Chris Sorensen – CEO

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Chris grew up in the Chicago area, and attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

He started his career as a technology consultant at Accenture in Chicago, but was lured away to his first software startup in San Diego. One startup led to another which led to Silicon Valley. Over the years Chris has been actively involved in designing and leading ten early stage technology companies, and has mentored dozens more.

Chris as always had a deep interest in advancing education and design thinking.

He was selected to join the first Master’s program at Northwestern University’s Institute for the Learning Sciences.

Under the direction of nationally recognized educational expert Roger Schank, Chris studied and developed new educational methods including constructivist and simulation based approaches to teaching real world skills.

He received an MS in Artificial Intelligence from Northwestern University in 1991.

Chris also holds a BA (Economics) and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Illinois and has completed coursework in Venture Capital and Corporate Strategy at Stanford University.

Chris lives in Lake Forest with his wife and son.


Neil Kane, COO

Experienced serial entrepreneur & NSF mentor. Works with universities on tech transfer.

Neil Kane, a leading authority on

technology commercialization and innovation, is the president and founder of Illinois Partners Executive Services, LLC. Most recently he was the CEO of Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc., a company he co-founded in 2003 by licensing technology from Argonne National Laboratory (U.S. Dept. of Energy). Mr. Kane is the former co-Executive Director of the Illinois Technology Enterprise Center at Argonne and was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Northern Illinois University. In these roles he was founding CEO of several startup companies based on university or federal laboratory research in areas such as nanotechnology, advanced materials, software, renewable energy and printed electronics. He has closed multiple rounds of venture capital from investors worldwide and has secured numerous SBIR/STTR and other government contracts and awards.


Dr. Brianno Coller, Principal Investigator

Professor of Mechanical Engineering NIU – developed new ways to teach engineering through play.





Kyle Bodie, Project Czar


Kyle Bodie is a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Northern Illinois University. Kyle is our Project Czar (project manager). He is a 3D modeling expert, DIY and Maker fanatic and a hands on building expert.



David Frey


David Frey is a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Northern Illinois University. He is an expert in anything mechanical especially things that hum, blink, or beep. In his free time David enjoys crashing planes as well as flying them for short intervals.