that adapts for viewing on desktops, smartphones and tablets.

Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomed the 2020 Amateur Athletic Union Rockin’ Rockford Grand Prix for a third year, March 7 to 8. With 5,000 total visitors, the economic impact was projected at roughly $467,066.

OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center for the fourth time received Magnet Recognition® for excellence in nursing by American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program®. The recognition has been given to only eight percent of the nation’s hospitals. Of those hospitals, only seven percent have been designated four times.

Mercyhealth announced that the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved its Certificate of Need application for a 17-bed sub-acute care unit at Javon Bea Hospital–Rockton campus for patients no longer sick enough to require hospitalization but not medically ready to be discharged to a skilled nursing facility or home. The impact would be $5.3 million in planned renovations and at least 35 positions, including a physician, nurses, therapists and support staff.

For the 21st consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada presented a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award to Greater Rockford Airport Authority for its annual budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2019. Entré Computer Solutions presented the Vendor of the Year award to Arctic Wolf. Its security teams work 24-7 to monitor, detect and respond to cyberattacks before they have the chance to impact client’s business. Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful received the 2019 President’s Circle Award recognition from Keep America Beautiful®.

The Keith Robotics Club at Keith Country Day School received funds from Collins Aerospace towards the KMK Media Group was hired by The purchase of additional Lego EV3 Good Law Group for media buying Robotic Education kits. The club and ad creative for TV and print. expanded its two middle school Giovanni’s Restaurant & FIRST Tech Challenge teams in the Convention Center hired it to handle FIRST Lego League State the marketing for its signature Championship to include a high restaurants, Alchemy and Legacy. school team this year. KMK produced display boards, Chartwell Agency developed the marketing collateral and public relations for Rockford “What Matters Most” video campaign Anesthesiologists Associated’s with real stories that underscore the physician recruitment efforts. personal connection that Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union develops American Advertising Federation of with members. It has 11 locations in Northern Illinois presented 10 gold, Wyoming and Colorado. 14 silver and 16 bronze ADDY Awards out of 67 entries received at its annual OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony event in February at the Prairie Street Medical Center’s Patricia D. Pepe Brewhouse. Greenlee garnered Best Center for Cancer Care radiation of Show for its “Greenlee Conduit department received a three-year Sign.” Judge’s Choice went to term of accreditation based on a SwedishAmerican for its “Makers” recent review by the American commercial, GrahamSpencer Brand College of Radiology. + Content Solutions for its “VKC/ Rockford Park District’s Spring/ Bears Training Camp” campaign and Summer 2020 Program Guide is PCI Pharma Services for its “Global available with registration open for Sales Meeting Lobster.” Gold ADDY lessons, camps and leagues, April winners advance to the District 6 ADDY competition. through September 2020.

Thayer Lighting held a solar breakfast event for more than 40 commercial and industrial business leaders, featuring multiple speakers. It presented La Chiquita with the “Soaring into Sustainability” award for its commitment to addressing the environmental impact of its upcoming building projects. Rockford Art Deli committed to donating one percent of its profits this year to Severson Dells Nature Center as part of its membership with global nonprofit, 1% For the Planet. It has created a custom T-shirt for the occasion. Chartwell Agency was hired by Dr. Pedro Rodriguez, board-certified plastic surgeon, for a communications plan integrating social media, patient stories, blogs/ articles, video blogs/stories and outreach opportunities. Mercyhealth attained Magnet Recognition® again, as an entire, integrated system, by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program®. Rockford Rescue Mission held a Restoration Celebration honoring seven graduates of its nine- to 12-month residential Life Recovery Program; overcoming addictions to drugs and alcohol, destructive relationships and job losses. Rock Valley Credit Union won first place in the state as well as a national Dora Maxwell Awards for social responsibility in support of Pink Heals of Winnebago County, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity, MILESTONE and Walter Lawson Children’s Home. First place winners go to the national competition.

Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomed thousands of athletes, families and fans for the 2020 National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Women’s Basketball Championship, the 2020 Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation State Finals and the 2020 Illinois State Middle School Basketball Championships. These March events attracted more than 10,000 visitors for $2,647,031 in tourism economic impact. Rockford Promise and Rockford University partnered to offer Rockford Promise Scholar graduates with an associate’s degree from Rock Valley College greatly reduced tuition rates. Fall 2020 tuition is $32,800 per year, but these scholars can complete their bachelor’s degree at $7,500 per year. So far, Rockford Promise has awarded 68 full-tuition scholarships to Rockford Public School graduates. Wesley Willows acquired the VirtuSense Technologies program to prevent falls and provide proactive care to all of its residents. OSF HealthCare’s virtual assistant chatbot Clare has been updated at www.osfhealthcare.org for screening related to COVID-19. It will listen for symptoms and ask relevant follow-up questions, such as travel history and whether a person is aware if they’ve been exposed to others with the illness. Community members who are symptomatic or considered at-risk will be able to access trained medical professionals at no cost for advice on testing and care. Works in Firefox, Chrome and mobile browsers; not in Internet Explorer. Digital Hive Mind received four ADDY awards from the American Advertising Federation of Northern Illinois in February: Transform Rockford website (gold), PCI Pharma Services trade show (gold), Remedies Renewing Lives Annual Report (silver) and The Ultimate Burger (bronze). It also received two American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA for the Transform Rockford website and the 2018 Remedies Renewing Lives Annual Report. Prevent Child Abuse America accredited YWCA Northwestern Illinois, a Healthy Families America affiliate, as a provider of high quality home visiting services to pregnant families and families with infants and young children. Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, holds its Great American Cleanup on Saturday, April 25. For three hours, 2,200 volunteers clean up the neighborhoods, businesses, schools and parks of Rockford.


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020


Rockford Chamber members appear bolded. Thank you for your support of your fellow Chamber members.

1. Troy E. Haggestad

2. Dr. Douglas P. Roegner

3. Dr. Christopher Whelan

4. Dr. Martin Pschirrer

5. Keith Akre

6. Joey King

7. Dr. Greg Tierney

8. Craig Stallings

9. Carlene Cardosi

10. Dr. Sheila Senn

11. Janis Waddell

12. Michael Christiansen

13. Warren Adam

14. Richard Barnovos

15. Stephen Kulin

16. Affie Tzemopoulos

17. Michael Wall

18. Lisa Ireton

19. David Achilli

20. Jon Bates

21. Dr. Kushal Patel

22. Dr. Benjamin David LeMoine

23. Dr. Valentina Dalili-Shoaie

24. Matt Trosper

BOARD APPOINTMENTS The Alliance elected officers of its executive committee for 2020: Wendy Culver, Mead & Hunt, chair; Diana Clark, Promega Corporation, vice chair, and Mick Gronewold, Fehr Graham, member. Larry Pribyl, Trachte, retired as chairman of the board. His seat remains vacant. Troy E. Haggestad (1), attorney, WilliamsMcCarthy LLP, joined the Hope for Haitians board. Douglas P. Roegner, M.D. (2), and Christopher Whelan, M.D. (3), Rockford Urological Associates, were elected to two-year terms on the Winnebago County Medical Society board. Dr. Whelan is the organization’s immediate past president and has served on the board since 2014. FurstStaffing welcomed Dr. Martin Pschirrer (4) to its newly developed division, FurstExecutiveSolutions.

NEW HIRES, PROMOTIONS, RETIREMENTS Albert Davis joined Ad Vice Marketing as a creative specialist. Stillman Bank promoted Keith Akre (5) to vice president and trust officer. Rosecrance hired Joey King (6), LCPC, as Rosecrance Central Illinois executive director and Dr. Greg Tierney (7) as administrator of adult substance abuse at Rosecrance Harrison Campus. It promoted Craig Stallings (8) to regional vice president of operations, Carlene Cardosi (9) to vice president of residential

services, Dr. Sheila Senn (10) to regional director role with oversight of Rosecrance McHenry County and Wisconsin-based services and Janis Waddell (11) to chief marketing officer. Rock River Water Reclamation District hired Michael Christensen (12) as plant operations maintenance manager and reclassified Warren Adam (13) as project engineer III, a newly created position. Wipfli LLP hired Megan Bilodeau as payroll specialist, Richard Barnovos (14) as senior manager, tax, and Stephen Kulin (15) and Affie Tzemopoulos (16) as staff accountants in the Rockford office. Rockford Mutual Insurance Company promoted Michael Wall (17) to assistant vice president of underwriting and Lisa Ireton (18) to director of human resources. Entre’ Computer Solutions hired David Achilli (19) in technical consulting. Jon Bates, (20) president, Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, will retire on June 30, 2020. A search is underway for a new president. Mercyhealth welcomed Dr. Kushal Patel (21), hospitalist, to Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside and Rockton; Dr. Benjamin David LeMoine (22), radiology, to Javon Bea Hospital– Riverside and Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center–Harvard, and Dr. Valentina Dalili-Shoaie (23), genetics, to Mercyhealth Physician Clinic-Riverside. Timothy Riordan, trombonist, and Chris Scanlon, trumpet, will join the faculty at the Northern Illinois

