May 18, 2011

Research park board conducts annual meeting

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Seating of new members, selection of officers and discussion of ongoing successes and current and future noteworthy developments highlighted the annual meeting of the Southern Illinois Research Park Board at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Dennis “Dutch” Doelitzsch, chairman and CEO of the Bank of Marion, is a former board member now returning to serve again after his recent appointment by the SIU Board of Trustees. A lifelong entrepreneur, Doelitzsch founded 3-D Communications Corp. and WDDD FM radio station at the age of 23, later creating Channel 27 Inc. as well. His career includes operating a number of radio stations and a property management company, as well as serving in several banking organizations and being active in civic activities. The founder and chairman of the Regional Economic Development Corporation, Doelitzsch, of Marion, is a double alumnus of SIUC, earning his bachelor’s in radio/television and his master’s in telecommunications at the University.

Duane Stucky, senior vice president for finance and administration at SIU and SIU Board of Trustees treasurer, also joined the Southern Illinois Research Park Board. Prior to his arrival at SIUC in 2003, Stucky served in several leadership roles at universities throughout the Midwest. He was vice president for finance and administration at Middle Tennessee State and during his tenure at the University of Missouri, was responsible for development of four research parks.

The research park board chose Curtis Baird once again as its chairman. Baird is currently chairman of TH(i)NQ Ed (formerly the School Center) and CEO of Neon Internet. Baird, of Murphysboro, is the founder of four successful technology businesses.

Vice chairman is Rex Budde, CEO of Southern Illinois Healthcare, while Mike Kearney, economic development manager for Ameren UE Corp., remains as secretary and John Dosier, president of First Southern Bank, continues as treasurer.

Also currently serving on the Southern Illinois Research Park Board are: SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng; John Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and graduate dean at SIUC; Mary Kay Moore, former board chair and former co-owner and CEO of the Center for Comprehensive Services; Curt Jones, founder and CEO of Dippin’Dots; and Allen Gill, Carbondale city manager.

It is a busy and exciting time for the Southern Illinois Research Park, according to Kyle Harfst, executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park corporation. The park will soon open its own shared equipment research lab, featuring incubators, freezers, ovens and a wide assortment of laboratory equipment that individuals or businesses may rent on a short-term basis for research and development purposes.

Harfst anticipates lab completion this summer and said clients will be able to rent space by the semester or for shorter periods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Delta Regional Authority and the SIUC Small Business Incubator are providing funding for the project.

Another, more visible project is well under way, too. Construction of a new interior roadway is progressing, with summer completion anticipated. Heavy equipment is currently in place constructing a bridge for the roadway, located directly across from Saluki Football Stadium.

Harfst indicated that a $1 million federal appropriation through the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, acquired through the efforts of Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, is providing the majority of the project funding. Hurst-Roche of Hillsboro designed the roadway and E.T. Simonds of Carbondale is the general contractor with the Illinois Department of Transportation coordinating the construction project.

The roadway will provide a direct connection from the Southern Illinois Research Park to the central part of campus and encourage further development along U.S. 51, according to Harfst. By early next year private developers will be funding and constructing a new building on the site, offering space to new and existing research park tenants, Harfst said. The new building, anticipated at 15,000 square feet, will be east of the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center.

The ongoing development of the research park, combined with an increased emphasis on campus research, will expand the economic impact of the University in the region, Cheng said.

“This past year was our biggest in total research grants and contracts on campus. We anticipate this will translate into additional commercialization activity. Southern Illinois Research Park will be ale to provide support for this growth,” Cheng said.

For more information about the Southern Illinois Research Park and the opportunities prospective or new businesses will find there, contact Harfst at 618/453-3427 or by email at