Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

 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.

Gerald Wilson Gives EIR Workshop at EnterpriseWorks
EIR Gerald Wilson, CEO of AMI, delivers a workshop on building a sales pipeline before product-market fit, 2022.


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


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

Chris Harbourt

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

daphne preuss

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 Beard

Dennis Beard

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

Edwin Moore

Edwin Moore

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

Gerald Wilson

Gerald Wilson

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

Harlee Sorkin

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 Taylor

Jed Taylor

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

Matthew Meltzer

Matthew Meltzer

Matt co-founded Meltzer Hellrung in 2014 with his business partner, Matthew Hellrung. Their vision was to combine exceptional, strategic, and programmatic legal guidance with best-in-class technology to provide a service that makes immigration management easier for companies and more transparent, intuitive, and reassuring for foreign national employees. In addition, Matt continues to strive to build a workplace that treats employees with dignity and invests in their long-term success.

Experience: Employee Hiring | Immigration Policy | Mergers | Global Expansion | Government Inspections | Reorganizations | I-9 Compliance

Natalie Marquez

Natalie Marquez

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

Paul Miller

Paul Miller headshot

Paul S. Miller, PhD, has been creating science-based, intelligent systems since 2005. In 2014, he founded Agrible, Inc building the world’s first predictive analytics system that put critical knowledge into the hands of growers to manage their operations.

With Agrible, he and his team launched the largest agriculture sustainability platform enabled by intelligent systems, which has characterized millions of acres of farmland across the US. Agrible was acquired in 2018 by Nutrien Ag Solutions for $63M and was a top 5 global Ag Tech acquisition at the time.

Paul co-founded Flats or Spikes in 2020, where he is building a business using conversational, generative intelligent systems fine-tuned with domain experts to create quality of life for everyone.

Paul has a background in ML/AI and data science including publications and patents. Has led the development of ag tech platforms, mobile apps, data science, ML/AI systems, infrastructure, and ETL pipelines for science-based products. He also has led design and product development teams to build products using agile, user-focused methodologies. Paul also has a personal love of DIY music and playing drums and guitar.

Experience: Agile Methodologies | AgTech Platforms | Product Development | Product Engineering | Startup Ideation | Business Development | Startup Acquisition