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 the Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences (SMILES) Programs

The last few months have been very busy and exciting for the Weinert Center, our students, and alumni. At this year's Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference, graduates of the program picked up three of the top 12 places in the Governor's Business Plan Competition. This is especially impressive given the record-setting number of 326 entries in the competition. In fact, half of all of the winning teams included UW alumni who had graduated within the past five years, which I think bodes well for entrepreneurship across the campus.

This May we also saw some great student start-up presentations and feedback from our WAVE Advisory Board. The event was followed by a celebratory graduation reception which was joined by many alumni and friends of the Center. It is always bittersweet to see a class graduate, but we continue to wish them best fortune as they start new businesses or jobs in the current environment.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter update.


Table of Contents

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


2009 Governor's Business Plan

Our students placed first, second and third at the June 9-10 Governor's Business Plan Competition held in Milwaukee. With 326 entries it was an impressive result and speaks volumes about the hard work and quality of the finalists.

In the Advanced Manufacturing category, alum Michael Miller (2008) placed 1st with NxtMile Custom Running Shoes. This Madison-area company’s shoes are engineered and custom assembled to address the specific biomechanical and orthopedic needs of over-40 and experienced runners, helping them prevent injury. NxtMile utilizes proprietary pressure-mapping technology.

In the Business Services category, Scott Daigger and Todd Wendrick (2007), placed 2nd with Sandbox International, LLC, a firm that has developed a proprietary web application to help market researchers identify creative individuals for participation in consumer co-creation initiatives.

In the Life Sciences category, Kyle Montgomery (2006), placed 3rd with AquaMost, an advanced water-treatment technology that efficiently and economically destroys water-borne pathogens and pollutants.

In addition, Thomas Carmona, CityDictionary.com finished as a finalist in the Governor's Business Plan after winning the Burrill competition.

Winners of the contest were announced at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee. They will share more than $200,000 in cash and in-kind prizes from 33 sponsors.

Congratulations to all entrants! To read complete article, please go here http://www.bus.wisc.edu/pressroom/competitions/entrepreneurship-mbas-take-category-prizes-in-governors-business-plan-competition/

In addition to the entrants, several others served as panelists or judges including Bryon Shannon (undergrad program); Joe Kremer (1997 Alum); Greg Lynch WAVE Board member, and Chad Sorenson (2002 Alum). To view the photos of attendees, please see http://www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/events/ent_conf/?Id=282

Students Celebrate End of Semester WAVE Graduation

Wave Graduation

Pictured include: Miles Gerson, Jim Weinert, Dan Olszewski, Troy Vosseller, Jon Eckhardt, Phil Greenwood, Ray Aldag, Kavi Turnbull, Erik Snyder, Prabhu Ramamoorthy, Anne Miner, John Ribolzi, Jenny Zhang, Ryan Palmer, Tom Carmona, Janet Christopher and Phil Kim

The 2009 graduates presented their WAVE projects at the May 8 meeting to board members. Dan Olszewski, Director, announced the award-winning students during the reception as follows:

James J. Weinert Outstanding Graduate Entrepreneurship Student - Kavi Turnbull

Outstanding WAVE Student - Ryan Palmer

Outstanding Representative MBA Class of 2009 -- Voted on by classmates -- Tom Carmona

Professors Phil Kim and Jon Eckhardt presented Jesse Davis with the Alan C. Filley Outstanding Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Award. They also presented Katy Radtke with the Robert W. Pricer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Scholarship.

Professors Jon Eckhardt and Anne Miner presented Mike Ciuchta with the Robert W. Pricer Ph.D. Award.

Thanks to all Board members, alumni, and staff, friends of the Center for attending!


WAVE Attendee collage May 8, 2009

SMILES Graduates

SMILES Graduates

Anne Miner, Dan Olszewski, Miles Gerson, Juanfang (Jenny) Zhang, Rebecca Buckman, and Janet Christopher

Entrepreneurship Guest Speakers - Spring 2009

One of the programs' greatest strengths is the opportunity to combine the teaching of academic theory with the lessons of real-world application. We extend a thank-you to all of the speakers who visited the various Entrepreneurship classes this past semester:

