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Man in the Street, Birmingham - Photo by David Lewinski Photography -
Diane Durance is the executive director of Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest.
is a Michigan-based statewide organization that offers entrepreneurial education and a technology-focused business plan competition for new ventures in alternative energy, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, homeland security, and information technology. GLEQ connects early stage ventures to growth capital and business development resources. It is currently working with 302 start ups and has a network of 130 business coaches and 85 venture investors.
Prior to joining GLEQ, Diane was president of the Ann Arbor IT Zone, Ann Arbor's premier membership organization for the growth and development of technology companies. The IT Zone hosted 160 networking and education events with more than 4,700 attendees annually.
Diane has 23 years of experience as an entrepreneur. In 1981, she founded a telecommunications network engineering firm to design and optimize the architecture of long distance telephone company networks. Her firm developed a proprietary traffic engineering software system and provided network design services to more than 125 long distance companies. Additional client work included testifying as an expert witness on state regulatory issues, billing software, and equipment performance standards. She was a frequent presenter at CompTel, CTIA, and TRA and other national industry trade conferences.
In 1990, Diane founded a custom publishing firm offering marketing communications services to the telecommunications industry. Her company published magazine-style publications for wireless, long distance, paging, and local telephone companies. Key customers included Cellular One, AT&T Wireless, SkyTel Paging, TDS Telecom, and CenturyTel. She directed a staff of 12 editorial and design professionals and achieved sustained annual revenue of $3 million.
In 2000, she founded a residential home improvement/handyman business. Under her leadership, the company grew to 40 employees and $2 million in revenue with 80% market recognition in one year. She directed two University of Michigan Entrepreneurial Multidisciplinary Action Project (eMAP) teams and secured funding from a New York City-based seed capital firm.
Diane is the Program Committee chairperson for
New Enterprise Forum
and vice president of
Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association
. She also serves as chairperson for the
C.S. Mott Foundation
initiative to increase entrepreneurship in mid-Michigan and is on the membership committee of
, Michigan's association for life science companies. She is the former chairperson of the Washtenaw Remodelers Council.
She holds Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration degrees from Southern Methodist University.
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