November Voice 2019

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PAGE 5 November 2019 | Volume 32 | No. 11

of the rockford business community

Heartbeat of


HEALTHCARE: Crusader’s important role in the region “People ask why are there so many locations?

(Above) Outgoing president and CEO Gordon Eggers Jr. speaks of the advances Crusader Community Health has made since 1985. (Left) Sam Miller is Eggers’ replacement effective January 1, 2020.

Well, there really is a need in the Rockford area. We’ve developed facilities that are compass points


in the community. It really breaks down barriers.” SAM MILLER, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Come next year, Crusader Community Health will have a different look atop its organizational chart. Gordon Eggers Jr., president and CEO, is retiring Dec. 31. A Rockford native, Eggers started at Crusader in 1985 as one of the first physician assistants in the area. He was then promoted to medical director and vice president of health services and took on his current role in 2005. At that time, Sam Miller, Crusader’s chief financial officer, will assume Egger’s position. A native of Dixon, Ill., Miller joined the organization in 2005 as vice president of finance. He’s credited with turning the organization around financially.



Rockford University and Rock Valley College announced on October 22 a new partnership designed to provide a seamless path for adult to


complete bachelor’s





Rockford University through its Puri School of Business. The Rockford

The Voice is online at



Building in Strength Crusader Community Health has been a primary health care provider and a part of the Rockford community for more than 47 years. It offers medical, dental and behavioral health services from its eight area locations. Crusader also offers a sliding payment scale to help ensure everyone can access quality medical, dental and behavioral health care. Continued on page 3

Rockford Ready program provides new options for degree completion



Eggers talked about Crusader’s past, and Miller gave a glimpse of the community health center’s future as part of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon series, Oct. 17, at Radisson Hotel and Conference Center.

A degree above


Join the Chamber on Social Media




who has completed an Associate’s of Applied Science (A.A.S) to easily transfer their degree credentials for full-

credit and earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Management Studies in as little as 24-months through a combination of online and hybrid courses. Rockford University and Rock Valley College have long-standing transfer articulation agreements for students who begin their college studies at RVC to earn Associate’s of Art (A.A.) or Associates of Science (A.S.) degrees, which are degrees designed to prepare students for transfer into a four-year college. Rockford Ready differs in that it is customized more specifically for working individuals who have an A.A.S. degree. A.A.S. degrees Continued on page 21

The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners announced on Oct. 16 that Sinnissippi Golf Course will remain open in 2020. The recommendation had been made during the Sept. 10 board meeting to permanently close the golf course next year to help eliminate a $1.2 million deficit. Sinnissippi was the lowestperforming golf course in terms of rounds played this season, and the district anticipated a $100,000 loss once it ended. The board was inundated with calls, emails and letters by citizens asking for more time to be a part of the solution on the district’s current financial challenges. Suspension of operations at Alpine Pool and Snow Park at Alpine Hills still is being recommended to help eliminate the deficit. Factors have included declining revenue from fees and a smaller tax base, along with population and demographic shifts. The district has kept the amount of property taxes collected the same for the last five years. In 2020, the district will be greatly impacted by the minimum wage increase. It will continue working with the Save Sinnissippi Golf Course group, which has formed via social media.



Business Address THURSDAY, NOV. 21 GIOVANNI’S For more information, see page 31 SPONSORED BY

INFUSION OF MONEY FOR ACCURATE CENSUS COUNT IN REGION The Region 1 Planning Council, which formed the Regional Complete Count Committee in June 2019, learned it will receive $920,000 to encourage a complete and accurate 2020 Census count in northern Illinois. The census figures will determine how billions in federal funding is assigned to support local programs and services, how many congressional representatives exist for the state and the drawing of the congressional district. Each person counted by the census represents the potential gain or loss of approximately $1,535 in federal funding for the community. Visit



November 2019


MICHELE PETRIE Rockford Chamber Board Chairman

Developing a proactive mindset And speaking from the heart

Hello membership! I wanted to start his Therefore, if you are a proactive person, your actions will dictate how events month by congratulating: transpire; If you are reactive, you allow ■ Mike Dunn and the Board and staff events to dictate your actions. at our airport for being named the fastest How does one begin to think and growing cargo airport in the world! behave more proactively? ■ Rockford Mayor McNamara and 1) Planning Rockford Police Chief O’Shea who recently As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, announced a double digit decrease in crime “In preparing for battle I have always for all 6 of the crime reporting categories. found that plans are useless, but planning ■ Many of our local taxing bodies on is indispensable.” Remember, your plan being PROACTIVE in keeping their itself may not be a total success, because levies flat so citizens could see their tax life happens, and things change. However, the preparation you have done will put bills decrease. you in a position to respond and adapt. I wanted to take a look at two concepts 2) Taking a proactive mindset this month; (1) being proactive and (2) speaking/acting from the heart in ■ Focus our efforts on things that are in our journey to being a “best in class” our control. ■ Focus on positivity, strength, and community. opportunities. Being Proactive ■ Positive energy and focus on the areas Let us take a look at what “proactive” we control causes our influence to grow. means and why it can be so impactful for a person and a community. If you behave proactively, you prepare before something happens. The opposite is behaving reactively by waiting for events to unfold before you determine a response.

3) Understanding control in order to make better choices Learning how to identify what is in your control will help you develop a proactive mindset and goals. It’s just as important to identify and dismiss

concerns that are out of your control, feel the relationship matters more than the great about it, and move on. outcome. If you are a person that hedges ■ Personal control: Involves your own in relationships or speaks clinically, many times the outcomes matter more than the behavior and is influenced by habits. relationships. ■ Moderate control: Involves other How does one begin to speak and act people’s behavior and is influenced by from the heart? your methods of influencing others. For 1) Leave ego and self-interest at the example, when someone is rude or angry, door. you can choose to listen to him or her and 2) Reflect on decisions and how they try to understand, or you can become will impact people in the long run. defensive and argumentative. 3) Put trust first. ■ No control: Involves aspects of our As Stephen Covey said when he lives that we cannot influence; we must came to a packed house at Giovanni’s in accept and learn to live with them. For Rockford: “While corporate scandals, bad example, you cannot control the cars on politics and broken relationships have the road during rush hour. created low trust on almost every front, I Speaking From the Heart contend that the ability to establish, grow, Now, let us take a look at what “speaking extend and restore trust is not only vital, from the heart” does for a community. If it is the key leadership competency of the you speak from the heart, you are speaking new global economy.” In summary, I believe it is critical for directly and honestly with a person that us to deepen our skills of being proactive matters to you through the filter of your values and truth. The opposite is speaking and speaking/acting from the heart. These in general and gray ways with people items have the power to impact the quality that do not matter to you. So, if you are of every present moment and outcome a person that speaks from the heart you of every future moment of our lives and are clear, trustworthy and fair because community.


November 2019



Continued from front page

There are 11,000 community health centers like Crusader in all 50 states. “We treat everyone, but especially people with not a lot of money in their pocketbooks,” said Eggers. “The presentation began with the history of where Crusader came from, to where it is today — and how important they are to the overall health of the community,” said Einar Forsman, chamber president and CEO. Under Eggers’ leadership, Crusader has grown from two clinics to a network with more than 58,000 patients in eight locations including Rockford, Belvidere and Loves Park. “People ask why there are so many locations,” said Miller. “Well, there really is a need in the Rockford area. “We’ve developed facilities that are compass points in the community. It really breaks down barriers.”

Eggers, Jr., began at Crusader as a physician assistant, a medical provider trained to diagnose and treat illness in partnership with a physician supervisor. “I’ve known Gordon for some time, and I really admire and respect the passion he has carried out for the Crusader mission,” said Forsman. Eggers closed his portion of the presentation describing how proud he is of Crusader’s diversity, not only among patients served but with board members and staff alike. “I want to thank Gordon,” said Miller. “We’ve worked together since 2005. He’s

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.

provided a phenomenal opportunity, not just for me, but others to develop the skills necessary to be successful. I’m in a good position because of what I’ve learned from Gordon and because of our terrific leadership team.” In 2018, Miller was promoted to executive vice president. A certified public accountant, he has a master’s degree in business administration. Under his leadership, Crusader’s annual revenue has grown from $22 million to more than $44 million. “Sam Miller has been integral in building up the financial strength of Crusader for more than 15 years,” said Forsman. “Through his and others leadership they have evolved to a very strategic organization that can serve our community for a long time.”

New State-of-the-Art Facility Earlier this year, Crusader officials announced plans to break ground on a state-of-the-art $12 million building project that will include tearing down its existing three-story clinic at 1200 W. State St., and replacing it with a two-

story building that is 8,000-sq.-ft. larger. The new 49,000-sq.-ft. facility will replace the parking lot of its existing facility. The current building will be razed and replaced with parking and green space. The new West State Clinic will include primary care services – pediatric, women’s health, behavioral health, pediatric and adult dental, and Rockford Family Eyecare. The leadership team will remain at the location on the second floor. “It didn’t take us long to realize it was important for us to be there,” Miller said. The new facility is expected to open in late 2020. “What is the future of Crusader?” Miller asked the crowd. “It will be built on our proud history of breaking down barriers for all of our patients.” The sponsors of the luncheon were BMO Harris Bank, Humana, Rosecrance, SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health, Comcast Business, Northern Illinois Hospice, Quartz, Van Matre Encompass Health Rehabilitation v Hospital and Wipfli.



November 2019

 Destination



JOHN GROH Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Stroll on State a true community effort

Business, volunteer, visitor numbers continue to grow

You need more than a calculator to measure the benefits of Stroll on State, the one-day, downtown celebration that kicks off our holiday season the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A calculator helps. It counts the number of people who bundle up and spend the day at Stroll, taking in the parade and entertainment, sipping hot chocolate, sampling tasty local food, and exploring the unique offerings of downtown retailers. Last year, our sixth Stroll, the calculator clicked 87,500 times while tracking the number of people who “Strolled.” That’s three times the number who came when Stroll premiered in 2013. A calculator can also tell us how many people value Stroll enough to pitch in and make it happen. We can’t overlook the thousands of volunteers who devoted their time to help transform downtown into a mini North Pole, complete with so many bright and shining lights. Or the good folks at Illinois Bank & Trust who are again Stroll’s presenting sponsor. Of course, calculators are important to people like Jarrod Hennis of Rockford Art Deli and Charlie Schweinler from Lino’s. They use them constantly to help keep their small local businesses in the black. Rockford Art Deli will have the store’s holiday T-shirts and gift items out as a full crew handles constant traffic on the Art Deli’s biggest sales day of the year. Schweinler and his team at Lino’s Restaurant, though they’re several miles from the downtown Stroll hubbub, will be ready for a mid- to late-night jump in customers as Strollers look for a quiet and warm place to unwind and dine after their Stroll excitement. For each of the local businesses, but especially downtown merchants,

Stroll happens to fall on Small Business Saturday and is a perfect opportunity to meet hundreds of potential customers who are visiting their establishment, some for the first time. Many remember the friendliness and quality, and plan a return trip. The calculator looks forward to chocking up those sales, perhaps on warmer days. This year’s Stroll will include entertainers new to Rockford, a parade full of surprises, the popular Dasher Dance 5K run (presented by SwedishAmerican), and of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree. That’s the crowning moment for Stroll, when we flip the switch and more than 13,000 hung lights shine on Stroll and Rockford before fireworks go off in the background. That’s when the real impact of Stroll on State can be seen, in exclamations of joy and memories our trusty calculator can’t calculate. We believe it is one of Rockford’s finest moments. As Schweinler said, “we need a place the community can come together in a family-focused, positive environment. Stroll on State has become a great tradition in Rockford and the region.” Even our calculator shuts off when we step back to take in the pure wonder of Christmas, and the feeling you get when sharing that with friends, neighbors and community. We hope you and your family will make Stroll of State part of your holiday experience this year, on Saturday Nov. 30. John Groh is president/CEO of Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The views expressed are Groh’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.






