Solutions Teams and Committees

Rockforward! President’s Circle

Michele Petrie - Chairman of the Board - BMO Harris Bank N.A.The role of the Rockforward! President’s Circle is to serve as trusted advisors to the public/private partnership on primary economic development priorities and strategies. RAEDC Investors contributing $25,000 or more per year become members of the Rockforward! President’s Circle which meets quarterly.

Michele Petrie, Chairman of the Board – RAEDC

Staff Liaison: Nathan Bryant, President & CEO

Rockforward! Leadership Council

The old adage that “opportunity only knocks once” is especially true relative to economic development. The competition between regions for economic opportunities is fierce. Emerging opportunities require a quick and decisive response. In order to aggressively and expeditiously take advantage of these opportunities, Rockforward! convened a Leadership Council of top-tier public and private-sector investors to respond to opportunities at a macro level, placing an Emerging Opportunities Fund of $175,000 annually at their disposal for investment in mutually-agreed-upon, forward-thinking initiatives to leverage positive change for economic development of the region.

Emerging Opportunities Fund investment strategies include projects to move and shape public opinion on sensitive issues relating to the region’s capacity to grow, focused efforts to remove stubborn or difficult barriers to growth, and large-scale projects that capture the community’s imagination and enhance the quality of life for the entire region.

RAEDC Investors contributing $10,000 or more per year become members of the Rockforward! Leadership Council.

Mick Gronewold, Chair – Leadership Council

Staff Liaison: Jimsi Kuborn, VP for Investor Relations

Solution Teams

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council Board of Directors created three Solutions Teams to help achieve the organization’s mission and goals. Committee contributions are extremely helpful, as members advise from their unique perspectives, broaden considerations, and lead the implementation of Rockforward! strategies and tactics. Volunteering through a committee is a great way to get involved with the work of the RAEDC and is recommended as a precursor to serving on the Board.

Business Attraction Solutions Team

David Pietryla - Nicor Gas - Business Attraction CommitteeThe work of the Business Attraction Solutions Team (BA) is primarily focused on developing international business relationships, with a special focus on Sweden and China. By building stronger international associations, the RAEDC can help businesses establish partnerships and joint-ventures, obtain licensing, and open the door to new markets. The BA team is also focused on increasing the amount of business park property in the region and is working to extend regional partnerships, including the Tri-State Alliance, I-39 Logistics Corridor Association, and the Illinois Development Council.

David Pietryla, Chair – Business Attraction Solutions Team

Staff Liaison: Jerry Sagona, VP of National Business Development

Business & Community Relations Solutions Team

Rockford Register Star Publisher Paul Gaier on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, in the Rockford Register Star studio. MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM
The role of the Business & Community Relations Solutions Team (BCR) is to actively promote the RAEDC to both current and prospective investors. The BCR team oversees outward marketing of Rockforward! strategies and economic development messages to regional employers, community leaders, and citizens.

BCR also works to communicate developments to investors and stakeholders through individual, group, and public meetings; produces quarterly events, including the Annual Meeting, and oversees the publication of communications tools, including the quarterly results report to investors and this Annual Report.

“RAEDC investors recognize the importance of a strong economic development program. The five strategies of Rockforward! adhere to the mission and vision of the organization and build on the values of our founders.”

Paul Gaier, Chair – Business & Community Relations Solutions Team

Staff Liaison: Jimsi Kuborn, VP of Investor Relations

Business Retention & Expansion Solutions Team

SaundersThe role of the Business Retention & Expansion Solutions Team (BRE) is to learn opportunities for improvement from existing employers, strengthen the workforce pipeline, and increase awareness and participation in continuous improvement programs. Additionally, the BRE team is working to develop and foster a supportive entrepreneurial environment.

John Saunders, Chair – Business Retention & Expansion Solutions Team

Staff Liaison: VP for Development


Audit Committee

The RAEDC Audit Committee consists of the Treasurer and at least three members from the Board of Directors and three members at large. The committee reviews and assesses financial principals and reporting, risks and controls, and external and internal auditors.

Education Committee

Craig SteegeThe RAEDC formed an Education Committee in 2008 comprised of education leaders and private sector executives with the role to connect Rockford Area businesses with our educational system.

Craig Steege, Chair – Education Committee

Staff Liaison: VP for Development

Nominating Committee

An annual slate of candidates for the Board of Directors is prepared and recommended by the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee consists of three Directors and three Investors at Large.

Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN)

Khoi Vu - GE Aerospace - RAAN ChairmanTo support the large number of aerospace-related companies in the greater Rockford Area and the significant impact this consortium has on the overall economy, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council Board of Directors created a cluster-based committee to aid in achieving the organization’s mission and goals. The aerospace industry comprises companies that produce military, commercial, and space products and parts. Aircraft overhaul, rebuilding, parts, distribution, and services are included.

The creation of RAAN within the RAEDC, with dedicated staff and funding to support the committee volunteers’ contributions, will allow the RAEDC to better leverage unique perspectives and industry knowledge leading to enhanced success with Rockforward2! strategies and tactics.

Khoi Vu, Chair – Rockford Area Aerospace Network

Staff Liaison: Jerry Sagona, VP of National Business Development

For more information about RAEDC Solutions Teams and Committees, contact Jimsi Kuborn, RAEDC Director of Investor Relations, at 815.969.4259 or at