June Voice 2018

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of the Rockford Business Community


Celebration of Leadership Peter Schmeling is a fifth generation member to work for his family’s company, Schmeling Construction. Schmeling, a project manager, is also the third in his family to successfully complete the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership program, following his grandfather, Roger and his father, Steve. “Everyone talked about it in the office,”

Peter said. “They said the program was a great networking opportunity and a great way to see the city. They were right.” There were 200 business and community leaders, including program alumni, who turned out for the annual Celebration of Leadership Luncheon at Tebala Event Center on May 10, to recognize Schmeling and other graduates of the program. This year’s class included 41 professionals from local nonprofits, businesses and government agencies. It was the 64th graduating class of Leadership Rockford. In all, 1,810 people have participated from the program since its inception. The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Rockford Fire Department Chief Derek Bergsten. His message stressed the need for mentors and the keys to

JUNE 2018 | Volume 31 | No. 6

The 64th graduating class consisted of 41 professionals from local nonprofits, businesses and government agencies. PHOTOS BY BRIAN THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY

becoming an effective leader – having plans and goals, being prepared and having a passion to succeed. “The best part about this program is twofold. It’s the people that you meet in the class and the people that you meet in the community,” said Caitlin Pusateri, the chamber’s vice president of leadership development. “More so, it’s the direct access that you have. You get to hear the news from the experts – from the schools, law enforcement and healthcare institutions. This leadership program shows participants how all the pieces fit together in this puzzle. You can see how everyone interacts with one another, and that’s a view you don’t get often.” Continued on page 10

LAURENT HOUSE NOW PART OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT TRAIL Laurent House was named by the Illinois Office of Tourism as one of 13 stops along the new Frank Lloyd Wright Trail in Illinois. The famed architect was considered a pioneer of the Usonian home concept, and Laurent House in Rockford and Muirhead Farmhouse in Hampshire are considered two of his best examples. Laurent House at 4646 Spring Brook Road is the only building designed by the famed architect for a person with a disability. Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent commissioned and lived in the home from 1952 until early 2012. Built decades ahead of ADA accessibility requirements, the home features a solar hemicycle footprint, patio, fishpond, carport and outdoor connectivity to the natural landscape. Tours begin at Midway Village Museum. Call 815877-2952.


WOMEN in BUSINESS june 21 • cliffbreakers For more info, see page 31


New opportunity for pass-through income tax avoidance By Andrew J. Welp Savant Capital Management

Visit us online at: rockfordchamber.com ■ online registration ■ keynote speaker video clips ■ event photos ■ list of Chamber events

Questions? 815-987-8100

Join the Chamber’s LinkedIn Group

If you are a business owner who receives “pass-through” income, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included a major provision that you need to be aware of and start planning for. The largest take away from the new legislation might be the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. However, this does not help you if your business is set up as a Sole Proprietor, S-Corp, Partnership or certain LLCs. So, in an effort to ensure some uniformity across the different types of taxable entities, the legislation included a new deduction for these non C-Corp business owners.

Businesses Fall Under Two Camps The new Section 199A deduction acts as a means to lower the amount of Qualified Business Income (QBI) that is subject to taxation. In its most basic form, the deduction reduces the

amount of QBI that flows through to the taxpayer’s individual return by 20 percent. However, there are two major limiting factors that may reduce its benefit: How much taxable income the taxpayer has and the type of business being conducted. The type of business being conducted falls into essentially one of two camps: a “specified service trade or business” or a “qualified trade or business.” A specified service trade or business is defined as “any trade or business involving the performance of services in the fields of health, law, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services, or any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees or owners …” A qualified trade or business is essentially everything outside of the definition of a specified service. The distinction matters, because if you fall Continued on page 20

KEEPING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS OUT OF THE WRONG HANDS To help residents safely dispose of unused and unwanted prescription medications, the Winnebago County Health Department now has a drug take back box available during business hours on the fourth floor at 555 N. Court St., Rockford. “We encourage the community to take advantage of this opportunity to keep their homes and community safe from the misuse of prescription medication,” said Cheryl Floyd of the WCHD. Additional drop-off sites that accept prescription medications include: the City of Rockford Police District Station, Walgreens on Charles Street and Hononegah Road, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and the Cherry Valley, Rockton and South Beloit Police Departments.

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theVoice • rockfordchamber.com


President’s Message

Are smartphones good for you and your business success? Maybe a “time-out” should be considered I recently read some articles on a book written by Catherine Price on “How to Break Up With Your Phone.” As someone who feels like my smart phone is invaluable to what I do in the business world, I read these with much interest and made me rethink some of my approaches to smart phone use.

Many people equate spending less time on their phones with denying themselves pleasure — and who likes to do that? Here are some key things on how to navigate a successful breakup and create a better relationship with your phone:

The time you spend on your phone is time you’re not spending doing other pleasurable things, like hanging out with a friend or pursuing a hobby. Instead of thinking of it as “spending less time on your phone,” think of it as “spending more time on your life.”

Ask yourself what you want to pay attention to Our lives are what we pay attention to. When we decide what to pay attention to in the moment, we are making a broader decision about how we want to spend our time. The people who design apps desperately want our attention, because that’s how they make money. Have you ever wondered why so many social media apps are free? So ask yourself: What do you want to pay attention to?

Reframe the way you think about it

Set yourself up for success

Many people equate spending less time on their phones with denying themselves pleasure — and who likes to do that? Instead, think of it this way:

Create triggers that will remind you of your goals and make it easier to live up to them. If you want to spend more time reading, leave a book on your bedside

table. If you want to cook more, lay out a shopping list for that recipe you’re eager to try. Set up a charging station for your phone that’s not in your bedroom, and buy a stand-alone alarm clock. On the flip side, avoid triggers that will set you up for failure. Delete social media apps from your phone. Disable notifications, including those for email. Establish a rule — for yourself and your family — of not keeping phones on the table during meals.

Create speed bumps It’s amazing how often we pick up our phones “just to check” then look up 20 minutes later wondering where the time has gone. I call these “zombie checks,” and they’re nearly guaranteed to be unsatisfying or make you feel like you’re wasting your life. One solution is to create “speed bumps”: Small obstacles that force you to slow down and make sure that when you do check your phone, it’s the result of a conscious choice. Put a rubber

Einar K. Forsman band around Rockford Chamber your phone of Commerce as a physical reminder to pause, or set a lock screen image that asks you to confirm that you really want to proceed.

Practice trial separations Leave your phone at home while you go for a walk. Stare out of a window during your commute instead of checking your email. At first, you may be surprised by how powerfully you crave your phone. Pay attention to your craving. What does it feel like in your body? What’s happening in your mind? Keep observing it, and eventually, you may find that it fades away on its own.

Use technology to protect yourself from technology Time-tracking apps will measure how much time you’re spending on your screen. Other apps let you block your Continued on page 29

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 3

Guest Perspective viewpoint

You know it’s time for a new website when … I think we just celebrated a record at KMK … a record for the longest stretch between the first website we designed and developed for an organization and its 2.0 version, which we were just hired to program last week, nearly 15 years later. The organization is a long-standing non-profit we’ve supported and enjoyed working with, and we are thrilled they’ve deemed a web redesign part of this year’s budget. It’s long overdue but we understand that marketing desires and line items in budgets don’t always add up. Eventually, though, a website can drive down your bottom line — due to lost opportunities. The worst part? You might not know it’s happening unless a forthcoming prospective client tells you

they eliminated your company because your website doesn’t measure up. So how do you know when the website band-aids don’t work anymore, and you need replacement surgery to competitively survive? Here are some tips to recognize the warning signs: 1. Your site is not responsive. “Responsive” means the site automatically responds to whatever device it’s being viewed on and resizes itself accordingly. So, if you’re viewing the site on an iPhone, it modifies its display to be optimally viewed on a smart phone. The same happens with tablets, desktop computers and laptops. With more than 50 percent of searches being done online,

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

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

this is crucial to stay relevant in today’s Google-governed world. If your site is not responsive, it’s time to redesign NOW. No need to read any further. 2. Your web stats show short visits to your website and a lot of bounces. If you don’t have web stats, install them now. Look at the results. If the majority of web visitors are spending less than 10 seconds on your site, that’s a strong indication they are being repelled rather than attracted by your overall message. 3. The obvious. Do you have long load times, outdated and heavy information, and your site just “looks old?” Prospective customers often check out your website before contacting you. If it’s a bad first impression, you may have lost the game without even knowing you were playing. 4. Updated programming for SEO success. Is your site programmed to be easily found by Google and other search engines? How it’s structured, the coding, the SEO terms and the overall design can make or break your effectiveness in being indexed and rising to the top of search engines. 5. No CMS system. You should be able to easily edit your website’s content, photos, pages and navigation. If you

can’t, why? All corporate websites should have a mobileDoug Burton enabled content KMK Media Group management system (CMS), allowing someone at the company to easily update the site’s content while at work or from a mobile device, as needed. If you build it, they will not come unless the content is kept fresh and up-to-date. A CMS is a lifeline to help you do that. Of course, ancillary issues like site security and integration with social media can also play a role, but the above factors can make a huge difference between life and death online for your company. When done right, the cost of a new website is most likely minimal when compared to the accrued loss of business over time. Have your company team members give you an honest assessment of your website to get the discussion started! Doug Burton joined KMK Media Group in 2004. Contact doug@kmkmedia.com. The views expressed are those of Burton’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

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theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

Time to do social media spring cleaning Avoid data mining on social media

The BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online, such as profile data and quiz answers, which can be used to steal money, passwords or let a scammer pretend to be you to steal someone else’s money. The Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be vigilant in protecting their personal information by doing some social media spring cleaning. In Cook County, the State’s Attorney filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Facebook and the political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica after news broke in March that the firm misused information from 50 million Facebook users. The BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online, such as profile data and quiz answers, which can be used to steal money, passwords or let a scammer pretend to be you to steal someone else’s money. Even seemingly innocent information can be used to build a profile on you that can be sold to anyone trying to influence society.

Social media quizzes – especially popular on Facebook – seem innocent enough, but you might be giving away more information about yourself than you originally thought, and that may extend to your Friends, as well.

Protect Yourself ■ Be careful about what information you share through Facebook: Think twice before allowing outside apps and websites to setup an account for you, or to sign you in to your current account using Facebook. For a quick spring cleaning, go to the Settings menu to see how many apps you have connected to your account. You can select which services you want to remove or disable via Apps, Website and Plugins > Edit. ■ Adjust privacy settings: Review your

social media account’s privacy settings and be strict about what information you share. ■ Make sure you know what information you are sharing: Turn off sharing options on Facebook and Messenger to avoid sharing personal information like cell phone contacts. ■ Be skeptical: Before you take a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a brand you trust?

■ Remove personal details from your profile: Don’t share information like your phone number or home address on social media accounts. Find out more on cyber security resources available to both businesses and consumers at BBB.org/cybersecurity. To report a scam, visit BBB.org/scamtracker. More scam tips are available at BBB. org/scamtips or subscribe to BBB Scam Alerts emails.

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 5

PROFILE Member Profile PACCAR Parts By Paul Anthony Arco One of the best kept secrets in Rockford might be PACCAR Parts. PACCAR Parts is a division of PACCAR, a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of premium light, medium and heavy duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF names. PACCAR Parts delivers more than 15 million shipments a year to over 2,100 dealers worldwide. PACCAR is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. PACCAR Parts was founded in 1973, and the Rockford PDC (parts distribution center) opened in August 1991. Rockford is the largest distribution center for PACCAR Parts in the country and is the only facility to run a full three-shift operation. The facility services 153 Peterbilt and Kenworth dealerships throughout the Midwest daily. “We take pride in the impact that we make,” said Alan Austin, manager of PACCAR Parts. “By investing in the latest technology and expanding our footprint, we are demonstrating our commitment to being a world-class leader in aftermarket parts distribution.” PACCAR got its start in 1905, when William Pigott Sr. founded Seattle

efficiency in its truck models. Rockford has installed LED lighting in an effort to conserve energy and is active with its recycling efforts. The future for Rockford looks bright. This year the Rockford distribution center shipped more lines than it did in the Care Mfg. Co. to produce railway and logging equipment in the Seattle area. The company later merged with Twohy Brothers of Portland and became Pacific Care and Foundry Company for 55 years. The company entered the heavy-duty truck market in 1945 with its first major acquisition, Kenworth Motor Truck Company of Seattle. It fabricated the steel for the construction of the Space Needle for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and later played a major role in the construction of New York City’s World Trade Center. In Rockford, PACCAR Parts has 81 employees, including warehouse, inventory, customer service and receiving staff. The company is housed in a 265,000 square foot warehouse located in southwest Rockford. There are 10 employees at the Rockford PDC with more than 25 years of service and 15 with more than 20 years. “Our employees are the backbone of our

operation,” said Austin. “They take pride in their work and it shows in the results they produce.” And it’s not just in the parts they make. PACCAR’s charitable contributions reveal a strong commitment to the communities where they work and live. The PACCAR Foundation has given $200 million in grants – for education, social services and the arts in communities across the country. Locally, PACCAR Parts is involved with United Way, Toys for Tots and a number of blood drives, among others. “We ask our employees for feedback,” said Austin. “They have input in the things we’re involved in. Our giving helps boost employee morale.” PACCAR also takes pride in being environmental stewards. The company consistently creates programs to help protect and preserve the environment; for example, PACCAR has specific goals to further reduce emissions and enhance fuel

previous two years. This is also Rockford’s first year where the average shipping lines per day in volume exceeded previous figures. As far as future expansion, the Rockford distribution center will follow the lead of corporate initiatives. “All of our PDCs are in lockstep when it comes to innovative design, environmental sustainability and technology,” Austin said. One thing is for sure. PACCAR Parts plans on getting more involved with community efforts. “We care about the Rockford community,” Austin said. “We’ve done a lot, but it’s just a start.”

PACCAR PARTS Alan Austin, Manager 1041 Simpson Rd., Rockford 815-961-9912 paccar.com

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Rockford Promise exceeds its goal

Incentivizing graduates to pursue careers here Rockford has made a lot of progress in a short period of time. The key to continuing that progress — and to our community’s long-term success — is to increase our educational attainment level. Mayor Tom McNamara underscored that point in his State of the City address last month, which he delivered at Eisenhower Middle School.