November 2019



Shogun Japanese Restaurant


Shogun is sure fun Six years ago, Shogun opened Izakaya 88, a lounge area that offers small-plate dining options, signature cocktails and sake and craft beers. By Paul Anthony Arco There are many restaurants where customers come in, sit down to have a meal and leave. Not at Shogun Japanese Restaurant, where things are done a little differently. “It’s more than a meal, it’s an experience,” said Addison Jun, president. “It’s personalized, fun and fresh. The food always tastes better right off the grill. It’s more personalized when you see the chef right in front of you preparing the meal. And it’s a show with their tricks. It’s always fun to have the kids come around the table and try the egg show that we do.” Shogun opened in Rockford in 2000 by Charlie Jun, who died 10 years ago. His son took over and now runs the operation with 75 full-time and part-time employees including his mother, sister and cousin. Jun was attending the University of Illinois in pursuit of a liberal arts degree but left to come home to help full-time with the family business. “I was expected to take over,” said Jun, who learned the hospitality business and spent two years commuting to culinary school in Chicago. “I learned everything,” he said. “My experience is in management and menu development. I can also cook but I’m not a chef.” Shogun is ideal for families as well as birthday parties, anniversary parties and other celebrations. Six years ago, Shogun expanded its space and next door opened Izakaya 88, a lounge area that offers small-plate dining options, signature cocktails and sake and craft beers. “Izakaya 88 is a restaurant in a bar-type atmosphere with more innovative menu items,” Jun said. “It’s perfect for someone on a date or young professionals.” Shogun also has a café for those looking for a quieter experience. Jun recently added six more large tables in the dining room to accommodate larger groups, and he’s working on implementing curbside pickup in the future.

And he’s looking at trends to find ways to help improve the environment by offering biodegradable containers. “We want to move towards a more ecofriendly process.”

Evolving Business The menu is extensive including a variety of seafood, rice, vegetables and noodles. One of the highlights is the Rockford Roll, a California roll wrapped with salmon and topped with spicy tuna and special sauce. The lunch menu features vegan ramen, which is kale noodles mixed with rich creamy garlic vegan broth and assorted veggies. The Poke Bowl is a Hawaiian-inspired rice bowl with marinated tuna, salmon with

a medley of vegetables, shrimp crab, and other toppings. For dinner, a fan favorite is the Teriyaki steak or filet mignon prepared right on the table for all to enjoy. Every year, Jun hosts a holiday party as a way to reward staff and to get ready for the next year. “It’s important to keep a good working environment,” he said. “Like any business you have to focus on the employees who are directly tied to the service. We have many employees who’ve been here 10 years or longer.” For Jun, the key to staying successful in business is to never remain stagnant. Change is not only consistent, but necessary. “You always have to evolve in this business. I feel like you have to keep

things moving and changing. Without change, things start declining.” Jun admits running a restaurant is tough work. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. “The most satisfying part of the business is getting feedback from the customers,” he said. “Hearing that they had a great time never gets old.”


President: Addison Jun 293 Executive Parkway 815-394-0007



November 2019



Why young professionals must champion philanthropy

Vote with your pocketbook to support nonprofits When you choose to make a donation, think about sharing the impact your gift will have on the organization and encourage your friends to support an organization of their choice as well. It’s a funny thing, being a young professional working in fund development. The two are not usually intertwined. Millennials owing outrageous amounts for student loan debt while working entry-level jobs is just one of the many factors why the terms “young professional” and “money to give away” are understandably not often used in the same sentence. Millennials represent more than one-quarter of the U.S. population, but make up just 11 percent of total U.S. giving. (Classy, 2018) I want to encourage us to work at making that percentage rise. I never truly understood the importance of philanthropy until I started working in fund development. Nonprofits in our community truly rely on us to internalize their missions and encourage them through financial support. The work the nonprofits in our community do is outstanding and unbelievable, and it is partially up to us to make sure they can continue their work.

to become loyal with our giving. Over

Generations: How It Breaks Out

Simply sharing your philanthropic

From the beginning of my career in fund development, there was one common theme among the majority of donors that was clear -- their age. Gen X represents 20 percent of total U.S. giving, while Baby Boomers take the cake at 43 percent of total U.S. giving, and 50 percent of both those populations are enrolled in a monthly giving program. (Classy, 2018) These individuals are loyal with their giving, and understand the critical importance of philanthropy in our community. I hope young professionals will take that characteristic from their preceding colleagues, family members and friends. The great programs our community are able to take advantage of may not be there if we choose not

time, we will be able to give more to these organizations we care so much about, but no amount is too small to start now. With Giving Tuesday coming up on Dec. 3, I would encourage you to start there. Research organizations that work tirelessly for causes you care about and donate to become an advocate for those causes. You don’t have to start big. Even a $20 donation makes you a donor and will create a relationship with the organization. As


professionals, connected


we’re to





electronic communication, so peerto-peer fundraising is effective and can make a ripple effect. When you choose to make a donation, think about sharing the impact your gift will have on the organization and encourage your friends to support an organization of their choice as well. efforts can have such an influence. The





nonprofits in our community need might seem daunting -- but if we work together faithfully for the greater good of our community, where we choose to live, work, and play, we will see our community continue to flourish. The future of philanthropy is counting on us. Miranda Puskar is assistant director of development at University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford and a member of IGNITE. The views expressed are those of Puskar’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

*Statistics from, a fundraising software and support for nonprofit organizations.



November 2019

DR. EHREN JARRETT Superintendent RPS 205

Some area schools winning top awards

A story of continuous improvement district wide

In the most recent Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) test in math, Haskell second graders outperformed 99 percent of students taking the test nationwide. The accomplishments by students and staff of the STEAM Academy at Haskell are among the many reasons I’m proud to lead the Rockford Public Schools. RPS 205 showed significant gains in the last round of state tests, which I will share below. First, I’d like to tell you an inspirational story about Haskell. The school is in its third year as a STEAM Academy, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Teachers there knew such an innovative and promising concept could not take hold unless they made changes at the school. Among the changes were extending the school day by 20 minutes and increasing teacher planning time. They did so voluntarily. There was no order from the district office, no threat from a state agency -- just educators who knew their kids could and should do better. Their results were dramatic. In the most recent Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) test in math, Haskell second graders outperformed 99 percent of students taking the test nationwide. In state test results, the school climbed two rungs in Illinois’ four academic designations, from the lowest designation a year ago to a commendable designation this year. Year over year, the school has seen at least 300 percent increases in the percentage of students showing proficiency on state standardized tests. In math, students went from one percent proficiency to four percent proficiency. In English/language arts, they went from four percent proficiency to seven percent proficiency. Overall attainment isn’t where we want it to be yet, but there’s promising results and a deep commitment exhibited by the faculty. The school is proving that hard work, high goals and having confidence in students’ abilities is a magic combination.

A Culture Change Haskell’s STEAM Academy isn’t alone in its accomplishments. Marshall School is vying for the No. 1 middle school in Illinois for academic achievement. Marshall has consistently been among the top performers; this

year, the school is in contention for the top spot. (The final analysis won’t be done until early November.) Marshall’s performance earned the school an exemplary designation from the Illinois State Board of Education. Here are other takeaways from state results. The numbers reflect our 42 traditional public schools as well as our three public charter schools: ■ 17 schools earned a commendable designation, up from 15 last year. ■ nine schools are underperforming, down from 12 last year. ■ 11 schools are in the lowestperforming sector, down from 16 last year. The



because of a culture change. School by school, teaching team by teaching team, individual teacher by individual teacher, we’re doing more. We’re also doing more with more targeted resources. Thanks to the hard work of our local legislative delegation and the commitment of the state of Illinois, the district is receiving more dollars under the Evidence-Based Funding model. We’re directing those extra dollars in two ways: by reducing the property tax rate and implementing school-based, strategic budgeting. Every school is getting more resources, but more money is going to schools with higher needs. Schools can put their extra dollars toward positions and programs that work best for them, from a menu of options. The STEAM Academy, for example, used extra dollars to hire a full-time teacher who uses LEGOs in instruction. The school also created a makerspace lab on site. It’s





improvement that’s inspiring, and one that I’m proud and privileged to share. 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.



November 2019

Is that email really from ‘the boss?’


Explosion of Business Email Compromise fraud The Better Business Bureau – Rockford Regional Office held a press conference on Sept. 26 on an in-depth study addressing a 1,300 percent surge in business e-mail scams, which have cost businesses and organizations more than $3 billion in the past three years. The Better Business Bureau International Investigations Initiatives study, “Is That Email Really From “The Boss?” The Explosion of Business Email Compromise Fraud,” describes how Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud has resulted in more losses than any other type of fraud in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. BEC scams target specific individuals with emails, which direct them to send money to “new” bank accounts for trusted business leaders, partners, customers, employees or home buyers. The fraud has tripled over the last three years and jumped 50 percent in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2017. In 2018, 80 percent of businesses received at least one of these emails. There is broad consensus among law enforcement and internet security companies that 90 percent of BEC groups operate out of Nigeria. On Aug. 22, 2019, 80 defendants were indicted in Los Angeles for BEC fraud in a major effort led by the FBI. Most of the defendants are Nigerian nationals. The group was responsible for at least $6 million in losses.

Six Types of BEC to Watch The FBI recognizes at least six types of activity as BEC fraud, depending on who appears to be the email sender: ■ The CEO directing the CFO to wire money to someone. ■ Vendors or suppliers asking that invoice payment be made to a different bank account. ■ Executives requesting copies of

employee tax information, such as W-2 forms in the United States ■ Realtors, title companies or lawyers redirecting proceeds from sales of homes or other real estate into a new account. ■ Senior employees seeking to have their pay deposited into a new bank account. An employer or clergyman appealing to the recipient to buy gift cards on their behalf.

Develop Smart Email Habits To thwart scammers, businesses need to improve general awareness, employee training and internet security. ■ Use the telephone to confirm requests before acting. Most BEC fraud could probably be stopped if employees directed to send money simply called the person supposedly asking them to send money and ask them to confirm it. ■ Verify changes in information about customers, employees or vendors. If an employee or vendor claims that their contact information has changed, ensure that the old contact information is no longer active by trying to reach the person using the old information. ■ Train all employees in internet security. ■ Require multi-factor authentication. ■ Change settings so that all emails coming from outside an organization are flagged with a warning. ■ Monitor email rules used when someone else is in an account. ■ Limit the number of times people can enter incorrect login information without having to contact an administrator. ■ Enable systems that authenticate emails. The FTC provides helpful information explaining how these systems work. Other useful tips can be found at


Nonprofit sector: Indicator of overall community health

There’s power behind partnerships with business community

Nonprofits play a vital role in building a healthy community; providing critical services that contribute towards economic stability and mobility. They educate our children, care for the sick and dying, provide shelter for the homeless, build job skills for the unemployed, and more. A nonprofit taught my son to play baseball, supported my family when my grandmother was struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, and comforted my aunt and cousins when my uncle was dying from cancer. Nonprofits are the soul of a community AND an economic driver. The Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE) recently collected data on the State of the Nonprofit Sector. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonprofit employment continued its record growth; expanding by two percent between 2016 and 2017, compared to 1.5 percent for for-profit employment. The nonprofit workforce edged out the manufacturing workforce in 2017; maintaining its position as the third largest workforce among U.S. industries, behind retail trade and food accommodation.

Magnitude of Local Nonprofit Sector NICNE gathered IRS data and found that there are 1,259 nonprofits in Winnebago County, including 509 with assets totaling $4.7 billion and revenue totaling $1.8 billion. Rockford’s share of nonprofit private employment was 13.2 percent, compared to the national average of 10.2 percent, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. NICNE collected data on 52 responding nonprofits in Winnebago and Boone County. It found: ■ 1,500 full-time and 2,500 part-time employees, with $82.3 million in salaries. ■ 83 percent of nonprofit employees reside in Winnebago County. ■ 65 percent of nonprofit leaders are women. ■ 84 percent of execs had a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 48 percent a master’s degree or higher; suggesting that nonprofits are drawing an educated workforce. ■ 7,567 volunteers each year. ■ More than $43.7 million in grant income spent in our community last year. ■ More than $39.3 million invested in the community last year through the purchase of local goods and services.

Leading a Welcoming Community Nonprofit leaders are the voice of

the people they serve. Thanks to the combination of strong community relationships and intimate local knowledge, they understand better than anyone complex community needs and the best ways to meet them. Many social issues in our community take place within a context of structural inequity, keeping some individuals from achieving equitable outcomes and a true sense of belonging. As advocates of equity, nonprofits pay explicit attention to policies, practices and culture that reinforce patterns of inequity. Without vigilant attention, efforts to align and coordinate resources can inadvertently reinforce institutional patterns that promote disparities and constrain progress for our most vulnerable community members. According to research by the Gallup Organization and the Knight Foundation, the number one trait identified as decisive in determining residents’ attachment and belonging to a community was “openness.” Researchers asked whether the community was a “good place for” groups such as senior citizens, racial and ethnic minorities, families with kids, LGBTQA, college graduates and immigrants. But how does a community make itself more welcoming and make all people feel as though they belong? Laws and policies can only go so far. Nonprofits may be those leaders that ensure openness, inclusion, engagement and belonging for all citizens.

