WED AM News: Cockpit Mobile piloting at music festivals; Health care groups opposing mandatory suicide prevention training bill

— After a quick pivot from a previous venture, Madison entrepreneur Clay Burdelik recently piloted a new software application at several festivals around the country. 

His new startup, called Cockpit Mobile, “aims to bring conversations to a spatial environment,” supporting task management for event coordinators. Pilots so far have been limited to music festivals, but Burdelik has his sights set on marathons, triathlons and other events that require broadly dispersed teams. 

The platform was recently piloted at Austin City Limits Music Festival, a popular event spanning two weekends in early October. 

“We went down to Austin for a week, and we got real-time feedback from the technicians in the field and learned a lot,” he said. 

Then about three weeks later, Burdelik and his team ran simultaneous pilots at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans and Freakfest in Madison. Feedback from all these events helped them tweak the platform and add features to improve communication between organizers and workers. 

The goal, he says, is “increasing transparency into the environment, but also maximizing the digestibility… It’s an interesting problem to solve.” 

Burdelik explains that one of the company’s early investors had a connection to a subcontractor for Austin City Limits who was handling all of the payment terminals for the festival. That included setting up 800 terminals each day and bringing them back each night, across about 100 different tents on the festival grounds.

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— Members of the healthcare professional community largely opposed a bill during a public hearing that would require mandatory suicide prevention training for all license renewals.

Both Dems and Republicans on the Assembly Committee on Health raised questions yesterday as to the bill’s potential effectiveness. Rep. David Murphy, R-Grenville, directly asked the bill’s chief author Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc, if this requirement would “work” at preventing suicides in the state, to which Kurtz replied he wasn’t sure.

“It’s hard to say ‘is this one bill going to be effective?'” Kurtz said.

AB 526 would require all healthcare professionals, from physicians to social workers, to spend at least two hours on suicide prevention continuing education the first time they reapply for a license. At the moment, a professional needs 30 hours of continuing education to renew their license. But there is no law mandating what topics should be studied.

The bill is part of a series of bipartisan legislation put forth by the Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention, created earlier this session by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

Mark Herstand, executive director for the National Association of Social Workers, called the bill “micromanaging” and recommended the decision about what social workers study for continuing education should be left up to the professional boards and the social workers themselves.

“The basic issue is that we are a very diverse profession,” Herstand said. “There’s other social workers that have never seen a client. They do policy, community organizing; they run agencies.”

Herstand said his organization applauds the task force’s efforts on suicide prevention and it will most likely support all other drafted bills.

Committee Chair Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, asked why professionals are so against two hours of suicide prevention education out of the entire 30 hours they need for license renewal. 

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— Exact Sciences is reporting 85 percent revenue growth for the third quarter of 2019, with nearly $219 million in revenue. 

And the number of Cologuard colon cancer tests performed during the quarter increased 89 percent from the same quarter last year to reach 456,000 tests.  

Kevin Conroy, chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences, says the company has screened more than 3 million people over the past five years. 

“The team made significant progress enhancing our internal infrastructure with the opening of our new lab and implementation of Epic’s best-in-class electronic health record system,” he said. 

Still, the company’s revenue per test declined $13 from the third quarter of 2018 to reach $479. And the average cost to the company per Cologuard test increased $10 over the same period, reaching $114. 

See the release: 

— Propeller Health has launched a new feature for its connected asthma inhaler platform that helps users locate their inhalers. 

The Madison company’s tool helps people with asthma manage their inhaler use by sending usage analytics to an application on their smartphones. The update enables users to make their inhaler ring like a phone. 

“We heard from our users that it’s easy to misplace an inhaler, whether it’s in a purse, down the side of a chair or in a coat pocket,” said Greg Tracy, the company’s chief technology officer. “This update to Find My Inhaler is intended to make it quick and easy for users to find their inhaler with the same tool they use to manage their condition every day.” 

See the release:

See an earlier story on Propellor Health: 

— The DNR is holding three public hearings early next month on proposed regulatory changes issued by Gov. Tony Evers to curb nitrates in groundwater. 

These nitrates can seep into groundwater from failing septic systems, chemical fertilizers in various settings, as well as organic fertilizers in agriculture like manure. 

According to a briefing sheet from Michael Best and Friedrich, the guv approved a scope statement for targeted regulatory changes aimed at reducing nitrates in groundwater. At the direction of the Legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, the DNR is now holding a preliminary public hearing and comment period on the scope statement. 

Aside from the public hearings, the state’s Natural Resources Board will accept written comments through Nov. 8. The release shows regulatory changes could include nutrient management plans, limited application rates for manure or commercial fertilizers, changes to crop rotations and other measures. 

See the release: 

— Innio Waukesha Gas Engines has notified the state Department of Workforce it plans to lay off as many as 120 workers at its Waukesha location. 

According to a release from DWD, the layoffs are expected to begin at the end of the year. The agency and the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board will help affected workers with resources aimed at getting them back into the workforce. 

See the notice: 

— An upcoming event will feature three major players in next year’s Democratic National Convention. 

The luncheon will be held at The Madison Club, 5 East Wilson St., Madison, on Tuesday Nov. 5.

These three leaders will discuss how to get involved in the July 2020 convention and how it will benefit state economic development: U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Dane County Dem who serves as a vice chair of the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee; Alex Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president and honorary finance chair of the host committee; and Liz Gilbert, president of the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee.

See more and register here: 

The host committee recently announced its leadership structure. See more:


# A.O. Smith cutting more jobs in China amid weak consumer demand

# After renovation effort stalls, Stevens Point’s historic Fox Theater will be demolished

# IoT company launches smart city network in Milwaukee

# Energizer’s Vermont plant closure not immediate



– Some farmers hitting final stretch of harvest

– USDA issues conservation payments to Wisconsin farmers


– Westminster Capital preps second spec industrial development in New Berlin

– Two former MillerCoors execs launch new sparkling ‘wellness water’


– Common Ground could net $56.8 million in unpaid federal subsidies

– As Wisconsin suicides rise, new state program would coordinate prevention


– Everstream investing $27M in Milwaukee fiber network ahead of DNC


– Innio cutting up to 120 jobs at Waukesha Engine plant


– E.J. Kubick promoted to CEO of MetalTek


– Design Specialties acquires Indiana-based fireplace door manufacturer

– Indian unveils the new Challenger — and some see a Road Glide


– Badger Mutual to move HQ from south side to downtown

– Badger Mutual has buyer for current HQ on National Avenue

– Equalized values for ag property increased in 2018


– Madison Plan Commission approves east side affordable housing complex over resident concerns


– Wisconsin golf courses already feeling Ryder Cup impact

– Milwaukee Brewers team store makeover to include revamped checkout area


– Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin webinar focuses on cybersecurity


– Margaret Krome: Incentives would help drive more people toward solar energy


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