The May Report: 03/24/2006: And the awards go to Glen Tullman of Allscripts (CEO), David Weinstein of the CEC (CityLIGHTS), Michael Carlin of Hospira (CIO/CTO), Trading Technologies for Lighthouse, Univa for Newcomer and R3 Systems Group for Rising Star /
March 24, 2006
The May Report: 03/24/2006: And the awards go to Glen Tullman of Allscripts
(CEO), David Weinstein of the CEC (CityLIGHTS), Michael Carlin of Hospira
(CIO/CTO), Trading Technologies for Lighthouse, Univa for Newcomer and R3
Systems Group for Rising Star / ITA CityLIGHTS awards dinner draws a big crowd,
400 plus, they said and a wonderful evening was had by all / And some of us
wore a tux / Isoy Technology funded by ILBIF angel group / State establishes
food security group / O’Brien goes to Diamond Cluster and much more…
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Scoop section:
Briefly noted: And the winners are Glen Tullman, David Weinstein, Michael
Carlin, Trading Technologies, Univa and R3 Systems Group, by Ron May
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The Scoop section:
Briefly noted: And the winners are Glen Tullman, David Weinstein, Michael
Carlin, Trading Technologies, Univa and R3 Systems Group, by Ron May
* Last night was a watershed for me. I wore a tux and looked like a million
bucks and felt great. Clothes do make the man! When you feel good, you have a
different outlook. I know, let’s not get carried away with this, but it was a
great evening. I came home really feeling good.
Ed Longenecker of the AeA drove me home and we chatted for over an hour. Ed
reopened the AeA office in
Chicago which had been closed down for about two years in 2004. He has now been
here in Chicago for 15 months and he’s been with the AeA for six years. I like
the guy. He seems to be very genuine and dedicated. He’s planning to do twelve
events this year, and he told me that they have 130 members.
Now, to the ITA CityLIGHTS dinner. While Fred Hoch sleeps, I want to get this
out. It is 5:50am. I will write until 7am and hit the send button. Then I will
go to the tape which is long and contains many interviews and to the cards
which was a big stack. There were some tables that did not give me many cards,
mostly Greenbrier & Russel, but contrary to popular opinion, Eric Wasowicz and
I have no problem with each other. In fact, we had a long and friendly talk.
Last year was an impressive event at the Planetarium. There were about 300
people last year. This year at Galleria Marchetti was better. Let me tell you
why. Last year, I felt that the event was dominated by service providers. In
fact, I counted about six law firms and several accounting firms. This year, it
was truly the IT community. There were a few lawyers and accountants, and even
bankers, but the predominance was with industry people.
Last year, you had software firms like Advizor, Doug Cogswell’s firm,
represented at the tables. This year, in addition to some big firms like Oracle
which had tables, you also had a broadening of the base. This year, palpable
progress has been made toward expanding the old CSA to truly become the ITA.
You would not have seen firms like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or Trading
Technologies at a CSA event three years ago to save your life. This year, they
were there in full force. The “transition” that Terry Howerton has been talking
about has actually taken place. Of course, it is an evolutionary thing and will
continue in the future. Maybe next year, we’ll see Abbott and Cat there. The
process of defining IT to include companies that don’t just produce custom or
off the shelf software, but also firms that use information technology as a
significant component in their business has begun in earnest and it is a great
thing to behold. Congratulations to all the folks at the ITA for not just
talking the talk, but for walking the walk. And the fact that a person like
Annie Collins who has fought for community broadband could be included in a
meeting like this means that the ITA is going even further to reach out to the
community of consumers who use technology. A broadly defined understanding of
information technology is the only way to go for the future and the wheels are
moving steadily in that direction.
Let me tell you who the award winners were and then give you ten or twelve
“news” items off the top of my head.
First, this year two new categories were added to the awards: Newcomer and
CIO/CTO which represents outreach to the entrepreneurial world and tech
commercialization and to traditional end user IT. One old category was dropped:
Angel Award. I think that after Bob Geras and Bill Weaver they had run out of
qualified candidates for that award anyway. In the future, maybe Dennis Serio
will get one.
