Staff & Leadership


Laura Frerichs

Laura Frerichs is the University of Illinois Research Park Director and Director of Economic Development for the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus. She is responsible for managing startup company services at the EnterpriseWorks technology incubator, marketing the Research Park, and supporting the University’s economic development efforts. Frerichs has developed innovative entrepreneur support programs as well as has attracted many new companies who are interested in engaging with the University of Illinois. Her board positions also include FARM Illinois and the Association of University Research Parks. 

Under Frerichs’ leadership, the Research Park was named AURP Outstanding Research Park of the Year in 2011, by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 3 College Town Incubators in 2013, and by Forbes in 2013 as one of 12 Business Incubators Changing the World. In 2015, she was appointed by Governor Rauner to co-chair the new Innovate Illinois Advisory Council. She serves on the boards of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the Illinois Technology Association and the Illinois Science and Tech Coalition. In 2015, she received the Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Award. Laura was named “Woman of the Year” by Central Illinois Business Magazine in 2009; awarded the Entrepreneur Advocacy Award at the Champaign County Innovation Celebration, 2011; and presented the 2013 Athena Young Professional Award. Laura is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Media and served as Student Body President at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

(217) 333-8323
Laura Bleill Assistant Director
Laura Bleill
Associate Director

Laura Weisskopf Bleill is the Associate Director of the University of Illinois Research Park. She has been with Research Park in a variety of capacities since 2010. Bleill is responsible for expanding the Research Park's outreach to students on campus as well as building entrepreneurial resources and collaborating across campus with other entities. She is the co-PI on the AWARE entrepreneurship inclusion effort funded by the National Science Foundation. 

An accidental entrepreneur, Bleill is the Mom-in-Chief of, an online magazine for Champaign-Urbana families. Laura was part of Central Illinois Business Magazine's Forty Under Forty class of 2014 and received a 2013 Difference Maker Award from the United Way of Champaign County. Bleill is on the board of the Champaign Urbana Jewish Federation and Visit Champaign County and volunteers with many local organizations. She has a master's and bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.  She lives in Champaign with her husband and three daughters. 

Responsibilities: Oversees Research Park marketing, communications, events/programming, and EnterpriseWorks intern team. Serves as the evangelist of the Research Park and EnterpriseWorks incubator, meeting routinely with external stakeholders, prospective corporations and new entrepreneurs. 

Interested in getting to know Laura Bleill more? Visit this link to hear her talk more about her experience at Research Park and with ChambanaMoms

(217) 244-7744
Cynthia Faullin
Assistant Director for Operations

Cynthia Faullin rejoined the University in early 2014 as the Assistant Director for Operations in the Research Park.  She brings with her more than twenty years of public and private sector experience to her role in the Research Park. Before Research Park, Ms. Faullin was the Vice President of Development for One Main Development in Downtown Champaign.  She is credited with being part of the development team for M2 on Neil and for the design and finishes of many of the building’s interior spaces, including the condominiums.  Ms. Faullin was also responsible for the residential sales and commercial leasing in both One Main Plaza and M2 on Neil.

Ms. Faullin is proudly Canadian and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, but loves the Midwest and feels particularly at home in Champaign-Urbana.  Since she has lived here she has devoted time to numerous Arts-related organizations including 40 North (producing the first ACE Awards), C-U Ballet and Artists Against Aids.    

Responsibilties: Oversees management and leasing of the EnterpriseWorks incubator, program implementation, and metrics. 

Jenny Kim
Assistant Director of Talent and Programming
Jenny joined the EnterpriseWorks team as the Visiting Assistant Director for Talent and Programming in Feburary 2017. Before joining the EnterpriseWorks, Jenny served as the Assistant Director for Employer Outreach at the Graduate College Career Development Office where she lead efforts to build employer relations and create opportunities for student and employer interactions. She also provided career advising and lead professional development programs for graduate students and postdocs across campus. Jenny earned a Bachelors in Biology and recently completed her PhD in Neuroscience, both right here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and learning.
Responsibilities: Jenny supports the growth of the workforce in the Research Park by helping large corporations and startup companies connect with student and full-time talent. She works directly with clients and coordinates events and programming to facilitate these connections.


Roger West
Finance Manager

Roger West is the Research Park Finance Manager. Roger is a CPA with a background that includes a mix of entrepreneurship, technology, construction, and University financial audits. Before joining the Research Park staff in 2011, he worked as the Director of Accounts at Common Ground Publishing, a graduate of the EnterpriseWorks incubator which has its offices in the Research Park. He also worked as a Controller at Broeren Russo Construction and Vogel Bros. Construction learning about the construction business, and began his career as an accountant at two small accounting firms.  Roger and his family live in Savoy. 

