CEO Roundtable

The CEO Roundtable is chaired by Brian Jurczyk, CEO of Starfire, and provides a small group interaction for CEO's of technology businesses in Champaign-Urbana to address business operations and best practices.

What is the Tech CEO Roundtable?  The University of Illinois Research Park, LLC hosts a CEO Roundtable for Champaign Urbana technology firms. This event is designed for local technology firm company leaders to network to discuss the development of their small businesses. The event features a networking dinner to exchange information, learn best practices, and discuss opportunities. It serves as a quarterly forum as an opportunity for peer-to-peer business dialogue among technology business leaders in Champaign County.

What is the History of the Event? The event started under the leadership of Scott Pickard as Research Park Manager in 2005. There had been previous groups in the community bringing tech leadership together that had ceased to meet and other Research Parks and incubators were operating similar groups. The original invitations were sent to the CEOs of the companies in EnterpriseWorks and the graduates of the incubator that were still in the local area. The CEOs were also able to delegate the invitation to their designee if they were unable to attend. The events included outside speakers as well as networking and quickly became popular and well received by the companies. The group has a private sector chair of the meetings to help encourage peer dialogue and to assist with selection of speakers and topics to be discussed. In 2009, the group was opened to additional technology company CEOs from Champaign-Urbana technology companies to allow a broader community inclusion.

What is the format of the event? The event is hosted at the I Hotel Conference Center at the Research Park on a quarterly basis. The event begins with a 30 minute informal networking reception, guests are then seated for dinner and each introduces themselves and provides an update on their business since the previous meeting. A guest speaker is invited to each event and typically prepares a talk for 30 minutes with questions and dialogue frequently incorporated by participants. The evening concludes with topics raised by participants for discussion.

Who attends the event? The event is targeted for CEOs of Champaign-Urbana based high tech companies with proprietary and scientific technologies. Participation ranges from early stage new ventures to established companies in the community, but is focused on helping the leadership of entrepreneurial tech firms to learn from each other.  Participants include leaders from software, cleantech, biotechnology, hardware, and other technical fields. The group has many consistent participants over the years, but also includes new participants each event that have begun new companies or been referred to the group by other participants. There is no formal membership or organization for the roundtable.

Who arranges and sponsors the CEO Roundtable? The event is organized by the staff of the University of Illinois Research Park and EnterpriseWorks and funded by the University of Illinois Research Park, LLC, which allows the event to free to participants to attend.

The event typically is attending by 25-30 executives from local tech companies per dinner. We begin with a networking cocktail reception, following by dinner, introductions of each of the participants, the featured speaker's presentation, followed by discussion among the group. This group by invitation only. If you would like to join the group, please contact Laura Frerichs at lfrerich@illinois.edu.

Past Speakers