Bill Merchantz of Lakeview Technology Group presented the awards. Can I say a
word about Bill Merchantz? He has a great sense of humor, or maybe just kidding
around, but the organization would not be what it is without guys like Bill
Merchantz, Al Wasserberger, Mike Lyons, Kris Hammond, Art Roldan, Matthew
Summy, Bret Johnson, Tom Churchwell, Maura O’Hara, Eric Wasowicz, Dick Reck,
David Weinstein, Adarsh Arora, Bruce Montgomery, Michael Guerreri (spelling?)
and a number of others who are actively engaged. Some people are very effusive
like Bill Merchantz, and others are more low key, but they get around, like
Brad Spirrison. I mention these people because by way of observation last
night, I can tell you that they are “circulators” — they move around, talk to
a lot of people and don’t just sit in one place. Watch what they do. They
circulate, talk to everyone, get their arms around everyone, and most
importantly, enjoy themselves in a very demonstrable way. You need guys like
that to make it a lively place. Weinstein said to me that this venue felt to
him like an event in the Valley. I am not criticizing anyone here. Some people
are just outgoing by nature, and some are more reserved.
Bill Merchantz started off by saying that the Newcomer Award “goes to The May
Report.” I was shocked, of course — and he was kidding. Then he told me that
I need to get over my jealousy of Bob Bernard, with whom I worked as a
headhunter way back in 1983-84. And he asked me if I can spell P-U-T-Z.
The nominees for the Newcomer Award were Bridgeport Networks, SpringCM, and
Univa. Bill mispronounced Univa, but they won the award. Mike Ellis, the new
CEO, accepted the award. It is Univa, short “i,” not Uneeva. One comment.
SpringCM run by Christine Mason is hardly a newcomer firm. They were FOB going
back to the dot com era, then they transformed themselves into Adexis, and now
they have changed their name to SpringCM. Greg Buchholz (spelling??) is the
founder and he is still there to my knowledge. BTW, I notice that Christine
Mason was a judge. I assume that she recused herself on that award.
All three firms nominated in this category have received venture capital. Univa
just got an $8MM investment which included some local VCs like ARCH Venture
Partners. If I may digress a moment — it is 6:15am so I have 45 minutes to go
— the lack of VCs at the meeting was one glaring deficiency in my view.
Howerton agrees. Bob Geras was there; so was Dennis Serio; and I saw Tom
Churchwell who loved how I looked, by the way. I think he was shocked because I
usually look so schleppy at his Monday Morning Meetings. Tom Parkinson was
there and he suggested that I check out a health site which I will get for you.
Hopewell has invested in that firm. Raj Pai of CID Equity Partners was there
and just in yesterday’s report, I listed a deal they just did, EKOS out of
Washington state, and BTW, ARCH Venture Partners just put seed money into a
Boston firm, Magen Biosciences, Inc. But people like Ellen Carnahan, Matt
McCall, Bret Maxwell, Keith Bank, Byron Denenberg, and many others were not
there and that is something that needs to be worked on for the future.
The next award given was the Rising Star Award and the presenter was Christine
Mason who runs SpringCM. The finalists included The Acquity Group (that is
ak-kew-ity, not ak-kwity — second mispronounciation of the evening), R3
Systems Group and The SAVO Group. The winner was R3 Systems Group.
I don’t have much on R3 in my notes, which I hastily took on a yellow pad piece
of paper. Hey, no huge plastic bag last night! I had a tiny bag from the tux
rental place. But I do have a note that The SAVO Group got $10MM in venture
from Sterling Venture Partners. I don’t know how recently that funding took
place. I also found out after the meeting while hanging around until almost the
end that SAVO has hired people, about five or six, from my brother who is an IT
recruiter. Naturally, I tried to find out if the candidates were any good.
Acquity has 168 people nationally and is doing $30MM with clients like American
Express, McDonald’s and Nautilus. BTW, Univa has 35 employees.
The woman who spoke from R3 to accept the award was hard to hear. Galleria
Marchetti is a great venue, but Terry Howerton seemed to indicate that they
have outgrown it already. There were about 404 people registered for the event
and the house was full. Terry said that the dining room holds 410.
The heating system was on and it made for a lot of background noise, so I
really could not hear the woman who accepted the award, but I will tell you,
she was easy on the eyes. Also, at points in the ceremony a lot of people were
chatting at their tables. Howerton lectured them, but it just proves that
people want to network and want less ceremony to sit and listen to. Short and
sweet is the way to do awards in my humble opinion.
