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.

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. She has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the University of Illinois Alumni Association Campus Alumni Advisory Board, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Technology Association and Illinois Science and Tech Coalition. Laura was named “Woman of the Year” by Central Illinois Business Magazine for the Forty Under Forty business awards, 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 Assistant Director
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 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. She spent 10 years as a journalist before moving into academic communications, and 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, an online magazine for Champaign-Urbana families. Laura was part of Central Illinois Business Magazine's Forty Under Forty class of 2014 and received a 2013 Difference Maker Award from the United Way of Champaign County. Bleill is on the board of the Champaign Urbana Jewish Federation and volunteers with many local organizations. She lives in Champaign with her husband and three daughters. 

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. 

(217) 244-7744
Cynthia Faullin
Cynthia Faullin
Assistant Director for Operations

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
Finance Manager

Roger West is the Research Park Finance Manager. 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
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.  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 and her husband, Erez, live in Champaign.

Responsibilities: Executes the programming, promotion and logistics for Research Park events. Supports the growth of the workforce in the Park, helping corporations and startups on talent management, consulting on Human Resource best practices for companies and acting a liaison to campus Career Services. Leads recruitment and supports management of EnterpriseWorks Shared Services team.   

217.244.7198
Paul Wagner
Network Coordinator for Research Park

Paul Wagner joined the Resarch Park as Network Coordinator in May 2014.He has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Northern Illinois University but his background is primarily in network engineering and support. He is a Captain in the Illinois Army National Guard and has deployed twice as a communications officer, most recently to Afghanistan. He is currently pursuing his Master’s of Science in Information Security at Illinois State University.

Responsibilities: Paul is responsible for managing EnterpriseWorks and Research Park networking and telecommunications infrastructure projects; works with clients in the Research Park to address networking and internet/telecommunications needs; manages the EnterpriseWorks Co-Location Server room; provides IT support for the Research Park staff. 

217-244-2355
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

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 Managers Meeting in Chicago, Agenda
  • June 2, 2014, Board of Managers Meeting in Champaign, Agenda