What is TEC?

The Technology Entrepreneur Center [TEC] provides students and faculty with the skills, resources, and experiences necessary to become successful innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders who tackle grand challenges and change the world.


Photo of Andrew Singer
Director, TEC

    Prof. Singer received the S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees, all in electrical engineering and computer science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 1998, he has been on the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is currently a Professor in the ECE department and the Coordinated Science Laboratory. During the academic year 1996, he was a Postdoctoral Research Affiliate in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT. From 1996 to 1998, he was a Research Scientist at Sanders, A Lockheed Martin Company in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he designed algorithms, architectures and systems for a variety of DOD applications. His research interests include signal processing and communication systems. He was a Hughes Aircraft Masters Fellow, and was the recipient of the Harold L. Hazen Memorial Award for excellence in teaching in 1991. In 2000, he received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, in 2001 he received the Xerox Faculty Research Award, and in 2002 was named a Willett Faculty Scholar. Dr. Singer has served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing and is a member of the MIT Educational Council, and of Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

    In 2005, Prof. Singer was appointed as the Director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) in the College of Engineering. He also co-founded Intersymbol Communications, Inc., a venture-funded fabless semiconductor IC company, based in Champaign Illinois. A developer of signal processing enhanced chips for ultra-high speed optical communications systems, Intersymbol was acquired by Finisar Corporation (NASD:FNSR) in 2007. Prof. Singer serves on the board of directors of a number of technology companies and as an expert witness for electronics, communications, and circuit-related technologies.

    Prof. Singer enjoys many forms of outdoor sports, including competing in triathlons and marathons. He has competed at all distances from sprint and olympic distance triathlons to ultra-marathons and the Ironman triathlon.

    An electronic copy of his CV is available.

    (217) 244-9263
    Photo of Jennifer Marie Bechtel
    Program Director

      Jennifer Bechtel is the Program Director for the Innovation Living-Learning Community. She helps to connect students living in the community with the ample resources available on campus and elsewhere in Champaign-Urbana so that they may better achieve their personal goals. She is a former theatre educator with extensive leadership experience at the Champaign-Urbana youth theatre community. She also co-wrote the screenplay for the feature film Leading Ladies and wrote and directed the feature film Scary Normal, which premiered at the MBLGTAC Conference in Lansing, Michigan and is now playing at festivals and events internationally.

      (217) 244-4850
      Photo of Terry Wayne Cole, Jr
      Assistant Director of Academic Programs & Academic Advisor

        Terry bleeds Orange and Blue! His road to the College of Engineering and TEC began in 1995 as a student athlete with the Illinois football team. Since that time, Terry has worn several hats on campus. He learned the Machinist trade and spent 8 years working in the Facilities and Services Machine Shop. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Sports and Tourism (RST) and a Master’s degree in Education Policy Organization & Leadership Studies. While attending the University as a graduate student, Terry worked with the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) as a Graduate Mentor and Academic Program Support Specialist. Terry has also spent time as a football coach in Champaign and credits that experience as fueling his passion for working with college students and helping them achieve their academic goals! Along with Advising students, Terry is passionate about Sports, Music, and spending time with his family.

        (217) 300-3049
        Photo of Ashley  Hipsher
        Marketing Coordinator

          Ashley Hipsher is the Marketing Coordinator for the Technology Entrepreneur Center. She joined TEC in June 2015, and her responsibilities include providing marketing support to TEC faculty and staff through program marketing, evaluation, event planning and coordination. Ashley plays a vital role in social media design, development and implementation of social media campaigns used to increase awareness of the Technology Entrepreneur Center and their programs and events both on and off campus. Ashley enjoys working with passionate students who are determined to turn their idea into something more—and the resources TEC can provide to turn their dream into a reality.


          Ashley graduated from Illinois State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Public Relations. She plans to return to school to get her masters degree in the near future.


          In her spare time, Ashley enjoys do-it-yourself projects, following her favorite sports teams, binge watching Netflix shows, shopping and spending time with her friends and family, especially her husband, Nick and their sons, Weston, Nash and Beau.

          (217) 244-7763
          Photo of Amy Koester
          Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator

            Amy Koester is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator at TEC. She joined TEC in August 2015. She tackles all kinds of design projects from logos and flyers to social media graphics and brochures. As Project Coordinator, Amy’s responsibilities include playing a major role in organizing and running the Celebrating High School Innovators program, website maintenance and working on a variety of projects to help support the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus.

            Prior to working at TEC, Amy served as Program Coordinator at iFoundry (The Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education). Amy has a background in freelance graphic design, teaching art classes, and event planning. Many years ago, she also worked as a graphic designer for the Illini Union. Amy has a BFA in Graphic Design from Brigham Young University.

