Page 1

The Voice is online at


County Chairman Christiansen shares his vision for a brighter future By Paul Anthony Arco A South Main corridor lined with new and expanding businesses. A vibrant downtown filled with an influx of college students living in the area. Aerospace and manufacturing communities strengthened by the nanotechnology and micro-machining started back at the turn of the century. New companies focused on alternative energy solutions. An Amtrak connection from Chicago through Rockford to Dubuque. A commuter train connection through Rockford to Chicago and O’Hare. A freight train connection sending Winnebago County

Photos by Brian Thomas Photography

Winnebago County Chairman Scott Christiansen shares his optimistic vision for the region. products to the world. An airport that is the favorite of the western suburbs. It’s all part of Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen’s optimistic view of the future, one he shared with 400 people during his annual State of the County address at Cliffbreakers Resort on April 21. “Trying to be positive,” Christiansen said after his speech. “We’ve had such a terrific campaign for Embry Riddle; if we can just keep ourselves in that mode, we can do anything.”

“I tried to be realistic, a little challenging maybe,” he added. “The airport is there. It’s not outrageous to think of 50 flights a day going somewhere. It’s not going to take much more infrastructure. The more and more crowded Chicago is as it relates to freight, that’s good for us. Again, I think the rail is a key part of it, and that’s doable. We’ve been talking about it and now it’s time to get it done.” Christiansen’s vision was well received more on page 3

Expanding the circle of trust with social media By Barbara Connors

Visit us online at: ■ online registration ■ keynote speaker video clips ■ event photos ■ list of Chamber events Questions? 815-987-8100 Join the Chamber’s LinkedIn Group

FarmTown, a Rockford Public Schools program designed to teach students about food from seed to consumption, was recognized in April as the recipient of a 2010 Environmental Hero Award presented by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. Students worked two-thirds of an acre of land, tilled by the Rockford Park District, and attended classes led by the University of Illinois Extension Winnebago County, including summer field trips and lessons on nutrition, entrepreneurialism and farming. The project yielded hundreds of pounds of produce, a majority of which was donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Various thought leaders have theorized that the presence of the trust economy is key to the United States’ economic health and power. You do business with the people you trust. writer Tim Harford described in his column, “The Economics of Trust,” that “… above all, trust enables people to do business with each other. Doing business is what creates wealth.” Social media undoubtedly has broadened an individual’s capacity to build vast networks of trust and has heightened an individual’s social influence beyond what could be imagined just a few years ago. Brian Solis, a globally recognized thought leader in the new media, and a principal at research-based advisory firm Altimeter Group, said in his blog entry, “The Evolution of A New Trust Economy,” that “the curated micro networks we forge within each respective social network

Since early 2009, Wayne Breitbarth has moonlighted as a LinkedIn trainer, teaching more than 10,000 businesspeople in the Milwaukee area and beyond how to effectively use the professional networking site, while keeping his “day job” as the owner of M&M Office Interiors in Pewaukee, Wis. serves as a trusted community. Those who can participate or permeate these trust communities must first earn the prominence of what Chris Brogan and Julien Smith call Trust Agents – those individuals who are deserving of your time more on page 19

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Rockford Chamber of Commerce

Celebration of Leadership LUNCHEON Franchesco’s Ristorante Thursday, May 12 ROCKFORD AIRPORT PASSENGER TRAFFIC THIRD HIGHEST IN HISTORY Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) had its third-busiest month ever in passenger traffic to its seven leisure destinations in March. For the month, 27,616 passengers flew in and out of the airport, a 22.1 percent increase from March, 2010. The first quarter also finished strong with a 21.5 percent increase over the first quarter of 2010. Passenger service was boosted by Apple Vacations’ expanded service to Cancun. Apple Vacations provided three flights a week from RFD to Cancun through early April, and still has weekly Saturday flights through June. The Cancun service extends later into the year this year, thanks to strong demand from within a three-hour radius of RFD. RFD also saw year-over-year increases in flights from Allegiant Air and Direct Air, including Direct Air’s new West Palm Beach service. On average, flights out of RFD were 93 percent full in March. RFD has nonstop service to Orlando, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, the Fort Myers area, West Palm Beach and Cancun.

May 2011 theVoice


President’s Message VIEWPOINT

Community organizing as an Education Reform Strategy Series The following are excerpts from an Annenberg Institute paper on community engagement in education reform. Prepared by Michelle Renee’ and Sarah McAlister, January, 2011. Community organizing for school reform offers an urgently needed alternative to traditional approaches to school reform. While many current reforms are innovative, they often fail to thrive due to lack of trust, understanding, or cultural relevance to the community being targeted by the reform. The high turnover of reformers (superintendents, principal, or outside organizations) in high-need schools and districts is another major cause of school reform failure. Finally, reforms also fail because they do not address extreme inequities in resources and empowerment between poor communities and their more privileged counterparts. Community organizing, in contrast, has the potential to situate education issues within larger economic and social systems, directly address issues of power, and build democratic capacity to sustain meaningful education reforms over the long term.

Community organizing for school reform leverages the collective power of parents, youth community residents, and/or institutions to alter longstanding power relationships and policies that produce failing schools in under-served communities. The goal is to create more accountable, equitable, high-quality schools for all students by challenging the patterns of inequality that are built into the rules and laws that guide schools; the individual beliefs of many educators and administrators about who is capable of learning; and the relationships between stakeholders that dictate how a reform is adopted and implemented. While some community organizing takes the form of direct protest, a large part is about building powerful collaborations and partnerships between organizers and other education stakeholders. Several key strategies distinguish community organizing for school reform from conventional reform strategies. Addressing power relationships. Community organizing begins from the assumption that school reform is a

complex process that includes not only the practical business of curriculum and teaching, but also many layers of power, politics, beliefs and culture. Along with addressing the technical aspects of a reform, community organizing also works toward understanding the power relationship and ideas that can advance or impede a reform. Developing political will to advance equity. Community organizing is unique in taking an “inside/outside” approach to school reform. Organizing develops a broad constituency for reform and ensures that proposed reforms reflect the needs and interests of those who will be impacted. A recent study found that community organizations can create the political will needed to implement and sustain a particular change through negotiations, public awareness, and pressure, at the same time increasing the social capital of under-served communities so those gains can be sustained. Developing relevant, innovative solutions. By engaging the people most impacted by inequality and poverty in the creation, adoption, and implementation

Einar K. Forsman Rockford Chamber of Commerce

of reforms, community organizing inserts unique, relevant ideas and solutions into the process. Looking beyond education to comprehensive reform on multiple issues. Because many community organizations work on multiple issues area like poverty, housing, transportation, or health care, their ideas and priorities embed school reform in a realistic and comprehensive web of social and economic issues. Building democratic capacity. Community organizing builds democratic capacity and participation of the community. One study found that engaging in school reforms to benefit their children changed community residents’ perceptions about their lives “from one of deficit to empowerment, which led to the cultural changes in the family, the community, and in their personal lives.” The full text of this article can be found at _Report.pdf theVoice May 2011

Mike Broski, Tom Hawes and Gary Marzorati catch up at the State of the County Luncheon.

Brighter future cont from front page

by the audience, many of whom are directly involved with the projects the chairman outlined. “All of the things he talked about are almost there,” said Sunil Puri, president of First Rockford Group. “It’s a matter of having a collected vision and having people who are going to collectively push for that vision.” Christiansen highlighted some of the ongoing major projects, like development of the Rock 39 Industrial Park, which has the potential to create 5,000 jobs. He also detailed several other projects, including road work, siren warning systems, green technology efforts at Freedom Field, alternative to incarceration programs and flood mitigation programs. He said that the efforts of the county and its economic development partners have created more than 600 new jobs in the past year. Work is being done with 17 companies to explore relocation or expansion with a potential of adding 800 more jobs, he added. “It’s all about jobs,” he said. The County saved $330,000 last year by consolidating programs and outsourcing others. The budget for this year is $181 million, a decrease of $40 million or a reduction of nearly 20 percent, Christensen said. “It’s a credit to the Chairman and the County that they have been able to maintain the level of services while spending less,” said Dan O’Boyle, CPA, CLCS, Coyle-Varland Insurance Agency. “There were some good examples of how the County has saved money by

County Officials Marilyn Hite-Ross, Bill Crowley and Pearl Hawks.

consolidating some facilities and negotiating the purchase of goods and services.” Christiansen also thanked former airport director Bob O’Brien and outgoing school superintendent LaVonne Sheffield for their service to the Rockford community. “There is a lot of strong sentiment about the importance of the airport and the school district to our future,” said Einar Forsman, president and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “I’m glad he thanked them for their service, while recognizing that we have to continue to move forward and build from within our community strength.” “The thing about the chairman is he always has a positive outlook, but it’s also steeped in the reality of the situation of Rockford,” said Anne O’Keefe, president and CEO of the Rockford Area Arts Council. “He has a great vision for what could be, and he knows that it takes hard work from an entire community, not just one municipality, not just one governing body, but the entire city to work together.” In the short term, Christiansen is working on several projects, including a study that will begin in May to provide site assessments for tourism-related farms, businesses, historical sites and nature organizations in rural Winnebago County; looking for partners to fund road improvements, and working on the Pecatonica Path project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2012. “In order for any region to succeed, it must have basic fundamentals in place – good jobs, excellent educational opportunities, enhanced public health and safety, accessible transportation and a diverse quality of life,” he said. ■

Let your Voice be heard The Rockford Chamber of Commerce welcomes and encourages submissions for The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community. Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication. Send news releases and other items of interest to the business community to: The VOICE Rockford Chamber of Commerce 308 W. State St., Ste. 190 Rockford, IL 61101 For information about advertising contact Customer Service at 815-987-8100. The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community (USPS 784-120). ISSN number 10860630, 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.


May 2011 theVoice




The following is a listing of Rockford Chamber Members highlighted in a specific industry.

Member Category of the Month

Guest Perspective


H. C. Anderson Roofing Co. Inc.

It’s never too late to make positive lifestyle changes

ADV Enterprises Al’s Tree Planting Executive Lawn Services Forever Green, Inc. G & O Landscaping Inc. Image Pros Instant Jungle, Inc. J. Carlson Growers, Inc. Lawn Care by Walter, Inc. Maney’s Lawnscape Inc. the groundUP s.s.i. (gUs, inc) Tree Care Enterprises Inc. TruGreen

Handyman Matters

Add healthy habits, one step at a time


Krup Electric Company KTEL Construction Inc. Lee ‘n Sons Plumbing, Inc. Lincoln Rent-All & Sales, Inc. Manrod Electric Inc. Mechanical Inc. Midland General Contractors, Inc. Midwest Scale Company, Inc. Miller Engineering Company

Too many times I hear seniors say “I’m too old for that,” or “It’s too late to start now.” It never is too late to better yourself! Staying active, physically as well as socially, and maintaining a balanced diet are easy ways to start on the road to longevity. Using the following tools, you may be able to prevent and maintain diseases such as diabetes and depression and live a happier, longer and healthy life!

Mr. P’s Prep-n-Paint

Exercise, the Key to Living Longer

North Park Rental Service, Inc.

The secret to feeling better and living longer is staying active. You are able to stay on the road of longevity, even by participating in a simple chair exercise. Start small by taking the stairs to burn calories, and holding a chair to do standing squats for fall prevention. Stand behind the chair, holding it for balance, and squat as if you are sitting in a chair. Purchase a pedometer and work your way up to 10,000 steps a day!

Paul Davis Restoration (JRD Construction) Pearson

A.A.T Infrared, Inc.

Rabine Paving

American Driveway Maintenance, Inc.

Raintree Seamless Gutters/Siding

Area Erectors, Inc.

Ringland-Johnson, Inc.

Ballard Companies, Inc.

Rock Road Companies, Inc.

Berg Industries, Inc.

Rockford Rentals

Bestway Remodeling Bobcat of Rockford

Rockford Structures Construction Company

Bost Masonry

Rogers Drywall, Inc.

Brenda & Joe’s Hauling & Construction


Building Systems, Inc.

Schmeling Construction Co.

Campos Construction, Inc

Singley Construction

Cord Construction Company

Sjostrom & Sons, Inc.

Cream City Scale LLC

Special Power, Inc.

Creative Crane & Rigging, Inc.

Stenstrom Companies

Cross Country Construction

Superior Drywall Company

Done Right Seal & Stripe, Inc.

The Rockwell Group Inc.

Freed Plumbing, Inc.

TLC Construction

Fridh Construction Services

Two J’s Painting

Gauerke Electric Company

Vern E. Lundberg, Inc.

Gypsum Supply Company

Wilson Electric Co.

Reliable Rehab and Remodeling

Scandroli Construction Company

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

Eating for Longevity Diet is one of the most important factors when traveling the road to good health. Because of the average American’s poor diet, our average rate for heart disease is 83 per 100,000 people, compared to the islanders of San Blas, off the coast of Panama, whose rate is 9 per 100,000. The diet of the San Blas’ residents typically consists of vegetables and seafood. We can eat heart healthy, using the San Blas example. Most of us know what we should by eating, but the real question is why should we be eating these super foods? The antioxidants found in blueberries, walnuts, red wine, beans and many other hearthealthy foods, can help ward off age-related changes, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and even the dreaded “C word” — cancer. Coffee is another substance that potentially could decrease chances of Type

Allison McNutt In Home Personal Services, Inc.

