SOURCE: Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

May 05, 2011 12:38 ET

Illinois Technology Association (ITA) President Fred Hoch Named to Chicago Innovation Awards Board of Advisors

40 Local and Regional Leaders Appointed to Inaugural Board Marking Award's 10th Year

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - May 5, 2011) - Fred Hoch, President of the Illinois Technology Association, is a member of the Chicago Innovation Awards Board of Advisors. The newly-formed board is a cross section of the Chicago region's foremost business, education, government, and civic leaders.

Joining Hoch on the 40-member Board are

  • Kevin Willer, CEO of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center;
  • Matt McCall, Partner at New World Ventures;
  • Rocky Wirtz, President of Wirtz Corporation and Chairman and Owner of the Chicago Blackhawks;
  • Philip Kotler, Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management;
  • Sam Yagan, Founder of Excelerate Labs;
  • Orlando Saez, Director of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology for the State of Illinois;
  • Tawfik Sharkasi, Chief Science and Technology Officer of Wrigley;
  • Nancy Rucheinski, President and COO of Edelman; and
  • Chris Gladwin, CEO of Cleversafe.

Education leaders include

  • Sally Blount, Dean of the Kellogg School of Management,
  • Sunil Kumar, Dean of Chicago Booth School of Business, and
  • former Kellogg Dean Dipak Jain, now Dean of the European business school INSEAD.

"We are honored that Fred Hoch has joined us in the belief that it is important to recognize and celebrate the spirit of innovation that is surging in the Chicago region," said Thomas D. Kuczmarski, founder with long-time prominent local journalist Dan Miller of the Chicago Innovation Awards.

"We established the Chicago Innovation Awards ten years ago as a civic gesture recognizing the region's most innovative new products and services in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors," said Miller. "The Awards have grown into a year-long process that celebrates innovation, educates innovators, and takes direct action to advance the important work they are doing. The members of our Board of Advisors have agreed to join us in advancing this effort and extending its reach."

The Chicago Innovation Awards were established in 2002 as an event designed to call attention to the extent of innovation in the Chicago region. It has steadily grown each year. There were more than 330 nominees for the 2010 Awards. What began as a one-evening event is now a series of events that takes place throughout the year, bringing thousands of innovators, and those who support them, together.

"It is an established fact that innovation is the strongest new engine of the economy," said Kuczmarski, who is the author of five books on innovation and leadership and who teaches executive programs on innovation at the Kellogg School. The most distinctive characteristic of the region's innovation infrastructure is that it reflects the broad array of industry types that are found in the region.

Director of the Chicago Innovation Awards is Luke Tanen. "When a Chicago-based firm like Groupon is a breakaway success, hiring 100 people per month, it brings international attention to Chicago as a center of innovation," said Tanen. "When people look more closely they recognize that we are not only a wellspring of new products in the tech sector, the innovation in new products and services is found in many sectors, high tech, low tech, and no tech. We did a tally recently that showed more than a dozen different business types among our winners over the years." Winners have included the city of Chicago's Green Alley Program and Millenium Park as well as the work of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation efforts to improve Chicago's neighborhoods.

The fact that the Chicago Innovation Awards are a civic gesture opens the door for participation by an array of organizations to join in their support. Virtually every business membership organization in the city is a contributing sponsor, and media organizations including WBBM Newsradio 780, Crain's Chicago Business, the Chicago Sun-Times, Fast Company, and Comcast join as media partners.

"The 40 members of our new Board of Advisors have agreed to join us in the work of deepening understanding of the astonishing array of innovation in the Chicago region and expanding our effort as we enter our second decade," said Kuczmarski.

About the Illinois Technology Association
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry. We are relentless in championing the development and application of technology, from start-up companies to industry leaders, leveraging the transformative nature of technology to revolutionize industries. ITA uniquely capitalizes peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and access to experts across the breadth of business to cultivate the Illinois technology industry. The unique and powerful integration of these valuable and experienced resources differentiates the ITA as a source of accelerated growth for the technology industry of Illinois. For more information about ITA, please visit

Contact the ITA at, follow the discussion on Twitter at @itabuzz, and visit to find out more about how ITA supports the growth of the local industry.

About the Chicago Innovation Awards
Established in 2002, the Chicago Innovation Awards shine a bright light on the creative spirit of Chicago by focusing attention on the most significant new products and services introduced in the region. The ten winners each year are innovations that uniquely fill unmet needs, spark a competitive response in the marketplace, exceed market expectations, achieve financial success, and improve people's lives. They emerge from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Most importantly, the Chicago Innovation Awards remind us that innovation is thriving in America's heartland.

Visit the Chicago Innovation Awards at Follow the discussion on Twitter at @Chi_Innovation.

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