November 23, 2015 at 1:30pm

MU speaker series event centers on food manufacturing

Millikin University's Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, a signature program of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, will continue its 2015-16 Speaker Series on Thursday, Dec. 3, with keynote speakers Tony Caccomo and Jim Milano of National Foodworks Services, LLC (NFS).

Tony CaccomoThe presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Lower Richards Treat University Center on Millikin's campus; the event is free and open to the public. The presentation will focus on how food manufacturing and food business training can impact a regional economy. The presentation will also discuss the impact of a food hub in Decatur and how it will impact jobs in manufacturing, marketing, transportation, farming, and education.

National Foodworks Services is an Illinois registered company that builds on an incubator commercial kitchen project begun in upstate New York in the late 1990s. Jim Milano and Tony Caccomo bring more than 60 years of expertise in real estate development and commercial food processing to the Decatur, Ill., facility.

Tony Caccomo moved to Decatur in 2010 to expand his gourmet food business, Antonio's Gourmet Shop, Ltd. Within a year, he purchased a mail packaging business in Decatur, renamed My Shipping Place, Ltd. My Shipping Place is the only full pack and ship facility within Macon County. Caccomo also explored the opportunity to create a property similar to Hudson Valley Foodworks in the central Illinois area because of its superior location, agriculture base, and business climate. Caccomo reached out to Jim Milano in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with the proposal to join him for a foodworks project in Decatur.

Jim MilanoAfter selling his company in April 2015, Jim Milano moved to Decatur to join Caccomo in opening their expanded version of the incubator commercial kitchen/co-packing facility now known as National Foodworks Services.

Caccomo graduated from Niagara University in 1970 earning a Bachelor of Science in Transportation and Logistics. Milano earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from Marist College in 1986, and a Master of Science in Information Systems from Marist in 1990.

Millikin's Science Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, brought to you by Busey, focuses on science entrepreneurship and how an increased emphasis on entrepreneurship can spark job creation and societal well-being. Throughout the academic year, executives from science ventures discuss particular aspects of their business. In addition, business leaders discuss broader topics of interest. The presentation on National Foodworks Services is sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

Future dates and speakers are as follows:

• Thursday, Feb. 4: Speaker: Jim Schultz, Director of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

• Thursday, Feb. 25: Speaker: Pete Paulin, CEO, 300 Below Inc.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship was originally funded by a Millikin University Performance Learning Enhancement Grant in December 2012. Since that time, the institute has received or been pledged funding from 300 Below Inc., Andreas Foundation through the Community Foundation of Macon County, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Brechnitz Group of Raymond James, Busey, Caterpillar Decatur, Coleman Foundation, Decatur Memorial Hospital, Millikin University, Parke Warehouses, St. Mary's Hospital, Tate & Lyle, Wild Bird Feeding Industry, Zevacor Molecular, a private foundation, and anonymous donors to develop the 2015-16 Speaker Series and other institute programming.

The Institute for Science Entrepreneurship connects Millikin University, its students, and the greater community to opportunities for personal, professional and organizational advancement through science entrepreneurship. The institute was founded by Dr. David Horn, professor of biology, Dr. George Bennett, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Casey Watson, associate professor of physics.

Busey is the title sponsor of Millikin University's Institute for Science Entrepreneurship 2015-16 Speaker Series. First Busey Corporation (Nasdaq: BUSE) is a $3.9 billion financial holding company headquartered in Champaign, Ill. Busey Bank, First Busey Corporation's wholly-owned bank subsidiary, is also headquartered in Champaign, Ill., and has 28 banking centers serving Illinois, a banking center in Indianapolis, Ind., and seven banking centers serving southwest Florida. For more information, visit busey.com.

For more information on the speaker series or the Millikin Institute for Science Entrepreneurship call 217.424.6392 or visit millikin.edu/InstituteForScienceEntrepreneurship.