            Outside of work, Amy is a voracious reader, participates in on-going volunteer work, and enjoys international cuisine, flower gardening, and needlework. She also loves spending time with her husband Eric, and their children Aaron, Sophia and Dillon.

            (217) 300-0074
            Photo of Stephanie Marie Larson
            Assistant Director of Student Programs and Marketing

              Stephanie Larson is the Assistant Director of Student Programs and Marketing at the Technology Entrepreneur Center. She joined TEC in March 2008, and her responsibilities include program marketing and evaluation, coordinating public relations efforts and logistics of TEC programs and events and communicating with local media, students, partners, alumni and the UI community. The thing she enjoys most about working at TEC is the passion the students and her co-workers share about entrepreneurship and innovation.

              Prior to working at TEC, Stephanie worked on numerous grassroots marketing and event marketing campaigns. She even spent a year of her life driving a giant 22 foot Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mobile from coast to coast. She worked with many clients such as Kellogg's, Nike, Yellowtail Wine, Florida Department of Citrus, Home Depot, Kraft Foods, Cadillac and Sprint in a variety of marketing capacities.

              Stephanie graduated from the University of Illinois in 1998 with a B.S. in Advertising & Communications. She plans on returning for her M.B.A. in the next year or two.

              In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys reading, exploring different culinary cuisines, travel, movies, arts and crafts and is now learning the joy of gardening. She just joined the Monticello community with her husband, Scott and their sons, Ander and Atwood.

              (217) 265-5456
              Photo of Jed L. Taylor
              Director of Operations, TEC

                Jed Taylor is the Director of Operations at TEC.  In addition to his work at TEC he also works with startup companies as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Enterprise Works in the Research Park.  Before joining TEC, Jed was the first employee and the Director of Sales at Pattern Insight -- a startup out of the Computer Science Department.

                Jed has a B.S. in Computer Science from Utah State University, an M.S. in Computer Science and an MBA from the University of Illinois.

                (217) 244-4035
                Photo of Peggy Wells
                Office Manager

                  Peggy Wells is the Office Manager for the Technology Entrepreneur Center.  She joined TEC in April, 2015 and her responsibilities include handling travel and reimbursements for the ICORPS teams, assisting the fantastic staff of TEC with the numerous experiences that TEC offers to the students interested in their own ventures and innovations, and handling the day to day operations of the busy office.

                  Peggy has been with the University of Illinois for 10 years and was most recently the office manager for the communications group in Coordinated Science Lab.  She was also the grad secretary at Philosophy and Materials Science and Engineering.

                  She is a life-long resident of Bement where she lives with her husband Bob and puppy Cooper.  They have four children and four grandchildren.   Besides adoring her husband, children and grandchildren, Peggy enjoys playing the piano, traveling, reading, and watching the St. Louis Cardinals and Illinois basketball.

                  (217) 244-2646


                  Photo of Camille Antonia Garcia
                  Photography Intern

                    Camille is a sophomore at the University of Illinois on track to graduate in the Spring of 2019 from the College of Media. Her interests include innovation and entrepreneurship and she pursues these interests by majoring in Advertising with a double-minor in Public Relations and Business. On campus, Camille is an active member of Illinois Enactus, CUBE Consulting Junior Enterprise, and the Student Fee Advisory Committee/Tuition Policy Advisory Committee. Aside from Camille’s passion for photography and entrepreneurship, she is an avid Netflix binge-watcher and foodie!

                    Photo of Kyra Gabrielle Lavalais
                    Marketing and Event Intern

                      Kyra Lavalais is a junior in the College of Business studying Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, and pursing a minor in the Hoeft Technology & Management Program. Creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship are Kyra’s greatest passions. Mentorship and community service are also a huge part of her life. Kyra is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Gamma Chapter. She is also the Vice President of CORE (Creating Opportunities, Recognizing Excellence), a mentorship organization aimed to support freshman and transfer students throughout their college careers. Kyra enjoys brainstorming solutions to everyday problems, reading about absolutely anything, and listening to music. 

                      Photo of Rebecca Ann Sweeney
                      Marketing and Event Intern

                        Rebecca is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Marketing and is also on the Pre-Medicine track. She loves learning about the newest innovations in medicine and has a deep admiration for entrepreneurship. On campus, she is a member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity and Illini Student Musicals. In her spare time she enjoys performing, rollerblading, hanging out with her roommates, or binge watching Netflix. 

                        Technology Entrepreneur Center

                        Engineering at Illinois

                        351 Coordinated Science Lab, MC-228
                        1308 W. Main Street
                        Urbana, IL 61801

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