Archive for ‘News’ Category


EIGERlab’s October 2014 Newsletter | Area’s first 80/20 Boot Camp

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

pes 2Special Invitation

Join us for the area’s first 80/20 two-day boot camp

EIGERlab is bringing Management Resource Group and Profit Enhancement Solutions to the table for a thought-provoking boot camp to help you increase your profitability and target your growth. Hear how successful companies have changed the way they look at their businesses and dramatically changed their outcomes…more money, more time, more satisfaction, and more fun.

80% of your sales come from 20% of your products and customers. 80% of your supplies come from 20% of your vendors. 20% of your employees give you 80% of your productivity.

But, what do you do with that information? How do you use it to change your business, your sales, your profits, and your life? Learn how to utilize this process and create an action plan to improve your bottom-line with the 80/20 principal.

Who should attend: Company Influencers 

- CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, President

When: Monday-Tuesday, November 3-4, 2014

Where: Anderson Gardens, Rockford, IL | Meals will be provided

Space is limited. To learn how to make more, reserve your spot today. RSVP to: For more information, phone 815.316.6357.

Cost: Depending upon the size of the firm, the workshop generally runs $5,000-

$6,000, but 50% of the total cost will be subsidized by a Chase Foundation Grant.

For the complete newsletter, click here.

EIGERlab’s August 2014 Newsletter | No Risk, No Reward, 2014 Inventor’s Convention

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Adrian Vasquez and George Foreman at the 2014 INPEX Convention

Adrian Vasquez and George Foreman at the 2014 INPEX Convention

After Adrian Vasquez, inventor of the NZ3 hair product, won second place in the 2013FastPitch Competition, he set his sights on a higher prize: being accepted to participate in the Invention and New Product Exposition (INPEX)-the world’s largest invention trade show. INPEX provides a forum for inventors to exhibit their inventions and pitch their ideas with companies interested in licensing, marketing and manufacturing their new products.

Since he met so many key individuals, including representatives from QVC, SkyMall Magazine, a broker in the beauty industry who is interested in handling his products exclusively, and George Foreman of George Foreman Cooking Products, Adrian shared, “It was worth every mile.”

For the complete newsletter, click here.

EIGERlab announces a new networking event for the IT community: Geek Breakfast

Monday, July 14th, 2014

EIGERlab is launching a new networking group for IT  professionals in Rockford

Since May 2013, EIGERlab has been developing initiatives to develop an already vibrant information technology (IT) business sector in the Rockford region.  EIGERlab announces a new networking event for the IT community:  Geek Breakfast.  Geek Breakfast began in Nashville, TN.  The Rockford Geek Breakfast is a monthly community-driven meeting for local (and visiting) technology-minded people. Each month attendees congregate, order some breakfast in a social environment and discuss topics like social media, digital marketing, design, programming, apps, open data and ways to better our community.

EIGERlab will host their Geek Breakfast, the fourth Wednesday of every month, 7:30am – 8:30am @ Aunt Mary’s, 4431 E State Street, Rockford, IL, 61108.  The first gathering will be August 27, 2014.  To register, please go to

“Amazing ideas are created when like-minded individuals have the opportunity to relax and brainstorm,” said Dan Cataldi, Executive Director EIGERlab.  “We want to provide as many opportunities for the talented people in our region to drive the development of this business sector.”

The EIGERlab IT initiative has four goals:

  1. Develop and market a brand which establishes the Rockford region as a thriving IT business community to attract more professionals, start-ups and existing businesses to the community.
  2. Establish a strong connected community of IT professionals within the Rockford region in order to:
    1. Ensure employers have a diverse group of IT professionals from which to recruit employees and avoid recruiting employees from other local employers.
    2. Demonstrate to potential recruits from other communities that Rockford is a place where they will find like-minded professionals.
    3. Demonstrate to potential start-ups and existing companies that if deciding between Rockford and another region, Rockford has the professionals with the expertise and experience to build a strong business.
  3. Facilitate resources which assist IT employers in overcoming barriers to growth, which may include:
    1. Aligning the educational requirements of employers with that of the regional educational institutions.
    2. Bringing collective resources of employers together to establish continuing educational opportunities within the region for which their employees would normally have to travel.
    3. Providing outreach to assist with recruiting new professionals into the region as well as stop the flow of local professionals that leave the region for employment opportunities.
  4. Develop a passionate group of civic leaders and technologists focused on better connecting government to citizens through OpenData and technology.

Business & Community Development Division (BCD) of Blackhawk Technical College Roll Out FastTrack CNC Training

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Business and Community Development Division (BCD) of Blackhawk Technical College has teamed with several Wisconsin interests and EigerLab of Rockford for a six-week CNC Machine Operator training program for 10 unemployed or underemployed participants in BTC’s district.

