Page 1




Beginning Nov. 15, the Rock River Valley Blood Center added the Nucleic Acid Test for the Zika virus to its laboratory screenings of HIV, hepatitis and West Nile virus in donated blood. This eliminates the need for donors to be questioned about travel to Zika endemic areas such as Florida. On Aug. 26, the FDA released revised guidelines recommending universal testing of donated whole blood and blood components for Zika virus in the United States and its territories.


40 Leaders Under Forty returns We want to not only thank our leaders but inspire them.

By Barbara Connors Keri Nelson started volunteering for Habitat for Humanity as a college student and immediately fell in love with the organization and its mission. “It’s in my blood,” she said. About 2½ years ago, Nelson moved to Rockford to become executive director for the Rockford chapter of Habitat for Humanity. “The best part has been getting to know the families, partner organizations and amazing volunteers,” she said. “It’s been a whirlwind, getting to know Rockford, our neighborhoods, and those who participate in our programs. People here really care about their community.” For her efforts, Nelson was named to

the Rockford Chamber’s 40 Leaders Under Forty, a popular staple that returned after a five-year hiatus. “It’s very humbling,” said Nelson, of her recognition. “It’s a huge honor, especially only being here for a short time. When I looked at the other honorees, I can’t believe I’m on the list. It’s quite an honor to share the stage with 39 incredibly talented leaders in our community.” It was a diverse collection of business professionals and community leaders who made up the fourth class. The group was recognized during a special reception on Nov. 17 at the Tebala Shrine Center before a crowd of 400. Continued on page 13

Changing communities one at a time Strickland speaks on his version of transformation

Visit us online at: ■ online registration ■ keynote speaker video clips ■ event photos ■ list of Chamber events Questions? 815-987-8100

Join the Chamber’s LinkedIn Group

Bill Strickland grew up in a tough part of Pittsburgh, where he saw friends jailed or die from drugs or violence. He was struggling in high school. That is until he met his art teacher, Frank Ross, who got him excited not only about ceramics but about a future that included college. “I was fascinated by people who make sense,” he said. “Mr. Ross made sense.” Strickland was accepted to the University of Pittsburgh, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in American history and foreign relations in 1969. Today, Strickland is a community leader, author and the president and CEO of the nonprofit Manchester Bidwell Corporation based in

Pittsburgh. The company’s subsidiaries, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, which he started with Ross, and Bidwell Training Center, work with disadvantaged and at-risk youth through the arts and provide job training for adults. Strickland believes Manchester Bidwell can serve as a national model. He travels the country speaking to groups about building similar centers. “I’ve dedicated my life to helping others,” Strickland said, who was in Rockford on Nov. 10 to speak to 250 people at a Rockford Chamber of Commerce business luncheon. “There’s nothing wrong with kids. There’s something wrong with the way Continued on page 3

Rockford Chamber

Annual Dinner Jan. 19 • Giovanni’s

For more info, see page 35 SPONSORED BY

SECRETARY OF STATE TO ISSUE NEW ILLINOIS LICENSE PLATES The Illinois Secretary of State announced it will begin replacing old Illinois license plates in January at no cost to taxpayers. Older license plates must be replaced, as their reflectivity diminishes with age, making it difficult to quickly and accurately identify numbers. Plates dating back to 2000 and 2001 will be replaced first. In 2018, plates from 2002 and 2003 will be replaced; continuing year by year. Owners will be notified by mail whether or not they are eligible, and when they pay the renewal fee for their 2017 registration, will be issued a yellow renewal sticker with the letter “T” and the word “TEMPORARY” to place on the rear plate. Within 60 days, they will receive new license plates with a yellow registration renewal sticker already attached. Motorists whose license plates are not up for replacement still can order a new plate at www. for a replacement fee of $29. However, if an owner thinks their license plates are showing wear and are difficult to read, they can visit www. and access the license plate replacement application for a newly designed plate at no charge. Owners are encouraged to destroy or recycle their old plates at their nearest Secretary of State facility, where a tamper-proof bin will be available.


December 2016


Chairman’s Perspective VIEWPOINT

Patti’s Swan Song While my time as board chairperson for the Rockford Chamber of Commerce is coming to a close, it also marks a new beginning for all of us. The good news is the Chamber’s Bylaws are written to give the board chair the opportunity to actually accomplish something. Two years is just the right of amount of time to pull a plan together and complete an agenda. Early on in my tenure as chair, we went to our Membership and Board of Directors to develop an action plan, based on a strategic planning session centered on what was most important to our members. Without board support, Chamber staff and the many members who supported these efforts, we would not have accomplished as much as we did. Not that we weren’t in a good position before! We just got better for our most important asset — our members.

A swan song is typically accompanied with a bow. My bows will be directed towards specific people and groups since, without them, there would be no successes for any of us. My first bow is to my Maker who gives me (which I ask for) wisdom, balance and patience. My next bow is to my family and my staff at Thayer Lighting who supported the many meetings and phone conversations that kept me plenty busy day and night. Special gratitude goes to Rich Walsh, Immediate Past Chair, for his wisdom and guidance. Rich met with me on numerous occasions to impart his knowledge and I am forever grateful. I also thank Vice Chair Michele Petrie, a true visionary. Michelle puts her all into supporting and managing through many projects. Kudos to Einar Forsman, Chamber President and CEO, who has dealt

with much change with class and professionalism. He is the hero in all of this because without him, successes would not have been gained. Many thanks to the Chamber staff for recognizing that change is not easy. They always stepped up with a willingness to implement change. Heartfelt thanks to the Board and specifically to the Executive Committee. They took time from their busy schedules to attend a daylong retreat, and serve on or chair one of our many task forces. The next bow goes to Rick Zumwalt, our 2017 Incoming Chair. I wish him much success and I can’t wait to see him in action. I believe Rick has a playful side, but is also talented and passionate to lead this organization. I ask that you give Rick the same support that you gave me over the past two years. There is no doubt our Chamber will continue to grow and offer great opportunities to

Patti Thayer Rockford Chamber Board Chairman

business. Wait until you see next year’s lineup! We




great things over the past two years. One of the most important is the development of a new initiative to create added value for our members — the Rockford Leadership Alliance. Through RLA, local professionals at all levels now have the opportunity to participate in workshops and luncheons designed to inspire trust and leadership in all of us. My final bow goes to the 1,200 Chamber Members for their ongoing commitment. The Chamber has been a solid organization for more than 100 years, thanks to the dedication of our members. And that will be the case for the next 100 years. Patti Thayer is Chairman of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce board of directors.


Changing community (continued from front page)

we’re teaching them. We have to rebuild the public education system. If you treat them like assets, they’ll be assets.” MCG Youth & Arts and MCG Jazz are both programs of Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild: MCG Youth serves approximately 3,900 youth each year through classes and workshops in ceramics, photography, digital imaging and design art. MCG Arts gives students a chance to work with visiting artists of national and international stature through exhibitions, lectures, workshops, residencies and school visits.

‘Just Do Something’ “His personal story is inspiring,” said Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett. “His story is a valuable lesson about the impact that a high-quality teacher or an adult can have on a child. I think we have a community full of people who share that passion, and I’m hopeful that we can continue to find ways to connect that passion with similar results. We’re anxious to learn more about the afterschool programming, at-risk programming and looking at how it fits into our academy model. We’ve just scratched the surface with Bill Strickland and his model.”


December 2016 “In Rockford, you have to show the students that you respect and value them, whether it’s the building they’re in, the furniture they have or the type of resources they have,” said Einar Forsman, president and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “You have to make a full commitment to follow that model, using first-class resources.” Anne O’Keefe, development officer of the Rockford Public Library, has heard Strickland’s message before. “Kids need positive role models in their lives. It doesn’t have to be a family member,” she said. “It can be anyone in the community who can make a difference, starting today. It’s incremental things. It’s not sweeping changes. Kids take that to heart.” Strickland has lived in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood for 69 years. Six months ago, he had a double lung transplant that saved his life. He said his recent health scare has left him even more inspired. His advice is simple. “You don’t have to build a center,” he said. “You can feed the homeless. The important thing is to just do something.” The business luncheon was sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Rockford University and Saint Anthony College of Nursing.

Innovation Tuesday Meetups Offering enticing entrepreneurial topics By Sherry Pritz, NIU EIGERlab

What’s Ahead for 2017

We are kicking off 2017 In January 2016, NIU with a phenomenal, energetic EIGERlab initiated its Innovation speaker, Vickie Austin, who Tuesday Meetups (ITMs). These will present “Circles of Gold: monthly events have drawn more Honoring Your Network for than 230 regional entrepreneurs Business and Career Success,” and featured mainstream 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Jan. 10. entrepreneurial topics for pre-startups, startups and Vickie Austin will speak at Her topic is also the name of her new book, which can revenue-producing enterprises the Jan. 10 Meetup. be purchased at a discount in marketing, legal, website creation, accounting, social media and at (click Events). We welcome entrepreneurs to attend one of our business planning. ITMs allow entrepreneurs to network informative ITMs. NIU EIGERlab also offers pre-startups, with peers and people who can assist them in growing their business ventures. For startups, and existing revenue-producing a nominal fee, which includes dinner, enterprises, the ability to house their solopreneurs and small business owners can business at one of its two locations. FastPitch Competition, a.k.a. “Shark Tank Without the increase their educational base on a particular Bite,” is an annual event and the Center for topic. Consultants meet with attendees who Product Development can assist with every can assist in short- and long-term projects. phase of developing and commercializing a Two of the most popular ITMs were the product, including engineering, 3D printing, four-person panels, “What is Intellectual aligning with a manufacturer, etc. To learn Property? When to Patent, Trademark or more, visit our locations or signup for our Copyright” and “Show Me the Money!” We monthly newsletter at or plan to repeat these two in the future. 815-753-2192. New participants attended each ITM, ranging from high school students to those Sherry Pritz is marketing & events coordinator/ who were retired and interested in delving business development at NIU EIGERlab Innovation into what may well be the ‘Next Big Thing’ Network. or just enjoyed learning more about a post- The views expressed are those of Pritz’s and do not career dream they’ve always considered necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber pursuing. of Commerce.


December 2016


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Make it festive and memorable Tips for planning your holiday business party One of the most enjoyable parts of my role as corporate sales manager at The Abbey Resort is collaborating with groups to plan their holiday events. Through my work, I’ve learned what makes — and what can break — a corporate holiday function. Here are some of my best tips for you to consider. Keep it Moving: When planning your party room set-up, opt for highboy tables instead of rounds and chairs to encourage conversation. The limited physical space between those gathered at smaller tables promotes introductions. Additionally, consider food stations or passing heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a sit-down meal. Not only can this save some money, depending on your selections, but it encourages conversation to flow between a variety of guests rather than the few each would otherwise be assigned to sit with at a round of eight. Location is Everything: Encourage additional movement throughout the room by setting the various food and beverage stations in different locations. As guests refresh their drinks or sample additional food, the natural movement created by this setup will give the party a vibrant and cheery atmosphere that guests will want to stay and enjoy. Get Them Talking: Place festive conversation starters on tables to encourage mingling in a way that will help break the ice without feeling too forced. For example, simple questions such as “What was your favorite holiday gift received as a child?” or even “Fruit cake – love it or re-gift it?” will help the newly acquainted find common ground to talk about. Encourage the Holiday Cheer: Consider offering a festive activity, rather than just the typical food, drink and comments. For example, at The Abbey we offer a variety of team-building activities to help kick off events with energy and enthusiasm, such as a Tree Decorating Contest that is always a hit around the holidays. Other fun activities might be a white elephant gift exchange,

Janine Osborne The Abbey Resort

carol karaoke contest or simple craft station where guests can decorate their own Christmas ornament. Give Back: Many companies and organizations do some sort of collective philanthropic effort around the holidays, such as collecting food for a local pantry, buying gifts for under-privileged children or filling care packages for military personnel. Consider making it a friendly and healthy competition between departments and announce the winner at your party where everyone can celebrate the success of the joint effort. Think Big! Even if your holiday party budget is limited, don’t shy away from bigger venues. Larger hotels and resorts often are better equipped to accommodate small events. For example, while we can accommodate groups of more than 400 guests at The Abbey, we also regularly hosts groups of less than 10. With a large staff, more resources and a variety of event spaces available, such as restaurants and lounge areas, large venues are able to accommodate groups of all sizes, and often on short notice. Never Hurts to Ask Just because you don’t see something on the event planning guides and menus, or conversely if you see a requirement, such as a two-week planning notice required, don’t be afraid to contact the venue and ask if alternative arrangements can be made. If you were hoping to host a holiday party for your business or group but just never found time to organize it, it’s not too late! Now is a great time to take advantage of big savings by looking at off-peak dates such as midweek or in the new calendar year. Janine Osborne is corporate sales manager at The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa. The views expressed are those of Osborne’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

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

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



December 2016

Member Profile PROFILE By Paul Anthony Arco In 1984, Chris Ames and her husband, bought property in Monroe Center, a quiet town just south of Rockford, where they built a log cabin home and raised their six children. “There was nothing here but woods,” Ames says. “We kept the kids plenty busy. There was lots of outside time – they played in the woods, hiked, fished in the creek and rode horses. It was a great way to live.” But when the couple divorced in 2009, they faced a tough decision on what to do with their peaceful property. “I didn’t have it in my heart to sell the place,” Ames said. “I felt there was something else that needed to be done here. I needed to turn this into something, as a way to remember those wonderful memories. I wanted to create an environment that people could enjoy.” Ames bought out her ex-husband’s half of the home. She then teamed up with her brother, David, a builder, to turn her property into Kilbuck Creek, a serene resort that hosts weddings, business retreats and a number of other special events. Kilbuck Creek, named after the creek that winds through the property, is nuzzled into 200 acres of forest. The story goes that Indians used to camp on the property, searching for arrowheads and waiting to hunt buffalo who roamed along the trail.

Kilbuck Creek: A well-kept secret Today, the landscape is much different. “It’s a breathtaking canopy of forest, trees and a long and winding road,” said marketing manager Brian Phillips. “You’re looking at trees that don’t look like they’re leading anywhere and suddenly you find yourself staring at a beautiful resort. We’re a well-kept secret. It’s a wonderful place to celebrate.” The Kilbuck Lodge is an 8,500 squarefoot property that has six bedrooms and plenty of room to sleep 40. There are common areas, fireplace atrium and an entertainment room, ideal for sitting around a fire, shooting pool, or listening to music. The Gathering Hall is a 5,000 square-foot building with seating for 200 guests. The Hall is used for wedding receptions and other special events. There’s also an indoor pool and hot tub that is open daily to guests year round. Guests can

bring food in or have meals catered. Every group that comes to Kilbuck has the property exclusively. In addition to lodging, Kilbuck offers guests four miles of groomed, walking trails, an outdoor fire pit, and the creek, which is full of hungry walleye, northern pike and catfish. A majority of Kilbuck’s business comes from wedding receptions, which attracts clients from Rockford, Chicago, and DeKalb. The resort is also popular for executive and church retreats, day outings, reunions, holiday gatherings, birthday parties and anniversary celebrations. There are no televisions to be found on the property. Instead, guests swim, walk the trails, enjoy conversation over a roaring fire or reconnect with nature and the many animals roaming around the property including eagles, beavers, whitetail deer, and coyotes.

Kilbuck Creek is all about family. The main staff consists of 10 employees along with others who are hired to help with special events. Most are related to Ames. Many of her children have worked there at some point. Her daughter-in-law is the wedding coordinator. Even one of Ames’ daughters hosted her own wedding reception at Kilbuck Creek. “There’s a real spirit of family here,” Ames said. “Starting this business was the best thing that could have ever happened for us. It makes my heart burst with joy.”


