Longevity Through Innovation

Longevity Through Innovation  [Recognizes those individuals whose sustained success is the direct result of continued innovation over many years.]


2012: Betty Brennan

Betty Brennan, Co-founder, President

Betty is the co-founder, president, and owner of Taylor Studios. Her passion for creativity, entrepreneurial success, nature, and history is contagious throughout the company. She motivates, inspires, and appreciates her staff as though they are family.  

As the driving force behind Taylor Studios' success, she oversees each department and directs and coordinates activities to achieve profit and return on capital. Betty establishes strategic direction and implements goals, operating plans, policies, and establishes organizational structure. She advises staff and reviews results of the business operation. Her role at Taylor Studios includes the duties of president, co-founder, owner, and marketing director.

2011: David Carroll

David Carroll, Founder
Vice President & COO, CU Aerospace, Inc. (www.cuaerospace.com)
Co-founder, Autonomic Materials, Inc. (www.autonomicmaterials.com)

CU Aerospace has been in operation for twelve years. Its goal is to provide an environment where technology-based businesses can work with the research faculty and students at UIUC to take advantage of opportunities for collaborative research and easy access to University labs, equipment, and services. As the owner of CU Aerospace, David has elected to keep his company local to focus on the interface and continued positive relationship between University of Illinois research faculty and students and technology-based businesses. David is also dedicated to serving the community and inspiring others to innovate and develop their technologies. In February 2010, his company participated in a video presented by the Discovery Channel aimed at inspiring grade school and high school students into careers in science, technology, engineering and math.  Dave is also Co-founder of another local start-up, Autonomic Materials Incorporated that focuses on self-healing coating technologies.

2010: Quesnell Hartman and David Ahmari

Quesnell and David founded EpiWorks in 1997. Since then EpiWorks has commercialized several products for use in cellular phones, solar cells, and lasers. EpiWorks’ innovations and broad range of products have enabled sustained revenue growth  through multiple adverse economic events and conditions since 1998. EpiWorks has positively impacted the University and community by creating high-tech local jobs and demonstrating that a UIUC spin-off can be successful while keeping all activities in Champaign County. 

2009: Mark Laufenberg

As the President of PowerWorld, Mark Laufenberg has made the company into an industry leader and innovator. PowerWorld  offers products and services that make power system analysis and visualization more powerful and efficient. Their products provide tools for transmission planners, power marketers, systems operators, educators, and anyone else desiring access to power system information analysis in a user-friendly format. Their power system visualizations, interactive displays, and powerful presentation tools can assist any organization.

2008: Jeff Mellander

Jeff has brought so much to our community in terms of creativity and cutting edge business concepts. His company, Precision Graphics, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The company employs approximately 50 people in all manner of creative positions. Precision Graphics has one of the largest illustration staffs in the Midwest with expensive experience in producing medical, scientific, and technical illustrations. 

2007: Rudy Frasca, Frasca International

In 1958, Rudy built his first flight simulator in his garage and Frasca Aviation was founded. The name was later changed to Frasca International to reflect the emerging character of the business. Today, Frasca International’s facilities includes a 70,000 square foot building with offices and manufacturing areas, as well as Frasca Field, an FBO owned and operated by the Frasca family and Frasca Air Museum, which includes his collection of WWII aircraft. Frasca International has delivered over 2,000 devices in some 70 countries worldwide and over 90% of U.S. colleges are currently using Frasca flight simulators.

2006: Nick Holonyak Jr.

Nick was recognized for the many inventions and technologies that he discovered that have affected our lives in significant ways. He invented the first light emitting diode, the first visible-spectrum semiconductor laser, and house-hold dimmer switch. With his research group, Nick also demonstrated the first quantum-well laser, creating a practical laser for fiber-optic communications, compact disc players, and many other applications.