Press Contact: Henry Sanders, [email protected]
Propel Wisconsin Innovation, the non-profit organization serving as the collective voice for entrepreneurs in Wisconsin, today announced its first Board of Directors, 13 entrepreneurs and economic development professionals representing a broad diversity of backgrounds, regions and expertise.
“Propel has the potential to do great things for Wisconsin’s innovators,” said Propel founder and president Henry Sanders. “These are the kinds of people who ask why not instead of why, who don’t take no for an answer. The ideas are there, all over Wisconsin, for businesses that will create jobs and help turn this economy around. This group of people will mine those ideas and make that entrepreneurial spirit work for Wisconsin.”
The board is set to meet in mid-September.
Propel is already a Microsoft BizSpark partner and host to a dynamic networking website that connects entrepreneurs from around the state. Propel’s goals are to drive the demand for entrepreneurship by facilitating the spread of best practices across the state and to connect entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to thrive.
Board members include:
HENRY SANDERS, JR., founder and president, Propel Wisconsin Innovation, Waunakee. Sanders has launched two of his own companies, Capacity-360 and Talent-360. Henry’s diverse background and career have led to success for Capacity-360, a company specializing in helping small and mid size bio-tech companies build capacity through government funding, political auditing, and business strategy. His entrepreneurial spirit and business knowledge have advantageously positioned Capacity-360 to address the specific biotech industries’ challenges and opportunities for growth and success. Capacity-360’s measurable success includes an average government appropriations rate of return for biotech clients of 13.4 times the investment. Henry leverages his expertise and contacts from the public, private and non-profit sectors to effectively and efficiently develop strategies for growth, whether it’s additional government funding for the bottom line or more public awareness for a specific product or industry.
Henry is the founder of the Madison Area Growth Network (MAGNET), which works to attract and retain skilled young professionals in the Madison area. He served as Vice President of Economic Development and Public Policy at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, where he built that organization’s public policy department and started its Small Business Advisory Council.
Henry was recently appointed by the Governor to the Wisconsin Council on Workforce Development. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Wisconsin Black Caucus. He also serves on the Regional Economic Development Collaboration Council and the UW-Whitewater Alumni Board.
Dale Beermann, Co-Founder, Sharendipity, Board President, Propel Wisconsin Innovation, Madison. Beermann is a co-founder and Software Architect at Sharendipity, a small startup in Madison, WI aiming to help everyone create software regardless of technical knowledge. Prior to starting Sharendipity, Dale was also a partner of Gorges Software, LLC; another startup that built a community-driven website called MyOutdoors.net where users could journal and map their outdoor activities.
Jamin Arn, Founder and President, OfficePro, Janesville. Arn is the owner of one of the fastest-growing small businesses in the country, Office Pro in Janesville, Wisconsin. His dealership’s name recently appeared on Inc. magazine’s 5,000 List at number 883 after going from zero sales to $5 million since it opened for business in July 2003. He is also President of Recycle4U, a remanufacturer of printer cartridges. Arn has a life long history of entrepreneurship in a variety of industries.
Sal Braico, Co-founder, President & CEO of Flex Biomedical, Inc, Madison. Braico leads Flex Biomedical, an orthopedics-focused company located in Madison, WI. Prior to starting Flex Bio in 2008, Sal was the first employee and Chief Operating Officer of ConjuGon, an antibacterial biotech company in Madison. While running ConjuGon from 2002 – 2008, Sal raised significant capital, in-licensed technologies, and developed multiple products. Sal also writes the Bold Bio blog at http://boldbio.wordpress.com/.
Paul A. Jones, President, Board of Directors of Council for Innovation, Neenah. Jones is a proven entrepreneur, angel and institutional venture capital investor and manager with an extensive track record creating and acquiring businesses and defining and implementing business plans in diverse technology-driven industries. As a co-founder or senior manager and director, he has played a leadership role in securing more than $150 million of private and public capital for several of these firms. As an institutional investor, he co-founded a venture capital management firm, and led a $26 million capital campaign to support investments in seed and early stage life sciences companies in North Carolina. As a “hands on” personal investor in start-up technology firms, he has served on Boards of Directors and provided strategic guidance to companies that have secured an additional $150 million of private and public capital.