Owner: Chris Ames 6752 N Kilbuck Rd, Monroe Center, IL 61052 (815) 393-3247 •


December 2016



Young Professionals

Resolutions for all generations

Add understanding of others to your list A new year is quickly approaching and with a new year comes resolutions! This year, instead of resolving to lose weight, make your bed or hit the gym five times a week, try a resolution that can make your work life a happier, healthier place to be. Working in an office space with up to five different generations can wreak havoc on your sanity now and then. Here are a few tips to help reign in the crazy and fa-fa-fa-find a little peace on earth instead.

Caitlin Pusateri IGNITE

Generation X. This generation gets completely passed over, mostly due to their size. They are a much smaller generation than the Baby Boomers or Millennials; and they are often forgotten. Find a Gen Xer in your workplace and invite them to assist on a special project, recommend them for a well-deserved award or nominate them for an open seat on a board. They’ve worked hard, but sadly, they’re often waiting in the shadows of the Baby Boomers and overshadowed

This year, instead of resolving to lose weight, make your bed or hit the gym five times a week, try a resolution that can make your work life a happier, healthier place to be. Three Resolutions for Baby Boomers

by the Millennials. (Sorry Gen X…)

Three Resolutions for Millennials 1. Show up on time. I get it – I’m late all the time too. But punctuality is important to older generations (and some of our generation too!). Skip Starbucks if you’re running late. Try to be five minutes early. Don’t skip out of work 10 minutes early. Butt in the chair isn’t a mantra we like to work by, but respecting others’ time is

1. Abandon the phrase “deal with.” Using the phrase “deal with” makes you sound like a mom scolding her child in front of her friends. (“I’ll deal with you later!”) While it may strike fear in the hearts of many, it doesn’t do much for building relationships. Instead, try phrases like “work with,” “manage to,” “build relationships with.” While your actual actions may be the same, the phraseology puts everyone in a better place to be receptive rather than defensive.

something we can all get behind.

2. Stop blaming and start listening Believe it or not, Millennials were not put on this earth to wreck your day. Sure, we do things differently and different is hardly ever easy. But instead of constantly blaming Millennials for being terrible human beings, try listening to them instead. Take a Millennial to lunch and get to know them – not for the stereotype (Millennial) but for who they actually are. Rather than writing off a new idea presented by a Millennial because “we’ve tried that before” listen to their approach. Ask questions. Ask for research. And then, try it. Give Millennials a seat at the table – and one that’s the same height as yours.

who will be stunned to see you phone-

3. Take notice of the Gen Xers. Any time I talk about generations, I take a moment to apologize to

Caitlin Pusateri is vice president, leadership

2. Put down your phone and make eye contact. I get that you can probably listen to what your colleague is saying while texting your bff, but consider instead giving your undivided attention to the person in front of you. Not only is it good for your thumbs, it’s good for your brain. Social interaction is important. Make sure you make it a part of your day to have real conversations with real people – perhaps even a Baby Boomer less. 3. Don’t roll your eyes. When someone from another generation isn’t exactly sure what you’re talking about when you refer to the Snap you just got, don’t roll your eyes. Instead, help them understand if they are interested. Or, just keep the conversation flowing if they aren’t. Just because they aren’t on Snapchat doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to offer. Save the eye rolls for your 15-year-old self – you’re better than that now. Happy Holidays!

development at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.



December 2016

Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Anything that can be connected, will be connected

Tom Sisk U.S. Cellular

How will it transform Illinois businesses? Today, even everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. From the simple everyday necessity, the coffeemaker, can be controlled from your smartphone, to driverless tractors/technology used to monitor crops, it is easy to see that the future is limitless for northern Illinois businesses to improve, reinvent and capitalize. Network connectivity for objects, often referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), has changed the way Illinois businesses view their assets, manage their systems and handle transactions. In fact, BCC Research indicates the global market for IoT devices is expected to reach nearly $49.2 billion by 2020 — a 746 percent increase from 2015. And, Chetan Sharma data reveals that connected cars and Mobile to Mobile (M2M) connections, such as inventory management devices and tracking sensors, accounted for 46 percent of cellular connections nationwide during the first quarter of 2016.

always looking to do more. For example, simply consider that if a device has an on-and-off switch, it can be part of IoT. What out-of-the-box thinking does that spark for your business, your farm or your office? How will it make you more efficient, more profitable, protect losses and improve employees’ efficiency and satisfaction? Our business customers at U.S. Cellular today use IoT to operate moisture sensors to remotely monitor crops, reducing unnecessary energy use and manpower for onsite checks. Other customers with large fleets of vehicles reduce their theft risk by putting tracers on their trucks. That same tracking technology reduces lost time by employees and improves energy use by vehicles. The time is now for Illinois entrepreneurs, business leaders and inventors to think: What can we do? How can IoT be leveraged in all of our businesses and everyday lives for the better? Let’s get cracking Illinoisans!

Thinking OOTB

Tom Sisk is the U.S. Cellular business area sales and government manager for northern Illinois.

IoT is here to stay, and provides great opportunities to Illinois, as a strong, smart state comprised of innovators, smart manufacturers, brave entrepreneurs and agriculture pros

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

Stroll on State, 2016

Volunteer elves work diligently to create toys at the outdoor Santaland at Millennium Fountain in downtown Rockford.

The official tree lighting ceremony draws visitors and residents alike each year to Stroll on State. Photos by the RACVB


December 2016


RLA: Past & future Theme for 2017: Organizational health By Caitlin Pusateri, Rockford Chamber Our first class of Rockford Leadership Alliance (RLA) has officially graduated. This year, 260 participants studied “trust.” Working from concepts in Stephen Covey’s The Speed of Trust, the RLA sessions focused on concepts needed to build trust amongst one another. Participants honed in on specific skills that when developed can help individuals, organizations and communities get more done, faster. These skills – deliver results, create transparency, extend trust, listen first, talk straight, demonstrate respect – they aren’t just for newcomers. These skills take a lifetime of practice — and strong leaders know this. We are proud of the level of participation we’ve had from across industries. From young professionals to seasoned executives – those around the table approached with an open mind and a willingness to be vulnerable. We are so proud of this year’s RLA class. We firmly believe that they

are better prepared to help move the needle forward – whatever needle that may be.

Network for Lifetime While developing skills is an important component of RLA, building relationships also is key to the programs. Participants were placed in small peer groups allowing them to build relationships with those in similar roles across various industries. We received plenty of feedback that the ability to reach outside of a specific industry was key to expanding thought processes and finding new ways to solve old problems. Many groups have pledged to stay connected and serve as a consistent resource throughout their careers. We know that working together is the key to accomplishing great things – both for our organizations and our community – and we are proud to have built an opportunity for connection. Minor Myers, Jr., a former president of my alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan

University, once said, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” Congratulations, RLA Class of 2016!

Registration Open for RLA 2017 We are excited to announce that registration for RLA 2017 is now open! Building upon our foundation of trust, we turn our attention to organizational health in 2017. According to best-selling author and world-renowned speaker Patrick Lencioni, “Organizational health is about making a company function effectively by building a cohesive leadership team, establishing real clarity among those leaders, communicating that clarity to everyone within the organization and putting in place just enough structure to reinforce that clarity going forward.” All professionals in the Rockford region are invited to engage in this year’s RLA. Past participants will find similar benefits, including opportunities to build strong relationships with peers

from industries

across and

facilitated deep dives into key components of organizational health. Materials

Caitlin Pusateri Rockford Chamber

will be new and will build upon your foundation. Participants new to RLA are warmly invited as well. We encourage seasoned managers,




leaders to take part in the yearlong opportunity to develop leadership skills that will help close the leadership gap in Rockford. Past RLA experience is not a requirement. We’ll get you up to speed quickly. For more information, as well as registration links, please visit www.



December 2016

Join us in Rockford, Illinois

John Groh Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Be In Good Company

A river runs through us like a proud, pulsing heart of powerful Midwestern values: enduring, nourishing and true. Talent attraction. Brain gain. Brain drain. These are among the worries that keep business owners, economic development officials and human resources executives up at night. American cities and states compete with each other (and indeed, the world) for talent. The competition is fierce, and the elbows are flying because these days, skilled workers are becoming increasingly scarce in many fields. Given that global competition, regional economic development leaders and human resources professionals face an especially tough challenge; helping job candidates understand what a wonderful place the Rockford Region is in which to live, work, learn and play. At the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we love inviting the world to visit us — and as a community we’ve been very successful doing just that. Total spending by visitors to Winnebago County last year topped $350 million. Our sites, attractions and events welcomed 7.6 million residents and visitors — up about 50,000 over 2014. We’ve proven Rockford is a great place to visit and believe it’s also a great place to live, continuing on an ascendant trajectory. So, RACVB couldn’t be happier to partner with the Rockford Area Economic Development Council to invite people to work and live here, too. Earlier this year, RAEDC’s Leadership Council provided RACVB with a $75,000 grant that we’ll use to help our regional economic and community development partners better manage and shape the region’s reputation.

Marketing a Region To that end, and as a part of this effort, we are excited to launch a new video that can be used by local HR professionals, Realtors© and other entities as they promote this region. Additional materials are on their way,

too. The powerful video is inspired by the In Good Company campaign theme RACVB first introduced in 2014. To maximize use and views across different platforms, the video is available in three versions — two minutes, 30 seconds and 15 seconds. Visit the website GoRockford. com/ingoodcompany to view the longer piece for a glimpse into the daily lives of those of us lucky enough — yes, I said “lucky enough” — to live in Real. Original. Rockford and be reminded of our accessible little city with a welcoming heart. Here, right here, you’re always in the good company of good people with a fondness for sharing their passions. This is a place with gravity — and gravitas — all its own, where everything that’s remarkable (and there is a lot that’s remarkable here) was created through the ingenuity and hard work of the cherished forefathers and mothers who showed us the way — and, the Real Original creators who live here now and enhance our daily lives. A river runs through us like a proud, pulsing heart of powerful Midwestern



nourishing and true. Rockford is an amazing home, especially for those who want to participate in the shared life






transforming itself as we speak and has been for years. Crafted from dreams by dreamers, this is a hand-made haven of amazing things to do, fascinating things to see, incredible things to taste and inspiring things to hear. All these things woven together create




memories that last a lifetime. All people are welcome here. Join us — and bring your friends! Be In Good Company — in Rockford, Illinois. John Groh is president/CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitor Bureau. The views expressed are those of Groh’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


December 2016


Training your workforce An investment worth the time and money Even though training and advertising serve two different purposes, they are viewed by business owners on many occasions through the same lens. As an owner, we know that it is important to keep the business name at the top of our customers’ mind so when they need our service or product they call us, but we struggle to spend the money, as we are not always sure of our return on investment. In a similar way, providing training

“A worker without the proper training may be prone to becoming injured on the job.”  — OSHA for your workforce is something that we know we need to provide, but once again as a business owner you struggle to allocate the appropriate funds, not knowing if the time and money is worth the investment. Training your workforce in 2017

should be a priority, because not making the investment can have a negative impact on your business’ bottom line. Lack of employee training can affect morale. Employees, who do not have the confidence to perform their jobs because they do not possess the appropriate skills, can lead to decreased production. “A worker without the proper training may be prone to becoming injured on the job,” states Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Work injuries can result in medical bills and loss of work, which are unplanned expenses for the business. Not being able to produce a quality product or service for your customers due to lack of knowledge or skill can turn into dissatisfied customers. This can result in decreased sales because they begin to use your competitor over you. Begin 2017 by investing in your workforce. Employees’ improved performance can be directly related to their training. Knowing their job responsibilities and how they relate to business goals motivates them to excel and provide creative ideas for growth and customer satisfaction. Provide them with training that will have a positive impact on your bottom line. Strengthen an area of work that otherwise might be an employee or business weakness.

Training for Many Business Areas The Business and Professional Institute (BPI) has been providing successful training for the last 30 years and can help your business identify its 2017 training needs. “When new employees get hired, they continue

to gain the benefit of the BPI training through the knowledge of our employees Bernie Luecke who went RVC BPI through BPI training,” states a BPI customer from the Voice of the Customer survey conducted in October for BPI. “We recently got a new repair contract with an airline because of this knowledge transfer.” BPI’s training team consists of subject experts in the following areas: supervisory/leadership, coaching, customer service, ISO, safety/OSHA, FANUC & KUKA robotics, computer/ Microsoft Office Suite, Lean/Six Sigma/Green Belt certification, GDT/ Blueprint interpretation and process improvement. BPI offers highly customized onsite training with the flexibility to meet any customer’s scheduling requests at a competitive price. BPI would like to help your business reach its 2017 goals through workforce training. For a complimentary training needs analysis, please contact Bernie Luecke at 815-921-2067 or e-mail B.Luecke@ Note: Contents of this article were compiled from the Small Business section Houston Chronicle-2016, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Business & Professional Institute, “Voice of the Customer” survey conducted by thrive market intelligence in October 2016. Bernie Luecke is the director at the Business & Professional Institute at Rock Valley College. The views expressed are those of Luecke’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. Manufacturing News is sponsored by RVC BPI



December 2016

Definition of leadership may be different Lesson from the Rockford Leadership Alliance By Jimsi Kuborn, RAEDC Leadership does not come from your title or tenure. In my experience, a leader is a person who has a vision, can inspire others around that vision, build trust from a team to execute the vision and also be willing to evolve and accept honest feedback. This year, I am one of several hundred participants in the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s Rockford

Leadership Alliance program (honored to have my participation sponsored by Thayer Lighting). This program is a yearlong leadership development curriculum that centers on TRUST and concepts from Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust. If you reflect on past situations where you felt there was a gap in leadership, it probably caused erosion in one of the most important factors any leader needs to be effective – trust. I will complete the program on

Nearly 800 attendees at RAEDC’s 2016 Annual Meeting David Storch of AAR Corp speaks on community coming together Nearly 800 business and community leaders celebrated the region’s momentum and looked ahead to an even brighter economic future at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Dinner. David Storch, chairman, president and chief executive officer of AAR Corp, presented the evening’s keynote address. During his speech, he reflected how the community came together to ensure the maintenance, repair and overhaul facility was completed on time despite possible funding challenges. Storch also highlighted how the facility, located at the Chicago Rockford International Airport, has and will continue to positively impact the economy and education system in the Rockford Region. Michele Petrie, senior vice president of BMO Harris N.A., and incoming chairman of the board for the RAEDC, began by thanking Sagar Patel of Woodward, Inc., for his service as chairman of the board for the past two years. Petrie then spoke about her plans for the next two years, which includes narrowing the RAEDC’s focus on execution, prioritization and results. “We will go from processing opportunities that happen to land in our region to actively searching for companies we want to attract, as well as actively facilitating deals and growth opportunities with companies already here. Best in Class results occur when you take action by building on the successes of the past while executing in a modern, disciplined way,” Petrie stated. A priority outlined in her plan is to ensure the RAEDC, Rockford Chamber of Commerce and Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, in addition to many other community

stakeholders, continue to work closely to create efficiency and ensure the community leaps forward towards top 25 status. Creating this path forward has already begun, with the launch of the Rockforward20/20 strategic plan earlier this year, which established the region’s economic growth goals for the next five years, as well as the RAEDC’s mission to cultivate opportunities for primary job growth. It embraces the many economic opportunities in our region and will carry forward the momentum from Rockforward2! RAEDC President Mike Nicholas mentioned in his closing remarks that during meetings with more than 200 business leaders in the Rockford Region, some have expressed the opinion that the best days of the region are behind us, while others are optimistic for the future and see the innovation in many of the region’s clusters. Nicholas then provided a few of the many examples, demonstrating the high level of innovation happening in the area. The highlighted companies during Nicholas’ speaking points have more than a proprietary product or service, they bundle them with other unique capabilities, and more importantly continually re-invest in their workforce and continuing education opportunities for employees. The deciding factor for companies evaluating the region for potential expansion or relocation will be the quality and availability of workforce. The Rockford Region is developing both of those through the alignment of business needs with educational curriculum. Nicholas believes, “There is a new generation of innovators and inventors among us. As a result, the best days of the Rockford Region are ahead of us.”