How the Business Community Can Help Business leaders are often invited to the table when critical policy-making decisions are made. The business sector can use its convening power and networks to facilitate introductions and ensure nonprofits participate in community challenge conversations. Business leaders can acknowledge the critical role that nonprofits play in leading and informing initiatives and projects, in understanding entrenched systems barriers, and in engaging people who have typically been marginalized; to ensure all voices are heard. At a time when we need change more than ever, it is critical that nonprofits are included in policy-making discussions, so economic growth and opportunity are inclusive of ALL people in our community. Pam Clark Reidenbach is executive director of Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence at NIU. The full State of the Nonprofit Sector Report was set for release at the end October 2019. The views expressed are those of Reidenbach’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


November 2019

Regional health departments issue statement of concern Outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use and vaping The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments are investigating a multistate outbreak of severe lung injury associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping products (devices, liquids, refill pods and/or cartridges). State and local public health departments are leading the investigation, and the CDC providing technical support to help systematically collect data. The nine local health departments that comprise the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Northern Illinois Rockford Region are deeply concerned by the growing epidemic affecting mainly young people and alarmed that the epidemic cannot be traced to a specific company, product or component of these vaping/e-cigarette devices.

They Urge All Residents to: ■ Refrain from using e-cigarette or vaping products. ■ If you are currently using e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes. Contact the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES for other methods of quitting. ■ If you choose to continue to use e-cigarettes, monitor for symptoms, and contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about these health risks. ■ If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product, and you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak, see a healthcare provider. Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy these products (e.g., e-cigarette or vaping products with THC, other cannabinoids) off the street, and should not modify or add any substances to these products not intended by the manufacturer.

Regardless of the Ongoing Investigation ■ Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette products. ■ Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette products. ■ Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products. ■ Adults who currently smoke or vape are encouraged to talk with their provider about quitting or call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES. The IDPH Northern Illinois Rockford Region health departments are working with our healthcare partners to continue to report any possible cases of e-cigarette, or vaping associated severe lung injury and to identify potential vaping devices and products to help further the investigation. The IDPH Northern Illinois Rockford Region health departments encourage the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected tobacco or e-cigarette-related health or product issues to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal: https://www. For additional information and guidance, go to the CDC and IDPH websites: ■ IDPH - http://www.dph.illinois. gov/topics-services/preventionwellness/tobacco/e-cigarettesand-vapes ■ CDC - tobacco/basic_information/ecigarettes/severe-lung-disease. html



DR. JOHN RUSSELL Skills on Point, LLC


November 2019




Sexual harassment education mandatory in Illinois

Change coming soon for Illinois employers

New protections for those facing harassment

If you are an employer in Illinois, you are now required to offer annual sexual harassment education to all employees each year. The first stated deadline for compliance is January 2021, and annually thereafter. On Aug. 9, Governor J.B. Pritzker ratified the unanimously approved State Bill 75 into Public Act 101-0221, a bill initially introduced in January 2019 to help protect sexual harassment against casino workers, but quickly expanded to include all employers and employees working in Illinois. It’s coined the Workplace Transparency Act. This is meant to briefly unpack the key elements of the act and make readers aware of this new requirement before the first annual deadline for training: January 2021.

How Does This Affect You? If you are an employer in Illinois, you are now required to offer annual sexual harassment education to all employees each year. The first stated deadline for compliance is January 2021, and annually thereafter. Failing to comply comes with escalating fees commiserate to the size of your business and number of infractions. For businesses with four or fewer employees, the first-time noncompliance fee is $500; if larger than four employees, $1,000. Second offenses increase to $3,000; third offenses up to $5,000. The clear message being sent is that it is better to be compliant, and with this being an annual requirement, anticipate business-to-business solutions available to meet this requirement as discussed below.

asked to produce proof of completion.

How Does This Help Victims? Within





many documented statistics to the detrimental









workplace of



harassment in particular represent a massive human rights outcry, and as with most under-protected and under-reported responsibility

populations, of


the comes

at a personal and professional cost, with lost days, missed work and lost productivity -- not to mention the threat of recourse and a hostile work environment from the offender. The law provides key protections to victims, including confidentiality, the right to take time off to deal with your harassment claim (up to 12 working weeks), the right to not lose your job due to this, and the right to not be discriminated in current and future employment due to the claim. This helps people who are in bad situations control their own fate without the risk of losing their job, while filing orders of protection, undergoing therapy, training and the like.

There is far more in this bill than can be covered in this column. If your

What is Required to be Included?

organization is in need of training to

Training programs must include the following: 1. Common examples of sexual harassment. 2. Remedies available for victims of sexual harassment. 3. Responsibilities of employers to prevent, investigate, and correct sexual harassment. The duration of training should be, at minimum, an hour of time, as is being required by certain industries such as healthcare licensure renewals. Certification of training must be kept on file in the event that the employer is

Sexual Harassment Education for

meet the specific requirements of this law, our online product, Mandatory Illinois Employees, is offered at a corporate



includes all regulatory recordkeeping for your convenience. Dr. John Russell is a cardiothoracic surgery nurse practitioner at SwedishAmerican Medical Group and owner of Skills on Point, LLC. The views expressed are those of Dr. Russell’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Law aims to halt lagging salaries for women

Asking a prospective employee his or her salary history is a long-standing job interview question, and often the starting point for negotiating an applicant’s starting salary. Illinois employers may not realize that as of Sept. 29, 2019, it’s illegal to ask a job applicant this question as a condition of being interviewed, considered or hired. This is just one change resulting from amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 (IEPA), which prohibits discriminatory pay on the basis of sex or race (with a specific prohibition for compensation discrimination against African American employees). The amendments to the IEPA are primarily targeted at closing the gender pay gap, which currently reflects that women in Illinois earn about 21 percent less than men.

Broader in Scope; Tougher to Defend The amendments change the IEPA’s previous requirement that employers pay equally for work that requires “equal” skill, effort and responsibility, and now allows comparisons to those with “substantially similar” skill, effort and responsibility, thereby broadening the statute’s application. The amendments also make it harder for employers to defend IEPA violations by requiring employers to prove that any differences in pay: 1) not be based on or derived from a differential in compensation based on sex or another protected characteristic; 2) be job-related and consistent with business necessity; and 3) that the above two factors account for the difference in pay.

Salary History? Don’t Ask

Solutions for Training



The IEPA amendments prohibit employers from screening job applicants based on an applicant’s wage or salary history; requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; and requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of being considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose her prior wages or salary. Employers are also prohibited from seeking the salary history of a job applicant from the applicant’s current or former employer. The reasoning behind this amendment is fairly straightforward. Women tend to make less than men, and if employers rely on a woman’s salary at her last job to set her new salary, her salary will continue to lag behind her male counterparts. The lower salary could follow a woman throughout her career.

Employers may wonder what they can discuss with applicants. Employers may still provide information about compensation and benefits for the position at issue. Employers can also ask about an applicant’s expectations for salary and benefits, which may be an indirect way to learn how much the applicant was making without running afoul of the law. Of course, employees can still self-disclose their salary history. Even if they do so, their final salary should only be determined by skill and experience. One nuance is the IEPA amendments allow consideration of salary history for a current employee who is seeking another position with the same employer. The IEPA amendments also prohibit employers from requiring employees to sign a contract or waiver that would prohibit the employee from disclosing or discussing information about their salary or wages with anyone else. The exception to this rule is that human resource employees, supervisors or anyone else who has access to other employees’ salary or wage information can be prohibited from sharing that information.

Stiffer Penalties What happens if an employer violates the IEPA? A plaintiff can file a lawsuit in civil court within five years of the violation. Previously, a plaintiff could only recover lost wages and attorney’s fees and costs. Now, a plaintiff may recover all of his or her actual damages, plus up to $10,000 in “special damages,” costs and attorney’s fees. Employers are also subject to civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation for each employee affected.

Next Steps What should employers immediately do to ensure they do not violate the IEPA? First, make sure job application forms do not inquire about salary history. Then, train everyone involved in the hiring process about the IEPA so they understand what questions are prohibited. Finally, consider the proactive approach of reviewing your current wage and salary data to ensure that any pay discrepancies are defensible under the IEPA. Troy Haggestad is a partner at WilliamsMcCarthy LLC with extensive experience assisting clients with employment matters exclusively on behalf of management. The views expressed are those of Haggestad’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.



November 2019



Recreational marijuana becomes legal in January ROXANNE SOSNOWSKI Sosnowski Szeto, LLP

Employer considerations for adapting to the new law

Public Act 101-0027 establishes the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which was signed into law on June 25, 2019. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the act legalizes the possession and private use of cannabis for individuals over 21 years of age in Illinois. Municipalities are now able to adopt and enforce local ordinances to regulate possession and consumption of cannabis so long as the regulations and penalties are consistent with the act. The act has raised complicated questions from employers: Are employees allowed to use marijuana while working or on call? Are employees allowed to use marijuana “recreationally” during offduty hours? Finally, do we have a drug testing policy, and if not, is one needed? The act does provide protections for employers. Nothing in the act prohibits employers from adopting reasonable zero tolerance or drug-free workplace employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on-call. Also, nothing in the act interferes with any federal, state or local restrictions on employment including, but not limited to, the United States Department of Transportation Regulation 49 CFR 40.151(e), nor does

anything in the act impact an employer’s ability to comply with federal or state law, or cause it to lose federal or state contracts or funding.

When Okay to Use? An initial concern of employers is when may cannabis be consumed? There are certain specific activities that an employee cannot perform while using cannabis: 1) operating, navigating or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while using or under the influence of cannabis; 2) use of cannabis by a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, probation officer or firefighter while on duty; 3) use of cannabis by a person who has a School Bus Driver’s Permit or a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) while on duty; and finally, 4) driving under the influence and reckless driving based on THC impairment. While nothing in the act prohibits an employer from adopting reasonable zero-tolerance or drug-free workplace policies; employment policies concerning drug testing or regulations concerning smoking, consumption, storage or use

Nothing in the act prohibits employers from adopting reasonable zero tolerance or drug-free workplace employment policies.

of cannabis at the workplace or while on call, the policies themselves must be applied in a nondiscriminatory manner. Since the passage of the act, much discussion has occurred over the definition of “on call.” The act indicates an employee is deemed “on call” when the employee is scheduled, with at least 24 hours’ notice by an employer, to be on standby or otherwise responsible for performing tasks related to their employment. Many local government employers question the definition and applicability of “on call” as it relates to public safety employees that may be needed, in the instance of an emergency, with very short notice. The act does not seem to address this issue. With regard to discipline, an employer may discipline an employee for violating its workplace drug policy, just as an employer could before the passage of the act. If the employer elects to discipline an employee, the employer must give the employee reasonable opportunity to contest the finding. Also, the act amends the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act and prohibits discrimination for the use of a lawful product while off duty or not on call.

Employers Should Revise Policies One thing is certain, it is vitally important that Illinois employers adopt drug testing policies to address the law. While the act prohibits an employer from taking disciplinary action or discharging an employee due to the employee’s recreational marijuana use outside of work, an employer may discipline or discharge an employee for being under the influence of marijuana while at work. Some have opined that employers’ treatment of employees’ marijuana use will mirror their treatment of employees’ alcohol use. However, the visible and tangible effects of cannabis impairment may be more difficult to recognize than those of alcohol impairment. It is highly likely that the new act will result in future litigation over these and many other issues. Roxanne Sosnowski is a partner at Sosnowski Szeto, LLP, a municipal and employment law firm in Rockford. She serves as counsel for the City of Freeport and South Beloit, as well as the Villages of Rockton, Cherry Valley and Poplar Grove. The views expressed are those of Attorney Sosnowski’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


November 2019







Leadership Development How often do we actually consistently

Turns out, consistency works CAITLIN PUSATERI Rockford Chamber

do the thing we say we’ll do? How often do we live out the plans we’ve made, not constantly throwing the whole plan overboard at the first sign of waves?

Making progress, little by little

As of this writing, my husband and I have been committed to a specific goal for the past 78 days. We made a plan (100 days total) and — here’s the kicker — we’ve actually stuck with it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many well-intended plans I’ve made over the years only to have them thrown off track by this, or that, or that other that. There are lots of reasons that this time is working for my husband and I. Timing, motivation, obstacles … all of these have some sort of play into why we are seeing success right now. But, those things aside, I’ve found something even more interesting. When you make a plan and stick to it consistently – day in and day out – it turns out: you will see results. Crazy, huh? This clearly isn’t new information. Motivational after motivational speaker, business book after business book, consultant after consultant have preached this in one way or another. Little steps take you a great distance. Day in, day out you have to do the thing.

We’ve heard it all before in a variety of different ways. But, how often does it actually stick? How often do we actually consistently do the thing we say we’ll do? How often do we live out the plans we’ve made, not constantly throwing the whole plan overboard at the first sign of waves? For me? Hardly ever.