University School of Music beginning in the fall semester 2020. Chastain & Associates LLC welcomed Matt Trosper (24) as a civil designer in Rockford. Rose Rementer (25) was named community relations coordinator at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford. Illinois Bank & Trust promoted Barry Kramer (26) to vice president-wealth advisor. Comprehensive Community Solutions, Inc., named William Chatman as executive director. Melissa Wright (27) was promoted to corporate sales manager of Wesley Willows. First National Bank and Trust hired Connie Adler (28) as assistant vice president and branch manager for the East Grand Avenue location in Beloit. Fehr Graham promoted Matt Schroeder (29) to environmental division manager.

EMPLOYEE/COMMUNITY RECOGNITIONS, AWARDS Angie Redmond, second year MFA student, painting and museum studies, at the Northern Illinois University School of Art and Design, won first place at the national juried art exhibition “Black Creativity” at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Scott C. Sullivan (30) and Marc C. Gravino (31), partners, WilliamsMcCarthy LLP, were selected for the 2020 Illinois Super Lawyers list. No more than five percent of lawyers in the state are selected.

Eric Johnson, director of choral activities, NIU School of Music and founding artistic director of Cor Cantiamo, received the 2020 Harold Decker Award from the Illinois Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Jefferson High School student Nada Abdulaziz took first place and Jada Cox second place in the Northern Illinois Poetry Out Loud regional contest in February hosted by Rockford Area Arts Council. They advanced to Illinois’ State Poetry Out Loud Competition on March 2 in Springfield, Ill. That state champion advances to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, April 27 to 29, in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed. Paul Green, managing directorinvestment officer, Green-Lewis Investment Consulting Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, was named to the Forbes list of best in state advisors for 2020. Lana M. Engen (32), CFP®, Aspire Financial Group, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., will be honored for the company’s Circle of Success annual recognition in 2020. State Senator Dave Syverson (33) (R-Rockford) was one of four state legislators with a 100 percent voting record on the 2019 Legislative Scorecard by the Technology and Manufacturing Association. He received the Jim Guilinger Legislative Award from the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education for support of agricultural education and FFA student programs.

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020



on digital MEMBER PICS

Ceremonial ribbon donated by SERVPRO of Rockford.

25. Rose Rementer

26. Barry Kramer

27. Melissa Wright

28. Connie Adler

29. Matt Schroeder

30. Scott C. Sullivan

31. Marc C. Gravino

32. Lana M. Engen

Autism Home Support Services hosted a ribbon cutting on March 12 at 7177 Crimson Ridge Dr., Ste. 110, Rockford. The center offers applied behavior analysis therapy for children age 18 months and older who have autism spectrum disorder.

33. State Sen. Dave Syverson

34. Dr. Brian Bear

35. Dr. Brian Foster

37. Dr. Scott Trenhaile

38. Brittany Schultz

39. David Cyrs

36. Dr. Kenneth Korcek

Science Academy, and Isabella Aguirre, Auburn High School.

41. Brett Erickson

42. Dr. Josh Berven

Don Miller, retired, received the 2020 George and Barbara Fell Award at the Natural Land Institute’s annual dinner in March. YWCA Northwestern Illinois gave its 2020 Women of Achievement Awards in March to: Carol Schuster, University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford (business); Tiana McCall, Wabongo Leadership Council (community leadership); Shamika Williams, Keeping Families and Communities Together (mentorship); Jody Beilke, Barrick, Switzer, Long, Balsley & Van Evera (professions); Tikisha Ellis, Rockford Public Schools (promise), and Ann Rundall, Eliminating Racism 815 (racial justice). Its 2020 scholarship recipients are: Hope Markley, Hononegah High School; Sabrina Meng, Illinois Mathematical and

Dr. Brian Bear (34), Dr. Brian Foster (35), Dr. Kenneth Korcek (36) and Dr. Scott Trenhaile (37), orthopedic sports medicine specialist, OrthoIllinois, were among the four to five percent of U.S. doctors named to the list of Castle Connolly Top Doctors for 2020. Brittany Schultz (38), Dickerson & Nieman Realtors, was named REALTOR of the Year by Rockford Area REALTORS®. David Cyrs (39), CYRS Wealth Advisors LLC, Retirement and Wealth Management Solutions, was named a 2019 Five Star Wealth Manager by Chicago magazine. Brett Erickson (40), maintenance, Wesley Willows, received the Strive and Thrive award given by Leading Age Illinois; part of the 2020 Honoring Excellence Award Program. Dianna Sanchez, nurse manager/MDS coordinator, received her certification as a Resident Coordinator Certified Advance.