Dec. 1 with additional problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, as well as a new network of peers and mentors from whom I can approach for additional insight. This curriculum also provided applications where we were able to build healthy habits to be more effective and establish clear expectations of those on our team. This allows for implementing a vision more effectively. One particular element that I appreciated was improving my own process for effective and transparent complex conversations. In addition to my own definition of leadership, a few other items stood out to me during this program; that leaders have the core values of being genuine, transparent and humble. Leadership really is serving!

Leaders from All Walks of Life In this course, participants collected confidential feedback from peers, supervisors and direct reports. I have taken many self-assessments like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® over the years, however it was extremely insightful to open up to insight beyond a supervisor’s performance review. I am always humbled by personal notes and comments I have unofficially received throughout my career. Although, I can

honestly say that through this more structured review, my assessor’s points on this survey were valid on all spectrums. I agreed on the assessor’s feedback where I have opportunities to grow. I am up for the task and want to be more and more effective as I progress in my career. This experience has been rewarding and fulfilling, has provided insightful pieces to draw from, and established new relationships with people I can reach out to when circumstances necessitate outside advice. What do you see in a leader? Who is a leader in your life? In my experience, they have all types of roles in our community. We all know those unsung heroes, the ones who inspire us and draw us in to be part of their vision. Think outside of the norm when you identify leaders in your life. Look at your leadership skills and ask yourself what can make them even better. Jimsi Kuborn is vice president of investor relations at Rockford Area Economic Development Council. The views expressed are those of Kuborn’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


December 2016


From the Transform Rockford frontlines Reentry programs will need mentors

Rockford income snapped distressing trend in 2015 Rockford-area residents snapped a depressing streak in 2015. For the first time since 2009, the per-capita personal income of those living in Boone and Winnebago counties grew at a greater rate than the United States as a whole. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2015 Rockford residents made, on average, $39,674 in income from their jobs, rental properties, businesses and governmental sources including Social Security. That was a solid 4.4 percent higher than the $38,039 per capita personal income in 2014. The U.S. per capita personal income grew at 3.3 percent, from $46,414 to $48,112. The year 2015 was good for most of America. Personal income grew in 2,552 counties and fell or was unchanged in just 561.

The welcome news that, for the first time in awhile, incomes in the Rockford metropolitan area were growing faster than the nation as a whole. One of the major charges of Transform Rockford is to make the region one that attracts and keeps high-paying jobs. In the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Rockford was a boomtown with middle class families living comfortably off the thousands of available manufacturing jobs. As late as 1979, the typical Rockford resident made more per year than the nation as a whole. Since 1979 though, personal income growth in Rockford has outpaced the United States just 10 times in 36 years and just four times since 2000 as the economy shifted toward more service and tech sector jobs. -- Alex Gary

Transform Rockford really needs you By Alex Gary Three years and a day after Transform Rockford was launched, the nonprofit organization tasked with helping Rockford become one of the top 25 places to live in the United States, unveiled its roadmap on how to reach that goal. On Nov. 15 at Heartland Church, the group published more than 140 projects meant to improve the entire region for all of its residents. To get to this point, which Transform Rockford Executive Director Mike Schablaske said is the midway point, it took more than 6,000 volunteers putting in more than 65,000 hours. Of course, now that the projects are identified, it’s going to take many more volunteers putting in even more hours to reach the lofty goal of making Rockford a city competing successfully for residents with places such as Madison, Wis., and Rochester, Minn. Schablaske pointed out that many of the projects already are under way and just need support from the community. Others still are in development and will take millions of dollars.

Get Involved, a Sampling of Projects On Nov. 15, Transform Rockford listed all of the projects in the hallways of Heartland, encouraging those interested to check them out and sign up. Here is a sampling of projects that need volunteers: ■ Build a coalition of organizations to utilize this model for youth development. (Renewal, Sense of Place)

Michael Williams has spent much of the past 20 years fighting to improve the Rockford Public Schools as a former school board member, and the lives of those seeking new or better careers as head of Rock River Training Corp. Transform Rockford has allowed Williams a chance to explore another area -- making it easier for those coming out of incarceration to successfully reintegrate themselves into society. “For over 30 years, Rock River Training Corporation, as part of our Adult workforce development program delivery responsibilities, has first-hand knowledge of the re-entry challenges faced by returning citizens in our region,” Williams said in an email. “I have seen the recidivism rate increase exponentially in Rockford and surrounding communities, and believe the increase is directly tied

More than 140 projects unveiled restructure tax burden. (Revitalization) ■ Join the Blue Zones Project to provide a holistic health solution that addresses the key drivers of behaviors in all the places we live, work, learn and play. (Renewal, Revitalization) ■ Community will create and undertake a civility campaign. (Renewal, Reframing, Sense of Place)

Heartland Church leader Josh Peigh and Transform Rockford Executive Director Mike Schablaske welcome residents to the Roadmap Reveal on Nov. 15 at Heartland.

■ Create an interactive civility learning project for Pre-K to 12th grade students. (Reframing, Sense of Place)

■ Support and expand the volunteers to enable more students access to mentors for middle school and elementary school reading. (Renewal)

■ Create a team of collective impact consultants to assist organization and individuals wishing to utilize the Collective Impact Model. (Funding Our Future)

■ Implement the academies model of learning across all regional high schools. (Renewal) ■ Design and implement a reform program to improve efficiency, reduce duplication and encourage resource sharing across government and its independently administered agencies. (Funding Our Future) ■ Develop a system to map all neighborhood assets to create plans on how neighborhoods can thrive and ensure access to amenities and resources for all. (Sense of Place) ■ Marketing region pro-actively targeted audiences. (Revitalization)


■ Upgrade and develop current sites to increase number of properties listed as Qualified Sites to attract new business to town. (Revitalization) ■ Influence




to the inability of the returning citizens to efficiently access necessary resources to successfully re-enter our communities.” Williams said he has been surprised by the collective support among government and private citizens and nonprofit agencies to create a centralized system to ease the transition. “Under the RAVEN project model and other current bestpractice re-entry program design, one-on-one trained advocates/ coaches/mentors are key to helping returning citizens access and navigate the service delivery bureaucracy upon their release. The faith-based communities offer opportunities for individuals to volunteer. As it is further developed, I expect the Transform Rockford Reentry project will identify roles that citizens can fill to support this effort.”

■ Develop a process for aligning funders and potential funders around our communities strategic plan. (Funding Our Future) ■ Implement and sustain the Workforce Development plan and expand its applicability regionally. (Renewal) ■ Expand career educational programs and develop collaborative relationships between high schools and higher education institutions. (Renewal) ■ Gather diverse ongoing small groups weekly to watch an episode of “Any Day Now,” then record conversations for a weekly TV show, “Come Together Rockford.” (Renewal, Sense of Place) ■ Create a community and civic leaders shadowing program for youth. (Renewal, Reframing) ■ Use technology to help citizens partner

and communicate information to assist law enforcement. (Renewal) ■ Perform saturation patrols and focused efforts in areas with known repeat offenders. (Renewal) ■ Develop a community of case management professionals for efficient communication across agencies, networking and sharing of best practices. (Renewal) ■ Aligning client management systems to simplify use and enable better referral management to ensure support is continuous across agency boundaries. (Renewal) ■ Promote the establishment of community gardens, neighborhood markets aligned with community gardens with long-term food cooperatives and urban grow centers. (Renewal) ■ Enhance and further develop existing programs and services to victims and offenders. (Renewal) ■ Develop and build a single facility to support all victims of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. (Renewal) ■ Develop a permanent funding mechanism to continue providing children a safe harbor program. (Renewal) For more information about how you can be involved, visit www. Alex Gary is president of Alex Gary Communications and communications manager for Thinker Ventures. The views expressed are those of Gary’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


Emerging Leaders

December 2016


(continued from front page) Among those recognized include teachers, attorneys, a professional photographer, school superintendent, and two news anchors. “It was a wide variety of people and talents,” said Einar Forsman, president and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “They’re brilliant people. We’re excited about this particular group.” The 40 leaders were recognized for their business contributions, as well as community involvement. The honorees were all 39 or younger as of October and live or work in Winnebago, Boone,

Ogle, Rock or Stephenson counties. This year, there were 98 applicants. “It was a difficult decision for the judges,” Forsman said. Another recipient was Guadalupe Reyes, manager of guest relations and patient experience for SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health. Reyes took over her new role earlier this year after working as a hospital receptionist. In addition to her duties at work, Reyes is involved with several charitable organizations in her hometown of Belvidere. “It’s such an honor,” she said. “I give all the credit to my parents for the way they raised me and the work ethic they instilled in me. This recognition goes to them. We went through many

challenges. At one point my parents didn’t own a car, and we had to walk everywhere. I’m happy to share my story in hopes of inspiring others to work hard.” The reception gave honorees and past recipients a chance to meet, or, in some cases, reconnect. Someone familiar to many, Whitney Martin, was recognized. Over the years, the Rockford native worked her way up as a reporter, weekend anchor and now as co-anchor during the weekday evening news on 23 WIFR. Martin says the key to her success is working in a town she loves. “I don’t think I will ever care about any other city as much as I care about Rockford,” she said. “Every story I do


impacts someone I know, whether it’s about a school, a fire or accident. It could impact a former teacher or my mailman. I have a bigger responsibility because it is my hometown.” One thing all honorees have in common is their ability to lead. “We have to recognize, encourage and inspire leadership,” said Forsman. “This is our way to put a spotlight on people. Maybe they will find their way on boards. Maybe they’ll work on community projects. Maybe they’ll get involved with Transform Rockford. We want to not only thank our leaders but inspire them.” The presenting sponsor of this year’s event was workplace staff & search. theVoice

Meet the 40 Leaders under Forty

Alissa Bartel

Whitney Martin

Angelique Malone

Rob James

Joel Huotari

APN Instructor and Clinical Placement Coordinator, Saint Anthony College of Nursing

News Anchor, 23WIFR Gray Television, Inc.

Principal, Rockford Charter School Organization/Jackson Charter School

Pastor, GPS Faith Community Church

Attorney, WilliamsMcCarthy, LLP


Emerging Leaders

December 2016


PJ Caposey

Anne Weerda

Jason J. Smith

Brittany Freiberg

Dorothy Reddic

Superintendent of Schools, Meridian CUSD 223

President And Founder, Kids At The Core

Market Manager, Wipfli LLP

Director of Development, Rock Valley College Foundation

Resource Coordinator, One Body Collaboratives

Words to live by

40 Leaders share the best business advice they’ve received.

Never make a permanent decision in a temporary situation.  — Lawrence Taber

You have two ears and one mouth for a reason … listen.  — Jocelyn Hare

Great leaders take more than their share of the blame and less than their share of the credit.  — Kelly Dinsmore

You have to carry the ladder before you can climb it.

You are the CEO of PJ Caposey, INC. Make decisions based on that.  — PJ Caposey Evidence of a true leader is a manager who can be replaced by those they once supervised.  — Julia Halsted

Don’t compare yourself to others or their work, just do your thing.  — Jody Booher

— Kyle Logan

Always be kind to the people on your way up, as they will be the same people you meet on the way down. — Erin Walsh You should go back to school. (best and worst advice)  — Greg Keilback

If you have to fail, fail fast and move on!  — Harneet Bath

To work hard, be reliable, stand up for yourself, and never act too good for any task. Someone has to take out the garbage. — Michelle Angileri

If it doesn’t make you happy, leave it alone.  — Britney Lindgren

To be myself and don’t shrink because others are critical.  — Larry Williams

To be successful, find something no one else wants to do, and do it well.  — Laura Baluch

Under promise and over deliver.  — Lindsay Arellano

In everything you do, elevate those around you. If you help others become successful, their progress will drag you along. — Jakob Loescher


Emerging Leaders

December 2016

Nathan Boelkins

Emily Keilback

Harneet Bath, MD, FACP

Erin E. Walsh

Jocelyn Hare

Vice President, Electric Systems UTC Aerospace Systems

Vice President of Education & Development, Alpine Bank

Chief Medical Officer/ Vice President OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center

Managing Partner, Zimmerman & Walsh LLP

Office Manager, Servpro of Rockford


Favorite places to hangout in Rockford Shogun, my kids love it. 

— Nathan Boelkins

I love running the Sinnissippi bike path.  — Jody Booher If I am meeting people or working out of the office, you normally will find me at Meg’s Daily Grind Otherwise, outside at Anderson Japanese Gardens or Rock Cut State Park.  — Rob James UW Health Sports Factory.  Social Urban Bar.  Sampling local breweries.  Shogun. 

— PJ Caposey — Jakob Loescher — Jason Smith — Harneet Bath

Downtown Rockford, a.k.a., the River District.  — Michelle Angileri So many choices: Aero, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rock Cut State Park, Social, to name a few hot spots!  — Anne Weerda Social/Octane. 

— Britney Lindgren

Rockford City Market in the summer and Capri.  — Anthony Maynard Downtown.  Magic Waters!  Nicholson Lawn and Garden. 

— Lawrence Taber — Katie Nelson — Greg Keilback

It’s a toss-up between Carlyle or Prairie Street.  — Jocelyn Hare Jackson Charter School! 

— Angelique Malone

Friday night soccer league at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two/Indoor Soccer Center, where we play soccer and hang at the bar after! Rock Cut State Park to run, walk, kayak, cross-country ski or just sit and look out over the lake.  — Lindsay Arellano Goodwill. It’s the ultimate “green” activity to recycle your wardrobe!  — Emily Keilback The Rock River. On a boat, preferably.  — Michael King

The Social. 

— Larry Williams

The dock at Prairie Street Brewhouse in the summer.  — Kimberly Thielbar Rock Cut or Sinnissippi Golf Course.   — David Larson I love the peace and tranquility of Rock Cut. I love hiking there with my dog and my kids, and I enjoy paddle boarding there when I need some “me” time.  — Heather Frankfort Prairie Street Brewing Co. and Owly Oop Sports — Chris Manuel Pub.  I love the bike path and Rock Cut.  — Whitney Martin I enjoy spending time at Anderson Japanese Gardens. It is a peaceful place where I can enjoy — Dorothy Reddic the beauty of God’s majesty. 


Emerging Leaders

December 2016


Michelle Angileri

Brian Huels

Michael King

Brenten Witherby

Guadalupe Reyes

Marketing and Events Coordinator, Savant Capital Management

Assistant Professor of Economics, Business & Accounting, Rockford University

Managing Director, workplace staff & search

Vice President/ Commercial Services, Alpine Bank

Manager of Guest Relations & Patient Experience Swedishamerican, A Division Of UW Health

Quotes to live by “Stay humble and kind.” That’s all you have to do to make a difference in someone’s life and create a ripple effect.  — Guadalupe Reyes

“Taking Jesus As He Is … To People As They Are.”  — Anthony Maynard

“Status quo is not acceptable.”  — PJ Caposey

“When handling yourself, use you head, when handling others, use your heart.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)  — Angelique Malone

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”  — Jody Booher

“I always wondered why someone didn’t do something, and then I realized I am ‘someone.’ ” (Dola Gregory, Rock House Kids) — Whitney Martin

“Be the person you want to meet.” — Brenten Witherby

“Do for one what you wish you could do for all.”  — Brittany Freiberg “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” (Margaret Mead)  — Kristin Crowley “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” — Emily Keilback “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”  — Lindsay Arellano

“Be fearless.” 