Cut Through Clutter When we look at our leadership, we really need to give consistency more credence. Consistency could solve a lot of headaches in the workplace. Consistent feedback for employees – regardless of what projects, fires or crises come crashing into your inbox or office – could make for more loyal, competent and engaged employees. Consistent recording of data – regardless of tediousness and amount of time it takes – could lead us to new information about clients, products or trends. Consistency in following timelines – regardless of how easy it is to push deadlines just one more time or wait just one more day

for another sale – could help us move forward without the last-minute rush and stress that burns employees out. But consistency isn’t sexy. It isn’t a sparkly new-fangled idea that’s flying off the shelf. Consistency is really hard. Consistency involves pushing through the chaos and keeping your eyes focused on what is most important – what you said you’d do. It involves tough decisions and even tougher conversations. It involves holding ourselves and others accountable and when we or others fail, being truly honest with ourselves about why. Consistency demands true honesty – something we don’t always like to face. But, for what consistency demands, it gives tenfold. Consistency gives us a steady way in an often chaotic world. It gives us progress – even if little by little. It gives us an anchor to build upon and continually come back to. Consistency gives our employees safety and understanding. It helps us deliver clear messages that frame expectations. It gives us common language, common goals,

and common practices. Consistency can be uniting and, interestingly, freeing. In a constantly changing world, I’m proud of the work my husband and I have done. This taste of stick-to-itiveness has been eye-opening. It has forced me to really come to terms with some truths about choices I make as well as areas in which I let other people over-influence my actions. It’s been a nice reset to be intentional, and it’s helped to have someone hold me accountable. But I have to ask myself … where else can consistency start working for me? Where can I start plugging in consistent behaviors and patterns in my professional life? Upon first glance, I’ve found quite a few spots that could use a little liberation via consistency. Really, the opportunities are endless, and that is exciting. Caitlin Pusateri is vice president, leadership development at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.



November 2019





economic development

Connecting dots for regional success Did you know the experts at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) have more than 50 years of combined experience assisting companies to grow, relocate, mine data and creating connections that increase the economic well-being of the region? The connections established between the RAEDC include companies that are our investors and non-investors, real estate professionals in and outside of our region, municipal leaders, service providers such as banks and legal firms, and educational institutions and apprenticeship organizations. The work of the RAEDC isn’t often in the spotlight, but the results are clear. We cohesively connect the dots between regional municipal partners, workforce development organizations and businesses to create win/win solutions. Creating and nurturing these sustainable relationships is what keeps the RAEDC as a top-of-mind resource companies have come to rely on when they are looking to expand their facilities, services or book of business. Our goal is to keep companies in our region, create opportunities for primary job growth, and insulate our region from recessions through solid economic development methodology and industry diversification. The RAEDC tackles this objective through multiple methods. We market our region outside our region through print and digital channels including

search engine marketing, display advertising and incorporating highly targeting publication advertising similar to what was done recently with Fortune magazine. By attending conferences and joining associations, the RAEDC ensures we are utilizing best practices and can keep abreast of new trends in economic development. When the RAEDC exhibits at tradeshows or attends a tradeshow it gives us the ability to learn more about what companies need, what opportunities we have as a

community to meet those needs and insights into how we are better able to meet the needs of companies that are looking to relocate. An additional benefit of tradeshows is the opportunity to connect businesses located outside our area with companies located inside our area that further diversify services or industries. There is an intrinsic joy in economic development when you can create successful connections between companies. An additional aspect of the daily work of economic development

Hennig Inc., held a groundbreaking for a 125,000 square foot, $17 million expansion at their 9900 N. Alpine Road location. The expansion will house its backup power generator packaging operations.

includes education. Our region had established nimble, industry-specific and customized education-to-workforce pipelines; ensuring the region has the skilled workforce essential to fulfilling the requirements of jobs that are good today, tomorrow and in the future. This ranges from connecting companies with Rock Valley College to create specific training programs to organizing AS9100 training. It always comes back to creating strong connections and relationships. Often, as companies are conducting familiarization tours of Winnebago County, they comment that we punch above our weight when it comes to workforce solutions, quality of life, and affordability; competing with regions three to four times our size. This is because our community has those difficult conversations and works collaboratively to find sustainable solutions. All of these methods are necessary to create a heightened awareness of our region and the opportunities available to companies and their employees. This is what propels our region to Top 25 status as a great place to locate a business, expand a business or attract employees into the region. On the surface, economic development may seem like it’s about companies, but really, economic development is about people.

CARE seminar: Up in smoke The Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s (RAEDC) CARE Committee and Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) organized Up In Smoke, a seminar to help regional businesses understand the implications of the cannabis law taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Working with David Ritter of Barnes & Thornburg LLP from Chicago, the IMA and the CARE team helped 80 company representatives untangle and understand the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act’s impact on employers. Some of the key take-aways from the seminar included: ■ Illinois’ legalization of recreational

cannabis goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and its provisions will have wide-ranging implications for employers in every industry. ■ Although employers are allowed to maintain “zero tolerance” policies, because cannabis is now a “lawful” product, its use outside of the workplace is not prohibited. ■ Employers should consider not drug testing for cannabis. The lack of scientific standards or chemical tests for cannabis impairment and the interplay of federal enforcement policy makes the future application of workplace drug tests challenging. “Understanding the legal implications for manufacturers and regional businesses relating

Company representatives try to untangle Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act’s impact on employers at RAEDC seminar. Photo by David Ritter, Barnes & Thornburg LLP. to this new law is critical,” said Gerald Sagona, VP for business development, RAEDC. “It was good to see so many different

types of businesses attending.” The RAEDC would like to thank IMA, the CARE Team and David Ritter.



November 2019





manufacturing news Rockford region celebrates local manufacturing day For the last six years the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Career Education

Associates of North Central Illinois (CEANCI), regional school districts, and our

manufacturers get together to host students to tour manufacturing facilities, talk about careers in manufacturing, and participate in an expo featuring

manufacturers and higher education institutions. Thursday, October 10 was the Rockford Region Manufacturing Day. In all, 18 manufacturers opened their doors to student groups. More than 450 student from 15 high schools in

the region participated in the tours, and than all convened at Radisson Hotel and Conference Center for roundtable career discussions and visits to the

Manufacturing Expo. This is a great program highly valued by the students, educators and employers. Thanks to all who participated in the event itself, as well as those who planned it!

Manufacturing News sponsored by AME.


SPECIAL SECTION: Financial Fluidity

November 2019




Healthy cash flow

Taking a look at dividend investing

Time for your annual check-up? Businesses are generally run by people that are hard-working, highly skilled and optimistic. Nonetheless, the U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that just 31 percent of small businesses survive more than seven years. Eighty percent of those usually fail for the same reason: cash flow problems. A relative few see the issue coming, and often too late. It may sound simplistic, but the relative health of a business can’t be measured by sales growth alone – and profits, while looking good on paper, can be deceiving. When business is going well, entrepreneurs and business managers can’t be faulted for reinvesting their hard-earned profits in their company and buying new equipment, leasing more space and hiring skilled workers. Call it ‘rational’ exuberance, but it’s easy in the midst of booming business and record sales to take on added overhead and expense. Whether this investment will ultimately be a boon to business, or contribute to the business going bust, usually comes down to how well the business understands its cash flow. What happens when sales stagnate, or accounts receivables stretch out? How will this new ratio of receivables to expenses impact the business’ ability to pay its bills? Will cash be available in the lean months? TERRANCE ROSENBERGER, Northwest Bank

Lower Your Cash Flow Pressure Keeping a close eye on cash flow, and developing a ‘cash flow first mindset,’ is of paramount importance. These businesses closely monitor their cash flow by regularly taking the pulse of the most common metrics, including bank balances, sales and receivables, inventories, payables and even the credit terms they offer. For the owners of smaller businesses without a lot of support staff, it helps to have a basic understanding of accounting, and the ability to read a balance sheet or financial statement. A simple, powerful business accounting software, such as QuickBooks, can make it

much easier to track cash flow and perform many accounting responsibilities.


May be especially good strategy when nearing retirement

Checking your cash flow vital signs on a regular basis will enable you to identify potential ‘business life threatening’ issues early, and then take appropriate action. Perhaps the solution is as simple as invoicing earlier, to free up cash that’s typically tied up too long in outstanding receivables. Or you’ve finally been able to identify and address those many small expenses and non-operating costs that, collectively, take a big bite out of your cash flow every month. Or maybe you’ve developed a strategy to reach out to those repeat customers that you’ve determined have stopped spending with you.

Stay in Shape Developing a healthy business and getting your cash flow in shape requires the right mindset and regular habits. You might consider having a business banking ‘trainer’ that can help you take a ‘cash flow first’ approach, identify financial risks and formulate a business growth plan going forward. Your business banker can help you manage cash, and provide the guidance and resources necessary to access it when needed to help fuel growth and meet various financial obligations. 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. Your business banker will provide guidance with respect to the many loan opportunities that exist through a bank, as well as through the Small Business Administration guaranteed loan programs and other local, state and federal programs. Terrance Rosenberger is senior vice president &

The most visible and most understandable way to judge a stock’s performance is by the rate of growth of its share price. It’s easy to focus only on capital gains, but one often-overlooked aspect of investing is dividends. The potential growth of dividends paid back to shareholders can, over time, be significant. Employing a strategy combining market growth and reinvested dividends can help you reach your financial goals while potentially minimizing the amount of risk in your portfolio. The stability offered by regular dividends can help balance out the generally more volatile nature of investing in stocks.

What Is a Dividend? A dividend is a distribution of a corporation’s earnings to its shareholders, typically made on a quarterly basis. Dividends are paid on a per-share basis, so the more shares an investor owns, the greater the dividend he or she will receive. A company’s dividend payout ratio is the percentage of earnings distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends and is calculated by dividing dividend per share by its earnings per share. The dividend payout ratio offers an indication of how well earnings support the dividend payments. More mature companies tend to have higher dividend payout ratios. Dividends are one indicator of a company’s health. By issuing a dividend, a company is exhibiting its healthy cash flow and signaling that it believes its growth is sustainable.

director of business banking at Northwest Bank.

Who Issues Dividends?

The views expressed are those of Rosenberger’s and

Many, but certainly not all, companies issue dividends. Companies that are experiencing rapid growth (growth stocks) generally do not pay dividends, instead choosing to plow their earnings back into their operations with the hopes of eventually rewarding investors through capital appreciation. Dividend-issuing stocks typically offer less volatility than do growth stocks, because the dividends they pay are based on the company’s profitability, not market perceptions. In a bear market, this can be especially attractive, as dividend-paying companies may continue to provide a return while other growth-oriented stocks are declining. Dividends also help encourage stability in ownership and lower turnover, as investors are more likely to hold onto the stock during difficult times in order to receive the dividend.

do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

Reinvesting Dividends Investors who receive dividends can do one of two things with the proceeds – take a cash payment or use the money to purchase more shares. Reinvesting allows investors to increase their position without providing additional capital, reducing the cost basis of the investment. Reinvesting also unlocks the power of compounding, a helpful way for investors to build wealth.

What to Look For In dividend investing, look for stocks that have a track record of consistently increasing their dividends. These are usually strong, stable companies that have self-imposed discipline to continue to perform well and earn a profit year in and year out. Dividends offer a means of keeping a company’s management in check, helping encourage sound, responsible decision-making. Most companies that issue dividends are very reluctant to either decrease or eliminate their dividends, as that sends a negative message to the investing public, which could possibly result in a sell-off of the stock. Maintaining and increasing dividend payments requires consistent earnings growth. Looking at a company’s earnings growth over time can help you determine if it will consistently offer dividends in the future. However, it should be noted that changes in market conditions or a company’s financial condition may impact the company’s ability to continue to pay dividends, and companies may also choose to discontinue dividend payments. Dividend investing may be an especially good strategy for baby boomers to adopt as they near retirement. Finding and investing in stocks that not only offer a solid dividend, but also increase their dividend payments can help provide retirement income without having to sell off assets. And in order to outpace the rate of inflation, it generally makes sense for retirees to include some equities among their holdings. For more information on dividend investing, please contact your financial advisor today. Tyler Luedke is a financial advisor with Stifel, Member SIPC and New York Stock Exchange. He can be reached at 815-654-5500 or The views expressed are those of Luedke’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


November 2019

SPECIAL SECTION: Financial Fluidity


On the road to financial fluidity JAKOB LOESCHER Savant Capital Management

MARY BETH BRUMMOND Savant Capital Management

We all have hectic lives. From caring for young children, to helping our aging parents, along with balancing a busy career and community commitments, it seems that there is never enough time. However, when it comes to your financial security, it is important to slow down and think about what is important to you. Financial fluidity is the ability to be financially comfortable based on your values, lifestyle and goals. As its name suggests, the meaning of financial fluidity will likely vary from person to person, and to that same note, what a person defines as financially comfortable will change over time. To determine what financial fluidity means for you, reflect on your personal, professional and lifestyle goals. Carve out some time, perhaps an hour or two, and really focus on what you hope to accomplish financially this year, in the next three to five years, and long-term. This year, you may want to travel somewhere new. In a few years, you could be sending your first child off to college. Long-term, you might like to buy a vacation home for your family to make memories in the years to come.