These location-based scholarships and pathwaybased scholarships incentivize people to live in our community and attend our schools. Fortunately, we have a head start on the work. The senior class in the Rockford Public Schools this year included 42 students who won scholarships through new initiatives. These scholarships are not through the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois or other traditional award granters. They are location-based or pathway-based. Students earn them because they live in Rockford or because they will pursue a career path to benefit our city. Rockford Promise, the locationbased scholarship organization, last fall set a goal of awarding 20 scholarships to Rockford Public Schools students to continue their education at Rock Valley College or Rockford University. As spring approached, it became clear Rockford Promise had not only met its goal but exceeded it. A total of 22 students will attend RU or RVC on scholarship next school year. One of the scholarships even has the name of a RPS 205 graduate attached. Cole Bathje, a graduate of East High School, funded an entire Promise scholarship with a successful benefit concert. The concert was his senior Capstone project.

Keeping Graduates in Rockford To these 22 incredible opportunities, the school district and Rockford University have added 20 more. Education Pathway scholarships are given to seniors who pledge to stay in Rockford, attend RU and pursue a teaching career. They not only studentteach in the district — once they graduate, they become priority hires in RPS 205. Once hired, they may earn a master’s degree in urban education at RU for free.

Dr. Ehren Jarrett Superintendent RPS 205

Qualified students reap the benefits of a $140,000 education for as little as $20,000. These initiatives build on the strong framework of other programs, such as Engineering Our Future. The partnership between Northern Illinois University and RVC allows local students to receive a bachelor’s degree in engineering and technology without leaving the RVC campus. The price tag is less than $40,000. These location-based scholarships and pathway-based scholarships incentivize people to live in our community and attend our schools. They are great deals for students, but the community is getting the better part of the bargain. We connect students while still in high school with post-secondary internships, post-secondary academic experiences and — ultimately — job placements. The same model is being replicated with a police and fire pathway in the district; a partnership between Alignment Rockford and the City of Rockford. It’s a powerful two-pronged approach to attracting and retaining talent. We invest in students based on the careers we need. We invest in people who choose to live and stay in the community, who buy homes and drive economic growth. This is not just a dream. Its foundation is already being built. Its builders are 18-year-old students like Cole Bathje. Its builders are the benefactors and board members of Rockford Promise. Its builders are the businesses, organizations and partners of RPS 205 who support students to create the workforce of the future. The mayor has called on the business and philanthropic community to fully fund Rockford Promise by 2025 so every graduate of the Rockford Public Schools has access to community college and four-year programs in Illinois, tuitionfree. Meanwhile, the district is working on its own on-ramp so students are ready for college or prepared for career certifications. The pathway is clear. The location is right. The mayor and I are all in. Won’t you join us? Dr. Ehren Jarrett is superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. The views expressed are those of Dr. Jarrett’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


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Young Professionals

Vegetarian in Rockford A summer eating guide

What do vegetarians eat? That is a question that I, a somewhat-vegetarian gets asked a lot. (Realistically I’m a vegetarian who eats shrimp tacos. That really makes me a pescatarian, but I only eat shrimp tacos – no other fish – which to me, is living my truth.) After I answer, the question is often followed up by, “But what do vegetarians eat in Rockford??” I cannot speak for all vegetarians, but we eat … well we eat whatever we can find on a menu. When I first became a “vegetarian” around 8 to 9 years ago, the options at restaurants were pretty much limited to salad or a side. This meant that I ate many a french fry with iceberg lettuce “salad.” (How much iceberg lettuce is too much iceberg lettuce? Pretty much, any.) Nowadays, almost every restaurant I walk into has something on the menu that caters to the plant food/vegan/ vegetarian crowd. From the classic black bean burger to the omnipresent eggplant/mushroom panini, there are now almost always options.

My ‘Best of the Best’ As an individual who has been described as picky, here is my very own ‘best of the best’ -- a completely noncomprehensive, mostly random listing of good vegetarian foods and where to get them. Pig Minds: This vegan brewpub can serve you up everything from burgers to wings to macaroni and cheese, all while drinking delicious beer. They also can usually be found at the City Market on Fridays, serving up some of your favorite beers, but sadly, no food. Pizza: From the Basil Pesto deliciousness to the Sun Dried Tomato pizza, Woodfire not only has vegetarian pizzas; it has good vegetarian pizzas. Word of warning to the veggies out there; the fries that come with the vegetarian sandwich were historically cooked in duck fat, so double check before ordering. (Shout out to Mod Pizza, which just opened and offers vegan cheese on the build-your-ownstyle pizza.) Tacos: As a failing vegetarian in the area of tacos, I have to admit I am partial to the Shrimp Tacos served in downtown Rockford at Stewart Square. They are open during the weekdays and with a limited menu at the Friday Market (no shrimp tacos then, unfortunately). If you are looking for actual vegetarian tacos, then Taco Betty’s may be the fit for you. They also have a great rooftop deck which overlooks the river and

serves a limited (at this point,

Emily Hardy IGNITE

ironically, tacofree) menu. Taco Betty’s vegetarian options can change seasonally, but they currently have a fried avocado taco. Burgers: This one is tougher for me. Many times when I eat out, the black bean burger is really not a step up from something I could get out of my freezer and cook on a George Forman grill, like an adult who never left college. What I find myself partial to is actually a Rockford staple, Beef-A-Roo. (Oxymoronic that I suggest ordering vegetarian at a place named this, but hey, they also have a great kale salad.) It has a veggie patty that you can sub in on any of their other pre-made burgers. When craving a burger, this is my go to, and I sub it on the mushroom swiss. Now when I go to a restaurant, I frequently have to choose between four or five options -- a great problem to have. But sometimes even when having multiple options, I still find myself editing a meat-eaters meal to fit my needs. My favorite alteration is at Prairie Street Brewing Company. When I first moved here, they had a black bean burger, then a walnut cheddar burger, and now a black bean and quinoa burger, which many people like, but is not my cup of tea. There are always seasonal items that I try, but I have found my go-to to be the following. Turkey Club. Well … Turkey Club, minus the turkey, minus the bacon, and add avocado. Sometimes, a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Good luck out there fellow-somevariation-of-vegetarians. The choices are becoming so prolific, it has almost gotten to the point where I want to stay home rather than having to agonize over where to go and then deliberate between more than one option. Half the reason I became vegetarian was so I could stop reading the super-long menu. Iceberg lettuce is sounding better and better to me. Emily Hardy is co-chair of REACH for IGNITE. The views expressed are those of Hardy’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

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 Destination




What’s your big idea?

Many are becoming reality in our region

We had much to celebrate and announce at RACVB’s annual luncheon recently. Our theme was THINK BIG, THEN ACT. We have so many reasons to be optimistic about the future of our region because people are thinking big and acting accordingly. For starters, our event was held at Cliffbreakers. It was exciting to see several hundred people attend an event at this incomparable venue on the Rock River. Cliffbreakers, which could accommodate events for more than 1,000 people in its glory days, is experiencing an impressive renewal on a big idea that began in 1993. Our optimism only begins there. Other projects that will enter the mix soon include: The Hilton Embassy Suites and Rockford Conference Center downtown; the indoor City Market on Madison Street; three new Urban Equity developments downtown; and, in the longer term, anticipated development by local owners on the former Clock Tower site. These projects, while not RACVB initiatives, present opportunities for us for marketing and promotion. Together, these projects create an energy that leads me to believe the region is experiencing a breakthrough. I believe Rockford is one degree of separation from renaissance. A couple of degrees, at most. When big ideas occur and are acted on simultaneously throughout the community, we will be propelled toward the kind of city we deserve to be. It’s all about raising our sights. That’s what we try to do every day at RACVB — raise the bar and ask: “What’s next?”

Stunning Success Numbers I want to share some numbers that bolster my conviction that our region is heading in the right direction. According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism here is up 39 percent since the recession. In fact, outside of Cook County, Winnebago County is the fastest-growing tourist destination in Illinois. Last year, visitors spent more than $353 million in the county! Visitor spending supports almost 3,000 jobs and a payroll of $86 million. Money spent by visitors for food, lodging, entertainment and recreation generated more than $25 million in state and local taxes. Additionally, property taxes from hotels, restaurants and retail shops are paid to local government entities, supporting important services residents

John Groh Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

rely on. On top of this good news, recent numbers show our hotel occupancy rate of 71 percent was the highest in the region and growing faster than anywhere else in 2017. And here’s a stunning stat: Our three major sports complexes are attracting 3 million individuals – a mix of local people and visitors – each year! That astounding statistic reinforces the importance of the Reclaiming First initiative, which improved the Sportscore facilities and made the UW Health Sports Factory possible.

A Changing Role Today’s tourism bureaus are doing more than promoting existing destinations, and the RACVB has been on the leading edge of the trend for many years. Beyond destination promotion, bureaus are now actively building, creating and designing destinations to attract visitors and improve quality of life for residents. In keeping with this part of our role, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara has designated RACVB to be the lead agency to advance the re-development of Davis Park into a mixed-use, modern urban gathering space. Development will be carried out alongside construction of the Hilton Embassy Suites and Rockford Conference Center, which is underway on the adjacent site in downtown Rockford. Meanwhile, we had a cool giveaway at the annual luncheon, and we have a few extras if you missed the luncheon and really want one. It is a composition book like the ones you used in high school and college. The cover reads:” Hey, You. What’s your BIG IDEA?” We want you to use it to record your big ideas for yourself, your workplace or our city. If we can help you accomplish your big ideas on any level, let us know. You’re welcome to call ahead (815-9638111) to make sure we have books left, and then, stop by to pick one up. John Groh is president/CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The mission of the RACVB is to drive quality of life and economic growth for our citizens through tourism marketing and destination development. www.gorockford.com The views expressed are Groh’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


JUNE 2018 | 9

Guest Perspective insight

Master plan process: A progress report The Rockford Park District improves the quality of life for citizens by providing a vibrant park system that increases property values, stimulates economic development, decreases juvenile crime and improves our communities’ health. The Rockford Park District also protects the environment, employs thousands of area kids for the first time, and brings people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and neighborhoods together for the common love of play. For 109 years, your citizen-created Rockford Park District has had the pleasure of being a part of your most precious memories, and our goal is to make sure we remain relevant to this and succeeding generations. We are a park district rich in history that was built through the generosity of its citizens, strategic partnerships, and dedicated team members. This is a critical point in your Rockford Park District’s history, so we are turning to our citizens as we always do to help guide our future. Since the recession, the park district has made roughly $8.4 million in budget reductions to keep a balanced budget. Over the past four years, the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners elected not to increase tax dollars for the district’s operating budget, saving taxpayers $1.7 million. In addition, a decline in two main revenue streams -- fees and property taxes, along with population and demographic shifts has made it extremely difficult to provide the same level of service as in past years without new revenue streams or reducing our footprint. This is why we need your involvement.

We’re Still Gathering Feedback In March, the district began a community-led master plan process to determine district priorities and allocation of resources of taxpayer dollars. A community-led master plan will provide a series of recommendations to guide investment in district assets, along with decisions regarding obsolete, underutilized or non-trending parks, facilities and amenities over the next five years. The process includes holding community engagement sessions, a recreational needs assessment survey, a phone line for citizen feedback and an Operations Advisory Committee, where seven members of the community are touring facilities, meeting with team members, reviewing policies and asking questions. In addition, we’ve engaged with dozens of neighborhood groups and other organizations, sharing information about the district’s history, financial realities and community impact. If you were in attendance and engaged with us, I want to thank you for your ideas and suggestions!

We’ve hosted seven Jay Sandine community Rockford Park District engagement sessions at a variety of locations, and so far have received more than 1,500 surveys regarding allocation of funds, priorities and district strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Preliminary results indicate that programs and services that are most valued to the community are: neighborhood parks, open space and trails, arts and cultural programs, the Conservatory and gardens, outdoor education and youth programming. Those taking the survey or engaging in person with us have shared their concerns about aging infrastructure in neighborhood parks and the need for more youth programs such as the free summer playground program that used to take place in 30 different parks, but due to budget reductions over the years, is now only offered at 10 parks. Each comment and suggestion we receive is critical data that is needed for us to create a five-year master plan that represents you, the citizens we serve. If you haven’t been able to connect with us in person, there is still time for you to share your thoughts. Now through June 15, you can take our online recreational needs assessment at www.rockfordparkdistrict. org/surveys. If you would like us to come and speak to a group you belong to, please send me an email: jaysandine@ rockfordparkdistrict.org.

