Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Board of Directors

Group of business partners put their hands together and commit to working together as a team

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Greater Freeport Partnership is advised by a group of community leaders, public partners, and business owners.

Photo of Josh Elliot, Vice-Chair

Josh Elliott, Owner at Elliott Graphix & Zealous Art Studio & Tattoo

Josh Elliott, Chair

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I believe Freeport is a wonderful community with a lot to offer and it is important to continue to move forward.  Economic growth and the well being of the people in this community is vital for a prosperous future.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

The people involved in the Partnership want Freeport to succeed and truly care about this great town. That compassion is contagious and will help create a bright future for our community.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

Working with new and existing business to help them succeed and collaborate with our public partners to promote Freeport and build new relationships.

Photo of Chris Schneiderman, Treasurer

Chris Schneiderman, President & CEO at State Bank

Chris Schneiderman, Treasurer/Interim Vice-Chair

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I was the Treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce when the idea of combining the four entities came about.  I was asked to continue my role as Treasurer when the entities combined.  I personally felt the combination was a good idea, but also knew it would be a challenge to mold the four entities goals/objectives, and also the individual cultures.  I felt it my duty to consider serving if I agreed with the concept.  Six years later, we are a fiscally sound entity attempting to meet the goals and objectives of the various economic and tourism needs of the Stephenson County area.  Albeit challenging, it is also very rewarding, and I think we’ve done a good job bringing those four entities together to serve the greater good.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

State Bank finds immense value in being a member of Partnership.  The social aspect for our employees, including our younger employees, along with event sponsorships and event social opportunities to gather with local businesses and their employees.  We also know the Partnership is involved with economic activity in our area and is often a conduit to bringing new businesses or retaining existing businesses in our area.  They can be a connecter and value added to bring government or other tax-paying entities together on certain projects.  They can also assist the City with various economic development and tourism tasks.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

Continued emphasis on retaining and growing our businesses in the Stephenson County area, attempting to help with workforce development, and helping to create additional affordable housing.  Also, continued growth in tourism and especially bringing people in from outside of Stephenson County to help our local economy with non-local spending.  Keeping local dollars in town but expand on importing dollars from outside of the County.  Also, helping local small businesses with growth opportunities and assisting our downtown stay viable via with more events, gathering spaces, and cosmetics of our main downtown corridors.  Continue to enhance our digital presence to attract outsiders to Freeport for tourism dollars.

Photo of Amy Baker, Secretary

Amy Baker, President at Citizens State Bank

Amy Baker, Secretary

Why were you driven to be on the board?

My family lives and works in Greater Freeport.  It has been our family’s home for over 20 years and mine personally for 47 years and would like to see our youth come back to live and work here someday as well.  For this to happen we have to keep moving forward and progressing and I want to be a part of making that happen with others that have this same vision.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

I find value in meeting new people that are part of our communities and networking at events.  It allows us to connect with others and become more familiar with our local businesses and not-for-profit organizations in order to provide services to help them grow and better serve.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

I look forward to collaborating with the board and all stakeholders to continue building on the work the Partnership has done to keep our communities moving forward. Economic development comes through many different avenues, so the strategic plan will be an important driver in 2024, to help meet the goals of growing Stephenson County through business retention and expansion, new businesses, marketing, visitor attraction, membership growth, and advocacy. Synergy amongst our local partnerships will be critical as we continue to meet challenges and seek opportunities that align with our goals.

Rob Boyer, City of Freeport
City Manager

Rob Boyer, City of Freeport

Why were you drive to be on the Partnership board?

My motivation for serving on the Greater Freeport Partnership Board stems from a dual commitment: to represent the City’s interests, ensuring that the Partnership’s direction aligns with City leadership’s expectations, and to actively contribute to the Partnership’s success in economic development, workforce development, and downtown initiatives. This role embodies my dedication to fostering a collaborative environment where the city and the Partnership work hand-in-hand to achieve shared goals, highlighting our pivotal role in facilitating growth and prosperity within the community.

What do you find of value in Partnership membership?

