Research ParkArchive for the ‘’ Category

Champaign County Launches First-of-its-Kind “Community Job Application”

Media Contacts:

Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director
Champaign County Economic Development Corporation

Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement
Visit Champaign County

 Champaign County Launches First-of-its-Kind “Community Job Application”
Digital platform makes it easy for potential residents to connect with Champaign County’s employers and community members

CHAMPAIGN, IL, April 12, 2023 – Connecting prospective new residents with Champaign County area employers just got easier with a new addition: the Community Job Application. Created by Champaign County Economic Development Corporation and Visit Champaign County, the platform allows newcomers to streamline their job search and community exploration process with personalized assistance, job matching, and relocation information in three short steps. The team worked with RoleCall, a national talent attraction consulting agency, to build this program.

Candidates, both internal and external to the community, who are interested in connecting with Champaign County employers, can visit, click on “Make It CU”, answer a few questions, and upload a resume. Candidate information will then be distributed to local employers to help facilitate job matches. Prospective new residents can also request to be connected to a member of the Chambana Welcome Crew. These plugged-in locals can answer questions about living and working in the area and help newcomers find their place in the community.

“In the age of talent wars, it’s critical that Champaign County stays on the cutting edge of talent attraction tactics,” stated Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “The Community Job Application is an innovative approach that gives future residents an accessible path to “yes” by providing a virtual front door to employment in Champaign County and important information about what matters to them most: personal interests and hobbies, quality of life, and more. We are excited to work with Champaign County employers on this new program.”

This program’s launch is partly funded by Champaign County through its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. “The intent of the ARPA funds is to get people and communities back on their feet. Connecting individuals with quality employment, good benefits, secure pensions, and a healthy work-life balance as County employees is a fundamental part of that recovery,” says Steve Summers, Champaign County Executive. “Champaign County government is very excited to participate in this project. We are an excellent living and employment destination, and we appreciate the work put in by the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation and Visit Champaign County to showcase that.”

“While most communities tout their welcoming attitude, Champaign-Urbana lives it,” says Tim Carty, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of RoleCall. “The Community Job Application is a great example of that — it’s inviting, it’s accessible, and it’s truly a great representation of the community’s values.”

Candidates who opt into the program will also receive curated information relevant to their industry, life stage, and interests. “This platform will feed directly into the Chambana Welcome Crew, where our ambassadors are ready to answer questions and get new residents settled into the community,” explains Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement for Visit Champaign County. “Whether it’s learning about recreation, education, volunteer opportunities, LGBTQ+ resources, or our vibrant arts and culture, our ambassadors are armed with the knowledge to create an authentic connection that will further encourage individuals to Make It in the greater Champaign-Urbana area.”

Candidates in all career fields are encouraged to utilize the Community Job Application. Still, a particular emphasis will be placed on fifteen key job functions, including accounting & finance, customer service, marketing & communications, engineering, and more.

This service is free for individuals looking to connect with employers and area recruiters looking to fill jobs. “Our primary goal is to fill jobs with qualified candidates while introducing our community to newcomers looking for an amazing location to live,” says McCrory-McKay.

The Community Job Application is integrated into other programs led by Champaign County Economic Development Corporation and Visit Champaign County, including the Champaign-Urbana Area Job Board, New to CU mixers, Chambana Welcome Crew, Chambana Proud podcast, and more.

Champaign County employers wanting to tap into the Community Job Application talent pipeline can contact for more information.



Champaign-Urbana AgTech Week Returns for Fourth Year

For Immediate Release
March 6, 2023


Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director
Champaign County EDC

Laura Bleill, Director, External Engagement
University of Illinois Research Park

Champaign-Urbana AgTech Week Returns for Fourth Year

CHAMPAIGN, IL – The annual Champaign-Urbana AgTech Week, presented by Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, University of Illinois Research Park, and You’re Welcome CU, returns for its fourth celebration in 2023 with both in-person and virtual events. The five-day event, March 6-10, celebrates Champaign-Urbana’s robust AgTech ecosystem, including the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Parkland College, corporate innovation partners, startups, state-of-the-art facilities, student organizations, local ag companies, the Illinois AgTech Accelerator, and more.