John Schuster, Young, Schuster, & Maslowski LLP
Dan Neely, Networked Insights
Mike Gotzler, QTI Group
Judy Faulkner, Epic
Chuck West, UWEX
Rimas Buinevicius, Sonic Foundry
Michelle Collins, Founder Svoboda Collins
Kay Plantes, Plantes Company
Cheryl Vickroy, Backner Vickroy Group
Ravi Kalla, Symphony
Jacqui Sakowski, Sakowski Consulting
Tim Gill , NetConcepts
Scott Daigger, Sandbox International
Tim Seifritz, Covance
Elizabeth Wewerka, Lady Moxie
Derrick Van Mell, Van Mell Associates
Joe Boucher, Neider & Boucher, S.C.
Mike Jurken, DJ MAJIC
Erin Byrd, Entrepreneurship Student
Mike Kollath, Kollath & Associates CPA LLC
J. Patrick Genn, Continuum Partners
Cliff McDonald, Brochach Irish Pub
Laurie Benson, Inacom
Matt Weygandt, Barriques
Frank Staniszewski, Madison Development Corp.
Ruth King, The Profitability Channel
Mark Gehring, Sharendipity
Deven McGlenn, Neoclone
Ward Tucker, Biosentinel Pharmaceuticals
Timur Yarnall, Broadcast Interactive Media
Keith Streckenbach, Pharmacy One Source
Todd Streicher & Data Center Tour, 5Nines Data
Emily Bauer, WARF
Jeff Moore, Virent Energy
John Wiley, UW-Madison
Kelly Fitzsimmons, Comic Wonder LLC
Jeff Peterson, Michael Best & Friedrich
J. Patrick Genn, Continuum Partners
Paul Reckwerdt, TomoTherapy
Aaron Kennedy, Noodles & Co.
Troy Vosseller, Sconnie Nation
Brandon Gador, Powered Green
Justin Beck, PerBlue
Neil Lerner, Small Business Development Center
Mark Platt, Multistack
William Hogan, The Hogan Company

Center Funds NxtMile Start-Up

Mike Miller (2008) has successfully secured WAVE funding for his running shoe start-up NxtMile. Currently in the R&D and prototyping phase for a new line of high-performance footwear through superior engineering, proprietary materials, and expert fitting, NXtMile will create a new breed of running shoe. He placed 1st in the advanced manufacturing category at this year's Governor's Business Plan Competition.

Center Director Featured in US News

Dan Olszewski was interviewed by US News & World Report regarding tips for starting a business after the age of 50. Please read the complete article at: http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/retirement/2009/06/29/6-tips-for-starting-a-business-after-age-50.html


Laurie Benson Received National SBA Award

Laurie Benson receiving award

Laurie Benson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Inacom Information Systems, Madison, a Weinert Center Advisory Board member, received the 2009 National Women in Business Champion award from the U.S. Small Business Administration this May.

As part of National Small Business Week, Benson was one of 15 people, from around the U.S. to be honored by the SBA for their support of entrepreneurs. Part of this honor included a chance to meet President Obama. For a variety of articles regarding her tremendous accomplishments, please see


Congratulations, Laurie!


Small Business Development Center Receives SBA Excellence Award

SBDC Receiving SBA Award

Neil Lerner, Director, Small Business Development Center, was presented with the 2009 Small Business Development Center Excellence Award on June 5th at the 24th Annual Wisconsin awards meeting.

Neil states: "We are honored to have received this award and have our great staff recognized for their hard work helping small businesses start and grow. The Madison SBDC program was honored for the one-on-one technical assistance and training programs we provide on an annual basis to help entrepreneurs in Dane, Columbia, and Sauk Counties. We are proud to be part of the Wisconsin School of Business and The Wisconsin Idea." Congratulations, SBDC!

Faculty Member Presents Paper

Anne Miner, Distinguished Professor of Management and Human Resources Executive Director, INSITE, presented a paper in April at the University of North Carolina conference on The Larger Role of the University in Economic Development.

For conference site see http://publicpolicy.unc.edu/?q=node/177.

Miner's talk highlighted that many universities around the world try to imitate a few iconic regions as they encourage start-ups in order to promote local economic growth. She noted the dangers of this strategy. Consistent with strategies in other areas, superior approaches include (1) focus on specific local and university strengths (2) learn from prior success and failure in one's own region and (3) consider possibilities of leapfrogging to new approaches.

Miner underscored that entrepreneurship helps develop values such as creativity and authenticity, and contributes to society in ways not captured by simple economic change alone. Similarly, the university creates value for society far beyond economic impact.

