Staff & Leadership

Staff

Laura Frerichs
Director

Laura Frerichs is the University of Illinois Research Park Director. She is responsible for managing incubation services at EnterpriseWorks, marketing the Research Park, and supporting the University’s economic development efforts. Laura manages programming of events and services to support entrepreneurs and businesses in the Research Park. Prior to her current role, Laura was Vice President of Business Development & Marketing at Fox Development Corporation, the private developer of the Research Park, and she successfully attracted and retained dozens of companies during her tenure there. Laura is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Media and served as Student Body President at the Urbana-Champaign campus. She is active in the community and participated in numerous organizations including on the Board of Directors of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. She has received many awards including “Woman of the Year” by Central Illinois Business Magazine for the Forty Under Forty business awards, 2009; the Entrepreneur Advocacy Award at the Champaign County Innovation Celebration, 2011; and the 2013 Athena Young Professional Award.

(217) 333-8323
Laura Bleill Marketing Coordinator
Laura Bleill
Assistant Director for External Relations

Laura Weisskopf Bleill is the Assistant Director of External Relations for the University of Illinois Research Park. She is responsible for overseeing the marketing, external relations, client management and programming for the Research Park and EnterpriseWorks incubator. Her current role includes overseeing publications, events, serving as an ambassador for the Research Park with outside visitors, as well as account management and customer relations. Bleill has been with Research Park in a variety of capacities since 2010. Bleill has a master's and bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University; her work has appeared in publications across the country, including daily newspapers, magazines and online.

An accidental entrepreneur, Bleill is the Mom-in-Chief of chambanamoms.com, a local online magazine geared towards Champaign-Urbana families. Bleill is an active volunteer with many organizations including the United Way; the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation; Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation; The Stephens Family YMCA; and Sinai Temple. 

(217) 244-7744
Roger West
Finance Manager

Roger West is the Research Park Finance Manager. He oversees many operational aspects of our organization, including accounting, finances, grant management, and lease administration for EnterpriseWorks. 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, which should come in handy with our new building projects in the Research Park. He worked as an accountant at two small accounting firms when he began his career.  Roger and his family live in Savoy. 

217-244-7745
Paula Baucum-Williams
Business Administrative Associate

Paula joined the EnterpriseWorks team as a Business Administrative Associate in January 2012. Paula's responsibilities include assisting with building operations; inventory management, purchasing and support for accounting; events; and administrative support for the Research Park and EnterpriseWorks. Paula has most recently been working for the City of Champaign in the Office of the City Manager managing administrative staff, payroll, and office support. She previously worked for the University of Illinois Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) as the Assistant to the Associate Director for 16 years. She has a BS degree from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Walden University. 

217-300-5535
Dana Cohen Events Coordinator
Dana Cohen
Events and Workforce Development Coordinator

Dana Cohen is the Events and Workforce Development Coordinator for the University of Illinois Research Park, joining the team in November 2013.  She is responsible for programming, promotion and logistics for events. She also supports talent management for corporations and startups, consulting on Human Resource best practices for companies and being a liasion to campus Career Services. Her role includes overseeing the events calendar and the Research Park job board, assisting with management of shared services interns, and supporting the growth of the workforce in the Research Park by assisting companies with human resources and recruiting needs.

Before joining the Research Park team, Dana graduated from the University of Illinois with a Master of Social Work and BS degree in Psychology.  Dana worked at The Cohen Center for Jewish Life as an event coordinator and the Office for University Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She recently completed a field placement at the Genstil Institute in Mevasseret Tzion, Israel working with at risk youth and adults with Prader-Willi Sydrome. 

Dana and her husband, Erez, live in Champaign.

217.244.7198
Dominique Jones
Office Support Associate

Dominique Jones joined the EnterpriseWorks team as an Office Support Associate in April 2013. Dominique’s responsibilities include, overseeing schedules and meeting requests for the Research Park Director and Assistant Director, providing administrative support for the Research Park and EnterpriseWorks office staff and tenant companies; assisting with financial processing and purchasing, and coordinating of events. Dominique has most recently worked with the College of Engineering Women in Engineering Department were she provided administrative and logistical support. She also worked as an Office Support Associate in the University of Illinois’ Staff Human Resources department assisting with a range of employee and departmental services such as Employment, Civil Service Testing, and Extra Help Services. She received her BS degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois and plans to receive a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development with a focus on individual and organizational performance and leadership.

 

217-300-2147

Leadership


The Research Park Board of Managers has the following composition:

One Board of Trustees representative (Edward L. McMillan); three business and industry leaders (Patrick Daly, Roderick Johnson, and Rick Stephens); and the Vice Chancellors for Research at the Urbana and Chicago campuses. The Vice President/Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller and Vice President for Research serve as non-voting members. The board includes academic representatives as voting members from each campus: Sharon M. Donovan (Melissa M. Noel Endowed Chair in Nutrition and Health, UIUC) and Mark Donovan (Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services and Executive Director for Facilities Management and Capital Programs, UIC).

The Research Park Board of Managers external members (non UI employees) include: 

  • Chairman: Edward L. McMillan, also serves on the UI Board of Trustees 
  • Vice-Chairman: Pat Daly, The Daly Group LLC
  • Rick Stephens, Horizon Hobby
  • Roderick Johnson, private consultant

University of Illinois Research Park, LLC Board of Managers Meeting Documents

  • April 13, 2012, Board of Managers, Meeting via Conference Call at 1:30 pm, Agenda
  • October 8, 2012, Board of Managers Meeting in Urbana, Agenda
  • February 4, 2013, Board of Managers Meeting via Conference Call at 11 a.m. Agenda
  • June 3, 2013, Board of Mangers Meeting in Chicago, Agenda