Rockford Region: The Fork In The Road

Fork In The Road

I love my community. Occasionally, I think we forget that 99% of the people are good, honest, and hard-working. And, a large and growing number of folks want to work together to move our community forward through the Transform Rockford movement. Yes, the challenges are significant and the solutions are not quick fixes or easy….

To that end, “there are two primary choices in life:

1. Accept conditions as they exist.

2. Accept the responsibility for changing them.”          – Dr. Denis Waitley


Volunteer. Vote. Engage. Speak Out. Learn. Bounce Back.  

Challenge The Status Quo. Celebrate The Good.

Get Off The Sidelines.

The Secret of Change

A mentor of mine once said, “what you focus on… grows!” 
There is so much talk about change in our community these days; especially within the Transform Rockford movement. That conversation is a good thing but making it happen is a very hard thing.
I came across this quote and wanted to share as it speaks to one of the biggest obstacles to change = what we focus our energy on:
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy
not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
– Dan Millman
Is it possible that too much of our energy is wasted on things from the past that we can not control or change?  Does that distract us or help us?  Is there is a difference between learning from the past and dwelling on the past?  If so, what is the opportunity cost of dwelling on the past?
Thanks for reading!
(815) 979-4045


Three Perspectives

I came across the following perspectives at the Rockford Association for Minority Management (RAMM) event last evening.  These perspectives apply to us individually and collectively as a community…

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

There are two types of opportunities: 

1. Seized opportunities

2. Missed opportunities 

Three Ways To Overcome An Obstacle

    (you need all three)

1. Love your way through

2. Work your way through

3. Struggle your way though

Great event!  Great organization. Dr. Marc Lamont Hill was an outstanding guest speaker as well.  I would love to see him come back to Rockford and speak to our middle and high school students at some point.

Monday Morning – Cup of Quotes


Here are 6 quick quotes from around the Twitter world to start your week.  Enjoy!

1.  Leaders think about empowerment, not control. 

               – Warren Bennis @WrldLeadersConf


2.  There is never enough time 2 do everything, but there is always enough time 2 do the most important thing.

                 – Brian Tracy @BrianTracy


3.  Everyday is a new opportunity to learn from your mistakes and become a better father. 

                 – The Father Effect @thefathereffect


4.  The difference between a name dropper and a network builder is follow-up. 

                 – Marcus Buckingham @mwbuckingham


5.  Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

                  – Peter Drucker @AlignmentRkfd


6.  Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.

                   – Elizabeth Gilbert @GilbertLiz


Please follow me on Twitter at @FrankHaney.Biz.  

Questions?  Give me a call (815) 979-4045.

Thanks for reading!

Frank Haney CIC, CLCS

(815) 979-4045

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. There is no legal advice being suggested or offered. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions take or not taken by the readers based upon the above-mention information.

How do RVC Trustees ensure affordable, accessible, and excellent education for all?

Great question!

No community needs its community college more than the Rockford Region needs Rock Valley College.  We live in a community with great people, great opportunities, and great challenges.  High poverty and low educational attainment levels are among those challenges.  Crime is a symptom of this disease. 

Here are seven things I would do as Trustee to take steps closer to the goal of affordable, accessible, and excellent education for all:

1.  Be sound with budget. 

  • Tuition at RVC has doubled in the past 10-years.  Was it too low to being with or is tuition inflation increasing too quickly?
  • Salaries / benefits are approximately 70% of the total budget.  Benchmarking within education as well as within like professions within the area are important.

2.  Have a pro-growth agenda.  You can’t shrink your way to greatness!  We need to recruit / retain more students.  Continued excellence in education is not possible without growth.  This is what our community needs us to do well.

  • Can RVC help A & B students?  Yes!
  • Can RVC help C&D students?  Yes!
  • Can RVC help dislocated workers?  Yes!
  • Can RVC help people who don’t want to pursue a 4-year degree?  YES!

Are we communicating this message more aggressively than some of our competitors?  No!

3.  Partner with school districts, RVC Foundation Board (grants) and donations, other taxing bodies whenever possible.  Leveraging community resources and collaboration will define RVC in the future.  We can no longer afford to work in fiefdoms.

