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Board of Directors

Grant Brewen, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation

grant_brewenDr. Brewen became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation (BRDC) in Peoria, Illinois in 1988. He was responsible for guiding the start-up research and development consortium through its first years of operation, and has managed the corporation for the past fourteen years. Prior the BRDC, he worked for nine years at Allied Chemical Corporation (now Honeywell International) as Director of Biosciences in the Corporate Research and Development unit in Morristown, New Jersey. Dr. Brewen also worked at the Biology Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee from June, 1963 until February, 1979. During his tenure at Oak Ridge he spent a one year sabbatical in Canberra, Australia in 1967 and a six month sabbatical as Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley in 1977. Dr. Brewen was educated at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; B.A. 1961 (honors), Ph.D. 1963, in biology with a major in cell biology.

Thomas L. Churchwell
Managing Partner, Midwest Venture Partners, L.L.C.

churchwellsmallTom Churchwell is the founder and CEO of ViMedicus, Inc. ViMedicus develops and markets patient centric care coordination solutions. He is also Managing Partner of Midwest Venture Partners and of ARCH Development Partners early stage venture partnerships. Previously, he was President and CEO of ARCH Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the University of Chicago, which commercialized technology from the University and Argonne National Laboratory. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of Calgene Fresh, Inc., a 1992 start-up company which produced and marketed the MacGregor’s FLAVR SAVR tomato, the world’s first biotech food product. Prior to joining Calgene Fresh, Mr. Churchwell was Vice President of ARCH Development Corporation Development. Before starting Calgene Fresh, Mr. Churchwell held several senior management positions at the NutraSweet Company and legal positions at G.D. Searle & Co., American Hospital Supply Corporation and The Coca-Cola Export Corporation. He holds a BA degree from DePauw Universityand JD degree from Northwestern University School of Law. He also is a Graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

David Demirjian, Ph.D.
President, Director

davidDr. Demirjian was previously Founder and President of ThermoGen, Inc., a Chicago-based bioprocess company which was a pioneer of esterase biocatalysis technology for pharmaceutical applications. He is a previous winner of the Research Director’s Association of Chicago “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” (1997) and recipient of the U.S. SBA “Tibbets Award” for successful commercialization of technology developed under the Federal SBIR grant program. He was subsequently Vice President of Technology Strategy for MediChem Life Sciences after MediChem’s merger with ThermoGen in May 2000, where he oversaw the strategic development of MediChem’s R&D technology platform, including the integration of its drug discovery and chemical process technologies. He was one of the leaders of MediChem’s IPO, in which the company raised over $52 MM in October 2000. He also served as a Director of the company until its acquisition in May 2002 to deCode Genetics. He holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from The University of Chicago and B.S.A. in Molecular Biology from The University of Michigan.

Nelson Levy, Ph.D., M.D.
CEO, CoreTechs Corporation

Nelson-Levy_small1Dr. Levy is currently the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of CoreTechs Corporation, a privately held company that focuses on the development and marketing of early-stage technologies. Prior to joining CoreTechs, he was President of Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Company (now Astellas), the North American subsidiary of Japan’s third-largest pharmaceutical company. Dr. Levy was also the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Research at Abbott Laboratories. From 1970-1981, he was a tenured professor of immunology and neurology at Duke University, where his laboratory studied brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and brain control of the immune system. He has authored and co-authored more than 130 publications. Dr. Levy was graduated summa cum Laude from Yale University with B.A. and B.S. degrees, received his M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and his Ph.D. in immunology from Duke University.

Jim McConoughey
Best Selling Business Book Author and Consultant

McConougheysmallJim McConoughey is a sought after business development and community leadership expert. He is an active fund manager for venture and early stage capital investments and is an in-demand advisor to a vast number of small to mid-size businesses and economic organizations. Jim’s particular focus is working with organizations to identify and evaluate strategic growth opportunities. He is the recent CEO of the Heartland Partnership, a Peoria based management company that focuses on business development in the Central Illinois region, and also managed the Center for Economic Development Excellence, a research group affiliated with the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois.

Along with extensive client work, Jim lends his expertise to multiple private and public boards and charitable organizations throughout the region and across the country. He has been featured in Money, Fortune Small Business, Crain’s Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Reuters, Economist, and numerous other national and international publications. He has also appeared on CNN, NBC Nightly News, NPR, Fox News, Bloomberg, Voice of America, and other television and radio programs.

Douglas S. Stewart
Regional President, National City Bank, Peoria, Illinois

dstewartsmallDouglas S. Stewart is currently the Regional President of PNC Bank for Central Illinois. Mr. Stewart has held an impressive series of banking positions datingback to 1973 when he began his career as a Trainee at Commercial National Bank of Peoria (predecessor to PNC). Mr. Stewart graduated Magna Cum Laude from Illinois Wesleyan University where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1973, and from Bradley University in 1980 where he earned his Masters in Business Administration. Mr. Stewart’s 38 year banking career has included management positions in Wealth Management, Institution Investment Management, Retail Banking and Corporate Banking. He has also taught at Bradley University, Illinois Central College and Northwestern University Graduate Trust School. Mr. Stewart is active in community affairs. Currently he serves on the Boards of Bradley University, The Heartland Partnership, Peoria NEXT, CEO Roundtable and the Bielfeldt Foundation. Along with his wife, Vicky, they are chairing the 2011 Pillars Society Campaign for the Heart of Illinois United Way. In addition to his civic commitments he also serves as an outside director for zuChem, AKOYA and the Federal Companies.