— Larry Williams

“Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way.” (Ronald Reagan)  — Jocelyn Hare

“Less naysaying, more yaysaying.”

— Britney Lindgren

“You will never regret being kind.”  — Heather Frankfort “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Ferris Bueller)  — Kimberly Thielbar, Chris Manuel “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.”  — Michael King “I am always doing what I do, yet in order to learn how to do it.” (Vincent Van Gogh)   — Katie Nelson “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”  – Erin Walsh


Emerging Leaders

December 2016

Anthony Maynard

Lindsay Arellano

Lawrence Taber

Kelly Dinsmore

Jacob Loescher

Pastor, First Born Ministries

Director of Sales and Service, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Director of Operations/GM, Rock Hospitality/ Holiday Inn Express

Business Development Specialist, Swedishamerican, A Division Of Uw Health

Financial Advisor, Savant Capital Management

[more] Quotes to live by

Childhood dream …

“If you have an idea, support it.”  — Michelle Angileri

Professional fisherman. It didn’t happen, but I still love to fish with my children.  — Nathan Boelkins

“Our purpose in life is to help others. If you can’t do — Harneet Bath that, at least don’t harm them.”  “Work hard, play hard.” 

— Jason Smith

“Be silly. Be kind. Be Honest.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)  — Julia Halsted “Glory Be to God.” (Ephesians 3:20) 

— Rob James

“Do unto others, as you would want others to do unto you.”  — Alissa Bartel

“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say”  

— Kelly Dinsmore

“Indecision will only let opportunities pass you by.”   — Nathan Boelkins

To be a cheerleader or a crossing guard. Thankfully I got more ambitious as I got older.  — Kimberly Thielbar I always wanted to work with children, either as a nurse or a kindergarten teacher, and fulfilled my dream of being a nurse, working with infants and — Alissa Bartel families for 10 years.  My dream was to be a talk show host on TV for a major network. I didn’t get remotely close at all. However, I do get to talk a lot for my job.  — Kelly Dinsmore

I still can’t fly or climb walls. I’ll let you figure that out.  

— David Larson


Basketball player. (How close did you get?) About 8 inches away.  

— PJ Caposey

To become a professional golfer. (How close did you get?) Not even close. I didn’t have the drive or motivation to work as hard as I needed to without sacrificing other parts of my life. I did, however, receive a scholarship to play in college, which meant I was dedicated enough to play and practice for that! — Britney Lindgren Since middle school, I have wanted to live in Scotland. We are planning to visit in a few years, and our family recently purchased Scottish Highland cattle. It’s definitely close enough for me.  — Emily Keilback I am living my childhood dream.  — Derek Erwin


Emerging Leaders

December 2016


Britney Lindgren

Laura Baluch

Christopher Manuel

Larry D. Williams

Heather Frankfort

Co-Owner, Rockford Art Deli

Partner/Attorney, Barrick, Switzer, Long, Balsley & Van Evera, LLP

President/Vice President, CMM & Associates/ Prairie Street Brewing Co.

Chief Executive Officer/CEO, Housing Authority of the City of Freeport

Teacher, Rockford Public Schools, District #205

Most embarrassing moments When I was 5, I stole a pack of gum. My mother brought me back to the store to give it back to the checkout lady and say I was sorry. I remember that feeling still today.  — Chris Manuel

I almost passed out from exhaustion when we had our first child. — Nathan Boelkins My wife was fine.  At a big conference I walked right out of a bathroom with lousy hand dryers and straight into a handshake with the keynote speaker. I have never walked out of a bathroom with wet hands again. — Rob James My husband and I put our boat in the Rock River and forgot to put in the plug. Lucky for us we realized it, and saved the boat.  — Anne Weerda Getting lost on the way to my first preaching invitation at a church when I was 16 years old. Never made it for the church service that night.  — Anthony Maynard I dove in at the wrong time in a swimming relay. 


What Superpower do you want? I would want the power to go back in time.  — Alissa Bartel It would be a dream come true to have the ability to do housework as expeditiously and graceful as Mary Poppins. Perhaps I — Julia should try a spoonful of sugar.  Halsted

Thor’s powers. 

Telekinesis — the ability to manipulate and control objects with the mind, often in ways not visible to the naked eye (i.e., Professor X or Jean Grey from X-Men).  — Michelle Angileri Immortality. 

Being invisible. 

— Katie Nelson


2016 One 40 Leaders Under Forty Reveal Reception

Presenting Sponsor: workplace staff & search The Tebala Shrine Center • November 17, 2016 For all the event photos, visit

— Jason Smith

— PJ Caposey — Harneet Bath

The Replicating Woman! I could clone myself. I would be able to do more than one thing at once ... even be in more than one place at once.  — Anne Weerda Being in multiple locations at one time. It is amazing how many of my court appearances, real estate closings and client meetings need to occur on the same — Erin Walsh date at the same time.  Re-healing like Wolverine.  — Lawrence Taber Being able to talk to animals.  — Katie Nelson The ability to know what a person is thinking.  — Chris Manuel


— Greg Keilback


Emerging Leaders

December 2016

Greg Kielback

Kyle Logan

Kristin Crowley

David Larson

Keri Nelson

Biologist/Educator, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County

Vice President, Illinois Bank & Trust

Evening News Anchor, 13 WREX

Account Manager, mindShift Technologies

Executive Director, Rockford Area Habitat For Humanity

Rockford is on the rise. What excites you most about this? I lived in downtown Rockford before it was cool. It’s great to see the vision become reality in such a short time.   — Michael King The potential it gives to Freeport. If Rockford is on the rise, so is Freeport.  — Larry Williams

I’m excited to see Rockford’s progression in the young adult community. It’s exciting to see our city embracing up-and-coming leaders and providing us with the platform to make a difference in our community! 

— Angelique Malone

The development of downtown Rockford — all the restaurants, bars and shops. It’s becoming the place to be!  — Lindsay Arellano

It means other people are starting to realize all of the great things this town has to offer. The Rock River, bike and running paths, festivals, concerts, reasonable housing prices, great restaurants, airport, close proximity to larger cities, wakeboard and snowboard parks, and more. If there is something you want to do, there is a great chance that it can be done right here in Rockford.  — Brian Huels Rockford has so much to offer! I can’t wait for Rockford to become a hit tourist spot. This brings more people and more businesses.  — Jocelyn Hare The opportunities for young professionals in the area. With a Rockford renaissance, there will be great opportunities for the young professionals who have committed to the area.  — Joel Huotori That so many people, from all facets of the community, are engaging in conversation about becoming a Top 25 City.  — Keri Nelson


Technology tool (or toy) you can’t live without? There isn’t one — more often than not, I wish I didn’t have the technology tools/toys that I do have.  — Jody Booher I’m an avid podcast listener, so I never leave the house without a full playlist and ear buds. I love to learn, apply and share.  — Julia Halsted Pandora. I listen to it at the gym, in the car, and even in the classroom. Every morning the students come in and get settled while listening to classical music.  — Heather Frankfort


Emerging Leaders

December 2016


Katie Nelson

Emily Theilbar

Jody Booher

Julia Halsted

Derek Erwin

Photographer, The Arc of Winnebago, Boone & Ogle Counties

Managing Attorney, Prairie State Legal Services

Partner, Barrick, Switzer, Long, Balsley & Van Evera, LLP

Policy Governance & Communications Manager, Rockford Park District

Financial Advisor, Raymond James & Associates

Biggest pet peeve People eating canned tuna in a small space. 

— Rob James

I really hate a stack of odds-andends papers on the counter or a pile of unsorted items on a desk.   — Anne Weerda When someone complains but has the gift/talent to change it.  — Lawrence Taber Typos on a resume. It happens more than you might think.   — Michael King When students sharpen their pencils and the shavings go all over the floor!  — Heather Frankfort

People not owning their responsibilities.  — David Larson

What would we be surprised to learn about you?

My sister has a cat named “Peeve”… so that’s literally the biggest “pet peeve.” Otherwise, lack of effort. We can be a part of the problem or the solution.  — Whitney Martin

I am (about to be) a two-time cancer survivor.  — PJ Caposey

People asking questions that can be easily answered by Google. 

I have been in several rock bands that have played shows in downtown Chicago and other cities. My bands even recorded a couple of different albums. I play keyboards, the bass and sing.  — Anne Weerda

— Julia Halsted

People who complain and do nothing to help make positive change.  — Jocelyn Hare People who don’t consider how their words or actions impact others around them.  — Angelique Malone

Karaoke is my favorite pastime!  — Jakob Loescher

I attended the Cubs vs. Indians Friday (10/28/2016) World Series Game because a gentleman gave us free tickets while we were waiting in line to enter a bar to watch the game.   — Michelle Angileri I can play six instruments and rock at singing “Ave Maria.”   — Jocelyn Hare

My sister Colleen and I have the same birthday, and we are not twins. She was born on my fifth birthday.  — Erin Walsh I was adopted. 

— Jason Smith

Played 16 years of mud volleyball for Epilepsy Foundation.   — David Larson I was recently nominated for my first Chicago Emmy and am so honored and excited to attend this year’s award’s ceremony.   — Whitney Martin

I had the opportunity to open for Destiny’s Child when they came to Rockford and did a concert at Davis Park.  

— Angelique Malone

My family is working on becoming pioneer re-enactors. I recently took up weaving to be a part of the reenactment.  — Emily Keilback

To see more photos from the 40 Leaders Under Forty event, visit



December 2016

Rockford University PERSPECTIVE

Exercise your leadership during the holidays Time to share with family and friends

Michele Mehren Rockford University

The holidays are upon us and, as I’m sure everyone has, I have started thinking about everything that comes with them. I have had some amazing holidays; a huge feast at Thanksgiving, dozens of cookies baked, and loads of presents under the Christmas tree, but at what cost? Some years it took six months to pay off the credit card debt from the huge feasts, presents and festivities. I have a few questions: Are you practicing sound leadership during the holidays? Do you have great expectations for the perfect holiday? Do you worry endlessly about how clean your house will be, if you will have the right kind of food, drinks and decorations? How much money are you going to spend on presents? They say that money can’t buy happiness, but during this time of year it sure does feel like it could. Think about this question – are you trying to have the perfect holiday because you truly want to, because you always strive for this, or you think this is expected of you? If you are leading effectively, your answer should be I am trying to do what I feel makes sense for me. Statistically, depression peaks around the holidays, and I can see why. The pressure to have the best of everything engulfs us. People post pictures of their decorations and extravagant meals on social media, and if your life does not match theirs, you may be left wondering why. The cost of Thanksgiving groceries alone is enough to use up many Americans’ entire paychecks.

or as an entire

‘Out of the Box’ Holidays

to your celebrations. Think outside of

I was discussing my holiday plans with a wise young man today and he asked me, “Are you doing this because of social expectations?” When I thought about this truthfully, the unfortunate answer is yes. How many of us want the holiday that we see on commercials, HGTV or the Food Network? I know I have in the past. This year try something different; apply some sound leadership to your holidays. Be truly thankful for what you already have. Give to those less fortunate than you. Do not be concerned about what your neighbor or colleague has. They may have a beautiful house and lots of presents, but are they truly happy? The holiday season is meant to be spent with family, friends and loved ones, and should be a time of good news and happiness. We need to remember the holiday spirit comes from within, whether that be you as an individual,

family. Leaders and all of us who attempt to live up to external standards always


short. will

That leave




inadequate or


Matthew Hamel Rockford University


matter what we do in life, taking care of ourselves first must be a top priority. Remember to set realistic expectations this holiday season (including a budget) and do not stress about what is out of your control. Try having holiday feasts your own way, with your own idea of what should be served. Play games that may not be “traditional” and make this season special to you and your loved ones. Do not become stagnant with your holiday traditions either. There are many things to do around the area that are not costly. Take advantage of sharing activities with someone you care about, or go out and make new friends. This time of year should be spent with other people, if you do not have family or friends in the area, ask someone to join you for a celebration of your own. If you have family and friends in the area and you know someone who doesn’t, invite them the box, be adventurous and go out on a limb. You may surprise yourself in how much happier you feel, how much closer you are with family and friends, and how little money you had to spend to accomplish this. In short, don’t let social expectations dictate how you spend your holidays this season, make your holiday season special for you, no matter what that may look like to others. Be a leader and trendsetter that others look to for inspiration during the holidays. Michele Mehren and Matthew Hamel work in the graduate studies department at Rockford University. The views expressed are those of Mehren’s and Hamel’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


Wrap Up Your Financial Year

December 2016


INSIGHT Guest Perspective

New law sets Jan. 31 W-2 filing deadline A new federal law moves up the W-2 filing deadline for employers and small businesses to Jan. 31; making it easier for the IRS to find and stop refund fraud. It also delays some taxpayer refunds. Those taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit won’t see refunds until Feb. 15, at the earliest.

Key Points The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted last December states that employers need to file their copies of Forms W-2 and certain Forms 1099 by Jan. 31. These forms also go to the Social Security Administration. Those reporting nonemployee compensation, such as payments to independent contractors, are due Jan. 31. Employers normally had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or

the end of March, if filing electronically. Having W-2s and 1099s sooner will make it easier for the IRS to verify legitimate tax returns and get refunds sooner to taxpayers eligible to receive them. Certain taxpayers will get their refunds a bit later. By law, the IRS must hold refunds for any tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. This means the whole refund, not just the part related to the EITC or ACTC. Visit to check the status with the Where’s My Refund? tool or the IRS2Go Mobile App. Taxpayers should keep copies of their tax returns. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from a prior tax return to verify their identity. For a transcript, visit

How to close out your financial year stress free Set the stage for next year’s financial plan Many view year-end financial preparation and reflection as more of a wrap-up to the year. While this is true, it may be better to see this as more of a mechanism to kick-start next year with a better plan – helping you finish the year strong. There are countless activities to invest your time and energy heading into the final stretch of the year, but here are four areas in which to focus your efforts.

Goals and Vision Numerous studies show evidence that setting goals increases your likelihood of success. Take a few minutes to reflect on the goals you set going into 2016. What was done? What still needs to be completed? What needs to be shifted into next year? Were there any life-changing events like a job change, marriage, birth of child, divorce or death of a family member requiring you to realign your goals for the upcoming year? Make a written list of short-term (12 months), intermediate-term (two to five years) and long-term (five-plus years) goals. Dust off this list periodically throughout the year to ensure you stay on target.

Retirement Plan Now is a great time of year to review your saving strategy. Most of us rely on our company’s retirement or 401(k) plan to help save money for retirement. Many companies provide a matching component to encourage employees to contribute and save money for retirement, so take advantage of your employer’s match and contribute enough to get at least the full company match. It’s free money! If you are able, ratchet up your savings level each year until you max out your contributions ($18,000, with an extra $6,000 for 50+ year olds in 2016). All your contributions are tax deductible, assuming they are not done on an aftertax basis. If you own a business or are self-employed, there are great retirement plan options available to help you save for retirement and receive welcome tax deductions. Consult with your financial or tax advisor to explore your options.

Tax and Charitable If you use a tax consultant, now is an excellent time of year to make an appointment and review your current and future tax situation. The goal for most is to minimize taxes. The following tax and charitable strategies can give you some good direction on ways to

Matthew D. Armstrong Savant Capital Management

accomplish this: ■ If you participate in a high-deductible health insurance plan, consider funding a Health Savings Account (HSA). Singles can contribute $3,350 in 2016, while families can contribute $6,750 and receive a tax deduction. ■ One tool that has been used much more over the past few years are Donor Advised Funds (DAF). You may make regular charitable donations, but have higher than average income this year (i.e.: sale of a company). If this is the case, then you can accelerate your regular donations and pre-fund a DAF and get credit for the donation in this tax year, when your income is higher, and the deduction is more beneficial. In future years, your income and tax bracket will be lower, but you can still make charitable gifts from the DAF that was set up in the high-income year. ■ Donate highly appreciated stock instead of cash to generate a tax deduction.