The program, which began June 23rd at the Career and Technical Education facility at Beloit Memorial High School, represents a collaborative effort between BCD, the Southwest Wisconsin Development Board, Beloit Memorial High School, Community Action, Manpower Government Solutions and other public and private entities

EIGERlab, respected in the region for its Fast Track development programs in collaboration with education, business and government, developed the curriculum for the training program.

According to Dan Cataldi, Executive Director of EigerLab, “Development of our TechWorks CNC curriculum was guided by our employer advisory council and provides an intense 6 week CNC training program and national credential. In the last three years, we have produced over 200 credentialed CNC machine operators for regional employers and are excited to be partnering with Blackhawk Technical College to do the same for Southern Wisconsin.”

The program entails critical job readiness and soft skill training in addition to technical training in shop math, blueprint reading, GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing), and CNC machining.

Participants who complete the program will receive industry-recognized National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentials in CNC Machining and in Measurement, Material and Safety.

Participants who qualified for this training have undergone extensive testing in Work Keys assessments for reading, math and research skills, plus background checks and drug screening.

BCD would like to thank Tricia Conway at the AT&T Foundation, Greater Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce, area employers Blackhawk Transport, Cotta Transmission, DuPont, Fairbanks Morse, Regal Beloit, plus Wisconsin representatives Deb Kolste, Amy Loudenbeck and Janis Ringhand for their guidance, feedback and support during the development stage of the project.

For additional information on this or any of BCD’s customized training programs and workshops for business and industry, please contact Doug Holmes, BTC Training and Consulting Services Manager at 608-743-4597 or, or visit our website at

EIGERlab’s July 2014 Newsletter | Prescient Audio speaker sales launch | FastPitch Competition wrap up

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Paul Niedermann designing his disruptive technology speakers | Photo credit RRS

Prescient Audio Speaker Sales Launch

TD12Pro Loudspeakers | Disruptive speaker technology hand built in Rockford, IL USA!

Space. The final audio frontier.ThinDriver™  Technology Boldly Fits High Quality Audio Performance Where it Has Never Fit Before

Prescient Audio is proud to share that their speakers, the “thinnest, lightest and coolest subwoofer in the universe,” are now available for purchase at

If ultimate mobile audio drives you, let Prescient Audio’s TD12 and TD12 Pro ThinDriver™ subwoofer loudspeakers fill your car with low bass sound without filling your trunk with large, unsightly speaker boxes!  Prescient Audio’s innovative ThinDriver™  technology offers incredible true, accurate bass performance and balanced sound from a design that fits inside most automobile trunks while leaving plenty of room to accommodate the plunder of a shopping trip or luggage for a getaway weekend. The strong box enclosure of the TD12 Pro assures you of the proper bass performance as well as protection of the TD12 subwoofer itself.  The TD12 Pro(pictured above) is perfect for SUVs, pickup trucks or any car with a traditional trunk!


2014 CES Award for Prescient Audio’s ThinDriver™ patent pending technology!














For the complete newsletter, click here.

SockTABs wins business contest

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

ROCKFORD — Tracie Burress came up with a solution for the age-old problem of mismatched socks.

Burress, of Rockford, was one of 12 finalists in the FastPitch business idea competition held last week at the UIC College of Medicine in Rockford, and her SockTABs product was the winner. The SockTABs clip socks together as they go through the washing machine.

The competition, which is similar to the hit TV show Shark Tank, has budding entrepreneurs try to sell their business idea to a panel of judges. The competition was held June 18 and was made possible by EIGERlab, Rock Valley College, Rockford Area Economic Development Council and Stateline Angels.

For the complete article, click on the link below.

On the job | Gordy Blaisdell sings the praises of manufacturing

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014


On the job

Gordy Blaisdell sings the praises of manufacturing

Gordy Blaisdell has worked for some of the great names of Rockford’s glorious manufacturing history: Estwing Manufacturing (still here), Rockford Clutch (part of what is called GKN Rockford in Loves Park), Pacific Scientific (no longer here).

Now he’s working “more hours than ever,” training the next generation of manufacturing workers through TechWorks, a workforce training program at EIGERlab, 605 Fulton Ave., Rockford.

Blaisdell, a 1971 Guilford High School graduate who received advanced training at Rock Valley College in the 1990s, trains eight people every six weeks in an accelerated course to become entry-level machine setup operators.

“From there, they can end up becoming an engineer or computer numerical controlled machine specialist or a metallurgist. We say manufacturing like it means one thing. There are thousands of career paths you can take once you’ve learned the basics.”

Rockford has been a center for manufacturing for more than 150 years. According to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics, nearly 28 percent of the nonfarm payroll goes to manufacturing employees in Boone and Winnebago counties. The state says more than 31,000 people in the Rock River Valley work in manufacturing, and the area isn’t producing enough new workers to replace the wave of pending retirees.

