November 29, 2012
RAEDC 2012 Annual Meeting Celebrates Rockforward! Success, Calls for Continued Collaboration
More than 700 business and community leaders celebrated the region’s economic wins over the past year, and learned about efforts to create more jobs in the future, at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s 2012 Annual Meeting and Dinner held on November 28.
RAEDC President Janyce Fadden gave the event’s keynote address at Giovanni’s Restaurant and Convention Center. She highlighted the business retention, expansion and attraction projects aided by RAEDC partners, investors and staff. In 2012 alone, those projects brought announcements of 2,940 new or retained jobs, $428 Million in planned capital investment, and 1.77 Million square feet of new or renovated space. In the five years of the RAEDC’s Rockforward! campaign, project wins brought 8,513 new or retained jobs, $730 Million in capital investment, and 4.98 Million square feet of new or renovated space.
“Over the five years of the Rockforward! plan the goals were exceeded,” Fadden said. “The Rockforward! plan is gaining momentum and is consistently delivering results.”
Fadden said the region’s successes have come from “Coalitions of the Willing” – groups of people who step up and collaborate to tackle challenges and produce lasting results. Examples include the Joint Institute of Engineering & Technology – Aerospace, Alignment Rockford, the new entryway to Chicago Rockford International Airport, and the new Woodward campus.
“To further understand how to improve our ability to compete, the region applied for a Strategic Diversification Study funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration,” Fadden stated. “The study recommends strategies that allow us to adapt to a changing global economy and ensure that we are building a strong economic future.”
Fadden challenged the attendees to join or form a Coalition of the Willing. “The RAEDC is committed to this work and Rockforward2! is our implementation path,” Fadden said.
Outgoing RAEDC Board Chairman Bill Roop also spoke, noting the ways the RAEDC has expanded its initiatives and services to help employers create and retain quality jobs. During the past three years, the RAEDC formed Rockford Area Strategic Initiatives, the umbrella organization over the EIGERlab and the Rockford Region Economic Development District. The RAEDC also now administers The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center of the Rockford Area and Foreign Trade Zone #176.
“I have been privileged to work alongside of the RAEDC staff and witness firsthand the dramatic shift in the role of the organization in the community,” Roop said. “Combined, these programs are assisting our local employers to grow nationally and internationally; allowing entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their companies; and creating the foundation for our region’s future growth.”
A presentation was made to Congressman Donald Manzullo recognizing the many contributions he has made to the Rockford region, and specifically his vision and dedication to the EIGERlab.
Incoming RAEDC Board Chairman Joel Sjostrom discussed the success of the Rockforward! campaign and the launch of a new three-year campaign - Rockforward2!. The campaign brings together community leaders to invest in the RAEDC’s work, giving it the necessary funding and resources.
“Our investors showed bold leadership and kept moving forward in the face of a continued recession. Their long-range thinking keeps our region top-of-mind with companies looking to relocate or expand to a new market, and helps those already here to commit and grow,” Sjostrom said. “But our work is not done. We need the private and public sectors to stay at the table with us and continue to implement this plan. Together we can build a better, stronger, more sustainable economy.”
RAEDC ANNUAL MEETING EVENT SPONSORS
Premier Sponsors: Alpine Bank, Associated Bank, B/E Aerospace, First Northern Credit Union, Greenlee, Meridian, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford Health System, Savant, SPX Hydraulic Technologies, SwedishAmerican Health System, Venture One Real Estate
RAEDC Rockforward! PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE INVESTORS: Alpine Bank, Building Trades/Project First Rate, City of Loves Park, City of Rockford, Comcast, ComEd, Cumulus Broadcasting, Fehr-Graham, First Rockford Group, Greater Rockford Airport Authority, IBEW/NECA, JP Morgan Chase, Larson & Darby, Maverick Media, Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford Area REALTORS, Rockford Health System, Rockford Register Star, SwedishAmerican Health System, UTC Aerospace Systems, Village of Machesney Park, WIFR-TV, Winnebago County, Woodward, WQRF TV/WTVO TV, WREX-TV
ABOUT THE RAEDC
The primary role of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council is to enhance wealth creation in the Rockford Region by marketing the area and helping employers retain and create quality jobs. The RAEDC works closely with many partners to serve as a one-stop resource for clients, to improve the competitiveness of the region, and to engage the community in the work of economic development.