Estate Planning The final and often most-overlooked area of year-end planning is the estate plan. If you have not yet created a last will and testament or Power of Attorney (POA), visit your legal advisor to help get those in place. These documents help express your wishes as to how your property is to be distributed at death, name an executor to manage your estate through its final distribution and establish custody for young children. Would a living trust document make sense to establish? A living trust is a document that is drafted also to aid in the distribution of your assets. It helps avoid the probate process, provides privacy to your family, and ultimately, may save your estate money in the long run. This also is a good time to review your beneficiary designations on 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs, annuities, life insurance policies, etc. Spending some time in each of these areas will not only put you ahead of the game going into year-end, but also get you off to a great start heading into the New Year. Matthew D. Armstrong, CFP®, CRPS®, is financial advisor at Savant Capital Management. The views expressed are those of Armstrong’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


Wrap Up Your Financial Year

December 2016

INSIGHT Guest Perspective

Seven year-end tax considerations

Timing deductions for maximum benefit Year-end celebrations are quickly approaching and a winter chill is in the air. With the current year coming to a close, businesses and individuals may be looking for some year-end tax planning tips. Here are seven things to consider for tax planning before we say “Happy New Year!” Review your business succession plans under IRS business valuation regulations. IRS released proposed regulations on Aug. 2, 2016 (published in the Federal Register on Aug. 4, 2016) that may potentially impact gift, generation skipping tax and estate tax taxation of closely held businesses. There is a hearing scheduled for the regulations on Dec. 1, 2016. Keep in mind that if the proposed regulations are finalized, it might take additional time after the Dec. 1 hearing. The future of these proposed regulations has been called into question by Congress. The House of Representatives and Senate have both proposed bills negating the effect of these regulations. In addition to these bills, President-Elect Trump’s current tax plan includes repeal of the death tax, which may further call into question these proposed regulations. Even though there is a potential for overturning the proposed regulations, it still warrants the review of your current situation to see if there is a planning opportunity before year-end. Review your retirement plan contributions. One way to reduce current income tax impact is through a qualified retirement plan. Individuals that have a current retirement plan should use yearend to make sure they have contributed the maximum, and the investment allocation is appropriate. Business owners who do not have a retirement plan should take the time to gather information to see what option is best for his/her situation. While defined contributions plans are the typical choice, there are other ways business owners can fund their retirement. These methods include defined benefit plans and cash balance plans. There is no one-size-fits-all, but a careful review of your situation can help ensure the right retirement plan is used. Confirm application of manufacturer’s deduction. The IRS allows businesses engaged in manufacturing and other qualified production activities up to a 9 percent deduction (IRC § 199). This section comes with a complex set of rules, so reviewing your business process and the deduction calculation is important. This deduction can provide valuable tax benefits for businesses. If a company manufactures, produces, constructs, grows or extracts property within the United States, that

Stephen Hofmann

Alpine Bank company should confirm and review the application of this credit. Synchronize business and personal tax situations. When looking at a business situation and personal situation, business owners should take a holistic approach. If a closely held business has a good year, it might be appropriate to accelerate some deductions, such as prepayment of real estate taxes, mortgage payments and charitable payments. Confirm charitable gifting. One way to accelerate some deductions and potentially decrease income is gifting assets to charity. This is important to consider when synchronizing your business and personal tax situation. Consider gifting long-term low basis assets and/or making a distribution from an IRA to a qualified charity to satisfy a required minimum distribution (RMD), up to $100,000. The benefit of gifting low basis assets held for over a year is a tax deduction for the fair market value, while avoiding tax on the gain on the stock. The direct distribution from an IRA to a charity will remove the income from your adjusted gross income, while satisfying an RMD. Review personal gifting. Under the current gifting rules, an individual has an annual exclusion amount of $14,000 to gift. In addition to this, an individual has a lifetime exemption of $5,450,000 ($5,490,000 in 2017) for federal purposes. In addition to these considerations, individuals need to confirm any estate tax implications from their state of residency as well as impact from federal estate tax portability. Planning for Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) The alternative minimum tax (AMT) applies to many taxpayers, requiring them to add back some of the deductions they have taken. Taxpayers are allowed an exemption that somewhat reduces the AMT’s effects. That exemption rose in 2016 to $53,900 for single taxpayers and $83,800 for married couples filing jointly. With the exemptions provided, there may still be some opportunity for timing deductions, such as property and individual state income taxes.

Stephen Hofmann, J.D., CPA, CFP®, is an assistant vice president, wealth advisor & investment officer, at Alpine Trust & Investment Group. The views expressed are those of Hofmann’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. Investment and insurance products are: not FDIC insured; not guaranteed; and, may be subject to investment risk, including possible loss of principal.



Wrap Up Your Financial Year

December 2016

Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Predictions for your wallet with Trump win crunched the numbers on what likely is in store for everything from GDP growth and the S&P 500, to tax rates and healthcare coverage with the Donald J. Trump presidency on Jan. 20.

Personal Taxes 33% top individual tax rates for income over $112,500.

Corporate Taxes Discouraging inversions through taxation in order to grow the economy.

Stock Market

Political predecessors registered a 3.28% increase of the market (adjusted for inflation) (divided Congress).

Unemployment Points to energy as a source for new jobs in the future.


Pledged to invest $20 billion of federal dollars into a voucher program for students to attend school of their choice and repeal common core.

Social Security Pledged to save Social Security without cuts.

Planning for the retirement you want

Strategies for saving through the decades

Health Care

Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Minimum Wage

Increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour, but let states set the minimum wage as appropriate for them.

What’s your retirement dream? Do you see yourself traveling around the world? Relaxing at your lake home? Taking your grandchildren on trips to Disney World? No matter how you envision it, one thing is certain – you need a strategy. Here are the key things you need to do to make sure your retirement dream turns into a reality.

Have a plan. We all have visions of how we want our retirement to be. However, most of us don’t do anything about it. And hoping for the best is really not the best strategy. Instead, take the time to lay out your vision for the future and then map out a plan to achieve it.

Projected Impact on Tax Revenue for 2017: Estate Tax

Trump’s Stance. Repeal it. Tax capital gains held until death and valued over $10 million, except for small businesses and family farms. Prohibit contributions of appreciated assets into a private charity established by the decedent or decedent’s relatives. What he said, “The estate tax has been a disaster; it’s double taxation.”

Caregiver Benefits

Trump’s Stance. Full deductibility of average-cost childcare expenses. Above-the-line deduction for children under age 13, capped at state average for age of child, and for eldercare for a dependent. Exclusion

Some people prefer to do retirement on their own, and depending on their resources and time, they can do it successfully. Most of us, though, would benefit from the help of an expert who can explain the choices we need to make and provide sound advice that is in our best interest. Enlisting the aid of a financial advisor can help provide focus to a process that can be overwhelming.

Make sure you’re on the same page.

$3,276 billion - $341 billion will not be available to taxpayers with total income over $500,000 (marriedjoint) or $250,000 (single). What he said, “My plan will also help reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending from their taxes.”

Itemized Deductions

Trump’s Stance. Increase the standard deduction to $30,000 for joint filers and $15,000 for single filers. Cap itemized deductions at $200,000 for married-joint filers or $100,000 for single filers. No change for mortgage interest or charitable contributions.

James M. Hansberry Rockford Bank & Trust

At any age, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day needs of our lives. We know we need to save for tomorrow, but we also want to live for today, and often, our retirement savings is what suffers.

Use a guide.

Current Annual Tax Revenue:


If you are mapping out your retirement plan with your spouse, it’s critical to make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to your goals. Saving for a retirement spent traveling around the world vs. retiring in your hometown with occasional trips to the lake require vastly different decisions when it comes to saving. As a team, ask each other questions such as, “What does financial independence look like to you?” or “In your ideal retirement, when you look out the window, what do you see?” You can also look at the lives of those you know who are already retired. Are they living the retirement you envision? All of these exercises can help you gain insight as to how to move forward to reach your future goals.

Guidelines change as you age. No matter how you see yourself in retirement, the rules change in how to

save in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. In your 20s, the most important thing is to get in the habit of saving as much as possible and taking advantage of your company-sponsored 401(k), or if that’s not available, by opening a traditional or Roth IRA. The earlier you start, the better. As you reach your 30s and 40s, you’ll want to be focusing on paying down debt and making sure you’re covered for any unexpected disaster that could disrupt your retirement savings strategy. You also don’t want to get sidetracked by paying for life events such as your children’s college tuition or weddings. Dipping into your retirement savings for these one-time costs is strongly discouraged. Once you’ve hit your 50s and 60s, it’s time to start switching gears to life in retirement. This is the time when you will want to begin meeting with your financial advisor more often to discuss your investment portfolio and making adjustments to your asset allocation to better position yourself for the process of drawing on your “retirement paycheck.”

Make the dream a reality. At any age, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day needs of our lives. We know we need to save for tomorrow, but we also want to live for today, and often, our retirement savings is what suffers. No matter how you envision your retirement, the important thing is to start mapping out a plan early so you can reach the goals you envisioned in your retirement. We are living longer past retirement. Many of us may enjoy 30+ years after our last day at work which will most likely include second careers and new experiences, so why not make sure we have put in place the strategies that will afford us the retirement of our dreams? James M. Hansberry is executive vice president, wealth management, Rockford Bank & Trust. The views expressed are those of Hansberry’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


Wrap Up Your Financial Year

December 2016


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Here’s what a Trump presidency means for the economy Changes coming for growth, taxes, infrastructure, interest rates, trade The upset presidential election victory of Donald J. Trump and the Republican hold of the House of Representatives and the Senate signal major changes ahead in both the federal government’s approach to growth and the Federal Reserve’s approach to monetary policy. Most evident will be a return of supply-side tax cuts, large operating fiscal deficits, and a move back toward more traditional monetary policies that, over time, should lead to higher short and long-term interest rates. Below we outline our views on the implications of a Trump presidency for economic growth, taxes and infrastructure, central bank policy and interest rates and trade.

Economic Growth We anticipate that the Trump administration will attempt to achieve the economic equivalence of a strategic breakout with respect to the pace of economic growth. It will also seek significant reform of Dodd-Frank, which would be a boost for Wall Street, and move to inject private competition into the health care system. Because the GOP does not have veto-proof majority, the reform of regulation governing finance and health care will be quite challenging and difficult to obtain. While there will likely be a faster pace of growth in the near term, uncertainty about the role and status of the United States in the global economy may combine to create longer-term issues that, ironically, act as a drag on growth.

Taxes and Infrastructure From a purely economic point of view, it will be difficult to lift the long-term growth trend much above 1.5 percent without significant tax reform and productivity-enhancing changes related to tax investments and improving the condition of the national infrastructure. Given the major demographic challenges associated with the aging of the baby boomers, and the gradual entry of millennials into the workforce, the underlying conditions of the post-Great Recession economy are not conducive to a quicker pace of growth unless there is major tax and entitlement reform. With Trump’s election, forwardlooking managers and investors should anticipate large tax cuts, deregulation and a likely return of greater risk-taking by financial firms in an attempt to stoke a greater pace of growth in the near-term. In our estimation, based on visits

In fact, we suspect that the infrastructure bill will be sold as necessary for national security, given the recent wave of cyber strikes on private firms and the Russian-led hack of the Democratic National Committee. to policymakers in Washington and on Capitol Hill, the order of operations for the first two years of the Trump Administration will likely proceed in the following fashion: First, a move to engage on comprehensive tax reform will likely be one of the primary orders of business in January 2017. We expect an attempt to craft a deal that would revolve around lower individual and business tax rates, along with an end to corporate tax inversions. Under these conditions, an attempt to lower individual tax rates on the margin likely around the framework set out in the House Republican blueprint released in June of this year of 12, 25 and 33 percent would be a workable framework to put in place the most significant tax reform since 1986. We anticipate that this will take up much of first year of the administration and congressional calendar. At the heart of Trump’s tax plan is the intention to reduce taxes on passthrough entities to 15 percent, which would decisively favor the middle market, which accounts for 40 percent of GDP and employs one-third the labor force. In our estimation, given the fact that pass-through entities account for roughly 95 percent of all firms in the economy, that this would be quite popular among the general public and Trump’s rust belt working-class coalition.

won’t just focus on roads, bridges, ports and canals. It will likely be much broader and encompass sewage, water, broadband, hardening the energy infrastructure and cyber security. In fact, we suspect that the infrastructure bill will be sold as necessary for national security, given the recent wave of cyber strikes on private firms and the Russian-led hack of the Democratic National Committee. It is important to note that a robust infrastructure is not an economic panacea. It is a long run, productivityenhancing policy that is more of a legacy issue, as opposed to something that will jump start economic activity in the near-term. If there is no tax reform, then growth will remain decisively in the sub twopercent range. A quicker pace of growth won’t return until the demographic bulge from the millennials and generation Y take power and reform the country and economy to be better aligned with their tastes, preferences and interests.

Central Bank Policy The initial financial shock associated with the Trump’s triumph is quickly waning. Investors in the United States have been conditioned over the past few years to buy on dips and use them as an opportunity to bolster quarterly returns, often around, accommodative

An infrastructure project probably won’t just focus on roads, bridges, ports and canals. It will likely be much broader and encompass sewage, water, broadband, hardening the energy infrastructure and cyber security. Second, we think the opportunity for a bipartisan bill on a multi-year infrastructure project is ripe for passage. The glue that would hold this together would likely be parallel legislation that would seek to tax the $2.6 trillion in corporate profits being held abroad. There is growing realization in both political parties that the infrastructure around the country has been allowed to slip into such disrepair that it has become something of a national embarrassment. An infrastructure project probably

policy out of the Fed. While that is certainly the case in the near term, there is likely to be volatility ahead as markets begin to price in what will likely be major upcoming changes in personnel at the central bank. The era of unorthodox monetary policy will slowly come to an end. It is almost certain that Janet Yellen will not return for a second term at the Fed, and that Trump will move to fill the two open positions on the board with allies who favor a quicker pace of rate normalization in the near-term than

the dovish contingent the Fed currently has in place.

Joe Brusuelas RSM US LLP

Interest Rates Interest rates are likely moving higher due to the return of fiscal policy via major tax cuts, which are certain to lead to larger annual operating deficits. The logic of the supply side economics that will be at the heart of Trump’s policy framework is a willingness to accept large increases in the federal deficit in return for greater growth. If Trump enacts his tax policies, growth will likely follow in the near term. During the medium term, however, due to the probability of very large operating deficits, investors will likely begin to push up long-term rates to levels that are not conducive to growth.

Trade In our estimation, the Trans Pacific Partnership represents a once-in-alifetime opportunity for the middle market to be given preference in a multilateral trade treaty. It would not be any surprise if the TPP quickly becomes the last major policy debate of the outgoing Obama administration. Given the outcome of the election, the upcoming lame duck session of congress likely represents the last opportunity for a number of years to pass multilateral trade policies that decisively favor the middle market. It is here where the greatest risks lie. It is quite clear that Trump intends to slow down the pace of economic integration between the United States and its trade partners. More than half of all U.S. trade is with its North American partners, and is an important source of growth in the economy. To the extent that Trump either intends to, or can, renegotiate portions of NAFTA will define what appears to be neo-mercantilist policies that the new administration may adopt. Because of the relative lack of substantial policy preferences set out by the Trump campaign, at the current time, it’s difficult to quantify the overall economic impact from what policies do emerge. It is safe to say that it is best to avoid starting trade wars, which are always popular at the outset but end up harming everyone over the long term. Joe Brusuelas is chief economist at RSM US LLP. The views expressed are those of Brusuelas’ and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.