Faculty Member Presents Research

Professor Jon Eckhardt presented findings from research on entrepreneurship in Mobile Software with Ph.D. candidate Mike Ciuchta and Professor Mason Carpenter at the 2009 Industry Studies Conference in June. The Industry Studies Association is an association started by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to promote the detailed study of industries worldwide.

Professor Eckhardt is helping the UW System expand its offerings in entrepreneurship education. In June he provided advice on a proposal to offer an undergraduate degree by the University of Wisconsin--Whitewater business school.

Faculty Member Featured on NBC News -- Things to Watch as Economy Grows

Phil Greenwood was featured with Leigh Mills on Channel 15 News Monday, June 29. The video can be viewed at http://www.nbc15.com/news -- Click on Videos: Top 5 at 5: Things to Watch as Economy Grows. Video will be there for approximately one week for you to view.

Faculty Member Attends Workshop

Phil Kim, Assistant Professor of Management and Human Resources, attended a faculty development workshop in June at George Washington University's School of Business. The workshop, "Succeeding in Emerging and Development Markets: How Institutions Affect Firms and Managers" attracted an international group of academics who research and teach topics related to emerging markets. Workshop presenters included the Bangladeshi Ambassador to the U.S. and the Consul General of Jamaica. Kim is conducting research on entrepreneurship in emerging economies and plans to integrate more internationally oriented materials in entrepreneurship courses he teaches.

International Visitors Interview Center Faculty/Staff

Professor Ray Aldag and Dan Olszewski were interviewed by visitors representing Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Nigeria, Peru, Slovenia, and Suriname, under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Their objectives visiting the center were:

  • Discuss how to influence and encourage the development of small businesses and entrepreneurship in the U.S.
  • Explore the role of small business in driving economic development, and
  • Demonstrate the impact of small business on the local, regional, national, and economic economies.


The founder, Heather Hilleren (2005), GreenLeaf Market, has changed the company name to Local Dirt and moved to the new high-tech incubater on E. Washington Avenue in Madison.

Nathan Meredith (2006) has taken a position with St. Jude Medical in Mendota Heights, MN.

Todd Muderlak (1999) was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal for his accomplishments in entrepreneurship and his future goals to build on a long line of entrepreneurial ventures established by his father, Ken Muderlak. For full article, please read http://www.jsonline.com/business/48032897.html

Featured Alumni

Image of Alumnus

Alfredo A. Armengol, IV

2006 Graduate

Product Manager, Abbott Vascular

The Entrepreneurship Program is not all about starting your own business, it's about building your tool box, the tool box that allows for critical thinking. True, the resources the program offers through WARF and the BOARD are world class for any budding entrepreneur, but the program, more than anything else, prepares you for life by building and expanding your entrepreneurial tool kit.

Should we fund this project? Should we divest this company? What about expanding our footprint in Latin America? Should we purchase this competitor?

These are all questions we are asked and expected to answer after graduating from the Entrepreneurship Program…whether growing your own business or working within a larger organization.

Wait…I've never negotiated a half billion dollar partnership between two publicly traded organizations before (and I am certainly not a lawyer), but I do remember the basic tenets to negotiations. So I reach into my tool kit, pull out my BATNA and ZOPA, and head into the meeting.

It's the toolbox we built during those two years in the program that allow Weinert Center Alums to answer these questions.

Starting at a small subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson and then moving on to a larger technology at Abbott Laboratories, I rely on this entrepreneurial toolbox each and every day. I make recommendations to fund and cancel projects. I negotiate with vendors and CEOs. I find ways to make partnerships work. At each turn there is a new challenge…one that I am grateful for the tool box I built while at the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship.

On Wisconsin!


Bob Pricer Generously Gifts the Center Funds to Support Entrepreneurship

Bob Pricer

As many of you know, Professor Robert Pricer had a long successful career teaching entrepreneurship in the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship. Professor Pricer retired in 2002 and was elected to the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2005. This gift will be used to fund students for competitions, trips and

This fund was established by alumni and friends, including corporations, with cash gifts to support the Weinert Center within the Wisconsin School of Business.

The purpose of this fund is to support the mission of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship. The Weinert Center is dedicated to teaching, research and service pertaining to entrepreneurial management, enterprise development, economic development, and public understanding of a free enterprise economy. The Center is a resource for students interested in entrepreneurship and small business.

Other gifts include:

Kurt Kober (2007 MBA), 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