Slow down and pay attention

Once you have established your goals, the next step is to determine if you have the proper resources, budget and plan in place to achieve those goals. This is where paying attention comes in! On the road to achieving financial fluidity, it is important to develop a solid financial plan and make it a priority to follow it closely. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of strategies that maximize your savings, save on taxes and make more meaningful progress towards your goals.

Financial Plan Strategies The following strategies, when tailored to your values, beliefs and lifestyle, can have a meaningful impact on your financial future: Budgeting and Spending. Develop a budget and monitor your spending. By writing down your expenses the oldfashioned way, reviewing credit card and bank statements, or using a budgeting app, (such as Mint, Quicken or YNAB) you can determine how you spend your money. Review your cash flow history over several months and make sure to include one-time


As its name suggests, the meaning of financial fluidity will likely vary from person to person, and to that same note, what a person defines as financially comfortable will change over time.

or annual expenses (such as real estate taxes) in your budget. Does your spending match what is important to you? Are there areas where you could cut back in order to save more for future goals? Emergency Savings. Build up a fund for rainy day or unexpected expenses. It is recommended to set aside six months of living expenses for a single-income family, and three months of living expenses for a dual-income family. An emergency fund can help you avoid debt or dipping into retirement savings (often with penalties) when unexpected unemployment, medical expenses or home repairs occur. Retirement Savings. Are you participating in your employer’s retirement plan and contributing enough to receive the full employer match? If you are selfemployed, are you taking advantage of retirement plan savings options for business owners? College Savings. If you have children or grandchildren, chances are you’d like to help cover the cost of college. Contributing to a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan can save you tax dollars on earnings

and contributions. (Illinois residents can deduct up to $10,000 in contributions per year to an Illinois plan; $20,000 per year for married couples). Many states offer tax benefits for contributions made by residents to their state’s plan. Charitable Contributions and Gifting. If charitable giving is important to you, explore tax-efficient charitable gifting strategies like donor advised funds, gifting appreciated securities, and Qualified Charitable Distributions (if you are over 70½). These strategies not only support your desired charity but also save you tax dollars along the way. This is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment or tax advice. Please consult your financial professional(s) regarding your unique situation. Jakob Loescher, CFP®, ChFC®, CRPS®, CRPC®, AIF®, and Mary Beth Brummond, MA, CFP®, are financial planners at Savant Capital Management. The views expressed are those of Loescher’s and Brummond’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.



November 2019


Are we there (Top 25) yet? DAVID SIDNEY Transform Rockford

Launch of the Community Scorecard to track our progress

My three year old is learning the power of this question (Are we there yet?) when we travel somewhere. It’s an important question. By answering honestly, without being annoyed, I am providing him some degree of confidence to ensure that certainty we are still on track to reaching our destination. I also hear this question from several of you. Are we there (to becoming a Top 25 community) yet? One of the values of having rich and accessible data is that we can make sense of things around us that we would otherwise miss. It also keeps us honest and open about what is going well, and where improvement is needed.

Where We Compare to Similar Cities If you didn’t know, the Transform Rockford movement started in 2013, right around the same time when our community made the list of “most miserable cities in the U.S.” We had two options – accept the label and continue living in misery or decide to step-up and change. We chose the latter and the Transform Rockford movement was born with the goal of becoming a

“top 25 community” by the year 2025. Then (and today), we utilized brutal facts to understand ourselves and the conditions of our region. And now, we have more clarity on our community’s progress. Thanks to numerous volunteers and staff team members, Transform Rockford is pleased to announce the launch of our Community Scorecard that will compare our performance and trends to other community’s performance and trends. This interactive and easyto-read tool provides community stakeholders and residents with an ability to compare the Rockford region to similar metro areas with a similar population, and share of employment in the manufacturing sector, and to analyze data over time. The Community Scorecard tracks progress in 90 different indicators across 12 key themes using a quartile measurement ranking - green (first quartile - top 25%), yellow (second quartile), orange (third quartile) and red (fourth quartile - bottom 25%). We also want to point out that this is not a Community Dashboard in showing every single data point our

Thanks to numerous volunteers and staff team members, Transform Rockford is pleased to announce the launch of our Community Scorecard that will compare our performance and trends to other community’s performance and trends. collective communities have to offer (that will be coming soon!). However, this tool helps us understand what areas we are doing well in and where we need to improve.

Where We’re Doing Well One of the top three questions I am asked these days centers on how the community is doing toward becoming top 25 by 2025? By some standards, we rank in the top 25. For example, the Chicago-Rockford International Airport ranks among the top 20 airports in the nation for cargo logistics. This is great news, and we are proud to have an excellent airport in our region. But, what about macro themes like education, safety, neighborhoods, environment and equity? Our Scorecard & Metrics volunteer team created a compressive scorecard to help all of us understand our progress toward becoming a top 25 community. The team has released iterations of ranks and measure in the past through print editions, starting in 2017. Today, we now have an interactive online Community Scorecard that helps you see our community’s progress. Each theme and indicators use credible data

sources to help our region measure our shared values, vision & impact statements, and strategies being implemented in the community. Overall, our community is moving forward! If we look back to 2013, we have made significant progress, and we are well on our way to becoming a “top 25” community but, like all cities, we also still have challenges. I encourage you to view the Community Scorecard at www. Use this tool. It’s for you. It will help keep you informed, allows you to see what areas need some help and what areas are thriving. It’s up to all of us to help make those colors change from red to orange, orange to yellow and yellow to green. Watch the video to understand how the Community Scorecard works, areas of measurement, our rank, and the progress we are making toward becoming a top 25 community. David Sidney is executive director of Transform Rockford. The views expressed are those of Sidney’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


November 2019

New Chamber Board Members Slated The Rockford Chamber’s nominating committee, headed by board member Rick Zumwalt presented a slate of nominees for the Chamber Board of Directors at its Oct. 22 meeting. In announcing the slate of candidates, Chamber President Einar Forsman noted that there were many qualified candidates for each position on the board. “We’re confident those members nominated will represent the Rockford area business community with distinction.” New board members recommended to be nominated for a three-year term to begin Jan. 1, 2020 are: ■ Brent Bernardi, Alpha Controls & Services LLC ■ Carly Lamonica, LaMonica Beverages, Inc. ■ Rob Young, Midwest Packaging and Container ■ Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D., Rockford University For additional three-year terms, the following individuals are recommended for reappointment under our bylaws: ■ LaVonne Brown, Savant Capital Management

■ Paula Carynski, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center ■ Sam Castree, Staff Management, Inc. ■ John Schuster, Rosecrance Health Network ■ Karl Swanson, Rockford Bank & Trust Co. ■ Michael Iasparro, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP To be elected as an officer for the coming one-year term, to begin Jan. 1, 2020 and expire Dec. 31, 2020: ■ Chair Elect: Dan Ross, Fehr Graham Andy




Benson Mark



Cherryvale Mall, will complete nine years of service on the board on Dec. 31, 2019; the maximum permitted under the current Chamber bylaws. The board will vote on the nominating committee’s recommendations at its Nov. 26, 2019 meeting. For more information about the board nomination process, contact Einar Forsman at 815-316-4304.




ROCKFORD READY Continued from front page

are more careerfocused programs that provide specific skill sets and certifications to go directly into the workforce. “We are listening closely to what our area business and industry leaders are saying is needed to help their employees acquire the necessary skills and education they need for continued leadership and management growth,” said Rockford University President Dr. Eric Fulcomer. “Rockford Ready is an excellent example of how two organizations can come together to provide a creative and viable continuing education option to specifically address those needs. I’m impressed with our respective faculty and administrators who worked side-by-side to design this innovative bachelor’s completion curriculum. We are excited to launch the program here today with our RVC colleagues.” RVC President Dr. Doug Jensen

adds, “Rockford Ready creates an important new educational pathway for RVC graduates that provides our students and graduates seamless access to an affordable, high-quality local bachelor degree completion program in business management. Our mutual goal with Rockford University is to be receptive and responsive leaders in educational opportunities for our region. Rockford Ready is an excellent example of a program doing that, and one that is sure to offer greater opportunities for career advancement.” v For more information about the Rockford Ready program, contact: Rock Valley College – Advising; rvc-ata@ or 815-921-4100 or, Rockford University – Adult & Graduate Studies; or 815226-4040



November 2019

Rockford Chamber hires membership development executive JEFF BAILEY JOINS THE TEAM TO LEAD MEMBERSHIP GROWTH The Rockford Chamber of Commerce welcomed Jeff Bailey as its new membership development executive. Bailey started October 15th and is responsible for membership outreach, engagement and education to support the Chamber and its initiatives. Bailey has more than 30 years of experience in project management, as well as sales and marketing in the construction and real estate industries. He has an entrepreneurial spirit and strong diversity and inclusion experience. Bailey is enthusiastic about working with the Rockford Chamber and stated that “the Chamber is doing great work in our community through its advocacy, educational and leadership development programs to promote economic growth. I recently returned to the area and was a graduate of Auburn High School. I am looking forward to being part of the changes happening in our region.” In addition to his professional experience, Bailey’s volunteer service includes working with youth and seniors. He is looking at ways of reconnecting to the community through additional volunteer opportunities. “We are excited to have Jeff join the Rockford Chamber team,” said Einar Forsman, president and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “He is an outstanding professional who looks forward to cultivating strong relationships within the region. Our members and the business community will benefit from his skills, experience, and enthusiasm that he brings to the Chamber team.”




November 2019



U.S. Indicators September 2019

Consumer Price Index Unemployment Rate

Microbrewery business is hopping In celebration of Manufacturing Week in October, the U.S. Census Bureau focused on a rapidly growing industry in the manufacturing sector: microbreweries. In Virginia’s Loudoun County, a booming and affluent exurban community about 30 miles outside of Washington, D.C., 10 of the 12 breweries in business in 2016 opened their doors since 2012. All of them can be defined as “craft breweries,” small and independent businesses that combine traditional brew styles with innovative ingredients. Loudoun County is not alone. Almost 400 counties that had at least one brewery in 2016, did not have any in 2012. Every one of the 50 states and just over a quarter of the nation’s 3,143 counties have at least one brewery. Across the United States, the craft brewery business is hopping. In one fiveyear period, the number of breweries more than tripled and the most growth happened in small, craft-brewery establishments that have fewer than 50 employees.

Brew Business Booming Nationwide According to the County Business Patterns program, between 2012 and 2016 (the most recent available data), the total number of breweries skyrocketed from 880 to 2,802. Of that total, 2,605 had 49 or less employees. These small businesses employed more than 55,000 workers with a total annual payroll of $2.6 billion.

States Where Beer is Flowing Not a single U.S. state saw a decline in the overall number of breweries between 2012 and 2016. In 2016, the states with the highest number of breweries were: California (368), Colorado (204), Washington (162), New York (152) and North Carolina (129). These states also saw the greatest increase in the number of new establishments. States that had the largest growth in breweries between 2012 and 2016 were: West Virginia, Wyoming, Mississippi, South Dakota and Arkansas.

What’s on Tap in Counties There was significant brewery expansion at the county level. The top five of these “new brewery

3.5 percent

      

Payroll Employment Average Hourly Earnings Producer Price Index Employment Cost Index counties” were: Clark County, Wash. (+13); Adams County, Colo. (+6); Will County, Ill. (+6); Hampshire County, Mass. (+6); and Monmouth County, N.J. (+6). The five counties that have the most breweries and their growth since 2012: San Diego County, Calif. (73 breweries, up 306 percent). King County, Wash. (53 breweries, up 165 percent). Angeles County, Calif. (51 breweries, up 467 percent). Cook County, Ill. (40 breweries, up 344 percent). Denver County, Colo. (39 breweries, up 388 percent).

