Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation: The right time to bet on the Wisconsin Idea

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 Commerce presidents say innovation is part of the state’s character in new essay published by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation 

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin’s urban centers are creating jobs in cutting-edge sectors like advanced manufacturing and health care, but achieving success statewide requires greater collaboration among all regions, urge Zach Brandon and Tim Sheehy. 

Brandon leads the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Sheehy is head of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. 

In a new essay, “Seeking Begins with an Idea,” they draw on the state’s tradition of producing “seekers” – lifelong learners, makers and problem-solvers – and note that UW–Madison ranks 14th in the nation for venture capital-backed entrepreneurs.

Importantly, such talent can be found and fostered within every campus and community in the state. 

They write, “Wisconsin used to be described as a place for “boomerangs,” a place where young talent would get an education before making a career elsewhere and then returning years later to start a family. Now Wisconsin is increasingly a place of acorns – a place where young talent takes root – and thanks to our world-class universities, those acorns do not fall far from the tree.”

The essay is part of a larger online series called “Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea.” In addition to Brandon and Sheehy, contributors include investors, researchers and public officials who share their views on the crucial interdependence between university innovations and the strength of the Wisconsin economy.

Co-authors represent different regions of the state while sharing a common bond through the field they represent, from agriculture to engineering and policymaking.

Contributors to the series include: 

  • Erik Iverson, Managing Director, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
  • Governor Tommy G. Thompson and Professor Mike Sussman
  • Chris Salm, CEO of Ab E Discovery, and Dean Kate VandenBosch
  • Professor Dan Ludois and Cecil Edirisinghe, CEO of Velicon
  • Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO of UW Health, and Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic  
  • John Neis, Executive Managing Director of Venture Investors, and Cory Nettles, Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital Inc.
  • Dean Ian Robertson and Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE Medical Technologies
  • State Senator Alberta Darling and Rock Mackie, Professor and Entrepreneur
  • Arjun Sanga, President of WiSys, and Zach Halmstad, Co-Founder of Jamf
  • State Senator Luther Olsen and Dean Robert Golden
  • Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council 
  • Mike Knetter, President of the University of Wisconsin Foundation                                                                                                                            

For more information about the series Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea, please visit warf.org/WisconsinInnovates. Comments on the series are welcome at [email protected].