2 diabetes. Go ahead, pour a second cup! Yogurt is another super food that carries many benefits because it has probiotics to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut and your digestive tract in good shape. And, in a study, men and women felt fuller after having yogurt as a snack compared to many other snacks. This may keep you from eating another snack between meals. With small changes to your diet you may quickly see and feel the results.

Get Out and Socialize Staying socially active with friends has a great effect on longevity. Researchers from WebMD say friends exert a healthy influence on mood, self esteem and coping during difficult times. A study in The Lancet Neurology, found that seniors who spend time socializing may add a defense against Alzheimer’s disease. It is easy to stay socially active within your own community. Rockford offers many ways for seniors to get out and be active. Grab your friends and head out to the Ethnic Heritage Museum, join BINGO at the VFW or the senior aerobics classes at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. You don’t need to make all of these changes at once — take one step at a time. Start with a small change, like eating breakfast with an antioxidant-filled food every morning. Make the habit stick, then work on adding another healthy habit. Every time you break a bad habit and add a heart healthy one, you go further down the road to longevity! Allison McNutt is community outreach coordinator at In Home Personal Services, Inc. The views expressed are those of McNutt’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber Board of Directors & Officers EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chairman of the Board Mike Broski Entré Computer Solutions Vice Chairman Rich Walsh SwedishAmerican Health System Treasurer Larry Bridgeland Mid-City Office Products Immediate Past Chairman Pam Maher KMK Media Group DIRECTORS Teresa Beach-Shelow Superior Joining Technologies, Inc. Romero Bennett Blue Sky Insurance Agency

Andrew Benson Benson Stone Company, Inc. Walt Boothe Harris Bank, N.A. Ryan Brauns Rockford Consulting & Brokerage Paul Callighan ComEd Joe Castrogiovanni Giovanni's, Inc. J. Chapman Maverick Media Rena Cotsones Northern Illinois University Darlene Furst Furst Staffing Penny Lechtenberg Hinshaw & Culbertson Mike Mastroianni Rock Valley College

Paul McCann Stanley Steemer of Rockford Patrick Morrow Alpine Bank John Oller Mark Peterson CBL Associates CherryVale Dee Premo Whitehead, Inc. Realtors Peter Ricker Rockford Register Star Tim Rollins WilliamsMcCarthy LLP Dan Saavedra Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects Henry Seybold Rockford Health System Patrick Shaw RSM McGladrey, Inc.

Patti Thayer Thayer Lighting, Inc. Jennifer Wood Sikich LLP Richard Zumwalt OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center EX-OFFICIO DIRECTORS Janyce Fadden Rockford Area Economic Development Council Einar K. Forsman President & CEO, Rockford Chamber of Commerce John Groh Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO

May 2011 theVoice


International Trade Center opens in Rockford The Illinois Small Business Development Center International Trade Center of the Rockford area opened its doors on April 6, becoming the tenth such trade center to open in Illinois. The International Trade Center (ITC) helps local companies export products and services overseas. It helps foreign companies buy from Rockford area companies. “A diversified economy is a stronger economy,” said Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey. “Having a onestop office will help local businesses. Sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly how to begin or grow your export business, so this international trade center can help bring direction and focus to area businesses.” Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen said, “We look forward to partnering with the International Trade Center as it conducts outreach to area companies and holds training seminars.” The ITC is located at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, 100 Park Ave., and staffed by Carrie Zethmayr, RAEDC manager of international relations and client solutions. “Global companies are more profitable and sustainable. For the Rockford Region to grow, our international exports must also grow,” she said, explaining the international emphasis.

Future Wealth Tied to Exports More than 12 percent of the region’s wealth is due to exporting. This is growing at 22 percent annually, which

TerraPlants: Interior landscaping solutions New company gets help from area business incubator

Brent Johnson, president of Midwest Aero Support, discusses the importance of exports in his business’ growth, and how he envisions working with the International Trade Center.

Photo by Eigerlab

The company’s goal is to improve a client’s interior space through the presence of living plants.

will result in $1.5 billion in potential wealth by 2012. President Barack Obama set a national goal to double exports over the next five years. Eric Voyles, RAEDC vice president for national business development, reinforced the premise that global companies are more profitable and sustainable. “That’s why the RAEDC places a high importance on international growth. It is a strong and willing horse that can pull our economy forward.”

By Sherry Pritz, EIGERlab While employed at PG Architecture (PGA), Blake Hamilton, owner of TerraPlants (TP), experienced the impetus for developing his company. He created the concept of TP when he discovered a lack of interior landscaping solution options. When PGA completed a project, its way of conveying thanks was to add greenery throughout the building. Discovering that this was not an easy task to accomplish, TP was created. The name TP strongly conveys his offerings — terra meaning “earth/plants”. The TP concept is straightforward … “green plants and containers, made easy.” TP provides a complimentary consultation of the client’s space, using the theory that living plants in a

Rockford Local Development Corporation (RLDC) can be contacted for additional information. Revolving loans also are practical funding sources. Commonly used for gap financing, a typical loan is $5,000 to $20,000; however, larger loans can be considered in some instances. RLDC manages several revolving loan funds. The Village of Machesney Park and Winnebago County offer revolving loan programs as well. For more information on these opportunities feel free to contact me at or 815969-4258. Matthew Simpson is business development specialist at the RAEDC.

Sherry Pritz is marketing coordinator at EIGERlab/Rock Valley College.

To get in touch with the ITC, contact Carrie Zethmayr at 815-969-4268 or czethmayr@ You also can learn more at The Illinois ITC of the Rockford Area is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Rock Valley College.

Spring time is upon us! Flowers are blooming; grass is changing from drab beige back to the green we were accustomed to seeing in seasons past. From talks with business leaders, we can draw off of the season’s symbolism in regards to business as well. Sales are starting to pick up, orders are slowly coming in again, and businesses are starting to see a little more green than during The Great Recession. Of course uncertainty still exists, but these are encouraging signs. Although this is true, access to capital increasingly will be important in ensuring businesses continue on this road to recovery.

Having a good relationship with your personal bank is crucial, but when conventional financing is hard to come by, the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan program and revolving loan funds are viable alternatives to help businesses meet financial needs.

Help Through the SBA 504 Program The SBA 504 loan program is a long-term financing tool designed to encourage economic development within a community. The 504 program accomplishes this by providing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire major fixed assets for expansion or modernization. The

Help from EIGERlab After meeting with several of the business development services offered at the EIGERlab (EL), Hamilton received direction in several key areas, including marketing and the creation of his business plan. TP now is an EL tenant and part of the incubator working alongside other startup companies. The intent is that fellow EL tenants potentially will assist in growing his company more quickly. His EL advisors included RVC’s Small Business Development Center, SCORE and Dan Cataldi, executive director of EL. Hamilton competed in the 2010 Stateline FastPitch Competition (FP), which forced him to ramp up his efforts to equip himself with professional marketing materials. Through his meetings at the EL, he was referred to his marketing team, Schwalbach Creative, the firm that created his professional marketing and branding campaign. TP’s goal is provide a diverse selection of plants and a visually appealing selection of containers to enhance the client’s interior decorating theme. The company prides itself in assisting LEED-certified building needs with the greenery to complement a builder’s architectural accomplishments. Call Blake Hamilton at 815-988-1513.

‘Grass is greener’—in business, too By Matthew Simpson, RAEDC

workplace, home or public place enhance the living environment, and benefit society both physically and mentally. For those areas without natural light, TP offers silk plants. theVoice May 2011


Conference to focus on opportunities Rockford-Lidköping expand for manufacturers to grow, diversify agreement in first virtual signing May 11 event to connect small manufacturers with buyers from growing sectors Helping small and mid-sized manufacturers develop strategies to win business in fast-growing industries is the focus of a one-day Supply Chain Growth conference on May 11 at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The event will feature purchasing leaders from companies in the aerospace & rail transportation, renewable energy, and medical device sectors who will share background on their companies and offer information on how companies can become successful suppliers to these industries. “Many Illinois companies have the capabilities to provide components and services to these growing sectors and many others,” said Bob Weinstein, president emeritus of the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC), a co-organizer of the conference. “What they need most is to identify the opportunities that match with their manufacturing capabilities, to make connections with companies that are looking to add to their supply base, and to learn what it takes to be successful in these sectors. The Chicago Area Supply Chain Growth Conference will address these needs.”

Conference Highlights: Aerospace & Rail Transportation Technology - Purchasing representatives from Electro-Motive Diesels, Siemens and Hamilton Sundstrand will discuss expectations for supplier performance and needed capabilities for aerospace and rail transportation. Medical Devices and Equipment Rick Paddock, med tech director for the U.S. Department of Commerce, will talk about industry trends and opportunities for growth in this fast-growing sector. Purchasing reps from Chicago area medical manufacturing companies are expected to participate. Renewable Energy - Representatives from Acciona Wind Energy and

Broadwind Energy will provide an overview of the requirements for breaking into the wind Tucker Kennedy energy sector. IMEC Industry experts from Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy will provide an overview of the renewable energy industry including, in particular, wind power.

Good Time to Examine Business Model Other topics will focus on diversification and go-to-market strategies. Steve Barnhart, a business growth director at IMEC, will map the diversification process and discuss key operational issues or industry requirements that must be met. He also will highlight examples of companies that have successfully sold to the three targeted sectors. “Many area manufacturers are still recovering from the recession,” said Dylan Tuttle, project manager for Jane Addams Resource Corporation, which is partnering with IMEC to host the conference. “As business picks up, it’s the right time for manufacturers to examine their business models and lessen their exposure to future downturns. Diversifying and securing new customers in new sectors is an important part of that equation.” The event is co-sponsored and supported by many of the region’s premier business and trade organizations, local governments and educational institutions. More information is available at conference. Register at www.regonline .com/supplychaingrowthconference. Tucker Kennedy is VP communication at IMEC.


Rockford and Lidköping, Sweden updated their Industrial Partnership Agreement on March 31 in a virtual signing via Skype, held in Rockford’s City Hall and Lidköping’s town hall. The agreement is geared towards creating job growth and community wealth through business and educational collaborations and increasing awareness of Lidköping as an ideal entry point to the Swedish and European markets. It contains seven action plans: ■ Advocate for greater understanding between the two cities and countries. ■ Encourage occupational and citizen exchanges. ■ Conduct more exchange programs. ■ Assist with future International Bioenergy Days. ■ Explore tourism opportunities.

■ Develop international business climate. ■ Explore retail possibilities. “As this is a three-year agreement, and we have the talents of Linnea Bengtsson, Lidköping’s full-time international business developer, we are confident we will make great progress,” said Rockford Mayor Morrissey. Bengtsson was the first intern from Lidköping to work in Rockford after the first Industrial Partnership Agreement was signed in 2006 during the first trade mission to Sweden sponsored by the RAEDC. “We have seen good results already,” Bengtsson said. She is stationed in Rockford and will make trips back to Lidköping. “During my six weeks there, I received several requests from people, organizations and companies who want to explore collaborations with Rockford and the Midwest.”

Illinois provides employer incentives to get residents back to work Illinois has expanded the tax break for Illinois small businesses participating in the “Put Illinois to Work” program through June 30, 2011. The program encourages the hire of 2010 “Put Illinois to Work” worker-trainees for jobs created between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. For any-size business that hires a participant in 2010 “Put Illinois to Work” program, positions should be hourly or full-time, pay no less than $10/hour or equivalent with a minimum $18,200 annually, and be sustained for at least one year. Partners and independent contractors do not apply. Withholding tax goes to Illinois. Tax credit certificates at six months and one year. For small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees (counting all locations) many of the same rules apply,

“This law gives employers a strong incentive to continue providing good jobs for workers who need it most.” — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn but positions sustained for at least one year do not necessarily need to be held by the same individual. Tax credit certificate after one year. Business owners can go online and register for their tax credits, provide substantiating data, and print out their credit certificates, without ever having to leave their offices. Visit jobstaxcredit Manufacturing News is sponsored by IMEC

May 2011 theVoice


Stateline FastPitch competition celebrates fifth anniversary Brush off your best idea and pitch it Batter up … year five! Believe it or not, it’s the fifth anniversary of the everpopular, always unique, Stateline FastPitch Competition (FP). For those of you who have attended FP, you know it’s a one-of-a-kind event that resembles a cross between delivering your threeminute elevator pitch and a day at the ballpark, complete with popcorn and a hot dog vendor. But don’t let the ballpark theme fool you — this is a serious competition that begins weeks before with a two-day “pitch training,” where potential contestants learn about being precise when delivering their pitch and meet their fellow competitors. After a brief history lesson and examples of previous winners, Dan Cataldi, director of the EIGERlab, and Sherry Pritz, EIGERlab’s marketing coordinator, go to work sharing their background on the subject and how contestants can perform at their best.

Giving Entrepreneurs Financial Backing FP began in the fall of 2007 as a collaborative effort between the Illinois Business and Investor Forum, Northern Illinois University, Rock River Valley Entrepreneurship Center, Rockford Area Economic Development Council and the Stateline Angels. Five years later, some of the players and entities have changed slightly, but the same core

Photo by EIGERlab

FP competitors participate in an entrepreneurial expo in the NIU-Rockford lobby.

During pitch training, competitors learn not only a better way to pitch their product, but also about their competitors’ ideas, products or services. The experience is intense and quite valuable, according to previous participants. group of committee members still are coordinating and collaborating to make this unique event a success. In 2010, Katrina Epperson, Azimuth Designs, became the first female winner, taking first place with her innovative ice ax. She designed the product and her father Jim Epperson, in a collaborative

effort, completed the engineering and manufacturing. While Epperson was doing the heavy lifting competing at FP, her father was climbing Mt. McKinley in Alaska, using the product and selling it to fellow ice climbers. As a college student, Epperson appreciated being able to meet, network with and receive valuable feedback on her pitch and her product from investors, bankers and successful entrepreneurs — a group at her age she otherwise would not have been able to meet. “I would definitely compete in the future with a different invention!” Epperson said.

