Archive for ‘News’ Category


Socks never lose their solemate with Rockford couple’s new product

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

ROCKFORD — Tracie and Glen Burress have turned their solution to a vexing laundry problem into an entrepreneurial adventure. And now they need your help.

In June, the husband-and-wife team won the $5,000 prize for the Stateline FastPitch Competition for local entrepreneurs with sockTABs, a product that’s similar in size to a cuff link and keeps socks together from the hamper to the washer to the dryer so that each one of your socks never loses its “sole” mate.

The Burresses recently found a California company to manufacture their product. Today, four local retailers sell sockTABs and Tracie is in talks with Bed Bath & Beyond and Target to carry the product, too.

Even more exciting, the Burresses have made it to the second round of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a show that has aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of accomplished businesspeople in hopes of winning an investment. To impress the “Shark Tank” judges, the Burresses are counting on Rockford to buy sockTABs so they can demonstrate strong sales volume.

They’ll find out by early December whether their progress is good enough to land them a spot on the show’s seventh season, which would air in the fall of 2015.

Click here for the complete article.

Local Family Unveils SockTABs

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – If throwing socks in the laundry machine seems daunting, a Rockford family is looking to help us with that.

Glen and Tracie Burress have unveiled SockTABs.

They’re clips to keep pairs together while they’re being cleaned. The Burress family says they can also be used as a fashion accessory like cufflinks for socks. SockTABs was the creation that one this year’s Fast Pitch competition, a local entrepreneur contest.

“Wherever you take your socks off, you simply tab them together before they go through the mystery of the hamper, the washing machine, or the dryer and that way they will continue to be together, like the happy sock couple they were intended to be,” said co-creator Tracie Burress.

Negotiations are underway to put SockTABs into some major retailers. To find out where you can get SockTABs now or for more information about the product, click on the attached related link.

Click here to view coverage of the event.

New Product Release, Rockford’s Own sockTABs

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014


Award-winning Entrepreneur Unveils Simple Solution to Everyday Household Problem

Rockford, IL (October 24, 2014) – The Burress family, creator of the original sockTABs ™, will announce the formal release of their ingenious pairing device at a press conference to be held at EIGERlab on Wednesday, October 29, at 10 a.m.

American-made sockTABs provide a simple solution to an everyday household problem: the infamous “sock monster!”

Tracie is proud to share that she’s completed the second round of ABC’s Shark Tank. To impress the Shark Tank judges—knock their socks off, so to speak—she is now counting on buyers in the Rockford Region to support this product with great sales volume. She’d love to bring positive, national exposure to Rockford while obtaining capital to grow. sockTABs are currently available for purchase at b jones Boutique, Crimson Ridge, Porch, Tom Harmer and; retail price, just $9.99 for 24 tabs. Currently, negotiations are underway with major retailers in the region—expect to announce partnership in the near future. The tabs not only pair socks but also serve as a stylish fashion accessory, like cufflinks for socks.

Click here for the complete press release.

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