Staff & Leadership

Staff

Laura Frerichs
Director

Laura Frerichs is the University of Illinois Research Park Director and Director of Economic Development for the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus. She is responsible for managing startup company services at the EnterpriseWorks technology incubator, marketing the Research Park, and supporting the University’s economic development efforts. Frerichs has developed innovative entrepreneur support programs as well as has attracted many new companies who are interested in engaging with the University of Illinois. Her board positions also include FARM Illinois and the Association of University Research Parks. 

Under Frerichs’ leadership, the Research Park was named AURP Outstanding Research Park of the Year in 2011, by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 3 College Town Incubators in 2013, and by Forbes in 2013 as one of 12 Business Incubators Changing the World. In 2015, she was appointed by Governor Rauner to co-chair the new Innovate Illinois Advisory Council. She serves on the boards of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the Illinois Technology Association and the Illinois Science and Tech Coalition. In 2015, she received the Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Award. Laura was named “Woman of the Year” by Central Illinois Business Magazine in 2009; awarded the Entrepreneur Advocacy Award at the Champaign County Innovation Celebration, 2011; and presented the 2013 Athena Young Professional Award. Laura is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Media and served as Student Body President at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

(217) 333-8323
Laura Bleill Associate Director
Laura Bleill
Director, Communications and External Engagement

Laura Weisskopf Bleill has been with Research Park in a variety of capacities since 2010. Bleill is responsible for managing the community building portfolio of the Research Park. She develops strategy behind the Research Park's events and programming, leads all communications, branding and marketing efforts, and manages the Research Park's efforts to grow and retain its workforce. She also works across campus with various entrepreneurship partners.  She is the co-PI on the AWARE entrepreneurship inclusion effort funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Bleill is the Mom-in-Chief of chambanamoms.com, an online magazine for Champaign-Urbana families. In 2017 she was honored by the Champaign County Innovation Celebration with its Entrepreneurial Excellence in Management Award. Bleill is currently the chair of the Visit Champaign County board, and volunteers with many local organizations. She has a master's and bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. 

Responsibilities: Oversees Research Park marketing, communications, events/programming, and EnterpriseWorks intern team. Serves as the evangelist of the Research Park and EnterpriseWorks incubator, meeting routinely with external stakeholders, prospective corporations and new entrepreneurs. 

Interested in getting to know Laura Bleill more? Visit this link to hear her talk more about her experience at Research Park and with ChambanaMoms

(217) 244-7744
Cynthia Faullin
Associate Director, Incubator Management

Cynthia Faullin rejoined the University in early 2014 as the Assistant Director for Operations in the Research Park.  She brings with her more than twenty years of public and private sector experience to her role in the Research Park. Before Research Park, Ms. Faullin was the Vice President of Development for One Main Development in Downtown Champaign.  She is credited with being part of the development team for M2 on Neil and for the design and finishes of many of the building’s interior spaces, including the condominiums.  Ms. Faullin was also responsible for the residential sales and commercial leasing in both One Main Plaza and M2 on Neil.

Ms. Faullin is proudly Canadian and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, but loves the Midwest and feels particularly at home in Champaign-Urbana.  Since she has lived here she has devoted time to numerous Arts-related organizations including 40 North (producing the first ACE Awards), C-U Ballet and Artists Against Aids.    

Responsibilties: Oversees management and leasing of the EnterpriseWorks incubator, program implementation, and metrics. 

(217) 300-3905
Roger West
Associate Director, Administration

Roger West is the Research Park Associate Director of Administration. Roger is a CPA with a background that includes a mix of entrepreneurship, technology, construction, and University financial audits. Before joining the Research Park staff in 2011, he worked as the Director of Accounts at Common Ground Publishing, a graduate of the EnterpriseWorks incubator which has its offices in the Research Park. He also worked as a Controller at Broeren Russo Construction and Vogel Bros. Construction learning about the construction business, and began his career as an accountant at two small accounting firms.  Roger and his family live in Savoy. 

Responsibilities: Roger oversees the financial aspects of our organization, including accounting, budgets, grant oversight, and contracts for EnterpriseWorks. 

(217) 244-7745
Jenny Kim
Assistant Director of Talent
Jenny joined the EnterpriseWorks team as the Visiting Assistant Director for Talent in February 2017. Before joining the EnterpriseWorks, Jenny served as the Assistant Director for Employer Outreach at the Graduate College Career Development Office where she lead efforts to build employer relations and create opportunities for student and employer interactions. She also provided career advising and lead professional development programs for graduate students and postdocs across campus. Jenny earned both a BS in Biology and PhD in Neuroscience here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
 
Responsibilities: Jenny supports the growth of the workforce in the Research Park by helping large corporations and startup companies connect with student and full-time talent. She works directly with clients and coordinates events and programming to facilitate these connections.

 

(217)-244-8037
Cathy McArthur
Cathy McArthur
Events Coordinator
 
Cathy joined the EnterpriseWorks team in November 2017, bringing her considerable experience in event planning and promotion, programming and hospitality. Previously Cathy had worked in the Research Park at the iHotel and Conference Center, as well as the Champaign Country Club. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business. She lives with her family in Savoy. 
 
