Genuine Northwest Passions
Photos by Nels Akerlund
“I believe you are your work. Don’t trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars. That’s a rotten bargain.”
— Rita Mae Brown
Tim Gruner, horticulturist and garden curator at Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, has a passion for plants and trees. He interned at the Chicago Botanic Garden and has been working for the Andersons since the early stages of the garden in the 1980s.
“The quality of a garden is measured by how it affects your heart,” he says. “This garden is made entirely of plants that are readily available in our area. There’s nothing rare or exceedingly unusual growing here.” The garden consistently ranks among the best Japanese gardens in the nation.
Jeff Kaney, president of Kaney Aerospace, has a passion for aviation, and believes Rockford is a great place for it. His company, located at Chicago Rockford International Airport, provides testing, engineering, installation and consulting services.
As a member of the aerospace cluster recently formed by the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Kaney says, “Our goal is to dramatically increase the number of high-paying jobs in the aerospace sector. We can do this because the Rockford Region is very good at aerospace.” ❚