Giving People What They Want Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, thinks the trend toward smaller breweries is largely demand-driven. Consumer taste is shifting and support for local businesses is rising. “It is similar to the trend toward specialty coffee,” Watson said. “We are also seeing it in distilleries and wineries.” Watson uses Census Bureau data in his work for the Brewers Association, such as single-year age demographics of the population age 21 and over. In some states and counties, microbreweries have opened soon after state and local government regulations changed. Virginia, for example, began allowing breweries to sell their brands for consumption both on- and off-premises in 2012. The legislation also allows breweries to offer samples of their products to drink on the premises. Since then, the number of breweries increased statewide from 21 to 98 in 2016. The strong, noncompetitive support in the craft brewery community can also contribute to growth in this industry. When brewers need information or advice, they can turn to other breweries through networks such as the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild and the Pink Boots Society, an organization of women in the industry. Source: Jane A. Callen, senior editor/writer, and Andrew W. Hait, survey statistician/ economist, U.S. Census Bureau.

0.1 percent

Productivity U.S. Import Price Index U.S. Export Price Index

136,000 $0.01 0.3 percent 0.6 percent (second quarter, 2019) 2.3 percent (second quarter, 2019) 0.2 percent 0.2 percent

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment Rates Region / State / Nation June 2019

July 2019

Aug 2019

Sept 2019
















United States





Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Many U.S. households do not have these contributors to wealth A recent U.S. Census Bureau report on household wealth in 2015 found that homeowners’ median net worth was 80 times larger than renters’ median net worth. Just two assets — home equity and retirement accounts — accounted for 62.9 percent of households’ net worth in 2015, according to the findings. Yet 37% of households did not own a home and 47.1% did not have a retirement account.

HOUSEHOLD WEALTH HIGHLIGHTS ■ 90.9% of households held accounts at a bank or credit union, yet accounts were only 8.5% of total household net worth. ■ Households without health insurance all or part of the year had dramatically lower median wealth: $16,860, compared to $114,000 for households with health insurance for the entire year. ■ Unmarried female householders (owns or rents the home) ages 35 to 54 had a median wealth of $14,860. That represented 39.5% of their unmarried male counterparts’ wealth. The difference disappeared at ages 55 to 64, when both unmarried women and men who were heads of households had a wealth of about $60,000. ■ Asians had a median household wealth of $156,300 and non-Hispanic whites of $139,300, compared with $12,780 for black householders and $19,990 for Hispanic householders. ■ Households in which the most educated member held a bachelor’s degree had a median wealth of $163,700, compared with $38,900 for households with a high school diploma.



November 2019



Alignment Rockford launched its Pathways Sponsorship Program, an opportunity for businesses to partner with Rockford Public Schools and play a key role in developing Rockford’s future workforce. Seventeen local businesses and organizations so far have confirmed their partnerships.

KMK Media Group completed a video showcasing the Sterling Park District’s new 35,000-sq.-ft. Westwood Fitness & Sports Center. It designed marketing materials for Boylan Catholic High School to promote its Nov. 3 open house, academic and extracurricular offerings, and financial assistance available to students. Rosecrance received praise for quality of services and care provided to clients by the Joint Commission. A team of surveyors reviewed 25 Rosecrance sites throughout Illinois and Wisconsin over five days in August. Rosecrance has been accredited since 1984. WATT Global Media announced that Bonin Bough will present “Hackonomy,” explaining how to create value for your business by breaking things at its Petfood Forum, April 27 to 29, 2020 in Kansas City, Mo. Rockford Systems, LLC., launched its Stallion Quick Ship Program, a best-in-class fulfillment program that provides fast delivery of valve safety trains, also called “gas trains” or “fuel trains,” to improve organizational planning, productivity and profitability. WATT Global Media’s Industria Avícola magazine published its 2019 Guía Anual (annual guide), featuring detailed information on hundreds of global suppliers serving the Latin American poultry industry. WATT launched a new website,, building upon its premier Feed Strategy publication, serving the worldwide compound feed industry. Woodward, Inc.’s Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.1625 per share for the quarter, payable on Dec. 2, 2019 for stockholders of record as of Nov. 18, 2019. Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois received a $25,000 State Farm® Neighborhood Assist Grant to fight human trafficking, thanks to a 10-day social media voting campaign. In August, 163,000 people cast more than 4.4 million votes for their favorite causes. Rockford Park District’s Winter

Junior Golf Clinics, one-hour evening sessions for future golfers ages 5 to 7, take place November 2019 to February 2020. Register at least one week prior to each session at indoor-golf. Savant Capital Management earned the No. 24 spot on the list of the Top 50 RIA Firms by Barron’s, rising 11 spots from 2018. Mosaic received $14,800 from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church for new furniture and much-needed upgrades to its group homes. It received $3,000 from Christ Lutheran Church for its community hub program and raised-bed gardens at Mosaic-supported group homes. Associated Bank gave $6,500 in September to Rockford Rescue Mission for its Works! Center and Vocational Program for homeless individuals and residents of its long-term programs, and those in the community wanting to strengthen job skills and secure employment. V2 Marketing completed a new website design for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Rockford at Rock House Kids received a donation through the Kjellstrom Family Foundation to pay for Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training. A Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois’ Machesney Park wares processor sorting through goods found a stack of money worth more than $5,200 in a donated sack. Alerting the store manager, the donor was found by outside camera footage tracing the car’s license plate number. Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois announced plans to open a new resource center at 3425 Orchard Road in Oswego. It sold its current building at 200 New Bond St., in Sugar Grove and hopes to operate from its new location in early 2020. Current locations are in Freeport, Lake Zurich, Rock Falls, Rockford and South Elgin. Mosaic celebrated the one-year anniversary of Rejoicing Spirits in October. In partnership with Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries, it provides a meaningful, inclusive worship service in a loving and supportive community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. First National Bank and Trust achieved another Superior 5-Star Rating from BauerFinancial, the Nation’s Premier Bank Rating Firm

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

for financial strength and stability. It has maintained Bauer’s recommended rating (5-Stars or 4-Stars) for 71 consecutive quarters. RAMP held a ribbon cutting on Oct. 10 for its second Project SEARCH site hosted by Northwestern Medicine at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb. The enrollment period for Illinois’ Low Income Energy Assistance Program to help with heating bills is open to seniors, 60 and older, and households with a disabled member who receives a permanent disability benefit, and is at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. On Nov. 1, the program expands to households with children younger than six, and those where service has been or will soon be cut off. After Dec. 1, all other qualifying households may apply. Discovery Center Museum opened the new Bubble Play exhibit gallery, funded by the Public Museum Capital Grants Program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Rockford Art Museum opened a new art exhibition, “Bold Abstractions: Paintings from the Thoma Collection,” on view through Jan. 26. First National Bank and Trust collected 45,080 pounds of unwanted electronics through three free electronic recycling events in Clinton, Wis., and Roscoe and Winnebago, Ill. Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois securely disposed the unwanted items, thanks to a $1,950 check by the bank for administration costs. Wesley Willows received notification that it achieved five year accreditations from both the Commission on Accreditation of Rehab Facilities (CARF) and Educational Guidelines Leading Toward Excellence (EAGLE). It is one of only eight organizations nationwide that have this dual accreditation. Peterson Meadows celebrated the grand opening of the Dick & Pat Nyquist Family Chapel on Sept. 18. The 6,000-sq.-ft. addition houses a chapel/community space and dedicated fitness center for residents, staff and the community. SwedishAmerican partnered with the United Way of Rock River Valley in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Children, birth to age 5, who live in the Meridian School District receive free books when they register at or in person at

the SwedishAmerican Davis Junction Clinic. Mercyhealth hosts a free and informal breastfeeding support group at Javon Bea Hospital– Riverside, fourth floor, room 4141, on Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. No registration but call 815-9715020 for questions. Wesley Willows employees delivered 300 cold weather kits – each containing a hat, pair of gloves and pair of socks – to students at Conklin Elementary School on Oct. 28. More than 30 employees donated the children’s winter gear and more than $81, as well as time to assemble the kits, over a four-week period in September and October. Rockford Park District and Illinois Youth Soccer Association announced a partnership to allow the biggest soccer association in Illinois to use Mercyhealth Sportscore One and Mercyhealth Sportscore Two as home base for its major tournaments, such as the Olympic Development Program and Illinois Youth Soccer Association State Cup Finals. The partnership will provide the district with $50,000 yearly for the next five years. The district faces a $1.2 million deficit for 2020. PCI Pharma Services opened its newly expanded Clinical Center of Excellence in Rockford, with 30,000 square feet of extra space for its primary and secondary packaging, labeling and 2 to 8° Celsius cold chain storage, a new customer reception area and increased office space for staff growth. Rockford System expanded its industrial safety portfolio with cut-resistant gloves and sleeves, safety goggles, hearing protection, respirators and reflective clothing designed to reduce the wearer’s exposure to job-related hazards, and complying with OSHA regulations and ANSI standards.

Are you a Member with News to Share? Send news releases and other items of interest to the business community to: The VOICE Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 308 W. State St., Ste. 190 Rockford, IL 61101

Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication


November 2019



Penalties for Workers’ Compensation violations increase The Illinois Legislature has taken steps to strengthen the non-compliance provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The new amendments, signed into law on July 12, 2019, have reduced the number of commissioners needed to enter a work-stop order against an employer from three to one, and increased the civil penalty for violations to $1,000 per day. The minimum penalty was raised to $20,000. Employers also might be barred from becoming self-insured or purchasing workers’ compensation insurance through an insurance broker for a year or until all penalties are paid. Once one commissioner, after a hearing, enters a work-stop order against a business operating without workers’ compensation insurance, the employer must cease all operations. For businesses considered extrahazardous, a commissioner may issue an emergency work-stop order, “ex-parte” (prior to a hearing). The work-stop order is posted at the employer’s place of business, and the business must remain closed until the commissioner orders otherwise. It is illegal for an employer to harass, discharge, refuse to rehire or discriminate in any way against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the law. Such conduct by the employer may give rise to a separate suit for damages in the circuit court. However, an employee, with a pending workers’ compensation claim may still be disciplined or fired for other valid reasons.

Source: Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission

Taiwan commits to multi-billion soy and corn purchase from Illinois A Taiwanese delegation announced its intention to purchase $2.2 billion in Illinois corn and soybeans over the next two years. On Sept. 24, representatives from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Soybean Association, the Taiwan Feed Industry Association and Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed letters of intent in Chicago to purchase $1.1 billion in soy and $1.1 billion in corn. Taiwan currently is Illinois’ third largest trading partner of agricultural products. According to the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois is the number one soybean producing state. It ranks second in the country in corn production. Source: Syverson’s Week in Review: Sept. 16 to 20; Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, 2019

Wet weather affects corn, hemp harvests The USDA released news in terms of corn crop quality. As of the beginning of October, only four percent of the state’s corn was harvested, compared to 45 percent at the same time in 2018. The USDA rated 47 percent of the state’s corn as good or excellent. Last year, 80 percent was rated as good or excellent at the same point in 2018. In August, the USDA declared an agriculture disaster for all 102 Illinois counties, in response to a request for federal aid from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, due to damage caused by heavy spring rains and historic flooding that delayed or stopped planting in many fields. Industrial hemp growers are gearing up for their first harvest under the state’s new industrial hemp program. They are required

to alert the Illinois Department of Agriculture before harvesting, so that the agency can test the crop to make sure it meets the limit of less than 0.3 percent THC content. If testing shows the content breaking the limit, the crop has to be destroyed, and that loss will not be eligible for federal crop insurance. The agency said, as of the beginning of October, none of the hemp acres were ordered to be destroyed. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 17,808 acres were licensed for hemp production this year. The total amount in production could be less than that, as hemp growers faced the same issues as corn and soybean farmers in terms of getting their crops in during an unusually wet year.

Residents receive help in removing old criminal offenses Sen. Steve Stadelman and Prairie State Legal Services partnered in the Second Chances Summit on Nov. 1. The event offered free legal assistance to help residents remove old offenses from their criminal records in order to find higher-paying jobs, better housing and return to school. More than 200 signed up, and efforts continued to recruit additional volunteer attorneys to accommodate those on a waiting list. Attorneys who trained for the event were eligible for continuing education credits. “State law allows people who meet certain criteria to ask a judge to erase or conceal the record of past transgressions, and we all prosper as a result,” Stadelman said in a news conference. “Missteps from your youth shouldn’t prevent you from adequately providing for yourself and your family for the rest of your life.” The summit this year included a presentation by Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross, “Cannabis Clemency: Illinois’ New Law Legalizing Marijuana.” Retail sales become legal in January 2020, and many of those with lower-level marijuana convictions could have their offenses removed from their records.