The next category to receive awards was the Lighthouse Award and the finalists
were: ASAP Software, Inc., Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Trading
Technologies. I said to Adarsh Arora that the award would clearly go to Trading
Technologies and I turned out to be right. TT is transforming the derivatives
field and Harris Brumfield is a true industry pioneer. Besides, one clue to the
winners was how many people from the firm showed up and there was a full table
of people from TT.
What I did not know was that ASAP Software is such an honored firm. They have
been given a lot of awards such as being one of the best places to work and
they are in the top 50 of the top 500 firms in the VAR business. The presenter
for this award was Peter Tapling of Authentify, if I recall correctly.
It’s 6:45am so I better move along here. The Spotlight Award went to Michael
Carlin of Hospira (another mispronounciation, it’s Hospeera, not Hosp-eye-ra)
who commented that coming from Abbott Labs does not hurt. This was a CIO/CTO
category and the other finalists were James Krause of the CME and Lac Tran of
Rush University Medical Center.
The next category was CEO of the Year, and the winner was Glen Tullman of
Allscripts which is a very successful firm. The other two finalists were Ed
Zander of Motorola and Roderick Walter of Knightsbridge Solutions. Glen had a
sense of humor and hit the nail on the head. In my view if there was an
Achilles Heel last night, it was the nomination of Ed Zander for the CEO Award.
How can you nominate Ed and not give him the award? Glen recognized that when
he joked that his daughter had asked him what he would be doing Thursday night
and when he told her that one of the nominees came from Motorola, she pulled
out her RAZR and said “You mean this Motorola. Dad, you don’t stand a chance. I
want to thank the judges…” and I believe he said that he can’t question their
judgement. I also appreciated the fact that Glen thanked his colleague, Lee
Shapiro. I won’t belabor this issue, but this is where the ITA has some
distance to go. Recall that this event is seven years old and the number of
categories went from three to five in 2001. But it used to be called Members’
Night and under Candy Renwall, it was held rather informally at night and then
in the morning as a breakfast meeting. Under Fred Hoch and Terry Howerton, it
has been elevated to a premier event which emphasizes outreach to the community
as a whole. If you look at the list of firms that were nominated, and they
number more than one hundred, it is far more than just a members’ list. A
cursory look at the list shows that nominated firms included Akoya, Looking
Glass Networks, Salesforce.com, Talentology, Initiate Systems which just got
money from the CIA, Firefly Mobile, Parlano, Personeta, Infogix, Novarra, and
many more. I will give you the whole list, but the point is that these firms
may or may not be members. They are certainly in the center of the action and
they are getting venture funding for the most part.
The other finalist in the CEO category was Rod Walker of Knightsbridge. I
recall having a long talk with him years ago when the firm was just getting
going, and I think — don’t hold me to this — that he came out of Andersen.
Rod has stayed at the helm all these years and the firm now does $100MM and
expects to do 30% growth this year.
The final award of the evening was the CityLIGHTS Award and that went to David
Weinstein. David deserves it, although I have to say, I was secretly rooting
for my buddy Annie Collins. Nothing against David who has done great things and
has a powerhouse of a staff and operation which he has been responsible for
building, but Annie was an airline stewardess who, as a regular citizen, took
on the big boys and almost won. That is what we admire in our society, the
little guy or gal who fights for something he or she believes in. Most of
David’s staff was there, but so was Jerry Roper and he was soaking it all in.
Of all the things that David has done, two things stand out in my mind. First,
his outreach to the minority community which includes the Hispanic business
community, and second, his work with the high schools and the entrepreneurship
in education program. David has also realized that technology companies are not
where all the action is which is why he has five industries that he focuses on.
And finally, he is making an attempt to reach out to the trading community for
angel investors. That is no small feat. It is about as hard as getting
universities to work together. I recently talked to two traders and one of them
zapped me for writing that he did not like working in his PJs.
Folks, it is 7:26am.
Let me sum up. The winners were: Glen Tullman of Allscripts for CEO, David
Weinstein of the CEC for CityLIGHTS, Trading Technologies for Lighthouse; R3
Systems Group for Rising Star; Univa for Newcomer; and Michael Carlin of
Hospira for CIO/CTO.
Now, let me give you ten “news” items.
1. ILBIF has funded another firm. It is Isoy Technology which comes out of the
USDA Labs, I think in Peoria.
