Economic Development

December 9 | 7:30-10:30am
University Club | 945 North Main Street  |  Rockford, Illinois 61103

This session highlights various local entities working on Economic Development in the Rockford region.  Participants can expect to walk away with a greater understanding of the powerful impact economic development has on various aspects of our community, a closer look at current recruitment efforts and strategies, and ways for businesses to seek assistance and support when locating in Rockford.


Mike Nicholas, President – Rockford Area Economic Development Council
Mike Nicholas Headshot.jpgAs President of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Mike is responsible for managing all the organization’s efforts, including business retention and expansion, new business recruitment, business start-up and entrepreneurship, and improvement of our regional business climate. In his role for the RAEDC, Mike serves on several community boards, including the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Rockford Local Development Corporation, Alignment Rockford, Rockford Area Strategic Initiatives, and Stateline Angels.

Prior to joining the RAEDC, Mike held senior managerial roles for Fiberesin Industries, Lakewood Holdings, Pride Communications, Suntronic Technology Group, Sun Electric, and Mark Controls. Most recently, he served as President & CEO of Continental Datalabel in Elgin.

Mike earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, as well as his Master of Science degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering, from Illinois Institute of Technology. He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Chicago. Mike and his wife come to the Rockford Area from Crystal Lake, IL.


Andrew Jury  – Rockford Local Development Corporation
Andrew is a Loan Officer at the Rockford Local Development Corporation, a private, not-for-profit economic development agency.  Mr. Jury’s’ responsibilities include exploring and pursuing new markets for loan products, analyzing loan requests and preparing written evaluations and recommendations for approvals of both SBA 504 loans as well as small business loan funds.  Prior to joining the RLDC in 2013, Mr. Jury was an Assistant Vice President / Loan Officer at Riverside Community Bank.  Mr. Jury started his professional banking career in 2004 in the management trainee program at AMCORE bank, transitioning to the Chicago market as a commercial loan underwriter.   Mr. Jury is a graduate of Illinois State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management / Economics.  Mr. Jury has served on the advisory council for the Rockford YMCA and currently serves on the job creation and economic development team of Transform Rockford.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMark Williams, Economic Development Manager – City of Rockford
Mark Williams has over 28 years of experience in the practice of economic development, community development and regional planning and has been the Manager for the City of Rockford since July, 2013.  Mark serves the public through the management of the City’s economic development programs, economic development strategic planning, business recruitment and retention, and coordination of related local, state, and federal legislative activities. Mark currently serves as the Co-Lead of Transform Rockford Jobs & Economy Spoke Team, as the Immediate Past President of the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association, and was past Chairman of the Illinois Development Council.  Mark was the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Economic Developer of the Year Award from the Illinois Development Council.  Mark has a BS degree in Geography from Southern Illinois University.

Carrie Zethmayr.jpgCarrie Zethmayr, Northern Stateline Region Manager – Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
As Northern Stateline Region Manager, Carrie manages the region’s business and economic development efforts on behalf of the State of Illinois Department of Commerce, working alongside public, private and non-profit partners, the business community, site selectors and companies considering first-time investment in Illinois.

Prior to joining the state, Carrie served as Executive Director of Trade & Investment for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council where she spent seven years managing regional marketing and business attraction projects.

Carrie holds a Global MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from Beloit College.


Breakfast Menu:
Please note breakfast will be plated and served at 7:35am.

Scrambled Eggs
Potatoes O ‘Brien
Bacon & Sausage (1 of each)
Fruit Salad
Assorted Muffins (Served in Baskets at each table)
Coffee & Water