Where We Go From Here On Aug. 7, Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners will hear about the process taken to gather feedback and receive a summary of the feedback through the community-led master plan process. On Aug. 21, the board will be presented with a five-year master plan developed as a result of community feedback and staff recommendations regarding areas to reinvest in, eliminate and strategically add. The master plan will not only meet the recreational needs of this and succeeding generations, but will match the economic realities of our community and the district. Our final goal is to make sure the plan connects and complements the priorities of other community leaders and organizations. An investment in your Rockford Park District is an investment in your community. Thank you again for your ongoing involvement and support! Jay Sandine is executive director of the Rockford Park District. The views expressed are those of Sandine’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

10 | JUNE 2018


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Thinking Outside of the Box Originally known as the Community Awareness Program (CAP), Leadership Rockford is the chamber’s signature leadership development program. Leadership Rockford runs for eight months and helps participants gain knowledge and awareness of business, government and civic issues, as well as take part in group and panel discussions and community service projects. “I thought the program was very beneficial to develop new leaders,” said Shamika Williams, executive director of Keeping Families and Communities Together (KFACT), a college and career mentoring program that helps girls transition from grade school to high school and from high school to college. “It gave us good exposure to a variety of sectors of Rockford. The best part was the people. I only knew two people before the class started, and now I feel like I know all 41. Now that it’s over, we plan to have working relationships outside of the program.” The Leadership Rockford class met bi-weekly from October to May to discuss wide-ranging topics. Other highlights included visits to the Winnebago County Jail, and work on group projects – including fundraisers that raised money

for Vets Roll and GiGi’s Playhouse. One group created an internship program for RAMP and another formed a grant application process for Stepping Stones of Rockford. The class also heard from various keynote speakers every other week throughout the program. “This year’s class had a ton of energy,” said Pusateri, “They did phenomenal work on their group projects, always thinking outside the box. They always went above and beyond in whatever they did.” During the graduation luncheon, outgoing Leadership Rockford moderators Michelle Appino (Savant Capital Management), Becky Hopper (SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health) and Carly LaMonica (LaMonica Beverages, Inc.) were recognized. The incoming 2018-2019 moderators were also introduced: Butch Rosecke (Mr. Goodwater, Inc.), Rev. Rebecca White Newgren (SecondFirst Church), Audrey Moon (13 WREX), and Alli Bernardi (ALPHA Controls & Services LLC). “You get out of it what you put into it,” said Rosecke, whose son, Justin, is joining next year’s class. “I enjoyed my experience. I was excited to be selected as a moderator. There are more things I want to do with this leadership program. And I want to share those experiences with other people in our community.” The Celebration of Leadership luncheon was presented by PNC Bank. theVoice

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 11

A tale of two (most) organizations Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in multiple industries – both for-profit and non-profit - and multiple workplace cultures. What I’ve found is that some things simply do not change. There will always be someone on staff who’s in it for the paycheck and someone else who lives and breathes the mission. There will always be treats in the breakroom – though to varying degrees depending on culture. And there will always be room for improvement in the accountability department. Organizations love to build strategic plans. We like to host corporate retreats with white boards, flip charts and extra coffee. We plan, we brainstorm, we analyze. We come up with a pretty solid plan that connects back to our mission and outlines tangible stretch goals, among other components. We bring our shiny new plan back to the office and immediately start implementing. We hold new meetings, we talk about targets and we set new expectations. And then… someone falls short. A newly shared expectation isn’t met. Our top sales person refuses to show

up for weekly meetings. Our seasoned accounting department VP decides she’s not going to complete the reports in the new format as she prefers the old way. A mid-level manager thinks the corporate culture trainings are a waste of time so doesn’t block time on his calendar. And no one corrects them. This happens All. The. Time. The first problem is that employees think that these new expectations do not apply to them; but the REAL problem here is not with these employees. The real problem lies in the hands of those who are supposed to be holding them accountable. Organizations that have spent almost half a million dollars on creating culture throw it all away when they let star employees rise above the rules. Training and development time might as well have been binging Netflix if no one is going to hold each other accountable for what they just learned. I can only imagine the amount of money lost every time an organization lets something slide out of fear for holding someone accountable. This year’s Rockford Leadership Alliance is focused on just that:

accountability. We will spend six half-day workshops looking at why we have such a hard time holding one another accountable and working on ways to be better – both as people and organizations. It’s time to take our organizations, our community and perhaps even our world to the next level – and accountability is the pathway. On September 19, Joseph Grenny will join us in Rockford to kick-off our accountability year. Joseph is the coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers: Crucial Conversations, Influencer, Crucial Accountability, and Change Anything. He contributes regularly to Harvard Business Review and has been featured in Forbes, Businessweek, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and others. He has also appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Bloomberg, and Fox Business News. After September, Rockford Leadership Alliance will meet monthly in half-day morning sessions facilitated by The Anser Group. Sessions are interactive and engaging with practical outcomes and takeaways. Participants will be placed into small groups to work through material focused on accountability that builds

upon trust and organization health. (As a side note, no prior RLA experience is needed to participate in this year’s Caitlin Pusateri program. The Rockford Chamber programs, while connected to previous themes, do not build directly upon one another.) It’s time to tackle accountability. It’s time to show one another kindness in a way that we Midwesterners are not used to: kindness that pushes us to be the best versions of ourselves (and our organizations). Even if we have to have a difficult conversation or two. Find more information about Rockford Leadership Alliance and registration opportunities at rockfordchamber.com. Caitlin Pusateri is vice president, leadership development at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

12 | manufacturing ingenuity: makers & designers

JUNE 2018 • theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

Guest Perspective insight

Manufacturers must embrace future of IIoT technology or fall behind From the steam engine to moving assembly lines, technology has always driven manufacturing growth. But despite considering their equipment a key differentiator, some manufacturers are slow to adopt the latest digital technology. As we continue moving into a “fourth industrial revolution,” these companies will inevitably fall behind. Today’s technology offers many competitive advantages, from improving workflows and efficiencies to increasing production and speed to market. The latest technology expands on initiatives to improve worker efficiencies as well as increase mechanical efficiencies with machine learning. Technology helps manufacturers address the challenges of rising production costs and a lack of skilled labor by combining the optimal power of data, people and equipment to produce better outcomes. Unlike trends that can come and go, the implementation of technology, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and machine learning will only continue to increase.

The Industrial Internet of Things The world is more connected than ever before through devices, sensors and

online platforms. If it has an “on” switch, chances are it is or will eventually be connected to the internet. Nowhere is the power of IIoT more evident than for manufacturers, which demonstrates why they’re expected to increase their spending on IIoT initiatives by 10 percent in 2018. A network of connected devices within an organization provides analytics that help monitor systems, analyze workflows and connect people in ways that were unthinkable only a decade ago. These insights help companies make faster, more agile business decisions that drive growth, so much so that 46 percent of the global economy is expected to benefit from the IIoT. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is also an integral part of many progressive manufacturing operations, creating a centralized view of production, machines, supply chains, logistics teams and customers to provide real-time data that reveals additional capacity and drives outcomes. In the future, IIoT and ERP innovations will fuel even more transparency, further breaking down barriers between manufacturers, suppliers and end customers.

Machine Learning and Predictive Maintenance Human behaviors and productivity can vary from one day to the next, and worker efficiencies can be maximized only to a certain extent. Machines, however, can produce predictable outcomes every time and have become more agile and efficient due to the advent of machine learning. Many machine-learning algorithms are iterative and can adapt continually. For example, some manufacturers need to track and adapt pricing based on factors such as demand, material costs and seasonal adjustments. Machine learning analyzes historical data related to these factors to predict demand for specific parts or products, allowing some manufacturers to forecast accurately, reduce stock-outs and increase production capacity by up to 20 percent. Machine learning also allows for predictive analytics and the ability to prevent equipment failure. Sensors that monitor everything from temperature fluctuations to vibration help identify variances that may indicate a potential breakdown and send out alerts or automatically adjust to mitigate risks based on set tolerances. Additionally, newer innovations are helping manufacturers increase equipment

uptime without increasing labor by leveraging the full capaMark Stevens bilities of existWipfli LLP ing equipment. Many manufacturers believe they’ve exhausted the potential capacity of their equipment, when in reality robust machine monitoring often reveals the potential to increase a machine’s capacity by as much as 15 percent, potentially eliminating the need for expensive capital purchases. There are significant risks in taking a wait-and-see approach to technology. Worker morale and engagement will drop, leading to turnover in an already tight labor market. Competitors focused on continuous improvement will be able to offer higher quality products at lower prices. They’ll also be able to get products to market faster and take away market share. Failure to adopt technology will quickly lead to your organization becoming marginalized and having to spend time, effort and considerable resources trying to catch up. Mark Stevens is a partner at Wipfli LLP. The views expressed are those of Stevens’ and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

JUNE 2018 • theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

manufacturing ingenuity: makers & designers | 13 Teacher AnnDee Nimmer’s RoomTagz™ signage has impacted thousands of people in more than 300 schools.

Teacher. Problem Solver. Inventor. Exponential growth for entrepreneur after five years By Sherry Pritz Enderle, NIU EIGERlab As a first grade teacher, AnnDee Nimmer experienced first-hand the need for proper room signage in the school. After constant interruptions by lost students and visitors, she thought “there must be a better way.” When circumstances beyond her control ended her time in the classroom, she took it as a sign to put on her inventor’s hat. She created RoomTagz™, an innovative solution to wayfinding in schools. In 2013, AnnDee participated in NIU EIGERlab’s signature event, FastPitch! The Competition inspired her to perfect her pitch and compete. She was off to an impressive start, making the group of finalists before she sold her first sign. As a FastPitch competitor, she received valuable training and lots of positive feedback, and she’s never looked back.

Unforeseen Path “I never thought I’d have another career which I’d embrace as much as teaching. My goal was to create a sign that was highly visible, appealing, easily updatable, which had a consistent look resulting in an enhanced experience for students and visitors. Many of those elements are also vitally important in emergency situations,” AnnDee said. “In most schools, each teacher creates their own sign resulting in visible clutter, and a treasure hunt for students and visitors. It was similar to driving on a new road with no street signs.” Principals, teachers, PTO members and other school stakeholders have been enthusiastic about the signage system. “What an amazing transformation and addition to our school,” shared Jim Block, principal of Clark Elementary School in South Beloit. “This is an awesome investment for any organization to build positive culture and climate. Thanks again from Clark Elementary School.” Being a people person herself, AnnDee thought she’d miss teaching. During her entrepreneurial journey, she discovered that through her efforts to enhance school signage, she still has the opportunity to interact with people on a daily basis. But, more importantly, her signage has impacted thousands of people in more than 300 schools. She’s elated with the exponential growth, and the effect of changing the

school’s climate and culture resulting in everyone feeling more connected and welcome. Danielle Koch, PTO president in Washington, N.J., recently shared, “For many of the families, this will be their introduction to our school and there is nothing that we have done that will have a greater impact on our communities than your signs.”

Entrepreneurial Successes & Trepidations “I couldn’t be happier with my exponential growth,” AnnDee said. “Year one, we contracted with only a handful of Midwestern schools and had $50,000 in sales. Now, five years later, I’m elated to share that RoomTagz™ signage guides people in more than 300 schools in 46 states, in addition to three international schools. I’ve been fortunate to experience 30 to 35 percent annual growth consistently, which has been both amazing and daunting.” “Growth is a double-edged sword and being on the cusp of this level of progress requires a number of decisions,” AnnDee said. “Right now, I am inundated working IN my business, instead of ON my business. Streamlining, filling key positions and partnering with entities such as NIU EIGERlab and the Small Business Development Center will assist me in making key decisions.” To her surprise, AnnDee has found that she has all the characteristics of a serial inventor. She has a number of new product ideas in mind, and she may present one of her new products at the FastPitch Competition at NIU-Rockford on Oct. 3. Who knows? Like other Rockford-area inventors who got their start at FastPitch, she may go on to showcase her products on the Home Shopping Network, Good Morning America and Shark Tank. As she modestly notes, “I haven’t eliminated any of these options from the realm of possibilities.” To learn more regarding NIU EIGERlab’s programming, services and the 2018 FastPitch Competition, visit www. EIGERlab.org or phone 815-753-2192. Sherry Pritz Enderle is marketing & events coordinator/business development at NIU EIGERlab Innovation Network. The views expressed are those of Pritz Enderle’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

14 | JUNE 2018

theVoicE • rockfordchamber.com

Birth of a new partnership Filling a need for forklift operators

Ray Boeke, Illinois Material Handling’s operations manager, is pictured on one of the forklifts that was utilized for training purposes. When Magna Exteriors Belvidere, one of the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automotive) suppliers, setup their operation at 675 Corporate Parkway in Belvidere, they turned an empty field into a fully functional production plant in a very short time. As a leading global automotive supplier with 340 manufacturing operations and 93 product development, engineering and sales centers in 28 countries, it wasn’t long until the Belvidere operation would be firing on all cylinders. The exponential growth they experienced created a critical need for certified fork lift drivers. Magna needed assistance with recruiting and training and a new partnership was born between Magna, Cardinal Staffing Services, Illinois Material Handling, The Workforce Connection and the Business and

Professional Institute (BPI), the outreach training and development unit of Rock Valley College. The five-month accelerated program, which was launched in December 2017, identified nearly 100 potential employees and experienced an 80 percent placement rate following successful completion of the training prior to the programming accomplishing its goal in April 2018. This unique partnership helped fill Magna’s immediate need and was the first such training plan in conjunction with a local staffing agency. Cardinal Staffing, located at 1632 S. State St., Belvidere identified, recruited and screened possible candidates for the training and referred them to The Workforce Connection for enrollment. Eva Macias, Cardinal Staffing services branch manager said, “This creative collaborative effort was very rewarding and truly a win-win for all parties involved.” Using funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), The Workforce Connection was able to cover 100 percent of the training cost. “The Workforce Connection was very excited to put this partnership together and use our available funding to help fill the employer’s needs,” said Jeff Hefty, director of Workforce Development. “Cira Bennett, business services representative, did an exceptional job of working with all the partners and processing the potential employees.”

NIU Engineering@RVC graduates its first class of engineers

The Rockford region is three steps closer to having its own homegrown engineering workforce, when the first graduates of NIU Engineering @ RVC picked up their diplomas on May 15. These Rockford area students earned an NIU bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering -- all on the campus of Rock Valley College. The program originated in fall 2015, when higher education, industry and community leaders came together to develop a collaborative workforce development solution to the region’s looming engineering shortage. “Collaboration works,” said Sagar Patel, president, aircraft turbine systems at Woodward, at the graduation event. “We identified a challenge, got the right people together and developed a program that addresses the needs of a high value regional economic sector, provides excellent career opportunities for local students and retains young talent in the region.” Visit go.niu.edu/niuengineeringatrvc for NIU Engineering @ RVC program information.

Training to Immediate Employment

Bernie Luecke RVC BPI

Once the potential employees were successfully enrolled by the business team at The Workforce Connection, they reported to Illinois Material Handling (IMH), located at 3444 Precision Dr., Rockford. At IMH potential employees participated in a one-day OSHA compliant class; OSHA regulation 1910.178(a), which covers everything from a typical forklift to a walkie-powered pallet truck. Customization of the one-day class was important for Magna as their operation has needs for both sit down and stand up forklifts. Extra hands-on training was added to the class to ensure full comprehension and operational safety of both forklifts. “The standup forklift can be more challenging to operate than the sit down, so we made sure to accommodate additional time for the students and reinforced the most important goal above all … safety,” said Rob Boeke, branch manager at IMH. Per OSHA compliance, each student was then tested on-site at Magna using their forklift equipment. Upon successful completion of the course and on-site evaluation, an operator’s license, certificate and training record were issued to each potential employee, which then led to immediate employment. For those that did not meet the requirements for forklift drivers, they were offered a position in Magna’s assembly department. “We were extremely pleased with the responsiveness, quality of training and coordination in helping us fill our forklift driver shortage,” said Janmarie Kent, Magna Exteriors human resource training coordinator. If your company is experiencing a training dilemma or you have a unique training situation, please call me at 815-921-2067 or e-mail B.Luecke@RockValley College.edu. Bernie Luecke is director of the Business & Professional Institute at Rock Valley College. The views expressed are those of Luecke’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. This page is sponsored by Rock Valley College

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 15





Small Business Enterprise Create meaningful jobs— and get efficient, happy employees in return The following is Part 1 of a two-part article dealing with creating and keeping happy employees. For most entrepreneurs, their jobs are extremely meaningful, and they may not even view the hours spent at the office as “work,” but rather as a lifestyle or as the part of life they find most inspiring and creative. This is also why, in the short term, they happily take on many different tasks in the business, and work longer hours than most other people. They are not “building a wall,” but rather “constructing a cathedral,” and with that goal in mind it does not matter if the given assignment is to produce, sell, keep books or archive. All jobs lead toward the same objective, which makes all the work rewarding. When the day comes when you have to hire employees, the situation changes. It is far from given that the employee is driven by the same joy of seeing a dream become reality in the same way as the entrepreneur is, regardless of the exciting vision, the nice brand or the revolutionary product. For the employee it is often more important that the job offers challenges to provide a feeling of accomplishment or perhaps opportunities to collaborate with coworkers on various tasks. The employees also needs to know that their boss is satisfied with his/her work and that he/she is appreciated, also because it lays the foundation for salary negotiations down the road. Successful employment demands that a series of decisions are made regarding the job and that these are communicated very clearly to the new employee. How is this done?