4.  Ask the question, “what else can we do” to communicate the Financial Aid / Pell process and grant opportunities for middle/low income students?  I don’t have all the answers but I do think that sometimes the key is to ask the right questions.  This is the right question.

5.  The working / middle class is getting squeezed.  College debt is crippling first generation college students more so than credit card debt. This is a huge problem.

6.  Measure twice, cut once when determining capital expenditures.  Operating costs need to be part of the discussion.

7.  Take the college to the community.  In the future, RVC needs to continue to explore off-site and perhaps on-line options.  People can take the “next step” in life as an RVC Student on the main campus as well as off campus.  If you are poor and lack transportation, then you don’t have an obstacle….. you have a roadblock to furthering your education.  We need to at least explore options to remove these roadblocks.

Questions?  Call me at (815) 979-4045.

Frank Haney





What is the role of a Trustee at Rock Valley College?


What do you see as the role of a Rock Valley College Trustee and how should the students influence that role?

Role of a Trustee:

1)      Elected to represent and serve all constituents:

  • Students.
  • Faculty, staff, and administration.
  • People who work in education, business, NFP’s, and Gov’t.
  • People who don’t work (unemployed, retired, etc).
  • Residents / tax payers / non-students.
  • Rich, poor, middle class
  • Black, Hispanic, and white.

This is why we need strong, independent Trustees.

2)      Set policy, approve expenditures and contract negotiations.

  • Trustees should set the tone but also should follow this motto:  Trustees should be in the balcony, not down on the dance floor.
  • Hire experts to execute the plan.


3)      Help set the vision of the college.

  • Where does our community need us to be in 5-10 years?


4)      Focus on growth.

  • RVC must increase student recruitment / retention.
  • RVC needs to be re-branded as the college of 1st choice not the fall-back choice for students in the Rock Valley District.
  • Align programs with the jobs that exist in this region both today and tomorrow.


5)      Lead. 

  • Be good stewards of tax payer and tuition dollars.
  • Tough, even unpopular, decisions need to be made on occasion to ensure we are best leveraging our resources.
  • Remember: we are spending other people’s money (OPM).


6)   Connect.

  • Connect the college to the community and the community to the college.
  • Collaboration on and off campus will define RVC in the coming years.


7)   Be an ambassador.

  • Be a cheerleader for the college.


8)   Synergize with College President

  • Work closely with College President and expect him/her to do the same with his leadership team as well as Faculty and Staff.  Teamwork matters.


How do students influence that role?

Rock Valley Students influence every decision that Trustees make.  Ultimately, the RVC mission is the success of its students.  RVC needs to create opportunities and pathways to facilitate that process.

Also, see my previous blog post on ways RVC Students can have input into the process.

Questions?  Give me a call (815) 979-4045.

Frank Haney






160 Attend Campaign Event + Yard Sign Blitz


Thank you to the 160+ people who attended the Frank Haney for RVC Trustee Campaign Kick-off Event on Feb. 17.  It was fun to officially start our campaign with a standing-room only event!  Special thanks to my friend and campaign co-chair, Mike Broski, for introducing me and for the Capri Restaurant for hosting our event.

Although the majority of the people there were long-time friends and family, I was pleased to have 9 elected officials / candidates in attendance as well.  It speaks to the importance of the April 9 election and the relevance of Rock Valley College in our community.

There is a sense of momentum in our campaign; however, there is also the realization that there is a lot of work is ahead of us.  There are 10 people running for 3 spots and we need to work to standout from the crowd of candidates.  We need to have a great March to ensure success on April 9.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs! 

Here are 2 ways you can help with the campaign:

1. Confirm yard sign locations.  Speak to friends, family, and contacts about residential and commercial yard sign locations in Winnebago, Boone, and Ogle Counties.  Keep a list of locations you are able to confirm.  We can get you the signs to deliver or we can deliver for you.  Do not underestimate how many yard sign confirmations you can get in 25-minutes of calling a few of your friends and family members.

2.  Help deliver signs.  We have ordered 2,500 yard signs and we need help delivering them.  We will begin March 9 and make a big push the next three weeks.  You can make yard sign deliveries at a time convenient for you.  Do not underestimate what two hours of volunteering does for our campaign.

