2023 EDA University Center Showcase Recap

Categories : EnterpriseWorks, Events
Posted on: October 2, 2023

The 2023 EDA University Center Showcase stretched over two days, Monday, September 12 and Tuesday, September 13, at the Big Ten Conference Center in Rosemont, Illinois, hosted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign EDA University Center. The showcase featured guest speakers and discussions about broadband access, mapping and building gender-inclusive ecosystems, and coordinating federal, state, and local resources and planning.


Monday, September 12:

Introductions and networking were conducted over breakfast in the morning, followed by welcoming messages by Susan Brehm, the Regional Director of EDA’s Chicago regional office, and University of Illinois Research Park Executive Director Laura Appenzeller.

The remainder of the morning included presentations from a variety of universities including Michigan State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Cleveland State University, and Purdue University.

Afternoon speakers comprised of speakers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota, and Bowling Green University, as well as a panel discussion ‘Expanding Community Broadband Access,’ moderated by Desiree Clayton, Program Coordinator, University of Illinois Research Park.

Joe Thiel, CEO of Innovate Marquette Smartzone and Executive Director OF Invent@NMU, closed out the day with his presentation ‘Innovate Marquette and the Future of Regional Hubs,’ followed by a reception at Crust Brewery.


Tuesday, September 13: 

The second day of the conference kicked off with announcements from Brehm and Appenzeller, followed by a facilitated panel discussion on ‘EDD, EDO, UC, State Agency Economic Development Coordination’ lead by Appenzeller (also a panelist).

Later that morning, presenters from the University of Michigan-Flint and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville spoke. Post-lunch, the afternoon commenced with speaker Michael Fassnacht, Chief Marketing Officer for The City of Chicago and President and CEO of World Business Chicago.

Next, Research Park’s Appenzeller and EDA University Center Program Manager Cheri Soliday teamed up to discuss technology-based economic development and high-growth entrepreneurship efforts in Illinois.

Yittayuh Zelalem of the Unviersity of Illinois Chicago then presented on regional strategies to enhance green economic vitality, followed by Shannon Discroll of the Cleveland State University Center for Economic Development discussing policy highlights in U.S. innovation districts.

The showcase concluded with a panel hosted by Brehm, detailing U.S. Economic Development Administration Program Updates.