Emotional barriers Even though it is vitally necessary for entrepreneurs to delegate and hire more employees in order for the business to

grow, many are hesitant to do so and often do it too late. The main worry is, of course, that the employee will end by causing a loss to the business. The fear is that the employee is either incapable of making enough money to cover his/ her salary or turns out to be wrong for the job, and is let go after an expense of three months pay. Another, more subconscious emotional barrier could be that you do not feel comfortable being a manager or that you do not like the work involved in managing several employees. The role of manager demands that you have the energy not only to complete your own work, but to plan, delegate and supervise the work of employees. Another emotional barrier preventing you from recruiting may be that you feel unsure of whether you will be capable of attracting the right people for the job. As a newly started company you may not be able to offer the same terms as more established businesses with regard to salary and perks. The best solution to all of these problems is to make a really thorough job description for the position in question. If the job description is comprehensive enough, it will increase the probability that you have created a position that will enable the employee to make money. In addition, you will make it easier for yourself to be the boss, since you have the tools needed for employment interviews. Last but not least, you will appear more professional in the eyes of applicants, because a good job description signals that you run a professional business and know what you want. Job descriptions are key elements in the process of building an organizational foundation for your business. In order to write a good job description, however, you actually have to consider more things than you would imagine. As the illustration

above shows, the job description needs to include job title, function, the employee’s organizational placement, work areas, management and decisionmaking limits, the expected results (short and long term) and, last but not least, growth opportunities in the job.

Title and function On top of the list of priorities for making a good job description is finding the right title. In the context of your work, titles are important indicators of identity and the first question you get asked in social circles is often: “what do you do?” As entrepreneur you cannot overlook the importance of a good job title that is both attractive and simultaneously expresses what the job actually entails. Although a good title is really important to the employee, it is equally important that it reflects the employees actual function. A title should not be too lofty such as “Vice President of Customer Relations” if it is referring to a sales position. In this case, it would be better titles such as “Sales consultant” or “Key account manager.” You can supplement the title with a detailed description of the function the employee will have in the business. It can be a relatively straight forward function such as “member of the sales department,” but in many startups employees often have several functions. Therefore it is helpful to clearly outline all of these tasks. Under “function” you can also describe the financial basis of the position, and how the employee can earn his/her own salary. It is one

of the determining factors for defining a position, so why not be transparent about it and make it clear to the employee. On the next page, you will find an example of a job description for a “sales assistant”.

Organizational placement While formulating an employee’s function, it is also a good idea to use the job description to describe your thoughts on his/her organizational placement, including which contact areas in the job involve working with other, present or future colleagues. In larger companies this is done by making an organization diagram with boxes and lines, but for startup companies with very few employees there are not enough boxes for this to make sense. It is necessary, however, to communicate to new employees, which assignments they need to collaborate with others on and with which assignments they can expect support from colleagues. That is easily done by making a list of all the employees in the business, and by giving examples of what areas they are each responsible for coordinating or approving. If the business has a structure with several managers or owners, then it is a good idea to describe who the employees need to negotiate salary with, and to coordinate daily decisions with. This is Part 1 and is derived from the article, “Create Meaningful Jobs” published May 21, 2018. Part 2 will appear in the July 2018 issue of The Voice. ©GrowthWheel International Inc. and David Madié.

ABOUT THE SBDC The Illinois SBDC at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce offers services free of charge to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Rockford area, both chamber members and non-members. As a partnership between the Rockford Chamber and the Illinois DCEO, it operates out of NIU EIGERlab, NIURockford, 8500 E. State St., and maintains an office at the chamber’s downtown location. For questions, contact Bo Boger, SBDC director, at 815-316-4301.

16 | financial aspirations

JUNE 2018 • theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

Guest Perspective insight

Don’t try to beat the house – be the house Tips to gaining an investing edge In 1966, a mathematics professor named Edward Thorp published a book which set off alarm bells in Las Vegas and lit up the eyes of gamblers around the country. It was called Beat the Dealer, and it illustrated a method of card-counting to gain a statistical edge in the game of blackjack. “With the basic strategy alone the player has the slight advantage of 0.1 per cent in most Las Vegas casinos. … after mastering the basic strategy, the reader will learn a simple modification, using a card-counting system, that identifies many situations in which he has an advantage over the casino of more than 3 per cent.” This sounds pretty good, until we put it up against some real-world challenges. This system must be applied consistently and accurately, played over a very large number of hands, and with a large enough chip stack that can withstand runs of bad-luck to avoid the player going bust. Oh, and casinos tend to frown on card counters and can remove you from the game if they suspect you’re doing so. This seems like an awful lot of work to get such a small advantage! The good news is that investing is not gambling, and investors do not have to rig

such a system to gain an advantage in the stock market. Stocks in the United States have averaged a positive return of more than 11 percent since 1900 and have been up in 73 percent of those years. Most investors, however, do not realize all the benefits they could because of costly errors which negate much of this advantage. Here are some guidelines you can apply to your own investment strategy to make sure you are getting an edge. 1. Reduce costs. By carefully examining all of your investment fees you can gain a meaningful positive impact to your bottom line. Start by asking your advisor for a breakdown of all the fees that you are paying on your investments. Fund expenses. The cheapest marketfollowing ‘passive’ index funds cost as little as 0.03 percent of invested assets, while some ‘active’ funds that try to beat the market can cost more than one percent. Any fund will need to justify its cost by showing a history of earning more than its fee above its benchmarked index with a strategy that suggests it can continue to do so. Trading costs. Generally speaking, more trading equals more cost. Ensure

that all the transactions in your account have a clear purpose, and your advisor can explain the costs associated with them. Advisory fees. A common advisory fee on assets is around one percent. Make sure you understand the services provided by your advisor and utilize them. Education, financial planning and investment management are just some of the value-added services advisors provide to clients. 2. Disciplined rebalancing. Market movement can skew your investment allocations away from your original intended target. Having a meaningful rebalancing strategy can reduce the risk of failing to reach your intended goals. Rebalancing will also instill a discipline of buying low (when stocks fall below target) and selling high (when stocks increase above target). 3. Remember taxes. One of the biggest errors people make is to forget about the impact of taxes. Investors are taxed on interest, dividends and the realization of capital gains. While they cannot be completely avoided, investors who are aware of their tax situation can mitigate this cost. Some estimates are that

tax errors can cost investors Keith J. Akre between one Stillman Bank and three percent per year. Make sure you can account for the taximpact of your investment decisions. Remember that investment success does not require beating the market. Compounding all the minor advantages from above can lead to significant gains over 10 or 20 years. And following all of these rules will be easier than counting cards or remembering when to split 8s. Keith Akre, CFA, CFP®, is a trust officer at Stillman Bank. Opinions expressed are solely his own and do not express the views or opinions of Stillman Bank. Investments available through Stillman Trust & Asset Management (1) are not FDIC insured (2) are not deposits, obligations, or guaranteed by the bank and (3) are subject to investment risk including possible loss of principal. The views expressed are those of Akre’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

18 | financial aspirations


Guest Perspective insight STAR?


2018 People You Should Know Award Deadline: August 13 Presenting Sponsor

JUNE 2018 • theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

How to choose the right bank for your business

As a business owner, your relationship with your bank is an asset to your business, and the relationship with your banker is just as vital. Bankers are a partner in financing your asset purchases, funding growth and expanding your business. So, when it comes to choosing the right bank for your business, consider it a long-term relationship. It’s important to take into consideration not just what you and your business need right now, but what you’ll require months and even years down the road. A knowledgeable, local bank will partner with you to help build your business – they are an ally who can point you in the direction of valuable resources and insight. If you are a borrower, ask yourself these questions to help determine the right bank for your business: How quickly can the bank make a loan decision, and where is that decision made? The benefit of selecting a local bank for your business is their unique ability to make timely loan decisions at a local level, with more flexibility. When loan decisions are made right here in our community, you get the money you need to run your business, quickly. Will my banker take time to get to know me and my needs? There is no such thing as a one-size-fitsall banking solution for business owners. Your business is unique, and so are your banking needs. Choose a bank that offers a dedicated banker who will take the time to get to know you and your needs. Banks take pride in building relationships with clients in the communities they serve. Because they have flexibility, a

local bank can craft a solution that will help you manage and grow your business.

Thomas A. Cwynar Rockford Bank & Trust

Can I access my banker when I need him/ her most? When selecting the right bank for your business, make sure you are comfortable with the banker. Great bankers act as business consultants and partners in your success. When you have important questions that need immediate answers, your banker should be accessible and responsive. Great banks provide personalized service to clients, with bankers who value your relationship and your business. Business owners can find comfort in knowing their local banker is available when and where they need them, with valuable resources and honest advice. As a business owner, one of the most impactful relationships you can have is the one you establish with your banker. When choosing the right bank for your business, select the bank that takes time to get to know you and your needs. Local banks are built on the foundation of cultivating relationships, earning your trust and supporting the growth and success of your business. Thomas A. Cwynar is a senior vice president in the commercial banking department at Rockford Bank & Trust. The views expressed are those of Cwynar’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Top 10 financial goals that everyone should have for 2018 By Jeff Rose Setup and revisit your goals on a consistent basis: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Have a well-stocked emergency fund Get out of debt – completely Plan for early retirement Create multiple income streams Have enough – but not too much – insurance to cover contingencies Be able to live on less than you earn – no matter what End any addiction to stuff that you may have A plan to do work that you love Get comfortable sharing your good fortune A plan to leave your financial house in order upon your death

Reaching a point of financial independence in life has nothing to do with luck or magic. It’s simply a matter of setting good financial goals, and having a concrete plan as to how you will achieve them. Once that plan is established, and working toward those goals becomes part of the habits that make your life what it is, achieving financial independence can almost seem as if it’s happening on automatic pilot. When was the last time you wrote down your goals?

Jeff Rose is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and founder of Alliance Wealth Management, LLC. For more information, visit goodfinancialcents.com. The views expressed are those of Rose’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

JUNE 2018 • theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

Guest Perspective insight

Finance your business Fuel your aspirations



business plan, Tom Walsh “The first initial start-up Northwest Bank it’s now just capital for Amazon.com came a matter of primarily from my parents, deciding which funding source is the best fit for Widgets. and they invested a large fraction of their life savings Secure the Funding in what became Amazon. While many sources of funding for com. My dad’s first question businesses large and small disappeared almost overnight in the wake of the was, ‘What’s the Internet?’” Great Recession, the financial landscape — Jeff Bezos has gradually returned to normal. Now, fortunately, restructuring debt, securing No one could have guessed then that just 24 years later amazon.com would be among the world’s most successful companies, and Jeff Bezos its wealthiest private citizen. But Bezos’ ability to secure startup capital likely made all the difference. After all, of some 28 million small businesses in the United States today, only a third will be in business 10 years from now. The number one reason for business failure is when products aren’t finding a market – but running out of cash is a close second. Every business, whether startup or established, mom and pop shop or multi-national corporation, must be financially sound and fiscally selfsustaining in order to keep operating over the long term. The financial dreams and aspirations of business owners are as varied as the businesses they run, but all share in common a practical reality each and every day: cash flow. It’s not uncommon for even a seemingly healthy business like ‘Widgets International’ to suddenly find that it’s struggling to meet its payroll and pay vendors when that contract for a million widgets needs to be produced by next month, but payment won’t be received until six months later.

Plan for Profitability Fortunately, the owner of Widgets International is smart. He’s already secured the capital needed to pay for raw materials and labor for the big order. Most importantly, Widgets International has a business plan in place that makes it easy for lenders to have an accurate picture of Widgets’ mission statement, its business goals and objectives, its plans to develop new products, grow market share and increase profitability. Widgets’ business plan lays out how investments made in the brand, the infrastructure, customer service resources and customer loyalty programs will result in helping achieve ambitious long-term financial objectives. Armed with a compelling, thorough

a loan and/or establishing a line of credit (LOC) -- whether to expand your business, launch new products or simply meet the occasional temporary cash crunch – is easily within reach of most business owners. While taking on debt is anathema to many business owners, the data shows that debt, from the right sources and structured properly, can be a business owner’s best friend. For example, the Kauffman Foundation, using data from nearly 5,000 companies that began operating in 2004, concluded that a startup company using a business bank loan reported nearly twice as much revenue after three years as a startup of similar size that took on no debt. While your business banker may caution you about drawing on sources of capital such as retirement accounts and other long-term assets, he or she will provide guidance with respect to the many loan opportunities that exist through a bank, as well as through the Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loan programs and other local, state and federal programs. Or the business owner may choose to look for more creative, less conventional sources of capital, perhaps by selling assets or seeking help from friends and family à la Jeff Bezos. In any case, business owners should start today, if they haven’t already done so, to arrange to have enough capital on hand to help finance their business dreams, and fuel their aspirations. Tom Walsh is president and CEO of Northwest Bank of Rockford. He and Northwest’s experienced team of business and retail banking professionals provide valueadded services to area businesses, business owners and individuals. The views expressed are those of Walsh’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

financial aspirations | 19

20 | financial aspirations

JUNE 2018 • theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

Pass-through tax (continued from front page)

into the specified service definition, the deductibility framework is much less favorable. As a specified service, the full 20 percent deduction is allowed for taxpayers whose personal taxable income does not exceed $157,500, or $315,000 if married filing a joint return. However, once a taxpayer exceeds this level of taxable income, their deduction begins phasing out until it is completely gone for taxable incomes exceeding $207,500, or $415,000 if married filing a joint return. If you fall under the qualified trade or business definition, you receive the same full 20 percent deduction if your taxable income does not exceed $157,500, or $315,000 if married filing a joint return. Where the calculation differs is for taxpayers in that phase-out income level and above. For taxpayers exceeding $207,500, or $415,000 if married filing a joint return, the deduction will be based upon the greater of 50 percent of the business’s W-2 wages or the sum of 25 percent of W-2 wages plus 2.5 percent of the unadjusted basis of all qualified capital property in the business. Taxpayers within these two taxable income levels will realize a deduction somewhere between the 20 percent amount and the W-2 amount.