Developing a Focused Pitch During pitch training, competitors learn not only a better way to pitch their product, but also about their competitors’ ideas, products or services. The experience is intense and quite valuable, according to previous participants. For two evenings, competitors pitch their product, receive valuable feedback from their peers and listen to their fellow competitors’ pitches. Harold Winebaugh, Universal Manufacturing Group, with his unique Drum-lok product said, “The competition helped me to focus on getting to the point — sell the product, tell my story.” Winebaugh placed second at the 2007 FP, and like several other FP competitors, went on to place in the statewide Innovate Illinois Competition held in Chicago. When asked if he thinks FP is worthwhile, he replied, “Yes, definitely! Last year, I enjoyed attending the event expo portion and connecting with the potential entrepreneurs … sharing my experiences.”

Meeting Future Mentors, Backers For those curious about what the event entails … it’s a competition that can introduce you to mentors, bankers and

Photo by EIGERlab

Brad Harrison, with the FastPitch committee, accepts a $5,000 check as the winner of the 2008 competition. fellow competitors who may become future allies, with the outcome of delivering your three-to-five minute elevator pitch or business pitch in a concise and to-the-point manner. 2011 FP begins at 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday, June 22. Presenters who have been chosen to move forward (post-training), will present to successful entrepreneurs, bankers, angel investors, etc., who will judge them on business-related questions, such as: “What is your competitive advantage and your target market? How do you expect to make money?” Competitors will have three minutes maximum to present their pitch. The post-pitch session will include a brief opportunity for the judges to ask questions and provide valuable feedback. In addition to presenting, competitors will have the opportunity to occupy a small area in NIU’s lobby, which is turned into an entrepreneurial expo starting at 3:30 p.m. Being an expo participant is optional, but allows the opportunity to network with FP visitors and judges during the break. Round one of the competition lasts from about 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Finalists are announced, and the final portion of the competition starts at 6 p.m. During the final round, competitors are given a bit more time (seven minutes) to convey their idea, product or service. If you always have had a certain idea in your head or a sketch on a napkin, brush off those cobwebs and compete! For more information, call 815-921-2054 or visit

PARTICIPATE IN THE 5TH STATELINE FASTPITCH COMPETITION (FP) FP training, June 8 to 9 evenings FP competition, June 22 Call 815-921-2054 or visit theVoice May 2011

Investing in transformation, working toward change


John Groh RACVB

Could Dubuque’s model work for us?

Photo by Mark Hirsch Photography

Dubuque, Iowa learned in 2009 that IBM had selected it for its new technology services center. This created 1,300 new high-tech jobs by 2010 with the possibility of more. Think of the economic and civic activity these new employees are generating for Dubuque. Among the happiest at the news were the public-private partnership leaders who developed a plan for community transformation, and worked together over a period of nearly 20 years to advance the community. Key to their success was their work on the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and the America’s River at the Port of Dubuque, signature projects funded in part by Vision Iowa grants that helped transform Dubuque. I wanted to write about Vision Iowa to let you know about their unique partnership model that had much to do with IBM’s decision, for Iowa’s ranking as the second most livable state in the country in 2009 according to the Congressional Quarterly Press, and a dramatic resurgence in Iowa’s quality of life. IBM cited these reasons for selecting Dubuque: ■ public-private partnerships ■ competitive business climate, and ■ talented workforce.

Dubuque’s Unique Partnerships Why did IBM like their public-private partnerships so much? They were deep and long-term, with proven track records. These partnerships also are the foundation for Vision Iowa’s success. When Tom Vilsack was elected governor of Iowa in 1998, he made “quality of life” a priority. He proposed and the Iowa General Assembly approved the Vision Iowa Program in 2000. This is a long-term program to assist communities to develop and create permanent cultural, recreational, entertainment and educational attractions for the general public. In turn, it was hoped that these attractions would position communities to take advantage of economic development opportunities in tourism and strengthen a community’s competitiveness as a place to work and live. Guess what? It worked because Vision

Iowa has requirements that assure success and leave lasting benefits. For communities to receive a grant, they must have strong, local public-private partnerships; leveraged financial resources (private investment); and strong, local leadership. A minimum of 50 percent of project funding must come from local sources; often more is required. Sometimes the state supported only 10 to 20 percent because time was taken to identify more local participation. So public funds seed projects but leveraged finances by the private sector assure local buy-in and thus, success. This is in contrast to some other public-private partnerships where public funds can account for the majority of a project or seed a project with the hope that private investment will follow.

Partnerships Benefited Iowa Vision Iowa has awarded about $350 million in funding to 94 of its 99 counties, helping develop new libraries in small towns and convention complexes in larger cities. One example of a Vision Iowa investment is the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium established in Dubuque. It attracts more than 250,000 visitors annually. The area received a second major award for the America’s River at the Port of Dubuque for a Mississippi River Discovery, the Mississippi River National Education Center and Conference Center, the River Walk and amenities and the Riverfront Hotel and Indoor Water Park. Leaders in Dubuque trace their success in attracting IBM to their public-private partnerships and investing in transformative initiatives like the Port of Dubuque. It makes me wonder what would happen if, like Dubuque, we had a regional master plan that we supported and worked to implement? With our region’s brain power and resources, the results would be impressive, and transformative, for sure. John Groh is president/CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

May 2011 theVoice


Issues to Watch LEGISLATIVE Information from the U.S. and Illinois Chambers and other sources on issues impacting the business community

News from the Illinois Chamber, State of Illinois A CLOSER LOOK Movement, Non-Movement in Committees, Floor Action Committee deadline extensions expired for certain bills while other bills managed to pass out of their original chamber. Three bills are back in Assignments committee. SB127 amends the Family and Medical Leave Act to include in-laws, domestic partners and siblings with a serious health condition and increased the leave allowed to 16 work weeks. SB128 would require employers to provide a minimum of seven days paid sick leave. SB1565 provides for fewer limitations on the definition of “employee” and increases the minimum wage annual to restore the wage to its historic level, thereafter increasing the wage in the cost of living during the preceding year.

Items Need Resolution by May 31 Adjournment The House returned from spring break on April 26 and the Senate will return on May 3 for the final

OTHER BILLS UNDER CONSIDERATION legislative push before scheduled adjournment on May 31. Budget: With the House moving forward with its own budget proposal and each chamber and Governor Quinn all having different budget numbers; it’s going to take a lot of negotiation for the Big 3 to come to agreement. It looks like the General Assembly plans on being more involved this year. ComEd (HB14): ComEd hopes to pass its smart grid modernization legislation this spring session. Enterprise Zone Extension: SB1633, which extends the EZs for 20 more years, has passed the Senate and been picked up by House Revenue committee chairman Rep. John Bradley. R&D/Temporary Storage: SB1215 extends the already expired Research & Development Tax Credit to Jan. 1, 2015, while SB1768 extends the exemption for centralized purchasing activities from June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2016. Neither of these bills made it out of committee and both were re-referred to Assignments.



HB1672 Automatic IRA Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Status: 2nd Reading

HB223 Healthcare Justice Implementation Act Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Status: Failed on 3rd Reading

SB 21 Cigarette Tax Increase Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Status: 3rd Reading SB 43 Tax Disclosure Act Ill. Chamber Position: Support Status: 3rd Reading

LABOR SB1349 Workers’ Compensation Reform Ill. Chamber Position: Support, Chamber initiative Status: Failed on 3rd Reading HB1552 EEOC’s Determination Adoption by Dept. of Human Rights Ill. Chamber Position: Support, Chamber initiative Status: Passed House, Senate Assignments SB 128 7 Days Paid Sick Leave Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Status: Re-referred to Assignments

HB224 Health Carrier External Review Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Status: Passed House, Senate Assignments HB1530 Mental Health Parity Ill. Chamber Position: Oppose Status: Passed House, Senate Assignments HB1577 Health Benefits Exchange Act Ill. Chamber Position: Support Status: Passed House, Senate Assignments Committee

ENVIRONMENT HB1703/SB2169 Regulatory Modernization-Pipelines, Chamber initiative Ill. Chamber Position: Support Status: Passed House, Senate Assignments Committee/Passed Senate Source: Illinois Chamber of Commerce theVoice May 2011


Multicultural Business Council launches its new Lunch & Learn series


Young Professionals

Surviving beyond business year one

Putting on our own pair of Superman pajamas Start believing you can fly I am a bit envious of five year olds. Beyond the obvious perks like nap times, a lack of bills and a hilariously awesome fashion sense, at that age, you are completely unaware of limitations. Rather than think about all of the reasons you can’t do something, you simply give it your absolute best shot and see what happens. You aren’t saddled down with the words “can’t,” “never gonna happen,”

By Terri Worman, AARP Illinois

Caitlin Ludwig IGNITE

.4 seconds? The fact of the matter is that you flew. How many problems in our community could we tackle with Superman pajamas? Rather than bog ourselves down with all of the reasons something won’t work or an idea can’t be done or naming the person who would be offended if we changed status quo, we need to start naming all of the

“Put aside the ‘can’ts’ and ‘never gonna happens,’ zip up your pjs and jump off the couch. Who cares if you only fly for .4 seconds? The fact of the matter is that you flew.” or “no way.” To a five year old, everything is possible with the right wardrobe. Never does it occur to a five year old that he can’t fly while wearing his Superman pajamas. Rather than question the science behind his ability to defy gravity, he simply jumps on the couch and leaps into the air! And look at that!! He’s flying!! Granted, his flight lasts about .4 seconds, but that does not discourage him. With his Superman pajamas on, flying is flying – no matter how long the flight – and that, is a success.

Getting Beyond the ‘Can’ts’ of Life Somewhere along the line, we grow up and start to believe in the “nos” and the “can’ts” of the world. At some point, our Superman pajamas are nothing more than flannel with a zipper – Superman starts to fade, along with the magical flying abilities. Jumping off the couch no longer gives the feeling of success (even if short-lived) but rather long-term failure. Rather than viewing the trip off the couch as a flight of .4 seconds, you view it as a failure since you landed rather quickly. Life is less fun, more daunting, and it’s a lot harder to get things done. Rockford – we need to put on our Superman pajamas. We owe it to the five year olds in ourselves as well as our adult selves to give flight a chance. Put aside the “can’ts” and “never gonna happens,” zip up your pjs and jump off the couch. Who cares if you only fly for

reasons it can be a success. Start listing the people willing to help, the changes the solution would bring, and the reasons why it has to be done.

Getting Out of Our Own Way So often, we are the ones standing in the way of our own dreams. We are so afraid – afraid to step on toes, afraid to fail, afraid to take a chance – that we let all of the limitations we know cloud our creativity and our ability to find a solution. Sometimes, the best way to live, make decisions and be a true catalyst of change is to forget why something can’t be done and start thinking about all of the reasons why it can. After all, I’m sure if we dug around in the attic long enough, we could find our very own pair of Superman pajamas – perhaps a pair with even a few flights left in them. Now, sadly, we can’t go back to being five. I’m sure there are plenty of days when naps after lunch and bedtimes at 7:30 p.m., are more than appealing. But, while we can’t turn back time, we can learn something from our days of cookies and milk. We can embrace the ideals of our five-year-old selves. We can try to live life with a little more laughter and a little less knowledge of what could go wrong. After all, if we fall off the couch, what’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps we need a few days of Superman pajamas and .4 second successful flights. Caitlin Ludwig is director of IGNITE.

JOIN IN THE IGNITE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION Please join IGNITE for a second anniversary celebration with a few laughs on May 20 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Rockford. Cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m. A comedy show featuring Anne O’Keefe, Rockford Area Arts Council, and Kevin Haas, Rockford Register Star, is sure to tickle your funny bone and put you in a great mood. Tickets, including dinner and the show, are $20 for IGNITE members/$30 for non members. Corporate tables of eight also can be purchased for only $170. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Every person who has ever dreamed of starting his or her own business had a vision – a vision that included hopes for growth, prosperity – and yes, even longevity. One of the biggest hurdles always is getting past that first year, then that fifth year, and beyond. But how do you get there, especially in today’s economy?

Panelists Share Experiences of Entrepreneurial Success The Multicultural Business Council showcases its new Lunch & Learn series with a panel of minority small business owners, sharing their experiences in Survivorship: Getting From Year One To Beyond on Wednesday, May 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Rock Valley Learning Opportunity Center, 308 W.

State St., in Rockford (Stewart Square -the same building as the Rockford Chamber). Three panelists will represent a spectrum of perspectives from “recent start-up” (1 to 2 years), to “been around for a while” (5 to 7 years), to “think we might have made it” (15-plus years). The event is open to Chamber members for $15, and includes lunch, the panel discussion and time to network with other small business owners, like you. Bring your business cards and your questions and help the council kick off its new series. More events are being planned for August and November. Please RSVP for the event by Friday, May 20 to Valerie Tippitt at the Rockford Chamber at 815-316-4336. Terri Worman is ASD - community organizing at AARP Illinois.