“This week encapsulates what makes Champaign-Urbana the “epicenter” of AgTech,” said Laura Bleill, Director of External Engagement at University of Illinois Research Park. “Serving as a neutral convener, the AgTech Summit convenes a kaleidoscope of perspectives and expertise that is representative of our ecosystem — it extends across the value chain of agriculture. We are grateful to our speakers, sponsors, and partners, and we are excited to host 600+ registered participants.”

Participating AgTech Week organizations include Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, University of Illinois Research Park, GDM, Parkland College, Illinois AgTech Accelerator, AirScout, Village of Savoy, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of ACES, Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL), Center for Digital Agriculture, and Office of Corporate Relations.

The schedule of events includes the following:

  • Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) and University of Illinois Research Park (UIRP) tours
  • (Beer) Flights at Triptych Brewing with AirScout, sponsored by Village of Savoy
  • AgTech Summit, followed by the AgTech Showcase & Networking Reception
  • Center for Digital Agriculture’s Annual Conference
  • AgTech Week Happy Hour at Riggs Beer Company, sponsored by GDM
  • 200+ students visiting Parkland College to learn about their ag programs, visit laboratories, talk with faculty, and see demonstrations from current Parkland ag students
  • Webinar about how to get involved in gener8tor’s Illinois AgTech Accelerator, powered by Serra Ventures

“We’re grateful to all of our local partners who have worked with us to create an amazing lineup of events to showcase why Champaign-Urbana is a leader in AgTech,” said Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director at Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “This week also provides an opportunity to celebrate what’s been accomplished in the last year, which includes four AgTech company expansions in University of Illinois Research Park, local startup HabiTerre being honored as the Illinois Innovation Network’s Innovator of the Year, and Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations awarding a grant of $34 million to the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project, an international research effort led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that are engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis.”

Champaign-Urbana has long been a hub for technology as well as agriculture. In the past decade, those two paths have converged, paving the way for the community to become an epicenter for AgTech.

The full Champaign-Urbana AgTech Week schedule of events can be found online at Registration is required at many events, but all are free to attend.




Champaign County EDC Launches New Job Board

Media Contact:
Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director
Champaign County Economic Development Corporation


Champaign County EDC Launches New Job Board

Discover Jobs in the Champaign-Urbana Area

CHAMPAIGN, IL, February 22, 2023 – A new job board launched today helps promote job opportunities in the Champaign-Urbana area. The Champaign-Urbana Area Job Board – – features over 90 local companies and 1,700 jobs, including full-time, part-time, and remote opportunities.

“We’re excited to launch this new community resource for local companies and job seekers,” said Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “Our original job board was launched in 2015, and a lot has changed since that time, especially how job seekers search for opportunities. This new software creates an aggregate of local jobs and has enhanced features to make the process smoother.”

The Champaign-Urbana Area Job Board includes Champaign County employers across various industries, including education, government, healthcare, and manufacturing. Job seekers can view and sort by industry, job type, company, and location, and they can sign up for daily alerts based on their interests.

“This new tool will greatly impact our ability to attract the best and the brightest to the University and the greater community, which in turn will help our county continue to grow and thrive,” said Dana Cohen, Director of Faculty Recruitment at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Employers in Champaign County who wish to be included on the Champaign-Urbana Area Job Board can contact for more information.

“This is a great resource to help local talent find jobs, but also an important tool for new residents and those considering a move to the Champaign-Urbana area,” noted McCrory-McKay. “This resource will be integrated into our talent retention and attraction strategies, which includes the Chambana Welcome Crew program and New to CU Mixer events—collaborations between EDC, Visit Champaign County, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.”