2. Accumence has a new CEO. Chuck Templeton left and is running a firm called
SignMeUp.com. The new CEO who was sitting with the CEC folks and talking
incessantly to Jason Felger is Joe Jablonski who lists himself on his card as a
3. Lewie Mitchell has now joined FastRoot Technologies, Terry Howerton’s firm,
which now has three, that’s right, three offices, and 35 employees.
4. As I have written before, Ari Kaplan has joined DataLink as a database guy.
He is not managing people there. Ari and some of his colleagues were there last
5. Michael Bennett, who was looking for a job when I talked to him last, has
joined ClearGauge as a VP of Finance and Operations. He accompanied me once to
the ER when my leg was bleeding, so I thank him for that.
6. Chris O’Brien, until recently the CIO for the City of Chicago, has joined
Diamond Cluster as a partner. Bill Merchantz mentioned that.
7. This is not news per se, but the guys who run Firefly Mobile were there.
They have received about $30MM in venture and dominate their niche which is
mobile phones for kids in the eight to twelve age range. One of the highlights
of the evening for me was when they showed me the phone. It has five buttons,
one for mom, one for dad, one for twenty numbers that the parents can program,
and a talk and a hang-up button. It is a small phone and all lit up with orange
and blue lighting. They are doing very well and that could have been the best
thing I saw all night.
8. Surprises: Where was KPMG, a stalwart at the CSA and the ITA for years? Not
there, except for Dick Reck who isn’t with them anymore. Where was Scott
Glickson? Well, that question was answered by his colleague from McGuire Woods
who said that Scott is very sick and that none of Scott’s proposed jokes were
funny. He said the drugs must have been taking effect by the time Scott told
them to him. Where was Bill Weaver? Not present. Frank Ballantine was there and
so was Jeff Schumacher, but S&W did not have a table, although they may have
had five lawyers there. Nor did KMZR. But Freeborn was out in full force and
even brought Robert Lynn, a guy from my neighborhood whom I have known for
years. McGuire Woods was there. Phil McGuigan told me that the merger has been
very good for all of them. Grant Thornton was the only Premier Sponsor of the
evening. When you combine this with the fact that they are a major sponsor of
the UIC Entrepreneurship Awards, GT has stepped up to the plate in a big way
while KPMG has dropped the ball almost entirely.
Not everyone in attendance is from Chicago. I ran into some people from
far-flung places and I see from the cards I collected that Aladdin is located
in, of all places, Israel.
9. Dick Reck was in two movies, not one and in one of them, he played three
small roles. I got the name of the movie wrong when I reported this. It was
Dirty Work, not Dirty City. And, I have to get the name of the other movie off
the tape. Dick brought my buddy Emily Shagley to the event and she brightened
up the room as usual. And as I told Dick, all the firms he serves on boards for
are moving out of town (Liquid Generation) or getting sold (G&R).
10. OK, this is a bit complicated. I asked around about the issue of venture
firms investing in companies that do business in the Sudan. The Illinois state
legislature passed a law stating that VC firms must divest themselves of firms
that do business in Sudan by July 2007 if they want to receive pension funds
from the state. Bo French of Adams Street Partners has been speaking out
against this law as being too restrictive. I did find out that the IVCA is not
taking a public stand on the issue and I also found out that there is a federal
law that prohibits firms from doing business in the Sudan, so this law may be a
bit of overkill. This reminds me of years ago when investments in firms that
did business in South Africa were quite controversial and at that time I am not
sure if there were federal prohibitions.
11. Matt Summy said that some organization involving food and security has now
been established. He also confirmed that the only $150K grants that have been
announced thus far are SSS Research, RiverGlass, and now Ohmx. Bret Johnson and
Matt Summy promised to keep me in the loop and not give scoops to Michael
Krauss — well, that is my interpretation of what they said. BTW, Krauss was
not there, and neither was Julie Johnsson. But, Eric Wasowicz tried to tweak me
by saying that when he got his voice messages on the day that the sale of G&R
was announced to the employees and the day I sent out the story, he heard my
message and an hour before my message, he had a message from Julie Johnsson
from Crain’s about rumors that they were sold to Fujitsu. As I pointed out to
Eric, a lot of good that did. A story that is not told is like a tree falling
in the forest when no one is there to hear it.
