Time for DCEO's Lavin to step into coach's role
August 16, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Is Jack Lavin the Lovie
Smith of Illinois tech? The job is his. He just needs to step
up and lead the team. Smith is the new head coach of the Chicago
Bears. Lavin is director of the Illinois Department of Commerce
and Economic Opportunity. He's Gov. Blagojevich's point person
on economic development. Both Lavin and Smith must pull together
winning game plans that will satisfy the people of Illinois. Both
face obstacles to accomplish their tasks. Both need to coordinate
the talents of players with big egos who don't always play as
Lovie Smith's prospects to Jay Mariotti. I think the outlook for
Lavin's season is good. He's scored some early successes. He's
been out doing grass-roots canvassing. He's pushing for more early-stage
venture capital through passage of the Illinois Opportunity Fund.
He's emphasizing job training programs, and striving to make Illinois
workers more productive to keep jobs in Illinois. He's lobbying
Boeing for new high-tech plants. He's supporting Ford to keep
its presence here strong. He's backing the BIO2006 trade show,
which could ignite local biotech start-up activity. He says he's
focused on outcomes and results.
Lavin's been an industrious guy. He's learning the job. The question
is: What's next? Here are my suggestions:
* Put up a
scoreboard. Lavin should define measures for high-tech success.
Set goals for attracting federal dollars for science and technology.
Tell us how many new tech-based enterprises and better paying
tech-related jobs will be created. Tell us how many workers are
retrained with new high-tech skills.
the booster club. The Illinois Coalition is the state's tech booster
organization. It's chaired by former White House chief of staff
Sam Skinner. The board is a Who's Who of business and academic
leaders. The state and the Coalition need to get aligned. The
Coalition needs to be supercharged to support Illinois tech.
the players. The era of Flip Filipowski is past. There are new
leaders on the scene like Ed Zander at Motorola or Judson Green
at Navteq. They need to be lobbied and organized to build our
* Step to
the microphone. Great head coaches rally the fans. Tell us about
your game plan. Celebrate the victories. Explain the defeats.
If Lovie Smith
leads the Bears to the Super Bowl, that's nice. If Lavin guides
Illinois tech to a championship, it will mean much more. Go for
Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Technology Conference at
the Hyatt McCormick Place conference center Friday. The event
features a bevy of local leaders, including Illinois State Senate
President Emil Jones, Jr.; Chris O'Brien, chief technology officer,
City of Chicago; John Maxson, president, Illinois Coalition, and
Dennis Sienko, deputy director, Illinois Department of Commerce
and Economic Opportunity.
aims to show small and mid-size business operators ways to gain
competitive advantage through technology, according to Chamber
executive director Gloria Bell.
businesses are usually the last to adopt technology to help grow
their businesses. We want to show them how," says Bell.
Chamber has a 10-year commitment from U.S. Cellular to back the
event, with a goal of turning it into the largest in the Midwest
for small and midsize businesses.
it's important to serve organizations that can develop the social
and economic environment," says Jay Ellison, executive vice
president for operations for U.S. Cellular. "It's very important
to grow the fabric of urban communities," adds Ellison.
president of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Center, says Joe
Born, founder of Neuros Audio, is someone to watch. Born launched
Skip Doctor, the disc cleaner that sold 4 million units. Now he
has a new venture .... Jack Philbin, president of Evanston-based
Vibes Media, is touting his start-up's success with interactive
wireless text messaging before audiences of 20,000 plus at Chicago's
Tweeter Center. Philbin says Maroon 5 opened for John Mayer at
the concert, and fans sent 5,354 text-to-screen messages using
Michael Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.