Call or message me at (815) 979-4045 for more information.

Vote Frank Haney for RVC Trustee on April 9, 2013.



Campaign Kick-off: Sunday, February 17 @ Capri


Frank Haney, candidate for Rock Valley College Board of Trustees in the April 9, 2013 Election, announces Campaign Kick-off Party:

Frank Haney for RVC Trustee

Campaign Kick-off Event

Sunday, February 17, 2013

12:00-2:30 pm

Capri Restaurant (313 East State St, downtown Rockford)

 Learn more about the Frank Haney for RVC Trustee Campaign:

  • Why Frank is running for Trustee
  • Why RVC is critical to our community
  • Ways to get involved
  • Meet the campaign team and special guests

Cost: Adult: $20          Child: $10          Family: $35

Includes lunch, pop, and coffee.

RSVP ASAP.  Questions?  Call Frank at (815) 979-4045.

Sign-Up Form

Name _______________________________________________________

Street __________________________  City ______________    Zip______

Phone ____________________________________________________



Event Payment:

________ Adult $20         ________ Child ($10)       ________ Family ($35)


Campaign Donation (optional – please consider):

$25     $50     $100     $250     Other:_______________

Checks payable to:  Frank Haney for RVC Trustee

Mailing address:  8119 Scott Ln, Machesney Park, IL 61115

Paid for by Frank Haney for RVC Trustee.

From Grad To Dad – RVC Is For Me!


My name is Frank Haney and I am running for Rock Valley College Trustee.  I am asking for your vote on April 9.

Some have asked, “Why run for elected office?”  Others have asked, “Why run for RVC Trustee?”

The purpose of this article is to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about why I am running for RVC Trustee.  In the coming months I will share my thoughts on a number of opportunities and challenges facing the college and our community.  However, I want to start with the most important aspect of any candidate’s platform – why I am running?

From Grad To Dad….. RVC Is For Me!

RVC Grad!

  • First, I am a proud Rock Valley College graduate.  RVC was a great “next step” after graduating from Boylan High School.
  • I am a first-generation college student from a working class Rockford family.  Why do I mention that?  Because our community needs more of its people to be the first in their family to take a “next step” after high school.  We have lower than average educational attainment levels in our adult community.  This is true for both the number of 4-year degrees and the number of people who have career-ready job skills.
  • RVC needs to position itself as the 1st option and best option for our community’s traditional and non-traditional students.  The college is perfectly positioned to help fill the “skills gap” facing our community as baby boomers retire and leave the workforce.  There is not a community in Illinois that needs its community college more than the Rockford area needs Rock Valley.

RVC Dad!

  • Today, I am a father of three children:  Leah (11), Zach (10), and Frankie (3).  My daughter, Leah, will be a senior in high school at the end of my first term as Trustee (6-year term).
  • RVC needs to be a great option for all kids, including mine, and I am dedicated to making that a reality.
  • RVC prepares students for the jobs of tomorrow.  In the 1970’s, 8 in 10 jobs required only a high school diploma.  Today, 8 in 10 jobs requires education past high school.  As a friend recently shared: “we have a K-12 educational system; however, we live in a K-14 world.”
  • It is critical to our community that RVC remains affordable and accessible at a time when tuition costs at 4-year schools out-pace inflation.  Tuition has increased 12-fold over the past 30 years in our country.  This presents a great challenge to both middle-income and poor students.  As a result, too many former college students have too much loan debt.

 RVC is for Me!

  • Although I am aggressively pursuing this office and intend to have a successful campaign, RVC is too important to walk away from if I come-up a couple of votes short on April 9.  As a citizen, I will support the college and share my positive experience with others win or lose.  I am encouraging other candidates to take the same approach.
  • RVC is a community asset.  It helped guide me and others into our current roles as parents, community activists, and productive citizens.  I’d like to give back to RVC as an engaged, informed, and independent Trustee.

