Illinois Coalition will be split in two
October 22, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
The state of Illinois
and the Illinois Coalition announced a reorganization Thursday
aimed at focusing efforts to coax federal science and technology
investments into Illinois while also stimulating commercialization
and entrepreneurship programs.
Coalition, the public-private partnership responsible for developing
Illinois' science and technology sectors, will be split into two
One unit will
focus on business commercialization efforts, and will shed the
Illinois Coalition name. Thomas Thornton, currently executive
vice president of the Coalition, will head the new venture, which
will be funded principally through federal grants.
A second unit
will retain the Illinois Coalition moniker, and will focus on
advocacy, seeking to bring sizable federal science and technology
projects to Illinois. It will be led by a new president who has
yet to be named. It will be supported by $250,000 in funding from
the state of Illinois as well as from private grants.
appears to end a protracted controversy over the role of the Illinois
Coalition that spanned Democratic and Republican administrations.
It also suggests that the public and private sectors are serious
about uniting to bring federal investments to Illinois.
a strong, focused mission on these public-private partnerships
that brings federal dollars to Illinois," said Jack Lavin,
director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Lavin cited the competition to bring the $1 billion Rare Isotope
Accelerator to Argonne as a priority. He also cited FutureGen,
the federal government's proposed 10-year, $1 billion demonstration
project to create the world's first coal-based, zero-emissions
and the governor have agreed to support the organization,"
said Coalition Chairman Sam Skinner. "They'll be involved
on the board, and we will be supercharging our efforts."
said Eden Martin, president of the Civic Committee of Chicago,
will be actively involved in the restructuring.
reorganization stems from a strategic analysis conducted under
team is being appointed to guide the changes, and a small number
of representatives of the state and the Civic Committee as well
as the current Coalition board will participate. No timetable
was provided for the naming of a new president but an announcement
is expected within weeks.
the two new entities "will be a more effective effort in
commercialization and advocacy. We'll be positioning ourselves
for strong growth."
Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.