By Brian E. Clark
MADISON – The state’s capital is on its way to becoming a national model for livable, economically vibrant cities, according to four Madison business leaders honored Monday at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
But the city leaders must work to promote business development rather than hold it back with bureaucratic delays, said Mark Bugher, who heads the University Research Park.
Bugher, Brian Vandewalle, president of Vandewalle and Associates; and MG&E president and CEO Gary Wolter all received Best of Madison Business awards for their contributions to economic development in Madison and Dane County. They also were cited for their leadership in forming and pushing Madison Mayor Dave Ciezlewisz’s Healthy City Initiative and their long-range vision for the future of the city.
In addition, entrepreneur and UW biochemistry department chairman Hector DeLuca garnered the Brian D. Howell Award for Excellence in Innovation. DeLuca, CEO of Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals, is one of the world’s leading experts on Vitamin D. Howell is the late editor of Madison Magazine.
DeLuca, who recently licensed a discovery to pharmaceutical giant Pfizer that could lead to the first drug to rebuild bone in osteoporosis patients, said he believes Madison will become a major force in the biotechnology industry during the next two decades.
“We have nowhere to go but up,” said DeLuca. “Madison is an outstading community. We are set to maximize the intellectual power of the university for economic development.”
Vandewalle, an urban planner and architect, called this an “enormously exciting time” for Madison. He said everything from the city’s physical beauty to the recent opening of the $205 million Overture Center are combining to make it the kind of place businesses want to locate.
“We have a healthy community that is knitting together a foundation of arts, academic research and economically vitality,” he said.
Wolter, who also serves at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce chairman, said Madison is gaining national and well-deserved recognition as a place people want to live and work.
“I am optimistic about our future,” he said. “But to keep things rolling, we must be proactive and move forward with an attitude of cooperation. I’m confident we can do that.”
Bugher, DeLuca, Wolter and Vandewalle are all profiled in this month’s Madison Business at www.madisonmagazine.com.