Born in Bombay, India in 1960, Sunil Puri immigrated to the United States in 1979 to attend Rockford University, where he graduated in 1982 with a B.S. in Accounting. He pursued further graduate work at Rockford University and London Business School, and in 2013, he graduated from the ten year Program of Management and Leadership of the Harvard Business School. Mr. Puri co-founded the real estate development firm of First Midwest Group, formerly First Rockford Group, in 1984. Today he is the President and sole owner of First Midwest Group, a diversified real estate development firm based in Rockford, Illinois. The company develops retail, office, and warehouse projects, owns and operates restaurant and hospitality properties, and currently has over 350 tenants. Mr. Puri has helped start multiple businesses, acted as a consultant for myriad more, and, mentored and guided local tenants through the extended economic crisis.
Mr. Puri 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 India and China. Mr. Puri was also the former director of two United States publicly traded banks, and is the co-founder and part owner of Road Ranger, a successful truck stop and petroleum company. While most of his projects are concentrated in Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, Mr. Puri has also developed properties in California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Mr. Puri lives in Rockford, Illinois where his business is headquartered. He 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 University. Mr. Puri is on the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) Board, which is a regional economic agency in northern Illinois. 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. Mr. Puri’s contributions to education in the region were recognized in 2014 with the dedication of the Puri Business School within Rockford University.
Mr. Puri has had the privilege of advising both President Clinton and President Obama, traveling to India with President Clinton in 2000 and 2001 and President Obama in 2010. Since September 2010, he has also served as Commissioner on President Obama’s White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.