An A-Lister For Your Future
Jeff Coleman Of Illumnovate May Be The Man Of Your Dreams. Here’s Why.
A few years after the moment that Michael Jackson was moonwalking across the stage at Motown 25 in 1983, Jeff Coleman was determining just how he would make his own mark on the world.
Jackson’s moves onstage were captivating the world – some 34 million watched the gloved one – but by 1990, young Coleman had plans to touch millions with moves of his own as an engineer.
The Howard University graduate (class of 1996) is also a product of STEM. Through his future career growth within the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and more, Coleman maintained a heart-centered connection to his origins as a minority engineer who had a lot of help reaching his goals.
Today, the president and founder of Illumnovate® (pronounced ILL-LOOM-NO-VATE), LLC, an Information and Applied Technology Solutions and Project Management Company, a Delaware-based company with satellite offices in central Maryland, is one of those rare professionals that every homeowners and budding business owner has to know. He’s the friend that can integrate your home entertainment system. He’s the go-to guy that you can trust to upgrade your home business network. He’s the friendly but super knowledgeable analyst that can build your small business tech systems.
Knowing Coleman is like knowing the heart of the neighborhood auto mechanic and the operating capacity of having an Apple CEO living next door.
It all started when he found his stride in the late 1980s. Leading scientist Stephen Hawking published “A Brief History of Time” and NASA resumed the space program in 1988. It was also the year the first major computer virus hit the nation.
“My dream to shape the world of technology with a career in engineering would not become true until the Spring of 1988 when I was offered a life-changing opportunity from my guidance counselor to participate in a summer internship/co-op program for good math and science students with one of the world’s largest telecom research and development companies, Bellcore,” says Coleman. At the time, Bell Communications Research (Bellcore) hosted a prominent, full-time Summer Technical Education Program (STEP).
It was the real thing for the young science student. Bellcore holds hundreds of patents, many connected to such broadband data communications technologies as ASDL, ATM, ISDN, Frame Relay, SONET and video on demand. “I worked on a project performing ISDN Test Trials,” Coleman explains. In addition to a life altering experience and valuable experience, young Mr. Coleman received his first certificate in July 1988. He was invited back to participate in STEP III at Bellcore the following year.
“After I spent that first summer at Bellcore, from then on, there was no doubt that my destiny and passion was for me to become an engineer because I loved science and enjoyed the ways it allowed for creativity, ingenuity, innovation,” he says. “I got a chance to play with some really cool technology and gadgets that a lot of the kids in my neighborhood could only either dream about or watch on TV: high definition TV, fiber optics, lasers, liquid nitrogen and computers! And I always knew that real life was less than a couple of decades, if not a few years away from science fiction.”
Coleman’s career took off and he made the mark he sought. Journeying through companies such as Sealed Air Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing and BAE Systems, he amassed the experience to couple with his talents.
With success came the accolades and recognition—and higher certifications in the industry. He received a Boeing recognition in 2005, appeared in the 100 most Powerful Executives in Corporate America edition of Black Enterprise magazine and acquired his PMI® Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, both in 2012. Most recently, Coleman received his CompTIA® Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) Certification in 2017, specializing in Network Cyber Security and I.T. Enterprise Architecture.
It’s no surprise that he decided to start a business and hang his own shingle out in 2014_. It’s more a question of what made Coleman different from other visionary engineers.
“I knew that I wanted to run my own business,” he says of the decision to launch Illumnovate® (pronounced ILL-LOOM-NO-VATE), LLC. “I believe that this was an epiphany from earlier years back when I was in college, vowing to having creative and financial control of my own career landscape as a business owner versus going by the “luck of the draw” as an employee. I knew I had stopped being an employee and thought of myself and talents as a brand many years ago.”
Coleman’s experience however, didn’t just come through books and corporate positions.
“Through helping a myriad of family and friends with their technical needs, whether it be for a home project for home automation or installation of a lighting control, appliance or computer system setup, or providing drawings, diagrams, designs and consulting to small businesses, I had plenty of previous practical, working experience to establish my talents and skill sets as a brand for the General Public, Residential and Commercial Industries-at-Large.”
The established tech professional also takes time to give back. He spends time mentoring students and addressing them in local forums. “I have also mentored many young people and frequently been back to both my Alma Maters to talk to young engineering and science students about Careers and Challenges in Engineering,” Coleman says. “I’m an active supporter of local high school STEM students in the DMV to help assist and volunteer through my membership with the Washington, DC Alumni Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).”
He has also taught robotics classes with to STEM students in need.
Coleman says his greatest value to potential clients is his ability to put clients at ease with the challenges of the technology.
“I see myself as a connecting bridge between the client’s vision and the client’s ability to transform his/her vision into reality, while maintaining a 21st century quality of life, uninterrupted by the glitches and challenges of technology.”