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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Local Technology Company Leaders Discuss Jobs, Economy, and Legislation


February 8, 2011 - Chicago, IL

Leaders from emerging technology companies in Illinois met with Senator Durbin yesterday discussing the need to attract technology talent, easing access to capital for small business, and the StartUp America Partnership.

Senator Durbin likened America's current economic struggle to the challenge of space exploration in U.S. history. "We were afraid for our physical well being," said Senator Durbin. "Now we are worried about the health of our economy. As we did then, we need to work together to ensure the future vitality of our country."

Jeremie Bacon, CEO of Backstop Solutions Group, presented the challenges of hiring technology talent. "There is a high demand for technology professionals in our industry," said Mr. Bacon. "The challenge we have with many individuals who are currently unemployed is they are not thoroughly trained in programming -- what we need are true technologists who have studied the craft over a longer period of time. Skill in the use of general programs or data entry is great, but we really need developers, programmers. We need to continue to encourage students in universities and high schools to enter the technology field."

"With such a low number of available visas, highly talented foreign nationals educated and trained here in the United States in information technologies are often forced to returned to their home country where they then compete with the very companies that have trained them," said Chris Gladwin, President and CEO, Cleversafe. "We'd rather have those talented engineers creating new IT jobs in the US."

The group of technology executives and entrepreneurs presented job creation as a key economic driver of the local industry. "The jobs we create are truly incremental new jobs. If we don't build the product and create the company, these jobs do not exist," said Shawn Riegsecker, Founder and President of Centro, an online media buying service.

"Onerous Sarbanes-Oxley requirements for small public companies has limited the number of entrepreneurial IPOs since its passage in 2002," said Brian Hand, Co-Founder and Chairman of Timelines. "This law is stifling access to seed capital by limiting the potential return for early stage investments. Easing these requirements for small companies will allow greater access to capital, support industry growth and result in more jobs."

Jason and Gretchen Goodrich, Co-founders of A Space Apart, a social media service, presented the challenges of a start-up in the current economic environment. "As a result of the recession, we created A Space Apart. The costs of health care, legal fees, and access to capital in this very uncertain economy make it very difficult to create a new company, personally and professionally," said Ms. Goodrich.

"The ITA has been an integral part of the local technology community for years," said Terry Howerton, Chairman of ITA. "We have been and will continue to be a conduit of discussion between the folks who create new businesses and new jobs in Illinois with the legislators who represent us both in Springfield and Washington, D.C."

To become part of the discussion, contact headquarters@illinoistech.org.

About the ITA
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry. We are relentless in championing the development and application of technology, from start-up companies to industry leaders, leveraging the transformative nature of technology to revolutionize industries. ITA uniquely capitalizes peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and access to experts across the breadth of business to cultivate the Illinois technology industry. The unique and powerful integration of these valuable and experienced resources differentiates the ITA as a source of accelerated growth for the technology industry of Illinois. For more information about ITA, please visit www.illinoistech.org

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Contacts:
Dorothy Radke
Marketing & Communications
ITA
+1.312.924.1044
dradke@illinoistech.org

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