Seven Illinois alumni named to 2019 Crain's Tech 50


Mike Koon

Seven University of Illinois alumni, including four from the Grainger College of Engineering, were among those named to this year’s Crain’s Tech 50 released this week by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Those honored include Nancy Amato (PhD 1995, computer science), David Awschalom (BS 1978, engineering physics), Lin Classon (MS theatre literature), Molly Graton (BS 2023, computer science), Ron Guerrier (BS 1996, economics and finance), John Hoesley (BS 1993, chemistry), and Joe Jablonski (BS 1993, electrical engineering).
For the ninth straight year, Crain’s has published this list of CEOs, entrepreneurs, technologists, dealmakers, researchers, and support players that are key to the Chicago Tech scene.
Amato, an Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering, became the first woman to lead Illinois’ computer science department in January. She earned her PhD from Illinois and comes back to Urbana-Champaign after a long tenure at Texas A&M University, where she served as Regents Professor and Unocal Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. She is a leading expert in robotics, parallel algorithms, and bio-informatics.
Awschalom is a professor at the University of Chicago and the director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange. A former researcher at IBM’s Watson Research Center, he is one of the world’s leading scientists in spintronics and quantum information engineering. 
Classon is the public head of product for Ensono, a company that provides hybrid IT solutions. She has provided marketing expertise in previous positions at United Airlines, ITA Software, and Google.
Graton (pictured left) is an incoming freshman in computer science. She is a co-founder of GirlCon Chicago, an annual event in that helps connect girls with companies in STEM and learn from successful women from colleges and industry.
Guerrier is the Chief Information Officer and Secretary of Innovation and Technology for the State of Illinois. He has had a number of prominent roles, including Chief Information Officer for both Farmers Insurance and Toyota North America.
Hoesley is the Group Head for Technology Banking at CIBC Bank US. He has helped provide capital for many of Chicago’s tech companies. Previously, he has served as Managing Director for Midwest Marketing at Silicon Valley Bank and a partner for Prism Capital.
Jablonski is the co-founder and chief product officer and product marketing for Ocient, a data analytics software company in Chicago. A pioneer in the Internet of Things space, he has founded or co-founded five startups in the last 20 years – the consulting firm Visibility Systems (1997); Acumence (2002), a software product company that analyzes massive amounts of data for manufacturing companies; WeGather (2011), a fundraising platform for non-profits; Endstor (2014), a data storage service for Cleversafe clients; and Ocient.