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.

Table of Contents

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


Day Trip to TomoTherapy


On Friday April 25, a group of E-Ship and SMILES students and staff travelled to TomoTherapy for a tour of the various facilities by WAVE Board Member Paul Reckwerdt. Following the tour, the group was given the opportunity to chat with Paul and CEO Fred Robertson, in the TomoTherapy board room. A big thank you goes to Paul for providing a thorough and engaging experience!

SMILES 2008 End of Year Gathering

SMILES Students

On Thursday May 15, SMILES students, staff, significant others, and children, gathered at Paisans in downtown Madison to celebrate the end of a successful year in the program and to honor second-year students, Pei Qi and Theresa Gresl. A great time was had by all!

Fast Company Editor Visits Weinert Center

Charles Fishman, Editor-at-Large of Fast Company, visited the UW this April. As part of his visit, he met with entrepreneurship students to discuss the magazine, their business ideas and his upcoming book on the looming water shortage.

Entrepreneurship Association Activities

The Entrepreneurship Association hosted the following speakers: Sherwin Greenblatt, former President of BOSE, March 31; Laurent Crolla from Swiss Cellers and Jeremy McKenna from Cafe Montmartre April 29.

Sales Training for WAVE Students

Special thanks to Chuck West, Program Director UW Exec Ed., who once again guest lectured in WAVE on the topic of High Performance Selling. This is an incredibly useful skill and Chuck's class is one of the best. Sales and Sales Management

Current Students

Our students finished exceptionally well in the 2008 G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition. Troy Vosseller (first-year entrepreneurship student) and Keith Agoada's (BBA) team took 1st Place for Sky Vegetables. Mike Miller & Sean Ebert (second-year entrepreneurship students) took 3rd Place for NxtMile. Tyler Leeper (second-year entrepreneurship student) took 4th Place for Proacticare. Kavi Turnbull (first-year entrepreneurship student) won the new $1,000 Nelson Institute Green Entrepreneurial Venture Recognition award. See presentations here: http://www.bus.wisc.edu/burrill/

Troy Vosseller and Keith Agoada have been featured in several news articles regarding the Sky Vegetables business idea. The company plans to build and operate commercial greenhouses on the roofs of grocery stores and supermarkets to cut down travel time and costs of fresh produce. The story was covered in several national and local news outlets, including the Chronicle for Higher Education, Fresh Plaza (The Netherlands) national blogs, the Capital Times, the Wisconsin State Journal, National Public Radio and the Daily Cardinal.

http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i37/37a00702.htm (subscription required)
http://cookingupastory.com/index.php/2008/04/24/sky-vegetables-a-brilliant-n otion/

Based on his success at previous competitions, Tyler Leeper was invited to present Proacticare at the Moot Business Plan Competition in Austin, TX. He faced off against 37 teams from across the world. His success continued with a 6th place finish and $2,000 award. More information regarding his Proacticare venture can be found at http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=124957.

Three current students and two alumni are competing in the final round of the Governor's Business plan. They are: Mike Miller and Sean Ebert (2008), Troy Vosseller (2009), and Todd Wendrick and Scott Daigger (alums) -- see story here!

Mike Miller also presented at the San Diego Competition. Valuable take-aways from the competition were gained and there was popular demand for a sneak peek of the shoe prototype!

Mike Miller had a busy month -- he was also featured in The Waunakee Tribune discussing his background and vision for the start-up NxtMile along with fellow classmate, Sean Ebert. For full article please click here.

Kavi Turnbull was recently featured in the WisBusiness article: DriveAlternatives.com provides convenient service for green drivers http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=124529.


Andy Albert

We are pleased to announce that Andy Albert, Managing Director & Operating Partner Svoboda Capital Partners, has joined the Weinert Board of Advisors.

Andy was former President & CEO of Nashua Corporation as well as former Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Rittenhouse, LLC. He received his BA from Washington University and his MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Weinert Board Meeting

The recent Weinert Board meeting was held May 9 prior to the WAVE Board meeting. A key topic for discussion was placement and many good suggestions were recommended to assist future students with this issue.

