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

One of the highlights of the semester is the December WAVE presentations, where the students present their growth strategy projects for local companies. Like previous years, the variety of industries represented and the innovative ideas proposed were impressive. The industries ranged from a medical device, to mobile on-line gaming, to environmental sporting goods. The firms included UW faculty spinoffs, student startups, and a family business. The students did a great job and the advisory board provided useful insights and feedback. It was a great example of the wide variety to be found in entrepreneurship and the ability of the student teams to combine their various skills to complete the project successfully.

This spring the WAVE students are busy working on their start-up business plan or their job search. If you are potentially hiring a talented MBA graduate this spring, we would love to help connect you with some of our great graduating students.


Table of Contents

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


New Certificates in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Innovation

The UW has recently launched three new certificates which are designed to allow MBA students and undergraduate/graduate students outside of the Wisconsin School of Business to acquire the necessary skills to help them start businesses or develop innovations now and in the future.

This is an exciting expansion and should allow a far greater number of business students and other majors to learn these very important skills. We will continue to work with local firms in class projects and have student teams compete in competitions such as the Burrill Business Plan Competition and Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC). As part of this change the WAVE class will be opened to a broader group of students and WAVE will continue to invest in student start-ups coming out of the class.

These certificates are a joint venture of the Weinert Center, INSITE and the MHR Department.

Links to the three new certificates can be found at: https://wsb.wisc.edu/programs-degrees/certificates

UW Entrepreneurship Program Makes Top 25 List in Princeton Review for Entrepreneurship Magazine

Entrepreneur: The Princeton Review

For the second year in a row, the Weinert Center made the top 25 list of entrepreneurship programs both at the graduate and undergraduate level. We were the only Big 10 school to do so.

Full-Time Placement

The graduating class of 2010 has accepted the following positions:

Erin Byrd, Community Marketing Manager, Dick's Sporting Good
Ryan Fields, Founder, Buffalo Shoals
Justin Hajny, Co-Founder, I'm Organic
Doug Henry, Investment Banking Associate, R. W. Baird
Ananda Chandana Nallapu, Seeking
Marcel Petrutiu, Corporate Development Associate, Minitube
Chip Seidel, Product Manager, Thermo-Stor
Heidi Vogel, Fellow - Investor Engagements and Public Policy, United Nations Principles for Responsible Investments

Two other graduates are continuing their academic careers:

Duncan Basson, Law School
Joe Raffiee-Shirazi, Ph.D., UW-Madison

Internship Placement

It was a busy summer for all the first-year students at the following companies:

Braden Bruington, Yahoo!
Kati Goetsch, Schwann's
Chris Herrild, The Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic/Waisman Center
Katie Krueger, Plantes Co./Kegonsa Partners/Student SPILL
Noah Kunin-Goldsmith, Mendota Partners/The Ozone Company
Chad Mack, Boston Scientific
Oliver Richards, Medtronic
Dan Sarbacker, aAa Mansfield Consulting, Australian Regional Produce Store
Evan Sengbusch, CPAC
Adam Sorkin, Ford Motor Co.

Current Student's Unique Internship

Dan Sarbacker combined a business internship with Australian Rules football and was featured in The Age. Please see http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/rural-footy-lures-us-player-20100724-10psu.html explaining Dan's accomplishments.

Gathering for Students, Staff, and Local Alumni

On Tuesday, October 19, students, staff, and Madison-based alumni gathered at the Brickhouse BBQ for an after-work get-together and conversation. The event gave the group the opportunity to convene and reconnect after the long summer hiatus. We look forward to seeing everyone again on December 10 at the annual WAVE Celebration.

Wisconsin School of Business MBAs Visited with Warren Buffet

MBA Students with Warren Buffet

Several UW students recently had the honor of meeting with Warren Buffett in Nebraska during a lunch gathering. The E-ship/SMILES students included Kati Goetsch, Katie Krueger and Oliver Richards. They had a wonderful visit and were treated them to root beer floats!

Mock Interviews for Students

Mock interviews were held on September 17 for second-year students. Thank you to Amy Bina and JJ Vosskamp for interviewing and supplying feedback with the students.