December 2016


the News IN Members THEin NEWS

1. Sherry Gaumond

2. Dr. Scott Trenhaile

3. Jorge Herrera

4. Steve Swenson

5. Brittany Pena

6. Mary Marshall

7. Chris Baer

8. Lori Gummow

9. James Munch

10. Philip Smith

11. Lee Sprecher

12. Pamela Appino

13. Patrick Hayes

14. Katie Bryant

15. Nick Lee

16. Dr. Suraj Bopanna

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

BOARD APPOINTMENTS RoseAnn Haedt, communications strategist, Chartwell Agency, joined the Golden Apple Foundation board. Sherry Gaumond (1), IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, director of interior design, Larson & Darby Group, was appointed as a community grants advisor by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. The Crusader Community Health board named Rich Walsh, Zimmerman & Walsh, LLP and Catherine Fosse as board members serving three-year terms. Scott Trenhaile, M.D., (2) OrthoIllinois, was named an associate member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons at its annual meeting in Boston.


Bryant (14) as personal and commercial business advisor.

Next Rockford welcomed Jorge Herrera (3), Associated Bank, and Steve Swenson (4), St. John – Mittelhauser & Associates, Inc., to its strategy team.

KMK Media Group hired Sarah Mitchell as communications specialist and Kyle McDonald as graphic designer.

SwedishAmerican welcomed new advanced practice nurses Brittany Pena (5), who joined Dr. Arturo Manas at State Street OB/GYN, and Mary Marshall (6), who joined Midwest Heart Specialists. Rock River Water Reclamation District hired Chris Baer (7) as district engineering manager. Lori Gummow (8), executive director, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, will retire at the end of December. Community Foundation of Northern Illinois hired James Munch (9) as vice president of finance & administration. Alpine Bank hired Philip Smith (10) as assistant vice president, application support manager.

Stillman Bank welcomed Nick Lee (15) as vice president & commercial loan officer. Karen Tilly retired from Rockford MELD after 24 years as the director of development and public relations. SwedishAmerican welcomed new pulmonary specialist Suraj Bopanna, M.D. (16) Allison Kehoe (17) joined Larson & Darby Group as an interior designer. Brett Mueller, D.C. (18), joined Hulsebus Rockford Chiropractic as a board-certified chiropractic physician in November 2016. John J. Whelan, attorney, joined in Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.’s intellectual property practice in Rockford.

Crusader Community Health Foundation elected its executive committee: Dennis Roop, Illinois Bank & Trust (president); Wray Howard, community volunteer (vice president); Jeff Huber, CPA, Precision Dose, Inc. (treasurer); Michele Petrie, BMO Harris Bank (secretary), and Pastor Nord Swanstrom (immediate past president).

Arc Design Resources, Inc., hired Lee Sprecher (11) as survey department manager.

Aqua-Aerobic Systems, Inc., hired Pamela Appino (12), PHR, as director of human resources.

Dr. Bill Gorski, (20) president and CEO of SwedishAmerican, a division of UW Health, will retire from his position on July 1, 2017. Dr. Michael Born (21), the current chief medical officer and chief quality officer, will succeed him as president and CEO.

Linda Kuhn, BA, MLS (ASCP), clinical laboratory point of care testing coordinator, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, was selected to serve a two-year term on the Remote Automated Laboratory System (RALS) advisory board.

Mayor Larry Morrissey announced that Patrick Hayes’ (13) last day as legal director for the City of Rockford is Dec. 5. He will start on Dec. 12 as the Illinois Municipal League’s new General Counsel.

Elizabeth Pickvance, M.D. (22), board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic physician joined Mercyhealth Orthopedic Specialists, Mercyhealth Physicians.

CoyleKiley Insurance hired Katie

Savant Capital Management hired

17. Allison Kehoe

18. Dr. Brett Mueller

Woodward, Inc., hired John Tysver as corporate vice president of technology. J.L. Clark hired Andrew Nackovic as vice president of sales and marketing.

19. Jarid Funderburg

20. Dr. Bill Gorski

OSF Healthcare Foundation hired Jarid Funderburg (19) as strategic philanthropy officer for OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.

21. Dr. Michael Born

22. Dr. Elizabeth Pickvance

Jerry Boxleitner (23), CPA, as chief financial officer; Fred Hasse (24), MBA, as applications support manager; Kim Ballard (25) as client services representative, and Jordan Hoffland (26) as portfolio accountant. LaVonne Brown (27) was promoted to chief communications officer. Community Foundation of Northern Illinois hired James Munch as vice president of finance & administration. The YMCA of Rock River Valley hired Jason Behrends (28) as chief financial officer. Raquel Malabanan, M.D. (29), pediatrician, joined Crusader Community Health on West State Street. Briana Russom (30), physician assistant, joined SwedishAmerican at its Rochelle and Byron clinics.

EMPLOYEE/COMMUNITY RECOGNITIONS, AWARDS Crusader Community Health honored Catherine Brown (31), Hon. Janet R. Holmgren (32) and Nancy Kalchbrenner (33) with Spirit of Caring awards. Courtney Geiger (34) received the Spirit of the Future award. Comfort Keepers named Matthew Tiritilli (35) as Comfort Keeper of the Month for September. Stephanie Carlson (36), staff auditor II, Alpine Bank, completed the Certified Community Bank Internal Auditing Program sponsored by the Community Banker University®. Pat Juneau (37), Edward Jones, won the company’s Spirit of Caring award. Dr. Hannah Orem (38), Upper Cervical Care Center – Rockford, was recognized at the Fall National

(continued on page 27)

23. Jerry Boxleitner

24. Fred Hasse



December 2016

the News IN Members THEin NEWS

25. Kim Ballard

26. Jordan Hoffland

27. LaVonne Brown

28. Jason Behrends

29. Dr. Raquel Malabanan

30. Briana Russom

31. Catherine Brown

32. Hon. Janet R. Holmgren

33. Nancy Kalchbrenner

34. Courtney Geiger

35. Matthew Tiritilli

36. Stephanie Carlson

37. Pat Juneau

38. Dr. Hannah Orem

39. Curt Lansbery

40. Dr. Manorama Khare

41. Joe Galvanoni

42. Matt Alley

43. Kevin McFadden

44. Christy Von Rotz

45. Maria VanBrocklin

46. Rollie McClellan

47. Troy Haggestad

48. Dr. Brock Field

Continued from page 26 Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association Conference in Minneapolis for passing Part 1 NUCCA certification. Curt Lansbery (39), president, North American Tool, received ISA’s Golden Eagle award for 28 years of contributions to the industry. Dr. Manorama Khare (40), assistant professor, department of family and community medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, received the Nuveen International Development award. Meridian chose Joe Galvanoni (41) as employee of the month for October. Matt Alley (42), Savant Capital Management, received the Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing and Switching certification; Kevin McFadden (43) the Life Underwriter Training Council FellowSM (LUTCF®) designation; Christy Von Rotz (44) the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, and Maria VanBrocklin (45) the Registered ParaplannerSM (RP®) designation. Rockford Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals awarded the following at its luncheon in November: John and Fran Morrissey, Morrissey Family Business (outstanding philanthropist); Gary Kaatz, University of Illinois College

49. John Saunders

of Medicine Rockford (outstanding fundraising volunteer), and Christiana Belonger, Chick-Fil-A Rockford (future philanthropist). Rollie McClellan (46), board chairman, Mercyhealth, received the 2016 Wisconsin Hospital Association Trustee award. University of Illinois Extension announced its annual 4-H awards. Leaders of the club for more than 25 years were: Kelly Schafer, Jane Anderson and Marlene Strohman (30 years); Marjorie Penwarden (42 years), and Mary Ann Arenson (43 years). Jocelyn Kuntz won Jr. Member of the Year; Charles Meyers, Sr. Member of the Year; Lindsay Ward, 4-H Bright Futures, and Reita Baird, 4-H Volunteer of the Year. Betsy Carlson was named a Hall of Fame winner. Janet Pollock, a 36-year veteran, was honored for leading the 4-H Club of the Year, the North Main Rustlers 4-H Club. The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford gave John A & Idelle D. Segzda Endowed Medical Scholarships to Fabiola Enriquez and Christopher James. College of Medicine Rockford Scholarships went to Ivo Genev, Abdusebur Jemal, Dakota Lammy and Jonathan Kooiman. Kelsey Davitt received the Gordon W. Hall

50. Steve Nelson

51. Greg Small

Scholarship, Caitlin Moliske the Shirley Henley Philon Scholarship, Nicole Larsen the Karl F. Bader Scholarship, Ijeoma Agu the Kathy A. Norman Memorial Fund and Blair Wright the CMR Major Thomas F. Koritz Memorial Scholarship.

OF GENERAL INTEREST Troy Haggestad (47), partner, Williams McCarthy, was a keynote speaker on data security breaches at the 2016 Entré TechX event in November. Dr. Brock Field (48), Hulsebus Rockford Chiropractic, attended classes to become certified through the CDC Heads Up program, addressing concussions in sports among kids and teens. John Saunders (49), principal, Larson & Darby; Steve Nelson (50), director of educational architecture; Greg Small (51), director of technology; Julie Williams (52), interior designer, and Debra Traver (53), marketing manager, attended the 2016 Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials in Chicago in November. Rockford University inaugurated Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D. (54), as its 18th

52. Julie Williams

53. Debra Traver

president on Nov. 4 in the Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center. Dr. Fulcomer marked his first day in office on July 1, succeeding Dr. Robert L. Head. Robin Borchardt, M.D., and Brian Slinde, director of rehabilitation, OrthoIllinois, and attorneys Kevin Luther and Lindsey D’Agnolo, Heyl Royster, held a free, educational event for more than 100 in November on workplace injuries, employee rehabilitation and drug and alcohol policies. Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey and Jennifer Jaeger, community services director, City of Rockford human services department, joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House for the Joining Forces Veterans Homelessness Summit. The city was recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and national nonprofit agency, Community Solutions, as the first community in the national Zero: 2016 movement to reach functional zero and effectively end homelessness among local veterans. Julie Burfoot (55), Spectrum Insurance Agency, attended an ethics class by Servicemaster for three continuing education credits.

54. Dr. Eric W. Fulcomer

55. Julie Burfoot


December 2016

Regional, National Indicators THE ECONOMY September 2016

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

0.4 percent 4.9 percent

      



Northwest Quarterly Magazine City of Rockford – Human Services Department Testing Service Corporation Winnebago County-River Bluff Nursing Home


Winnebago County Health Department

0.3 percent



0.6 percent (third quarter, 2016) 3.1 percent (third quarter, 2016)

City of Loves Park


0.5 percent

Crescent Electric Supply Company Laser Quest

0.2 percent

15-YEAR MEMBERS Golden Apple Foundation theFranaGroup

Unemployment Rates June 2016

July 2016

Aug 2016

Sept 2016
















United States





Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

’Tis the Season of Giving With nearly a third of all annual giving taking place in December, and the United States ranking second overall in this year’s World Giving Index, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2016’s Most Charitable States based on 13 key metrics such as “volunteer rate,” “percentage of income donated” and “percentage of sheltered homeless.

TOP 10 MOST CHARITABLE STATES 7. 8. 9. 10. 32.

5-YEAR MEMBERS Banner of Truth International Cloisters of Forest Hills Delta Dental of Illinois Forest City Communications of Illinois Inc. Michalsen Office Furniture Inc. Napleton Honda Nova Painting & Decorating

Membership Renewals

Region / State / Nation

Utah Minnesota North Dakota Maryland Oklahoma Delaware


University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

December 2016 Member Anniversaries Thank you to the members celebrating their anniversaries with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. Indicators Consumer Price Index


New Hampshire Ohio Wisconsin Arkansas Illinois


CAF WORLD GIVING INDEX 2016 ■ Myanmar tops the CAF World Giving Index for the third year running, followed by USA and Australia. ■ The UK is the most generous country in Europe, followed by Ireland and the Netherlands. ■ In many countries, men are significantly more likely than women to engage in volunteering or helping a stranger. However, at the global average level, there’s little difference between men and women when it comes to donating money. ■ Iraq ranks highest for helping a stranger for the second year running. Source: Charities Aid Foundation

Thank you to members who renewed with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce in October, 2016. Abreo Restaurant Aetna Plywood, Inc. Atmosphere Commercial Interiors BelRock Asphalt Paving Inc. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crosby Starck Real Estate Bobcat of Rockford Brian F. Soltys, D.D.S. Briggs Floor Sanding & Refinishing Burpee Museum of Natural History Camelot World Travel Campbell Science Corporation Carz R’ Us General Automotive & Tire Center for Sight & Hearing CherryVale Mall Children’s Home & Aid Christenson Funeral Home & Cremation Cicero, France & Alexander, P.C. City of Rockford Cloisters of Forest Hills CMM & Associates Colorwave Graphics, LLC Creative Crane & Rigging, Inc. Cross Creek Condominium Association Crusader Community Health On West State Street, Woodward Campus for Community Health Care Crusader Community Health - Auburn Campus Crusader Community Health - Loves Park Crusader Community Health Belvidere Crusader Community Health on Broadway, Uram Building D & S Marine Inc. Des Plaines Office Equipment Dodge Lanes, Inc. Eckburg Insurance Group Entre Computer Solutions Epilepsy Foundation Fehr Graham Forest City Diagnostic Imaging Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. Gary W. Anderson Architects Glenn Shepard Seminars Heartland Hospice Holiday Inn of Rockford HomeStart Instant Jungle, Inc. Johnson Controls, Inc.

Keith Country Day School Lenox Healthcare for Women Lou Bachrodt AutoMall Lou Bachrodt Used Car Center Maculan Chiropractic Clinic Mary’s Market Michalsen Office Furniture Inc. Mid-City Office Products PACCAR Parts, A Division of PACCAR PANDORA Jewelry Store Panino’s Restaurant (State Street) Panino’s Restaurant (Main Street) Parkside Warehouse, Inc. Physicians Immediate Care Piping Industry Council of the Rockford Area Powmet, Inc. Professional Graphics Inc. R. J. Bowers Distributors, Inc. R.K. Dixon Company Remedies Renewing Lives Rock River Water Reclamation District Rockford Bank & Trust Co. (Guilford Road) Rockford Bank & Trust Co. - Stewart Square Rockford Bell Credit Union Rockford Buzz Rockford Charter School Organization/Jackson Charter School Rockford Fastener Inc. Rockford Litho Center Rockford Promise Rockford Roasting Company Rockford Toolcraft, Inc. S. J. Carlson Fire Protection Saco USA (Illinois) Inc. Saint Anthony College of Nursing Sexson Orthodontics, Ltd. SmithAmundsen LLC State Farm Insurance - Brian Faulk Summit Radiology Taylor Company - United Technologies The Harvard State Bank Upper Iowa University - Rockford Center Village Green Home & Garden Winnebago County Housing Authority Winnebago County Recorder Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office



December 2016

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

Friday, December 2

Artale & Co., hosts a Wine Tasting, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at 6876 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, to benefit the Barbara Olson Center of Hope. Includes more than 30 wines. Call 815-964-9275.

Saturday, December 3 University of Illinois Extension presents its annual Horticulture for the Holidays workshop: Evergreen Wreaths with Samantha Burbach, 9 to 11:30 a.m., at the SNAP-Ed office (Easter Seals building), 650 N. Main St., Rockford. Register at web. or 815-9864357. PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue,” a children’s stage show based on the hit animated Nickelodeon TV show, comes to the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford. Show times are 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Dec. 3, and 10 a.m., Dec. 4. Tickets at BMO Harris Bank Center or Coronado box offices, www. or 815-968-5222. Rockford Park District hosts Breakfast with Santa with Greenfire, 8:30 to 10 a.m. or 10 to 11:30 a.m., on Dec. 3, 10, 17; and 10 to 11:30 a.m., Dec. 4, 11 at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St. Visit www. or call 815-987-8858. Rockford Art Museum presents its winter masquerade gala Evergreen Ball XXVIII, 6 p.m., inside its galleries, 711 N. Main St. For tickets visit or call 815968-2787.

