The Eli’s Blog debuted the week of June 10, 2004. It was a very exciting week for me as I was fortunate to participate in two graduation ceremonies; first, I represented the Business Advisory Board at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Graduation Ceremony on Friday evening when Catherine Bertini, the Under Secretary for Management at the United Nations and winner of the World Food Prize, gave the commencement address; and then, on Saturday morning, I gave the final commencement address for Kendall College in Evanston at the invitation of President Howard Tullman.
In that almost two years of writing the Eli’s Blog, consistent themes are committment to the community, to our people, to education, at Wright College, at CHSAS, at Kendall and any other institution we can help, and to entrepreneurship.
My role model for my work has been Howard Tullman, who has proven in that same year and half what an entrpreneur can accomplish in education. The move to Goose Island, the strategic partnerships that he created and the 24 hour culinary center that he created are just a few of the accolades due Howard.
This week, Howared was recognized by his peers in industry with membership in the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Howard sent me a copy of his remarks at the induction dinner and they follow as an example of what great things, great entrepreneurs can accomplish in our town, nationally and around the world.
Remarks by Howard Tullman
First, I’d like to thank the Hall of Fame for this honor. The membership of the Hall of Fame is truly an elite group of Chicago movers and shakers and I’m flattered and honored to now be included among them.
I also want to congratulate my fellow inductees who more than anyone understand the sometimes painful process we all go through in creating and building businesses – large and small.
I used to say that the process was also solitary and even lonely, but I’ve changed my mind about that for two reasons:
First, I’ve been blessed with great teams of people to share my dreams and visions. Some of the most important are here tonight – newbies who’ve been with us for months and oldies (but goodies) who’ve spent a good 10 or 20 years by my side making things happen. I’m grateful to all of them and wouldn’t be here without them.
The second reason this is no longer as lonely a job as it once was is because we have a great, connected community in Chicago (many of whom are members of the Hall of Fame) and every one of whom cares deeply about our city and our collective success. I can reach out to Marc Schulman for help in a million ways with the College; call Joe Mansueto to give me a hand finding a good new job for a great guy; ask Bruce Rauner to pitch in personally on a new venture, etc., etc. Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes, but in Chicago people stick around and stand up for each other when it matters. It’s the best place in the country to build a business.
Finally, I want to thank my wife, Judy, who has suffered thru more start-ups, stress and eventually happy endings than most of the people in this room. She has been my greatest fan, my harshest critic (when I get too full of myself – which happens very rarely), and a partner throughout in all of the ups and downs of 25 years of turmoil. I can’t thank her enough and apparently (as she sometimes reminds me) I can’t thank her often enough either.