By Brian E. Clark
Henry Sanders Jr. – a major player in Madison business and civic affairs – has joined the Hamilton Consulting Group to focus on its new bioscience and technology services partnership.
“I’m very pleased to join Hamilton,” he said. “It is a pragmatic organization that works well on both sides of the isle. Moreover, they are moving into the lifescience arena and that excites me.”
Andy Franken, a partner at Hamilton, said Sanders will be one of five lobbyists at the firm. In addition to working on the company’s existing client base, he predicted Sanders will soon be spending up to half his time in the technology and life-science areas.
“The opportunities are endless,” he said.
According to national studies, the state lags in translating its sizable research assets into economic growth through the formation of new companies.
In the 2006 Development Report Card for the States, Wisconsin ranks 15th nationally in academic research spending, 14th in patents issued and seventh in royalties and licenses.
However, in the same report card, Wisconsin was 36th in business created via university R&D, 37th in tech industry employment and 47th overall in new company formation.
Hamilton officials said they hope to help start-up tech companies flourish by using state and federal grants and resources. The federal government alone spends more than $360 billion a year in research, development and procurement, they noted.
Franken said he hired Sanders because of his background in Madison.
“We were looking for an individual who has business relationships and experience in public policy and someone who was connected especially in Dane County and in the state with young entrepreneurs,” he said.
“Henry worked at the Madison Chamber and did a great deal of work that affects our audience. As part of the Magnet group he founded, he built a lot of bonds with principals in small, entrepreneurial firms.”
Franken said Sanders will be working on a joint enterprise with the national lobbying group GSP Consulting. Its brand is hamilton.gsp. Franken said the new venture will provide a range of services to maximize public-sector funding opportunities, craft and advocate for technology-related public policy and develop groundbreaking economic development efforts.
Sanders is a life-long resident of Madison’s north side with a long record of professional and civic accomplishments. After graduating from Madison East High School and UW-Whitewater, he worked for the City of Madison and served as outreach coordinator on labor, education and environmental issues for U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin.
He later worked on economic development in Dane and Rock Counties for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA).
In addition, Sanders was the founder and president of the Madison Area Growth Network, or MAGNET, which works to attract and retain skilled young people in the Madison area.
He also served as vice president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, where he built that organization’s public policy department and started its Small Business Advisory Council.
“Henry is a smart, talented professional who earned the respect of the business community during his time with the chamber,” said Jennifer Alexander, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
“Henry is an excellent addition to the Hamilton Consulting team. We expect that he will continue to make a significant contribution to the dialogue about economic development another issues that will shape the growth of the bioscience industry in Madison and all of Wisconsin.”
Sanders has served on the board of directors of the Urban League of Greater Madison. He received the Hometown Heroes Award for his service at the Vera Court Community Center.
“Henry is passionate about entrepreneurship and has a wealth of personal and professional relationships to leverage in assisting start-up companies,” said Cory Nettles, a Milwaukee attorney and former state Commerce Department secretary.
The Hamilton Consulting Group is one of Wisconsin’s largest lobbying firms. It represents more than 30 organizations, many of which are in the technology, manufacturing and economic development sectors.