May 2011 theVoice


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Estate, business succession planning Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Authorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 Michael T. Cyrs

The 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) produced far-reaching changes to the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes. These changes included significant increases in the estate-tax exemption through 2009, and the repeal of the estate tax (but not the gift tax) in 2010. On Jan. 1, 2011, the changes implemented by EGTRRA were set to expire. On Dec. 18, 2010, and before preEGTRRA provisions once again became effective, President Obama signed The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Authorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Act), amending again the Federal Estate and Gift Tax Structure, but only for calendar years 2011 and 2012. The changes made by this law, as well as other state estate law changes recently made in Illinois, make it a very good time for individuals to review and consider their current estate plans.

Changes in Federal Credits from Estate, Gift, GST Tax In order to appreciate the recent changes to the Federal and State of Illinois Estate and Gift Tax laws, it is necessary to review not only where we are now, but how

Decedents Dying In













Estate Tax repealed Carry-over basis regime instated

2011– beyond would have been $1,000,000 Figure 1 we got here. The so-called “unified credit” is available to shield the transfer of wealth from tax with respect to lifetime transfers (called gift tax) or transfers at death (called estate tax). Under the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act, the unified credit gradually increased to a fixed amount of $1 million in 2006 and every year thereafter. The 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act remains the baseline estate and gift tax law and will once again become applicable unless

further action by Congress is taken before Dec. 31, 2012. Under EGTRRA, the effective exemption amount began increasing over time and became applicable for both the estate tax and the GST tax. The gift tax exemption amount, however, remained level at $1 million. See the table (Figure 1) articulating the federal exemption equivalent from 2001 to 2011 based on EGTRRA and considering pre-2010 Tax Act Law. The 2010 Tax Act resets the estate tax exemption at $5 million per decedent, effective Jan. 1, 2010, and maintains the exemption at this level for 2011 and 2012. The 2010 Tax Act also increases the gift tax exemption to $5 million to reunify it with the estate tax exemption effective Jan. 1, 2011. The exemption for GST Tax also is set at $5 million, effective Jan. 1, 2010. All of the tax changes included in the 2010 Tax Act expire on Jan. 1, 2013, when absent further action by Congress and the President, the estate, gift and GST tax rates and exemptions applicable under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 will return. The 2010 Tax Act also instituted a new concept for the “portability” of unused estate and gift (but not GST) exemption equivalent between surviving spouses. This provision provides that a surviving spouse can use the unused portion of a deceased spouse’s applicable estate tax credit.

Changes to Federal Rates of Estate, Gift, GST Tax Estate, Gift and GST Tax rates also have changed greatly under the 2010 Tax Act. Prior to EGTRRA, transfers previously were taxed at rates beginning at 37 percent. The maximum tax rate for lifetime transfers or transfers at death was 55 percent, with a 5 percent “surtax” for gifts or estates valued between $10 million and $17,184,800. The generation-skipping transfer tax rate was imposed at a flat rate of 55 percent. Beginning in 2002, the maximum federal estate tax and gift tax rates were gradually reduced to 45 percent. The maximum GST tax rate was equal to the maximum federal estate tax rate. In 2010, the estate tax and GST tax were repealed, and at such time, the maximum gift tax rate was equal to the highest individual income tax rate, or 35 percent. The 2010 act sets a 35 percent tax rate on estates, gifts and generation-skipping transfers above the new $5 million exemption amounts.

Changes in Illinois Estate Tax Illinois Estate Tax Law also has changed greatly over the last 10 years, and also had been altered by a new tax law earlier this year. In 2003, Illinois did not impose a state tax on estates of less than $1 million. In

2004 and 2005, WilliamsMcCarthy LLP Illinois did not impose estate tax on estates of less than $1.5 million, and in 2006-2009, Illinois did not impose estate tax on estates less than $2 million. In 2010, when the federal estate tax was repealed, there was no Illinois Estate Tax. In addition to raising the Illinois state income tax rate from 3 to 5 percent, the Illinois Taxpayer Accountability and Budget Stabilization Act reinstated in Illinois estate tax for those who die after Dec. 31, 2010 for estates larger than $2 million. This threshold is set to continue indefinitely. Illinois’ new law does not allow portability between spouses like the new Federal 2010 Tax Act.

Reviewing Trust Fund Formulas There are many things individuals should be doing based on the recent changes to Federal and State of Illinois Estate Tax law. To begin, individuals should review the effect of the changes to federal and state estate tax credits on trust funding formulas to make sure the formulas operate as desired. This is particularly important when considering the differential between the Federal and State of Illinois Estate Tax Credits, and when considering the differential that exists between the various state Estate Tax Laws. Individuals also should consider that prior to Dec. 31, 2012, there exists an opportunity to make tax-free gifts to intended heirs which may not be available on Jan. 1, 2013. Individuals who may be subject to estate tax based on the proposed estate tax exemptions after 2013 ($1 million for an individual, $2 million for a couple) may consider making tax-free gifts prior to year-end 2012. Individuals also should consider the distribution of their estate based on the new tax law. Many individuals may find that the reduction in federal estate tax due unduly increases intended distributions to residual beneficiaries. Contingent charitable objectives may be implemented to stabilize estate distribution objectives depending on current federal and state estate tax law. Finally, although new estate tax legislation in late 2012 or early 2013 seems likely, it is impossible to predict the exact parameters of any future tax law. Individuals will want to pay close attention to their estate plans in the coming years to be assured that their plans work as designed and minimize any unnecessary imposition of federal and state estate tax. Attorney Michael T. Cyrs is a partner at WilliamsMcCarthy LLP, Rockford office. The views expressed are those of Cyrs’ and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. theVoice May 2011

Student essay winners kick off Money Smart Week Rockford Katelyn Sanders, a seventh grader from Belvidere Central Middle School, and Bernadette Rotello, a sixth grader from St. James Catholic School in Rockford, cut the ribbon at the kick-off event for 2011 Money Smart Week Rockford on April 1 at Rockford College. Among those in attendance (pictured) were Einar Forsman, president & CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, and Doug Tillett, VP of public affairs of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The two students won the Rockford essay contest sponsored by the Federal

Reserve with their views on the importance of financial literacy. Sanders, the grand prize winner, received a $2,000 savings bond from Harris Bank. Rotello, the runner up, received a $1,500 Bright Start Scholarship from the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office. The Rockford essay contest was one of the many activities held during Money Smart Week, April 2 to 9. Coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Money Smart Week offered free classes and events to give consumers knowledge on managing their personal finances.

Developing tools to address behavioral health issues in schools—call for proposals Rockford Public Schools and the Alignment Rockford K-8 Behavioral Health Committee seek proposals from organizations to provide two- to six-hour professional development workshops to RPS teachers and support staff during the summer of 2011. All workshops should build greater understanding on behavioral health topics and their impact on teaching and learning. Topics should address issues such as self awareness, responsible decisionmaking, relationship skills, social awareness and self management. Presentations will be given in late June through mid-August, 2011. They should aim to create a positive school climate by ■ increasing the understanding of behavioral health issues that impact teaching and learning, ■ teaching a common language and

terminology around behavioral health issues, ■ developing tools and strategies to address specific challenges related to behavioral health issues, and ■ creating awareness of the community resources that exist to support the needs in the classroom. Proposals should be submitted by May 4 by completing a response form and faxing it to 815-637-7629 or emailing it to All proposals will be reviewed by the Behavioral Health Committee on May 5, and your participation will be confirmed by May 20. For questions, please contact Jon Malone at For questions on the Invitation to Participate™ or the ITP™ process, please contact Laurie Preece at


May 2011 theVoice


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Banks are lending SBA programs available for new business financing Despite what you might have heard, banks are lending. In the first two months of 2011, nationwide Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan originations grew by 1,441 as compared to the same period in 2010. Not only did the number of loans increase, the loan volume also increased by $4,566,000. SBA financing has become a resource for banks to use in assisting customers and new business owners in obtaining the financing required for their businesses. SBA loan options include 7(a), SBAExpress loans and 504 term loans. SBA loans help banks limit their risk while creating a viable financing structure for borrowers. The SBA 7(a) program can be used for equipment, working capital and real estate financing. The maximum loan amount is $5,000,000. Longer amortizations without balloon payments are one of the benefits of the program. SBAExpress loans may be used for revolving lines of credit (up to sevenyear maturity) or for term loans with a maximum loan amount of up to $1,000,000. This limit will expire on Sept. 26, 2011. Typically the maximum loan amount is up to $350,000. The SBAExpress program offers the benefits of a quicker turnaround time and a limited amount of documentation. SBAExpress loans are available only through preferred SBA lenders.

Linda Heckert Northwest Bank

Financing with Help from the RLDC 504 term loans are financed with the assistance of a certified development companies. In Rockford, the Rockford Local Development Corporation (RLDC) works with banks to provide financing for projects. Loans are structured with 50 percent financing from a bank and up to 40 percent non-guaranteed financing from RLDC. The benefits to the borrower are low down payment, lower rates and a longer term. The SBA has added the 504 Debt Refinance program to assist banks and business owners in refinancing existing 504 loans. This program currently is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Bank underwriting principals and procedures have not changed. Banks will ask detailed questions to gain a better understanding of the business, the strength of management and the ability of the company to repay the loan. The type and amount of collateral available will determine what SBA program can be utilized. Additional insight on all of the SBA loan programs and business planning can be found on the SBA website at Linda Heckert is senior vice president, director of business banking, at Northwest Bank. The views expressed are those of Heckert’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

The economic glass is half full … and half empty Time will tell in the second quarter The first quarter of 2011 was remarkable, not because the stock market experienced its best quarter in the past decade, but because it did so amid massive global chaos. The Arab Spring has led to oil prices near $120 per barrel. Japan suffered two natural catastrophes followed by a nuclear nightmare and yet, the DOW is up.

“It is in the months ahead that we will find out just how sustainable this recovery really is.” We must be careful, however, not to lean too heavily on the strength of the stock market. For the past two years, the Federal Reserve has introduced more than 2.3 trillion new dollars into the economy through its purchase of U.S. treasuries with newly printed money. Come June 30, that supply of money will stop when the Fed’s money printing program is scheduled to end. After that comes to an end, the real test of how 2011 and our recovery from the Great Recession will unfold. When the Fed prints money, it ends up in banks as deposits, which overloads our economy with “cheap” dollars. This is supposed to make lending easy, and therefore spur economic activity, particularly in areas that involve debt, like housing and durable goods. But what do we have to show for that $2.3 trillion the Fed pumped in? A lightning run in stocks, a tepid recovery in our economic growth, a very mild recovery in employment with falling wages, and a housing market that has yet to bottom. If this is what trillions of newly printed dollars will purchase, it will be

Bradley Gummow Gummow Wealth Advisory Group

interesting to see what happens when the printing presses stop.

Some Positive Signs There were some positive signs in our economy, no doubt. We are not shedding jobs as we were in 2008 and 2009. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are currently adding around 200,000 jobs per month. This is nice, but since our workforce is growing by roughly 100,000 per month, the extra 100,000 jobs created won’t go far to alleviate the unemployment problem. Profits are strong, but that is for corporations and often in specific industries. As individuals, our income actually fell a small amount in the last several months. So while it might seem like the stock market can do no wrong right now, even in the face of tremendous headwinds and difficult events overseas, it is possible that much of that strength has come through the efforts of the Federal Reserve. Many predictions were made that we would be on an economic upswing by mid-2011. It is in the months ahead that we will find out just how sustainable this recovery really is. Bradley L. Gummow is senior vice president/investments, The Gummow Wealth Advisory Group, a division of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc. He’s helped manage investments for more than 25 years and has taught investment planning at Rock Valley College for more than 15 years. He is author of the financial book, Winning the Money Game Made Easy. The views expressed are those of Gummow’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. theVoice May 2011


Industry Spotlight:

Finance & Insurance

Earnings, 2009 Hourly Avg.

Annual Avg.

Accountants and auditors



Insurance sales agents



Loan officers



Securities, commodities, financial services sales agents






Employment, 2009 Numbers Employed Accountants and auditors


Insurance sales agents


Loan officers

271, 130

Securities, commodities, financial services sales agents




Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

May 2011 theVoice




Member Company Profile

Guest Perspective

Gaining an energy edge by evaluating ECMs Shining a light on savings Do you own or rent commercial space for your business? I suspect each of you do and therefore you have an opportunity to “Gain your Energy Edge” through your facility beginning today. There are many ways to accomplish this edge, some obvious to all of us, some not so obvious.

Asking the Right Questions Let’s start with Energy Conservation Measures or ECMs. You will want to evaluate your facility for ECM opportunities. First you want to start by looking at your lighting in your facility. What types of fixtures and lamps do you have throughout your facility? How many lamps do you have per space? Is your space properly lit for the task being performed or the utilization of the specific space? Do you have scheduling and/or occupancy control of the lighting in your facility? How is your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) controlled and is it properly/efficiently operating? Is your HVAC system employing time-of-day scheduling with temperature setback? And lastly, you can look at major structural items, like window R-Values, door seals and building insulation levels. All of the above items will have a direct impact on your energy cost management immediately and every day to follow.

You Might Have to Spend Money to Save Money As business professionals, you are looking to make improvements and investments that have a direct return to your bottom line. The above

Brent S. Bernardi Alpha Controls & Services LLC

implementations will require a financial investment by your business, but they will deliver direct cost savings to your bottom line. When looking at ECMs for your facility, you will want to create a shortest to longest return on investment schedule.

Utility Incentive Programs Can Provide Quick Paybacks To make the ECM payback model look even better, the utility providers (Electric and Natural Gas) are offering annual incentive programs where they directly pay for the implementation of ECMs. With receipt of preauthorization of ECMs by the utility you are assured that you will receive the predefined funding (real dollars) at the completion of the ECM implementation. The financial incentives combined with the real energy cost savings allow many ECMs to deliver paybacks of one, two or three years, with many falling in the one-year timeframe.

