february voice 2013

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February Voice 2013

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  • By Barbara Connors

    The Rockford Chamber welcomed three new board members for three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

    Jeff Hultman, Riverside Community Bank

    Amy Ott, Chicago Rockford International Airport

    Michele Janke, BMO Harris Bank

    Jeff HultmanRiverside Community Bank

    Jeff Hultman is executive vice president at Riverside Community Bank and leads the

    commercial and private banking teams. He said the bank strives to provide world-class fi nancial products and services to all segments of the

    Rockford area, and to preserve and grow community banking in the markets it serves.

    Hultman said his goal as part of the Chamber board is to support the Chambers mission of working for the good of Rockford. The Chamber is uniquely positioned through its member network and its advocacy structure to continue to move our community forward. I look forward to putting my experience and network together to help move the Chambers mission forward.

    He said large trends are impacting the banking industry. The slow recovery in macroeconomic conditions has had a negative impact on customers. The low interest rate environment has negatively impacted every banks net interest margin. The amount of regulation coming from Washington has driven up banking costs, making

    The Voice is online at rockfordchamber.com

    By Paul Anthony Arco

    Dan Loescher had to sit down when Rockford Chamber President & CEO Einar Forsman called with good news: Loescher had been named Citizen of the Year. Loescher, principal of Loescher & Associates, Ltd., was recognized during the Chambers annual dinner, Jan. 24, at Giovannis.

    I am deeply humbled, Loescher said, who was out of town at a national CPA conference and could not attend in person. Im proud to serve with members who are of like mind.

    The Citizen of the Year is presented to an individual who has made signifi cant contributions to the community through

    Photos by Brian Thomas Photography

    Citizen of the Year, Dan Loescher, has led successful capital campaigns for area non-profi t organizations.

    business and philanthropic activities over several years.

    Loescher serves on the boards of several local non-profi t and for-profi t organizations. He currently is the chairman of Riverside Community Bank and will assume the role of the board chairman of SwedishAmerican Health System. He also has led successful capital campaigns for Crusader Community Health and the YMCA of Rock River Valley. Loescher was chosen from a number of nominations that were submitted to the chamber.

    Hes been so active in fundraising, Forsman said. The great thing about Dan

    is that he asks the tough questions other people dont ask. He puts people through the pace to better understand what theyre doing, why theyre doing it and what the need is. If hes in -- hes all in. He doesnt seek recognition, he just works hard. I love to see those kind of people recognized.

    A large crowd of 730 people turned out for the annual event. It was great to see so many people, lots of folks that you see at other Chamber events, said Chris Kelley, marketing strategist for V2 Marketing Communications. The keynote presentation really hit homethe

    Visit us online at: rockfordchamber.comn online registrationn keynote speaker video clips n event photos n list of Chamber events

    Questions? 815-987-8100

    Join the Chambers LinkedIn Group www.linkedin.com/e/gis/2544

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR!Small Business Conference & Luncheon

    Feb. 27 FranchescosFor more info, see page 26

    more on page 3

    February 2013 | Volume 26 | No. 2

    MaDE IN RoCKFoRD

    PAGE 15

    New Rockford Chamber board members begin terms in 2013

    THE NaTIoNS SouNDING BoaRD:T K GRouP, INC.

    PAGE 9

    Loescher named Citizen of the Yearat annual Chamber dinner

    more on page 5

    VITa TaX aSSISTaNCE RETuRNS To RoCKFoRD

    Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois again will be off ering free tax preparation assistance at its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites to families with incomes of less than $50,000 per year, individuals with incomes of less than $25,000, and persons with disabilities. Volunteer tax preparers are IRS certifi ed and assist community members in claiming any special credits and deductions for which they may be eligible.

    The Rockford site, 615 N. Longwood St., is open Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Machesney Park site, 8010 N. 2nd St., is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 to 9 p.m., and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A new mobile site will travel in the Rockford area. Call 815-987-6200 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to schedule an appointment or visit www.goodwillni.org.

    Last year, the VITA sites served 1,500 individuals, returned more than $1.65 million to communities, and saved participants more than $300,000 in tax preparation fees. Sites are partially funded by the United Way of Rock River Valley.

    HoMEowNERSHIP NoN-PRoFITS CoMBINE RESouRCES

    Two area non-profi t agencies providing services in sustainable homeownership merged on Jan. 1, 2013. Neighborhood Housing Services of Freeport (NHS) and Rockford Area Aff ordable Housing Coalition formed HomeStart with combined staff , resources and programming, and offi ces in Rockford and Freeport to serve a 10-county region in northern Illinois. Deb Elzinga is executive director.

    NHS for 15 years has delivered sustainable home ownership and community improvement services, while the Rockford Area Aff ordable Housing Coalition for 20 years has provided housing counseling, down payment assistance, homeownership education, and individual advice, and counseling on preparation, purchase, maintenance and foreclosure issues.

    HomeStart will off er increased services, including secure additional funding, regional training and cost-savings.

  • 2 February 2013 theVoice rockfordchamber.com

    VIEWPOINTPresidents Message

    Einar K. ForsmanRockford Chamber

    of Commerce

    Rockford Chamber forms local media associationChamber also announces their efforts with other chambers to address immigration reform

    Chambers of Commerce spend much of their time in advocating for good, effective and ethical business practices for their membership and for the business environment. One of the ways to do this is to help certain industries in establishing an understanding of best practices that will be effective for them and their customers. That is just what has happened with the formation of the Northern Illinois Media Association (NIMA) by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. The purpose NIMA is to foster and promote a vibrant and healthy media business practice in the Rockford Region, and to do all things necessary and proper to encourage and promote customs and practices which will strengthen and maintain the broadcast industry to the end that it may best serve the public as well as the business community.

    NIMA views the advertising industry as a profession that is built upon trusting relationships with their customers. It is of utmost importance that everything that they do builds this trust to enhance and further the advertising profession. NIMA members include all major broadcast and print media that are members of the

    Rockford Chamber of Commerce. As an informal association, the

    members of NIMA have established a set of guidelines to provider for the best advertising relationship with their clients while also maintaining a level of transparency in that relationship. The guidelines also include establishing consistent practices with community-based organizations as well, as part of NIMAs efforts to support community advancement. NIMA also believes very strongly in their role to support economic development strategies for the region and believe it is important that that they continue to support the advancement of our local economy through business growth, job creation, business attraction and retention.

    NIMA will be meeting throughout the year to further share best practice opportunities as well as formalize their set of best practice guidelines. If you are part of an industry where you believe the formation of a local association might help in advancing issues important to your industry, please contact Einar Forsman, President/CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

    Rockford Chamber advocates for skilled workforce needs

    The Rockford Chamber of Commerce joined with 37 other Chambers of Commerce across the country in the formation of Business for Skilled Worker Immigration, an effort to advance the shared goals of job creation, innovation, and economic growth through skilled worker immigration reform.

    The coalition represents a strong cross-section of the nations business community, with broad geographic diversity among its members.

    With talent a key driver of the economy, coalition members seek to bring increased focus on the critical challenge of improving access to top international talent. Combined with current programs to strengthen domestic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training, the coalition believes its efforts can help improve long-term economic competitiveness.

    U.S. immigration policy has proven inadequate to address the needs of companies competing in a globalized, 21st century economy. Outdated restrictions

    and limitations

    have shut

    out tens of

    thousands of

    skilled foreign

    workers, highly trained science, technology,

    engineering, or mathematics (STEM)

    graduates of U.S. universities, and overseas

    entrepreneurs from the U.S. economy. The

    group is working to build support for three

    specific proposals designed to improve

    current skilled worker immigration policy:

    Incr