Bernsten to Head Organization Starting May 6

(April 25, 2018) ROCKFORD – Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois has announced that Benjamin Bernsten, current Director of Retail and General Counsel, will replace Sam Schmitz as President effective May 6th. Schmitz is retiring after ten years as President of Goodwill.

Bernsten has been responsible for all aspects of Goodwill’s retail operation and legal affairs within the 18 county territory since 2012 and created numerous new programs and revenue generating operations including the e-commerce program, Goodwill Outlet Store, Donation Express Donation Center, corporate donations program, Halloween program and expanded recycling and salvage operation with revenue benefiting the Goodwill mission programs.

“Since joining Goodwill in 2012, Ben has taken our retail operations to a whole new level.  Ben’s passion, knowledge and expertise will help lead the entire organization to new levels of success in meeting our mission throughout our territory and the communities we serve.  The Board of Directors made an outstanding hire in selecting Ben as the next President,” stated outgoing President, Sam Schmitz.

Bernsten graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, WI in 2002 and was previously employed at First Rockford Group working with national, regional and local retailers and brokers before coming to Goodwill.

“We had so many wonderful applicants for this position, but Ben rose to the top,” said Board Chairman, Brian Reck. “Our Board couldn’t be happier that it’s Ben. We know he will do a terrific job as our next President to help build upon Sam’s legacy of outstanding achievement and lead our organization into the future.”

Bernsten resides in Rockford and has been actively involved in the community serving on numerous boards such as Rock River Water Reclamation District, Northwest Community Center, GiGi’s Playhouse, Visiting Nurses Association and River District Association.

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