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Illinois alumni to speak on entrepreneurship

What makes some people take the leap into entrepreneurship? What skills help these risk-takers launch successful ventures? A distinguished panel of Illinois alumni will discuss these and other questions about Entrepreneurship and Transformative Thinking at 2 pm Sept. 19 in the auditorium of the NCSA Building (1205 W. Clark St., Urbana). All are invited. A reception will follow in the atrium. NCSA Director Ed Seidel will moderate as the panelists discuss identifying opportunities and risk-taking necessary as an entrepreneur, along with their experiences as Illinois students and the University’s economic and social impact. The panelists are:

  • Jerry Fiddler, the principal of Zygote Ventures, has helped create and grow numerous companies, as CEO, chairman, director, investor, and advisor. He has been the founder, CEO, and Chairman of Wind River for 23 years. He was Foundation Capital executive-in-residence and taught entrepreneurship and organizational behavior as adjunct professor at UC Berkeley.
  • Ping Fu, VP & Chief Entrepreneur Officer of 3D Systems, was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine in 2005. While at Illinois, Ping co-founded Geomagic—recently acquired by 3D Systems—and helped create the NCSA Mosaic software. Ping serves on the National Advisory board for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and her memoir Bend, Not Break was published by Penguin in 2012.
  • Brand Fortner is executive director of the iRODS Consortium at the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previous positions include research professor at North Carolina State University, chief scientist, intelligence exploitation group, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, and founder of Spyglass, Inc. and Fortner Software LLC.
  • Austin Lin, the first Fiddler Innovation Fellow, is currently the Operations Staff Assistant for Presidential Personnel at the White House. While creating a unique interdisciplinary study across Theatre and Computer Science, he interned at NCSA, served as Events Stage Manager at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and served as a White House Intern in the Office of Presidential Personnel in 2013.

This panel is sponsored by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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