She's all tech: Jen Quinlan is one of three Forty Under 40 winners with Mahomet ties

Jen Quinlan is recognized by Mahomet residents as the co-owner of a bed-and-breakfast and U-pick flower farm better known as Moon Grove Farm, but many may be unfamiliar with her robust career in technology.

"I guess you could say I'm a startup tech nerd lady who also loves the small-scale farming scene," she joked.

Quinlan was recently chosen as one of three Central Illinois Business Magazine's 11th annual Forty Under 40 award winners who has ties to Mahomet. Other award winners include Dr. Joella Koss, who is a veterinarian and owner of All About Animals Pet Clinic in Mahomet, and Jacob Kuebler, who is a Mahomet-Seymour grad and the owner and senior financial adviser of Bluestem Financial Advisors LLC in Champaign.

"It's wonderful to have great representation out of Mahomet," Quinlan said. "There are so many entrepreneurs and business people in our community."

Each year, the magazine recognizes local professionals under the age 40 who push the envelope in their careers and are leaders of their fields. As for who nominated Quinlan, she suspects her husband.

"My husband, Mike (Quinlan), was the nominator," Jen Quinlan said. "We are very much a team and that was a sweet gesture on his part."

Quinlan and her husband, who is a Champaign native, moved to Mahomet from Champaign last November to continue their joint venture, but this time in agritourism. The two opened Moon Grove Farm, a local B&B, in May and welcomed community members to their 4-acre farm for U-pick flowers all summer long. But agritourism is just one of Jen Quinlan's hobbies. Her passion is in the tech industry.

"To stay relevant in tech, I've found you have to constantly push yourself to understand what's next," Quinlan said.

The Glenn Dale, Md., native's resume details a diverse portfolio of work.

"So far in my career, I've been able to work on wearables for athletes, smart security cameras, hobbyist drones, online trial finders for cancer patients, connected sports equipment and even connected clothing," Quinlan said.

Quinlan's journey began 13 years ago with a 16-person startup at Resolution Media in Chicago, which today stands as a global search engine marketing company. She made the move to Austin, Texas, to work for brands such as AMD, Nokia, PayPal and Livestrong at Springbox.

"Staying focused on digital marketing, mobile software and emerging tech has opened doors for me to work on really interesting initiatives," Quinlan said.

She went on to leading the management team as the senior marketing manager and eventually became the vice president of marketing and innovation at Austin's Mutual Mobile, a mobile software company building products for brands such as Nike and Under Armour.

"I ran 100-person hack-a-thons that helped us win new accounts," Quinlan said. "I ran a 20-person marketing and sales team."

Her recent endeavors include delving into start-up tech companies, such as Rithmio at the University of Illinois. Rithmio's co-founders wrote math to make sense of sensor data that would assist with wearable tech.

The company built a smartwatch app known as Cadence Counter that was used by Paralympic athletes to train for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

"I was employee No. 2 at Rithmio," Quinlan said. "We grew the company until about 15 employees, moved the company to Chicago and eventually sold the technology to Bosch Corporation."

The University of Maryland grad then ran digital content for a portfolio of brands with Hobbico, which was recently acquired by Horizon. She also worked on e-commerce projects for Tower Hobbies, its online retail arm.

The tech leader's current role is vice president of marketing for Champaign-based meShare, which manufactures security cameras for the home and licenses its Internet of Things (IoT) cloud platform.

"Our cameras connect with Wi-Fi and pair with a mobile app. When the camera detects motion, it records a video clip and sends a notification to your phone." Quinlan said.

When Quinlan found out she was one of the 40 selected, her immediate reaction was gratitude.

"I am very appreciative," she said. "We have a lot of talented people in our community, and this is a great program to showcase all of the diverse business people. There's a wonderful group of people represented and I'm happy to be part of that."

Quinlan was the only female listed in the tech industry and one of two represented in marketing. She considers both as accomplishments.

"Through the university, EnterpriseWorks and talented local professionals, we have a strong tech scene in Champaign-Urbana," she said.

"I'm pleased to represent our tech startup scene and be a face of women in tech as well," she added.

Quinlan hopes to continue growing her roots in East Central Illinois — personally and professionally.

"I hope to contribute toward growing local jobs in tech and providing agritourism experiences through our farm that draw people to visit Champaign County," she said.

Quinlan and the other Forty Under 40 award winners will be recognized at a luncheon Oct. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign. Reservations are $25 each, and the registration deadline is Oct. 1.

For information on the 11th annual Forty Under 40 luncheon, contact Whitney Emmert at 217-351-5642 or fortyunder40@news-gazette.media.

Quinlan invites those interested in staying at her B&B or getting U-pick flowers at her 2702 N. 1500 E location to visit moongrovefarm.com or Moon Grove Farm on Facebook.

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