CHICAGO, Nov. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago's leading digital hub, 1871 today announced that Howard Tullman will become its new CEO. Mr. Tullman succeeds Kevin Willer, a founder of Google's Chicago office, who successfully led the organization over the past two years and left the role in June. 1871 is the flagship project of the CEC, the 501c3 non-profit committed to supporting, promoting and growing the startup community in Chicago. Tullman will report into Jim O'Connor Jr. and Bryant Keil, the co-chairmen of the CEC Board of Directors. Mr. O'Connor has assumed the role of interim CEO since Willer's departure.
"The selection committee set a very high bar for the 1871 role," said Bryant Keil, co-chairman of the CEC Board of Directors. "We recognized that this is an important role not only as a leader for 1871, but also as a visionary for the broader startup community in Chicago. Howard is a proven entrepreneur who exemplifies everything that we were looking for and we couldn't be happier that he has agreed to take 1871's success to the next level."
"Howard's appointment to 1871 serves as an example of what we call "Chicagoness," whereby people launch and grow great companies, have successes, and then come back to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs as the cycle continues," added Jim O'Connor Jr., co-chairman of the CEC Board of Directors.
Howard Tullman's reputation as an entrepreneur is legendary both in Chicago and nationally. He founded CCC Information Services nearly 33 years ago and since then, the company has created thousands of jobs nationally and in Chicago. Mr. Tullman was also an initial investor and the long-time Board Chairman of The Cobalt Group, which was sold to ADP for more than $300 million in 2010. In addition, Tullman is responsible for saving Kendall College by bringing it to Chicago and turning it into one of the Top 3 culinary schools in the U.S. And most recently, Tullman is known as the founding CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, which reinvented and reinvigorated high-end vocational training in the digital media arts, and which has graduated more than a thousand students since 2007.
"1871 is the heart of Illinois' thriving startup community, and I cannot think of a more experienced innovator and visionary leader than Howard Tullman to ensure its continued success," Governor Quinn said. "As a lifelong entrepreneur, Howard knows what Chicago's best and brightest need to push the innovation boundaries further than ever before."
"Howard Tullman is the perfect person to take 1871 to the next level," said Mayor Emanuel. "1871 is a global model as an entrepreneurial hub and has had a strong impact on innovation in Chicago. Under Howard's leadership, 1871 will be a primary engine to help Chicago achieve the goal I set out last month to double our tech economy over the next ten years and add 40,000 new jobs. Our tech industry relies on four pillars – a strong entrepreneurial spirit, access to talent, venture capital, and physical spaces for innovation. In each of these areas, 1871 has already made a huge impact. As an accomplished business leader and entrepreneur, Howard will help grow our technology economy in the future, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new role."
"Howard Tullman is not only one of Chicago's most successful, prolific tech entrepreneurs, but he is also a prominent voice on the national stage," said J.B. Pritzker, managing partner of Pritzker Group and 1871 founder. "His experience as a visionary business builder and an educator makes him the obvious leader of Chicago's newly energized startup community. Howard helps 1871 gain greater traction as the flagship entrepreneurial center in the nation."
Added Larry Levy, founder and chairman of Levy Restaurants, "Howard is a proven entrepreneur and a great Chicagoan whose successes are many. I am confident that his vision will lead 1871 toward new and exciting directions that will benefit the city's next generation of business leaders."
1871 opened its doors in May of 2012. Since then, it has become a local, national and global model that is known for providing ground breaking programming, thousands of hours of mentorship from leading entrepreneurs, hands on training and physical space to digital entrepreneurs. It is also the home to two incubators including the nationally recognized Tech Stars Chicago. In its first year, 1871 has been host to local, national and international leaders including Steve Ballmer, Steve Case, Dick Costolo, Brad Feld and David Cameron. More than 240 companies work out of 1871. Those businesses have attracted $40 million in investment capital and created more than 800 jobs, which have already contributed an estimated $15 million to the Illinois economy.
"There is an entrepreneurial renaissance in Chicago and 1871 is at the center of it," said Howard Tullman, incoming CEO of 1871. "As a serial entrepreneur for more than 40 years, I can honestly say that there has been no more exciting time to be part of a startup organization in Chicago than today."
1871 is an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. Located in the famed Merchandise Mart, the 50,000-square-foot facility provides Chicago startups with programming, access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that help them on their path to building successful businesses. 1871 is the flagship project of the CEC.
About the CEC
The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) is a 501c3 committed to the mission of supporting entrepreneurs and promoting entrepreneurship in Chicago. Its flagship project, 1871, fulfills its vision of a central address for tech entrepreneurs in Chicago.
SOURCE Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center