Skip to Main Content

Group will be chaired by tech industry veteran Lou Meshulam, who joins the DPI team 

CHICAGO (May 16, 2024) — The Discovery Partners Institute, part of the University of Illinois System, today announced the formation of an advisory council for its Pritzker Tech Talent Labs. The council includes leaders from industry, education, government, and economic development who will provide insights to support the continued growth and impact of DPI’s talent development programs, which focus on driving more equity into the region’s tech workforce.  

 The group will be chaired by Lou Meshulam, a 30-year veteran of the tech community, who most recently served as senior vice president and head of cloud for SAP North America. He also joins the DPI team as a visiting adviser to provide industry and market-driven guidance toward the further development of PTTL programming, including the tech apprenticeship program.  

 The Pritzker Tech Talent Labs at DPI takes a comprehensive approach to developing promising and diverse tech talent across a learner’s journey. This includes a range of programming for middle school, high school, community college, four-year college and graduate students, K-12 teachers, as well as workforce and upskilling programs, including apprenticeship programs.  

 Since initially launching in 2020, these programs have reached more than 2,500 participants – 70% of whom self-identified as Black, Latinx or multiracial, and 39% of whom self-identified as women or nonbinary. PTTL’s goals are to significantly increase the numbers of Black, Latinx, women, first generation and individuals with nontraditional backgrounds in tech, in pursuing pathways into computing and thriving in jobs in the region’s tech workforce. 

 “We are thrilled to be assembling this group of dynamic leaders who will provide critical guidance and insights for how we continue to drive programming that expands the diversity of our tech workforce,” said Mark Harris, director of the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs at DPI. “We are also delighted to welcome Lou Meshulam to the DPI team — he has been a tremendous champion and partner during his time at SAP and will bring his passion and energy for this work to drive more impact and growth.” 

“DPI is making great strides to expand the circle of inclusion into tech jobs and pathways for learners across the region from middle grades to adults. I have seen the power of this work up close and am honored to join the DPI team and chair this important group to help drive this work forward,” Meshulam said.   

Advisory council members will provide feedback on PTTL’s growing suite of programs designed to make tech education equitable, expansive and effective.  The group will also advise on ways for PTTL to innovate in tech talent development to stay current with market needs. Members include: 

  • Lou Meshulam, council chair, visiting adviser, PTTL, Discovery Partners Institute  
  • John Atkinson, chairman, Intersect Illinois; managing director, chairman, Marsh Chicago 
  • Keisha Barnes, global IT DEI program manager, John Deere & Co. 
  • Kristan Beck, director, Office of Computer Science, Chicago Public Schools 
  • Steve Benni, head of engineering, Oak Street Health 
  • Eric Davis, executive director, The BASE Chicago 
  • Sarah Glavin, head of community affairs, Amazon Web Services 
  • Kristina Gsedl, former head of North America consulting, SAP (retired)  
  • Veronica Herrero, executive vice chancellor, chief of staff and institutional advancement, City Colleges of Chicago 
  • Jessica Holberg, program manager, Chicago tech education outreach and partnerships lead, Google 
  • Abin Kuriakose, chief strategy and innovation officer, World Business Chicago 
  • Jack Lavin, president and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce 
  • Nick Lucius, acting commissioner and chief information officer, Chicago Department of Technology & Innovation 
  • Jerred Pauwels, VP, Earthmoving Production Systems and Engineering, John Deere & Co. 
  • Lou Sandoval, president and CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce 
  • Tracey Ward, education program manager, Community Education Initiatives, Apple 

Launched in 2022, DPI’s tech apprenticeship program is a cohort-based program that prepares adults from nontraditional tech backgrounds for in-demand technology roles at corporate partners, advancing economic mobility and job readiness. More than 120 trainees have gone through the program, with an additional 500+ who have enrolled in an online introductory course to build foundational tech skills. Company participants to date have included SAP, John Deere & Company, Zebra Technologies and Oak Street Health.  

Other PTTL programs include Digital Explorers, for middle school students; Discover Computing, run in partnership with Wright College and Google, for ninth and 10th graders; Digital Scholars, in partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago’s CHANCE program, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Grainger College of Engineering, for high school students to take college-level courses in computing, data science and mobile app development; and the CS Starter Academy, a year-round enrichment program for City Colleges of Chicago students pursuing tech pathways.