Indian American business mogul appointed to PACA


An Indian American entrepreneur and business mogul from Rockford, Illinois, has been appointed as a member of President Joe Biden’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

Sunil Puri, who is the CEO and founder of national real estate firm First Midwest Group, was one of 14 people the White House announced on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts (PACA) on Friday, March 13.

The committee was established in 1958 by President Eisenhower and serves as a national forum, giving its members the opportunity to share with the Kennedy Center their views on the Center’s artistic programming.

Puri was born in Mumbai and moved to Rockford when he was 19 in 1979. In 1984, he founded First Midwest Group, which has expanded the hotel, restaurant, self-storage, and gaming industries.

The selected members were chosen to represent their respected communities at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts. Members of the advisory committee act as a national network, helping broaden and extend the vision of the center’s artistic programming.

Puri, has been active in venture capital and other private equity investment domestically and in Africa, South America, and Asia for over two decades.

One of the region’s largest real-estate developers, First Midwest Group recently invested $1.2 million into Rockford’s historic William Brown lofts building.

An immigrant from India who came to the U.S. in 1979, Puri is a long-standing advocate for social equity and immigration issues, and previously served as a commissioner for President Obama on the White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The Puri Family is well known for their philanthropic endeavors, notably with the creation of the Puri School of Business at Rockford University and the Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza.