WAVE/Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship E-Newsletter

April 2013 Newsletter

Dear Alumni and Friends:

Since the last newsletter, there has been a great deal of activity at the Weinert Center, both from the students working with local firms or their own start-ups as well as new programs. Two of the biggest new programs were announced at the fall WAVE/Entrepreneurship Alumni Summit. The Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development was created to honor one of the great University of Wisconsin-Madison pioneers in entrepreneurship education and a mentor to many students. Recently, Jon Eckhardt was named the first recipient of this chair (read the full story here).

The other big announcement was the creation of the Fellowship in Enterprise Development, providing an applied, in-depth program to MBA students with a strong career desire in enterprise development or entrepreneurship. This allows students to choose from taking a single entrepreneurship course, the required certificate courses, or the fellowship. Based on their career goals, interests, and time, they can choose what is best for them. The program was announced this past fall. We interviewed interested applicants and selected the inaugural class (read the full story in Center News and Events).

That is just some of the great student, alumni, and center news that has been taking place. Stay tuned for more to come!


Table of Contents


WAVE Event on May 10

The upcoming WAVE board meeting and social event is coming up soon. If you haven't had a chance to let us know if you'll be attending the social from 6:00–7:30 p.m. in room 1266, please do let us know, as we'd love to see you there.

Wave/Entrepreneurship Alumni Summit

Weinert Center Announces Fellowship in Enterprise Development

At the summit, an announcement was made that the center would now create a Fellowship in Enterprise Development. The fellowship will provide second-year MBA students with an intensive experiential program. For details, see: http://bus.wisc.edu/centers/weinert/fellowship.

The following students applied for and are now enrolled in the fellowship program.

  • Matthew Bruemmer; MBA; Finance, Investment, and Banking
  • Alexandra Buth, MBA, Brand and Product Management
  • Scott Olson, MBA, Corporate Finance and Investment Banking
  • Peter Opperman, MBA, Operations and Technology Management
  • Todd Pilcher, MBA, Operations and Technology Management
  • Zach Schaefer, MBA, Brand and Product Management
  • Adam Sherman, MBA, Corporate Finance and Investment Banking
  • Brent Sugimoto, MBA, Brand and Product Management
  • Lizzy Tomber, MBA, Arts Administration
Over 100 people attended the 2012 WAVE/Entrepreneurship Alumni Summit, including alumni, friends of the center, faculty and staff, and both graduate and undergraduate students. To see a complete list of the agenda, please go to http://bus.wisc.edu/centers/weinert/alumni.

Also, please mark your calendar for the upcoming 2013 summit, taking place October 11, 2013. Details will follow.



Laurie Benson Wins Entrepreneurship Award

The 2013 UW Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards recognized the talented and creative alumni and faculty who have achieved great entrepreneurial success. On Monday, April 22, 2013, this award was given to Laurie Benson, co-founder and former chief executive officer for Inacom Information Systems. To read the full article, please visit http://www.news.wisc.edu/21684.

Neil Peters Michaud Cited in NY Times Article

Neil Peters Michaud, CEO of Cascade Asset Management, discusses the advances in flat-screen technology that has made older monitors and televisions obsolete, decimating demand for tube glass used in them and creating vast stockpiles of useless material. Read the article online at http://nyti.ms/136m6W2.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumnus Corey Capasso Joins WAVE Board

Corey Capasso received his bachelor's degree in business administration in 2009. He had several ventures prior to Spinback, which he co-founded with two former UW-Madison classmates. Spinback was acquired by Buddy Media in 2011. Corey was also recognized in Bloomberg's Businessweek as a "Top 25 America's Best Young Entrepreneur." To read Corey's full biography, please go here: http://bus.wisc.edu/centers/weinert/advisory-boards.

Toni Sikes Launches The Art Commission

Toni Sikes has started a new company, The Art Commission, with business partner Terry Maxwell, while still partnering with the Calumet Venture Fund. They have over 200 artists already registered. To read the full story, visit https://artcommission.com/about.

Erica Gruen Honored with Award

This past fall, Erica Gruen delivered the keynote address and received the UW E-Business 2012 Distinguished Fellow Award at the UWEBC Business Best Practices & Emerging Technologies Conference. To read the highlights from that event, please see https://www.uwebc.org/whatwedo/articles/1210-conference-keynote.aspx. In addition to that award, Erica took the time from out of her busy schedule to share her story with Bolz Center for Arts Administration students, faculty, and staff.

Mike Smith Launched Organic Produce Delivery Service Called, Full Circle

Mike Smith is now president and CEO of Full Circle, the leading west coast organic produce delivery service. Check out their website (http://www.fullcircle.com/#s.aewobar3qaqaa) and their announcement (http://www.geekwire.com/2013/farm-ecommerce-exec-michael-smith-tapped-ceo-full-circle/).


Professor Jon Eckhardt Appointed to Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development

Associate Professor Jon Eckhardt is the first recipient of the Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development. The Pricer Chair was created to honor Bob Pricer's work as a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can read more about the chair here.

Professor Jon Eckhardt Attends Conference in France in June

Jon Eckhardt will be in France during the week of June 5, 2013 for the Babson Entrepreneurship Conference. If you are in France that week, send Jon an email (jeckhardt@bus.wisc.edu) if you would like to get together.

Governor's Business Plan

326 first-round entries to the 2013 Governor's Business Plan were reduced to 51 semi-finalists by an independent panel of about 70 judges. Current and past WAVE students who were selected as semi-finalists include:

  • Dan Ludois (WAVE '12) and Micah Erickson (WAVE '12), C-Motive Technologies, Inc.
  • Alan Stoffer (MBA Brand Management '13) and Braden Bruington (WAVE '11), Ronin Studios
  • Curt Frey (WAVE '13), Tax Badger
  • Sarah Wright (WAVE '13), The Healthy Challenge
Finalists will be announced June 4-5, 2013. To see a complete list of semi-finalists, please go here: http://www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/newsroom/?ID=1975.