Look at Your Consumption If you are serious about managing your variable costs, then you need to take a serious look at how your energy dollars are being consumed in your facility. Whether you are a facility owner or a renter, your energy dollars are real and there is savings to be had for all; and ECMs are your ticket to savings. You will want to be looking at a five-year energy plan since you will be looking at ECMs that will provide differing financial returns, with many of them offering significant positive cash flow results in a one- to five-year timeframe. To get started, it is recommended that you contact a qualified company that will provide you with recommended ECMs, the financial payback model and an Energy Policy for your business. Gain your energy edge today by making Energy Conservation Measures in your facility a priority for management as well as your employees. Brent S. Bernardi is president of Alpha Controls & Services LLC. The views expressed are those of Mr. Bernardi’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Photo provided by Androck Hardware

Androck employees accept Fastenal’s supplier recognition award for outstanding performance.

Second-generation business serves customers worldwide By Paul Anthony Arco When Mark Maffei became president of Androck Hardware, his first priority was to learn everything about the company. He spent nearly five months in the shop, working side by side with longtime employees. “It shocked everyone,” he said. “I started cleaning floors and setting up machines. I learned everything I could before I started working in the office.” Maffei had a steep learning curve. Prior to buying the family business from his parents in 1997, Maffei worked as a wildlife biologist, serving with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. He had earned a B.A. in biology from the University of Illinois, a M.S. in zoology from Western Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in zoology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Second-Generation Ownership Androck Hardware is a manufacturer of custom and stock wire forms, bolts and hooks. The Rockford-based company has been a local fixture since 1909. After the company closed in the mid-1970s, Maffei’s parents, Lorraine and Louis, who worked as Androck’s plant manager, bought the naming rights and a portion of the product line in 1976. When they retired 20 years later, they sold the business to their son. “The reason I thought I could do this is because it ran so well before,” said Maffei, who spent two years training under his father. “The staff had a lot of experience and knew what they were doing.” Androck has more than 600 customers – distributors, retailers, individuals – all over the world, including Canada, Mexico and Europe. Its biggest client is Fastenal, an industrial supply company based in Winona, Minn. Androck has 16 employees who make parts at the rate of 4,000 pieces an hour and produce an average of 1.5 million different parts a month. The most common part Androck makes is the eye bolt, a screw with a loop on one end and threads on the other end. Eye bolts are commonly used to attach cables to objects, for example, attaching a string to the back of a painting so it hangs

from a nail on a wall. The company is in the process of making two million eyebolts for Christmas tree stands. Androck is the only company to produce a hinge hook, a die cast, brassfinished door hook that Maffei’s father patented. Androck also makes u-bolts and j-bolts and s-hooks for hanging things such as swings and clotheslines.

Award for Customer Responsiveness The company has seen plenty of change in its industry over the past few years. The price of steel, for example, has risen drastically, forcing many competitors to either consolidate or close their doors. It’s been a struggle, Maffei said, but Androck continues to press on. “My motivation is my employees,” he said. “As long as I can make payroll and pay the bills, I’ll keep the place open.” Androck’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. Two years ago, the business received Fastenal’s annual supplier recognition award for outstanding performance, an honor that holds special meaning for its owner. “We are responsive to our customers,” Maffei said. “For a company like Fastenal, we can provide them what they want, when they want, as well as any other vendor that they have. Look at the size of our company versus companies we’re up against, that’s a pretty good achievement.” Maffei also is a member of the National Land Institute’s corporate council, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve land. Environmental issues remain close to Maffei’s heart. “We know that you can be a manufacturer and still be a good steward of the environment,” he said. “It’s cost effective to be careful of the resources, to reduce waste stream, and to recycle. We need to get the word out and show people how it’s done. That’s important to me.”

ANDROCK HARDWARE CORPORATION Owner: Mark Maffei 711 19th St., Rockford 815-229-1144

May 2011 theVoice


Rockford College PERSPECTIVE

Our strategic imperative Rockford needs an educational strategy, from preschool to graduate school Education in Rockford. It is safe to say that just the mention of that phrase immediately solicits reaction and opinion from virtually everyone who lives in the metropolitan area. The entire Rockford region has been inundated with reports and stories about the current state of our educational structure; with impact ranging from the very youngest students who need a strong foundation to succeed, to the adult learners who need to build their educational foundation to remain relevant in a volatile work environment. My strong desire for the greater Rockford community is that we harness the energy created through the very public focus on the issues within Rockford Public School District 205 as well as the initiative to bring Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) to Rockford, and broaden the focus to the creation of an overall educational strategy. Education should and must become the strategic imperative for economic, social and cultural vitality and development in this region.

A Big Picture View of Education Having a comprehensive strategy for education requires a view of education as a system: pre-school through graduate school. It requires a collaboration of policymakers, colleges, and business and civic leaders. Many locations throughout the country already have created collaborations. One example is from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns and is articulated in its strategic vision, “Getting Ahead: Access to Higher Education and Degrees.”

“Education should and must become the strategic imperative for economic, social and cultural vitality and development in this region.” In Rockford’s case, there appears to be several seemingly disjointed efforts in process which could, if coordinated, become the beginning of a congruent planning process. District 205’s need to make difficult decisions to balance budgets is not unlike hundreds of school districts throughout our nation. I have confidence that those who are engaged in work to support our local school district, like Alignment Rockford, will make progress. After all, when it comes to the preparedness of our youth, failure is just not an option. We cannot afford to fail in the K-12 system any more than we can afford to neglect the needs of local businesses that require a higher education system able to produce qualified graduates from a diverse array of academic programs. Rockford’s higher education landscape has changed in recent years and continues to do so. Several entities based in other locations have established satellite campuses in Rockford. Typically, these institutions have strategies for enrolling adult students in high-demand professional or preprofessional academic programs. Adding to the challenge of adapting to change within the higher education industry has been the dramatic downturn in the economy and its ripple effect on funding at both the state and federal level. Many states, including Illinois, have reduced funding for education at a time when institutions like Rockford College are growing in student enrollment.

Higher Institutions Make a Powerful Economic Impact Another opportunity to impact the local higher education landscape rests in the community’s aggressive pursuit of Embry-Riddle. I believe a Rockfordbased ERAU would have a very positive impact on the entire region. ERAU will bring programs that are needed to support aeronautical enterprises and add to the educational capital so needed in our community. Its interest in locating here has sparked a renewed enthusiasm to consider what higher education offerings mean to our community’s future success. If we look just at Rockford’s primary higher education institutions, Rockford College, Rock Valley College and the University of Illinois College of Medicine, there are more than 311 degrees and programs offered with more than 9,200 students enrolled1. These three core institutions alone have an estimated combined economic impact of $114 million annually. This incorporates the combination of factors like employment wages, student spending and college wide spending on goods and services. For the purposes of this article, I’ve concentrated primarily on the impact to the Rock River Valley, and have not included the broader impact of another core institution, Northern Illinois University. Rockford College is entering its

Dr. Robert L. Head Rockford College

165th year and continues to find new and innovative ways to fulfill its mission. We stand ready, along with the members of the Higher Education Alliance of the Rock River Valley (comprised of the four institutions mentioned above) to provide leadership and value to an overall strategic planning process. If we truly want a game-changing result, the process must change. What are now individual and disjointed initiatives must be brought under an over-arching regional focus. If ERAU comes to Rockford, that would be a nice outcome. If not, this community still needs to move forward. In either event, we need to harness the energy and enthusiasm that does exist into a strategic imperative to make education a competitive advantage for this community. It is time for meaningful dialog to construct an allencompassing educational strategy for Rockford, from preschool to graduate school. In so doing, we will elevate the quality of life for all citizens. Rockford College takes great pride in its long history of fostering access to exemplary education, and it willingly looks forward to continuing its role as a valued resource and partner with this community. Robert L. Head, Ph.D., is Rockford College’s 17th president since June, 2008. The views expressed are those of Dr. Head’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. Based on program, degree, and enrollment figures


posted on each institution’s website. theVoice May 2011

Social media cont from front page and attention as demonstrated through their actions and words.” Solis said, “Trust is earned and its stature is representative of our collaboration and contribution over time. If the Social Web is an ocean, trust funnels into distinctive and distinguishable rivers.”

Widening the Circle of Trust Regional LinkedIn social network trainer and book author Wayne Breitbarth agrees that we live in a trust economy, and that social media has allowed individuals to enlarge their trust networks. But when the self-proclaimed “finance guy,” with a CPA and an MBA from Marquette University discovered LinkedIn four years ago, he was highly skeptical of its potential as a legitimate marketing and business tool. “Nobody knew me a few years ago,” Breitbarth quipped. With business declining, along with the economy, he started experimenting with the tool as a means of self-branding. After winning several significant jobs through LinkedIn, he was a believer. In one case, Breitbarth was working towards winning a contract with a prospect he had no prior relationship with and was competing with seven other vendors. He found a friend on his LinkedIn profile connected to his prospect and asked the friend to put in a good word. The friend told his prospect, “You can trust him,” and ultimately he won the contract.

Four years and “500+” connections later, Breitbarth published his first book in March, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search.” Breitbarth has traveled to Rockford several times promoting his book and sharing what he’s learned on the power of LinkedIn in building connections and credentials in the world of business. As Breitbarth said, “people do business with people, not with businesses.” Breitbarth credits LinkedIn for its usefulness in tracking whom your connections know and in creating a road map of people to meet. What used to be a cold call now can be “warmed up” and decisions can be made based on connections and trust. One attribute he said that the younger generation knows intuitively is social media’s capacity for keeping many relationships going on a daily basis — something impossible just a few years ago when the most expedient form of communication was the telephone.

B2B Marketing According to Breitbarth, LinkedIn is most useful as a business-to-business marketing tool. Kimberly Buchanan, co-owner of Eventus, an event production and meeting management company located in downtown Rockford, has used LinkedIn in this way to attract new clients and secure event sponsorships from large corporations. One of her company’s clients is CherryVale Mall. The mall was searching for a company to develop a lineup of consumer expos and contacted Eventus


LINKEDIN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT— THE TOP 10 ’GOTTA DOS’ 1. Use Advanced Search Function once you have a lead or target. 2. Look at profiles of the new people you are going to meet or call. 3. Add “trusted connections” consistently. 4. Beef up your profile. 5. Review connections of your first-degree network. 6. Look at the company profile. 7. Keep track of what your network is doing and help them. 8. Look up competitors (individuals and companies). 9. Join some groups. 10. Spend some purposeful time each week on LinkedIn, with a strategy/ plan, or don’t waste the time; instead, do some other form of networking. More resources at Wayne Breitbarth’s website,

based on the LinkedIn event postings it saw the company make for other clients. Eventus eventually formed relationships with additional managers throughout CBL, the mall’s owner/manager, to create an additional 18 mall shows throughout the Michigan area and already is in talks for additional malls in the Midwest. “Networking through LinkedIn has made our company visible to people who otherwise may not have known about our service offerings,” Buchanan said.

Strategy for Various Social Marketing Platforms Breitbarth discussed other types of social media, saying that Facebook was a good pick for business-to-customer applications, based on the sheer numbers of people who use it. The drawback, from the perspective of business, is wading through a sea of personal information to

get to the pertinent information. He recommended Twitter for sending sound bites and grabbing customers’ attention, or in sending customers to the company website or LinkedIn profile. In positioning oneself as an expert, he recommended blogging. “Most people think they aren’t good writers and wonder what they are going to write about. I ask them, Are you good at anything? Are you passionate about anything? That’s what people want to hear about.” Breitbarth said the biggest mistake he has seen in the case of LinkedIn is jumping in without a strategy. “You’ve got to understand what the tool is designed for and understand the audience. Tie your usage in with what you currently are doing in marketing your business.” He said, “Use your profile strategically to give your expertise story to people, and be consistent with your status updates.” ■

May 2011 theVoice



Advance-ticket sales are available for Rockford AirFest 2011, June 4 and 5, at, the Chicago Rockford International Airport terminal and participating area Culver’s Restaurants. Featured headliners include the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Navy Leap Frogs and U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute teams. Green Manufacturer™ magazine pledged to add all of the FORTUNE 1000 manufacturing companies to its circulation. The bimonthly magazine is produced by FMA Communications Inc., the publishing affiliate of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, is delivered to 75,000 manufacturing professionals. Omnia, advertising agency in Rockford, completed a series of trade publication ads for Carrier Vibrating, Inc., and an ad for Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago, team physicians for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, which appeared in the April 2011 issue of Chicago Magazine. The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau announced the return of the Puma Champions Cup soccer tournament to Rockford during the weekends of April 8 and 15, drawing an estimated 27,430 people and $896,000 in economic activity to the area. Nearly 100 high school seniors from the Rockford School District were designated as 2011-2012 State Scholars, the highest academic performers in high schools across Illinois. Students must rank in the top half of their class at the end of their junior year and score in the 95th percentile or better on the ACT, SAT or Prairie State Achievement Exam. The American Bankers Association recognized Blackhawk Bank with a Certificate of Recognition for its Work Perks program. The free financial literacy program, also available in Spanish, gives employees advice and tools to improve their finances and overall quality of life. Rock Valley Credit Union hired Argyle Marketing to re-develop and brand a new account product for members over 50 years. Downtown Beloit Association hired Argyle for photography services for its annual awards dinner in March. Kelley Williamson Company hired Argyle to create marketing collateral pieces and custom photography for corporate sales team business development efforts. Rockford Coronado Concert Association hired Argyle Marketing to redesign and host its website at, with online orders for subscriptions and tickets.

percentage given each year to notfor-profit agencies, including neighborhood and youth groups.