12. David Weinstein was the co-chair of the Forrest Claypool campaign and I did
not know this, Forrest brought David into City government. David and I agreed
that the voter turnout in Claypool strongholds was abyssmal. The people who
vote at Nettlehorst School did not show up, and in my precinct (#17 in my
ward), I was vote number 133 at 4:50pm out of more than 700 in the precinct.
You can’t win with that kind of low turnout.
I have a theory that the Eisendrath 32% spells trouble for Rod, but a lot of
crossover voters and my landlord tells me that on the North Shore there were a
lot of crossovers, probably voted for Edwin since they are Republicans who were
voting for Forrest.
13. There are some very active ITA people, some who run roundtables who were
not there last night. People like Terry Doheny and David Naylor who do show at
other events. I have a theory on this too. 150 bucks is a lot to pay for a lot
of people. Some people like Michael Maranda were comped. But most people who
are not getting the ticket paid for by a real company have to think twice about
that amount of money. Thus, the attendance is skewed. I will bet you that when
I review the list of attendees last night which I will compile and compare that
to the list of rooftop party attendees, you will see a big difference. Jack
Noonan was there with a full table of SPSS people, and Greenbrier had a full
table. One guy from G&R, whose name is Kennedy, is the brother of John B.
Kennedy who is with Open Channel. But the most interesting thing is that the
most active networkers are those I would call “floaters.” They are not with a
big firm that has ten people at its table. They are the one-sies and two-sies.
Peter Tapling, John Zurawski, Mike Lyons, Kris Hammond, and others I have
mentioned. These are the folks who get around and make the organization what it
But there were people one would have expected to see who did not show and that
was something of a surprise to me. Some of the old guard is dropping off or
out, as I see it. Where was Mike Blair? He’s always there. Where was Doug
Cogswell, the board chair before Howerton. Make no mistake about it. Howerton
is putting his imprint on the organization. If I am not mistaken, the board
composition has changed and the newer board members are probably more involved
than a lot of previous board members who were allowed to stay on as deadwood.
Not any more. They are now telling board members in no uncertain terms what
they are expected to commit to in terms of time and effort. The Howerton stamp
has been put on the board and although there are old timers like Art Roldan,
Dick Reck and Scott Woodard, Jack Noonan, and Eric Wasowicz there are also a
lot of new people — or in the case of a guy like Peter Tapling whom I really
like, old timers who are stepping up to the plate. Peter bought the wine.
A guy from Sachnoff is on the board named Michael Lee. I think he was there. I
don’t even know him and I thought that I knew almost all of those guys. I see
that Linda Darragh is on the board and that represents outreach to the
universities. Andy Goldstein and Craig Bradley were there from the board, as
were Tapling, Staublin, Reck, Woodard, Noonan, Kaplan, Merchantz, Wasowicz,
John Fisher, possibly Joe Fuller of Alterian, and of course, Hoch and Howerton.
There may have been other board members there, such as Kevin Williams of
Concretio or John Jasper of Verety or Jean Holley of Tellabs or Aaron Crane of
Navteq, but I did not see them, but I will check my tape and cards. Other borad
members whom I believe were not there included Bart Carlson, Chris O’Brien, Bob
Blee, Paul Carlisle, and Dean Stieber.
OK, let me get my one other constructive criticism on the table. Terry Howerton
spoke about the myths that have been debunked or are being debunked, such as
the small size of the IT industry here. I have to get his figures, but IT in
Illinois is bigger than agriculture as an export. Howerton talked at the end
after the awards had been given out and some people were already leaving. For
next year, they should start the ceremonies earlier and cut down on the time
for acceptance speeches. Most of what Howerton said was not necessary because
actions speak louder than words. The ITA has made real progress in redefining
itself from the CSA to the ITA with a much broader notion of its mission. But
the presence of firms like the CME, Hospira, Trading Technologies, and
nominations like Annie Collins and Jonathan Silverstein from U. of C. where he
is doing pioneering work in biomedical engineering and bio-informatics, speaks
for itself. Terry and Fred, keep it up, but let your results speak for
themselves. You don’t have to tell us what we can see in front of us.
OK, it is 9:06am and let me get this out, two hours after I said I would.
But I covered a lot of ground and now I will go to my tape and cards.
END OF REPORT