Source: Senator Stadelman’s Weekly Bulletin – Oct. 11, 2019



November 2019



FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 BMO Harris Bank Center hosts a Preseason Double Header with 5 p.m., tip-off with the Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls) vs. Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves), and 7 p.m., with Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat) vs. Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks). Tickets at the box office, 300 Elm St., Rockford, www.Ticketmaster. com or 815-968-5222.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 Rockford Park District hosts Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St. Visit nicholasconservatory. com. Byron Forest Preserve’s 28th annual, free Holiday Gift Sale, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N. River Road. More than 35 vendors with hand-crafted items. For questions, call 815-2348535, ext. 224, or visit www.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Discovery Center Museum presents Smashing Pumpkins, 1 to 4 p.m., inside Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. Call 815-963-6769 or visit www. Boylan Catholic High School hosts an Open House, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 4000 Saint Francis Dr., Rockford. Last guided tour at 12:30 p.m. Visit for details.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 Rockford Area Economic Development Council presents its Annual Meeting: Future Tense, featuring futurist Rebecca Ryan, 5 to 8 p.m., at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road. Visit events tab at

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 SwedishAmerican hosts Caring Canines therapy dog auditions, 5 to 9 p.m., on Nov. 7 and 12 in the SwedishAmerican Hospital conference rooms, 1401 E. State St., Rockford. Mandatory registration with Claudia Aschbrenner, caschbrenner@ or 779-6962166. Rockford University presents an MBA Program Information Session, 5:30 to 7 p.m., at Puri School of Business, 5050 E. State St. Register at 815-226-4040 or visit MBAInfoSession.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9 Rockford City Market presents Pet Market Pop-Up featuring

Puppy Yoga (fees apply), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 116 N. Madison St. Visit saturdaypopups. Junior League of Rockford hosts its Trivia Night fundraiser, 7:30 p.m., at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford. Seating is limited. Buy tickets at www.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10 Discovery Center Museum presents Toy Trains! 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Nov. 10 and 11, inside Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. Call 815-9636769 or visit www.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13 The Mercyhealth Rockford Memorial Auxiliary hosts its fourthannual Holiday Market, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Nov. 13 and 14 at Javon Bea Hospital-Riverside, 8201 E. Riverside Blvd., Rockford, in conference rooms B1 and B2. Skills On Point, LLC, presents Implementing Sexual Harassment Education for Illinois Employees, 7 to 8 p.m., at its Simulation Center, 6775 Fincham Dr., Suite #3, Rockford. Free. Seating is limited. RSVP John Russell at john@ or 309-370-7582. RAMP presents Parent Advocacy Training Workshops on special education and disability services for parents of children with disabilities, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., at 202 Market St., Rockford. Reserve at tinyurl. com/parenttrainings. Rockford Area Society of Human Resources Management invites you to watch national humorist and psychologist, Bruce Christopher, present Bambi versus Godzilla: Dealing with Difficult People. Registration at 7:15 a.m., book signing, 10 a.m., at Rock Valley Student Center Atrium, (room 1118) 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford. Register at

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14 First Northern Credit Union presents Breezing Through the Holidays, 5:30 to 7 p.m., at 104 N. Show Place Dr., Rockford. Register at Friday, November 15 Womanspace hosts an Opening Reception, 5:30 to 7 p.m., for its exhibition, Anything Goes, Nov. 17 to Jan. 5, at William Reif Gallery, 3333 Maria Linden Dr., Rockford. Artists are invited to submit up to three pieces, any medium. The gallery takes 40 percent commission on each sold piece; artist retains 60 percent. E-mail to exhibit.

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

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 The UIC Health Sciences Campus-Rockford hosts a free Open House for high school and college students and their family members, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 1601 Parkview Ave. Mini-info sessions and tours every half-hour. Contact Cindi Schaefer at 815-3955627 or email for questions.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18 SwedishAmerican presents Mended Hearts Chapter 317 Meeting, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at 1401 E. State St., first-floor conference center. Open to anyone; particularly those who have suffered a cardiac episode. Contact Jim Blank at

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 Marco presents Microsoft 365 Why it’s a bigger deal than you think, a Webex webinar, noon to 12:45 p.m. Register at www.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 SwedishAmerican presents Breastfeeding Basics, 6 to 8 p.m., at the first-floor conference center, 1401 E. State St., Rockford. Call 779-696-7081 to register.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23 Family Counseling Services presents Dancing With The Rockford Stars, 6 p.m., at Giovanni’s, Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford. Vote for your favorite act and buy tickets at www.dancewith or call 815-962-5585.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28 Court Street United Methodist Church hosts its annual, free Thanksgiving dinner, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 215 N. Court St., Rockford. Call 815-962-6061 for more information.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 Rockford IceHogs hosts Hockey Fights Cancer Night, 7 p.m., at BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St. Visit

DECEMBER 2019 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4 WOTM hosts its Holiday Event, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Thinker, 317 W. Jefferson St., Rockford.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 Rockford IceHogs hosts Teddy Bear Toss, 6 p.m., at BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St. Visit XPO Logistics and Home Depot host the sixth-annual Fill The Truck benefit for Circle of Change Veteran Dog Program and Rockford area animal shelters and rescue organizations, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Home Depot, 6930 Argus Dr., Rockford. Drop off donations of pet food, pet beds, toys, paper towels, cat litter, collars, leashes, etc. Merchandise raffle with proceeds going to Circle of Change. Call Don Rolon, 608-346-1122. Wine Tasting to benefit Barbara Olson Center of Hope, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Artale & Co., 6876 Spring Creek Road. No reservations needed. More than 30 wines to sample. Call 815-964-9275 for questions.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 Mercyhealth Development Foundation hosts its annual Holiday Toy Drive Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., in Café Merci at Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside, 8201 E. Riverside Blvd., Rockford. Make a gift online at mercyhealthtoydrive. org. RSVP at mophillips@mhemail. org or 815-971-4146.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14 Rockford City Market presents a Holiday Market Pop-Up, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 116 N. Madison St. Visit saturdaypopups.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18 Marco presents Cyber Security - The biggest gaps in your IT game plan, a Webex webinar, noon to 12:45 p.m. Register at www.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 Rockford City Market presents Small Business Saturday Holiday Market Pop-Up, 2 to 9 p.m. (same hours as Stroll on State), at 116 N. Madison St. Visit www. saturdaypopups.

Are you a Member with News to Share?

The third-annual Dasher Dash 5K takes place at 8 a.m., at UW Health Sports Factory, 305 S. Madison St., Rockford. Registration closes on Nov. 26 at 11:59 p.m. No race day registration. Register at www. or Fleet Feet, 1653 N. Alpine Road, Rockford.

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

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

Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication


November 2019


on digital

MEMBER PICS Ceremonial ribbon donated by SERVPRO of Rockford.

Mercyhealth dedicated the Pediatric Healing Garden at Javon Bea Hospital and Physician Clinic-Riverside on Sept. 18. The Development Foundation raised the $850,000 needed for the green space off the Pediatric Playroom on the third floor. SwedishAmerican held a beam-raising on Oct. 15 for its new Women and Children’s Tower on the main hospital campus at 1401 E. State St, Rockford. The $60-million facility is scheduled to open in spring of 2021.

Forest City Float/Namaste Studios held a ribbon cutting on Oct. 2 at 223 E. State St., Ste. 202, Rockford.

Restore Counseling & Recovery held a ribbon cutting and open house on Oct. 16 at 7210 E. State St., Ste. 206, Rockford.

Rockford Park District’s Indoor Sports Center held a ribbon cutting and open house on Oct. 4 at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park. Four Full Swing Pro 2 golf/multisport simulators were added as part of a full-scale renovation of the Skybox restaurant and bar; purchased using remaining Reclaiming First capital funding. Carz R’ Us, General Automotive & Tire held a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Oct. 24 at 10208 Smythe Ave., Machesney Park.

RAMP held a ribbon cutting on Oct. 10 for its second Project SEARCH site hosted by Northwestern Medicine at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb. Students with disabilities from DeKalb Community School District #428 high school will participate in the one-year program to gain competitive employment.

KFACT Inc., held a ribbon cutting on Oct. 25 at 318 N. Church St., Rockford, for the new KFACT Girls Space.



November 2019


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

1. Stacy Wallace

2. Dr. Stephanie Okwudi

3. Dr. Emiko Jamie Hayakawa

4. Dr. Stephen Bartlett

5. Karen Kleckner

6. William Jacobs

7. Laurie Servey

8. Peter Held

9. Drew Popejoy

10. AmyCarol Bedows

11. Matt Nyberg

12. Steven Larsen

13. Bob Frey

14. Kyle T. Anderson

15. Mike Broski

16. Jennifer O’Brien

in computer-aided design in September. The Society of Certified Insurance Counselors honored Kyle T. Anderson (14), A.W. Anderson Agency, Inc., with the CIC designation for five years. 17. Shekena Bailey

18. Chelsey Kreiser

BOARD APPOINTMENTS John Pingo, Ph.D., BCBA-D, CEO, Goldie B. Floberg Center, was appointed to serve on the Task Force on State Contracting with Private Nonprofit Human Service Providers by Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady. Stacy Wallace (1), V2 Marketing Communications, was appointed vice president of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Northern Illinois board.

NEW HIRES, PROMOTIONS, RETIREMENTS Mercyhealth promoted Sarah Stille to manager and Rebeka Bauer to supervisor of the emergency departments on its Riverside and Rockton campuses. It welcomed Dr. Stephanie Okwudi (2) to the anesthesiology staff of Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside and Rockton, and Dr. Emiko Jamie Hayakawa (3) to the surgery staff of Surgical Associates of Northern Illinois at Mercyhealth– Rockton. OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center named Dr. Stephen Bartlett (4) as vice president, chief medical officer. Blackhawk Bank welcomed Karen Kleckner (5) as vice president risk management and William Jacobs, (6) J.D., as compliance officer. First National Bank and Trust hired Laurie Selvey (7) as residential loan originator. Rockford Christian School announced its leadership team: Peter Held (8), principal of curricula and instruction; Drew Popejoy (9), grades 6-12 principal of student services;

19. Sharanda Warren

20. Dr. Hannah Orem

AmyCarol Bedows (10), MS principal, and Matt Nyberg (11), preschool & elementary school principal. Steven Larsen (12), music director, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, announced his retirement at the end of the 2020/21 season. The board has assembled a search committee and final candidates will be featured as guest conductors throughout the season between Larsen’s departure and the new director’s start. An announcement is anticipated by June 2022.

EMPLOYEE/COMMUNITY RECOGNITIONS, AWARDS Bob Frey (13), Fehr Graham, received the Autodesk Professional Certification

Mike Broski (15), volunteer and board member, YMCA of Rock River Valley, received the Alliance Community Impact Award during the Illinois Fall Staff Rally in Normal, Ill., in September. For the fourth straight year, Brent Brodeski, CEO, Savant Capital Management, was named on Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors. He earned the No. 52 spot in 2019. NIU EIGERlab FastPitch drew nearly 40 innovators and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in October. Winners: Anthony Valiulis, Acutrak (first); David Pack, Box Blox (second); Matt Reed (third); Mark Van den Avont, HexNest (student), and Branden DeWitt, Nabeau (Dale Falconer, “Spirit of Entrepreneurship”). Jennifer O’Brien (16), human resources director, Wesley Willows, completed the LeadingAge Illinois

aMBaSSaDOR DOR SPOTLIGHT Pat Casazza I have been an insurance agent for the last 31 years at Broadmoor Agency, Inc., in Rockford. I have always enjoyed being able to provide the best coverage for all my clients in all lines of insurance and being a One Stop Agent. I have been an ambassador for many years and met many of my clients through the ambassadors and chamber events. Many are not just my clients but have become very good friends. I have enjoyed being a board member for the Irish Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum. I feel there is so many things to do in Rockford and sometimes people forget to look here for something to do rather than elsewhere. My grandson graduated from Rockford University and began his work career here. I told him to join the IGNITE group as a good way to meet young professionals that are involved in the chamber. I know if he gets involved in the chamber now, at some point he will also become an ambassador.

Leadership Academy. Shekena Bailey (17), certified nursing assistant, passed her Illinois State Nursing Boards in October. Chelsey Kreiser (18), Staff Management, Inc., earned the Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and Sharanda Warren (19), the Society of Human Resource Management – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certifications. Dr. Hannah Orem (20) celebrated a six-year work anniversary at Upper Cervical Care Center – Rockford in October 2019. She is the only woman in Illinois to have a Level 3 National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) certification. Regan Leahy, alumna, Keith Country Day School (2007) and assistant manager, citizenship, Hogan Lovells, was recognized by United Nations Global Compact as one of its 10 2019 Sustainable Development Goal Pioneers at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September.

OF GENERAL INTEREST Dr. Mik Pietrzak, executive chairman, The Views development, and Nate Kass, professional engineer and co-owner, Fehr Graham, presented on The Views of Marion’s becoming the first WELL-certified senior living center in the United States at the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference.

