Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences (SMILES) E-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 includes updates on our busy students, alumni, board members, staff and faculty, and a white paper on the topic of using social networking sites for business.

Table of Contents

Center/Specialization News and Events
White Paper: Using Social Networking
WAVE and Weinert Advisory Board Updates
Alumni Updates
Faculty/School News


The UW-Madison Entrepreneurship Association is off and running this semester with a very interesting speaker series. Ian Gurfield, Founder and Manager of Ian's Pizza, shared his experiences with club members. Punky Egan, Owner of Sucre, the new Patisserie on the Capitol Square and longtime MATC Baking Instructor, spoke about her experiences as an entrepreneur. Dani Michels, Owner/President, Commercial Interior Contractors, spoke about her career as an entrepreneur in interior contracting.

New officers of the Entrepreneurship Association include first-year Entrepreneurship students: Troy Vosseller, President; Kavi Turnbull, VP of Marketing and Event Promotion; Tom Carmona, VP of Marketing and Web Promotion, and Ryan Palmer, VP of External Relations. For updates, please see http://www.uwea.com/index.php.

Current Students

Tyler Leeper, second-year Entrepreneurship student, placed second in the University of Cincinnati Spirit of Enterprise MBA Business Plan Competition with ProactiCare, LLC, a medical monitoring company, and also won the award for best technology. For complete story, please read here.

Troy Vosseller, first-year Entrepreneurship student, was cited in the Wisconsin State Journal article, "There's a little entrepreneur in all of us." Troy tells the story of his jump into a start-up company, Sconnie Nation, and how he and his partner started the company in their UW-Madison dorm. For full article, read http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/274597.

Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC)

Ryan Palmer, first-year Entrepreneurship student, along with second-year entrepreneurship students Sean Ebert, Dan Rice, Tim Staton, and law student Ryan Haas participted in the February Venture Capital Investment Competition in Boulder, Colo. Students traveled to Boulder after receiving business plans to compete with five other student groups. They participated in a fast-paced intensive competition and received solid feedback and advice to pass along to next year's student group.

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

Recruiting MBA Candidates for 2008-2009 Admission

We are off to a great 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 application is May 15, but highly recommend that interested parties apply earlier rather than later. If you know of any potential candidates, 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.


Social networking sites have experienced rapid growth in the past few years, and companies are experimenting with many different approaches to benefit from this phenomenon. First-year entrepreneurship student Ryan Palmer explores this subject in his white paper, "Are Social Networking Websites The Next Big Thing For Business Marketing?"


Joe Boucher, Neider & Boucher, S.C., recently spoke on InBusiness Magazine's "Meet Jody and Joan" show. The recording can be found at http://www.inbusinessmagazine.com/radio/thisweek. In addition, Joe and has written several columns in a series of articles on developing start-up companies in the technology and biotechnology sectors. See the final installment of this series at http://wistechnology.com/articles/4591/.

Scott Braucht, President of Scott Braucht & Associates, recently completed fundraising work for Madison’s Sequoya Library Branch. A total of $1.7M was raised for the private portion of the campaign. Pres House, another project, completed its first year and a half of its fundraising campaign and slightly over $1M has been raised. He now moves on to the anticipated $14.5M campaign for the brand-new Fitchburg library. To learn more about Scott, his company, and fundraising work. Read the article in the October 16 Business Section of the Wisconsin State Journal, see http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=/wsj/2007/10/16/0710160120.php

Neil Peters-Michaud

Neil Peters-Michaud, CEO and Founder of Cascade Asset Management, recently received several recognitions. His firm was voted as one of the top places to work in the March issue of Madison Magazine. In addition, he won a new, annual award from, the Wisconsin Alumni Association showcasing dynamic UW-Madison graduates under the age of 40. Award winners demonstrate remarkable impact through their professional achievements, service to the community or to UW-Madison, and reflect a great “Badger spirit” in their energy, initiative, creativity and drive. Read more here: http://www.forwardunder40.com/michaud.html

Paul Reckwardt, TomoTherapy, was also featured on InBusiness Magazine's "Meet Jody and Joan" show. For podcast, please see http://podcast.loyalears.com/wtdy.php?task=browse&file_id=2315&type=


Adam Bock, 1999 Weinert graduate, was co-founder of Nerites Corporation. The company closed its Series A round financing last month. Venture Investors was the lead. Although not directly involved with the company anymore, Nerites continues to be a success. The company's technology was featured on the cover of Nature magazine in July 2007.