It Takes Some Planning Knowing the mechanics of these two different taxation schemes allows us to take full advantage of some different planning opportunities. For example, the calculation of the deduction is done separately for every business that a taxpayer may be receiving income from. So, let’s say that you are an optometrist who also happens to sell glasses. You could potentially bifurcate your business into separate entities for the optometry practice and the store selling glasses. The optometry practice income would be subject to the full specified service

deduction phase-out, while the store selling glasses would receive the more favorable W-2 limitation. Similarly, if you are a Andrew J. Welp Savant Capital qualified trade Management or business and you know your personal taxable income for the year is going to exceed $207,500, or $415,000 if married filing a joint return, make sure you are paying out some W-2 wages from your business, or your deduction will end up being 50 percent of zero. This calculation and the associated planning around it can be exceedingly complicated, but it has the potential to yield very powerful results. Huge numbers of businesses will be affected by it. It is important to begin working early with a financial professional who fully understands the intricacies and consequences of this new tax code. This is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax or financial advice. Please consult with your investment, tax and financial professionals regarding your specific situation. Please see important disclosures at www. savantcapital.com. Sources: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1, 115th Cong. (2017). 26 U.S. Code §199A – Qualified Business Income. Livingstone, Jane R. (Volume 100, Number 03, March 2018) New Deduction for Qualified Business Income of Pass-Through Entities: A First Look. Practical Tax Strategies. Mar 2018. Retrieved from RIA Checkpoint database. Andrew J. Welp, CPA, J.D., is a wealth transfer advisor at Savant Capital Management. The views expressed are those of Welp’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can The IRS reminds individuals and businesses to prepare for potential natural disasters now and take a few steps towards emergency preparedness. Here are a few things to consider: Update Emergency Plans. Because a disaster can strike any time, review emergency plans annually. Personal and business situations change over time, as do preparedness needs. Create Electronic Copies of Documents. Keep documents – including bank statements, tax returns and insurance policies – in a safe place. Doing so is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically. Even if original documents are available only on paper, scan them into an electronic format and store them on DVD, CD or cloud storage. Document Valuables. It’s a good idea for people to photograph or videotape

the contents of any home, especially items of higher value. Documenting these items ahead of time will make it easier to claim insurance and tax benefits after a disaster strikes. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook which can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings. Photographs can help prove the fair market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. IRS is Ready to Help. In the case of a federally declared disaster, affected taxpayers can call 866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues. Taxpayers can request copies of previously filed tax returns and attachments, including Forms W-2, by filing Form 4506 and ordering transcripts showing most line items through Get Transcript on IRS.gov, by calling 800-908-9946 or using 4506TEZ or 4506-T.

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 21

Upcoming Tradeshows, Events & Training Opportunities ■ DFARS Cybersecurity Assessment and Training, June 21 & 22, Hilton Garden Inn Rockford: DFARS Cybersecurity flowdowns, requirements overview and assessments will be covered over a one-and-a-half-day course. The course will also include information for mitigation and next step remediation for noncompliance as well as when and who to call for help. This workshop is made possible through a support from the Illinois Defense Industry Adjustment (DIA) Program and the University of Illinois. Inquiries contact: information@rockfordil. com ■ SelectUSA, June 20 to 22, Washington, D.C.: SelectUSA uses the convening power of the U.S. government to showcase investment opportunities and bring investors and U.S. locations together. The RAEDC will represent our region as we connect with investors looking for opportunities. ■ RAEDC Annual Meeting, Wednesday, November 14, Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center

Accuride & Workforce

Members of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) staff took a tour of the Accuride facility and sat down with Eric Pansegrau, director of operations, to discuss how Accuride retains and grows its workforce. Watch the video at RockfordIL.com/accuride.

National Indicators theRegional, economy U.S. Indicators April 2018

Consumer Price Index Unemployment Rate

0.2 percent 3.9 percent

      

Payroll Employment Average Hourly Earnings Producer Price Index Employment Cost Index Productivity U.S. Import Price Index U.S. Export Price Index

164,000 $0.04 0.1 percent 0.8 percent (first quarter, 2018) 0.7 percent (first quarter, 2018) 0.3 percent 0.6 percent

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment Rates Region / State / Nation Jan. 2018

Feb. 2018

March 2018

April 2018
















United States





Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Illinois Transportation by the Numbers ROADS

145,708 miles of public road 79.4% roads of acceptable quality (International Roughness Index)

3.84 - average person’s daily trips (2009) 474.6 gallons motor fuel use per capita (2013)



17 major airports Chicago O’Hare International Airport was the third busiest in the United States


43.2 - average person’s daily miles (2009)

26,535 bridges 7.4% bridges functionally obsolete (U.S. 13.7%) 8.4% bridges structurally deficient (U.S. 10.1%) Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Figures based on 2013 research

22 | JUNE 2018

legislative Issues to Watch

New Illinois laws for 2018

The state of Illinois has 217 new laws that took effect on Jan. 1, 2018. For more details on any of the following, visit www.ilga.gov. Qualifying Territory for Annexation HB 2407/PA 100-0053 Provides an exception to the requirement that annexed territory be contiguous to the municipality if the territory is separated only by a lake, river, or other waterway. License Plate Decal – Volunteerism HB 2437/PA 100-0057 Allows for the issuance of volunteerism special license plate decals by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Provides for the original fee, renewal fees and fee distribution for the volunteerism decals issued by the Illinois Department of Human Services. License Plate – Prostate Cancer HB 2485/PA 100-0060 Creates the Prostate Cancer Awareness Fund as a special fund in the State Treasury. Allows for the issuance of decals by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago. Provides for the original issuance fee will be $25, with $10 going to Prostate Cancer Awareness Fund and $15 to the Secretary of State. The renewal fee will be $25, with $23 going to Prostate Cancer Awareness Fund and $2 to the Secretary of State. Plant Material Sales HB 2488/PA 100-0061 Allows the DNR to sell plants and plant materials from state-run nurseries to conservation groups for forest restoration and other conservation efforts. Tollway Intergovernmental Agreement HB 2581/PA 100-0071 Provides that when the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority has built or will build grade separations or interchange improvements at intersections with any railroads, waterways, street railways, streets, thoroughfares, public roads or highways intersected with the toll highways, the local highway agency or municipality with jurisdiction must enter into an agreement with the authority for the ongoing maintenance of the structures. License Plate – U.S. Coast Guard HB 2595/PA 100-0073 Allows for the issuance of U.S. Coast Guard license plate. The original issuance fee will be $26, with $11 to the Illinois Veterans’ Homes Fund and $15 to the secretary of State Special Plate Fund. The renewal fee will be $26, with $24 to the Illinois Veterans’ Home Fund and $2 to the Secretary of State Special Plate Fund. Parental Rights for the Blind Act HB 2626/PA 100-0075 Creates the Parental Rights for the Blind Act. Establishes that a person’s blindness shall not be the basis of 1.) A denial or restriction of parenting time

or responsibilities; 2.) Denial of participation in adoption; 3.) Denial of foster care or guardianship. DCFS will develop and implement procedures that ensure and provide equal access to child welfare services and programs. The protections may extend to proceedings under the Juvenile Court Act. Persons with Disabilities Walking, Running, and Bike Paths HB 2643/PA 100-0076 Adds to the definition of “pedestrian with a disability” a person who may require the use of a mobility device, service animal or white cane to travel on the walking, running or bicycle paths of Illinois. Provides that if the Governor takes public notice of Pedestrians with Disabilities Safety Day (Oct. 15) and issues a proclamation, he or she may discuss the history of laws protecting pedestrians with disabilities and may emphasize the need of all citizens to keep safe and functional for persons with disabilities the walking, running or bicycle paths of Illinois. Notary Act SB 265/PA 100-0081 Amends the Notary Act. Removes language regarding a notary’s signature from statute; provides references to “electronic communication” in sections concerning advertisements and notices; removes the sunset provision regarding the procedure for the rubber stamp seal and black ink from the “Official Seal and Signature” section of the statute and moves the language to the Certificate of Notarial Acts section of the statute; provides that notaries pubic shall not deliver a signed, blank form to another person with the intent that it be used as an affidavit or acknowledgement. Zoning Appeals SB 731/PA 100-0083 Clarifies that when dealing with zoning board of appeals and the definition of a party of record, removes the language “in a municipality with a population of 500,000 or more inhabitant.” This is intended to prevent a private citizen who only signs in to testify or to attend a public zoning hearing from becoming a defendant in a subsequent case or appeal. As a result, party of record shall NOT be named as a defendant in a review of an zoning board decision if the party of record is a private citizen who was not acting in an official capacity, or whose participation in the zoning board of appeal proceeding was limited to attendance or testimony at a public hearing or submission of written comments to the agency.

theVoicE • rockfordchamber.com

Guest Perspective insight

Arts pay the community … exponentially For the past year, I’ve been a part of the Chamber’s Leadership Rockford program. Through this program, I have learned so much about my city, made new friends, volunteered for a nonprofit I previously knew nothing about, and have grown personally and professionally through it all. With so much excitement about Rockford’s growth and development, it is a great time to be living here! My husband and I moved here six years ago, and one of the things that impressed us the most about Rockford was the deep commitment its residents have to the arts, which was evident in all the arts organizations and public art we found. We were excited that we had moved to a city whose citizens were clearly committed to supporting a high level and large array of musical and artistic opportunities for its residents. As someone with degrees in music and arts management, I knew I could find my place here. In the time that I’ve lived here I’ve sung with Camerata Emanon and the Mendelssohn Chorale, advanced from patron and volunteer to employee of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and serve on the board of Kantorei.

Our Roots in the Arts Much of the current excitement in Rockford is generated by the move to return to the city’s roots of engineering and manufacturing. However, as I’ve spent more time learning about the current growth in our city, I’m concerned that the arts aren’t a bigger part of the conversation. When our city was in its manufacturing heyday, the arts were thriving in part from the generosity of the many corporations in Rockford. When things took a downhill turn for a while, the arts were able to survive in spite of this decrease in corporate support. With the value Rockford’s citizens clearly place on the arts, involving them as part of the current growth dialog is critical. Why are the arts so important to our city right now? Because the arts inspire creative thinking and ingenuity. Because being able to view a problem from multiple angles and come up with a solution requires this kind of creative thinking to support the development that Rockford is currently experiencing. The arts also provide respite and a place to recharge from a fast-paced, high-stress work environment. On top of this, the arts contribute to our economy. As an example, a typical RSO concert generates approximately $20,000 that goes directly back to the Rockford community through ticket amusement taxes and facility fees, as well as patron dining, parking and related

concert-night Margo Stedman activities. This Rockford Symphony is in addition Orchestra to the general economic impact the RSO as an organization has through salaried employees, rentals and money spent with other vendors to administer the symphony. But we should be thinking about engaging with the arts long before we step into the workplace. Being engaged with the arts encourages a love of learning and connects diverse communities of people. Numerous studies have shown over the years that students involved in the arts perform better on a variety of tests and succeed in ways that their peers do not. The arts teach critical thinking, persistence and the ability to look at things in new ways – the “soft skills” that are cited as critical by employers. Students involved with the arts also learn time management, as they have to balance their academic studies with their artistic endeavors.

Lend Your Support As our regional educational institutions make important connections with each other to provide training for the growing number of jobs that are becoming available, I hope these institutions will also value the role of the arts in that preparation. I am optimistic that more local businesses will recognize the significance of the arts and the organizations in town that work to provide their employees with a place to create and consume quality art, and provide financial support to help this long-standing tradition continue in Rockford. But, ultimately, it is up to each of us, individually, to engage with and advocate for the arts in our community. Start small – buy an adult coloring book and create something beautiful, visit a museum or buy a theater or concert ticket. Did you enjoy that? Invite a friend to join you next time. Consider a donation. Advocate for your employer to sponsor or support an event. Looking for more? Audition for a play, join a choir or volunteer. Or take an even bigger step and join the board of an arts organization’ lending your skills and expertise. The arts are here, waiting for you! Come join us! Margo Stedman is education and community engagement director at Rockford Symphony Orchestra. The views expressed are those of Stedman’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 23

Transform Rockford announces transition of leadership team Get behind Rockford Promise A vision of full scholarships for all Rockford Promise grew out of the College Promise movement that began in Kalamazoo, Mich. The effects on Kalamazoo have been remarkable. By Alex Gary There are dozens of good quotes about starting small. A particular favorite came from President John F. Kennedy who said, “According to the ancient Chinese proverb, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Big change begins with incremental steps that build momentum over time. A great example of that is Rockford Promise. Rockford Promise grew out of the College Promise movement that began in Kalamazoo, Mich. In 2005, an anonymous group of wealthy families, concerned about the economic future of Kalamazoo, announced that it would fund the entire college educations of graduates of Kalamazoo public high schools as long as they went to Michigan colleges or universities. The effects on Kalamazoo have been remarkable. Enrollment in Kalamazoo public schools have grown by more than 15 percent, test scores have improved and increasingly higher percentages of its students are attending college. The program itself is a major recruiting tool when trying to attract businesses to locate in Kalamazoo. The success launched a movement. Now, there are more than 200 Promise programs in 40 states and Washington, D.C.

Road to Full Scholarships The effort to launch Rockford Promise began in 2006, and the momentum is building. ■ In 2011, the group raised enough to offer four students $500 each in scholarships. ■ In 2012, that grew to 12 students receiving $1,000 scholarships. ■ In 2013, 19 students received $1,000 scholarships.