WAVE Board Meeting and Graduation Celebration

Wave and Graduation Ceremony

A graduation gathering was held on May 9 to celebrate the accomplishments of the WAVE 2008 class with numerous alumni, board members, faculty and staff were in attendance. There were multiple winners recognized for their success in recent competitions as mentioned above. Individual awards presented to class members included the following:

James J. Weinert Outstanding Graduate Entrepreneur Student -- Mike Miller

Outstanding WAVE Students -- Theresa Gresl and Dan Rice

Outstanding Representative MBA Class of 2008 -- Sean Ebert

Undergraduate Entrepreneur Recognition

Professor Phil Kim presented the Alan C. Filley Outstanding Undergraduate Entrepreneurship award to Brandon Gador. Details for Brandon's business venture, Powered Green, can be found at http://www.poweredgreen.com/.

Professor Kim also presented the Robert W. Pricer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Scholarship to Andrew Ferenci. Information about his endeavors can be found at http://www.thecollegeshack.com/.

Professor Anne Miner presented the Robert W. Pricer Ph.D. award to Tony Sadler at the recent WAVE Board meeting. Tony will join Seton Hall in New York in the fall as an Assistant Professor of Management.

Hall of Fame Inductee

Bruce Neviaser was inducted into the Weinert Center Hall of Fame at the WAVE board meeting on May 9.

Bruce Neviaser

Dan Olszewski and Ray Aldag inducted Bruce Neviser into the Weinert Center Hall of Fame on May 9. A few of his many business successes include:

  • Started successful real estate development firm.
  • Former CEO/Chairman of Great Wolf Resorts and grew that resort from one property to a nation-wide chain as well as taking them public.
  • Founded Continuum Investment Partners with many investments including Cellectar and Aova Technologies.

Bruce is also a huge supporter of the Weinert Center and gifted the Dan Neviaser fund for start-up support. He is also a great mentor and great class speaker. Bruce joins a very prestigious Hall of Fame Inductee list including:

  • Aaron Kennedy, Noodles & Co.;
  • 2003 Carol Bartz, Autodesk;
  • 2004 Jim Weinert, TriPro;
  • 2005 Bob Pricer, UW-Professor;
  • 2005 Jack Lavin, Arrow Financial Services, 2006.

For details on all members inducted into the Hall of Fame, please see http://www.bus.wisc.edu/weinertcenter/newsletter/Hall of Fame.asp.

Advisory Board Members in the News

Chuck Oehler, President, The Oehler Group, was featured in the news as his company was chosen to make a presentation at BIO 2008, the international biotechnology convention, to approximately 20,000 from the global bioscience industry this June. For complete article, please see http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/288702.

CEO Mike Smith's firm Bag Borrow or Steal, landed a role in the new movie, "Sex and the City," according to the May 27 issue of The Wall Street Journal. The WSJ had a great article and interview with Mike regarding the opportunity and risks associated with having your product mentioned in a movie. Please visit the firm's website to browse the items chosen by the movie's main characters. http://www.bagborroworsteal.com/.


Bob Brancel, 2003 Weinert graduate, is active in three entrepreneurial ventures. They include: Capitol Express Transportation -- a taxi type service for passengers who require a wheel chair that started in 2004; Brancel Charters -- started in 2003 that supports bicycle riders for the largest cross-state bike ride in the nation, and Galaxy Spirit -- a cheerleading and dance competition company joined in 2007.

Scott Daigger and Todd Wendrick, 2007 Weinert graduates, are celebrating their one-year anniversary with Sandbox. They are also among the finalists in the Governor's Business Plan Contest, and recently completed their first project with a Fortune 500 company.

Shailesh Ghimire, 2003 Weinert graduate, has accepted a position as Director of Interactive Marketing for AIR Marketing (an analytics driven marketing agency in Phoenix, AZ). She will be spearheading AIR's efforts to develop a Web 2.0 services offering to large and mid-sized business. This is a big initiative for AIR.

Julie Heinze, 2003 Weinert graduate, was recently promoted to Manager, Marketing Analysis at Charter Communications.

