Transform Rockford has announced a new team in place to help Rockford get on path to becoming a Top 25 community.
The team is comprised of local residents who grew up, live in the area and are committed to making positive changes to the region.
“Transform Rockford is excited to have a new team in place who will work hard to facilitate positive change in the Rockford region,” said Executive Director David Sidney. “These individuals care deeply about the region and bring several skills and talents to the team that will help us manage and foster relationships with businesses and community members and help improve the social and economic well-being of the region.”
Transform Rockford was formed in late 2013 when more than 1,300 people attended a community meeting and learned the “brutal facts” of the Rockford area.
Members joined in on a call to action for improving the living and working conditions in the region. Today, the Transform Rockford team is in the implement projects and measurement phase where projects are moving forward, action is taking place and results are being shown.
The new management team includes:
David Sidney, Executive Director — Sidney has been with Transform Rockford since the beginning. He served as a volunteer leader of the Shared Values team and facilitated several visioning sessions. He served as Project Director, a staff position since January 2016 and was named Executive Director June 1, 2018. Before working for Transform Rockford, Sidney was an urban planner, first with Gary W. Anderson Architects and then with the City of Rockford. Sidney is a Rockford native and graduate of Auburn High School and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban planning from the University of Illinois. In addition, he has a master’s in Christian ministry from Northern Seminary. He is married to Michelle and has a son, Judah, and another child on the way.
Jason Holcomb, Project Development Manager — Holcomb joined the Transform Rockford team in 2018 after working for nearly ten years as a disability advocate both in the non-profit and private sector. He began volunteering at Transform Rockford in 2016 serving on the Project Support Team. He also completed a seven-month internship with Transform Rockford as part of his master’s program. Holcomb is a graduate of Christian Life High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and master’s degree in social work from Indiana University.
Katryna Kirby, Strategy & Communications Manager — Kirby is the newest member of the Transform Rockford team, starting in September of 2018. Prior to joining the team, Kirby most recently served as Public Relations & Community Engagement Specialist at SwedishAmerican and Account Executive at Chartwell Agency in Rockford. She also serves as Board President for Seward Park District located in Seward, Ill. Kirby is a Byron High School graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation, park and tourism administration from Western Illinois University. She resides in Pecatonica with her husband Pete and two children, Jude and Cora.
Diane Zammuto, Operations Coordinator — Zammuto joined the Transform Rockford team in August of 2018. A lifelong resident of Rockford, Zammuto has been a strong supporter of educational institutions and an advocate for children. For the past ten years, she served as an assistant to the Development Coordinator at Keith Country Day School and was the lead organizer for the annual Classics and Chrome Car Show. Zammuto resides in Rockford with her husband and has four grown sons.
Transform Rockford is providing strategic support to 45 community based projects, including the Grade Level Reading program, a partnership with Alignment Rockford to provide support for the third grade reading initiative to ensure every child is reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade.
One way the project received support recently was through the Read 815 campaign where students in Winnebago County were challenged to read one book per week during the summer months.
The Great Neighborhoods project also is currently underway. The project engages neighborhoods to focus on the assets it has, to begin mapping those assets and to ultimately uncover what makes their neighborhood great, unique and desirable.
Transform Rockford created a Great Neighborhoods resource guide, neighborhood directory and website for community members to utilize and learn best practices. Recently, Transform Rockford and The Great Neighborhoods project helped beautify blighted properties in downtown Rockford by decorating and adhering weather-resistant boards over windows to help spruce-up the neighborhood.
“It’s truly an exciting time for Transform Rockford and for the region as a whole,” said Transform Rockford Steering Committee Chair Bobbie Holzwarth. “The Transform Rockford team is getting its hands dirty and with our many volunteers, community partners, and stakeholders, making valuable changes in our region.”
To learn more about Transform Rockford’s progress and how to get involved by either joining in on a community conversation or volunteering on a team, visit www.transformrockford.org or call (815) 977-5840.