Student Brian Trefelec learns from Entre Computer Solutions how to wire a computer motherboard during a computer building class at the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford on Feb. 26.

Pamela Owens, executive director, RVC Foundation and College Advancement, and Dr. Jack Becherer, president of Rock Valley College; accept $15,000 in student scholarships from Samuel Schmitz, president of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, and Courtney Geiger, director of mission services at Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois. The Stars of Light theatrical troupe from Janet Wattles Center presented its 200th show in March before an audience of teenagers in treatment for substance abuse at Rosecrance. Actors showed life from the perspective of people who suffer from mental illness. The group received the Rockford Area Arts Council’s award for the Creative Cultural Event of the Year in 2010 for its presentation of Happily Ever After: The Musical, an adaptation of a children’s book about mental illness. The first edition of the new BMX magazine, Pull, honored Rockford’s BMX facility at Searls Park as its first featured track, including a front cover mention. The track has become one of the American Bicycle Association’s premier BMX race facilities. It will play host to the Midwest Nationals, featuring World Championship BMX bike competitors, on June 17 to 19. The event will fill more than 1,000 hotel room nights and generate an estimated $200,000 for the area. theFranaGroup, a national health care consulting firm in Rockford, and Michigan Community Dental Clinics partnered to promote the MCDC dental service model with Federally Qualified Health Centers. Behr Iron and Steel received the 2010 Supplier of the Year Award for indirect materials from the Construction and Forestry Division of John Deere. Behr was the only divisional recipient out of 1,036 indirect materials suppliers. Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful gave J.L. Clark Corporation the

Members of Under the Streetlamp, from left, Michael Ingersoll, Michael Cunio, Shonn Wiley and Christopher Kale Jones, entertained more than 800 guests at the annual Rosecrance Foundation benefit on April 11 at Giovanni’s in Rockford. The group, made up of former “Jersey Boys” lead actors/singers, helped Rosecrance raise more than $330,000 at the sold-out event.

Living Lands and Waters One Million Trees program donated 10,000 bur oak, swamp oak, white oak and red oak trees to the Rock River Trail Initiative, distributed in mid-April to all 11 counties along the Rock River. KMK Media Group, Inc., was hired to promote this year’s Young at Heart Festival in Loves Park on May 27 to 30. KMK completed a website for Galleon Strategic Partners, based in Colorado, at www.galleon The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s Chamber Orchestra won the 2011 Illinois Council of Orchestras “Chamber Orchestra of the Year” Award, to be presented at the next concert on Oct. 28, 2011.

The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra wins Chamber Orchestra of the Year. The MCO performed two concerts during the 20092010 season. Outstanding Corporate Friend of the Environment Award for recycling and reuse in its manufacturing operations for more than 100 years. Winnebago County Soil & Water Conservation District is the organizational recipient of the 2011 Seth B. Atwood Conservation Award, given by the Rockford Park District, the Rockford Park District Foundation and the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. The families of John and Linda Anderson and John and Judy Anderson Graff received the Castle Award at the Rosecrance Foundation benefit for visionary leadership and philanthropy in helping create the Healing Garden at the adolescent campus, opened in August, 2004. Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois awarded Rock Valley College with $15,000 in scholarships, raised from the Goodwill “Share A Smile Celebration” last October. The Jon Lundin Scholarship is awarded to students interested in manufacturing, technology or green technology with preference to persons with a disability. The DoAnn Geiger Scholarship is awarded to individuals with a disability interested in further education. The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois completed the second grant cycle of fiscal year 2011 with $345,079 awarded to 81 nonprofit programs and projects in northern Illinois. Discretionary grants result from endowed funds entrusted to the Community Foundation and a

Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary received the 2010 All Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc., as one of the 2010 top performers and most prolific user of its marketing tools. GFS Marketplace hired PR Etc., to oversee the openings of its new stores in Schaumburg, Ill., and Kenosha, Wis., and the opening in October of its new location in Niles, including promotion, public relations and event coordination with local, regional and state dignitaries. Applied Ecological Services hired PR Etc., to secure regional and national publicity on its connection to Super Bowl XLV. AES designed a conservation plan for the land surrounding Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Brian Thomas Photography, Inc., provided photography coverage of the Rockford Area Realtors Great Paper Airplane Toss, a fundraiser for the Embry-Riddle Rock the Air Scholarship Fund; for the band Clutch Cargo for promotional purposes, and for Rasmussen College, Aurora campus, for its Convocation Ceremony. Graduates could view their photos in a protected website. Entre Computer Solutions engineers hosted a “Build Your Own PC” class at the Discovery Center Museum to inspire student interest in the computer industry. Nine students learned the components of a computer and worked with Entré engineers to build their own computers they could bring home. Graduating students of University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford learned on Match Day, March 17, where they will spend the next three to six years of medical training, along with students from all 126 medical schools across the country. theVoice May 2011


Business Briefs BUSINESS BRIEFS Rockford College received a new annual award for $160,000 in 2011 from the U.S. Library of Congress to teach both prospective and current educators how to use the library’s collection of online primary sources for classroom instruction. The college is one of only 26 institutions in 12 states to be accepted into the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources program. The Music Academy Foundation Board, through a partnership with First Lutheran Church, will relocate the Music Academy of Rockford College from Svenson Hall on campus to Loreen Hall, 226 S. Second St., by July 1, 2011. The Rockford College Performing Arts Department and Artists’ Ensemble will continue their partnership, established in 2005, with home base at the college’s Clark Arts Center. Professional Graphics Inc., of Rockford was selected to produce exhibition graphics for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Assistance from the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau enabled Bison Sporting Events, LLC to expand its 2011 lineup from four to 20 softball and baseball tournaments to run most weekends from April to September. This will bring an anticipated 27,550 players, coaches and fans to the region, generating an estimated $1.5 million for the economy. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to renovate the West Middle School auditorium. Rockford Sharefest, a local effort of thousands of volunteers, will make over selected school buildings again this summer, including completing the West renovations began last year and two other schools to be announced. Ethnic Heritage Museum presents Garibaldi Guard in its Italian Gallery through November, 2011, as a part of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, with civil war memorabilia and artifact quilts from the era, 1862. Reliable Website Design & Repair hosts a social media class on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and creation of a short video for You Tube. Call 815-519-0691. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden has a new electric, 10passenger, open-air passenger shuttle, the Klehm Express, available for garden tours starting in June and funded with a Stanley Smith Horticultural Foundation grant. The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau selected Eventus, a full service event production and meeting management company with offices in downtown Rockford, to assist

with planning of its 2011 Annual Meeting. Barbara Olson Center of Hope was awarded a $10,000 grant by the Dr. Louis & Violet Rubin Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois to develop a professional program for direct care employees working in the social services sector to enhance their job positions, resources, skill sets and standing. Brightbill/Ericson Eye Associates New Vision Laser Center of Illinois, in Rockford, hired KMK Media Group, Inc., to develop a message to be played for customers waiting on hold. Chemtool Incorporated, a global manufacturer of lubricants and specialty products in Rockton, hired KMK Media Group, Inc., to complete marketing collateral materials. Illinois Jets Youth Track and Field Organization received a $500 grant from the Presidential Discretionary Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois for the secondannual Illinois Jets Youth Track and Field - Community Health & Wellness Get Moving Event on Saturday, June 4 at Guilford High School. Rochelle Foods donated $1,000 to Lifescape Community Services to provide meals for seniors through the Hub City Senior Center in Rochelle and Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors. The 2011 MELD Mother’s Day cards and note cards are available for purchase at local businesses, featuring photography of scenes and flowers of Anderson Japanese Gardens by Jeffrey Anderson. Visit www.rockford Magnuson Industries, Inc., hired KMK Media Group, Inc., to develop an email marketing campaign and the company’s social media strategy. The Rockford Cosmopolitan Club presented checks in April, totaling more than $20,000, to 10 area service organizations. Savant Capital Management added a new division, Savant Portfolios, for clients with $50,000 or more in financial assets to receive the same tax-efficient investment strategies as existing Savant clients. Savant was recognized by InvestmentNews as the eighth largest Registered Investment Advisor firm in the Midwest, ranked by discretionary assets under management. Fridh Corporation hired KMK Media Group, Inc., to develop collateral materials for its realtors’ open house, including branded promotional items given away at the event and a series of three follow-up postcards.

AAA Measurement Men, LLC is an exhibitor at the Design 2 Part show, May 3 and 4 at Schaumburg (Ill.) Convention Center, 1551 Thoreau Dr. Field Fastener Supply Co., broke ground on an addition to its warehouse and office operations in April at 9883 N. Alpine Road in Machesney Park. Field Fastener hired KMK Media Group, Inc., to plan and promote the groundbreaking ceremony. Visit www.field

Kitchens by Diane, a design consulting firm specializing in kitchens, baths and specialty rooms in Loves Park, celebrated one year in business. The firm designed and implemented more than 75 projects during the past year. Winnebago County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) speaker’s bureau is available for presentations and fundraising events. Visit www.winnebago

May 2011 theVoice


Member in the News IN THE NEWS

1. Manny Carrasquillo

2. Randy Foss

3. Dave Barton

4. Melissa S. Miller

5. Bobby Pasquale

6. Zach Enderle

9. Chris Farrey

10. Anna Delgado

11. Andre Weston

12. Jack L. Armstrong

13. Hannah Warren

14. Maria Salinas

16. Louis Ferroli, Ph.D.

17. Jeremy R. Bridge

BOARD APPOINTMENTS Manny Carrasquillo (1), chief operating officer for Lifescape Community Services, was named to the Healing Pathways-Cancer Resource Center Board of Directors.

NEW HIRES, PROMOTIONS Randy Foss (2) joined Vision Mortgage Group as senior lending officer. Ann Blee, a two-year cancer survivor, was named program director for Healing PathwaysCancer Resource Center. Dave Barton (3) joined Savant Capital Management as the director of advisory and business development and a member of the senior management team. Peter Heydecker was appointed director of instruction at the Golf Shack, Rockford. Melissa S. Miller (4) joined Fifth Third Bank as a small business banker in the Rockford branch, 3154 McFarland Road, for Rockford and area businesses. Ringland-Johnson Construction hired Bobby Pasquale (5) as project estimator for the company’s Exelon Nuclear projects, and Zach Enderle (6) as intern architect for its affiliated design firm, RinglandJohnson+design. Savant Capital Management promoted Ryan Monette to financial planner and Kevin Hrdlicka to investment research analyst. Savant hired Stacy Eckhardt as financial analyst, Kathy Pirtle as the new human resources administrator, Jessica Lasswell as paraplanner, Monica Shaw as assistant trader, and Natascha Tomsyck as the new portfolio management systems administrator.

7. Julia Norem

8. Julie A. Thornton

15. Karen and Richard Gadke

Julia Norem (7), R.N., M.S., joined Crusader Community Health as the director of patient care operations. The Blackhawk Bank board of directors promoted David Adkins to executive vice president, consumer and mortgage banking. Julie A. Thornton (8) joined Stillman Bank as retail banker. Chris Farrey (9) was hired by Entré Computer Solutions, web design department. The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau promoted Anna Delgado (10) to sales & group services coordinator and hired Andre Weston (11) as marketing coordinator.

EMPLOYEE/COMMUNITY RECOGNITIONS, AWARDS Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful gave Jack L. Armstrong (12) the Outstanding Individual Friend of the Environment Award as long-time leader of Computers for Schools, which has refurbished more than 6,000 computers in the past 12 years for area private and public schools and non-profit organizations. Brent Brodeski, managing partner and financial advisor at Savant Capital Management in Rockford, was named in Bloomberg BusinessWeek as one of the top 10 most experienced independent financial advisors. Womanspace nominated Hannah Warren (13), who won the Mentorship Award at the YWCA Leader Luncheon in March for her photography project in India. Warren met woman weavers and helped them found the fair trade cooperative, Jhoole Weavers. Pekin Life Insurance Company named Maria Salinas (14),

a producer for Spectrum Insurance Agency, Inc., Rockford, as Health Agent of the Month for February, 2011. Alpine Bank named its Service Star Award winners for 2010: Shelly Nowak, senior loan operations clerk, Service to Internal Customers Service Star Award; Sarilyn Neiber, cash management & merchant services representative, Service to External Customers Service Star Award, and Kristen Campbell, vice president and trust operations manager, Role Model Service Star Award. Gordon Eggers is the individual recipient of the 2011 Seth B. Atwood Conservation Award for his work, in part, on the boards of the Rockford Park District Foundation and Natural Land Institute. The award is given by the Rockford Park District, the Rockford Park District Foundation and the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District.

18. Dr. Marc Zussman

19. Jeffrey Hendry

The Rockford Park District presented Quarterly Excellence Awards to Gerald Bell, Safety First; Penny Christians, Outstanding Performance; Nathan McDonald, Creative Contributions; Cindy Rathke, Dollars for Ideas; Miranda (Randi) Sparks, Notable Service to Staff, and Jeff Stacy, Notable Service to Community/Citizens. Team awards went to the Park Police Snowmobile Response Team, Scot Nason, Jason Parada and Joseph Williams, Notable Service to Community/Citizens, and the multidepartment team of Barb Neville, Judy Roby, Brenda Parrish, Laurie Anderson and Matthew Bunk, Outstanding Performance. Louis Ferroli, Ph.D. (16), Rockford College professor of education, was selected as the recipient of the 2011 Illinois Reading Council Hall of Fame Award.

