ROCKFORD — The Rockford Area Economic Development Council has a new president.
Livonia, Michigan native Therese Thill has been selected to lead economic development strategy for the Rockford region and will focus her efforts on engaging site selectors, business owners, brokers, company executives and public officials to encourage companies to locate in the area.
Thill has more than 23 years of economic and community development experience. She was most recently Senior Vice President of Business Development with Grand Rapids-based The Right Place, the region’s leading economic development organization which offers comprehensive business assistance to growing companies.
“What really impressed me (about Rockford) was the way the community pulled together on a couple of initiatives, specifically Transform Rockford,” Thill said. “To have something like that come out of a grass roots group and actually have any type of life and some actual metrics and deliverables was very impressive. That and Friends of Ziock, where they helped transform an old manufacturing building into the Embassy Suites Hotel.”
Thill will report to Greater Rockford Growth Partnership President Einar Forsman. The partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the region’s economy, under which the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and RAEDC’s goals will be aligned for greater impact on the region’s business growth.
She’ll begin her new duties on Feb. 1.
“The first priority is to build an organization that will realize the vision of the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership to establish goals and metrics for business retention, expansion and business attraction work,” Thill said. “Then, I need to put some internal tools in place that will allow us to track our work. In my opinion, transparency and accountability are very important in our work, particularly when we are asking for any type of public and private support.”
Thill succeeds former RAEDC president Nathan Bryant, who left the organization in August 2020.
“With her considerable expertise and enthusiasm for our community’s vision, Therese will hit the ground running,” RAEDC Board Chair Eric Cunningham said in a news release. “A leader of her caliber will be an asset to our region’s business development and growth.”