Alex Kowalski, President, Alta Exchange Group LLC, Appleton. Kowalski founded Alta Exchange Group in 2006 to assist commercial real estate investors in a variety of roles. Alta Exchange Group specializes in Tenant-In-Common (TIC) ownership structures for individuals looking to own institutional class income-producing properties. His expertise in exchanges, tenant in common structures, entity selection and real estate valuation provides considerable value to his clients. Kowalski also serves on the New North, Inc. board of director’s executive committee. New North, Inc. is a consortium of business, economic development, chambers of commerce, workforce development, civic, non-profit, and education leaders in 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin who are working to be recognized as competitive for job growth while maintaining our superior quality of life.
Gregory J. Lynch, Managing Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Madison. Lynch is also a partner with the firm’s Business Practice Group and the Co-Founder of the firm’s VentureBestSM venture practice. His principal experience has been in the following areas: early-stage company and venture capital representation, public and private placement of securities, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate law, including corporate governance and 1934 Act compliance.
Greg Meier, Executive Vice President, PhysioGenix and CEO of Lansare Corp, Milwaukee. Lansare Corp is an on-demand reporting and analytics solution for annuity, life insurance and bank-owned life insurance. Meier also currently serves on the steering committee for BizStarts Milwaukee, which focuses on helping entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Meier was a partner with the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, where he was a founding member of the firm’s Venture Best Practice Group, which focuses on early-stage technology companies. A co-founder of Track-cost.com, Meier is a former president of the Wisconsin Innovation Network.
Susan Noble, Executive Director, Vernon Economic Development Association, Viroqua. Ms. Noble has a long history of involvement with economic development projects and is the first-ever executive director of the Vernon Economic Development Association (VEDA). VEDA was founded on the belief that entrepreneurship is the best way to create economic development in rural areas.
Roger Orlady, Senior Financial and Operations Executive, RNO Ventures, Oshkosh. Orlady started his own consulting firm in 2002. He often serves as a part time chief financial officer (CFO) with startup and early stage companies seeking aggressive growth through the effective utilization of innovation and technology. He has been involved in clients ranging from IT firms to manufacturers of traditional to leading edge products and has assisted them in the development and implementation of their strategies. Orlady was a co-founder of the Northeast Wisconsin chapter of the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) in 2003 and has been its only President. He is on the Board of Directors of the Inventors Network of Wisconsin and is a founding member of the Council for Innovation, the Brainstorming Ideas Group (BIG) and the northeast Wisconsin chapter of The Hive.
Chad Sorenson, Founder, Sologear, Madison. Sorenson has extensive entrepreneurial experience, successfully starting and running an agricultural technology start-up, Fluent Systems, LLC. Sorenson invented and commercialized a new wireless fluid level monitoring system for fertilizer application, and managed all stages of Company development from formation through product development, manufacturing scale-up and market introduction. Fluent was acquired in 2003 by Raven Industries, a public corporation involved in agricultural flow control technologies. Sorenson is the recipient of numerous innovation and business planning awards, a U.S. patent holder and has an active passion for new product innovation and entrepreneurship. He holds both a BS and MS in mechanical engineering and an MBA in entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Troy Vosseller, Co-Founder, Sconnie Nation & Sky Vegetables, Madison. Vosseller founded Sconnie Nation while a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The apparel company also has a dynamic website, Sconnie.com, which features an interactive blog, embedded video features and a lifestyle page where people can upload and tag “Sconnie sightings” of people sporting the shirts. Vosseller is a graduate of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences where he won the 2008 G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition for Sky Vegetables. Sky Vegetables plans to build and operate commercial greenhouses on the roofs of grocery stores and supermarkets to cut down travel time and costs of fresh produce.
Terry Whipple, Executive Director, Juneau County Economic Development Corporation, Juneau County. Whipple founded Juneau County’s Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club in 2003. It has since spurred development of I&E clubs nationwide and become a model for rural economic development. He has served as an independent business consultant specializing in work with distressed small businesses and maintains his own private consulting business to connect investors with businesses. Whipple also serves as the Executive Director of the Juneau County Economic Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that promotes the economic development of Juneau County.
Robert Wynn, President, Akamai, LLC, Madison. Akami is a business strategy consulting firm. Previous to opening his own business, Wynn was the financial education officer for the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for five years. In that capacity, he created a number of innovative financial education programs and techniques, including the statewide network of Money Conferences, the Millionaires Club after-school program, and the Intelligent Arts Project. Prior to that role, Wynn was the director of minority business development in the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. There, he established the Early Planning Grant Program, which has provided business planning funding for over 100 businesses, and he created the Minority Business Development Fund, which has provided over $5 million in financing to minority-owned firms. Wynn is a lawyer and registered investment advisor.