OF GENERAL INTEREST Dr. Josh Berven (41), Hulsebus Rockford Chiropractic, is hosting a special event for golfers throughout April.

Rockford Italian Sister Cities Alliance Student visits from Ferentino, Italy Nine Rockford-area families opened their hearts and homes to 15 high school students last October as a part of the Rockford Italian Sister Cities Alliance. Rockford and Ferentino have been sister cities since 2006. During the late 1800s, Italians from the Ferentino area, 45 miles south of Rome, immigrated to Rockford, settling in the predominantly Italian south side neighborhoods. They founded St. Ambrogio Society, the sole remaining Italian club in the original south side neighborhoods. The students attended RISCA’s annual fundraiser for the visits, the Taste of Italy, at the Venetian Club. They spent three days each at Belvidere North, Boylan, Harlem, Hononegah and Keith Country Day high schools. University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford and Rock Valley College provided halfday classroom/lab experiences. They toured Burpee Museum of Natural History, Starved Rock, and the Museum of Science and Industry, United Center, Willis Tower and various neighborhoods in Chicago. Prior to the Nov. 4 City Council meeting, they spoke with Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara on local government. Visit www.ourrisca.org.


THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

April 2020


MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS Thank you to members who renewed with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce in February 2020

Thank you to our members celebrating their anniversaries with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce

80-YEAR MEMBER WilliamsMcCarthy LLC



Valley Expo and Displays


23WIFR Gray Television, Inc.

Meridian - North Second

Ameriprise Financial

Meridian - Starwood Drive

Anderson Dodge

Cherryvale Place, Senior Living Eickman’s Processing Company

Anderson Nissan

Guyer & Enichen Attorneys at Law


Athletico Physical Therapy





Larson & Darby Group Wipfli LLP


University of Illinois College of Nursing - Rockford Campus

Anderson Toyota/Lexus of Rockford Birch Plumbing Inc. Blount International Broadmoor Agency, Inc. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. Capri Restaurant, Inc. Chick-fil-A Rockford Circle of Change Veterans Dog Program City Fire Fighters Union IAFF Local 413 City of Rockford Human Services Department Cord Construction Company Crash 1 Collision Center Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary Dickey Staffing Solutions Forest City Corporate Center ForeverLawn Chicago Frink’s Sewer & Drain Inc. Gemini Computer Systems, Inc. Hanson Professional Services Inc. Hyundai on Perryville Imperien Jason’s Deli Larson & Darby Group Lechtenberg & Associates LLC Lindstrom Travel

Money Management Educators Montel Technologies New York Life - Chad DeMarre Nicholson Hardware Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association O & L Machine Co. Inc. Oliver Close, LLC Physicians Immediate Care Pro Legal Care LLC Rock River Ford, Kia, Mitsubishi Rockford Area Arts Council Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Rockford Area Realtors Rockford Consulting & Brokerage Rockford Foundries Rockford Rescue Mission Ministries Rocktown Adventures Sam’s Club, A Division of Wal-Mart Stores Stepping Stones of Rockford, Inc. Stifel Stifel - The Luedke Investment Group Sutkay Insurance Group (SIG) SWITS, Ltd. Taco John’s - South Alpine Talecris Plasma Resources The Literacy Council Triton Test and Balance

M2 Landscaping LLC

V2 Marketing Communications

Marden Tire & Auto (Marden Distributors, Inc.)

Weldstar Co. WilliamsMcCarthy LLP

Medicare 411 Co.

Winnebago County Medical Society

Are you a Member with News to Share? 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

Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication

THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

NEW CHAMBER MEMBERS CARAVEL AUTISM HEALTH Autism Diagnostic and Treatment Services 6565 E. State St., 61108 Jessica Popilek-Ayling 262-442-4308 caravelautism.com


Outcomes-focused therapy designed to help your child achieve more in less time. 7177 Crimson Ridge Dr., Ste. 110, 61107 Laura Perisin 779-771-6343 autismhomesupport.com

COMCAST - XFINITY RETAIL Innovation in Connectivity & Entertainment 6240 Mulford Village Dr., 61107 Jose Manzo, Store Manager www.xfinity.com/local/il/ rockford/6244-mulford-villagedrive.html

KIDNEY CARE CENTER Nephrology Care 6940 Villagreen View, 61107 Jennifer Wood – Kelly 779-774-9272 www.kccrockford.com


