Cullens working hard to keep GlobalComm here
May 8, 2006
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Van Cullens, CEO of
Aurora-based Westell Technologies. isn't a household name in Chicago.
Motorola CEO Ed Zander, Abbott Labs CEO Miles White or CDW CEO
John Edwardson have more cachet.
we ought to roll out the red carpet for Cullens. He's working
behind the scenes to keep GlobalComm, the global telecommunications
show at McCormick Place.
GlobalComm will bring
20,000 attendees from 90 countries to Chicago June 4-8. Attention
cab drivers, hoteliers and restaurateurs: GlobalComm will generate
$28 million in local revenue.
We might have fallen
to No. 3 as a convention town in 2005, but Cullens is doing his
bit to keep us ahead of New York and GlobalComm out of reach of
No. 2 Orlando and No. 1 Las Vegas.
Says Matt Flanigan,
president of the Telecommunications Industry Association, the
show's organizer, "We've committed to come back to Chicago
for 2007. We're reviewing our options beyond."
takes a team
Cullens will say GlobalComm
is a team effort. He'll point to the yeoman work of the TIA's
Flanigan and his staff. You bet Flanigan is top-flight. He does
the heavy lifting. But I want to credit Cullens.
Cullens runs a $270
million broadband telecom equipment manufacturer, and he chairs
the TIA board of directors. He thinks Chicago is the right place
"Chicago has location,"
Cullens says. "It's a transportation hub. Chicago is a sophisticated
city with a great exhibition facility and cultural amenities.
It's a real city where real business gets done. It is an ideal
beyond 2007 is an uphill fight. "We're dealing with some
very competitive cities," Cullens adds. "Chicago has
everything we need, but we have to get out there and make it happen."
can support GlobalComm. Show up. Nothing short of the future of
communications will be on display at McCormick Place. Registration
cost is $195. For more information, point your browser to www.globalcomm2006.com.
"Shanghai is one
of the most futuristic cities," Chicagoland Entrepreneurial
Center President David Weinstein says. He describes the city like
a scene from the movie "Blade Runner:" "Your breath
is taken away by the high-tech skyscrapers."
Back from a trade visit
to China, Weinstein exhorts Chicago's burgeoning entrepreneurs
to do deals there. "You can't ignore China's GDP growth,"
he says. "The individual savings rate is 40 percent. The
market opportunity is mind-blowing."
Weinstein was impressed
by Chinese intellectual prowess. He praises their educational
system and commitment to math and science training.
know about Chicago," Weinstein adds. "Both Chicago and
Illinois have a presence in Shanghai. Now that American Airlines
has a direct Chicago to Shanghai flight, we can be a global gateway
and promote bidirectional commerce.
"We have many
Chicago entrepreneurs doing business in China," Weinstein
adds. He points to Neuros Audio founder Joe Born and Midwest Entrepreneurs
Forum President Jerry Mitchell who are cutting deals there.
Top on Weinstein's
list of China sights was Motorola's research lab. "It was
beautiful to see a hometown Chicago organization doing global
business, developing the next generation of Wi-Fi software for
their phones in China," Weinstein says.
Weinstein says Mayor
Daley is ahead of his time in his efforts to push Chinese language
education in Chicago Public Schools. "You leave China thinking
Chicago must be multilingual, not only speaking Spanish, but also
Chinese," he urges.
The University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign is one of the world's top training and research
centers in computing. Microsoft recruits more software engineers
there than on any other campus.
On Wednesday, Chancellor
Richard Herman and computer engineering professor Bill Sanders,
director of the school's Information Trust Institute are in Chicago
to host an all-star cast of computer security experts.
"We want to showcase UIUC's breadth in security and dependability
research." He aims to make sure large-scale computer transactions
in financial services or defense are safe.
roundtable at the University Club is AT&T Labs chief scientist
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.