Responsibilities:
Cathy executes the more than 200 events that happen at the Research Park annually, and focuses on the community building efforts of the Research Park. 
(217) 333-8324
Jim Wells
EnterpriseWorks Facility Manager

Jim Wells joined the EnterpriseWorks team as the Facility Manager in October 2014. Prior to coming to EnterpriseWorks, Jim worked at the Illini Union for eight years. He has customer service experience working in the airlines industry and is an Army veteran. Jim is an East Central Illinois native who is married with two sons. He is a lifelong Illini and St. Louis Cardinals fan and enjoys camping, fishing and hiking.

Responsibilities: Jim manages the maintenance and operational functions of the EnterpriseWorks building and responds to tenant service needs.

(217) 265-7710
Sheri Wilson
Administrative Aide

Sheri Wilson joined the EnterpriseWorks team as the Receptionist in the fall of 2014.   Prior to coming to EnterpriseWorks, she had more than 25 years of customer service experience in the wireless phone industry and manufacturing.  Sheri is a Central Illinois native with one daughter and three sons. She’s a fan of Illini football, The Chicago Bears and Cubs.  She enjoys shopping, antiquing, spoiling her nine grandchildren, and motorcycle touring with her husband.

Responsibilities: Sheri is the first point of contact for Laura Frerichs, Director of Research Park. She assists all staff, tenants, and student interns at EnterpriseWorks. She is often the first person people meet when they come to the Research Park.

(217) 300-2580
Desiree Bainbridge
Program Coordinator

Desiree joined the EnterpriseWorks team as Program Coordinator in May 2019. With her, she brought her experience from the private sector, where she has developed marketing departments, served as a business consultant for small business owners, and spearheaded team and community involvement initiatives. Desiree is an MBA with experience in project management. She also holds a BS in Applied Communication Studies and a BS in Mass Communications with specializations in public relations and advertising.

In her free time, Desiree dedicates time to her community, spends time with her family, and cares for her variety of cacti and succulents. She is an avid learner, so she also enjoys reading industry-related books and articles.

Responsibilities: Desiree executes economic development projects and leads economic development research. Through collection and analysis of data from activities and programs within Research Park and EnterpriseWorks, she curates the knowledge of Research Park operations for reporting and storytelling.

 

 
(217) 300-0908
Cheri Soliday
Cheri Soliday
Outreach Coordinator, Incubation and Entrepreneurship

Cheri joined the EnterpriseWorks team as Outreach Coordinator in September 2018. Cheri previously provided program, event, and communication management and leadership for multi-university research consortia focused on cybersecurity of energy delivery systems. Prior to that, she provided outreach and program management for an industry/academic research center focused on multicore and parallel programming. Cheri also had the honor of investing in the development of students via roles at Parkland College and Danville Area Community College. She has a B.S. degree in Advertising and an M.S. degree in Management and Leadership.

Cheri maintains a Get Busy Living list of creative projects and new adventures that she actively pursues. She also enjoys traveling with her husband and family to seek out new sights, sounds, food, culture, and experiences together. 

Responsibilities: Cheri manages outreach activities and projects associated with the EDA-funded Illinois University Incubator Network (IUIN) and the University of Illinois EDA University Center program that helps entrepreneurship centers in downstate Illinois.

(217) 244-6097

Leadership

 

The Research Park is governed by the University of Illinois Research Park LLC Board of Managers. All members of the Board of Managers are appointed by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. As of May 2019, the Research Park Board of Managers has nine members and consists of:

  • the Research Park's principal officer, the vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

  • two faculty members;

  • a designee of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees;

  • a designee of the University of Illinois President;

  • four private sector individuals

UIRP LLC BOARD OF MANAGERS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Chairman: Pat Daly, The Daly Group LLC
Vice Chairman: Rick Stephens, local entrepreneur
Secretary: Scott Rose, Investment Manager at Rose Investors LLC

UIRP LLC BOARD OF MANAGERS MEMBERS

Jeff Brown, Dean, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Kim Kidwell, Dean, College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Susan Martinis, interim Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ed McMillan, Trustee, University of Illinois Board of Trustees
Wilbur Milhouse, Chairman/CEO at Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc.
Ed Seidel, Vice President of Economic Development and Innovation, University of Illinois System
 

 

Meeting Notices 


The University of Illinois Research Park LLC Board of Managers meets three times a year, on the first Monday of February, June and October. Special meetings may be called as needed.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES/LOCATIONS

August 19, 2019    EnterpriseWorks, 60 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign (Special meeting) 
October 7, 2019    EnterpriseWorks, 60 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign
February 3, 2020   EnterpriseWorks, 60 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS RESEARCH PARK LLC MEETING DOCUMENTS

2019

AUGUST 19 (Special Meeting)

JUNE 3 

FEB 4

2018

DEC 11

OCT 1


For earlier University of Illinois Research Park, LLC Board of Managers Meeting Documents, including minutes, agendas and meeting notifications, please visit http://research.uillinois.edu/uro-boards