RAEDC Names 23-Year Economic Development Veteran as President

Therese Thill Brings Results-Oriented Experience to Region’s Top Business Attraction/Retention Role

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council announced it has selected Therese Thill to become the organization’s president. She will begin her role on February 1, 2022.

Thill has more than 23 years of economic and community development experience with a track record of success in business interaction including business retention, expansion, and attraction projects. Previously, Thill was the Senior Vice President of Business Development with Grand Rapids-based The Right Place, the region’s leading economic development organization, offering comprehensive business assistance services to growing companies.

Prior to her role at The Right Place, Thill held roles as Director of Business Attraction for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Vice President of International Economic Development at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council; and Senior Business Development Representative for the Oakland (Michigan) County Planning and Economic Development Services. In 2018, Thill was the recipient of the Economic Developer of the Year Award by the Michigan Economic Developers Association. She has her MBA in Global Management, Bachelor’s degree in International Studies, and has earned the Economic Development Master Practitioner certification.

As President of the RAEDC, Thill will lead economic development strategy for the region and will focus her efforts on actively engaging with site selectors, company executives, business owners, brokers, and public officials to encourage companies to locate or expand in the region. She also will concentrate on assisting existing primary employers in the region with resources for sustainable growth.

“I’m thrilled to leverage my experience delivering focused, metric-driven economic development results for the growth of the Rockford region,” shared Thill. “With so many opportunities for business retention, expansion, attraction, and innovation work, I intend to work collaboratively with other passionate leaders to align efforts, implement transparent processes, and communicate openly in ways that will bring prosperity to businesses and residents alike. I very much look very forward to becoming a part of this community and contributing meaningfully.”

Thill will report to Einar Forsman, President of the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership (GRGP). The GRGP is a non-profit umbrella organization aimed at advancing the region’s economy under which the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and RAEDC’s goals will be aligned for greater impact on business growth in the region.

Eric Cunningham, RAEDC Board Chair, said, “With her considerable expertise and enthusiasm for our community’s vision, Therese will hit the ground running. A leader of her caliber will be an asset to our region’s business development and growth.”

“Therese will be an exceptional leader for the RAEDC, and we look forward to applying her talents to the many opportunities available for our region,” said Forsman. “Her experience and accomplishments building business attraction and retention efforts coupled with her proactive, collaborative leadership style aligns with the goals we’ve set at the GRGP. I look forward to welcoming her into our region and working with her to make an impact for us all.”