Windlift Test

Rob Creighton, 2007 SMILES graduate, is happy to report the first successful test of the prototype for his start-up WindLift and will be airing a new video on YouTube.

Kite Generator

Scott Daigger and Todd Wendrick, 2007 Weinert graduates and founders of Sandbox International, presented their methodology at the March 20 Wisconsin Innovation Network event in the Fox Cities. They will also be hosting an event in May for the Industrial Designers Society of America, with attendees from WI, MN, and IL.

Mike Fourcher, 2003 Weinert graduate, launched Purely Political Consulting in October, a Democratic firm based in Chicago that provides fundraising, media and strategic assistance to Democratic organizations and candidates from the top to the bottom of the ballot. Mike has consulted for Congressional races and ran a Cook County-wide race this past fall. He can be reached at mike@purelypolitical.us

Tim Gill, 2006 Weinert graduate, recently joined Netconcepts, a Madison-based company with offices in New Zealand, as a Search Engine Marketer. Netconcepts is a web consulting company specializing in search engine optimal retail web sites. Clients include: LL Bean, Zappos, Orbitz, Expedia, Discovery Channel, Guild, Cabelas, and REI.

Chad Sorenson, 2002 Weinert graduate and founder of Sologear, announced that they have received their first orders for FlameDisk, an ethanol-based fuel cell that replaces charcoal, and will be initiating a test market in Phoenix, AZ and Wisconsin beginning in late-April of this year. FlameDisk delivers the user benefits and convenience of gas grilling to a standard charcoal grill. The product has been met with very strong initial interest by the buyers at various retail chains including Woodman's, SuperValu (Cub Foods), Sentry Foods, Basha's (AZ) and Roundy's (Copps, Pick n' Save and Rainbow Foods). The company is finalizing the set-up of its pilot manufacturing systems and conducting final product testing with a planned first shipment of product in early April. After a planned 12-week test market phase, the product will be scaled nationally and be accompanied by an aggressive public relations campaign.

Keith Streckenbach, 1999 Weinert graduate, and his wife Susan are expecting their third child (a boy) May 7. They are delighted to add to their family zoo of two daughters, three dogs and three cats!

Keith's company, Pharmacy OneSource, broke the $8M sales mark in 2007 and has been named a finalist in several software industry award competitions. Major growth is coming from its recently introduced software service, Sentri7, that helps healthcare professionals identify, treat and prevent infection and medication related harm to patients. Keith is now the company's Chief Strategy Officer.

Sara VanderLind, 2006 Weinert graduate, has been promoted to Product Manager at Fiskars Brands.

Elizabeth Wewerka, aka Lady Moxie, 2001 Weinert graduate, has announced an expansion from her current line to "Baby Moxie" -- watch for it this month!

Scott Daigger & Todd Wendrick, 2007 Weinert graduates, Sandbox International, and John Hackney, 2002 Weinert graduate, Great Lakes Ag Energy, LLC are among the 51 semi-finalist companies for the prestigious Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. The contest, now in its fifth year, encourages entrepreneurs in the creation, start-up and early-growth stages of high-tech businesses in Wisconsin.


Dean Michael Knetter is quoted in an article on Teaching Future CEOs and how the business school is meeting the challenge in the February 2008 Capital Region Business Journal. For full article, read http://www.madison.com/crbj/200802/index.php?ntid=269963.

In addition to that article, another entrepreneur gives credit to Professors Tim Osswald and Phillip Kim and their students for his products' success to date.

Fishing Lures

Ben Hobbins, president and CEO of Lake Resources Group; Nick Newman, master's student in mechanical engineering; Tim Osswald, professor of mechanical engineering and Phil Kim, assistant professor of management and human resources, stand around an injection mold machine in the Polymer Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 4, 2008. For full article, read http://www.news.wisc.edu/14799

Photo by: Jeff Miller


We would like to thank the following students, alumni and friends of the specializations for their generous contributions.

Robert Creighton, 2007 SMILES graduate
Brian Herriott, 2001 Weinert graduate
Kurt Kober, Friend of the Center
Jose O Rivera-Sostre, 2004 Weinert graduate

Your continued support 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