My appreciation for the Partnership Membership is profoundly influenced by my early foray into entrepreneurship at sixteen and a distinguished career that spans owning businesses in central Illinois to leading as a CEO in the auto industry. These experiences have not only honed my understanding of the business ecosystem but also instilled a deep-seated passion for driving economic growth and innovation. My engagement with the Partnership is fueled by a commitment to leverage my background for the collective benefit, guiding the organization to be agile and supportive in the face of economic shifts. This dedication to collaborative progress and community well-being is where I find immense value in the membership, as it aligns with my vision of nurturing a dynamic and prosperous economic landscape for business owners and community members alike.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

In 2024, I look forward to the Greater Freeport Partnership accomplishing several key objectives that align with the city’s economic and community development objectives. Firstly, I expect the Partnership to play a critical role in assisting local businesses with retention and relocation efforts, ensuring they find new, suitable sites within the City of Freeport. This initiative is crucial for the stability and growth of our local economy.

Additionally, I anticipate strong engagement between the Partnership and Fortune 500 companies present in Freeport. My hope is that the partnership will facilitate solutions that encourage these corporations to expand their operations within our city, thereby enhancing job creation and economic vitality.

Lastly, I am eager to see the Partnership foster collaborative efforts to expand revenue-generating events in Freeport, particularly by tapping into currently untapped resources. This strategy should aim to benefit the downtown business district, bringing a additional vibrancy and attracting more visitors and residents alike. The collective effort to boost the downtown area through such events will not only increase the city’s economic profile but also enhance the quality of life for our community members.

 

Georgia Newcomer, Stephenson County
Administrator

Georgia Newcomer, Stephenson County

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I am excited to serve on the Partnership board to be more involved in the processes and events that the Partnership is responsible for. Representing the County at the board, I am excited to see the collaboration with all of the governmental partners working toward common goals.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

The value found in membership of the Partnership is bringing resources into a “one-stop shop” for its members. Being able to see first hand and watch the collaborative efforts being moved forward for the betterment of the Partnership’s members.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

I am excited to see the Partnership evolve and grow. I enjoy working with the other board members and community leaders to bring everyone together to work on the common goals of Partnership and the County.  I am looking forward to the collaboration of the City, County & Partnership’s aligned strategic plan come to fruition.

Photo of Chris Kuberski, Highland Community College

Chris Kuberski, President at Highland Community College

Chris Kuberski, Highland Community College

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I want to be sure that Highland is in tune and responsive to the needs of our community.  Serving on the Partnership board provides the knowledge and connections that are needed to serve as an educational partner with business and industry.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

The communication and updates provided to members allows members to be proactive rather than reactive to the challenges and opportunities within our region.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

I look forward to the Partnership finalizing the strategic plan and continuing its efforts to attract and support businesses and industry, promote the region, and serve as a conduit for collaboration across the region.

Photo of Dr. Anna Alvarado, Freeport School District 145

Dr. Anna Alvarado, Superintendent at Freeport School District 145

Dr. Anna Alvarado, Freeport School District 145

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

As superintendent of the Freeport School District 145, it is critical that our district is represented in the Partnership Board. I believe that a school district is not able to function in isolation from its community. The work of the district is driven by the future economic stability of our community. Therefore, we have to constantly think about how we strengthen our educational system that will afford our students the ability to participate as productive members of Freeport as they move towards developing skills that prepare them for the future workforce. This is part of our mission statement.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

I value the networking and camaraderie among business leaders and owners in our community. I value hearing the progress that the business community is making towards making Freeport as a town where young families should consider. The public school plays a critical role in the decisions that families make for their children. Therefore, I want to make sure that we make Freeport School District145 a premier public school in the near future as a viable choice for families.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

I look forward to the Partnership expanding its influence to a more diversified group of individuals that can participate in the important process of building our community into a more economically sustainable neighborhood. We want to think outside the box on how we can be more inclusive and integrate ourselves into something that is representative of the exciting future that is ahead of us.

Photo of Mark Grindley, Board Chair

Mark Gridley, President & CEO FHN

Mark Gridley, Chair Emeritus

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

The economic growth and vitality of our community is critical to helping improve the health and wellbeing of the families throughout the area.

