W. ROCKWELL "ROCKY" WIRTZ
Rocky was just 2 years old when his grandfather, Arthur Wirtz, purchased the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. Rocky grew up within the walls of the storied Chicago Stadium, and he oversaw the team’s historic Stanley Cup championship victories in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
The interests of Wirtz Corporation, one of the largest privately held and family-owned companies in the United States, extend to a vast array of businesses including Wirtz Realty, Wirtz Insurance and banking operations in Illinois and Florida. Rocky also serves as the Co-Chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group.
Rocky has led the family’s beverage business, Wirtz Beverage Group, since 1980, where his strategic vision, commitment to investment and time-honored focus on running a value-driven business helped the company grow and expand its bevy of partnerships. In early 2016, as a principal founder, Rocky created Breakthru Beverage Group, which was formed by joining substantial holdings of Wirtz Beverage Group and The Charmer Sunbelt Group. The company employs more than 7,000 associates and, with its affiliates, have operations in 19 states across the U.S. and Canada. Recognizing his many contributions to the beverage industry, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America honored Rocky with a Lifetime Leadership Award in 2014.
In addition, Rocky oversees Wirtz Realty, which has developed properties in Illinois for decades. The company owns and manages several commercial and residential properties along Chicago’s lakefront and throughout the suburbs. Rocky also manages Wirtz Insurance as well as banking interests at First Security Trust and Savings, based in Elmwood Park, Ill., and First National Bank of South Miami in Florida. Those companies have long been recognized for their custom financial solutions and the strong roles they play in supporting local communities and charities.
Additionally, Rocky serves as Co-Chairman of the Executive Committee of Chicago’s United Center and is a member of the National Hockey League’s Executive Committee. In the eight years since Rocky has taken on these leadership roles, he has earned national recognition for the many successes each company has achieved.
Through it all, Rocky continues to lead his family’s commitment to numerous civic and charitable organizations. His dedication to Chicago Blackhawks Charities is unwavering. Founded by his father, Chicago Blackhawks Charities has donated millions of dollars to dozens of organizations focusing on youth programs, health and wellness, education and housing. When seeking a new practice rink for the Blackhawks, Rocky went beyond creating a single-use home for the team and in 2015 announced the construction of a community ice rink and practice facility near the United Center. Set to open in late 2018, the facility will offer a number of benefits to Chicago’s youth who may not have the opportunity or resources to learn the sport of hockey.
Rocky is a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and serves as a Trustee at The Field Museum of Natural History and Northwestern University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communications in 1975.
At Northwestern, he established the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Endowment for Visiting Artists. That program, named in honor of his grandmother, allows Northwestern’s School of Communication to invite nationally acclaimed performers to work directly with students and staff at the Theatre and Interpretation Center. In April 2014, the center was renamed the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts in recognition of the family’s financial gifts.
Rocky and his wife, Marilyn, reside in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Rocky has three children, Daniel, Hillary and Kendall; Marilyn has one daughter, Elizabeth. Rocky is also the proud grandfather of two granddaughters and a grandson.