■ In 2014, 14 students received $1,000 scholarships. ■ In 2015, 24 students received $1,000 scholarships. ■ In 2016, Rockford Promise was able to begin making longer commitments. ■ In 2016, two students received full scholarships to Rockford University and three to Rock Valley College. ■ In 2017, two students received full scholarships to Rockford University and eight to Rock Valley College. ■ This year, four students received full scholarships to Rockford University and 18 to Rock Valley College. That’s excellent progress, but the program has a ways to go to fill the goal of providing full-tuition scholarships for all Rockford Public School graduates. More than 26,000 students attend District 205 each year. Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara made education the centerpiece of his State of the City speech in May. He challenged the community to fully fund Rockford Promise by 2025, matching the Transform Rockford timeline. To date, none of Rockford’s major companies or major private donors have backed Rockford Promise in a significant way. The United Way of Rock River Valley is leading the effort to get students off to the right start with its IRead Program. In that program, United Way recruits volunteers to work with at-risk students through third grade, and it has expanded to eight schools in the Harlem district, one each in the Meridian and Oregon districts in Ogle County and eight schools in Rockford. Rockford Promise can make sure the hard-won gains from those early years turn into real college opportunity. Alex Gary is the communications manager of Thinker Ventures and president of Alex Gary Communications. The views expressed are those of Gary’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Transform Rockford announces a transition in its leadership team, as Mike Schablaske will step down from the role of Executive Director effective May 31, 2018, and David Sidney will assume the position on June 1, 2018. Mike has served as Executive Director of Transform Rockford since the movement’s creation in 2013. From initial planning and the community kickoff at the Coronado in November 2013, through the multitude of visioning sessions held in 2014, and the work done by many teams of volunteers through to today, Transform Rockford, under Mike’s guidance, has held fast to its mission to create a climate in the community for transformational work and facilitate the creation and implementation of a communitydriven strategic plan to become a top 25 community by 2025. To date, over 4,000 community members have given over 65,000 hours towards this shared goal, and 45 of 130 of the planned projects are already underway, including work on education projects, including Collective Impact, Neighborhood Achievement Zone, and an Excel Center, as well as community initiatives in workforce development and domestic violence. The efforts of Transform Rockford and its partners have helped launch the NIU at RVC Engineering Partnership, the Qualified Sites Program, 815 Choose Civility, and the Great Neighborhoods initiative. The community’s progress towards becoming a top 25 community is further evidenced by the Rockford region leading the State in job creation, private and public entities committing over $2.5 billion in capital investment, unprecedented growth in our logistics industry, most notably a 50% increase in cargo at the Rockford airport, as well as growth in our tourism industry and an improving real estate market. Tom Gendron, past chair and a founder of Transform Rockford’s steering committee, noted, “Mike’s leadership has from the very beginning been integral to the success of the Transform mission. He has shown an unwavering drive for transformative thinking, careful planning, and shared values.” Roberta Holzwarth, current chair of Transform Rockford’s steering committee, added, “With Mike’s tireless encouragement and unwavering guidance, we have looked into the future, seen the best of ourselves, and charted pathways to achieve our community’s vision. We owe much of our progress to Mike and are thankful that he will remain engaged in the community and as a volunteer with Transform after he steps down from the Executive Director position.”

Mike Schablaske

David Sydney

Mike Schablaske stated, “I am deeply grateful for the engagement and support of every community member in this movement. Your belief in the potential of this region and its residents provides great energy, and I look forward to remaining a part of this effort.” Transform



Committee has voted to promote David Sidney to fill the role of Executive Director, effective June 1, 2018. David has been with Transform Rockford from the beginning as a volunteer team lead with the Shared Values team and facilitator of several visioning sessions. Since January of 2016, he has served as a member of Transform’s leadership team in the role of Project Director. LoRayne Logan, a member of the Transform Rockford Steering Committee, stated, “We engaged in a robust process for selection of the next executive director and leader of the organization. David came through that process as the clear choice for our future, as we believe he possesses the knowledge, experience, and heart to continue our drive for excellence and the transformation of this community.” Prior to joining Transform Rockford as a staff member, David worked in urban planning, first with Gary W. Anderson



and later with the City of Rockford (2013-2015). He is a Rockford native, graduating from Auburn High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Illinois, a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from Northern Seminary. “I’m excited to serve as Transform Rockford’s next Executive Director” said Mr. Sidney. “I was drawn to the movement in 2013 because I believe in our community’s vision to be top 25. I’m looking forward to the work ahead with Transform’s Steering Committee and staff, our volunteer teams, and the broader community to continue the momentum of transformation.”

24 | JUNE 2018

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

in the news Members in the News

1. Jakob Loescher

2. Ryan Monette

3. Dr. Brant Hulsebus

4. Dr. Nate Hays

5. Mitch Lewandowski

6. Rhonda Graves

7. Benjamin Bernsten

8. Darlyne Keller

9. Tim Schramm

10. Kellie Gibbons

11. Missy Minnaert

12. Lesly Couper

13. Dr. Zeeshan Ahmad

14. Liam Teague

15. Nicole Morig

16. Wendi J. Werren

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

BOARD APPOINTMENTS Jakob Loescher (1), Savant Capital Management, was named president of the Severson Dells board, and Ryan Monette (2) joined the JustGoods board. Team chiropractors for the Rockford IceHogs, Dr. Brant Hulsebus (3) and Dr. Nate Hays (4), Hulsebus Rockford Chiropractic, became members of the Professional Hockey Chiropractic Society.

NEW HIRES, PROMOTIONS, RETIREMENTS Corey Moss joined Illinois Bank & Trust as a corporate payment solutions consultant. PCI Pharma Services named Mitch Lewandowski (5) as executive director of quality for its Rockford site. Rhonda Graves (6) was promoted to mortgage loan originator at Rock Valley Credit Union. theFranaGroup hired Patrick Nwaezeigwe, MBA, as a financial associate. Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois announced that Benjamin Bernsten (7) replaced Sam Schmitz as president in May after Schmitz’s retirement. Rock Valley Credit Union appointed Darlyne Keller (8) as its new president/CEO in April. J.L. Clark hired Tim Schramm (9) as director of human resources for the

17. Dr. Moses Kyobe

18. Dr. Harneet Bath

Rockford and Lancaster, Penn., facilities. Kellie Gibbons (10), CNP, joined OSF HealthCare Medical Group Rockton/Roscoe, providing chronic disease management, preventative care and wellness services. The River District Association announced Missy Minnaert (11) as its new executive director. Rockford Bank & Trust hired Lesly Couper (12) as SVP, marketing and communications. Dr. Zeeshan Ahmad (13), physical medicine and rehabilitation, joined OrthoIllinois. Liam Teague (14), professor of music and chair of steelpan studies, Northern Illinois University, was chosen as a presidential research, scholarship and artistry professor. The native of Trinidad and Tobago is hailed as the “Paganini of the Steelpan.” Illinois Bank & Trust hired Nicole Morig (15) as a private banker in Rockford. WilliamsMcCarthy LLP hired Associate Attorney Wendi J. Werren (16) to serve individual and business clients in Rockford and Oregon. SwedishAmerican welcomed new cardiologist, Moses Kyobe, M.D. (17).

Schroeder, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center, received President’s Volunteer Service Awards for volunteering more than 4,000 hours. Landon Pryor, M.D., FACS, was named one of 500 board-certified doctors worldwide to receive the RealSelf 500 honor, recognizing the highest-rated and most active doctors at the RealSelf online aesthetics community. Dr. Harneet Bath (18), vice president and chief medical officer, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center, was named as one of Becker’s 100 hospital & health system chief medical officers to know. Alpine Kiwanis Club awarded $16,500 in $1,500 scholarships to local high school seniors pursing higher education: Andrea Zwonitzer, Kaitlyn Larson, Roxanna Ramos, Taylor Weatherly, Kendra Geddeis, DaeBreon Leach, Dalton Morris, Nicholas Kowalski, Tara Griffith, Samantha Gallatin and Maggie He. Linda Palmer, vice president – operations, and Jennifer Cummings, assistant vice president & deposit operations team leader, Blackhawk Bank, became Accredited Payments Risk Professionals.

Maureen Mall, president, Center for Sight & Hearing, was awarded the Lions of Illinois Foundation Fellow.

Hannah Orem, (19) D.C., Upper Cervical Care Center – Rockford, received Level 3 NUCCA Certification at the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association Conference in California in April — the only woman in Illinois at this level.

Fred Johnson and Wanda

In April, University of Illinois


19. Dr. Hannah Orem

20. Mike Falls

21. Brent Brodeski

22. Grant Moore

Extension graduated area volunteers from its Master Gardener training program: Karen Davila, James DeVoe, Sue Fulrath, John Gerrond, Jessica Klinkhammer, Kathy Manson, Mary Ann Miller, Susan Parham, Sara Werckle, Annette Weston, Gail Giglio, Rhonda Abraham, Jeff Coester, Mary Korth and Joanne Muzzey. Rosecrance Health Network gave its pinnacle honor, The Castle Award, to Hoichi Kurisu, landscape designer of the Japanese-inspired healing garden at the Griffin Williamson campus at its 2018 Rosecrance Foundation Benefit in April. Brecken Haak, VP, Associated Bank, completed the Cannon Certified Wealth Strategist program and received her certificate. Meridian named Mike Falls (20) as its employee of the month. Brent Brodeski (21), founder and CEO, Savant Capital Management, was recognized by the Northern Illinois University College of Business as its 2018 Distinguished Alumnus in May. Grant Moore (22) was featured by TD Ameritrade in a cover story of its Advisor Solutions magazine. Illinois Bank & Trust promoted Julie Swanson (23) to senior personal banker. Kiwanis Club of Rockford gave $1,000 grants through its annual Budding Artists fundraiser to students Lily Johnston, Katherine Martinez and Anne Wubbena.

Continued on page 25

23. Julie Swanson

24. Matthew Armstrong

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 25

in the news Members in the News

25. Sylvia Acevedo

26. Maria Salinas

27. Nancy Salsbury

28. Aimee Berman

29. Phil Thompson

30. Eve Whitaker

(continued from page 24) Matthew Armstrong (24), financial advisor, Savant Capital Management, earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) professional designation.

OF GENERAL INTEREST Sylvia Acevedo (25), chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of the USA, visited Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, and announced plans for more than 20 new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) badges for girls, along with a newly formed collaboration with Palo Alto Networks for the first-ever National Cybersecurity Badges. Mike Mastroianni, president, MDM Consulting, and licensed clinical professional counselor Norm Dasenbrook presented “Jerks in the Workplace” at the Rockford Chamber’s Breakfast Buzz in March. Maria Salinas (26) and Nancy

33. Rebecca Epperson

34. Emily Hartzog

Salsbury (27), Spectrum Insurance Agency, attended an Ethics class, Aimee Berman (28) “Fundamentals of Social Security and Medicare,” Phil Thompson (29) “CIC: Life and Health” and “Long-Term Care: Programs, Policies and Partnerships,” Eve Whitaker (30) “NFIP Review” and Julie Burfoot (31) “NAHU Advanced Self-Funding.” Marti Frantz, executive director, The Music Academy, and faculty members Rachel Handlin, Michael Beert and Tarrah Wolf presented at the 18th Suzuki Association Biennial Conference in Minneapolis in May. Violin student Gabe Roethle

35. David Armstrong

participated in the violin performing ensemble at the conference. Student speaker Ryan Wilcox and Amanda Kieper, professor of speech, Rock Valley College, spoke at the 52nd annual commencement exercises in May as winner of the 2018 RVC Faculty of the Year. The college graduated 1,158 students this spring. Russell Richard III and Megan Bounds were the student speakers for the college’s 34th annual GED Recognition Ceremony in May; representing the 184 students who completed their GED high school equivalency in the past year.

31. Julie Burfoot

32. James Devine

James Devine, (32) partner, WilliamsMcCarthy LLP, is a featured speaker for “The Rules of Evidence: A Practical Toolkit” at the National Business Institute’s seminar for Continued Legal Education on June 26 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Rockford. Rebecca Epperson (33), president, and Emily Hartzog (34), vice president, Chartwell Agency, spoke at the Public Relations Society of America Counselors Academy Spring Conference in Toronto on the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE™) management strategy, in which employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. David Armstrong (35), founder, Hope In Recovery Employment, is the keynote speaker at the 7th International Conference on Additive Disorders in San Diego and will chair “Innovations in Treating Addiction Disorders.”

26 | JUNE 2018


theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

Business Briefs

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

Blackhawk Bank was named the 15th fastest growing public company in Wisconsin by the Milwaukee Business Journal, based on percent increase in revenue growth from fiscal year 2015 through 2017. Fleet Feet Rockford and the Rockford Park District Foundation are partnering to sell special t-shirts at 1653 N. Alpine Road, with $5 per t-shirt going towards the foundation to help reforest area parks, after the effects of Emerald Ash Borer. V2 Marketing Communications organized, promoted and facilitated Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor’s 30th annual four-day workshop and banquet event in San Diego. V2 completed a corporate website for Kanneberg Custom Kitchens, was hired by Benassi Family Dentistry to rebrand its local practice and completed a corporate website and brochure for Youth Services Network for its branding and fundraising efforts. CARF International accredited Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois’ employment programs for three years. OSF PromptCare – Saint Anthony Medical Center, 5666 E. State St., is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily for patient care for minor illness and injuries when a physician is unavailable or a person doesn’t have one. Call 815-395-6000. Per Mar Security Services received the SAMMY Award for Best Website Design for permarsecurity.com from Security Sales & Integration at the 23rd annual International Security Conference & Exposition in April in Las Vegas. Woodward, Inc., reported financial results for second quarter of fiscal year 2018, ending March 31, including net sales of $548 million. This is a 10 percent increase compared to $500 million for the second quarter of last year. Digital Hive Mind launched a new website for Remedies Renewing Lives at www.remediesrenewinglives.org. Rock Valley College Whiz Kids summer classes now are accepting registrations for kids ages 5 to 13. The enrichment activities aim to inspire kids to try new things, build independence, gain social skills, face challenges, learn the value of work and build character. For the schedule of classes, visit rockvalleycollege.edu/whizkids. Stenstrom Petroleum Services Group acquired the fuel management solutions and commercial/fleet fueling company Accurate Tank in Aurora, Ill.; increasing service to customers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Comprehensive Community

Solutions, Inc., completed a gut rehabilitation of the 55th home built or renovated by YouthBuild preapprenticeship program trainees. The single-family home at 430 N. Avon St., which was donated by Wells Fargo Bank in 2017, was sold to a qualified buyer. CCS has completed 122 units, with 82 percent for single-family homeownership. Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomed the 2018 National 7v7 Football Association Midwest Regional Championship for a third straight year; drawing 1,500 visitors to the region from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, California, Washington, Florida and Canada, and generating $108,000 in estimated economic impact. Rockford Systems, LLC., announced a new alternative to expensive, oversized foot pedal switches. The CTD088 foot switch offers the same level of foot protection, ease-of-use and productivity as larger pedals, at a lower cost, and is especially effective for operators of smaller machinery, such as riveters and welders. Rockford Systems, LLC., attended the Minnesota Safety & Health Conference, presented by the Minnesota Safety Council in May at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Historic Victorian Village at Midway Village Museum opened for the season from May through August. Interpreters in Victorian period costume will lead tours exploring the life and culture of the 1890s to 1910s. SwedishAmerican’s website, redesigned with Trekk, received a Platinum AVA Digital Award for creativity in web design. Blackhawk Bank’s Roscoe banking center moved to a temporary modular banking center behind its new building at 5506 Clayton Circle in Roscoe. The new banking center will be a much larger facility, with an elevator to a finished lower level and anticipated opening date in the fourth quarter of 2018. Rockford Park District announced that Olson Funeral and Cremation Services financed 130 oak trees in honor of 130 years in business; planted in May at Alpine Park to replace trees damaged by Emerald Ash Borer. NAMI Northern Illinois joined communities across the country in celebrating Mental Health Month; promoting mental wellness and supporting prevention efforts by wearing green ribbons and lighting the town green in May. KMK Media Group was hired by Excentus in Dallas to develop new customer loyalty websites for two of its convenience store chain clients in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and by Boylan Catholic High School to create a comprehensive new website.

Rockford Area Arts Council announced the return this year of Beattie Is, a family-friendly arts festival with an artist market, art demonstrations, stage performances and specialty food vendors, on Sept. 8 at Beattie Park in downtown Rockford. Rockford Park District’s four-hole Learning Links at Ingersoll Golf Course will host open practice times on Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m., through October. Additional open times for June through August are Wednesdays, 4 to 7 p.m., and Fridays, 9 a.m. to noon. Call 815-987-8834 to confirm hours or visit www.golfrockford.org. OSF HealthCare was named one of the best employers in the country for 2018 by Forbes magazine, and the highest-ranked, Illinois-based company earning the distinction. It ranked 46th out of 500 large companies (5,000+ employees). Rush University Medical Center, which ranked No. 5 for Best Hospitals for Orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report, is a long-time partner of OrthoIllinois. The medical center’s department of orthopedic surgery sends fifth- and fourth-year residents to OrthoIllinois in Rockford for 10 weeks of training. Center for Sight & Hearing received a $3,500 grant from the Cosmopolitan Club of Rockford in April to purchase ophthalmic equipment for its Vision Clinic expansion project; slated for completion the end of 2018. For the second time in three years, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau was designated the National Association of Sports Commissions Sports Tourism Organization of the Year; an accolade it received for the first time in 2016 for markets with a population of 500,000 and under. Organizations gathered to address the closing of Sand Park Pool in Loves Park for the 2018 season, which will save the Rockford Park District $88,000. The YMCA of Rock River Valley will host four sessions of accelerated swim lessons at the Harlem Middle School pool. The YMCA also will open its doors to nonmembers during the summer on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Northeast Family YMCA and SwedishAmerican Riverfront YMCA. OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center is underwriting the cost of the summer program, and will provide a swim cap to each child who takes lessons. Visit www.rockriverymca.org. Rockford Area Arts Council received a $25,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for fiscal year 2018 for the ArtsPlace, Youth Apprenticeship Program, a tuition-free summer arts apprenticeship program where youth, ages 14 to 18, work on teams facilitated by professional artists.

theFranaGroup is sponsoring a new music series on Wednesday nights at Burpee Museum of Natural History, starting June 13 and going for five weeks (excluding July 4). Visit www. burpee.org/musicontherock for tickets and information. Lawn seats free. The Women’s Health Program at Crusader Community Health received $10,000 from Illinois Bank & Trust in Rockford as a part of its Take a Swipe at Breast Cancer debit card program. Funding goes towards giving women access to timely cancer screening and diagnosis. Prairie Street Brewing Company launched its first canned beers for off-site sales: Feather Eye Rye, a rye IPA, and Berry River Roll, a fruitenhanced Kölsch. The beer is available in six packs at Valli Produce, Woodman’s, Cork & Keg, Artale, Everett’s, The District, CJ’s, Woodfire and other regional locations. Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau kicked off Forest City Beautiful, featuring the Rockford Peaches 75th Anniversary Celebration. Included was the installation of several Rockford Peaches-themed landscapes, street planters and banners in downtown Rockford. Planting beds in 12 lots and 100 planters in downtown Rockford were filled with 7,202 plants by LawnCare by Walter, Inc., Rockford Peach signage and banners were installed and 793 perennials filled eight street-level planting beds on North Main Street, thanks to the Rockford Women’s Garden Club. Colorwave Graphics, LLC wrapped a 20-foot mobile production trailer for WTVO - Channel 17 and another Ford Escape for the Rock Valley Fence fleet. It installed outdoor building signs for Altra Industrial Motion, produced event signs/installed wall graphics at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, and constructed a 20 x 22 trade show exhibit for International Paper. Thinker Ventures launched a new website with a shopping selector and personal shopper experience for Poopsie’s in Galena. It also coordinated Poopsie’s Live Day, which kicked off Galena’s annual celebration of President U.S. Grant’s birthday. Saint Anthony College of Nursing held its annual graduation ceremony in May for 99 students at the Coronado Theatre. This is the 100th anniversary celebration of graduations for the college, representing more than 3,800 nursing graduates. Rockford Public Library received a $4,500 grant from the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Secretary of State, to purchase 160 books on the Maker trend, which will be housed in the Maker Lab at Hart Interim Library and branches.

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 27


Business Briefs

(continued from page 26)

The Rosecrance substance abuse program earned an Aetna Institute of Quality® designation for behavioral health for excellence in care, commitment to continuous improvement, meeting certain standards of quality and cost efficiency. The Alliance network now includes all of the services provided by Ascension Wisconsin’s clinically integrated system of care, including its hospitals and primary and specialty care clinics. Chartwell Agency launched its own rebranding effort – including a new website and marketing collateral – with an enhanced focus on its key service offerings and industries. OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center received a ‘B’ letter grade, ranking it among the safest hospitals in the United States

according to new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide. Rockford City Market returned to downtown Rockford on Friday, May 18 with 19 new vendors and 65 total vendors on opening day. Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomed the 2018 USA Ultimate Division III College Championships, May 19 to 20, at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two in Loves Park. The event drew roughly 700 athletes from 32 teams from around the country; generating $162,000 in estimated economic impact from hotel overnights. University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford presented its 2018 Distinguished Community Award to the Winnebago County Medical Society during its May 11 convocation

ceremony for advocacy and support of the medical students and collaborating on initiatives. On May 16, doctors, nurses and other medical staff from SwedishAmerican Medical Group donated their time and provided approximately 130 free physicals to Lincoln Middle School 7th and 8th graders. V2 Marketing Communications completed a new logo for Mutual Reinsurance Company. Field Fastener retained V2 to provide inbound marketing services; using the company’s website, email and social media channels, along with marketing automation, to generate sales leads and provide analysis of marketing activities. Club Blue, in sponsorship with Illinois Bank and Trust, awarded Rosecrance $100,000 to launch its ‘Power of Play’ program.

13 WREX 2HB Human Resources & Benefits Solutions ABC Catering Ltd., A Better Choice Catering Above and Beyond Associates Advanced Rockford Eye Care Akerman Shoes Allstate - J Ellis Agency Alpine Bank American Precision Supply, Inc. Ameriprise Financial - Aspire Financial Group Ameriprise Financial Joan Kelley, CFP, CPA AT&T Baird Wealth Management Beefaroo, Inc. Belter Machinery Co., Inc. Blackhawk Propane Company, Inc. Cain & Company Chem Processing, Inc. Cookies by Design CoyleKiley Insurance Agency Inc. Crown Machine, Inc. Discovery Center Museum of Rockford Eickman’s Processing Company Employee Benefit Association of Northern Illinois Forest City Corporate Center FurstStaffing Gallagher Williams-Manny GinestraWatson Co. Gitz-Meier Remodeling/RESTORx Granite City Food & Brewery Gruno’s Diamonds Hampton Properties (Leasing Office) Harlem Community Center Highcrest Centre Integra Business Systems, Inc. Klaas Financial Asset Advisors, LLC Konica Minolta Business Solutions L/J Fabricators, Inc. Leading Lawyers Magnuson, Inc. Manpower

Meijer Rockford MercyCare Health Plans National Business & Industrial Centre, Inc. Necchi-New Home Sewing Center, Inc. Northern Illinois Optical Company OrthoIllinois OrthoIllinois Quartz Regal Cutting Tools Rock River Valley Pantry Rock Town Consulting Rockford Area Arts Council Rockford Career College Rockford Process Control LLC Rockford Public Schools, District #205 Rockford Separators, Inc. Rockford Supportive Living Rockford Tech-Systems, Inc. Rockford United Labor Rosecrance Health Network Schafer Gear Works Roscoe, LLC Service Machine Company, Inc. Singley Construction Sjostrom & Sons, Inc. Special Power, Inc. Stateline Business Journal Stenstrom Companies SundogIT SWITS, Ltd. The Abbey Resort & Avani Spa The Pregnancy Care Center Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum Townsquare Media Rockford Transformations Plastic Surgery & MedSpa United Way of Rock River Valley US Bank Valley Expo and Displays Viking Chemical Company Wanless-Brothers Moving and Storage Co. Weldstar Co. Wood CPA’s Ltd Youngberg Industries, Inc.

Oscar Mike Foundation, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Rockford Park District announced that the United States Quad Rugby Association National Championship will be held in Rockford for the first time for the multi-year championship tournament, which will take place in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The 2019 tournament will take place March 28 to March 31, 2019 at UW Health Sports Factory. SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health, was named an “Anticoagulation Center of Excellence” by the Anticoagulation Forum; one of only two clinics in Illinois so named.

New Chamber Members

Membership Renewals Thank you to members who renewed with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce in April, 2018.

Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois completed a record tax season in 2018 with more than 3,000 returns filed through its GoodTAXES free volunteer income tax preparation program at its tax sites in Rockford and DeKalb and mobile site.



Insurance Joe Herreweyers 847-721-5525 www.Aflac.com

Artisan-style pizzas and salads are individually sized, made on demand, and ready in just minutes! 6470 E. State St., 61108 Krista Scott 815-977-8941 www.modpizza.com

CANON SOLUTIONS AMERICA, INC. Providing leading enterprise, production and large format printing solutions, supported by exceptional professional service offerings. 425 N. Martingale Road, Ste. #100 Schaumburg, IL 60173 Radek Foukal 630-751-9765 www.csa.canon.com

15TH & CHRIS Burger Restaurant, Ice Cream Parlor, Carry Out 201 15th Ave., 61104 James Purifoy 779-774-4116 www.15thandchris.com

HUGEPRINTS LLC Signage & Graphics 7906 N. 2nd St. Machesney Park, IL 61115 Ben Boese 815-986-6705 www.hugeprints.com

INDUSTRIAL MOLDS Custom Injection Mold Maker 5175 27th Ave., 61109 Tim Peterson 815-397-2971 www.industrialmolds.com

MOSQUITO JOE OF ROCKFORD - CRYSTAL LAKE Pest Control for Mosquitos, Ticks and Fleas Elyce Schlichting 815-315-9692 www.Rockford-crystallake. mosquitojoe.com

STATE FARM INSURANCE BRIAN PINKSTAFF Insurance Sales and Financial Services 3957 W. Riverside Blvd., 61101 Brian Pinkstaff 815-965-5020 www.brianpinkstaff.com

TECM Custom Cutting Tool Manufacturer 2932 Eastrock Dr., 61109 Joel Zehrung 815-316-2304 www.TECmTools.com

28 | JUNE 2018


on digital

Members Caught on Digital

Ceremonial ribbon donated by SERVPRO of Rockford.

Comfort Keepers holds a ribbon cutting and open house on April 27 at 4855 E. State St., Manhattan Plaza, Rockford.

Cheri Bustos, 17th Congressional District of Illinois Local Office, holds a ribbon cutting and open house on May 3 at 119 N. Church St., Rockford.

State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) and State Rep. Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) welcome members of the Belvidere Fire Department to the Illinois State Capitol Complex on May 8 for the annual firefighters memorial ceremony. The firefighters were honored for saving the lives of eight individuals during a March 2017 fire on West Jackson Street.

Area teachers dress up in pie costumes and sell pies as a part of McTeacher’s Night, a family fundraiser for Maple Elementary School at the McDonald’s at 3858 Northridge Dr., on May 8.

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 29

June 2018 Member Anniversaries Thank you to the members celebrating their anniversaries with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.



LM Sheet Metal & Service, Inc.

Concordia University of Wisconsin Court Street United Methodist Midwest Community Bank

30-YEAR MEMBER Per Mar Security

25-YEAR MEMBER United States Postal Service

20-YEAR MEMBERS LDR Cleaning & Restoration Lawn Care by Walter, Inc. Parker Hannifin Corporation

10-YEAR MEMBERS Macianos Pizza (Perryville Pizza, LLC) OSTI - Belvidere Physical Therapy OSTI - Edgebrook Physical Therapy OSTI - Ogle County Physical Therapy OSTI - Poplar Grove Physical Therapy

5-YEAR MEMBERS Friends of the Coronado Key Realty, Inc.

Phone Breakup (continued from page 2)

people reach for their phones, I try to use it as a cue to take a deep breath and relax.

access to problematic apps and websites

Get existential about it

when you want to take a break. There

If all else fails, consider your own

are other tools by phone manufacturers

mortality. How many people on their

and app developers that can give you

deathbeds do you think are going to

some space from your phone while not fully losing connectivity to messages, emails, etc.

Use the sight of other people on their phones as a reminder of your own intentions Right now, the sight of someone else pulling out his or her phone on the

say, “I wish I’d spent more time on Facebook”? Keep asking yourself the same question, again and again and again: This is your life. How much of it do you want to spend on your phone? For more specifics on the above recommendations, I suggest you consult Ms. Price’s book.


Are you a Member with News to Share? Send news releases and other items of interest to the business community to: The VOICE, Rockford Chamber of Commerce,

elevator probably makes you want to check yours as well. But with practice,

Catherine Price is the author of “How to

308 W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford, IL 61101

you can transform this into a cue for a

Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day


new, healthier habit. When I see other

Plan to Take Back Your Life.”