Providing a podcast for manufacturing leaders to consume inspiring and valuable content. 2426 N. Church St., 61103 Jessica Peterson 815-218-1706 www.makingchips.com


Financial Services 500 W. Madison St., Ste. 1725 Chicago, IL 60661 Mary Whitney 773-396-9369 www.newyorklife-chicago.com


April 2020


Providing affordable housing financial literacy and Small Business Development in Rockford’s southwest and west side. 2209 Clifton Ave., 61102 Jonathan Bell 815-977-5089 www.pcdcRockford.org

SCHNUCK MARKETS INC. Schnucks is a supermarket chain with a total of 112 stores in five states throughout the Midwest. 6410 E. State St., 61108 815-397-6080 2642 Charles St., 61108 815-484-2453 3134 11th St., 61109 815-398-0440 Aaron Miller, Division Manager www.schnucks.com

ADVERTISERS INDEX Blackhawk Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren . . 15

Brian Thomas Photography . . . 17

Rockford Chamber of Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . 12, 22-24

Edward Jones – Erna Colborn. . . 8 Illinois Bank & Trust . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) . . 13 Mercyhealth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Midland States Bank . . . . . . . . . . 2 Northern Public Radio . . . . . . . . 10 OSF HealthCare . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3



A cannabis craft grow business applicant in Harvard planning to provide a jobs training program in Rockford. 330 N. Wabash, floor 23 Chicago, IL 60611 Brad Zerman 312-593-8448 www.sevenpoint.org


Funeral & Cremation Services 6825 Weaver Road, 61114 Tony Gasparini 815-378-1019 www.tonygasparinifunerals.com

Rockford Local Development Corp. . . . . . . . . . . 15 Schmeling Construction Co. . . . 8 Stillman Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Thayer Lighting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . 9 Van Matre Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital . . . . . . . . 6


Chamber Staff / Call 815-987-8100 ..........................................Direct Line Jeff Bailey, Membership Development Executive ..................................815-316-4336 Carmen Brenz, Program & Event Coordinator ...................................815-316-4302 Einar K. Forsman, President & CEO .......................................... 815-987-8100 Heidi M. Garner, Chief Operating Officer .................................... 815-316-4312 Olivia Guzman, Administrative Assistant/Customer Service Rep..........815-987-8100 Doug Hessong, Director of Publications & Technology ................... 815-316-4338 Lynette Jacques, Vice President, Member Investment .................... 815-316-4317 Kristin Muehlfelder, Member Relations...................................................815-316-4315 Caitlin Pusateri, Vice President, Leadership Development ....................815-316-4337 Doug Rand, Accounting Manager/Controller ............................... 815-316-4316 Joan Sundvall, Membership Contact Coordinator ......................... 815-316-4320 Mike Mastroianni, Executive Director, Small Business Development Center ...................................................815-987-8100

CHAMBER BOARD OF DIRECTORS & OFFICERS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair of the Board Michele Petrie Wintrust Commercial Banking & Mortgage Chair Elect Dan Ross Fehr Graham

DIRECTORS Brent Bernardi Alph Controls & Services LLC Kimberly Blascoe Wipfli LLP LaVonne Brown Savant Capital Management Paula Carynski OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center

Vice Chair Jean Crosby Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crosby Samuel J. Castree Starck Real Estate Staff Management, Inc. Treasurer Amy Ott Doug Curry Boylan Catholic Stenstrom High School Companies Immediate Don Daniels Past Chair SwedishAmerican, A Richard Zumwalt Division of UW Health Z Resource Rebecca Epperson Chartwell Agency Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. Rockford University Ira Grimmett Collins Aerospace

Tim Honquest Honquest Family Funeral Home with Crematory

Dr. Alex Stagnaro-Green Univ. of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford

Jeff Hultman Illinois Bank & Trust

Terry Voskuil Woodward

Michael F. Iasparro Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Robert Young Midwest Packaging and Container

Carly LaMonica LaMonica Beverages, Inc.


Kris L. Kieper Machajewski YWCA Northwestern Illinois Mike Paterson Mid-West Family Broadcasting Denise Sasse RSM US LLP Sue Schrieber Mercyhealth John Schuster Rosecrance Health Network

Einar K. Forsman President & CEO, Rockford Chamber of Commerce John Groh Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Nathan Bryant Rockford Area Economic Development Council

Teresa Sharp American Precision Supply, Inc.


(Moving people and things; logistics & warehousing)

Going Local

(Home-grown businesses, Farmers Markets)

For information on advertising, call 815


Profile for Rockford Chamber of Commerce

April Voice 2020