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Driving Innovation and Growth
2016 Innovation Competition presented by Polsinelli:  Judges
Shez joined KPMG Corporate Finance as the head of the U.S. Cleantech practice.  As a leader in Corporate Finance, Shez serves and expands relationships with Cleantech clients that expand across the industrial, technology, and energy sectors with a focus on M&A advisory services and private equity and debt capital raises, including renewable project finance. Shez advises the management teams of publicly traded and privately owned companies as well as their board members and venture/private equity investors.  Shez directs the firm’s efforts in key Cleantech subsectors, including renewable power generation (solar, biomass), advanced energy technologies (advanced batteries, PEV, HEV, fuel cells), advanced alternative fuels, energy efficiency (smart grid, advanced lighting, demand, and supply-side solutions), preservation (water purification, recycling), and environmental markets.  Shez has been an investment banker since 1992 with a deep background serving middle-market growth companies within various high-profile sectors.  Shez holds an MBA degree in finance and marketing from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and a BS in computer engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. 

Dennis Barnum, based in Madison, Wisconsin, has more than 30 years’ experience in the high-technology and services industries. He holds a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and participated in the MBA program at the University of Minnesota. He has primarily focused on IT software and services, involved with either high-tech startups or recovery of high-tech companies. He has founded several technology companies, and has led turnarounds of several others. Currently, he is CFO/COO of a Madison startup, Thalchemy Corp., and a member of Merlin Mentors, a group of experienced business people dedicated to mentoring emerging entrepreneurs in the Madison area.


Marguerite Clark has over 25 years of international business and innovation experience, mainly focused in the energy & environmental sectors. After working several years in the U.S., she relocated to Germany as Director of Business Development & Technology Transfer for Westinghouse’s Environmental Division. She subsequently joined GDF SUEZ in 1994, at their headquarters in Paris as the Director of Research and Development for SUEZ Environment - SITA. She then created and became the Director of the Environmental, Sustainability and Quality Department. In 2000, she joined the GDF SUEZ Sales and Marketing Division, as Vice President of Strategic Accounts., followed by a position as a Director at GDF SUEZ University, running the internal think-tank. Most recently, she relocated to the Chicago area to head-up GDF SUEZ’s innovation efforts within the North American innovation ecosystem, while also working as a Vice President of Business Development within the Infrastructure Division. She has also actively been a member of various venture capital, energy sector, and educational advisory boards.

Michael is an entrepreneur, speaker, lawyer and founder/author of The Lonely Entrepreneur. Michael discovered what would become The Lonely Entrepreneur methodology when his company – the first to provide financial rewards for healthy behavior and that he built for over a decade - was nearly destroyed by the financial crisis of 2008. By applying the perspectives of The Lonely Entrepreneur methodology, and two years of twenty hour days, Michael was able to revive his company and sell it in 2013. Today, Michael is considered the founder of not only a company, but an industry – rewarding individuals for healthy behavior. Michael is now a professional speaker, consultant, and coach for startup businesses and entrepreneurs. He graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law and lives in New York City.

As Assistant Director, New Ventures and a HzX Venture Designer, Allen Dines’ passion is creation and growth of new ventures at UW–Madison and in the greater Madison community. He works principally with entrepreneurs and early stage investors filling roles as diverse as counselor, broker, networker, therapist and cheerleader. Dines joined the UW–Madison in 2001, bringing with him more than 25 years of experience in industry and technology businesses. He has been involved in three startup ventures, all in the biotechnology sector, two of which he co-founded. All three companies were acquired by leaders in their respective markets. Prior to these ventures, Dines was an associate and staff Manager with Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc. in Bethesda, Md. In his initial position at the university he served as assistant director for business development at the Graduate School, where his major focus was commercialization of university technology through startup business development. In 2002, Dines co-founded the Midwest Research University Network, a commercialization collaborative of those who create, fund and grow startup companies associated with Midwest research institutions. He currently serves as president of MRUN. From 2007 to 2012, he was program manager for the UW–Madison Wiscontrepreneur program focused on expanding campus-wide access to entrepreneurship. The program was funded in part by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Dines serves on advisory boards of the Global Midwest Alliance, MERLIN Mentors and several student entrepreneurship-focused organizations, including the UW Student Business Incubator. In 2004, Mr. Dines was named a Wisconsin Idea Fellow by the UW-System President.

