Jeanan Yasiri Moe
Director of Strategic Communications
MADISON, Wis. – Dr. James Berbee, entrepreneur, inventor, physician and prominent philanthropist, has been appointed Chair of the WARF Board of Trustees. Berbee previously served as Vice Chair. He succeeds Peter Tong, who will remain a WARF Trustee.
A native of Madison, Berbee (BS ’85, MS ’87, MBA ’89) started his career as an IBM systems engineer. In 1993, Berbee left IBM to found Berbee Information Networks Corp. The business, begun in his Madison basement, grew to attract major clients including Harley Davidson, Lands’ End and Kohl’s.
A five-time Boston Marathon finisher and Ironman triathlete, a training injury would inspire Berbee’s interest in emergency medicine. He sold his business in 2006 to CDW Corp and then attended Stanford University’s School of Medicine (MD ’11). He went on to complete his residency in emergency medicine at UW Hospital and Clinics.
Berbee is currently a clinical assistant professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and an emergency physician at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran’s Hospital. Devoted to the Wisconsin Idea, he travels to Rice Lake, WI every month to work in a community emergency department.
“WARF was founded almost a century ago in a singular act of generosity by Professor Harry Steenbock,” says Berbee. “WARF trustees serve to ensure that his legacy of research support to the UW-Madison is protected and extended in perpetuity. Being part of Professor Steenbock’s legacy is a responsibility I embrace with deep admiration for those that came before me.”
“Jim brings an extraordinary perspective as an entrepreneur and humanitarian,” says WARF Managing Director Erik Iverson. “His dedication to UW–Madison and to the welfare of our community is remarkable. We look forward to his leadership of the WARF Board.”
Berbee and his wife, Karen Walsh (BA ’81, MA ’89), established the BerbeeWalsh Foundation to support a variety of human health and welfare projects.
Berbee is the creator of the Berbee Derby Thanksgiving Day run/walk. The event benefits the Technology Education Foundation, which is working to close the “technology gap” by improving access to computers, software and other critical resources.
Berbee was first elected to the WARF Board of Trustees in 2012. He also serves as a Trustee for the Morgridge Institute for Research as well as the WiCell Research Institute.
Peter Tong, an entrepreneur and private equity investor, served as Chair since 2014.