EIR consulting meetings are available both in-person and virtually.
The Research Park Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program provides free consulting to new startup ventures and prospective technology entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence team features experienced entrepreneurs that have faced challenges in commercializing research/early stage technology. They provide advice on a wide variety of business topics like successfully attracting investment, building a team and communicating value proposition.
The EIRs are available via appointment for any Research Park client or University of Illinois faculty, staff, student or community technology entrepreneur to receive business consulting, strategy assistance, marketing and communication help, investor preparedness, or other startup consultation needed.
Entrepreneurs may select an EIR or have one assigned by the EnterpriseWorks staff based on the subject matter and availability of the team. The EIR program also has monthly training events for technology entrepreneurs covering basic fundamentals most entrepreneurs face such as intellectual property basics, business development and sales, SBIR/STTR grant writing, and investor options and negotiations.
For assistance, submit an online request form.
Alan Singleton provides legal services to business clients in the areas of corporate formation and transactions, intellectual property, securities law, and real estate. Alan earned a B.S. in Geology from the University of Illinois in 1988 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1991. Following law school and prior to founding Singleton Law Firm, he practiced with the Urbana law firm Webber & Thies as an associate and then shareholder. He has over 17 years of experience working with entrepreneurs to develop solutions to the wide variety of business and legal issues they face in establishing and growing their companies. Through his commitment to serving the needs of clients, beginning with the selection of an appropriate business entity and continuing throughout their stages of development, Alan has established a reputation as one of the leading advocates for technology transfer and early stage companies in East Central Illinois. In recognition of his work, Alan was selected by the University of Illinois and the Champaign County EDC as the 2008 recipient of the Entrepreneurial Advocacy Award.
Experience: Legal Services | Corporate Formation | Intellectual Property | Securities Law | Real Estate | Technology Transfer
Chris Harbourt is a serial entrepreneur involved in a number of businesses and investments. His focus today is in helping faculty and students grow successful businesses from great ideas. Chris is currently involved in startup consulting, building new software businesses in agriculture, and building traditional businesses like aircraft flight services and building custom classic cars. Chris was the founding CEO of Agrible, where he led fundraising efforts (seed, Series A, bridge, and Series B) and assembled a great team who built valuable software for agriculture. Those efforts led to an exit that created wealth for investors and founders. Chris is investing as a Partner at Anther Group, an early stage consulting and investing firm. His expertise includes startup business operations, fundraising, software product development, physical product development, sustainability, and R&D data collection. Chris has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Agricultural Engineering and teaches there in the Technology Entrepreneurship Center and the Department of Crop Sciences sharing experiences with students.
Experience: Agriculture | Fundraising | Software | Business Operations | Sustainability | Product Development | Data Collection
Daphne Preuss is an entrepreneur focused on bringing genetic and biotechnology innovations to life sciences, food technology, and agriculture. She previously founded, built, and served for 11 years as CEO for Chromatin Inc., developing sorghum seed for growers in over 50 countries. Since exiting in 2019, she has served as an Executive Board member / Operating Partner leading startups through value inflections and has launched BlooMD to explore antimicrobial compounds made by plants. She frequently advises faculty and founders who are launching companies, including providing guidance on raising capital and capitalization strategies, forming a board and choosing investors while maintaining good and appropriate goverance, building a team, planning for an exit, building an IP portfolio that is aligned with a commercial strategy, go-to-market plans, and forming strategic partnerships. In addition, Preuss enjoys leveraging her network of investors, entrepreneurs, advisors, and service providers to accelerate the growth of small companies while keeping costs manageable. Prior to joining Chromatin, Preuss was a Professor and Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Chicago.
Experience: Agriculture | Biotechnology | Capitalization Strategy | Commercial Strategy | IP Portfolio Alignment| Strategic Partnerships| Exit Planning | Governance | Team Building
Dennis is Managing Partner of Serra Ventures and also serves as a Partner and CFO for Open Prairie Ventures, both early-stage venture capital firm. Champaign-based Serra Ventures invests in technology companies and specializes in agriculture technologies. Serra has invested in over 70 companies, including many from the Research Park, and its partners also have worked with EnterpriseWorks and the Research Park as EIRs for more than a decade, including CEO Tim Hoerr. Dennis, a CPA, has been involved throughout his career with businesses of all sizes as a Manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Controller for SLM Aminco, CFO for Segno Communications, CFO and CEO for the Home Recovery Group of Companies, and Partner with Blakeman and Beard, LLC, CPA’s. Dennis is an adjunct faculty member in the Gies College of Business and lecturer for an entrepreneurial finance course.
Experience: Finance | Healthcare | AgTech | Raising Capital | Investor Reporting | Exit Transactions | Investment Opportunities
Ed Moore is the President and Principal Consultant of BioPhia Consulting Inc. and a Visiting Scientist at the University of Illinois Chemistry Department. He brings 30 years of biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and clinical diagnostic industry experience from global companies, Baxter Healthcare Corp and Abbott Laboratories, in R&D product development. During his career, he has held various roles in CMC pre-clinical product development for recombinant therapeutic proteins and for IV parenteral small molecule products in Analytical Method Development, Stability Testing, and Formulation. Additionally, he has lead overall pre-clinical product development for a recombinant therapeutic protein product. He has held positions from bench scientist, R&D Product Development, to Sr. Director, Global Analytical Method Development and Validation. Ed’s responsibilities have included being lead scientist for chemistry and protein biochemistry, being subject matter expert in CMC pre-clinical product development, personnel management, responsibly handling budgets, managing outsourced work at CROs, and managing projects. In 2014, Ed co-founded BioPhia Consulting, Inc., with three others, and today the company has 15 science and technology subject matter experts in various areas of biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and medical device product development. Ed has a Ph.D. in Physical Biochemistry from Cornell University and received a B.S. in Biochemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Experience: Healthcare | Pharmaceuticals | Clinical Diagnostics | Pre-Clinical Product Development | Personnel Management | Biochemistry | Budget Management | Medical Devices
Dr. Gerald O. Wilson is the President and CEO of Autonomic Materials, Inc. (AMI), an advanced materials company based in Champaign, IL. In this role, Dr. Wilson is responsible for P&L, corporate strategy development and execution, Product Development and Management and Investor Relations. Building on a technology platform originally developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, AMI is leveraging self-healing materials technology in the design of paradigm-shifting performance additives that impart responsive functionalities into protective materials to improve their corrosion resistance after damage. The company’s technology platform was recently recognized as the Materials Performance Corrosion Innovation of the Year by NACE International, the Worldwide Authority on corrosion.
