Friday, October 23, 2009

Whats Up With Economic Development

On Thursday October 23rd I was able to attend the annual meeting of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation held at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Illinois. It was a dismal dreary evening outside and everyone had to use an umbrella just to make it into the building without getting drenched. Dismal and dreary outside but warm, exciting and full of energy inside. The venue was positively elegant and the food, refreshments and appointments all impeccable and commensurate with a black tie affair but this evening was not a stuffy one. Current board Chair Tim Hoerr was an outstanding host and conducted the meeting with a deft mix of executive style and disarming humor. The speakers included Quesnell Hartman, President of EPIWORKS a firm specializing in the production of semi-conducting wafers for the communications industry and Gary Durack CTO and CEO of ICYT MISSION TECHNOLOGY a company that produces highly specialized cell sorters and other high technology equipment for the medical and pharmaceutical markets. Both speakers were engaging and very informing of the issues not only germane to their individual industries but also to the larger story of the EDC and what it has done to promote business and jobs in our county. I was particularly happy to see Dr. Hartman on stage as a keynote speaker at such an event. It seems to me that it was only yesterday that I met Quesnell and his partner Dave Ahmari. They were just young graduate students with an idea at the time hunkered down in the old Technology Commercialization lab on the South Farms. When I first met them they were literally running their company from one room in the lab with a one table a few chairs, a computer and a phone. I had the priveledge of working with them to find a building for the new business that they planned to start. Well to make a long story short we found them a building helped them get a clean room designed and built inside of it along with offices and labs and the rest as they say is history. Way to go guys! Champaign County is proud of you! To learn more about EPIWORKS click here

No comments:

Post a Comment