Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences (SMILES) E-Newsletter

November 2007 NEWSLETTER

To: Alumni and Friends of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences (SMILES) Programs:

We have a full newsletter which shows how busy our students, alumni, board members, staff and faculty have been over the past couple of months.

Table of Contents

Center/Specialization News and Events
WAVE and Weinert Advisory Board Updates
Alumni Updates
Faculty/School News


Students Visit Entrepreneurs in the Windy City


Students Troy Vosseller, Jenny Zhang, Ryan Palmer, Tyler Leeper, Speaker Kevin Murdock, and students Kavi Turnbull, Tom Carmona, Prabhu Ramamoorthy, along with Director Dan Olszewski and Academic Specialist Janet Christopher travelled to Chicago for an on-site visit Oct. 19, 2007. They were hosted at Arrow Financial Services, where Kevin Murdock, founder and a principal of The Legacy Network, shared his company vision. The private equity firm focuses on small and mid-sized businesses and seeks to build on the foundation established by the founder/owner, backing the current management team and helping the team to improve performance and sustain growth. Kevin candidly shared his experience of moving from consulting to academia to entrepreneurship.

Brian & Ron

Brian Cutler, Executive VP and CTO, and Ron Lavin, Executive VP and COO, Arrow Financial Services, mapped out how they grew a small family business in 1961 to the large business today of Arrow Financial Services. They shared the highs and lows and growth of their full range of recovery solutions across a variety of asset classes including credit cards, student loans, utility, telecommunication, retail and automotive.

Next stop on the trip was with Scott Baum, VP Operations, at Carepages.com. This unique business was born from the personal experience of founders Eric and Sharon Langshur. It was founded to provide on-line emotional support for people coping with illness when it was most needed.

The final stop on the visit was with Marsha McVicker (1999 alum), founder and CEO, of Errand Solutions. Marsha outlined her experience branding her unique concierge services. The company does everything for employees of large organizations including making hotel reservations, in arranging for oil changes, picking up dry cleaning, and how to give stellar customer service to each and every customer. She discussed their "sanity savers" at each of their partner organizations with the responsibility of on-site service management and delivery.

She discussed how her business model changed as she gained more customer feedback. It was also very fitting that the meeting took place in "The Zobel Room" which was named after an early WAVE Board member and mentor to many, Bob Zobel.


Marsha McVicker

The Zobel Room

Meeting room at Errand Solution

Overall, the trip to Chicago was a great experience. Students learned some valuable lessons with respect to entrepreneurship. Thanks to all who contributed to make the trip a memorable experience.

Jim Weinert Speaks in WAVE Class

This year's WAVE class was fortunate to have Jim Weinert share his story of entrepreneurship in the classroom on Oct. 17. First-year students also had a chance to meet with him.

Recruiting MBA Candidates for 2008-2009 Admission

We are off to a strong start with many strong applications to the programs for next year. Again, we would like to ask for your help in recruiting excellent students to the Entrepreneurship or SMILES programs for fall of 2008. The final deadline for admission is May 15 (but highly recommend that interested parties apply earlier rather than later) -- if you know of any potential students, please refer them to our websites:

http://www.bus.wisc.edu/weinertcenter, http://archive.bus.wisc.edu/SMILES, or have them call Dan Olszewski at (608) 265-3959.

Current Students

To see profiles of each of our students, please visit our websites listed below:
Weinert Center Students SMILES Students


Special thanks to Jack Lavin, CEO, Arrow Financial Services, for hosting students during the recent Chicago visit. His organization was a great host and provided a very insightful tour.

Laurie Benson, Inacom, and Pete Zaballos, Frazier Technologies, have recently been named to the Board of Directors at Visicom Corp.

Laurie Benson, CEO Inacom Information Systems, was featured in the November 2007 issue of Capital Region Business Journal. Her interview focused on teaching people about technology, sharing her history, vision, and the future for the IT industry.

In case you missed the latest November issue of InBusiness, you will see the cover announcing the 2007 Executive Team of the Year award presented to Tomotherapy's, Paul Reckwerdt, President and founder, and Fred Robertson, CEO.

Thanks to WAVE Board members Joe Boucher, Scott Braucht, Greg Lynch, Dan Nichols, John Komives, Mike Mathews, Paul Reckwerdt, and Terry Sivesind. All attended the WAVE class for a mid-semester review of the WAVE projects. They provided the student teams with great feedback and insights.

On Oct. 25, Noodles and Company Founder and UW Alum Aaron Kennedy was interviewed in front of a studio audience of UW business students, faculty and guests for the new UW-Madison television program, Wisconsin Reflections. His discussion included how the idea for Noodles & Company came to him and about building the leadership team over time. The segment will run on the Big Ten Network in January. For schedules, visit: http://wisconsinreflections.wisc.edu/


Mike Fourcher (2003), launched Purely Political Consulting (PPC) this past month. More details can be found here. Mike has over a dozen years of political and policy experience in the Clinton Administration, Congress, statewide campaigns, state legislative campaigns and with Chicago aldermanic campaigns.

Dylan Kaul (2003), Boston Scientific, has changed positions to Marketing Manager of the Cardiac Rhythm Management division.

Marsha McVicker (1999), Errand Solutions, earned national media attention! BusinessWeek featured a great article telling of Marsha's typical day and why her company is such a success. Today, seven years after her launch, Errand Solutions, LLC, has offices in multiple markets, annual sales of $9 million, more than 100 employees in 15 states, and serves in excess of 1.5 million American workers.

