Prior to joining GLEQ, Ms. Durance was president of the Ann Arbor IT Zone, Ann Arborís premier membership organization for the growth and development of technology companies. Ms. Duranceís responsibilities included increasing membership and member involvement, developing new member and community programs, managing multi-organization events, defining and implementing member benefits, soliciting sponsor support, writing grant proposals, and developing on-line resources. The IT Zone hosted 160 networking and education events with more than 4,700 attendees annually.
Ms. Durance also managed Ann Arbor SPARK facilities, meetings and events, accounting and reporting, and SPARK Business Accelerator/Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti SmartZone education programs. Ann Arbor SPARK is a public-private partnership for economic development and the advancement of innovation-based company creation and growth. SPARK stakeholders represent universities, businesses, governments, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.
Prior to joining the IT Zone, Ms. Durance had twenty-three years experience as an entrepreneur. She founded three companies, including a telecommunications engineering firm, a marketing communications publishing company, and a venture-funded, Ann Arbor-based home repair/handyman business.
In 1981, Ms. Durance 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, Ms. Durance 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, Ms. Durance 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.
Ms. Durance is the Program Committee chairperson for New Enterprise Forum and vice president of Great Lakes Alternative Energy Association. She serves as chairperson for the C.S. Mott Foundation initiative to increase entrepreneurship in mid-Michigan and is on the membership committee of MichBio, Michiganís association for life science companies. She is the former chairperson of the Washtenaw Remodelors Council.
Ms. Durance holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration, both from Southern Methodist University.