Rockford Economic Development Team Needs Rebuilding
I don’t know if many people have put the pieces together, but the Rockford/Winnebago County is losing key economic development experience.
The highest visible one is the soon to be departed Janyce Fadden, President of the Rockford Area Development Council (RAEDC). She will be leaving in the coming weeks to move close to family in the south. This was a shock to all local officials. Fadden brought a business approach to the area that was missing for many years. She also had the ability to easily network with city, county and businesses in the area. After 8 years on the job, she was on first name basis with many.
In April and June, two other economic development individuals will be retiring; Sue Mroz, Winnebago County Economic Development Director (June 5th) and Rob Lamb, Rockford Industrial Development Manager (April 5th). While not as visible as Fadden, Sue and Rob worked behind the scenes, no doubt in collaboration with the RAEDC.
Now this team is breaking up and the question is: who and how will economic development take place in the region?
The recent Angelou study, presented in December, identified a priority of action items that should be done. Will the new econ developers pick up the charge and carry them forward? Will the new econ developers develop the collaborative relationship that I believe exists today? Sometimes it takes time and more often than not, it takes the characteristic of teamwork to make it happen.
On top of the economic development scene changing, let’s not forget there are mayoral, city council, RPS 205 board and Rock Valley College trustee elections coming up.
Makes for an interesting several months!