Are you a Member with News to Share? Send news releases and other items of interest to the business community to: The VOICE Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 308 W. State St., Ste. 190 Rockford, IL 61101

Deadline is the 15th of the month preceding publication


November 2019


How to manage children’s online privacy In the United States, by age 12, about half of kids are on some form of social media, according to the Common Sense Media Census Report released in 2016. Overall, 56 percent of the children had their own social media accounts, based on parent survey responses, with the average age when initially signing up for social media as 12.6 years old. “What many people don’t realize, it’s the identities of children that are highly sought by data thieves because they know, in most cases, there will be no credit checks for years to come,” said Dennis Horton, director, Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “If a child knows that they shouldn’t take candy from a stranger on the street, they should also know that the same stranger is sitting behind a computer or mobile device offering something equally dangerous and not to accept it,” said Dona J. Fraser, vice president of the FTC’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit.

Most Commonly Reported Scams Creating accounts on websites. Social media sites are no exception. Many will sell unauthorized user details to advertisers looking to engage in targeted marketing. Contests and giveaways. These usually require a hefty amount of personal information to enter. Many are merely scams created for that purpose. Phishing. Kids often get junk mail, and more likely to be susceptible. The last thing parents want, or need, is a $500 bill from a fraudulent website. Understand apps. Downloaded apps might collect and share personal information about your child. They may include ads that aren’t labeled as such. Even free apps may include paid features,

and children may not understand that some apps or game features cost money, since they were labeled as free to download. File sharing sites. Many websites allow children to download free media. They may not know the sites often come with the risk of downloading a virus that allows identity thieves to access their computer and personal information.

Managing Online Privacy Get to know about settings. Nearly every social media application offers a suite of privacy settings. Don’t share your location. Nearly every app automatically tracks a user’s location. It’s a good idea for children to disable this feature on the apps they use. Advise them not to geo-tag their posts with their location either. And tell them you don’t want to announce your family is vacationing while your house sits empty. Use parental controls if necessary. Today Android, iOS and most web browsers offer built-in features that allow parents to monitor their children’s online activities. Share with care. What is posted online can last a lifetime: parents can teach their children that any information they share online can easily be copied and is almost impossible to take back. Talk to them about who might see a post and how it might be perceived in the future and share with them anything they do online can positively, or negatively, impact other people. Personal information is like money. Information about kids, such as games they like to play and what they search for online, has value – just like money. Parents should inform their kids about the value of their information and how to be selective with which apps and websites they visit and utilize.





Regional natural history museum focusing on the interpretation of regional natural history. 737 N. Main St., 61103 Anne Weerda 815-965-3433

Business consulting Melissa McCormick 815-289-5823


Special education 8702 N. 2nd St., Unit D Machesney Park, IL 61115 Rory Conran 815-975-3297

Security agency 7315 N. Alpine Road, Ste. G-5 Loves Park, IL 61111 David Mothkovich 800-781-9490 com

Providing security services you can depend on: Private detective; fingerprinting 7315 N. Alpine Road, Ste. F Loves Park, IL 61111 Azam Aldulaimi 815-904-6464

Stay current. Visit or other trusted websites for the latest information about browsing safely. Tune up your search engine. One’s search engine can be pressed into service for free. Once parents set restrictions, Google will block sites with explicit material (Preferences/SafeSearch Filtering). Set up online gaming privacy. Online gaming is the norm these days. Gaming often allows people to chat with one another while playing the game, through either text or voice. This can often be used to find information out from children. Know about CARU. CARU’s selfregulatory program provides detailed guidance to children’s advertisers on how to deal sensitively and honestly with children’s issues. These guidelines include, but go beyond, the issues of truthfulness and accuracy to take into account the uniquely impressionable and vulnerable child audience. Participants who adhere to CARU’s guidelines are deemed in compliance with COPPA and essentially insulated from FTC enforcement action as long as they comply with program requirements. Know about COPPA. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act protects personal information of children under the age of 13 on websites and online services — including apps. COPPA requires those sites and services to notify parents and get their approval before they collect, use or disclose

a child’s personal information. However, if your nine-year old tells Instagram they are 13 (the age requirement to use the app), he or she won’t be protected by this law. Know about FOSI. The Family Online Safety Institute brings a unique international perspective to the potential risks, and harms as well as the rewards of our online lives. The Good Digital Parenting web portal ( is a great resource. Teach your kids the language of online privacy. Discover together, the meaning of the most common terms found in privacy policies and terms of agreement: personal information, cookies, third party, license, user content, location information, log file information, monetization. Do a Google search if you don’t know what they mean. Read privacy policies together. Parents can have their children read the privacy policies and terms of use of any apps they want to use. If children grumble that “they are too long,” remind them of the importance of knowing what they are signing up for, and insist. If parents, family members or guardians think a site has collected information from their kids or marketed to them in a way that violates the law, it is important to report it to the Federal Trade Commission at and report the scam to BBB scam tracker. Source: Better Business Bureau



November 2019

MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS Thank you to members who renewed with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce in September, 2019 A-1 Dry Cleaners & Laundry Alpine Body Shop, Inc.

PACCAR Parts, A Division of PACCAR

Ambassador Homes, LLC

Panino’s Restaurant (Main Street)

American Advertising Federation of Northern Illinois

Panino’s Restaurant (State Street) Peterson Meadows

Bobcat of Rockford

Phelps Industries, Inc.

CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

PNC Bank

Colorwave Graphics, LLC

Porter Pipe & Supply Co.

Cream City Scale LLC

Presence Cor Mariae Center

Cremation Society of Illinois

Presence Saint Anne Center

Cross Creek Condominium Association

Project First Rate

Culver’s Restaurant

RBC Wealth Management

Digital Hive Mind Dry Otter Basement Water Proofing/Concrete Raising Gary W. Anderson Architects Header Die & Tool, Inc. Healthcare Plus Historic Auto Attractions InterActive Safety Solutions Inc. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

QPS Employment Group Rockford Fastener Inc. Roxy Carmichael Boutique ServiceMaster Restoration by DSI Skandia, Inc. Smeja Homestead Foundation Spider Company Inc. State Farm Insurance Brian Faulk, CLU, ChFC


State Farm Insurance & Financial Services

KP Counseling Management, LLC

Title Underwriters Agency

Lowe’s Distribution Center

USANA Health Sciences

Mary’s Market

Wesley Willows

Mid-West Family Broadcasting

Winnebago County Bar Association

Nelson Fire Protection

Youth Services Network

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


Winnebago County Recorder


Alpine Kiwanis Club Judson University SuperSuds Car Care Center

10-YEAR MEMBERS CMM & Associates Crimson Ridge Estate Condos Center


Advanced Chimney Systems Inc. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crosby Starck Real Estate Dodge Lanes, Inc. Jimmy John’s Taylor Company

STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION 1. Publication Title: The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community 2. Publication Number: 784-120 3. Filing Date: 09/30/2019 4. Issue Frequency: Monthly 5. Number of Issues Published Annually: 12 6. Annual Subscription Price: $25 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 308 W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford, IL 61101-1104 Winnebago County. 8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: Same as above. 9. Publisher: Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 308W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford, IL 61101-1104. Editor: N/A Managing Editor: Doug Hessong, same as above. 10. Owner: Rockford Chamber of Commerce Complete Mailing Address: 308W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford, IL 61101-1104. 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities. Full Name: N/A Complete Mailing Address: N/A 12. Tax Status (For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at special rates.) The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months. 13. Publication Title: The VOICE of the Rockford Business Community 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data: September 2019 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Chamber members and distribution sites in the community. a. Total Number Copies (Net Press Run): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 6,000 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 6,000 b. Legitimate Paid and/or Requested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail): (1) Outside-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 304 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 313 (2) In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 3,158 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 3,125 (3) Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS® : Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: N/A No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: N/A (4) Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail®): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: N/A No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: N/A c. Total Paid and/or Requested Distribution [Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3), and (4)]: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 3,462 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 3,338 d. Nonrequested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) (1) Outside County Nonrequested Copies Included on PS Form 3541: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: N/A No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: N/A (2) In-County Nonrequested Copies Included on PS Form 3541:

Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: N/A No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: N/A (3) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g. First-Class Mail, nonrequestor copies mailed in excess of 10% limit mailed at Standard Mail® or Package Services rates): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: N/A No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: N/A 4) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include pickup stands, trade shows, showrooms, and other sources): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 2,260 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 2,245 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution [Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3), and (4)]: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 2,260 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 2,245 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and 15e): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 5,722 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 5,683 g. Copies not Distributed: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 278 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 317 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 6,000 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 6,000 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 60.5% No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 60.4% 16. Electronic Copy Circulation a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: N/A No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: N/A b. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15c) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 3,462 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 3,438 c. Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 5,722 No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 5,683 d. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c times 100): Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 60.5% No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 60.4% I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic and print) are legitimate requests or paid copies. 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requestor Publication is required and will be printed in the November 2019 issue of this publication. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties): Signed: Doug Hessong, Dir. of Publications and Technology Date: Sept. 30, 2019





IGNITE Lunch with a Leader, noon to 1 p.m., at Rockford UniversityPURI School of Business, room 124, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Features Jorge Herrera, Rockford Bank & Trust. Sponsored by Wintrust Commercial Banking & Mortgage.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 Business Women’s Council, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road, Rockford. Features Diane Logsdon, The Logsdon Group. Sponsored by Associated Bank.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 40 Leaders Under 40 Honoree Reception, 5 to 7 p.m., at Tebala Event Center, 7910 Newburg Road, Rockford. Sponsored by United Way (presenting), Illinois Bank & Trust and OSF HealthCare (hospitality).

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 Government Affairs Council, 7:30 to 8:45 a.m., at Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St., Rockford.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13 Breakfast Buzz, 7:30 to 9 a.m., at Rockford University-PURI School of Business, room 124, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Features Mike Broski, Entre Computer Solutions, on


November 2019

“Collaboration with Microsoft Teams.” Sponsored by RSM US LLP.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14 November Ambassador Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 308 W. State St., Ste. 190, Rockford.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Mayor’s Business Address with Mayor Tom McNamara, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Giovanni’s, Inc., 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford. Sponsored by BMO Harris Bank (presenting), SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health (gold), Comcast Business, and Hinshaw (silver), and Van Matre Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital (bronze).

ADVERTISERS INDEX Advanced Machine & Engineering Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Associated Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Blackhawk Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 BMO Harris Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Boylan Catholic High School. . . . . . . .4 Brian Thomas Photography. . . . . . . . .6 Comcast Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11 Breakfast Buzz, 7:30 to 9 a.m., at Rockford University-PURI School of Business, room 124, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Features Einar Forsman, President/CEO, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, on “Maximize Your Membership.” Sponsored by RSM US LLP.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 Ribbon Cutting and Open House, 3 to 5 p.m., Associated Bank, 612 N. Main St., Rockford.

Midland States Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Northern Public Radio . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Northwest Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Northwestern Mutual . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 OSF HealthCare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Quartz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

CoyleKiley Insurance Agency Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Rockford Chamber of Commerce . . . . . . . . 15, 20-22, 29, 31

The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) . . . . . .14

Thayer Lighting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

Leading Lawyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 MercyCare Health Plans . . . . . . . . . . .2



Mercyhealth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Stillman Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Van Matre Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital . . . . . .8


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

Small Business Development Center .....................................................815-987-8100

CHAMBER BOARD OF DIRECTORS & OFFICERS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair of the Board Michele Petrie Wintrust Commercial Banking & Mortgage Vice Chair Dan Ross Fehr Graham Vice Chair Jean Crosby Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crosby Starck Real Estate Treasurer Amy Ott Boylan Catholic High School Immediate Past Chair Richard Zumwalt Z Resource

DIRECTORS Andrew Benson Benson Stone Company, Inc. Kimberly Blascoe Wipfli LLP Jan Bowman TLC Construction LaVonne Brown Savant Capital Management Paula Carynski OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center Samuel J. Castree Staff Management, Inc. Doug Curry Stenstrom Companies

Tim Honquest Honquest Family Funeral Home with Crematory

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

Jeff Hultman Illinois Bank & Trust

Karl Swanson Rockford Bank & Trust Co

Michael F. Iasparro Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP Kris L. Kieper Machajewski YWCA Northwestern Illinois Mike Paterson Mid-West Family Broadcasting Mark Peterson CBL Associates Cherry Vale Denise Sasse RSM US LLP

Sue Schrieber Don Daniels Mercyhealth SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health John Schuster Rosecrance Health Rebecca Epperson Network Chartwell Agency Teri Sharp Ira Grimmett American Precision Collins Aerospace Supply, Inc.

Jon Thompson Butitta Brothers Automotive Terry Voskuil Woodward

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 Council

DECEMBER VOICE SPECIAL SECTIONS Congrats: 40 Leaders Under Forty Shared Visions (Non-profit & Corporate Connections) For information on advertising, call 815


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