Sunday, December 4 Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden presents its Christmas Concert & Holiday Dessert Buffet, 2 to 4 p.m., at 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, with local performers: harp ensemble Emerald Wind, folk duet Trinadora, 2nd City Chorus. Register at christmasconcert or 815-965-8146.

Beef-A-Roo presents its first-annual Santa Breakfast, 9:30 a.m., Dec. 4 and 11 at 6593 Lexus Dr., Rockford. Photo opportunities with Santa at traditional pancake breakfast. Proceeds benefit eight Salvation Army families’ Christmas wish lists. Tickets at Reservations for up to 100 per seating.

Tuesday, December 6 Mercyhealth Development Foundation hosts an Angel Statue of Hope Candlelight Vigil and Remembrance Ceremony for those who have lost a child, 6 p.m., in Waterside Park (East State and Water streets in downtown Rockford). Features vocalist Jodi Beach, testimonials. For questions call 815-971-4141. University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford presents a free community seminar, Holiday Blues… or something else? with Anne Zuba, LCSW, 5:30 p.m., at 1601 Parkview Ave. To register call 815-395-5649, email or visit Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Rockford Public Library and Rock Valley College Foundation present a Community Scholarship Fair, 5 to 7 p.m., at Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford. Free. Information about more than $400,000 in available scholarships. Visit or www.

Thursday, December 8 Women of Today’s Manufacturing presents its Membership Appreciation Dinner, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road, Loves Park. Please bring new or gently used school supplies for Rockford Public Schools. Visit www.

Friday, December 9 Male a cappella group Straight No Chaser performs, 8 p.m., at Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford. Call 815-968-0595 or visit

Saturday, December 10 A Local Holiday Market takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Rockford University, Regent’s Hall, 5050 E. State St. Free admission and parking. Midway Village Museum presents Christmas in the Trenches, 10 a.m. to noon, on Dec. 10 at 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford. Victorian Holiday Celebration takes place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Dec. 10 and 11. Call 815397-9112 or visit www.midwayvillage. com. First Free Rockford presents Christmas Traditions, a holiday event for families, 4 to 8 p.m., at 2223 N. Mulford Road. Visit www. christmas-traditions.

Sunday, December 11

Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra presents its Winter Orchestra Concert, 3 p.m., at Hononegah PAC, 307 Salem St., Rockton. Tickets at 815-965-0049 or Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St., Rockford, hosts its Christmas Open House, noon to 4 p.m. Gallery tours, music by Trinadora and Secret Serenade, holiday gift shop, ethnic treats. Visit www.

Thursday, December 15

University of Illinois Extension presents Gifts from the Kitchen – Holiday Baking Jars with Diane Reinhold, nutrition and wellness educator, 6 p.m., at 1040 N. 2nd St., Rockford. Register at web.extension. or 815-986-4357.

Saturday, December 17

Openings are available for Rockford Park District’s Breakfast with Santa, 8:30 to 10 a.m., at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St. Register at least one week in advance at www.nicholas or 815987-8858. Rockford Symphony Orchestra presents Holiday Pops with

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s Mendelssohn Chorale, 7:30 p.m., at Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford. Tickets at 815-965-0049 or www.

Sunday, December 18 Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St., Rockford, presents From the Slave Quarters to Kwanzaa, written, produced and directed by Dorothy Paige-Turner, 2 to 4 p.m. Performing artists share stories of Christmas and “Big Times” from enslavement to freedom to celebration of the non-religious holiday Kwanzaa. Call 815-962-7402 or visit www.

Monday, December 26 Discovery Center Museum presents Holiday Hoopla, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Dec. 26 to 30, inside Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. Hands-on arts and crafts with amazing math and science. Call 815-963-6769 or visit www.

Tuesday, December 27 Harlem Globetrotters bring their 2017 World Tour, 7 p.m., to the BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford. Tickets at Ticketmaster. com, BMO box office or 815-9680595.

Friday, December 30 The Temptations perform, 8 p.m., at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford. Tickets at BMO Harris Bank Center box office,

Saturday, December 31 Discovery Center Museum presents Countdown to Fun! 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., inside Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. Design a party hat, create a noisemaker, get showered with confetti and find out where in the world it’s midnight each hour. Call 815-963-6769 or visit www.


December 2016


Business Briefs BUSINESS BRIEFS through Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays through Dec. 24.

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

Two Men and a Truck® Rockford collected essential items from many area locations September to October as a part of its Movers for Mutts annual campaign. More than 8,267 donations were delivered to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Rockford.

13 WREX received regional Emmy nominations from the Chicago/ Midwest Chapter of the National Academy for Television Arts & Sciences for its morning show, 13 News Today, and for the show’s meteorologist Morgan Kolkmeyer. Also nominated was 13 News Weekend anchor Reuben Jones’ story on two families who lost loved ones in the April 9, 2015 tornado. OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center received the top ranking, High Performing, by U.S. News & World Report, for its treatment of four common medical conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, hip replacement and knee replacement. Cornerstone Credit Union invites applications for its 2017 Founders Scholarship Program. Three high school seniors will receive $5,000. Deadline for submission is Feb. 28, 2017. Visit for application and full details. KMK Media Group created a new site layout and design for www. with mobile device and tablet optimization and capabilities to browse classes, find upcoming events, schedule parties and view museum exhibits. It was named agency of record for 1st Family Home Healthcare to create a new logo and rebranding. Rockford Park District, Winnebago County Regional Tourism Facility Board and Cord Construction Company hosted a Topping Off Ceremony in October for the Indoor Sports Center expansion at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two. Cord Construction placed the last beam on top of the 133,000-sq.-ft. sports building, which is about 48 percent complete. Savant Capital Management awarded $2,500 grants to Rockford University and the Rock River Valley Food Pantry. It’s made $2,500 donations to 10 area nonprofits in 2016. Rock Valley College received donations to kick-start its cold forming manufacturing training at its new location on Buckbee Street in Rockford. Nakashimada Engineering Works Ltd., donated the $200,000 cold forming machine, Loomis International a $15,000 wire drawer machine to operate the machine and Fastenal of Rockford spools of wire to run the machine. Rockford Rescue Mission received $11,150 through the Help Holly Help matching grant challenge by Peter Francis and Holly Geraci. Area residents donated $5,575 and Holly Geraci matched with a personal gift of $5,575. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy

The Rock Valley College team receives an Honorable Mention Delegation award at the National Model United Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., in November. Students Jonny Montville and Max Burke’s position paper received the Outstanding Position Paper award and an Outstanding Delegates in Committee award in the Economic and Social Council Plenary. keynoted the 2016 Rosecrance Foundation Chicago Benefit; highlighting the importance of equal rights and access to care for people seeking substance use and mental health treatment in October at the landmark JW Marriott hotel. Freeport Community Foundation granted RAMP to re-introduce its youth curriculums into the Freeport School District: iBelong, Ignite and Teens In Transition (T’NT). Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau announced four new large-scale sports tournaments in 2017, expected to draw more than 22,500 visitors and an estimated $5 million in economic impact: the 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, Feb. 23 to 25; Amateur Athletic Union Midwest Regional Gymnastics Championships, May 5 to 7; Premier SuperCopa Championships, June 9 to 12, and Elite Clubs National Playoffs, June 22 to 27. UTC Aerospace Systems employees presented Lifescape Community Services with a gift of more $12,000 in October. In late September, dozens of teams of UTC Aerospace Systems employees fanned out to neighborhoods in Rockford as a part of United Way of Rock River Valley’s Day of Caring events. Mercyhealth hospital at Rockton Avenue received the Chairman’s Energy Conservation award for energy efficiency at the Northern Illinois Renewable Energy Summit and Expo in October. It installed high-efficiency boiler burners and variable frequency drive chillers, retro-commissioned existing physical plant and ventilation equipment and installed high-efficiency LED lighting throughout the exterior, interior common and dining areas, and hangar for the REACT helicopter. Mercyhealth Roscoe celebrated its expansion with an open house on Oct. 29 at 5000 Prairie Rose Dr. It

offers internal medicine, obstetrics/ gynecology, pediatrics, convenient care, physical therapy, mammography, CT services and podiatry. Prairie Street Brewing Co announced that its new fledgling restaurant/brewery, Owly Oop Sports Pub, opened at the UW Health Sports Factory in downtown Rockford. Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Rockford was named the winner of the Walker Cup for revenue growth in the past 12 months. Rock Valley College received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report. WilliamsMcCarthy LLP ranked in the 2017 U.S. News – Best Lawyers© “Best Law Firms” list for the third consecutive year. Savant Capital Management received two certifications by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence® for the ninth consecutive year: an Investment Steward certification for adhering to global standards of fiduciary excellence and a CEFEX® certification as an Investment Advisor for its services in ERISA plans, 403(b)/church exempt, eleemosynary, personal trusts and high net worth individuals. OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center received a “B” ranking for safest hospitals in the United States, according to new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide. CherryVale Mall is welcoming Santa Claus in Center Court to hear children’s wishes, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays through Dec. 9. Beginning Dec. 10, Santa is available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays

Barbara Olson Center of Hope took part in #Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On Nov. 29, all donations received at from first-time donors were matched 100 percent by a generous foundation. V2 Marketing Communications promoted and facilitated a two-day fall workshop for the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters with more than 400 attendees at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg. It featured classes for dance students and teachers and showcased the talents of eight nationally renowned dance educators. SwedishAmerican was recognized for the 11th time as one of the nation’s top hospitals by the National Research Corporation’s Consumer Choice Awards, which identifies hospitals chosen by consumers for the highest quality and image in markets throughout the United States. OrthoIllinois Rehabilitation was recognized for the fourth consecutive year by SPH Analytics as a 2015/2016 National APEX Quality Award winner, as one of the highest performing health care entities in its grouping based on patient satisfaction. Truven Health named OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center as one of the nation’s best providers of cardiovascular care. It now performs more than 60 percent of all cardiovascular procedures in Rockford. It’s the only regional hospital performing Trans Aortic Valve Replacement surgery for patients with severe or intermediate stenosis, when traditional open-heart surgery is not an option. Crusader Community Health and Rockford Public Schools received a $10,000 grant from the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the 501(c)(3) philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of Illinois, to develop a two-phase oral health awareness and education campaign for students and the community to improve Illinois children’s oral health. The OSF Saint Anthony Foundation received a corporate responsibility award from the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance during the 76th Fire Prevention Week Luncheon in October. It has been an ongoing supporter of the Rockford Fire Department’s fire prevention and



December 2016

Business Briefs BUSINESS BRIEFS community risk reduction outreach as the main sponsor of the 911 Run. Girl Scout Mariner Ship 361, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, won the Presidential Youth Service Award by the Rockford Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Tickets are on sale for upcoming performances at Coronado Performing Arts Center: Comedian Ron White, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.; country artist, Travis Tritt, solo-acoustic, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.; Get The Led Out (GTLO), capturing the essence of Led Zeppelin, March 5 at 7 p.m.; Celtic Woman, “Voices of Angels,” April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Miranda Lambert presents her Highway Vagabond tour, March 18 at 7 p.m., at BMO Harris Bank Center. Tickets at Woodward, Inc., consolidated its Engine Systems and Industrial Turbomachinery Systems groups into a combined Industrial Systems group, reducing costs and overhead, to gain efficiencies while maintaining a focus on growth. CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) will conduct its next health and wellness program at SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health beginning in January. Visit Taco John’s® in Machesney Park will donate a portion of proceeds to the Rockford Rescue Mission from each order of Nachos Navidad® through Dec. 25, 2016. Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment and BMO Harris Bank agreed to extend the naming rights for the BMO Harris Bank Center in downtown Rockford for five more years; through June 2022. The center attracts nearly 400,000 annually to downtown Rockford and is the home of the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs, the top affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks. CherryVale Mall presents the Giving Tree with The Salvation Army. Buy something to put on or under it on the upper level near Bergner’s through Dec. 24. The Salvation Army also will conduct its annual Red Kettle campaign with four kettle locations throughout the mall through Dec. 24. Community gift wrapping to support the programs of Brooke Road United Methodist Church will take place at a location near Bergner’s on the lower level, Nov. 25 to 27; Dec. 2 to 4, 9 to 11, 16 to 24.

Federal judge hits pause button on overtime rule In November, a federal district judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking nationwide the implementation and enforcement of the Overtime Final Rule slated to take effect Dec. 1, 2016. The judge ruled that the U.S. Department of Labor exceeded its authority when it issued regulations in May that changed the criteria for determining which employees are “exempt” from overtime (“white collar exemption”) by revising the salary threshold that triggers the exemption.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? 1. The new overtime rule will not go into effect as scheduled on Dec. 1. The judge will hold a hearing soon to consider whether to change the preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction. 2. The Department of Labor is expected to appeal the federal district court’s decision immediately. Depending on the outcome of the appeal, the new overtime rules could still become controlling federal law with a later effective date. The injunction to stop the Overtime Final Rule does not affect the applicability of existing requirements under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or state or local employment laws. The duties tests for determining which employees are and are not eligible for the white-collar exemptions remain in effect. Nonprofit and other employers still must pay their employees at least the applicable minimum wage and classify employees

correctly as exempt or non-exempt based on the duties they perform. Which employees qualify for an exemption from the overtime requirement under the FLSA? The FLSA exempts “any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity,” often called the “EAP” or “white collar” exemption. They must be paid more than a minimum salary. The new overtime rule published by the DOL in May 2016 would have raised the existing “salary level test” for exempt white collar employees from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year). Note that employers are required to follow the law, whether state or federal, that is most generous to the employee.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? The National Council of Nonprofits urges all charitable nonprofits to ensure they are following federal and state employment laws by conducting an analysis to determine whether employees are properly classified under the laws, taking particular note of the duties required of executive, administrative or professional employees — without reference to salary levels, and make changes now. Visit National Council of Nonprofits via social media (@NatlCouncilNPs) or and join your state association of nonprofits for the latest developments and information to comply with both federal and state wage and hour rules. Source: National Council of Nonprofits

Rebuilding the ‘front porch’ Athletics, fine arts integral to student success Five years ago, the Rockford Public Schools set out to rebuild the Front Porch. Board members and administrators believed improving athletics and fine arts would be essential to the district’s success. But the Front Porch analogy isn’t the whole story. Families don’t see high-quality performing arts, visual arts and athletics as entry points only. They don’t see them as just nice things. They see these things as integral to the educational process and essential to building well-rounded students. That’s why I’m grateful School Board members continue to invest in the seven-period day, allowing more time for courses like band and theater. I’m proud we continue to invest in coaches, teachers and improved facilities. Our investment is paying off. Take a look at what’s happening in athletics, for example: Our student-athletes have an average GPA of 2.6, which is almost 0.5 points higher than the average GPA for non-athletes. Also, we’re seeing a 60 percent increase in enrollment in Advanced Placement courses among our student-athletes. That translates into more athletes who qualify for scholarships and are prepared for college-level work. The district’s four football teams had the most wins (17) they’ve had in 20 years. Auburn shared the NIC-10 title and reached the quarterfinals of the IHSA championship. Among other successes, Guilford’s girls’ volleyball shared the NIC-10 title with Belvidere North. Guilford boys won their regional in soccer. We’re recognizing our past with the RPS 205 Athletic Hall of Fame. This February marks our fifth Hall of Fame, with an induction that occurs at the Champions Ball. Among the standouts we will honor in 2017 is the late Hal Carlson, who pitched for the Chicago Cubs and attended Rockford High School 100 years ago. Our sports Hall of Fame was so successful, it was a model for a Fine Arts Hall of Fame held for the first time in September.

