Celebrating the People and Daily Work of Economic Development

Economic Development Week takes place from May 9 – 13 celebrating the work economic development organizations (EDOs) conduct to create opportunities for sustainable primary employer growth and vibrant communities.

Economic Development Week was created by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2016. To increase awareness of local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and improve communities’ quality of life everywhere, we have continued the tradition.

The daily work of economic development has evolved over the years from working on large business attraction projects to focusing on business retention work while keeping business attraction as a secondary focus into forward-looking with a focus on prosperity for all. Meaning the community, the businesses, and the people within the community and businesses are prosperous in a sustainable way; creating a region that is a great place to live, work, visit, and entice those that may have left to return to the area to continue their careers and lives.

We use this week to help the region get to know the people that work at the RAEDC and why the work they do matters to the people of the Rockford Region.

Therese Thill, President

Therese Thill photo
Therese Thill

Therese leads the economic development strategy for the region and focuses her efforts on engaging with site selectors, company executives, business owners, brokers, and public officials to encourage companies to locate or expand in the region.

She also concentrates on assisting existing primary employers in the region with resources for sustainable growth.

Jerry Sagona, Vice President of Business Development

Gerald Jerry Sagona - VP of National Business Development
Gerald (Jerry) Sagona

Jerry is responsible for the overall leadership of business attraction, expansion, and retention activities in the Rockford Region. In this role, he serves as the liaison between the Rockford Region and the National, Chicagoland, and Winnebago County real estate communities, global site selectors, and private companies considering first-time investment in the Rockford Region.

Matt Zarembski, Director of Investor Relations

Matt Zarembski
Matt Zarembski

Matt is responsible for fund development and revenue generation, working towards sustaining and increasing investments in the RAEDC. By networking with local business and community leadership, Matt builds relationships designed to generate a better understanding of the organization’s mission, needs, and strategic plan to provide appropriate engagement in successful client projects.

Erin Marshall, Marketing and Communications Manager

Erin Marshall
Erin Marshall

Erin supports the RAEDC, GRGP, Rockford Chamber and all staff through communications, marketing, and public relations initiatives. She is responsible for all levels of creating, coordinating, and implementing projects and programs that support business development; business attraction; business retention; regional branding; and other economic development programs or projects.

She is also responsible for online analytics and condensing large amounts of data and high-level concepts into bite-sized pieces of information, making economic development more accessible to members of our community.

Lolita Pettigrew, Executive Assistant

Lolita Pettigrew
Lolita Pettigrew

Lolita is responsible for the daily work of ensuring the office runs smoothly. Lolita coordinates with staff and GRGP and RAEDC Board Members. She assists with key events and oversee the updating of the organization’s contact management database.

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council staff are economic development professionals focused on serving clients, investors, and partners. RAEDC staff work with regional economic development partners to cultivate opportunities for primary employer growth that increases the economic well-being of our region.

RAEDC staff are experts in their fields and create relationships that benefit companies that are located here and companies that are looking to expand or relocate into the Rockford Region.

Economic Development Week allows the staff of the RAEDC the opportunity to celebrate the work done throughout the year.