 What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

The Greater Freeport Partnership brings together caring thought leaders focused on creating a greater good for all being served.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

Promoting the opportunity and value proposition of our business community and resources to attract greater interest and involvement in supporting our ongoing growth.

Robert Bush, Retired

Robert Bush, Board Member

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I am most grateful to have been born and raised here in Freeport. I was with the Freeport Fire Department for 30 years and retired as the City Fire Inspector. I was driven to be on the Greater Freeport Partnership Board as an opportunity to give back to the city and a time to drive positive change that improves the quality of life for all the people in Freeport and Stephenson County. What is most special about living and working in the Freeport and Stephenson County region is the spirit of collaboration the community possesses.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

I find value in the Partnership membership, because it is deeply invested in strengthening the Freeport and Stephenson County area and its vibrant/diversified business community by working directly with companies, industries, consultants, local and state allies and by taking an innovative and a strategic approach that will foster growth and prosperity.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

I look forward to the Partnership accomplishing yet again in 2024 as they did in 2023, with awards and accolades like the Tourism Marketing Campaign Award. Dismantling economic barriers so all people can have good jobs, live a fulfilling life that exhibits an extraordinary initiative and impact within a recent time frame that will help propel our region forward. Working with all levels of government , partners, and stakeholders to make Freeport and Stephenson County the best place to live, work and grow business.

Photo of Larry Feiner

Larry Feiner, Vice President/Mortgage Loan Office at GreenState Credit Union

Larry Feiner, Board Member

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I was asked to be a member of the Partnership Board after having served in one capacity or another on the NIDA board for over two decades.  I was honored to be asked to serve as a board member of the Partnership knowing that the combined efforts of economic and downtown development along with management of the CVB would be beneficial under one organization.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

I believe strongly in the combined Partnership group and the benefits that our community derives from having a focus on greater economic and downtown development as well as a combined, consistent marketing message.  The Partnership was created understanding the benefits of having City, County and private membership combined to bring to bear the strongest possible emphasis on retaining and expanding our business and tax base in our community as well as providing technical expertise to members and potential new businesses that are interested in expanding into Stephenson county.  Given the challenges of both City and County budgets it has been extremely helpful to have private membership contributions knowing that both the City and County could not provide this on their own.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

The Partnership does great things and will continue to do so in 2024.  I look forward to continuing that effort along with the challenges and opportunities that present themselves in the future.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve and provide value to our members and greater community at large.  I’m thankful for our Partnership staff and volunteer board members that work tirelessly to improve the economic conditions of our community.

Photo of Mike Marten, Board Member

Mike Marten, Owner of Mort’s Bar & Grill

Mike Marten, Board Member

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I chose to serve on the Partnership board to not only continue to educate myself on our local economy and city operations, but also to make sure that I am in the room to add any insight from a small business owner’s standpoint. Our city needs driven people with different outlooks to find the same lens and continue to push us towards a positive vision.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

There are many different assets to the Partnership that I value. As a board director, I have the chance to learn, as a member I get to network. We have a variety of driven business owners, manufacturers, workers, and entrepreneurs that we can connect with at any time for advice, guidance, or just to have a beer with. I also value the tools the Partnership provides through use of business services, website, social media apps, and annual events that provide our city a positive economic impact.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2023?

I always look forward to the yearly events that get our community out into the streets. More so this year I look forward to see how the Partnership builds on these events, especially coming out of a two-year pandemic, and continue to grow our tourism, economy, and a strong local sense of pride for our residents.

Photo of Derek Thompson, Board Member

Derek Thompson, Senior Project Engineer at Fehr Graham

Derek Thompson, Board Member

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

Being born in Freeport and growing up here, I have always wanted what’s best for the community. That, along with working in/with the City of Freeport at Fehr Graham, my hope is that I can add a positive contribution to the greater Freeport area through the Partnership.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

Being a part of this board allows me to collaborate with a diverse group of leaders enabling us to combine our knowledge to tackle challenges and seize opportunities that make a a positive impact on Freeport and the greater Freeport area.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

With a restructured focus on the mission of the board, I anticipate even more advancements in sustainable development and the board’s economic objectives. Additionally, I am excited about our focus on workforce development, preparing our community for the jobs of the future and to support our growing economy. I believe we can achieve measurable progress this year and set a strong foundation for the city’s future success.

