Two weeks after members of the boards of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) announced the formation of the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership, they have announced a new leader for the organization, Einar Forsman, who will step away from his current role as the Chamber’s President & CEO. The Greater Rockford Growth Partnership (GRGP) is a non-profit umbrella organization aimed at advancing the region’s economy under which the Chamber and RAEDC’s goals will be aligned for greater impact on business growth in the region.
“Einar Forsman has been actively involved, a strong supporter, and a leader in this unification process,” said Unification Co-Chair, Terry Voskuil. “He understands the vision, mission and structure of the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership, and he has a passion for our region. He also has a great working relationship with area business organizations, municipalities and regional leaders, making him a natural choice.”
Unification Co-Chair Jeff Hultman said, “The unification committee and the soon-to-be-named inaugural board of the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership will put the new organization and its structure into place. Einar’s role will be to drive the organization’s success beyond the work of the committee, coordinating activities between the Chamber and RAEDC, as well as other future partners.”
The search for a new Chamber leader will begin immediately. Einar Forsman has led the Rockford Chamber since April, 2007, spearheading the 1200-member business-to-business organization to a prominent position as a public policy advocate for the business community, concentrating on public education, crime and safety, and business leadership in the public sector. Prior to joining the Rockford Chamber, Forsman was Director of Economic and Business Outreach for Rock Valley College and City Administrator for the City of Rockford.
Einar Forsman has extensive experience in economic development, workforce development, and health care. He has also served on several not-for-profit boards including Employer’s Association of Illinois, the local Workforce Investment Board, the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Lifescape Community Services, Community Kitchen, and the United Way of Rock River Valley.
“My goal for the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership is to align the Chamber and RAEDC’s priorities and work toward making the Rockford region the number one mid-sized market in the nation for a strong workforce, innovative companies, business start-ups and leadership development,” Forsman said.
In working together under one partner organization, the RAEDC and Chamber will each have their own President and will retain their separate boards and individual focus. The Chamber will support existing businesses through leadership, education, networking, advocacy and community pride, while the RAEDC will focus on growing businesses in the region through attraction, retention, expansion, innovation and promotion to external markets.
As a new organization, The Greater Rockford Growth Partnership will work with the RAEDC and Rockford Chamber to ensure strategies, goals and decisions work best for both organizations and for the region as a whole. The organization will make sure both large and small businesses benefit and will actively coordinate with other regional groups and the public sector to support and grow businesses in Northern Illinois.