Solutions Teams and Committees

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 annual Emerging Opportunities Fund 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.

Staff Liaison: Jarid Funderburg, VP of Business & Investor Relations

Rockforward! President’s Circle

Mike Paterson, MidWest Family BoardcastingThe 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.

Chairman of the Board Mike Paterson – President’s Circle

Staff Liaison: Nathan Bryant, President & CEO

Solutions Teams

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council Board of Directors created 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 & Community Relations

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.”

Staff Liaison: Jarid Funderburg, VP of Business & Investor Relations

Company Attraction, Retention, & Expansion

The role of the Company Attraction, Retention & Expansion Committee (CARE) is to relay opportunities for improvement to existing employers, generate new growth opportunities for local industry, advocate for a robust entrepreneurial environment, strengthen the workforce pipeline, and increase awareness and participation in continuous improvement business programs.

Additionally, the CARE team focuses on developing building availability and ground development opportunities, as well as extending regional partnerships.

Through collaboration, CARE can assist in developing strong community branding and sustainability while fostering solid business relationships, both domestic and international; building stronger international connections allows the RAEDC to help businesses establish partnerships and joint-ventures, obtain licensing, and open the door to new markets improving the region’s overall global competitiveness.

Mick Gronewold and Jimmy Rozinsky, Co-Chair – Business Retention & Expansion Solutions Team

Staff Liaison: Gerald Sagona, VP of Development

Education for Workforce Development

The RAEDC formed an Education Committee in 2008, and transitioned into the Education for Workforce Development Committee in 2014. The Committee is comprised of education leaders and private-sector executives with the role of connecting Rockford area businesses with our educational system to secure a sustainable quality workforce development pipeline.

Jeffery Hultman and TBD, Co-Chairs – Education Committee

Staff Liaison: Nathan Bryant, President & CEO

Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN)

To 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 will allow the RAEDC to better leverage unique perspectives and industry knowledge leading to enhanced success with Rockforward2! strategies and tactics.

Staff Liaison: Jarid Funderburg, VP of Business & Investor Relations



Dan Ross-smThe RAEDC Audit Committee consists of the Vice Chair/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, as well as external & internal annual audits and auditing processes.

Daniel Ross, Chair – Audit Committee

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

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For more information about RAEDC Solutions Teams and Committees, contact Jarid Funderburg, VP of Business & Investor Relations, at 815.969.4259 or at