I believe I would be a good Trustee for several reasons:

  • Track record of service.  I have extensive board experience and   service to the community.  This includes but is not limited to being      the Next Rockford Facilitator, Rockford Area Economic Development Council Board of Directors, and Carpenter’s Place Board of Directors.
  • Connection to RVC.  I know the college both as a student and also as an RVC basketball coach.  I have developed many relationships     on campus and in the community through my experiences with RVC.
  • Balanced Perspective.  I have a background in business and education.  I believe in the need for a strong, independent Board who seeks input from other constituent groups – both on and off campus.
  • Understand the complex issues facing both the college and the community.  In addition to having a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership, I have worked hard to study the issues facing the college.  This includes the political / financial landscape of our local and state government.  RVC is critical to economic development efforts in our community and region.
  • Good steward of tax and tuition dollars.  Trustees need to understand the budget and not be afraid to ask the tough questions:  “Is this affordable?  “Is this sustainable?”  “What are our other options?”  “Is this expense an investment in our mission?”  “Are there higher priorities that require more attention?”

I would appreciate your vote on April 9.

If you have any questions or would like to get involved in the campaign, please give me a call (815) 979-9121.

Frank Haney

P.S. – Join us February 17th for our Campaign Kick-off Party at Capri Restaurant (downtown Rockford) from 12-2:30 pm.  $20 per adult, $10 per child, $35 per family.  RSVP to (815) 979-4045 by February 10.




5 Halloween Safety Tips

I have three kids: Leah (11), Zach (9), and Frankie (3).  All three are excited about Halloween and trick or treating with friends.  However, with this fun comes safety concerns.  The good thing is that most Halloween accidents are preventable.

Here are 5 Halloween Safety Tips for families as they prepare for the upcoming week’s festivities:

1.  Costume Safety.

Costumes need to be:

  • Size appropriate.  Avoid costumes that are too long; especially when it is being handed-down to a little brother.
  • Void of any sharp corners, pieces, or accessories.
  • Void of masks that obstruct vision
  • Hypoallergenic when make-up is used
  • Highly visible.  You need to be able to be seen; especially by people driving automobiles.


2.  Carving Pumpkins (Knife Safety)

  • Here is the picture of a pumpkin that represents the look of a pumpkin my wife, Leslie, expects me to carve every year.


  • Here is a picture of what my carved pumkins look like:


Regarding the carving of pumpkins – BE CAREFUL with sharp knives!  Last year, we had three pumpkins being carved at one time, two knives being passed between the adults, and three hyper kids, all on a sugar-high from candy, running around the room.  As a co-worker of mine likes to say, “what could possibly go wrong?”


3.  Trick or Treaters Coming To Your House. 

  • Think about the liability implications when you are having 50-100 guests onto your property.  You have a duty to create a safe environment for these guests.   Your guests have an expectation that the environment is safe.  If you breach that duty through an action or inaction, and there is resulting bodily injury to a visitor, then the parents could sue and you could be found liable.  Although your homeowner’s coverage would respond and cover you up to your policy limit, you are best served to avoid this situation all-together.
  • Is the walkway clear…..  I mean extra clear?  Kids do not walk single-file when approaching your house to get candy.  They go up and down your steps in tandem.  Make sure landscaping rocks, brush, and other items are not in the walking path of young kids.
  • Are handrails loose?


  • Put the dogs away.  Animals are territorial.  Typically, even the nicest dogs don’t like 50-100 strangers coming to their home.  Speaking from experience, it is hard to open the door with one hand, reach for candy with another, hold the dog back with one leg, and stand on the other leg.


  • Lighting is critical.  Trick-or-Treating starts in daylight and ends in the dark.  Are your exterior lights working?  Do you have enough lighting?


4.  Fire. 

  • Place battery-powered candles in pumpkins vs. regular wax candles if at-all possible.
  • Wax candles can catch costumes on fire.
  • If you do, in fact, use wax candles, then make sure you blow-out the candles before you go to bed


5.  Trick-or-Treating & Candy. 

  • Trick-or-Treat on streets that have proper lighting and that you are familiar with.
  • Bring a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Most parents will accompany kids under the age of 12.
  • If allowing your kids to trick-or-treat without you, then make sure they know the ground rules: carry a cell phone and identification, establish a curfew and where they can / can’t go, as well as make it clear they should travel in groups.
  • Parents should inspect candy.

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I help businesses and families with their insurance.

Give me a call (815) 979-4045.

Frank Haney CLCS

Rockford’s Insurance Coach