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

January 2008 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


Center Funds Start-ups

The Center is pleased to announce that two student start-ups from the class of 2007 were recipients of a WAVE investment. Funding was provided by the Daniel H. Neviaser Entrepreneurship Fund and the James Weinert Applied Ventures Capital Fund.

  • Scott Daigger and Todd Wendrick, 2007 Entrepreneurship Graduates, received funding for their consulting start up, Sandbox International. They also made the headlines with their concept of having creative minds unleash their creative juices. Please read complete article here: Sandbox International turning sand castles into solid business ideas
  • Rob Creighton, 2007 SMILES Graduate, received funding for his start up, WindLift LLC. WindLift is designed to develop wind power technologies that will reduce the cost and pollution of pumping water. The system efficiently harnesses the power of the wind to motivate a reciprocating pump --an ideal application for irrigation and water supply in remote areas.

MBA Trip to India

Trip to India

The Wisconsin MBA Global Business Program found our students in India over the winter break. The group contained MBAs from a wide range of specializations and included Entrepreneurship students Dan Rice, Kavi Turnbull, Tom Carmona and Dan Olszewski, Instructor.

They spent ten days meeting with Indian Entrepreneurs, Merrill Lynch, a Bollywood director and producer, Bombay Stock Exchange, Indian law firm, General Mills, Securities Trading Corp of India plus site-seeing of the Taj Mahal and many other spectacular sites. For full story, please see Tom Carmona's write-up here.

SMILES Student Delivers

We are pleased to announce the birth of a baby boy to this year's SMILES student, Jenny Zhang. Congratulations Jenny!!!

SMILES Chromoportrait makes the news!

SMILES Chromoportrait

Phil Fisette creates new art by making a color photograph of their own DNA.

Whitney Robertson (SMILES 2006 Alum), who helped Fisette devise his business plan, displays her cell portrait in her office at a technology company in Cleveland.

"It's the intersection of science and art,'' Robertson said. "I'm a nonpracticing scientist. This is a good way for me to have my science somewhere around me."

A 2-by-2-foot portrait of chromosomes from five students and alumni hangs in Grainger Hall at UW-Madison in the student office of the SMILES program, which stands for Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences.

"It's beautiful. It looks like a piece of art. The colors are very, very vivid," said Rebecca Buckman, a program associate.

For full Wisconsin State Journal article please click here

Entrepreneur Students Get Together

A large group of Wisconsin Entrepreneur Bootcamp (WEB) students (all UW graduate students in science or engineering), Burrill business plan contestants, current Entrepreneurship and SMILES students along with staff met on Dec. 7 at the Union for a "first time ever reunion." They met each other formally for the first-time and discussed their entrepreneurial ideas to see where their interests match for future initiatives.

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

Current Students

Congratulations to Mike Miller, (Class of 2008) with a new design for running shoes for an aging population (NxtMile), along with Sean Ebert (Class of 2008) gained the highest scores from the judges for taking a meeting and reading a plan, respectively at the Elevator Pitch Olympics at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium where they competed against 16 entrepreneurs pitching their companies. For the full article, please read here.

Troy Vosseller (2009 Grad) makes the news with Sconnie, in the Badger Insider alumni magazine with an article capturing how the idea of Sconnie Nation started with an idea in their freshman dorm, to turn their business into a company symbolizing Wisconsin pride. Troy also served as session leader for the Wiscontrepreneur Entrepreneurial Deli on "Internet a la mode" infusing online edginess in your website and other communications.

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


The WAVE Board meeting was held December 14 with WAVE students presenting 5 plans to WAVE Board members. The meeting concluded with a get together with several alumni and Dan Olszewski giving an update on the Center to all attendees.

Laurie Benson, CEO Inacom Information Systems, was featured in a Nov. article sharing her experiences from nursing to a career in technology. For the full review please see the article.

Greg Lynch served as moderator at the 2007 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in November on a "Bioenergy: Wisconsin's Emerging Side". He was also named in The Best Lawyers in America 2008.

John Neis, Venture Investors, makes Forbes tech news regarding their success as a midwestern VC. For full article, please read "Venture Firms Peek Out of Silicon Valley."

Special thanks to Fall 2007 Class speakers. Thanks to the following:

Sue Alt, Kitchen Hearth
Mark Bennett, Total Training Solutions
Laurie Benson, Inacom
Tom Burke, Primorigen BioSciences
Dave Casimir, Casimir Jones
Andy Cohn, WARF
Scott Daigger, Sandbox International
Bryan Esch, DeWitt Ross & Stevens
Craig Fieschko, DeWitt Ross & Stevens
Laura Francis, Promega
Charlie Flad, Sun Prairie Police Dept
Heather Hilleren, GreenLeaf Market
Ben Hobbins, Lake Resources Group
Dan Howell, Mesirow Financial
Chris Hornung, Next Step
Steve Jacobson, Fairway Independent Mortgage
Ralph Kauten, Quintessence Biosciences
Ankur Maholtra, Matador Consulting
Pat McGraw, Amcore Bank
John Neis, Venture Investors
Bruce Neviaser, Continuum Partners
Sonya Newenhouse, Madison Environmental Group
Brent Newport, aKa Card
Dan Nichols, Anchor Bank
Kevin Phelps, UW Bookstore
Paul Reckwerdt, TomoTherapy
Chad Sorenson, Sologear
Kavi Turnbull, WAVE Student
J.J. Vosskamp, Cascade Assets
Peter Weber, UW Student
Jim Weinert, Weinert Center Emeritus
Todd Wendrick, Sandbox International
Elizabeth Wewerka, Lady Moxie
Henry Wilde, WI Dept of Commerce
Pete Zaballos, Frazier Technologies
Ray Zemon, Shopbop


Adam Bock (1999 Weinert Alum) is currently studying for Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship and Innovation with Gerry George at Imperial College London. Adam has co-authored a book with Gerry, "Inventing Entrepreneurs," which describes the entrepreneurial journeys of academic researchers who become entrepreneurs, and is hot off the presses published by Prentice Hall.

Tony Escarcega (2005 Weinert Alum) currently CEO of Ratio, Inc. Cega Nutraceuticals, LLC. They are developing natural therapeutics for health and athletic performance. Their first product is a performance running supplement called PR1pak. It is a vitamin and herb supplement to increase endurance, quicken recover and reduce body fat.

Craig Heim (2000 Weinert Alum), Licensing Manager for start-up companies with WARF, was quoted in the January issue of InBusiness. The question asked was "How many businesses and/or licenses originate with WARF?" To read the full article, please go here.

Craig Heim, (2000 Weinert Alum) also moderated a session at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in November. The panel topic was "Universities as a catalyst for entrepreneurship." Dan Olszewski served on the panel.

John Luecke (2006 SMILES Alum) has accepted a position at High Throughput Genomics based in Tucson, but working out of the Madison office.

Ben Morales (2003 Weinert Alum), has accepted a new role with the Hispanic Initiatives Team with Best Buy. In this new role he will be moving on to the retail side of the company to do Hispanic Business Development. Ben will be leading the stream of work around growth strategies & new formats to serve this segment.

Steve Royko (2001 Weinert Alum), has accepted the position of M&A Advisor and Managing Director of the Madison, WI office of Cornerstone Business Services.

Chad Sorenson (2002 Weinert Alum) served as a session leader for the Wiscontrepreneur Entrepreneurial Deli in November on "Check Please!" addressing "Can you actually become a millionaire?"


Ray Aldag, Director Weinert Center, served on a three-member panel which visited the National University of Singapore (NUS) to provide its chancellor with a review of the NUS management department. He delivered the keynote address at the The 2007 International Conference on Workforce Education and Development (ICOWED) in Taipei, Taiwan, and has accepted an invitation to serve as a Consulting Editor on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Anne Miner, Director SMILES/INSITE, has been named as a member of the UW Search Committee for a new Chancellor. For complete details, please read here.

"Improvisation: A Life and Death Tool for Small Businesses" by Barbara Mulhern in Corporate Report Wisconsin January 2008 featured comments by Professor Anne Miner. Miner suggests that in addition to planning, improvisation also represents an important skill especially for young firms with few resources. Miner's comments draw on prior research with prior B-School faculty member Ted Baker (prior WAVE director) and doctoral students Dale Eesley, Yan Gong, Michael Ciuchta and Tony Sadler.

Tony Sadler, an Entrepreneurship PhD student in the Department of Management and Human Resources, was awarded the Robert W. Pricer Ph.D. Award.

Mike Ciuchta, an Entrepreneurship PhD student in the Department of Management and Human Resources, was chosen as one of the recipients of the competitive Kauffman Dissertation awards. This is national competition, and brings about $20,000 support with it. Mike is working on his dissertation with Anne Miner and Jon Eckhardt.


The Center would like to thank the following students, alumni and friends of the Center for their generous contributions:

Andy Albert, Friend of the Center
Amy Bina, Weinert Graduate 2006
Scott Daigger, Weinert Graduate 2007
Jack & Robin Lavin, Arrow Financial Services, Weinert Board
Jason Loughrin, Weinert Graduate 2007
Agnieszka Nasalska, SMILES Graduate 2007
James Weinert, Friend of the Center

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