About Next Rockford

Founded in 2003, Next Rockford is a group of 100 Gen X and Gen Y professionals whose purpose is to shape the future of our community through bold projects and initiatives. Members focus their diverse professional skills and personal background in the following areas:

1. Improve and enhance education at all levels in the Rockford area in order to positively influence economic revitalization.
2. Create, implement and support plans to retain existing businesses and grow new business opportunities in the Rockford area.
3. Attract and retain talent, with a special emphasis on encouraging college graduates to bring their skills home to Rockford.
4. Develop Rockford as the regional hub for cultural, recreational, educational and commercial opportunities.

Blogger Bios

Scott Anderson is the Director of Operations at the Testor Corporation and a member of Next Rockford serving on the Strategy Team and as co-chair of the Government Affairs/Urban Development Committee.  He is also on the board of directors of the Blackhawk Learning Connection. Scott believes in working with people, process, and systems to create sustainable change.  He is a transplant from Montana who has lived in
Texas, California and Mexico and now resides in Rockton with his wife and children.  While Scott is a member of Next Rockford and speaks from the point of view as a Gen X professional, his views and opinions do not necessarily reflect nor imply an endorsement of Next Rockford’s official position or that of the Testor Corporation.

Jeff Glass
is a business attorney with the Rockford office of SmithAmundsen, LLC. He and his wife, Dawn (Peterson), live in Rockford with their two boys and attend Heartland Community Church. In addition to his law practice, Jeff serves on the Strategy Team of Next Rockford, on the Board of Trustees of the Rockford Public Library, and on the Board of Directors for the Literacy Council of Rockford. Jeff also served on the City of Rockford Budget and Finance Committee, and currently serves on the Joint City-County Task Force on Inter-Governmental Efficiency.



John Groh is a member of Next Rockford’s Strategy Team and is a former facilitator. John is the president/CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the region’s primary sales and marketing group that grows the impact of the visitor industry on our economy. A lifelong resident of Rockford, John is interested in finding solutions not excuses, prefers to see challenges as opportunities and thinks that if Rockford was a stock, he’d buy and hold. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Bethel University and a Masters of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.



Amanda Hamaker is a member of Next Rockford and NR Education Committee founder. She is a community advocate with a commitment to local education initiatives, and she has extensive experience and training related to sustainable supply chains. Amanda calls Rockford home, but she’s a telecommuter and frequent flyer to her New York office at Girl Scouts of the USA where she directs strategic initiatives related to Girl Scout products and merchandise. Amanda speaks from the point of view as a Gen X professional; however, her views and opinions do not necessarily reflect nor imply an endorsement of Next Rockford’s official positions, nor that of Girl Scouts of the USA.



Frank Haney Head Shot 2013Frank Haney Next Rockford Facilitator / RVC Trustee / Insurance Agent at Eckburg & Bates Insurance Agency / Rockford Kid / Husband / Dad.  Graduate of Boylan Catholic High School, Rock Valley College (A.A.), Rockford College (B.A.), and Lewis University (M.A. in Organizational Leadership).





Matthew Johnson-Doyle is a member of Next Rockford and its education committee. He has served as the Senior Minister of The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, since 2008. Prior to coming to Rockford, he served a congregation in Colorado Springs, Colorado for five years. He holds a M.Div. from Meadville Lombard Theological School and a Doctor of Ministry from Iliff School of Theology. He has become involved in local affairs, working with Alignment Rockford, Rockford Urban Ministries, and a variety of other projects. Matthew and his family choose Rockford for its neighborly vibe, great activities for families, and to be closer to family in the Chicago suburbs and northern Wisconsin. In writing this blog, Matthew speaks only for himself, and not on behalf of Next Rockford or the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Ian Linnabary is a partner at Reno & Zahm LLP, where he has practiced since graduating from law school in 2002. His practice is devoted primarily to the representation of small to medium-sized businesses and individuals in a wide variety of commercial settings. Relying on his background in politics, Ian also practices in the area of election law and governmental relations. A native of Winnebago County, Ian graduated from Dakota High School in 1991. He attended the University of Illinois at Springfield and graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political studies. While Ian is a member of Next Rockford and speaks from the point of view as a Gen X professional, his views and opinions do not necessarily reflect nor imply an endorsement of Next Rockford’s official position or that of Reno & Zahm.



Maurice Redd is a Rockford native and Next Rockford member involved with the Education Committee. Maurice is a “boomeranger” who would only visit town on holidays with no intention of coming back to Rockford. Over the years, he gained an new appreciation of the area and is very happy that he chose to return home and has enjoyed re-discovering Rockford as an adult. After spending time traveling across the country for work and fun, he believes we often sell ourselves short on the positives in the Rockford area. Maurice has worked in a variety of nonprofit organizations dedicated to positive community change in the 10 years he spent living in Chicago before returning to Rockford in 2006. He is currently self-employed. Maurice has bachelor’s degree in psychology and education from Beloit College and a master’s degree from The University of Chicago with a focus on community organizing and public policy. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Next Rockford.

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski grew up in Carol Stream, Illinois where his father worked as a carpenter and his mother raised four children. After graduating from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Joe was elected as a City of DeKalb Alderman. When he and his wife Roxanne moved to Rockford in 2004, they quickly became involved in local issues. Joe was elected as City of Rockford First Ward Alderman in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. In 2010, he successfully ran for State Representative of Illinois’ 69th District. Joe serves on the following House committees: Transportation Regulation, Roads, and Bridges; Appropriations – Elementary and Secondary Education; Cities and Villages; and Aging. He holds a State of Illinois Real Estate License and is currently the Director of Institutional Advancement at Rockford Christian Schools in Rockford, Illinois. (Go Royals!) Joe is a member of Holy Family Catholic Church, on the regional board of Children’s Home and Aid, and a member of Next Rockford (young professionals organization). He was a recipient of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 “40 Under 40” Award, which recognizes young regional leaders. Joe and Roxanne have two sons, Aidan and Roman, and a daughter, Ellie.

Wester Wuori is director of marketing and public relations at Rockford Health System and a member of Next Rockford’s Strategy Team. He is active in local politics and has volunteered with numerous non-profit organizations in the region. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rockford College and a Masters of Arts in Communication from Northern Illinois University. While Wester is a member of Next Rockford and speaks from the point of view as a Gen X professional, his views and opinions do not necessarily reflect nor imply an endorsement of Next Rockford’s official position or that of Rockford Health System.