This week’s guest is Sunil Puri graduate of Rockford College from the class of 1982. He has persisted as a leader in Rockford for nearly 30 years.
Sunil went on from RC to become one of the most successful developers and entrepreneurs that this region has ever seen.
Born in Bombay, India in 1960, Sunil Puri immigrated to the United States in 1979 to attend Rockford College, where he graduated in 1982 with a B.S. in Accounting. He pursued further graduate work at Rockford College and London Business School. He continues to pursue his advanced level education at Harvard Business School.
Mr. Puri co-founded the real estate development firm of First Rockford Group, Inc. in 1984. He is the President and sole owner of First Rockford Group Inc., a diversified real estate development firm based in Rockford, Illinois. Mr. Puri has developed projects valued in excess of $800 million. The company develops retail, office, and warehouse projects. Other developments include large land assemblages and subdivisions. While most of his projects are concentrated in Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, Mr. Puri has developed properties in California, Arizona, and Florida.
He was a principal in the development of a technology office park in Pune, India dating back to 1988. He continues to diligently pursue varied real estate opportunities in India, and has several private equity investments in Dubai, India, and China crossing sectors from real estate to agribusiness, infrastructure construction, and solar power. Mr. Puri was also the former director of two United States publicly traded banks. Holdings include hotels, restaurants, a 92-unit petroleum/truck stop company, and family entertainment centers.
Mr. Puri lives in Rockford, Illinois with his family. He serves on several boards, and is actively involved with the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He serves on the Executive Committee and as a Trustee of Rockford College. Mr. Puri is on the Board of the Council of 100, which is a regional economic agency in northern Illinois. He is also an avid supporter of the Rockford arts and cultural community. He has been involved with the Golden Apple Foundation since 2003, which annually awards outstanding teachers in the Rockford area, and also recognizes area principals with the Outstanding Puri Principal Award. In 2005, he was named one of Illinois’ Most Influential Families by Crain’s Chicago Business magazine, and in 2009, he was inducted into the Northern Illinois Business Hall of Fame.
He has been active in Democratic politics for over 20 years, and has had the privilege of advising President Clinton and traveling to India with the President in 2000 and 2001. He most recently acted as an Obama delegate in the 2008 Democratic primaries, and continues to be involved with President Obama on finance committees and Indian-American relations.