Rebecca Ryan returns to Rockford for RAEDC dinner

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It was a case of back to the future for more than 600 business leaders at tonight's Rockford Area Economic Development Council's annual meeting and dinner.

If keynote speaker Rebecca Ryan looks familiar, it's because she was also the keynote speaker 14 years ago. Ryan, who's a futurist, made a series of shared predictions back in 2005. And Tuesday she came back to see how those predictions panned out; while also making new forecasts about how artificial intelligence, workforce trends and the global economy will shape Rockford for the next decade.

"There's one marker and it's like who can sit outside and have dinner downtown," said Ryan. "And you can do that now, but you couldn't when I was here 14 years ago. You look up at the sky and you see more air traffic. This is the commerce and industry is going up. My wish for the next 14 years is that you start talking positively about your community and what's going on here."