Prior to his current role, Dr. Wilson was the Vice President of Technology Development at AMI, during which he was responsible for the company’s research and development, new product development, application development, product scale up and manufacturing functions. Dr. Wilson led the development, scale up and commercial introduction of the company’s AMPARMORTM product line, including support of a new product launch by a top 10 coatings brand.
The Over the last 16 years, Dr. Wilson has developed new chemistries for self-healing coating, adhesives, sealants, composite and biomedical applications. He has authored or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings and invited lectures in a variety of professional national and international forums and is also an inventor on 20 issued and pending patents and applications. Dr. Wilson earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Macalester College, a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Experience: Material Science | Chemistry | Manufacturing | Product Development | Investor Relations | Corporate Strategy
Harlee Sorkin is co-founder and Managing Director of Common Place Holdings, LLC, a health tech venture studio that provides management and seed funding for companies that it helps to form. This builds upon a 15-year consulting practice with an emphasis on business formation, capitalization, product development, and customer development. Prior to that, Harlee helped to lead Traco Labs, Inc., a manufacturer of health and nutrition ingredients, to a successful exit to Degussa, AG. He also serves as a Director of Wealth Management at Busey Bank, Champaign, IL. Harlee is the NSF I-Corps program instructor at the University of Illinois. He holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois.
Experience: Healthcare | Business Formation | Capitalization | Product Development | Customer Development
Jed provides consulting through JLT Tech Services and manages the Technology Entrepreneur Center at the University of Illinois. He was previously Director of Sales and Operations at Pattern Insight, which was located at EnterpriseWorks. He was Pattern Insight’s first employee when it started in 2007. Pattern Insight was started at EnterpriseWorks and recently had its technology and staff acquired by VMware in California. The company received VC funding by Venture Investors, an NSF Phase II SBIR award, and made successful product sales to Cisco, Intel, Juniper Networks, Qualcomm, Telllabs, and NetApp. Jed was instrumental in the companies’ business development. Jed previously worked as a Project Manager at Honeywell Aircraft Landing Systems. He currently sits on the Board of Directors at the HDF Group and Phi Optics, as well as being the VP of Business Development at OceanComm. He has an MS in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, where he was a Siebel Scholar.
Jed Taylor is the Director of Operations of the Technology Entrepreneur Center at the University of Illinois and serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at EnterpriseWorks, the University’s startup incubator. To learn more about his entrepreneurial excellence, visit the link.
Experience: SBIR Awards | Project Management| Sales and Operations | Business Development | Computer Science | Commercialization | Fundraising
Lori Patterson co-founded Pixo in 1998, a 33-person consulting company located in Urbana, IL focused on custom software engineering and mobile application development. A Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Illinois, Lori brings the experience of working in corporate management to the entrepreneurial adventure of being the business mind behind a team of bright creatives and software engineers at Pixo. She worked in several corporate positions before becoming an entrepreneur, first working for Andersen Consulting as a systems consultant, then at Caterpillar, heading up a 20-person product development team, and then working at Solo Cup for 5 years as a Product Engineer and Special Project Manager. Lori has mentored over 200 early-stage startups and established enterprises. She specializes in loosening the stuffy, grounding the chaotic and turning good ideas into profitable, sustainable entities.
Experience: Digital | IT Strategy | Organizational Culture | Risk Management | Change Management | Diversity & Inclusion | Executive Coaching | Corporate Governance | Fundraising Strategies | Team Building
Marc Minkus has extensive leadership experience in the creation and commercialization of complex medical products for a worldwide market. An outstanding communicator with executive presence who possess an enthusiastic and positive demeanor with unrelenting vigilance and passion in forming and guiding teams to deliver on-time results and meet customer needs. Build excellent working relationships in matrix organizations and maintain long-term relationships with partners. Establish strategic direction with business units and internal venture teams. Critical thinker who deals well with ambiguity. Minkus's professional career included stints at Baxter Healthcare, Hospira, and Abbott. He has a Master of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Experience: Risk Management | Project Portfolio | Issue Resolution | Project Plans | On-Budget & On-Time | Strategic Planning | Lifecycle Management | Communication Plan | Milestone Tracking | Team Building
Natalie Marquez is the Founder of Grow Marketing + Communications, LLC, a firm that provides business development, marketing, branding, and communication support. Natalie has served a wide variety of startups and small businesses, including the healthcare and agriculture sectors. This includes work with small farms and farm businesses to large-scale grant projects through the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture. Prior to founding Grow Marketing + Communication, Natalie worked for over a decade in municipal government, most recently for the city of Urbana, serving as Marketing Coordinator & Director of Urbana’s Market at the Square – one of the largest and most diverse producer-only farmers markets in Illinois. Natalie has a double major in Journalism/Advertising and Political Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Experience: Business Development | Marketing | Branding | Communication | Strategic Planning