Adam Bock (1999) was named to The Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy. The RSE Young Academy of Scotland fosters interdisciplinary activities among emerging leaders from the disciplines of science and humanities, the professions, the arts, business, and civil society. http://www.youngacademyofscotland.org.uk/members/b/adam-bock.html

Sal Briaco (2002) is now the chief operating officer of Mallatt's Pharmacy in Madison. Mallatt's, a long-time fixture in the Madison area that is known for its costumes, is a growing health care company with four retail pharmacies, a long-term care pharmacy, and a home health company.

Joe Kremer (1997) is now CEO for Isomark, a medical device company here in Madison (http://isomark.com/team/).

Lance Mikus (2004) and his wife are expecting a baby boy on May 28!

Kyle Montgomery (2006) has accepted a position as business development director for Eli Lilly's, Elanco Division in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Ryan Palmer (2009), founder of Cultured Kids of Madison, is proud to announce the company celebrated its third anniversary on Februrary 15. They started with five children and now have 65 families enrolled and 15 employees.

Marcel Petrutiu (2010) announced the birth of his son, Victor Aurelius, born December 5, 2012.

Paul Pucci (2005) is a sales executive at Shoutlet, which was just named "Best Current Offering" in a study of the top eight social relationship platforms by the independent market research group Forrester. Read more here: http://www.shoutlet.com/blog/2013/04/shoutlet-takes-top-honors-in-prestigious-forrester-wave-social-relationship-platforms-industry-report/.

Dan Rice (2008) has joined forces with a start-up fly-fishing brand located in Bozeman, Montana. He is now the owner/president of the Bozeman Reel Company, which designs, develops, manufactures, and tests its products right in the heart of fly-fishing country. Dan and his family will be relocating to Montana over the summer.

Tim Staton (2008) announced the birth of his daughter, Lark Foelker Staton, born October 27, 2012.

Troy Vossellor (2009) is the co-founder of gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based start-up accelerator. gener8tor (http://www.gener8tor.com) works with early-stage tech companies by investing community, capital, mentorship, expertise, and network. To date, they have invested in 13 start-ups that have cumulatively gone on to raise over $5 million. gener8tor is currently accepting applications for the 12-week summer 2013 accelerator program in Milwaukee.

Featured Alumnus

Heidi Vogel Lardner

Warby Parker

2010 Entrepreneurship Graduate
As a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with an English degree, I wouldn't have pictured myself returning to Madison for business school just a few years later, but a couple courses on green business during my senior year would eventually lead me toward a career in business with a focus on social impact.

After college, I joined an environmental non-profit in New York that worked in green building and the design industries. Later, as a client relationship manager with a social investment management firm, I found myself at the crossroads of the financial services industry and sustainability.

Pursuing an MBA made sense as a way to strengthen my business and finance acumen, and to act on my lifelong entrepreneurial tendencies. The Weinert Center proved to be the perfect place for both of these things...and the fact that it allowed me to return to Madison was a bonus. I was blown away by the personal support that the center offered, and by the amazing group of people who became my classmates. I spent the next two years immersed in everything from developing growth plans for a local chocolatier and a fair trade retailer to researching email marketing best practices for an online start-up. The breadth of these experiences helped me to focus my interests in e-commerce, which eventually led me to join Warby Parker after graduating and returning to New York.

Warby Parker is a vertically integrated online retailer that sells prescription glasses online for just $95 (we also work with non-profit partners to donate a pair of glasses for every pair purchased). When I joined, we were a small team of less than 20; we're now just under 200 and growing fast. In true start-up fashion, I've filled a variety of roles here as we've grown in both size and complexity. Our initial challenge was to simply meet the overwhelming demand created by the amazing press the company was receiving, which allowed me to become intimately familiar with both our customers and our operations, whether answering customer service emails and phone calls, streamlining our fulfillment and order processing, or visiting our optical lab in person to perform an inventory count. I've since joined our Online Experience and Technology teams, leading tech-focused projects that touch almost every area of the company…and keeping up with the breakneck pace of change.

My time in the Weinert Center prepared me for the challenges of growing a business on so many levels, and I am grateful that I continue to learn every day while meeting the challenges that have come my way at Warby Parker.


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

  • Sam Adams, 2004 WAVE alumnus
  • Andy Albert, Weinert advisory board member
  • Andrew Boszhardt, Jr., friend of the center
  • Sean Ebert, 2008 alumnus
  • Jon Eckhardt, executive director (in honor of Joe Boucher's contributions to the center and the Wisconsin School of Business)
  • Andrew Ehrnrooth, 2000 alumnus
  • Justin Hajny, 2010 alumnus
  • Kurt Kober, friend of the center
  • Katie Krueger, 2011 alumnus
  • Noah Kunin-Goldsmith, 2011 alumnus
  • Chad Mack, 2011 alumnus
  • Dan (and Kathryn) Olszewski, center director
  • Marcel Petrutiu, 2010 alumnus
  • Joe Raffiee-Shirazi, 2010 alumnus
  • Oliver Richards, 2011 alumnus
  • Evan Sengbusch, 2011 alumnus
  • Jim Weinert, friend of the center
  • Joe Ypma, friend of the center
Your continued support for our programs is greatly appreciated. Anyone wishing to financially support the programs can do so at http://bus.wisc.edu/centers/weinert/give.