The Champaign-Urbana Area Job Board is updated daily and can be viewed online at

About Champaign County Economic Development Corporation:

The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is a public-private partnership dedicated to fostering a cooperative, county-wide approach to economic development. CCEDC works to improve the economic well-being of all Champaign County through efforts that entail job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements, small business development, and promotion of quality of life. CCEDC brings together community partners to support economic development by aligning interests through productive relationships, open dialogue, and advocacy efforts. Learn more at



Former Ambassador and UN Official Ertharin Cousin to Keynote gener8tor’s OnRamp Agriculture Conference

From gener8tor:

July 7, 2022

Former Ambassador and UN Official Ertharin Cousin to Keynote gener8tor’s OnRamp Agriculture Conference

Cousin will headline an agenda that will focus on sustainable agriculture and agriculture technology trends

Champaign, IL – gener8tor — a venture capital fund and startup accelerator network — today announced that Ertharin Cousin, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Agencies for Food and Agriculture and Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, will headline and deliver the keynote at the OnRamp Agriculture Conference on July 25 and 26 at State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill.

The OnRamp Agriculture Conference brings together leading corporations, investors and startups across key industries. This year’s conference will discuss AgTech funding, scaling sustainable agriculture, industry trends and so much more. OnRamp Agriculture is made possible due to support from the University of Illinois Research ParkChampaign County Economic Development CorporationCooperative Ventures and Serra Ventures.

“Cousin’s rich experience influencing global agriculture policy and using agriculture as a force for good throughout the world will inspire the investors, startups, and thought leaders gathered in Champaign to chart how the private sector can positively and meaningfully contribute to the future of agriculture,” said gener8tor Partner Maggie Brickerman.

After serving as Ambassador and Head of the UN World Food Programme, Cousin founded and today guides the Food Systems for the Future team as President and CEO. As a global nutrition and food systems thought leader and advocate, Cousin also serves as a Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University Center on Food Security and Environment.

Prior to her global hunger work, Cousin helped lead the U.S. domestic fight to end hunger including service as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of America’s Second Harvest – now Feeding America. Cousin’s previous private sector experience includes working for Albertsons as the Senior Vice-President of Public Affairs.

Cousin’s keynote will be the signature moment of a conference featuring private-sector experts and thought leaders from diverse agriculture sectors, including Andrew Selck from EY, Marisa Bocci from K&L Gates, Teresa Garcia-Moore from The Sustainability Consortium and Rob Shultz from Serra Ventures.

To learn more about the OnRamp Agriculture Conference, keynote and other speakers, and how to register, visit


About gener8tor

gener8tor is a venture capital fund and startup accelerator. Ranked one of the top-15 accelerators in the United States, gener8tor operates programs and conferences for startups, musicians, artists, investors, and workers and prioritizes investing across race, place, and gender. Fast Company named gener8tor one of the 10 Most Innovative Companies in 2020 and one of the Best Workplaces for Innovators in 2021.

Starfire Industries Announces Expansion in Champaign, New Facility to Support Deep Technology Manufacturing and Research & Development

For Immediate Release
May 20, 2022

Starfire Industries Announces Expansion in Champaign, New Facility to Support Deep Technology Manufacturing and Research & Development

Starfire’s new 194,000 square foot facility will create 22 full-time deep tech jobs

CHAMPAIGN – May 20, 2022 – Today Starfire Industries, LLC announced an expansion to establish a new manufacturing facility in Champaign, Illinois, located at 3310 N. Duncan Road. The $9.4 million project accommodates growth to a 194,000 square foot facility to increase manufacturing and research & development capabilities. The project will create at least 22 full time-jobs and retain 20 full-time jobs, as well as support 12 engineering co-op and part-time professional jobs.

“Technology investments over the past 12 years in compact particle accelerators and high-power plasma sources have resulted in game-changing innovations”, says Starfire President/CEO Brian Jurczyk. “Our team is making significant impacts across the semiconductor, nuclear, aerospace, medical, environmental, energy, mining, automotive, and security industries. Starfire reached the point where it needed to scale; finding the right location for expansion was critical. The former Patterson building is a unique space with a combination of office, engineering, manufacturing, and distribution that will support Starfire’s growth for years to come. We are excited to make this place our home and stay within the robust Champaign-Urbana deep technology ecosystem.”