Susan Stephens, reporter for WNIJ, an NPR affiliate in northern Illinois, won Best Hard News Feature from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her story “Two Sides of a Transplant,” on bone marrow transplants at the Rock River Valley Blood Center in Rockford.

Sherry Fink, a licensed practical nurse and counselor at Janet Wattles Center, received the Clinician of the Year Award by the Northern Illinois chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness at the group’s annual event at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden in March. Frank Ware, Janet Wattles’ longtime chief executive, posthumously was named Friend of NAMI.

Richard and Karen Gadke (15), Capron, were selected by the Board of Trustees of the Natural Land Institute to receive this year’s George and Barbara Fell Award for distinguished achievements in land conservation.

Jeremy R. Bridge (17), registered patent attorney in the Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. intellectual property practice, was selected for inclusion on the 2011 Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. theVoice May 2011

Member in the News Heather Watson, RSM McGladrey, earned her Registered Paraplanner designation.

OF GENERAL INTEREST Rockford Orthopedic Associates orthopedic trauma surgeon Marc A. Zussman (18) and his client, Aaron Brookens, spoke to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in April on the dangers of distracted driving as part of the launch of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Decide to Drive campaign. Jeffrey Hendry (19), Rockford College professor of performing arts, designed the costumes for internationally renowned dancer and choreographer Kenneth Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet production of “Cinderella,” on May 20. Jeffrey Stewart, Trekk CrossMedia, was a featured speaker at Publishing Xchange, the Cross-Media Publishing & Marketing Conference in March. He was part of a panel discussion on cross-media infrastructure and a session on “Cross-Media Infrastructure: What Are the Must-Haves?”

Jeff Kaney, CEO and owner of Kaney Aerospace, was featured in the February edition of Military Times Edge magazine on high-flying jobs and the three fast-growing fields of aerospace engineering - software, systems and programs. Winnebago County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) staff, board and volunteers attended the National CASA conference at the Hyatt Regency Chicago: Roseann Cannariato, Fran Rossate, Marilyn Kloepfer, Terry Fox, Marie Johnson, Zan Picchioni, Loni Wilson, Gloria Williams and Lara Fierz. Patrick Carney, service and installation technician with Service Security Technologies, Inc., received certification in Basic Safe Penetration & Repair, Professional Safe Opening I & II, and Safe Lock Servicing at the Safe & Vault Technicians Association’s Safetech Convention. Gary Ainsworth, president, and Suzanne Ainsworth, account manager, attended the International Security Conference, the industry’s premier launching pad for new products, solutions and technologies, in Las Vegas in April.



May 2011 theVoice

Guest Perspective INSIGHT

The business of gardens Why do public gardens matter? Quite simply, gardens provide grand spaces that are good for attracting business. They indicate community pride and abundance in a manner that complements the built environment. Visitors move through public gardens in a dignified manner, as if they have become a part of something elegant and worthy of respect. Gardens keep us, pardon the pun, grounded. As our lives become increasingly chaotic, gardens offer the option of quiet retreats that are fast disappearing from our world. Public gardens decorate communities with their beautifully designed spaces and vast assortment of colors and textures. It’s well documented that people who have regular interaction with the natural world are more productive in the workplace. Public gardens reflect community values. The presence of gardens makes an enormous difference in the quality of life of a community. They provide uniquely wonderful places for families, especially in cities, to go and enjoy a beautiful and safe natural landscape. Gardens provide visitors with the inspiration to make their home landscapes more beautiful and interesting. They also build partnerships that revitalize communities and energize people.

Triggering Environmental Awareness, Lifelong Learning Gardens foster learning. Horticulturalists know that through their very existence, public gardens help focus attention on the important environmental issues of our times. They help us understand plants and their important relationship to people. They demonstrate standards of horticultural excellence through creative displays, collections and educational programming. For children, gardens offer educational opportunities that trigger discovery and engender lifelong learning. The intimate spaces within a garden stimulate imagination and a sense of fantasy.

Public garJane Snively Klehm Arboretum & dens delight the Botanic Garden senses. Today’s gardens feature design considerations to offer everyone, regardless of ability, a similar experience. The therapeutic quality of time spent outdoors is well documented. Contemporary garden landscaping takes into consideration servicing people with a wide range of physical, mental and intellectual limitations. The wide variety of textures, sizes and colors of plants invite visitors to touch, smell and explore them. A densely shaded area can create an intimate microclimate that looks, feels and even sounds different than a traditional sunny garden. All public gardens have developed distinct garden settings with unique qualities and themes – some with quiet spaces for contemplation, others with horticultural demonstration, others for child’s play and others to serve large groups. Garden visitors today can choose the spaces most intriguing to their personal interests and frame of mind. Public gardens are an important indicator of any healthy community. Through the celebration of, and the creative stewardship for our public gardens, Rockford should leverage these natural treasures to attract the attention of businesses looking to call Rockford their home. Jane Snively is executive director of Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The views expressed are those of Snively’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

LEARN MORE Garden Fair is June 3 to 5 at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Visit 2011/06/garden-fair.

Get to Know Your Ambassadors Name: Stacy Wallace Company: LDR Cleaning & Restoration Position: Marketing Manager How long have you been an Ambassador? 1½ years What do you like most about being an Ambassador? I love meeting new Chamber members at events and ribbon cuttings. The more contacts I come across, the more I can connect members to each other and their businesses. theVoice May 2011


Community Events EVENTS SUNDAY, MAY 1 The Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St., hosts a presentation with Terry Dyer on Rockford’s Camp Fuller. Call 815-962-7402 or visit The Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St., features Made in Africa in the African American Gallery on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m., through July. Photographs by Brian Hampton, artifacts by missionaries Carl and Vivian Edstrom from the Congo region, and ceremonial masks by Gordon Eggers, CEO of Crusader Community Health. Visit Rockford Park District and Chicago Kite host a new free Kites in Flight event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Southwest Community Park, 2004 Ogilby Road. Participants receive a free kite kit to assemble and decorate. Visit www.rockford events, www.chicago or call 815-987-8800.

MONDAY, MAY 2 Lifescape Community Services and the Logli Supermarket in Loves Park mark the first anniversary of Senior Breakfast at Logli, with trivia games, prizes, decorations and a special menu. Seniors 60-plus can choose from six-items for $2.50, 7:30 to 10 a.m., Monday to Saturday. Rockford Public Library presents a Colonel Elmer Ellsworth Display from noon to 8 p.m., in the main library local history room through May 31, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Col. Ellsworth was a friend of Lincoln and fiancé of Rockford’s Carrie Spafford. Registration not required. For questions call 815-965-7606, option 5.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4 Judson University’s Annual Prayer Breakfast takes place from 7:30 to 9 a.m., in Judson’s Betty Lindner Campus Commons, 1151 N. State St., in Elgin. Dr. Berlean Miller Burris, academic, community volunteer and wife of former Illinois Sen. Roland W. Burris will keynote. Visit www.JudsonU .edu/prayer breakfast or call 847-6281119. Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Rockford College presents a Leadership Exchange on Volunteerism, Interact Effectively with Every Volunteer: The DISC Model of Human Behavior, 9 to 10:30 a.m., second floor, Burpee Center at Rockford College. RSVP by May 2 to SwedishAmerican Health System presents Stroke Awareness: Ask The Experts, free, from 6 to 8 p.m., in its conference center. Dr. Kathleen Kelly, chief medical officer, and Dr. Justin

Sattin, UW Health, give an update at 6 p.m., on the telestroke project. Register at www.swedish or 815-968-2500.

THURSDAY, MAY 5 Northern Illinois SCORE hosts a free Business Roundtable at 7:30 a.m., at the Belvidere Township Building. Forums on the first Thursday of the month. Visit The Rock River Valley Pantry hosts a Peanut Butter Drive through May 31 to provide lunch to Rockford students over summer break. Drop off jars at Alpine Kiwanis Club’s Thursday morning meetings from 7 to 8 a.m., at the Hoffman House, and three Papa John’s locations and Midas on Alpine and Broadway. Call 815-9850898 or 815-397-5210.

FRIDAY, MAY 6 Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center features a piano concert with Angela Cheng, Alvin and Alan Chow, at 7:30 p.m., at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St. Tickets at www.mendelssohn or call 815-964-9713. Winnebago County CASA presents the 17th annual Celebrity Treasures Dinner & Auction at 6 p.m., Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road. Proceeds benefit CASA kids. Event includes silent auction items, live auction and 50/50 raffle. Visit www.winnebagocounty or contact 815-319-6880 or Rockford Art Museum presents Full Deck: A Short History of Skate Art, a traveling exhibition, May 6 to Aug. 14 at 711 N. Main St. On view are 270 decks, representing 38 featured artists and 31 collections. Call 815-968-2787 or visit

SATURDAY, MAY 7 Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s Spring Metals and Electronics Drive takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the parking lot near the JCPenney Outlet at Machesney Park Mall. Dehumidifiers, refrigerators, freezers, propane tanks and air conditioners accepted for a $10 fee to cover EPA disposal costs. Televisions no longer accepted. Visit or call 815-637-1343. The OSF Saint Anthony Center for Cancer Care presents a free Skin Cancer Screening from 8 a.m. to noon at the OSF Cancer Center. Screening is free, but space is very limited. Appointments required at 815227-2624.

TUESDAY MAY 10 United Way of Rock River Valley presents a free Breakfast Beat at 7:30 a.m., at Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St. Einar Forsman, president

& CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, will talk about opportunities to improve the community and positively affect business. Call 815-986-4803 to attend. AAIM Employers’ Association presents a Benefits Boot Camp conference, 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., at NIU-Rockford, 8500 E. State St. Get a legislative update on benefits, and information on health care reform and rising health care costs. For reservations call 800-948-5700. AAIM Employers’ Association Education Center presents Leadership and Team Atmosphere: Getting the Most Out of Your Team, a part of its Leadership Webinar Series, 1 to 2 p.m. Registrations at 800-948-5700 or The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois hold a GrantSeekers Meeting for non-profit organizations at 9 a.m., at 946 N. Second St. RSVP at 815-962-2110, ext. 12, or Savant Capital Management presents Back to the Basics: Investments for Beginners at 6:15 p.m., at 7202 Argus Dr. RSVP at 815227-0300 or cswearingen@savant

FRIDAY, MAY 13 Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center presents the sixth-annual Felix’s Cabaret benefit at 6:30 p.m., at the Forest Hills Country Club. “Felix Sings The Blues” includes a guest sing-along. Reservations at 815964-9713 or www.mendelssohn by May 6. The Women’s Art Board hosts a Bus Trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, featuring the exhibit Dreamworks: Chagall, His Windows and Related Artists in the modern wing. Bus departs from the Rockford Art Museum at 9 a.m.; returns at 5:30 p.m. Gourmet lunch at Terzo Piano Restaurant. Call 336-266-6626. Rockford Speedway presents The Concert, a two-day event on May 13 and 14. Friday country lineup of Phil Vassar and Darryl Worley. Saturday rock lineup of Sick Puppies, Nonpoint, Black Stone Cherry, Pop Evil, Adelita’s Way, My Darkest Days, Taddy Porter, The Last Vegas, Egypt Central and Scarlet Haze. Visit, or

SATURDAY, MAY 14 Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s Spring Clothing Drive takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at all seven Hilander Food Stores in Rockford, Roscoe and Cherry Valley. Visit or call 815-637-1343. The fourth-annual Champions-

4Children Walk to benefit Carrie Lynn Children’s Center, the Medical Evaluation Response Initiative Team (MERIT) and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois, takes place at 10 a.m., at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St. To form a team visit or call 815-319-4150. Rockford Park District presents its eighth-annual Rockford Football Training Camp for boys and girls ages 5 to 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Auburn High School stadium, 5110 Auburn St. Guest speakers/ instructors include Johnny Knox, D.J. Moore, 1985 Super Bowl Champions player Otis Wilson of the Chicago Bears, and mascot Staley Da Bear. Register at www.rockford, 815987-8800 or 815-962-7469.

TUESDAY, MAY 17 Veterans’ Job Fair, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring 40 employers, Illinois National Guard Armory, 10451 N. Second St., Machesney Park.

THURSDAY, MAY 19 Northern Illinois SCORE hosts a free Business Roundtable, an open forum facilitated to discuss business challenges, at the Winnebago County Planning Office at 7:30 a.m. Forums are on the third Thursday of the month. Visit

FRIDAY, MAY 20 Baby Boomer and Senior Living Expo, May 20 and 21, at CherryVale Mall. Vendors register at or call 815-218-3661.

SATURDAY, MAY 21 The Rockford Memorial Development Foundation presents its black tie event, Rockford Health Gala 12 It’s Critical, 6 p.m., at the Coronado Theatre, 314 N. Main St. Register at www.rockfordhealth .aspx or call 815-971-4141. Rockford Park District presents Animal Mania at Lockwood Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (weather permitting), featuring the equestrian programs. Call 815-987-8809 or visit

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25 Rockford Public Library presents Finding Grants for a Non-Profit Organization from 2 to 3:30 p.m., in the main library second floor computer room. Must be proficient using the Internet. Registration required. Call 815-965-7606, press option 5.

