ITA: Real World Challenges Identify Top Illinois Tech Students

By December 1, 2010

Michael Lusignan Of The University of Chicago Outscores Field of 47 Students in The ITA Fall Challenge Presented by BigMachines

Chicago, IL — November 30, 2010 — The Final Challenge focused on real world issues faced by Illinois technology companies and it proved to be a good test of ability! From the field of forty-seven students, the top three stood apart from the crowd.

Michael Lusignan from the University of Chicago, Kevin Deichl from Northern Illinois University and Jared Lash from Northern Illinois University scored in the 90th percentile on a challenge including questions on user interface, back-end processing, database design, and general programming understanding.

“Building strong relationships between bright, young developers, bringing them to the Chicago technology community, and then repeating the process consistently over the next few years, will have as great an impact on innovation, new ventures and new jobs for our region as anything we could do for the region,” says Terry Howerton, Chairman of the Illinois Technology Association.

All students in attendance completed more than 85 interviews with Presenting Sponsor, BigMachines and Supporting Sponsors Allscripts,, Model Metrics, and Centro. Additional interviews were scheduled with selected students as their second and third

The finalists completed a survey identifying where they expect to search for career opportunities in order to begin their professional career. Students identified Silicon Valley (73%), Seattle (57%), Boston (47%), New York (43%), and Austin (27%) as their top 5 markets. However, a full 73% identified Chicago as their preferred home.

“BigMachines is proud to be a part of the inaugural Fall Challenge,” said Godard Abel, CEO and Co-founder of BigMachines. “The ITA has been an asset in helping to attract talented and knowledgeable recruits for member companies, supporting the continued growth of Illinois technology businesses.”

The ITA thanks BigMachines, presenting sponsor, Allscripts,, Centro, and Model Metrics, supporting sponsors, and participating sponsor companies including Alterian, Applied Systems, Authentify, Cleversafe, Corptax, EDL Consulting, Forte CG, Google, Leapfrog Online, Lextech, MBX Systems, NAVTEQ, Nokia, Pointbridge,, SmartSignal, SPR Companies, Vail Systems, and Vibes Media. We also thank the Final Challenge sponsors, IBM Corporation,, and the NIU Computer Science
Alumni Club (CSAC).

Students from each of the universities were represented in the Top 10 of the Final Challenge. The average score on the final challenge, across all students who participated, was 73 out of 120 possible. The students were given two hours to complete the exam and with little exception, students used every minute.

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Universities included were University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Northern Illinois University and Northwestern University.

For more information about the ITA and the Fall Challenge, visit

About the ITA
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois’
vibrant technology industry. We are relentless in championing the development and
application of technology, from start-up companies to industry leaders, leveraging the
transformative nature of technology to revolutionize industries. ITA uniquely capitalizes
peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and access to experts across the breadth of
business to cultivate the Illinois technology industry. The unique and powerful integration
of these valuable and experienced resources differentiates the ITA as a source of
accelerated growth for the technology industry of Illinois. For more information about ITA,
please visit

About BigMachines
BigMachines is the global leader in enabling B2B sales, helping companies sell more and sell
faster. BigMachines’ award-winning on-demand configurator, pricing and quoting, proposal
generator, and B2B eCommerce software solutions empower sales across customers’
channels by streamlining their sales processes from opportunity to order. Using BigMachines
software, sales teams and channels can quickly configure products, generate quotes
and proposals, manage complex pricing, generate legal contracts, and manage orders.
BigMachines offers extensive reporting capabilities and easily integrates to leading CRM and
ERP systems, including those from, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP. BigMachines’
rapidly growing customer base includes global leaders such as Kodak’s GCG, Siemens,
Ingersoll Rand, and NTT Communications, as well as innovative growth companies such as
Acme Packet and Voltaire. For more information, visit

Dorothy Radke, Marketing & Communications, ITA, +1.312.924.1044,
[email protected]