Progress in the Fine Arts A districtwide competitive marching band finished its first season in October. The band, which has more in common with a precision group like Phantom Regiment than a traditional school marching band, includes

eighth graders by design. Not only do the students get a year of additional training, they have a ready-made support system when they get to high school. The





great partnership with Rockford University, which hosted the band for practices and featured performances at halftime at RU football games.

The ultimate payoff is that our students are more connected and engaged. Enrollment in middle school and high school music, visual arts, theater and dance classes is up 736 students this fall, compared to last spring. January





Instrument Petting Zoo, an event to allow fifth graders to touch, listen and play with instruments. This school year, the district’s middle schools will host the event so students can receive hands-on experience in the school they will attend in the next year. All in all, we’ve created a culture in which we are attracting and retaining students in new and powerful ways. We’re not there yet. We will continue to build the foundation for the Front Porch by supporting coaches and teachers in their current positions and assisting them in building strong feeder systems. We know great marching bands and great football teams have one thing in common: They aren’t built during the season. They are built over six to eight years — sometimes even a decade -- of high-quality programs. We’re





betting if we keep developing and supporting staff, investing in facilities and a longer academic day, we will attract and retain talented people. The leadership we have seen from our students, teachers and coaches, on and off the field, deserves loud applause. The ultimate payoff is that our students are more connected and engaged. That, really, is the whole ballgame. 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.


December 2016


Members Caught on Digital ON DIGITAL Ceremonial ribbon donated by SERVPRO of Rockford.

ROCKFORD CHAMBER JOB OPENINGS Job Title: SBDC Director Position Summary: Stimulate economic and community development in northern Illinois through the Small Business Development Center of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. The center director position will be responsible for the day-today operations of the SBDC. The position calls for a wide variety of management skills due to the diversity of clientele the center serves. The counseling and training work provided by the director and staff to small business give them the opportunity to learn new information. This information may affect hundreds of small businesses. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that client confidentiality be maintained by the SBDC director and staff. The promotion of the Region to the public and private sectors through presentations is essential to the center. For more information please contact Einar Forsman at eforsman@

Job Title: Membership Development Manager Position Summary: Primary responsibility is to ensure the growth of the Chamber’s membership by creating, developing, sustaining and recruiting new members in a manner that will ensure a net gain in members and an enhancement of the Chamber’s investment revenues. Responsible for achieving membership recruitment goals on a monthly basis.

Personal Finance Co., held a ribbon cutting on Oct. 25 at 5411 E. State St., Ste. 4, Rockford.

Contact Rachel at 815-997-1417 for more information.

Alpine Bank held a ribbon cutting on Nov. 7 to celebrate the grand opening of its new, 2,700-sq.-ft. branch at 1401 N. Main St., Rockford -- its 16th location, with three drive-through lanes and one ATM.

Belcan Engineering, LLC held a ribbon cutting on Nov. 16 for its new facility at 3381 Forest View Road, Rockford. Belcan began its operations in Rockford in 2005 and has grown to 100 employees serving the aerospace industry. The company globally was founded in 1958 and today has more than 600 active customers and 7,000 employees.



December 2016

Issues to Watch LEGISLATIVE New Illinois Laws for 2016 Here are some laws related to state government and insurance that have taken affect this year. For specific language of the laws, visit

LOCAL GOVERNMENT Capital Fund SB 87/PA 99-0019 Allows a county to accumulate, in a separate fund, no more than three percent of the equalized assessed value of property that is subject to taxation by the county for capital improvements, repairs or replacements. DNR Land Vacation HB 3622/PA 99-0156 If the Department of Natural Resources thinks it is in the best interest of the public to vacate any plat of subdivision, street, roadway, or driveway, the DNR may do so with approval from the Governor. Land title is transferred unless there is an easement or deed instructing otherwise. Human Trafficking Hotline SB 43/PA 99-0105 Requires the Department of Human Services to cooperate with the Illinois Department of Transportation to promote public awareness of the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Impoundment Large Animals SB 1735/PA 99-0321 Amends Humane Care for Animals Act; in cases where a county has no facilities capable of taking companion animals that are being abused, the authorities (animal control, law enforcement, etc.) may utilize the on-site impoundment of the animals, pursuant to a court order of the property owner. Local Government Tech SB 920/PA 99-0123 Provides clarification on whether locals can regulate wind farm sites where there is no zoning. Mobile Home VIN HB 2547/PA 99-0274 Provides that the annual tax judgment, sale, redemption and forfeiture record for mobile homes should contain the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) if known. This would allow the county treasurer to proceed with processing the pertinent mobile home documentation. Land Annexation to Municipality SB 369/PA 99-0063 Provides that parcels of land less than one acre may be annexed to a municipality if it would be contiguous to the municipality but

Obama Library/ George Lucas Museum HB 373/PA 99-0003 Gives the City of Chicago legal authority to build a President Barack Obama Presidential Library on parkland. Also adds language allowing for the George Lucas Museum to be constructed by the city on public parkland. The Obama Foundation announced in July that the location of President Barack Obama’s presidential library would be at Jackson Park near the University of Chicago, on the city’s South Side; a short walk from the university where Obama once taught. In June, “Star Wars” director George Lucas announced that he was abandoning plans to build his museum in Chicago. The project was fiercely opposed by parks protection group, Friends of the Park, since the beginning, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art now is looking at competing proposals from Los Angeles and San Francisco. separated by a forest preserve district, federal wildlife refuge, open land/space or conservation area. Park District Code Changes HB 3882/PA 99-0016 Removes an unused, obsolete subsection of the Park District Code that allowed for the reorganization of a park district into two park districts. This provision expired in 1987. Truth in Taxation Notice SB 792/PA 99-0367 Provides if a taxing district fails to post notice on its website the notice or any actions on the tax levy will not be invalidated. The Truth in Taxation Notice is required to be published on taxing districts website, in addition to current requirements. Payment Collection SB 86/PA 99-0018 Allows a state’s attorney to retain attorneys and private collection agencies to collect for the county a defaulted payment or installment of an imposed fine/penalty. Prohibition of New Local Governments HB 228/PA 99-0353 Prohibits the General Assembly from creating any new form of local government. Includes any General Assembly action to divide any existing local governments into two units. Prohibition sunsets in four years.

Tractor Trailer Road Closure SB 1704/PA 99-0168 Allows local road commissioners to close highways in their jurisdiction to tractor-trailers for up to 90 days in any one calendar year, if the conditions will result in the destruction of or damage to the highway.

Here are some laws related to taxes and fees, and transportation, infrastructure and vehicular regulation/safety that have taken affect this year. For specific language of the laws, visit

TAXES AND FEES State Sales Tax Increment Revenue Use HB 3556/PA 99-0452 Allows up to one percent of revenues from a retailer’s occupation tax, a service occupation tax, and a hotel operators tax in one business district to be used in another district if certain conditions are met.

TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE AND VEHICULAR REGULATION/SAFETY Driver’s License Issuance HB 4074/PA 99-0300 Sets conditions under which the Secretary of State may issue a driver’s license if someone has a license that is currently revoked in another state. DUI Driving Permit HB 1446/PA 99-0290 Allows drivers who had their license permanently revoked after a fourth DUI conviction to obtain a restricted driving permit after five years if the person shows a minimum three years of uninterrupted sobriety and successful completion all of the recommended rehabilitation activity. DUI Interlock Device Extension HB 3533/PA 99-0296 Requires ignition interlock devices for a minimum of five years on all vehicles owned by a person who has been convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense. License Plate Visibility Exemption HB 1666/PA 99-0068 Makes trucks with rear-attached forklifts exempt from the requirement that their license plate be clearly visible.

Electric Vehicle Parking Spots HB 198/PA 99-0172 Prohibits parking a non-electric car in a parking spot reserved for charging electric cars and sets a fine for violating this rule. Low-Speed Vehicles SB 1899/PA 99-0401 Low-speed vehicles must have a certificate of title and display valid registration in order to be driven on highways. O’Hare Airport Runway Authorization SB 636/PA 99-0202 Increases the number of runways O’Hare International Airport can operate without obtaining state authorization from eight to 10. Reduced Weight Limit on Roads HB 2580/PA 99-0237 Highway commissioners may permanently post roads at a reduced weight limit after holding a public forum regarding reasons for and against imposing the limit. County superintendents of highways then have the final deciding power in the matter after the public forum. Rental Car Plates SB 625/PA 99-0080 Allows the Secretary of State to issue special license plates to rental car agencies in place of renewal stickers for vehicle registration. Road Funds HB 182/PA 99-0171 Allows funds for township and road districts to come from other road district sources, but funds cannot exceed the amount that would be allocated under the motor fuel tax fund formula. School Bus Industry Requirements HB 1665/PA 99-0148 Provides that a private carrier employer of school bus drivers shall be held to a standard of ordinary care for intentional acts committed in the course of employment by a bus driver permit holder. Senior Citizen/Disabled Person Specialty Plate Discount HB 2811/PA 99-0071 Beginning with the 2017 registration year, for any vehicle owner or spouse who has been approved for the reduced registration fee pursuant to the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief Act, may also pay the reduced fee for any vehicle displaying specialty plates.


December 2016


Membership: 101 101 MEMBERSHIP

Member Coupons and Discounts Give Fellow Members a Boost

Did you know that one benefit of your Rockford Chamber membership is that you can post your coupons and discounts at (Click directory, coupons) It’s another way to build your business: By encouraging members to try your product or service. Check out the coupons available at now, print them out, share them with others through social media and use them yourself. Not only will you help a fellow member and get a great deal, you’ll keep dollars in our community.



December 2016


Upcoming Chamber Events DECEMBER, 2016 Tuesday, December 6

Business Women’s Council: Time – Talent – Treasure, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Rockford Country Club, 2500 Oxford St., Rockford. Jane Armitage will present on how giving back effects Remedies. Sponsored by MembersAlliance Credit Union.

Thursday, December 8

Ambassador December Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., University Club of Rockford, 945 N. Main St., Rockford. General Manager Kurt Shiffer will give a short talk about the club. Tours available.

Friday, December 9

Ribbon Cutting at Children’s Home & Aid Holiday Shoppe, 3 to 4 p.m., at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 3300 Rural St., Rockford. Wednesday, December 14 7:30 - 9:00 am Rockford University PURI Business School Bldg., Room 124 5050 E. State St., Rockford

Breakfast Buzz Einar Forsman presents “Positioning Yourself for Growth in 2017.” Sponsored by RSM US LLP.

Thursday, December 15

Ribbon Cutting at Envoy Mortgage, 3 to 4 p.m., 6876 Spring Creek Road, Ste. 124, Rockford.

JANUARY, 2017 Friday, January 13

Government Affairs Council, 7:30 to 8:45 a.m., Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St., Rockford. Sponsored by AT&T. Thursday, January 19, 2017 5 - 8 pm Giovanni’s, Inc. 610 N. Bell School Rd., Rockford


Annual Dinner

Announcement of the Citizen of the Year award. Vinh Giang will present “The Art of Perspective.” His online platform, Encyclopedia of Magic, teaches almost 50,000 worldwide the ways in which people are fooled by illusions. He and his co-owners were awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Sponsored by OSF HealthCare (presenting), Associated Bank (gold), Charles Schwab (Citizen of the Year), Williams-Manny Insurance Group (wine), and The Alliance and AT&T (bronze).


Advertisers Index ADVERTISERS

13 WREX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Rockford Bank & Trust Co.. . . . . . . . . . 7

Alpine Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 23

Rockford Chamber of Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8, 34, 36

Thursday, February 2

Blackhawk Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

9:30 - 11:00 am The Untapped Advantage of Organizational Health with

Brian Thomas Photography. . . . . . . . 21

Patrick Lencioni Wall Street Journal named Patrick Lencioni as one of the “most in demand speakers in America.” A power-house in professional development, Lencioni will provide a 90-minute workshop on Organizational Health. An opportunity like few others in our region, Lencioni has previously worked with Amazon, Google, NBA, NFL, and other top level companies. This is your opportunity to hear from an industry leader right in your own backyard. Bring your team, your clients, your board – you will not want to miss this. Tickets are now on sale at an early bird rate.

Broadmoor Agency, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Giovanni’s, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Illinois Bank & Trust. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Jackson Charter School. . . . . . . . . . . 14 Klaas Financial Asset Advisors, LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Rockford University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 RSM US LLP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 RVC BPI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Savant Capital Management . . . . . . . 13 Stillman Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

MembersAlliance Credit Union. . . . . . 23

SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health. . . . . . . . . . . 15

Mercyhealth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Thayer Lighting, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Northern Public Radio . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Ticomix. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

OSF HealthCare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

WilliamsMcCarthy LLP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

RACBV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Wipfli LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Raymond James. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Zimmerman & Walsh, LLP . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Visit for additional details.

Tuesday, February 7

Business Women’s Council: Time – Talent – Treasure, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Rockford Country Club, 2500 Oxford St., Rockford. Sponsored by MembersAlliance Credit Union. Wednesday, February 8 7:30 - 9:00 am Rockford University PURI Business School Bldg., Room 124 5050 E. State St., Rockford

Breakfast Buzz Steve Bois, Rockford Area Realtors, presents “Real Estate Update.” Sponsored by RSM US LLP.

Friday, February 10

Government Affairs Council, 7:30 to 8:45 a.m., Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles St., Rockford. Sponsored by AT&T.


Technology & Telecom (Cyber Security) Growth Through Marketing/PR Comunications For information on advertising, call 815


Chamber Staff / Call 815-987-8100.............................................. Direct Line Einar K. Forsman, President & CEO.......................................... 815-316-4304 Heidi M. Garner, Chief Operating Officer.................................... 815-316-4312 Doug Hessong, Director of Publications & Technology................... 815-316-4338 Lynette Jacques, Vice President, Member Investment. . .................. 815-316-4317 Caitlin Pusateri, Vice President, Leadership Development................... 815-316-4337 Stephanie Mathews, Administrative & Finance Assistant .................... 815-987-8100 Stacy Mullins, Director of Events. . ............................................ 815-316-4302 Doug Rand, Accounting Manager/Controller............................... 815-316-4316 Sue Boyer, Member Relations................................................. 815-316-4315 Joan Sundvall, Membership Contact Coordinator......................... 815-316-4320

Chamber Board of Directors & Officers EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chairman of the Board Patti Thayer Thayer Lighting, Inc. Chair Elect Richard Zumwalt OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center Vice Chair Michele Petrie BMO Harris Bank Treasurer Amy Ott Boylan Catholic High School Immediate Past Chair Richard Walsh Zimmerman & Walsh, LLP

DIRECTORS Andrew Benson Benson Stone Company, Inc. Jan Bowman TLC Construction Joe Castrogiovanni Giovanni’s, Inc. Dr. Rena Cotsones Northern Illinois University

Tim Honquest Honquest Family Funeral Home Jeff Hultman Illinois Bank & Trust Michael F. Iasparro Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP Kris Kieper YWCA Northwestern Illinois

Jean Crosby Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Crosby Starck Real Estate

Paul McCann Stanley Steemer of Rockford

Don Daniels SwedishAmerican, A Division of UW Health

Mike Paterson Mid-West Family Broadcasting

Rebecca Epperson Chartwell Agency Darlene Furst FurstStaffing Ira Grimmett UTC Aerospace Systems

Patrick Morrow Alpine Bank

Mark Peterson CBL Associates CherryVale

Patrick Shaw RSM US LLP Laura Williamson Rockford Park District

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

Dan Ross Williams-Manny Insurance Group

Let your Voice be heard Do you have 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


December Voice 2016  

December Voice 2016