30 | JUNE 2018


theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

Community Events

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

and live music with Paper Airplane. Free. For full vendor list, visit edgebrookshops.com.

JUNE, 2018

Monday, June 11

Saturday, June 2 Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, presents its 25th annual Garden Fair Weekend 2018, June 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and June 3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Features vendors selling garden-related items, antiques, art, plants and food. Visit klehm.org/ gardenfair2018 or call 815-9658146. Rockford Park District presents a Tennis Summer Kick-Off for all ages, 10 a.m. to noon, at Forest City Tennis Center, 7801 E. State St. Free cardio tennis demonstration for adults, 11 a.m. to noon. Register at rockfordparkdistrict.org/tennis or call 815-962-7469 or 815-987-8800.

Tuesday, June 5 Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence presents Stakeholder Forum: 3rd Grade Reading, 8 a.m. to noon, NIU Rockford, 8500 E. State St. Sylvia Cheuy, Tamarack Institute, will help the community identify barriers and align activities around the agenda of every child reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. Visit 3rdGradeReadingChampions. eventbrite.com.

Saturday, June 9 SwedishAmerican’s Regional Cancer Center hosts a National Cancer Survivor Day event, 1 to 4 p.m., at 3535 N. Bell School Road, Rockford. For more information call 779-696-9376. Winnebago County Health Department and the Rock River Water Reclamation District host a Tire Drive, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tires will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pre-registration required by 5 p.m., on June 6 at wchd.org. For questions contact Ryan Kerch at 815-720-4347. University of Illinois Extension presents Preserving Practice - Jams and Jellies with Diane Reinhold, nutrition and wellness educator, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Second First Church, 318 N. Church St., Rockford. Register at web. extension.illinois.edu/jsw or 815986-4357. Edgebrook presents the ARTSY Arts & Crafts Exhibit, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with local artisans, family fun tent hosted by Rock River Chess

The Music Academy hosts Camp Counterpoint, “Music from the Movies,” a string and piano camp, June 11 to 15, at 226 S. Second St., Rockford. Open to Suzuki and Traditional violin, viola, cello, guitar and piano students of all ages. Half-day and full-day camp is available. Call 815-986-0037 or visit musicacademyinrockford.com.

Tuesday, June 12 Center for Sight & Hearing, 8038 MacIntosh Lane, Rockford, hosts a free, community Low Vision Lunch & Learn with free lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Seating is limited. RSVP at 815-332-6800.

Wednesday, June 13 Alzheimer’s Association presents Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research, 10 to 11:30 a.m., at Senior Services, 3519 N. Richmond Road, McHenry. Register at 815484-1300. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, hosts Victorian Summer Evening Village Tours with interpreters in Victorian period costume, 7 and 8 p.m., at its Historic Victorian Village on June 13, 20 and 27. Call 815-397-9112 or visit midwayvillage.com. Wednesday at Burpee: Music on the Rock presents Bun E. Carlos & The Monday Night Band on the banks of the Rock River, behind Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford. Food and drink starts at 5:30 p.m.; music 6:30 to 8 p.m. Visit burpee.org/ musicontherock for tickets and information. Lawn seats free. Rockford Park District’s Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens hosts the 15th annual Wine & Roses benefit for the City of Gardens, 6 to 8:30 p.m., in the Sinnissippi Rose Garden at 1354 N. 2nd St. Register by June 8 at 815-987-8858.

Thursday, June 14 RAMP hosts its ninth-annual Bad Pants Open, a nine-hole golf scramble at Timber Pointe Golf Course, 5750 Woodstock Road, Poplar Grove. Registration at 2 p.m.; shotgun start at 3 p.m., with dinner and silent auction to follow. Visit rampcil.org/badpantsgolf. Alzheimer’s Association presents Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest

Research, 2 to 3:30 p.m., at North Suburban Library, 6340 N. Second St., Loves Park. To register call 815-484-1300. Rockford Systems, LLC presents 2018 OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Course, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 14 and 15. Register at 800922-7533 or rockfordsystems.com.

Saturday, June 16 Rockford Park District presents How to Train Your Viking, 1 to 3 p.m., part of its In the Outdoors series, at Seth B. Atwood Park, 2685 New Milford School Road. Archery and tomahawk throwing. Minimum age 5 for archery; 7 for tomahawk. Groups of five or more, call 815-966-8747. Visit rockfordparkdistrict.org/atwood.

Tuesday, June 19 Alzheimer’s Association presents The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Sandwich Library, 925 S. Main St., Sandwich, Ill. To register call 815484-1300. Thinker Ventures presents the seminar, How to Increase Your Online ROI, 9 a.m. to noon., on how potential customers and clients find your business on the web, and branding and messaging consistency. Includes peer reviews of your site and social media. Visit thinkerventures.com/events.

Wednesday, June 20 Wednesday at Burpee: Music on the Rock presents The Howlin’ Brothers on the banks of the Rock River, behind Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford. Food and drink starts at 5:30 p.m.; music 6:30 to 8 p.m. Visit burpee.org/musicontherock for tickets and information. Lawn seats free.

Thursday, June 21 University of Illinois Extension hosts Professional Standards Training for Local Schools for school foodservice staff, 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., at South Beloit High School, 245 Prairie Hill Road. Free, but registration required. Call 815-235-4125 or visit web. extension.illinois.edu/jsw.

Friday, June 22 The Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter presents Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior, noon at KSB Hospital, Lovett Center, 101 W. 1st St., Dixon, Ill. Free and includes lunch. Register at 815-484-

1300 or alz.org/illinois.

Saturday, June 23 Natural Land Institute presents Family Nature Day, a free familythemed event, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton. Registration requested at 815-9646666 or naturalland.org. Fairhaven Christian Retirement Center Is hosting the 3rd annual Swedish Pancake Brunch 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at 3470 N. Alpine Road, Rockford Tickets are $7.50 in advance and $9.00 at the door. Proceeds go to the Good Samaritan Fund.

Monday, June 25 Center for Sight & Hearing presents its 13th annual Gerald Broski Memorial Golf Outing, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road, Rockford. Concludes with exclusive dinner on the patio. Register at cshni.org/events/ golf-outing.

Tuesday, June 26 University of Illinois Extension hosts an Illinois Certified Food Protection Manager Course required for both the initial CFP and recertification, June 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and June 29, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Easterseals Building, 650 N. Main St., Rockford. Registration required at web. extension.illinois.edu/jsw or 815986-4357.

Wednesday, June 27 RAMP hosts a Wine & Beer Tasting fundraiser, 5 to 8 p.m., at Prairie Street Brewing Co., 200 Prairie St., Rockford. Includes food tastings, silent auction, interactive artist Roni, and Prime Time Live Band music on the dock. Visit Give.classy.org/ rampwine. The Natural Land Institute Education Committee and Prairie Street Brewing Co., present the lecture, “Water: Liquid, Solid, Gas, Beer,” 6 to 7 p.m., with speaker Laura Sjoquist at 200 Prairie St., Rockford. Register at naturalland. org/event-calendar or call 815-9646666. Wednesday at Burpee: Music on the Rock presents Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers on the banks of the Rock River, behind Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford. Food and drink starts at 5:30 p.m.; music 6:30 to 8 p.m. Visit burpee.org/ musicontherock for tickets and information. Lawn seats free.

theVoice • rockfordchamber.com

JUNE 2018 | 31


Upcoming Chamber Events

JUNE, 2018 Friday, June 1

IGNITE Lunch with a Leader, featuring Einar Forsman, president/ CEO, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, noon to 1 p.m.

Monday, June 4

Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening at White Pines Retreat Center, 3 to 5 p.m., at 6712 W. Pines Road, Mount Morris.

Tuesday, June 5

Business Women’s Council, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Mary’s Market, 4431 E State St., Rockford. Jason Todd, Managing Director of Thinker Ventures, presents “The Power of Storytelling to Increase Profits.” Sponsored by Associated Bank. Adulting 101- All Things Cars, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Buttita Brothers, 6765 S. Mill Rd., Rockford. Interactive demonstrations on basic car maintenance. Perfect for those who know nothing about cars, this session will cover the basics.

Wednesday, June 6

Ribbon Cutting at Chastain & Associates LLC, 4 to 5 p.m., at 6832 Stalter Dr., Ste. 100, Rockford.

Thursday, June 7

Business After Hours at Alden Park Strathmoor, 5 to 7 p.m., at 5668 Strathmoor Dr., Rockford.

Friday, June 8

Government Affairs Council, 7:30 to 8:45 a.m., at Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St., Rockford. Executive Director Michael Stubbe will outline current plans and priorities for the Rockford Mass Transit District, including the $3.9 million upgrade to the downtown bus transfer center. Wednesday, June 13 7:30 - 9 am Rockford University PURI Business School Bldg., Rm. 124 5050 E. State St. , Rockford

Breakfast BUZZ Sam Castree presents “Harassment Issues in the Workplace.” Sponsored by RSM US LLP.

Wednesday, June 20

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Understanding the New Section 199A Pass-Through Income Deduction, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., at Northern Illinois University, 8500 E. State St., Rockford. Two Savant Capital Management tax professionals will address how properly structuring the type of entity you operate and how you pay expenses can mean the difference between a 20 percent deduction and zero deduction. Sponsored by Savant Capital Management. Thursday, June 21 10 am - 1:15 pm Cliffbreakers Conference Center 700 W. Riverside Blvd., Rockford

EXPO & LUNCHEON Jill Manzo, Midwest researcher, Illinois Economic Policy Institute, will present “Women in High-Ranking Positions: The Few, The Need, and the Path Forward.” Includes the announcement of the Woman Business Leader of Tomorrow, Woman Business Owner of the Year and Woman Manager of the Year. Sponsored by Mercyhealth (presenting), OSF HealthCare (gold), Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network (silver), Northwest Bank (awards) and PNC (ATHENAPowerLink).

JULY, 2018 Wednesday, July 11

Ribbon Cutting at State Farm Insurance, 3 to 6 p.m., at 3957 W. Riverside Blvd., Rockford.

Thursday, July 26

Leadership Workshop - Coach-Like Leadership, 8:30 to 10 a.m., at PURI School of Business - Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., room 124. Facilitated by The Anser Group and includes a light breakfast.

Let your Voice be heard MEMBERS: Do you have news to share?

Friday, June 15

Tuesday, June 19

The VOICE, Rockford Chamber of Commerce 308 W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford, IL 61101

Wednesday, June 20


Ribbon Cutting at Hennig, Inc., 11 a.m., at 9900 N. Alpine Road, Machesney Park. Ribbon Cutting at Advanced Machine & Engineering Co. (AME), 11 a.m., 2500 Latham St., Rockford.

Alpine Bank / Midland States Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Blackhawk Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Broadmoor Agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Brian Thomas Photography. . . . . . . .20 Comcast Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Ege Worksmart Solutions, PC . . . . . .13

Northern Public Radio . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Quartz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Rockford Bank & Trust Co. . . . . . . . . .2 Rockford Chamber of

Commerce . . . .8, 11, 18, 19, 25, 28, 29 Rockford Systems, LLC . . . . . . . . . .13

Fehr Graham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Rockford University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

The Global Leadership Summit . . . . .29

RVC BPI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Illinois Bank & Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Savant Capital Management . . . . . . .17

Illinois Small Business Development Center . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Schmeling Construction Co. . . . . . . .13

Larson & Darby Group. . . . . . . . . . . .10 Mercyhealth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Stillman Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Thayer Lighting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Northwest Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

V2 Marketing Communications . . . . .10

OSF HealthCare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Woodward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Women in Business

Send news releases and other items of interest to the business community to:

Ribbon Cutting and Open House at Cliffbreakers Riverside Hotel & Conference Center, 3 to 6 p.m., at 700 W. Riverside Blvd., Rockford.

Advertisers Index advertisers

of the Rockford Business Community

Chamber Staff / Call 815-987-8100 ............................................. Direct Line Harold “Bo” Boger, IL Small Business Development Center Director ............................................................. 815-316-4301 Einar K. Forsman, President & CEO ......................................... 815-316-4304 Heidi M. Garner, Chief Operating Officer ................................... 815-316-4312 Olivia Guzman, Administrative Assistant/Customer Service Rep........ 815-987-8100 Doug Hessong, Director of Publications & Technology .................. 815-316-4338 Lynette Jacques, Vice President, Member Investment ................... 815-316-4317 Phoebe Morris, Program & Event Coordinator............................. 815-316-4302 Caitlin Pusateri, Vice President, Leadership Development .................. 815-316-4337 Doug Rand, Accounting Manager/Controller .............................. 815-316-4316 Joan Sundvall, Membership Contact Coordinator ........................ 815-316-4320

Chamber Board of Directors & Officers EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE


Chairman of the Board Richard Zumwalt Z Resource Chair-Elect Michele Petrie Wintrust Commercial Banking & Mortgage Vice Chair Dan Ross Gallagher Williams-Manny

Andrew Benson Benson Stone Company, Inc. Kimberly Blascoe Wipfli LLP Jan Bowman TLC Construction LaVonne Brown Savant Capital Management Paula Carynski OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center

Treasurer Amy Ott Boylan Catholic High School

Samuel J. Castree Staff Management, Inc.

Immediate Past Chair Patti Thayer Thayer Lighting, Inc.

Joe Castrogiovanni Giovanni’s, Inc.

Sue Schrieber Don Daniels SwedishAmerican, A Mercyhealth Division of UW Health John Schuster Rebecca Epperson Rosecrance Health Chartwell Agency Network Ira Grimmett UTC Aerospace Systems

Karl Swanson Rockford Bank & Trust Co

Tim Honquest Honquest Family Funeral Home with Crematory

Udaya Talwar Woodward

Jeff Hultman Illinois Bank & Trust Michael F. Iasparro Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP Elizabeth Lee Greenlee Textron

Kris L. Kieper Jean Crosby Machajewski Berkshire Hathaway YWCA Northwestern HomeServices Crosby Illinois Starck Real Estate Mike Paterson Doug Curry Mid-West Family Stenstrom Excavation Broadcasting and Blacktop Group Mark Peterson CBL Associates Cherry Vale

Jon Thompson Butitta Brothers Automotive

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

JULY VOICE SPECIAL SECTIONS Attracting Top Talent (Recruiting and Job Fairs) For information on advertising, call 815


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