Several Students Serve as Leaders of UW-Organizations

Kati Goetsch, President, MBA Food & Wine Club
Noah Kunin-Goldsmith, Co-President, Net Impact
Chris Herrild, Vice President of Finance, Entrepreneurship Association
Katie Krueger, Vice President of Marketing and Event Promotion, Entrepreneurship Association
Chad Mack, Co-VP of External Relations, Entrepreneurship Association
Oliver Richards, Co-President, Entrepreneurship Association
Dan Sarbacker, Vice President, Graduate Business Association Board
Adam Sorkin, Co-President, Net Impact

Podcast Site Moved with Judy and Joan on InBusiness

Please visit the site http://www.ibmadison.com/podcast-archive to hear some of our board members, current students and alumni discuss their start-ups. Recent podcasts include:

  • Heather Hilleren, Local Dirt
  • Joe Kremer, Wisconsin Angel Network
  • Kay Plantes, Marketing Engine Group
  • Dan Neely, Networked Insights
  • Katie Krueger, Findfunding.net
  • Ryan Palmer, Cultured Kids Immersion School
  • Neil Lerner, Small Business Awards
  • Tyler Leeper, Wingra Canoe

EA Speakers from Buckle Kicked Off the Semester

The UW Entrepreneurship Association (UWEA) kicked off the 2010/11 school year on Tuesday September 14 with a presentation by three guest speakers from retail clothing company, The Buckle. The representatives spoke to the students about intrapreneurship and the rewards/challenges of running a franchise.

The UWEA continued their guest speaker series on Tuesday, October 26, with a guest speaker presentation by Jed Roher, tax attorney for the law firm of Godfrey & Kahn. Jed addressed the legal issues that are related to start-up companies, including choice of entity and financing issues.

On Tuesday November 9, the UWEA will host a Cross-Campus Meet-Up Event that is open to graduate students from different departments across campus. The event will bring students together to network and talk about their interests in entrepreneurship.


Weinert Board Meeting

Board meeting

On October 7, the Weinert Board and WAVE Board members held their annual meeting and listened to presentations of summer internship experiences, discussed Weinert Center updates and strategy and met with interim Dean Joan Schmit.


Center Director Quoted in U.S. News & World Report

Dan Olszewski was quoted in the article "5 Tips for Becoming an Entrepreneur in Retirement." To read the full article, please see: http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2010/09/13/5-tips-for-becoming-an-entrepreneur-in-retirement

Publications Recently Accepted

Professor Chad Navis had two papers published recently:

Navis, C. & Glynn, M.A. (2010). How New Market Categories Emerge: Temporal Dynamics of Legitimacy, Identity, and Entrepreneurship in Satellite Radio, 1990-2005, Administrative Science Quarterly.

Navis, C. & Glynn, M.A. (2011). The Entrepreneurial Identity: How Legitimate Distinctiveness Affects Investors’ Judgments of New Venture Plausibility, Academy of Management Review.

For more detail on each of these papers, please read here.

Professor Mason Carpenter Quoted in In Business Magazine

The November 2010 issue of In Business Magazine Industry Focus feature, "The Educational Safe Haven is no Lie" quotes Professor Mason Carpenter. For full article, read here.


Sam Adams (2004), CEO, Echometrix, announced that they will be testing a new ultrasound technology. For details, see: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/New-ultrasound-technology-to-be-tested-101405634.html

Jane Bills (2007) of Let There Be Bite (http://lettherebebite.com) was profiled by CNN's food website Eatocracy: http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2010/08/25/blogger-spotlight-let-there-be-bite/

Adam Bock (1999) has completed his Ph.D. and moved to a tenure-track position at the University of Edinburgh Business School in Scotland. Check Adam out at: http://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/about/people/736/Adam/Bock

Alexandra DeToro (1998) is now the co-owner and Marketing and Communications Manager of Techteriors, LLC a full-service audio/video and electric company.

Tony Escarcega (2005) was recently featured in the Wisconsin Idea. Tony partnered with Professor David Beebe and secured funding from the WAVE/Dan Neviaser funds to start Ratio, a biomedical start-up that recently completed a round of funding during the summer of 2010. To read the complete article about the entrepreneurial journey of Ratio, please go to http://directory.engr.wisc.edu/bme/faculty/beebe_david

Mike Fourcher (2003) recently partnered with the Chicago News Cooperative to launch EarlyAndOften.org, a subscription-based political news site for Chicago's 2011 municipal elections. Mike is also the publisher of two North Side Chicago neighborhood hyperlocal news sites, CenterSquareJournal.com and RoscoeViewJournal.com.

Tom Godfrey (2007), Director, Mobile Strategy at Frank N. Magid Associates happily relocated to New York City last spring and encourages anyone visiting the Big Apple or interested in discussing media or the wireless industry to be in touch.

Justin Hajny's (2010) start-up, I'm Organic, made Madison Magazine as "Eco Chic" -- to see article please see http://www.madisonmagazine.com/Madison-Magazine/August-2010/Eco-Chic/

Heather Hillerin (2005) was featured in PC Magazine with her start-up, Local Dirt, ranking in the Top 100 Web Sites of 2010. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2367732,00.asp She also recently held a podcast with Organic Conversation.

Lance Mikus (2004) married Karen Hinkel on Aug 7 at Ventura Beach, Calif, and they honeymooned in Bora Bora.

