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Two-year tenure characterized by focus on innovation, dramatic organizational growth and increased chapter visibility in the greater Chicago business community.
The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) of Chicago today announced the resignation of Peter Balbus as Chapter Chair and President, positions he has held with that organization since 2005. During his tenure, the organization implemented a highly successful membership program, growing from zero to nearly 300 active members in less than 18 months.
He repositioned the chapter, which had previously focused on connecting early stage start-ups with funding sources, to embrace a more sophisticated theme of innovation management and entrepreneurial activity in enterprises of all sizes. He also launched the MITEF Chicago signature "Below the Radar" Innovation Recognition program. That program recognizes outstanding examples of innovation in five categories: business model innovation, design innovation, technology innovation, innovation management and product/service innovation.
Under his leadership, MITEF Chicago also broadened its base of support from the business community of Chicago, successfully negotiating and sustaining sponsor relationships with a diverse range of organizations, including host sponsor Drinker Biddle Gardner Carton LLP, the British Consulate-General of Chicago, Mitsubishi International, Schwartz Cooper Chartered, Hostway, PRWeb, Vericron Printing, Arc Technology Group and JASE Consulting.
In his resignation letter, Balbus underscored his commitment to developing a unique community that shared a common interest in innovation but encompassed a broad range of industries and functional roles. That community has attracted the attention and interest of business, government and academic leaders who see the MITEF organization as a unique and valuable component of the Chicago business ecosystem. NBC-TV Channel 5 technology reporter Art Norman described MITEF Chicago in a recent broadcast as "The place where the best and brightest minds meet in Chicago."
Joe Hadzima, Chairman and President of the MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc. described Balbus' efforts as "Herculean" in developing new programs and recruiting new volunteers and sponsors in the Chicago area. Under Balbus' leadership, the chapter went from "ground zero to the highest rated chapter (literally) in the world - not even Cambridge scored as high."
In outlining his contributions to the organization, Antoinette Muller, Executive Director of the MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc. praised Balbus' efforts, asserting, "There will never be a volunteer that puts in as much energy, hours, talent, hard work, and caring thought - I have always admired that about Peter. We will reap the benefits for years to come."
MITEF Chicago chapter vice chair and board member Scott Oldach, a former IBM senior executive and co-founder of IBM's Global Consulting Group, said of his association with Balbus, "It has been a real pleasure to work with and get to know Peter over the past two years through our volunteer activities at MITEF Chicago. I have been impressed by his ability to articulate a compelling vision of the organization's future and then enroll volunteers in the successful effort to achieve and surpass that vision through his passion for excellence, organizational management and individual coaching skills. He leaves behind shoes that will be very difficult to fill with a team of people, let alone a single successor."
Balbus' commitment to building an innovation community is grounded in his lifetime professional interest in innovation management - the confluence of business strategy and emerging technology commercialization. Following a 15-year career as a senior practitioner and practice leader for some of the world's most prominent consulting firms including KPMG Strategic Services, CSC Index and Booz Allen & Hamilton, he founded Pragmaxis, LLC a boutique consulting firm that specializes in helping senior executives define and implement open innovation programs in corporations of all sizes. As Managing Director of Pragmaxis, Balbus has recently narrowed the firm's focus to commercial applications of nanotechnology, including carbon nanotube materials and products, printed electronics and thin film coatings.
About MIT Enterprise Forum
The MIT Enterprise Forum of Chicago offers provocative ideas, management insights and professional networking opportunities to senior business leaders while showcasing MIT's contributions to innovation and entrepreneurship in business communities around the world.
The intent of the Forum is to serve as a focal point for members and event attendees to learn, exchange views and enhance their ability to manage innovation in its many forms.
Established in 1983, the Chicago chapter of MITEF is part of a network of 24 sister chapters established in major business communities worldwide. Membership and participation is open to the general public. No prior association with MIT is required.
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