Photo of Delbert Bunker, Board Member

Delbert Bunker, President of Bocker Automotive Group

Delbert Bunker, Board Member

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I believe it is important to be part of an organization that has the best interest of the community, local business, and the county as the mission of the board.  I think it’s a unique opportunity to be surrounded by forward thinkers who all have a common goal to make our community a better place.

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

The value of the Partnership for The Bocker Auto Group is to be able to be involved in helping the networking with other area businesses.  We are also able to keep our employees up to date on all the wonderful local things that are happening in our community.  The Partnership is an asset to all businesses in the county!

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2024?

I hope we can help lay a foundation where new businesses are excited and eager to break ground locally.  I look forward to the renewed focus of the Partnership and the local communities to work together to build an economic friendly environment for new businesses of all sizes.  The new collaboration with the City of Freeport to make our community the place where current businesses are wanting to grow their footprint will be make for a very exciting 2024!

Photo of Carolyn Mitchell, Board Member

Carolyn Mitchell, Director of Sales & Marketing at Hughes Resources

Carolyn Mitchell, Board Member

Why were you driven to be on the Partnership board?

I’ve spent the last 12 years volunteering within our schools and the school fund in Freeport.  I am excited to pivot a bit to the business end of our community.  People and connection are my thing – I look forward to finding my sweet spot within the work done by the Partnership!

What do you find of value in the Partnership membership?

All of us at Hughes value the networking events and the insight shared regularly by the Partnership.  Our teams are enriched by the various programs like WEN and the efforts that pull folks together around topics like workforce enhancement.

What do you look forward to the Partnership accomplishing in 2023?

I hope to see the Partnership board figure out how to stay relevant in changing times.  My vision for the Partnership is to be the ‘table’ we all sit around to share and grow our workforce and local business ecosystem.  At Hughes Resources, being an active participant in bettering the communities we live in is a core tenet of our philosophy.  I personally love how this aligns with the Partnership’s mission – hence my enthusiasm to join the board.

Key Industries

icon box image

Healthcare

icon box image

Construction, Plumbing, Heating, & Service

icon box image

Private Label Food Manufacturing

Calendar Feed

Blog Feed

Exposure to Manufacturing April 18, 2024 Freeport, greater freeport partnership, Manufacturing, Stephenson County It is human nature to gravitate towards the familiar. That holds true for high school students. They will frequently choose careers or educational pathways aligned to future careers based on their exposure to that career. So how do we expose more students to the varied manufacturing careers available locally? That was the most prominent conversation thread at our recent Manufacturing […]
Stephenson County Home Show – April 20 April 18, 2024         Participating Vendors include: Acri Company PO. Box 737 Milan, IL 61264 (309) 787-3580 cfilali@acricompany.com Affordable Water 214 W. Menomonie St. Belvidere, IL 61008 (815) 544-1021 affordablewater.durham@gmail.com Bader Construction 1506 S. Oak Ave. Freeport, IL 61032 (815) 821-5733 Bath Planet 7111 N. Alpine Rd. Loves Park, IL 61111 (815) 205-0049 aileen@bathplanetlocal.com Bowen’s Carpet Dry 108 2nd Ave. […]
2024 Restaurant Week Participants April 13, 2024 We are excited to share the great featured dishes from Freeport & Stephenson County restaurants during Stephenson County Restaurant Week! Check back as we get more information added as the event draws closer!     Featured restaurants include: Big O’s on the Hollow The Freeprot Club Higher Grounds Hilldale Deli The Freeport Club Journey’s Cafe Jumpin’ Joes La Patrona Landmark […]
New People Mean Business April 10, 2024 advocate program, greater freeport partnership, Stephenson County The real estate market may not be as active as it was this time last year, but there is constant movement of new people and families into Freeport and Stephenson County. The Partnership connects with newcomers to provide information on things to do in the area that may interest them, services they need to make Freeport and Stephenson County home, […]