How I’m spending some of my time lately…

How I’m spending
some of my time lately…

I’m an entrepreneur at the intersection of technology, community development and social impact. I’ve spent my entire career building companies, communities and projects that help other people. I’ve enjoyed great success, spectacular failure and the real sense of progress and growth from both experiences.

I’m the founding chairman of a technology association in Chicago, a booster of inner-city education reform, and a partner at a venture collaborative incubating new ideas. I’m an advocate for the tech industry and some companies, occassionally in Washington DC and online.

I operate or advise several startups, businesses and growing organizations, including the following that are important to me at the moment:

Chicago Tech Academy

I helped create and now chair the board of a new, open-enrollment high school for Chicago students. This is an exciting experiment to build a new learning experience for kids based on apprenticeship and mentorship. The Chicago Tech Academy curriculum is based on tech skills and entrepreneurship, and we’re already outperforming most public schools on many important success metrics.

The student body (600 kids when full) come from across Chicago from mostly low-income, minority families. Hundreds of tech industry leaders volunteer as mentors, and partner with a carefully selected group of inspiring teachers.

FastRoot Agility

FastRoot Agility is a team of engineers and a Chicago colocation data center that design, implement and manage complex hosting environments.

managed hosting

Illinois Technology Association

I’m the founding chairman of the Illinois Technology Association. Created in 2006, the ITA champions the interests of nearly 700 tech companies based in Chicago and the region, building a more connected, collaborative economy for entrepreneurs, investors and executives.

Some other orgs and businesses that have my attention at the moment…

I’m on the board and provide the training facilities for Genesys Works Chicago, a non-profit that identifies hundreds of public school students after their junior year, spends the summer preparing them, and then places them in paid internships at companies like JPMorgan Chase and Accenture throughout their senior year of high school.



Builds patient education media platforms that educate and inform patients as they make decisions about their clinical treatment. A broadcast network in 600+ patient waiting rooms.


I cofounded TechNexus, a venture collaborative and clubhouse for the tech community in downtown Chicago. Today, more than 2,500 people a month flow through TechNexus for meetings, coworking, training sessions and to collaborate with a great network of entrepreneurs and execs that hang out here.

TechNexus has also been home to more than 100 new and growing companies that have incubated here; those companies have raised more than $50m in capital and created hundreds of new jobs in Chicago.

The concept for Phase III expansion of TechNexus into a 300,000 sq ft new construction facility in downtown Chicago:


Zealous Capital LLC

A partnership for investments and paid consulting focused on emerging growth software and technology companies.

FastRoot Software Labs

A private software lab with offices in Chicago and eastern Europe, our team of close to 30 software developers have worked together for more than a decade, building new products for entrepreneurs and corporate clients throughout the world. The team specializes in a rapid development .NET framework that’s been the basis for dozens of on-demand web applications and products.

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