Alec Johnson, 2001 Weinert graduate, teaches entrepreneurs at St. Thomas University. Alec talked about getting exposure for craft businesses in the Star Tribune at http://www.startribune.com/business/16371546.html.

Ankur Malhotra, 2001 Weinert graduate, co-founded a business last year - Madison Music Review, LLC. The website is www.madisonmusicreview.com.

Cailin Mani, 2006 Weinert graduate, has accepted a position as Senior Financial Analyst for Newark Electronics, a Premier Farnell company in Chicago.

Ben Morales, 2003 Weinert graduate, has accepted a position with Unitedhealth Group as Director of Ethnic Strategies in Minneapolis.

Kyle Montgomery, 2006 Weinert graduate, has been promoted to Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Aova Technologies in Madison.

Sara (VanderLind) Roberts, 2006 Weinert graduate, is the proud mother of a son (Asher James Roberts) on April 18, 2008

Chad Sorenson, 2002 Weinert graduate, is "fired up" about his latest innovation. Chad founded Sologear, a company that recently debuted its first product, a charcoal-replacement fuel cell. For complete story, see: http://www.news.wisc.edu/15212

Elizabeth Wewerka, 2001 Weinert graduate, aka "Lady Moxie", received national attention in the June 2008 Entrepreneurship Magazine. For the Capital Times coverage, please see http://www.madison.com/tct/business/287507. To see the article in Entrepreneurship Magazine, please go here https://www.entrepreneur.com/magazine/entrepreneursstartupsmagazine/2008/may/193402.html

Brad Woodall, 2005 Weinert graduate, current Business Development Manager at State Collection Service, Inc. will be a Color Analyst on the TV broadcast of the Wisconsin High School Baseball State Tournament June 10-12

Eugene Yang, 2007 Weinert graduate, participated in the Reckitt Benckiser NA competition, home of some of America's most recognizable and successful brands, at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business this past March 28-29. For more detail, please see: http://simonexchange.rochester.edu/home/Clubs/sma/SMACaseComp_2008/default.aspx


Belle Heberling

Belle Heberling, PhD/MS Coordinator, is the first recipient of the Gaumnitz Distinguished Classified Staff Award. The award was created to recognize the contributions made to the Wisconsin School of Business. Belle spent many years in the Weinert Center as well as other positions within the school. The common thread throughout Belle's time with the school has been her outstanding commitment to the students. Join us in congratulating Belle at bheberling@bus.wisc.edu.

Professor Anne Miner, SMILES Director and Director of cross campus Initiative for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship, will be leading a new Sellery Hall living and residential learning community this coming fall for students interested in entrepreneurship. For complete articles, please see http://www.news.wisc.edu/15227 and http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/287177

Entrepreneurship and SMILES Director Dan Olszewski served as a judge at the Wiscontrepreneur 100-Hour Challenge. For results, please see http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=/wsj/2008/04/19/0804190027.php.

First Entrepreneurship Undergraduate Students Graduate

In May 2008, the first class of students graduated from the undergraduate entrepreneurship degree program. As in the MBA program, as part of the program students in the program worked with local entrepreneurs to sharpen their skills. Please read their recognition awards under the WAVE Board Meeting and Celebration section of this newsletter.

Business School Ranking

U.S. News & World Report recently released its rankings for full-time MBA programs. For the second consecutive year, the school ranks 29th among all business schools in the United States, maintaining the highest ranking in this publication on record. Among public business schools, the MBA program ranks 12th, up from 14th last year – tied for the best showing in history.

U.S. News bases its rankings on data furnished by schools, recruiters, deans and MBA program directors across a broad range of indicators:

  • Placement success for the class graduating in spring 2007. This is a composite of starting salary, employment rates at graduation, as well as three months post graduation.
  • Student selectivity for the class entering in fall 2007. This is a composite of mean score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), mean GPA and proportion of applicants accepted by the school.
  • Survey of corporate recruiters.
  • Survey of business school deans and MBA program directors.

To view the entire U.S. News report, visit:


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 for a happy spring and summer!

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