Starfire Industries, recently named one of the top-10 worldwide non-destructive testing companies by Manufacturing Outlook Magazine, specializes in portable high-energy particle accelerators for diagnostic imaging, environmental sensing, active interrogation, and even oncology therapeutic treatments. This is accomplished using a process that combines physics, math, chemistry, and biology to create a strategy for inspecting, examining, and testing materials for flaws, defects, and more. Starfire’s patented Centurion® system is being used for the rapid detection of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in groundwater and soil samples and quantification at the ppt level to meet stringent EPA and EU standards. Starfire is a multi-disciplinary deep technology company leveraging technical depth in many fields. The team consists of several PhDs in nuclear, plasma, radiological and electrical engineering, as well as engineers from electrical, mechanical, aerospace and material science.

Starfire’s patented IMPULSE® product has revolutionized thin-film coatings by providing precision engineering of materials at the atomic scale. Their technology is used in the manufacture of photovoltaic, superconductor, fuel cell and battery storage systems—as well as coatings on full-length nuclear fuel rods to increase strength, corrosion resistance and accident tolerance under an SBIR project with the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy and Westinghouse.

“The new facility will give us the space for a pilot in-line production system to process the long and difficult to handle nuclear fuel cladding”, says Starfire VP/CTO Robert Stubbers. “The combination of engineering, processing, QA/QC testing and distribution space is advantageous.”

Starfire develops solutions to solve challenging problems, moving ideas from the whiteboard to production. They work with a variety of federal and international organizations on innovative research & development and with a broad spectrum of global companies on products and services to meet their demanding applications.

“Starfire Industries is truly a homegrown success story, and one we’re proud to celebrate,” said Carly McCrory-McKay, executive director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “This story is a testament to what’s possible in Champaign County and the state of Illinois. Under Brian’s leadership, the company has grown from a startup to a large-scale manufacturing facility. We’re grateful for their continued investment in our community and we look forward to supporting their growth.”

“We are so delighted that the Starfire team chose to stay in Champaign and continue to grow their company where it began,” stated City of Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen.

Since graduating from the EnterpriseWorks startup incubator at University of Illinois Research Park in 2009, Starfire Industries has grown from concept research & development to manufacturing plasma sources, neutron generators and high-voltage power supplies for a range of industries. They will soon move from their existing Champaign location, a 14,000 square foot facility in University of Illinois Research Park, to an impressive 194,000 square foot technology center. The 3310 N. Duncan Road expansion will enable greater on-site collaborative partnerships, direct services to end-users under strategic supplier agreements, manufacturing and global distribution.

“Starfire is a stellar example of the deep tech innovation that emerges from scientists at the University of Illinois and that remains in Champaign County for the tech and engineering talent needed to fuel its continued growth,” said Laura Appenzeller, UI Research Park Executive Director. “We are so grateful to have launched their small business at the Research Park and thank the founders for their perseverance, innovation, and dedication to their employees.”

The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2023.

About Starfire Industries, LLC:

Founded by Brian Jurczyk, PhD MBA, and Robert Stubbers, PhD, Starfire Industries LLC is a “deep technology” company focused on nuclear and plasma technologies for demanding applications. Starfire produces the nGen® and Centurion® ultra-compact particle accelerators used for medical therapy, environmental sensing, nuclear security, and non-destructive imaging.  Starfire produces the IMPULSE® and RADION™ pulsed power plasma sources and systems used for nuclear fuel fabrication, superconductor coatings, semiconductor EUV lithography, lightweight electric vehicle assembly, high-temperature aerospace materials, and thin-film deposition and etching applications.

Their industry-changing solutions are designed, manufactured, and delivered from their headquarters in Champaign, Illinois to end-users across six continents and Earth orbit. Learn more at




Growing Champaign tech company moving to larger building, The News-Gazette

Starfire Industries announces expansion in Champaign, WCIA 3 News

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