Business update

Business update

A roundup of business news:

Navistar affiliates with UI program

URBANA — Navistar Inc. has become the newest corporate affiliate of the Hoeft Technology & Management Program at the University of Illinois.

That program bridges the gap between engineering and business education by offering courses in technology and management to undergraduates from the College of Engineering and College of Business.

The Lisle-based company joins Abbott, BP, Boeing, Robert Bosch, Capital One, John Deere, Motorola Solutions and Wa-Mart on the program's corporate affiliate board.

Corporate affiliates provide capstone projects for students, take part in talks with faculty and have exclusive access to online resumes of students in the program. The affiliations last three years.

Sigma-Aldrich licenses UI prof's Nanodisc technology

URBANA — Sigma-Aldrich Corp. has entered into a licensing agreement with the University of Illinois that will let the company offer two widely used membrane scaffold proteins used in Nanodisc technology.

That technology was developed by UI Professor Stephen Sligar, director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Nanodiscs are used by life science researchers in kinetic studies, structural analysis, imaging measurements, binding assays and drug discovery.

"We believe this alliance will further extend the impact of Nanodiscs in basic research as well as diagnostic and therapeutic developments," said Lesley Millar, director of the UI's Office of Technology Management in a UI release.

Sigma-Aldrich's products and services are used in scientific research, including pharmaceutical development and the diagnosis of disease. The company operates in 40 countries and has nearly 9,000 employees.

Spinlight Studio wins two Parents' Choice awards

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign-based Spinlight Studio recently won two Parents' Choice awards for two of its applications, Operation Math and AlphaTots.

The awards are given by the Parents' Choice Foundation, which for nearly 35 years has ranked books, TV programs, toys and now mobile apps.

The foundation has six levels of awards. Operation Math received a "recommended seal," and AlphaTots received an "approved seal."

Spinlight began producing apps for the iOS in January 2011 and has seen six titles appear on 13 Top 100 lists in nearly 60 countries around the globe.

Spinlight partner and creative director Matt Hutton said new apps are in the works.

"We've spent a fair amount of time this year updating our existing apps and moving several titles to the Android platform," he said.

For a full list of Parents' Choice awards, visit the foundation's website,

Sears completes sale of Market Place facility

HOFFMAN ESTATES — Sears Holdings Corp. has completed the sale of its store property at Champaign's Market Place Shopping Center to the center's owner, General Growth Properties.

The store was one of 11 Sears stores sold to Chicago-based General Growth Properties for a total of $270 million.

According to a Sears release, "the stores will continue to operate as Sears locations into 2013 or 2014 with final closing dates to be determined and announced later this year."

Sears announced plans for the sale on Feb. 23, but the transaction did not close until this month.

Staples offers free electronics recycling

CHAMPAIGN — Staples Inc. and Hewlett-Packard recently announced they will offer free electronics recycling at Staples stores nationwide.

The recycling program accepts all brands of:

— Desktop computers, laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs.

— Printers, desktop copiers and fax machines.

— Keyboards, mice and PC speakers.

— Shredders, streaming devices and phones.

— GPS devices, MP3 players, digital camcorders and digital cameras.

Customers can drop off the products for recycling at the service desk of Staples stores. The products will then be taken to distribution centers and sorted for transport to processing centers.

Area Staples stores include one in Champaign at 2005 N. Prospect Ave., and one in Mattoon at 1201 Charleston Ave. East.

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