“We need to get the message out that this isn’t some hum-drum job for people who can’t do anything else. We need the best and the brightest students in math and science because we program the robots that build million-dollar machines. And we do that work here in Rockford.”

– Alex Gary

8th Annual FastPitch Competition Wrap up

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

fastpitch-logoAn awesome celebration of human ingenuity and Rockford’s entrepreneurial spirit”

Yesterday’s FastPitch Competition was a phenomenal success! Thirty plus entrepreneurs put everything on the line while attempting to convey why their product, service or idea was more worthy than their fellow competitors.

Twelve finalists made the stage vying for five cash prizes. The winner, Tracie Burress solves an age-old problem with her SockTABs product; combating the “Sock Monster!” Tracie stated, “SockTABs is a small and discreet pairing system designed to combat the Sock Monster, which alleviates the misery and frustration that we’ve all experienced in keeping our socks and their mates together.”

Second place winner, Casey Bankord’s product is SlimBooks. An online platform for people to read, create, discover, and contribute to brilliant, original, and digital books that are 100 pages or less. After the event, Casey said, “Thanks for putting on such a great event last night! It was really well planned and executed, and what an awesome celebration of human ingenuity and Rockford’s entrepreneurial spirit. It was a blast to be a part of! Keep up the great work!”

Stacy McCaskill took third place with FishWithMe. She shared that her goal is to capture just a minute portion of the $50 billion dollar market of underutilized fishing assets. Stacy shared, “GREAT JOB pulling off an excellent event. I really had a great time and learned a lot from the experience.”

Erin Hughes won the student prize with her Adjustable Server product, and Robert Haney clenched the CleanTech award with his product, Soletronix.

Keynote speaker, author Joe Abraham, shared his entrepreneurial wisdom at length to inspire startups and existing businesses that have plateaued and are looking for a game-changing paradigm shift. He encourages anyone who is interested to take the 10 question assessment to delve deeper into a business owners’ entrepreneurial DNA. Anyone who is interested in completing the entrepreneurial DNA assessment can contact the EIGERlab.

The finalists included: Craig Gundersen, 1st Table; Zina Horton, Zammuto’s Drive In and Carry Out; Tom Keenan, Cool Seat Coolers; Eric Kinzle, Family Advocate Mobile app.; Tony LaMarca, Metro Tool & Machine; Brad Marshall, AdsOrTails; Judy Reinhold, Kaliber Imaging; and Richard Walsh, AnvilWorks High Velocity Training.

This event was made possible by the EIGERlab, Rock Valley College, Rockford Area Economic Development Council, StateLine Angels, and our fabulous sponsors: Alpine Bank, Behr Iron & Metal, Catalyst Business Solutions, Centric Advisory Group, City of Rockford, Colorlab Cosmetics, Growth Dimensions, Leading Edge Hydraulics, IL Small Business Development Center at RVC, IL Procurement Technical Assistance Center at RVC, Northern Illinois Renewable Energy Summit & Expo,Rockford Area REALTORS, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Rockford Bank & Trust, Rockford Local Development Corporation, Savant Capital Management, Seward Screw Products, Sikich, Stillman Bank,
Universal Die Cast, WilliamsMcCarthy & Winnebago County.

Competition Highlights Local Entrepreneurs

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — Entrepreneurs from all over the Stateline showed off their inventions and products as part of Fastpitch 2014.

The event hosted by Eigerlab highlights local entrepreneurs and gives them exposure to the public.

The competitions drew 36 entrants. That number was higher than last year.

The event is called Fastpitch because each entrant has three minutes to pitch their business or product in order to win a prize.

Eigerlab says the numbers may of people competing may indicate local entrepreneurship is holding steady.

“We have very passionate entrepreneurs,” said Eigerlab’s Sherri Pritz. “They are trying to take that next step.”

This years $5,000 grand prize winners were Tracie and Glendon Burress. They pitched their product sockTabs. They’re plastic tabs that hold our socks together when you’re not using them even while they’re being washed.

Casey Bankord took second place with SlimBooks.

Stacy McCaskill took third place with Fish With Me.

Robert Haney with Soletronix won this year’s CleanTech award.

Erin Hughes won this year’s student award with Adjustable Servers.

To view the FastPitch Competition video coverage, click on the link below.

Laundry problem-solver product wins Rockford FastPitch top prize

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

ROCKFORD — A husband-and-wife team marketing a solution to a pesky laundry problem took home the top prize Wednesday at the Stateline FastPitch Competition.

SockTabs won $5,000 at the contest, which spotlights entrepreneurs. Tracie and Glen Burress of Rockford pitched the product, which is similar in size to a cuff link and aims to keep socks together from the hamper to the washer to the dryer to combat the “Sock Monster.”

For the complete article, click on the link below.