Dennis Barsema

Dennis Barsema

Term Expires: January 15, 2029

Member - Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee
Chair - Finance, Audit, Compliance, Facilities and Operations Committee
Member - Research and Innovation, Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee

Office Address

Board of Trustees
Northern Illinois University
Altgeld Hall 300
DeKalb IL 60115

Professional Experience

  • CEO, Blue Lane Networks
  • CEO and Chairman, Onetta, Inc.
  • President and CEO, Redback Networks
  • Senior Executive, Centigram Corporation
  • Senior Executive, Softswitch
  • Senior Executive, Primary Access
  • Senior Executive, Paradyne Corporation
  • More than thirty years of executive experience in telecommunications, software, and optical networking and was a highly successful executive for many years at several Silicon Valley technology companies including president and CEO of Redback Networks, where he led the company through rapid growth and one of the most successful IPOs in Wall Street history.
  • Instructor, Social Entrepreneurship, College of Business, Northern Illinois University (2007-2017)


  • B.S., Northern Illinois University, Department of Management

Leadership and Public Service

  • Member, NIU Board of Trustees (2017-present)
  • Advisor, NIU College of Business
  • Managing Member, Impact Engine Social Business Accelerator, Chicago
  • Consultant and Advisor to numerous social businesses
  • Past Chairman, NIU Foundation (2011-2016)
  • Past Member, Board of Directors for numerous venture capital funded companies, including Redback Networks, Blue Lane Technologies, Onetta, Azanda, Telenisus, Tahoe Networks, Stoke, Community Collaboration and
  • Past Member, Board of Directors for numerous non-profits including Oportunidad Microfianzas of Mexico, Se Mas of Mexico, NEST (St. Louis) and Carpenters Place (Rockford)
  • Past Advisor, Santa Clara University School of Business