CHICAGO, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) announced today that Michael W. Ferro, Jr., founder and CEO of Click Commerce, Inc., has been named the CEC's new co-chairman. He joins co-chairman James O'Connor Jr., vice president of Motorola, to lead the CEC's board of directors. Mr. Ferro replaces outgoing co-chairman Andrew McKenna, Jr., president of Schwarz Paper. "I am extremely proud to be named co-chair of the CEC and honored to follow in the footsteps of Mr. McKenna," said Ferro. "Creating and building a successful company requires passion, hard work, and a desire to make a difference. I am looking forward to helping area entrepreneurs realize their dreams of owning a prosperous business." Since its founding in 1999, the CEC has experienced tremendous growth, including a 300 percent increase in budget and 100 percent increase in staff. Last year, the CEC served 1,200 entrepreneurs through consulting services, workshops and programs, and was responsible for nearly $30 million in new contracts. The CEC created 125 new jobs through its efforts, retained another 250 positions, and was responsible for more than $7 million in financing for its clients. "The CEC is at a pivotal stage in its growth, and Michael Ferro, a seasoned and successful entrepreneur, has the experience and know-how to help our organization make an even greater impact on the Chicagoland economy," said David Weinstein, CEC president. "Michael has lived and worked through the issues that our clients face on a daily basis and has a strong connection with the Chicagoland business community. Click Commerce and the other entrepreneurial ventures he has led throughout his career have enjoyed great success, and the CEC looks forward to benefiting from his strong leadership." Mr. Ferro was 28 years old when he started Click Commerce, and as CEO, he is responsible for the strategic direction and vision of the company. In the last nine years, he has led the Company from a small start-up to a financially strong, technologically competitive, multi-million dollar company that is positioned for future growth. Click Commerce's current standing as a profitable technology company is testament to Mr. Ferro's entrepreneurial spirit, conviction, and his ability to guide a business through tough economic times. Mr. Ferro is frequently recognized for his professional achievements and community activism. He has been awarded the CEO National Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Holocaust Memorial Foundation. Mr. Ferro has also received the KPMG Illinois High Tech Award and was listed as one of the top "40 Under 40" business leaders by Crain's Chicago Business. In addition to serving as Chairman and CEO of Click Commerce, Mr. Ferro is a director on the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Science and Industry, The Field Museum and the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and serves on the boards of the Northwestern Memorial Foundation, Big Shoulders Foundation, After School Matters, and the Illinois Math and Science Academy. He is a board member and current vice chairman of the Economics Club of Chicago and a board member of the Executive's Club of Chicago. Mr. Ferro is also a member of the Young Professionals Organization (YPO) and The Commercial Club of Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. About The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) is a nonprofit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. It seeks to make a perceptible and lasting economic impact on the Chicagoland region by helping entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses build viable, sustainable, and profitable enterprises. The CEC is the city and surrounding area's best connected, most resourceful, and fastest growing organization that works with entrepreneurs to create and sustain opportunities for business success, job growth, and profitability. About Click Commerce Click Commerce, Inc. (Nasdaq: CKCM) provides collaborative commerce solutions for sales and order management, supply chain management, service parts optimization, and compliance automation. Enterprises and institutions in the aerospace and defense, consumer product, distribution, financial services, higher education and health care, manufacturing, retail, telecom, and transportation industries utilize the Company's solutions. Click Commerce enables corporations such as Abbott Labs, Alaska Airlines, BAE Systems, Carrier, Cisco, Citibank, Dell, Delphi, Eastman Kodak, FedEx, Hewlett Packard, Home Shopping Network, Honda, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Pier 1, Ryder, Samsung, SBC Communications, Tellabs, Verizon, and Xerox, to coordinate and optimize business processes, accelerate revenue, lower costs, and improve customer service. Five of the top 10 research institutions in North America, including Johns Hopkins, University of Washington, and the University of Michigan, use the Company's compliance automation software to automate their regulatory compliance processes and manage research project approvals. More information can be found at http://www.clickcommerce.com .
SOURCE The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center