William C. Merchantz
Retired President &amp CEO, Lakeview Technology, Inc.

Business Background
Bill Merchantz is a pioneer in the Illinois technology community, particularly within the Business Continuity Marketplace, with a consistent record of leadership and achievement.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1979, he began his professional career as a business application programmer for a division of Federal Mogul Corporation, where he gained valuable MRP, Financial and Sales systems experience.  He next was the financial systems manager for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the world’s leading architectural firms.  His experience on the customer side of the computer industry helped shape his deeply held convictions about the importance of total solution management, long term value propositions and the positive customer experience.

In 1984, Merchantz co-founded Whittman-Hart, a highly successful Chicago-based information technology services consultancy that focused on the small and medium size business market.  Over the next seven years, he led the growth of the business into a 200+ staff consultancy that offered complete solutions in business application implementations and technical education.  Merchantz successfully orchestrated the sale of Whittman-Hart to his partner through bank financing.

He then founded Lakeview Technology in 1990 to focus on innovative software solutions in business continuity.  Lakeview grew to be a worldwide leader in information availability solutions, expanding its customers to over 3,000+ installations across the globe.  He led the company from annual revenues of $1 million to well over $50 million.  Merchantz successfully orchestrated the sale of Lakeview Technology in a private equity deal with Thoma Cressey Bravo in June 2007.

Professional Commitments and Experience
Over the last 25 years, Merchantz has frequently been invited to speak on a variety of industry and entrepreneurial topics, and has participated as a panel member on numerous focus groups within the high-tech industry.  He was also an active senior member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Technology Association (formerly the Chicago Software Association), and served as its Treasurer from 2003 to 2007.

Today, Merchantz is actively involved in a variety of Boards and professional and philanthropic activities.  Some of these commitments include the following:

  • Active member of the Dean’s Business Advisory Council at University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) College of Business Administration
  • Active Board member of the University of Illinois Foundation, participating in its Investment Policy, Membership, and Audit Committees
  • Active Chairman of the Athletic Director’s Development Committee for UIC Athletics
  • Active Executive Limited Partner on Pfingsten Partners Fund 3 Advisory Committee
  • Active Advisory Board member for Suzo Happ Group, a Pfingsten Partners platform company
  • Active Advisory Board member for Garretson Firm Resolution Group, a Pfingsten Partners platform company
  • Active Board member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
  • President of The Merchantz Family Foundation

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QYou are a true Chicagoan - a product of the Chicago Public School system and the University of Illinois at Chicago. What did you major in?

A I majored in basketball.

QThat's a good start. What happened next?

A After graduation I started WhittmanHart. It was a services business that helped companies implement business software

QWhittmanHart went public, so that was your first home run.

A It did well. I sold it to my partner in 1990 and spun off a little piece of software into Lakeview Technology. That software collected real-time transactions for high availability or disaster recovery purposes.

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