THURSDAY, MAY 26 Bridges of Unity Chakra ConnectionSM support groups with Beth Campisi take place from 6 to 8 p.m., at Circle of Stones, 127 N. Wyman St., Rockford. www.bridges

May 2011 theVoice


MEMBERS New Chamber Members

BRAVEHEARTS AT BERGMANN CENTRE Offering therapeutic horseback riding to people of all ages with physical or mental disabilities 4950 Route 173 Poplar Grove, IL 61065 Robin Baker, 815-765-2113

BROKERS UNLIMITED 3600 E. State St., Ste. 300, 61108 Cheryl Curtis Barmore, 815-520-4138

MASSMUTUAL FINANCIAL GROUP– KURT BERRY Specializing in middle income financial and insurance strategies for younger families 7216 N. Alpine Road Loves Park, IL 61111 Kurt Berry, 815-316-2111

MD AT HOME Providing in-home visiting


physicians visits—in others words,

Offering hand-crafted, clean-burning candles and all-natural soaps 4623 Pembrooke Pl. Rockford, IL 61108 Christina Barker, 815-519-2718

housecalls to homebound patients



Specializes in appointment scheduling, travel arrangements, facilitation of communications for small business Charyl Frye, 815-670-1278

7479 Walton Dr., Ste. 4 Rockford, IL 61108 Cam Staman, 815-986-2610

We provide condo services to our 109 housing units P.O. Box 2172 Loves Park, IL 61130 Janice Henningsen, 815-397-4721

COMPLETE NUTRITION Health and nutrition store committed to helping customers look better, feel better and perform better every day 7431 E. State St., PMB 225, 61108 Jennifer Smith, 815-397-4975



Sue Sotelo, 815-877-7511

Complete line of small business banking products including business checking and savings, business line of credit, SBA loans, term loans and more 3154 McFarland Road Rockford, IL 61114 Melissa Miller, 815-978-6125

Manufacturer of high-quality, low-cost alternative parts, replacement inks and make-up fluids 2421 N. Court St., 61103

SEMS AND SPECIALS INC. Manufacturer of cold-headed steel products such as fasteners 6483 Falcon Road, 61109 Steve Jones, 815-874-0000

New Member Referral? Contact: Valerie Tippitt at 815-316-4336, Diane Navickis at 815-316-4315,

May 2011 Member Anniversaries Thank you to the following members who celebrate their anniversaries with the Rockford Chamber in May, 2011.



Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Area Erectors, Inc. Sylvester Enterprises

25-YEAR MEMBERS Furst Staffing William N. Georgis, MD, SC Vern E. Lundberg, Inc. Small World Children’s Furnishings Van Sickle & McLaughlin, CPA’s




Johnson Controls, Inc. L/J Fabricators, Inc. MedChoice Medical Center SupplyCore, Inc.

Hilton Garden Inn Meg’s Daily Grind

Comfort Keepers Mainstreet Financial Group North Park Rental Service, Inc. Rockford Linear Actuation, Inc.

Membership Renewals Thank you to the members who renewed with the Rockford Chamber in March.

13 WREX 23WIFR/Gray Television Group, Inc. ABC Supply Co., Inc. (Rockford) ABC Supply Co., Inc. (Roscoe) Ahern Fire Protection Al Grace Appliance Al’s Tree Planting Ameriprise Financial Androck Hardware Corporation Aqua-Aerobic Systems, Inc. Assured Staffing Aunt Mary’s Restaurant B/E Aerospace Ballard Companies, Inc. Barbara Olson Center of Hope Boone and Winnebago Counties Workforce Investment Board Broadmoor Agency, Inc. Burpee Museum of Natural History Comprehensive Community Solutions/YouthBuild Rockford COMTECH Corporation Days Inn Rockford Der Rathskeller Dickerson & Nieman Realtors Discovery Center Museum of Rockford Dixon Automatic Tool, Inc. Doyle, Woodhouse & Moore, Inc. Realtors ESCO Grinding & Supply Company Fisher’s Ethan Allen Fleet Lift Truck Service Fridh Construction Services G & O Landscaping Inc. Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois Gresty Auto Sales Guler Appliance Company Guyer & Enichen, PC H. C. Anderson Roofing Co. Inc. Haldex Hydraulics Corporation Hampton Inn Rockford Hanson Professional Services Inc. Harris N.A. Hayes Beer Distributing Company Highcrest Centre Holmstrom & Kennedy, P.C. Hooters of Rockford HR Green Inc. Integra Business Systems, Inc. Interstate Graphics iRent Real Estate Group, Inc. J.L.Clark, A CLARCOR Company JPMorgan Chase Kent Feeds, Inc. L.K.G. Industries, Inc. Lamar Advertising of Rockford LaMonica Beverages, Inc. Larson & Darby Group Leading Edge Hydraulics Lindstrom Travel Lombardozzi, Moses, Quimby & Company P.C. Mack Paper Company, Inc. Macktown, A Living History Education Center Maney’s Lawnscape Inc. Mark Pack Inc. McGladrey & Pullen, LLP Meridian Midland General Contractors, Inc. Midwest Scale Company, Inc. Morning Star Village Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association Northern Illinois Minority Companies Association

Northpoint Benefit Group Inc. Northwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center Paper Recovery Services Corp. Phantom Regiment PR Etc., Inc. Pumilia Family Dental Group Red Roof Inn River Valley Kitchens & Baths Inc. Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated Rock River Training Corp. Rock Valley College Rockford Area Crime Stoppers, Inc. Rockford Area Realtors Rockford Career College Rockford Charter Coach Rockford First Rockford Foundries, Inc. Rockford Health System Rockford Mass Transit District Rockford Mass Transit District/Paratransit Rockford Mercantile Agency, Inc. Rockford MetroCentre Rockford Park District Rockford Speedway/Forest Hills Lodge Rosecrance Health Network RSM McGladrey, Inc. Schmeling Construction Co. Select Telecom & Technologies dba Hughes Business Shirley G. Sievers, Geriatric Consultant Small World Children’s Furnishings Specialty Screw Corporation Sprinkmann Sons Corporation St. Angel Real Estate & Insurance Agency Staff On Site, Inc. State Farm Insurance - Julie Weaver Stateline Staffing Services, Inc. Staybridge Suites Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated Superior Joining Technologies, Inc. SwedishAmerican Health System TAPCO USA, Inc. TEAM Companies The Rockwell Group Inc. The Testor Corporation Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum TLC...the Learning Center, Inc. Transmission World Union Savings Bank University of Illinois Extension Winnebago County URS US Bank (East State Street) US Bank (11th Street) US Bank (Harrison Avenue) Vanguard Cleaning Systems Village of Machesney Park Voss Metals Company, Inc. Willett Hofmann & Associates, Inc. Williams-Manny, Inc. WilliamsMcCarthy LLP Wilson Electric Co. Winnebago County Medical Society Women of Today’s Manufacturing (WOTM) Woodward WQRF-TV/WTVO-TV WROK/WZOK/WXXQ/WKGL Cumulus Broadcasting Inc. Zion Development Corporation

Coming up in June: Focus on Summer In The City Automotive Sales & Service For information on advertising,

call 815- 987-8100 theVoice May 2011


Upcoming Chamber Events MAY, 2011

Tuesday, May 17

Tuesday, May 3

Chamber 101 with Speed Networking, a quarterly orientation for new members and employees, 4 to 5 p.m., Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, 839 N. Perryville Road. Sponsored by MembersAlliance Credit Union.

IGNITE Breakfast & Business: Entrepreneur Edition: From the Pros (for Profit), 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 S. Bell School Road. Chris Wachiowiak, owner of Kryptonite Bar and 2010 Rockford Chamber 40 Leader Under 40, will talk about his experience as a young entrepreneur. Sponsored by McGladrey. Business Women’s Council presents Speed Networking: Forty Five in 45, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., at Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road. Sponsored by AAIM Employers’ Association.

Wednesday, May 4 Ribbon Cutting, Fit Me Wellness, 11 a.m. to noon, 2595 N. Mulford Road.

Monday, May 9 Tri State Alliance Regional Transportation Summit, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 S. Bell School Road. Keynote speaker is U.S. Rep. John L. Mica, Florida, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Tri State Alliance is a collaboration of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin cities through its chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. Visit www.tristate Contact Janyce Fadden, 815-987 8118 or Einar Forsman, 815-987 8100.

Tuesday, May 10 Advantage Club – Superstars, Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Anthony Mencarini, PIP Printing,

Wednesday, May 11 Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts, Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc.,

Wednesday, May 18 IGNITE Family Night at Alpine Park, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at shelter #2 and diamond #2, 950 S. Alpine Road. Activities include two games of kickball — a family-fun version and a competitive young professionals game. Childrens’ crafts and yard games. Bring a picnic dinner or order one of IGNITE’s boxed dinners. (No alcohol allowed in the park.) All children must be accompanied by an adult. IGNITE LOTB: Our Homes, Our Neighborhoods, Our Future, noon to 1 p.m., Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort, 700 W. Riverside Blvd. Ron Clewer, Rockford Housing Authority, shares the organization’s plans for the future. Presenting sponsor is McGladrey; supporting sponsor is First Northern Credit Union.

Thursday, May 19 Ribbon Cutting and Open House, Midland Financial Strategies, 9 to 10 a.m., 6957 Olde Creek Road, Ste. 1400. Tours and local art on display.

Friday, May 20 IGNITE Anniversary Bash 2011, 5:30 to 10 p.m., Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 S. Bell School Road. The evening includes dinner and a show with local comedians, including Anne O’Keefe, Rockford Area Arts Council, and Kevin Haas, Rockford Register Star. Presenting sponsor First Northern Credit Union, and supporting sponsors WillamsMcCarthy, LLP and LaMonica Beverages.

Monday, May 23

Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Karla Fernet, Healthy Balance Reflexology,

Rockford Chamber Annual Golf Classic, 11:30 a.m. registration; 12:30 p.m., shotgun start, Rockford Country Club, 2500 Oxford St. Photo sponsor is OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.

Thursday, May 12

Tuesday, May 24

Celebration of Leadership, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Franchesco’s Ristorante. 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy.

Advantage Club – Superstars, Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Anthony Mencarini, PIP Printing,

Friday, May 13 Government Affairs Council Meeting, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St. Doug Scott, newly installed chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission, will speak on the priorities of the commission. Call Heidi Garner at 815316-4312 for information on joining Government Affairs Council.

Wednesday, May 25 Multicultural Business Council presents a Lunch & Learn: Survivorship: Getting From Year One To Beyond from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Rock Valley Learning Opportunity Center, 308 W. State St., in the Stewart Square building in downtown Rockford.


Advertisers Index ADVERTISERS Alpine Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Aspen Counseling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Associated Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Blackhawk Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Broadmoor Agency, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Brian Thomas Photography, Inc. . . . . . 19 Camelot Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Delta Dental . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Diamond Jo Casino . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Harris Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Heritage Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Healthy Balance Reflexology Clinic . .11 IMEC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 McGladrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

MembersAlliance Credit Union . . . . .13 Northwest Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Riverside Community Bank . . . . . . . .18 Rockford Bell Credit Union . . . . . . . .14 Rockford Chamber of Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21, 23, 24 Rockford Health System . . . . . . . . . .10 SmithAmundsen LLC . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Stillman Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Thayer Lighting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 US Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Van Galder Bus / A Coach USA Co. . . . .2 Widmer Interiors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 WilliamsMcCarthy LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

For information on advertising call 815-987-8100

Chamber Staff / Call 815-987-8100

Direct Line

Einar K. Forsman, President & CEO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4304 Heidi Garner, Executive Assistant to the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4312 Doug Hessong, Director of Publications & Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4338 Lynette Jacques, Advertising and Sponsorship Executive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4317 Vee Jevremovic, Manager of Education Programs and Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4337 Cyndie Landis, Financial Assistant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4300 Caitlin Ludwig, Director of Ignite! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4335 Joy Moriarty, V.P. Finance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4316 Stacy Mullins, Director of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4302 Diane Navickis, Membership Development Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4315 Joan Sundvall, Membership Contact Coordinator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4320 Valerie Tippitt, Membership Development Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .815-316-4336

A panel of minority small business owners will share their experiences in entrepreneurship. Register with Valerie Tippitt at 815-316-4336 by Friday, May 20. Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Karla Fernet, Healthy Balance Reflexology, Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts, Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc.,

JUNE, 2011 Tuesday, June 7 Business Women’s Council, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road. Sponsored by AAIM Employers’ Association.

Friday, June 10 Government Affairs Council Meeting, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St. Call Heidi Garner at 815-316-4312 for information on joining Government Affairs Council.

Tuesday, June 14 Advantage Club – Superstars, Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Anthony Mencarini, PIP Printing,

Wednesday, June 15 Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts,

Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, tlwatts@ or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc., Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Karla Fernet, Healthy Balance Reflexology,

Thursday, June 23 Women in Business Expo and Lunch, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort 700 W. Riverside Blvd. Featured speaker Amy Millman, co-founder, president and board member of Springboard 2000 Enterprises, Inc., will speak on advancing the growth of women-owned businesses to maximum potential. The national non-profit organization accelerates women’s access to the equity markets. Presenting sponsor is Rockford Health System; gold sponsor is OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.

Tuesday, June 28 Advantage Club – Superstars, Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road. Contact Anthony Mencarini, PIP Printing,

Wednesday, June 29 Advantage Club – Originals, alternate locations. Contact Karla Fernet, Healthy Balance Reflexology, Advantage Power Network Club, Franchesco’s Ristorante, 7128 Perry Creek Pkwy. Contact Teri Watts, Whitehead Inc., Realtors®, tlwatts@ or Holly Hanson, The Business Edge Inc.,

May 2011 Voice  

May 2011 Voice

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you