Neil Peters Michaud (1999), CEO, Cascade Asset Management, has received outstanding honors. He is proud to announce they have joined the ranks of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. for the third year in a row. And along with that announcement, they also achieved e-Stewards Certified electronics recycler, adhering to the world's highest standard for socially and environmental responsible recycling. To read the complete releases for both of these outstanding achievements, please read here:

And in addition to all of the above, Cascade was listed on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the IT Asset Disposition Industry. They are one of 13 companies listed as North American market leaders in this industry.

John Ribolzi (2009), V.P., Community Car, LLC, was featured as Professional of the Week in http://www.ibmadison.com/professional-of-the-week?executive_id=31434

Chad Sorenson (2002) was awarded an "Early Career Achievement Award" on October 8 at a banquet. This is quite an accomplishment as only one is given out per year. Please see: http://www.engr.wisc.edu/eday/. Chad has also been selected as one of two alumni for the entire UW-Madison to be recognized at halftime vs. the Minnesota Gophers. In addition he is teaching a Process Innovation: Concept-Select-Commercialize" course (InterEngineering 601) in conjunction with the Schoofs and Burrill competitions to encourage innovation.

JJ Vosskamp (1998) is taking on a serious battle. The Cascade Asset Management team recently put together a group in support of his fight with cancer. The September 19 PurpleStride walk was attended by several friends and supporters wishing JJ the very best!

Participants of PurpleStride Walk

Featured Alumnus

Image of Alumnus

Harsha Tipirneni

1998 Graduate

Aryabhatta Ventures


Wisconsin School of Business & the WAVE (Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship. A life changing experience.

Twelve years since graduating from UW (Class of 1998). Wow, time flies. And in retrospect, it’s been an interesting journey, choosing UW, during UW and what I’ve done post UW.

Looking back: After completing my Bachelors and Masters in Commerce and working for a couple of years, an MBA from a good school was a logical step. At that time, since my entire life was limited to Hyderabad (in India),

At UW: My choices at UW took an interesting turn. I started of with a plan to major in Finance and then changed it to a more General Management (Diversified – as it was known then) curriculum. Then an incidental meeting with Prof. Bob Pricer and it all changed. Being part of the WAVE program was the best thing that happened in my life. It was an amazing experience. The WAVE program was truly unique. The interaction with so many start ups, fellow WAVEs, the advisory board, guest speakers etc. truly made this an invaluable experience.

I’ve truly realized the value of an education at the UW only after graduating. Top three things (1) Great network, alumni included, lifelong friends, (2) Excellent student-to-professor interaction – it felt very genuine and (3) Being recognized as a WAVE graduate and a Badger forever (i.e. the stamp of UW on me which is invaluable)

I use a combination of what I learned in b-school (from class, profs, other students etc.) along with my past experiences and try and customize whatever best suits the situation. I still use my notes from Entrepreneurship (under Prof. Bob Pricer), my Corporate Finance text book (Brealy & Myers) to this date. My biggest influences in Madison were Prof. Bob Pricer (Small Business Planning & Small Business Management – the best ever), Prof. Antonio Mello (Corporate Finance & Multinational Finance) and Prof. Kiyohiko Ito (Japanese Business Systems & Global Issues in Management). I’ve had pleasant experiences with my other teachers as well but these three distinctly stand out. They’ve had a huge influence on my thinking and I am truly fortunate to have learned under them.

Post UW: After completing my MBA, I worked for a start up that was a spin off from the Mechanical Engineering School.

I returned to India in December 2000 and took over the family real estate business.

I thank Prof. Bob Pricer who always told us for any venture, we would have to make three sets of projections / scenarios; Optimistic, Expected and Pessimistic. I do this even to this day and this has been one of the main reasons for us to thrive. It has been a great journey so far and as I look ahead, I see that things can only get more interesting.

Finally, I hope to continue this passage after another 13 years and then look back. By then it would be 25 years after UW. On Wisconsin!

To read the complete story, please click here.


We would like to thank the following recent contributors to the programs:

Erin Byrd (2010 Alum)
Kurt Kober (2007 MBA and Friend of the Center)
Justin Hajny (2010 Alum)
Anada Nallapu (2010 Alum)
Joseph Raffiee-Shirazi (2010 Alum)
John Ribolzi (2009 Alum)
Chip Seidel (2010 Alum)

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://www.bus.wisc.edu/weinertcenter/support.asp
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
(608) 265-3959

Ramon (Ray) J. Aldag
Executive Director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
3112 Grainger Hall
(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
(608) 263-4143

Janet Christopher
Academic Specialist
Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
4425 Grainger Hall
(608) 263-2882

Rebecca Buckman
Student Services Coordinator
Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
3340 Grainger Hall
(608) 263-4161