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From Crain's weekly People on the Move column:
Hillenmeyer goes from Bears to business at OpenChime
By John Pletz
WHO: HUNTER HILLENMEYER
Job: Director of corporate development, OpenChime Inc., a Chicago-based startup that helps consumers get price quotes from local service providers, such as plumbers and mechanics; since Sept. 20.
Vitals: 31 years old; bachelor's degrees in economics and human organizational development, Vanderbilt University, 2003; MBA, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, 2010; linebacker, Chicago Bears, 2003-10.
Strong suit: Drive and smarts. Graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt; was an academic All-American while also among NCAA leaders in tackles; earned an MBA while playing for the Bears.
Résumé gap: Untested in the corporate world. The line from playing in the NFL to tech startup isn't all that clear, he says.
Track record: Off the field, Mr. Hillenmeyer was the National Football League players' representative from 2006 to 2010, helping negotiate a labor agreement with the league that included changes in how it handles player injuries such as concussions.
Job one: Making sure we have the right vendors in our network and working with companies that have a lot of traffic to their sites. There are huge opportunities to monetize that traffic for us and for them, he says.
Obstacle: To me, the biggest challenge is raising their signal above the noise, says Raman Chadha, executive director of the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center at DePaul University. In most cases, services aren't fixed-price. They vary by job. The challenge is providing quotes more quickly, more accurately and reliably than I can on my own.
The plan: We have to provide the best experience and the most scalable platform, Mr. Hillenmeyer says. So we have to make sure that as we grow, we grow in quality. Because our vendor base gives preference to those service providers who are most responsive to customers, our network will only get better and better with time.
© 2011 by Crain Communications Inc.
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