Lance Mikus (2004), Senior Product Manager, was recently highlighted in a case study with Invitrogen Corporation examining some of his key initiatives to allow high sales growth beyond expectations. He will be featured in a special company newsletter called Reach. Lance recently served on a panel at the USC businesses school as an expert in biotechnology business to discuss trends in biotech business, This was held for the USC BioBusiness Association.

Chad & Betsy

Chad Sorenson and Betsy Kacizak, Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid

Chad Sorenson (2002), a Wisconsin Engineering Schoofs invention winner, and Burrill winner, was key-note speaker for prospective MBAs Oct. 12 at the Fluno Center. Chad shared his story of his entrepreneurial venture, discussing all the opportunities that opened up to him as a Wisconsin MBA, taking his idea to a successful business, selling that business, and his new start-up and high hopes for that future business.

Chad's new company is Sologear, LLC. In our February issue of the newsletter we mentioned that they were originally seeking $800,000 in equity financing to fund the scale-up of manufacturing for their new line of grilling products. In July, they successfully closed the round with $1,500,000 due to higher than expected investor interest and are well on their way to getting their first product on the market. Their initial test market will be conducted in Q1 of 2008.



$85 Million Gift From Alums

The Wisconsin School of Business recently received an unprecedented gift -- $85 million from a small group of alums, "the Wisconsin Naming Gift Partnership," to support the school's mission. This has to be one of the grandest stories ever told at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The gift was announced at the School's pre-Homecoming Bash on Oct. 27. Please read the stories at our website and Dean Michael Knetter's vision and strategy in implementing this drive. The gift explicitly prohibits renaming the school after an individual during the next 20 years. The group of alumni were part of one of the most unique and innovative naming gifts in education.

In a recent note from the Dean's office, the following challenge was issued:

"Perhaps the best way to honor the Partnership gift is to recognize the difference all alumni can make by working together. To continue our school's progress, we are launching a major annual giving campaign among our alumni. To motivate more alumni to become involved, one of the Wisconsin Naming Partners has offered to match every individual gift made to the Wisconsin School of Business Annual Fund through the end of 2007."

Here is the link shall you wish to make an individual gift to be matched.

  • Anne Miner, SMILES Director and Executive Director, Initiative for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship, was recently quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal in a story regarding a parent who has recently created a doll firm. The founder feels the market does not offer a doll product that emphasizes values and friendship, so has created a firm to meet that need.
  • Jon Eckhardt, Professor, was invited to organize a panel session on alternative data collection methods for entrepreneurship research at the 2007 Kauffman Symposium on Entrepreneurship and Innovation Data. The session was held in Nov. at the Kauffman Foundation, and focused on archival systems, Internet data collection methods, data preservation, and sampling methodologies. Other members of the panel were Professors David Kirsch of the University of Maryland, and Constance Helfat of Dartmouth College.
  • Michael Ciuchta, an Entrepreneurship PhD student in the Department of Management and Human Resources, was recently awarded a Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship. Michael's proposal, "Learning and Identity in new Technology Organizations," was selected by a panel of reviewers as one of the sixteen best submissions from among a competitive pool of over one hundred proposals.
  • Two Undergraduate Students Named to BusinessWeek's 2007 America's Best Young Entrepreneurs. Based on a nationwide search conducted by Business Week for the 25 most promising entrepreneurs under 25, the UW scored 2 spots.

Ashutosh Gupta, 19, Gupta Financial Consulting, Madison, Wis. currently earning his BBA in entrepreneurship and finance, a Burrill competition winner in Spring 2007, interviewed for a radio interview with Joan Gillman of On Air with In Business and is advising on the new residential learning community with an entrepreneurial focus, and

Rishi Shah, 25, Flying Cart Media Madison, Wis. electrical engineering.

For full article, please read here

  • UW MBA Ranks 33 in Global Survey of Social and Environmental Integration in MBA. The Wisconsin MBA scores high on Beyond Grey Pinstripes' biennial survey and alternative ranking of business schools. Their mission is to spotlight innovative full-time MBA programs that are integrating issues of social and environmental stewardship into curricula and research. The UW rankings can be found here. The bottomline is we take seriously our charge of preparing students to be future leaders. If we are to be successful in this endeavor, we believe that students must understand how environmental and social responsibility is integral to the long term success of a business. We seek to create this understanding by integrating the concept of sustainability into existing classes, and developing new classes and programs that specifically address this issue.
  • Looking for a SBIR/STTR grant? The UW Small Business Development Center and the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Network are holding a free introductory presentation in Madison Nov. 15 and 28. Details can be found here!


The Center would like to thank the following students for their generous contributions:

Jane Bills, Weinert Graduate 2007
Tom Godfrey, Weinert Graduate 2007
John Halter, Weinert Graduate 2007
Eric Olson, SMILES Graduate 2007
Andrew Kotila, Weinert Graduate 2007

Your continued support for our programs is greatly appreciated. Anyone wishing to financially support the programs can do so at the following:

Entrepreneurship Program: http://bus.wisc.edu/centers/weinert/give
SMILES Program: http://www.bus.wisc.edu/SMILES/support

Best Wishes,

Dan Olszewski
Director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
Director, Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences
Director, Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) Fund
4429 Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 265-3959

Ramon (Ray) J. Aldag
Executive Director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
Glen A. Skillrud Faimly Chair in Business
3112 Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-3711

Anne S. Miner
Executive Director, Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences
Executive Director, Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship
5252 Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-4143

Janet Christopher
Academic Specialist
Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
4425 Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-2882

Rebecca Buckman
University Services Program Associate
Wisconsin School of Business
3340 Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-4161