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Baker appointed ISTC board chair

June 12, 2014
Douglas D. Baker

Douglas D. Baker

The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), a not-for-profit organization focused on growing the state’s innovation economy, today announced that NIU President Doug Baker will serve as chairman of the ISTC Board of Directors.

Baker replaces outgoing board chair Eric Isaacs, provost of the University of Chicago and former director of Argonne National Laboratory and president of UChicago Argonne, LLC.

“This is an integral position, serving as a catalyst for projects that bring together industry, national laboratories and universities across tech sectors, focused on innovation to address societal problems,” President Baker said. “The ISTC plays an important role as impartial convener of state assets in contexts ranging from large proposal submissions to informed conversations about strengths and weaknesses of P-20 education in Illinois. I will work hard in my new role to be a champion for Illinois’ innovative ecosystem with a focus on attracting new assets to the community and celebrate our technological victories”

The ISTC announced 10 new companies and educational institutions that will join the organization’s membership: Allstate Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland, Cleversafe, Elsevier, Exelon Corporation, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Loyola University Chicago, Microsoft Corporation, Ocean Tomo, and Wellspring Worldwide. The additions bring the ISTC’s membership to 39.

“Dr. Baker’s efforts to forge stronger relationships between NIU and Illinois employers is reflective of the work we do at the ISTC to link public and private entities around areas of mutual interest and need. He understands the critical role that Illinois universities play in cultivating a strong pipeline of talent for our rapidly-growing innovation sectors,” said Mark Harris, president and CEO of the ISTC. “We are thankful for the leadership of Eric Isaacs this past year and look forward to working with our expanded membership and board leaders, many of whom have already contributed significantly to ISTC initiatives.”

Baker was named NIU president in April 2013. An expert in organizational strategy, structure and motivation, he has promoted student career success as his top administrative priority.

“NIU has appreciated being part of the Illinois Innovation Council and working with the ISTC on the Pathways and Race to the Top initiatives focused on improving STEM education in the state,” Baker said. “We look forward to playing a stronger, leadership role in these activities as well as working with the ITSC and others  to celebrate and leverage NIU relationships with community colleges and small-to-medium manufacturing enterprises.”

Before joining NIU, Baker served for eight years as provost and executive vice president of the University of Idaho. Prior to that, he spent 24 years in the Washington State University System, teaching courses in management, organizational behavior, organizational design, strategic planning and human resource management.

He will also serve as board chairman of the Illinois Science & Technology Institute, a 501(c)(3) affiliate of the ISTC, focused on the development of Illinois’ STEM talent pipeline.

“I am honored to help guide the ISTC and Institute’s mission to drive economic growth in Illinois through research and innovation,” Baker said. “By uniting the efforts of academic institutions like NIU with those of industry, federal laboratories and government entities, we can continue to maintain and improve Illinois standing as a national innovation leader.”

The ISTC’s Board of Directors will also grow to 14 members, with Chris Gladwin, founder and vice chairman of Cleversafe, and Robert Lowe, CEO of Wellspring, each taking on new board positions.

Other 2014 board additions also include Linda Darragh, clinical professor of entrepreneurial practice and executive director, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Northwestern University; John Flavin, executive director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange at the University of Chicago; and Laura Frerichs, director of the University of Illinois Research Park and director of economic development, UIUC Public Engagement. View the full list of board members and full membership list.

Allstate has previously participated in the ISTC’s Corporate-Startup Challenge, which partners major Illinois corporations with innovative startup companies to provide them with mentoring and businesses opportunities. Elsevier and Ocean Tomo, world leaders in tracking and evaluating research and innovation outcomes, are supporting, through in-kind data and expertise, the development of the Illinois Science and Technology Road Map, an ISTC-led assessment of Illinois technology strengths that will leverage our research institution capabilities to drive the state’s industry base and inform Illinois innovation policy.