Responsibilities: Roger oversees the financial aspects of our organization, including accounting, budgets, grant oversight, and contracts for EnterpriseWorks. 

Jim Wells
EnterpriseWorks Facility Manager

Jim Wells joined the EnterpriseWorks team as the Facility Manager in October 2014. Prior to coming to EnterpriseWorks, Jim worked at the Illini Union for eight years. He has customer service experience working in the airlines industry and is an Army veteran. Jim is an East Central Illinois native who is married with two sons. He is a lifelong Illini and St. Louis Cardinals fan and enjoys camping, fishing and hiking.

Responsibilities: Jim manages the maintenance and operational functions of the EnterpriseWorks building and responds to tenant service needs.

Sheri Wilson
Customer Service and Administrative Assistant

Sheri Wilson joined the EnterpriseWorks team as the Receptionist in the fall of 2014.   Prior to coming to EnterpriseWorks, she had more than 25 years of customer service experience in the wireless phone industry and manufacturing.  Sheri is a Central Illinois native with one daughter and three sons. She’s a fan of Illini football, The Chicago Bears and Cubs.  She enjoys shopping, antiquing, spoiling her eight grandchildren, and motorcycle touring with her husband.

Responsibilities: Sheri is the first point of contact for Laura Frerichs, Director of EnterpriseWorks and Research Park. She assists all staff, tenants, and student interns at EnterpriseWorks.

Marissa Siero
Incubation and Entrepreneurship Outreach Coordinator
Marissa joined the Enterprise Works team in February 2017 to organize and manage the EDA funded Illinois Incubator Network and EDA program to help entrepreneurship centers in downstate Illinois. Marissa’s role as the Co-founder of IntelliWheels, Inc., an EnterpriseWorks startup for wheelchair technology, has provided her first-hand entrepreneurial experience. In 2013 Marissa was awarded the Woman of the Year, Central Illinois Business Magazine, was the Keynote speaker at the State of Illinois SBDC Conference in 2015, and recognized as an outstanding Instructor in College of Engineering, for her Lectures in Entrepreneurship course. She is completing her PhD in Applied Heath Sciences. Marissa enjoys spending time with her husband and her dogs and being a part of the Champaign – Urbana community.
(217) 333-8324


The Research Park Board of Managers has the following composition:

One Board of Trustees representative (Edward L. McMillan); three business and industry leaders (Patrick Daly, Roderick Johnson, and Rick Stephens); and the Vice Chancellors for Research at the Urbana and Chicago campuses. The Vice President/Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller (Walter Knorr) and Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation (Ed Siedel) serve as non-voting members. The board includes academic representatives as voting members from each campus: Liang Lu, (Associate Dean of Facilities and Capital Planning, College of Engineering and William E. O'Neil Faculty Scholar, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UIUC) and Mark Donovan (Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services and Executive Director for Facilities Management and Capital Programs, UIC).

The Research Park Board of Managers external members (non UI employees) include: 

  • Chairman: Edward L. McMillan, also serves on the UI Board of Trustees 
  • Vice-Chairman: Pat Daly, The Daly Group LLC
  • Rick Stephens, retired; founder of Horizon Hobby
  • Roderick Johnson, private consultant

Meeting Notices 

The Research Park Board of Managers meets three times a year, on the first Monday of February, June and October. Traditionally, the February meeting is a teleconference, while the June and October meetings rotate between Urbana-Champaign and Chicago. 


January 9, 2018 
SPECIAL MEETING BY TELECONFERENCE                           

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Skype Call:  +1 888 983 3631    Conference ID: 64277927

Open Session Agenda


3:00 pm               1.           Call to Order – Ed McMillan, Chairman 

3:00 pm               2.           Move to Executive Session

3:45 pm               3.           Reconvene

3:45-3:50 pm       4.           Public Comments

3:50– 4:00 pm     5.           New Business/Old Business

4:00 pm               6.           Adjourn

*Please note that times are estimates and discussions may run longer than anticipated.

February 5, Teleconference

June 4, Chicago - Location TBD

October 1, Urbana-Champaign - EnterpriseWorks, 60 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign.

For earlier University of Illinois Research Park, LLC Board of Managers Meeting Documents, including minutes, agendas and meeting notifications, please visit