As Managing Director of the Silicon Pastures Angel Investment Network, Teresa Esser led investments in BioSystem Development, LLC (now part of Agilent); Genii, Inc. (where she serves on the Board of Directors); HarQen, Inc.; and Intuitive BioSciences. During the past 12 years, she has led or participated in 16 other seed-stage angel investments. As a General Partner of a $40 million venture capital fund, Teresa invested in Therapeutic Proteins, Inc. (now part of AmNeal Enterprises) and Hardcore Computer (now LiquidCool Solutions, Inc.), where she served on the company's Board of Directors. She has lectured on entrepreneurship and venture capital strategy at the Swiss Digital Consulate; the Department of the Premier and the Cabinet in Queensland, Australia; and the Nanostructured and Nanomaterials Conference in Amman, Jordan. She has served as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where her "crash course in entrepreneurship" produced four entrepreneurial teams that won prizes in the Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Competition. Beginning in 1999, Teresa researched and wrote a book about how MIT students commercialize their ideas, and how venture capitalists decide in whom to invest. The Venture Cafe: Secrets, Strategies, and Stories from America's High-Tech Entrepreneurs was published by Warner Business Books in 2002. The Venture Cafe has been used as a class text at several universities. The ideas and the brand surrounding the book were turned into a real-world Venture Cafe across the street from MIT at One Broadway, where Thursday evening networking events are paid for by Boston-area venture capitalists and draw upwards of 200 entrepreneurs, corporate lawyers, VCs and others.

Joe Green leads the intellectual property group at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. In this role, Joe works to protect CBOE’s investments and advancements in new technologies related to the financial space. Prior to joining CBOE, Joe practiced law at Rothwell Figg, a Washington D.C.-based intellectual property boutique. Joe has worked with inventors in a wide range of technical arts, including:  Financial trading systems; implantable biosensors; microfluidic PCR systems; medical devices; semiconductors; and software. Joe holds a B.S. from Indiana University, a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.  

Ken advises on, writes and speaks about innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurship. He works with regions, innovation neighborhoods, universities and organizations on how to create dynamic, high momentum innovation environments that deliver strong economic outcomes. He also advises early stage ventures and not-for-profits as a consultant and board member. He has supported and mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs across a broad set of interest areas. From 2001 to 2014, Ken Harrington served as the Managing Director for the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. During that period St. Louis spawned entrepreneur development systems, infrastructure, and investment capital in several specialty areas including Biotech, IT, Agtech, Social Enterprise, Fintech, Women entrepreneurs, and other areas. Under Ken Harrington’s founding leadership Washington University’s Skandalaris Center started over 450 ventures. The University's broad experiential curriculum and numerous co-curricular programs that connect Washington University to St. Louis’s entrepreneurial support groups resulted in a top ten entrepreneurship ranking. Ken has been designated as a top 25 U.S. entrepreneurship professor. Prior to joining the University, Ken held senior management positions in seven start-up technology companies.

​Michael is the Associate Director of Hyde Park Angels. He leads HPA's investment opportunities through sourcing deals, conducting due-diligence, and providing oversight of the University of Chicago Booth Associate team. Michael joined HPA after spending three years as a strategy consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C. where he worked on a variety of process and customer service improvement efforts. He earned a BA in Political Science from Northwestern University in 2009.

​Jerry Strub has been active in the environmental industry for more than 30 years. He spent 15 years with a division of Waste Management during a rapid growth stage identifying new markets, strategies and product lines. He spent the following 15 years working for Weston Solutions, an environmental engineering and consulting firm focused on domestic and global growth initiatives. He has over 25 years of training, coaching and mentoring engineers and scientists on improving their business development skills and developing strategic approaches to growing their revenues. Today, he is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Strategic Growth Consulting, Inc., a management consulting firm that assists SME professional and technical services organizations in identifying growth opportunities, developing a sound plan and aligning the organization to execute using a collaborative process. He is an advisory board member of two Chinese environmental firms and serves as an advisor and connector of CleanTech and engineering services between North America and China. 

George Vukotich works with entrepreneurs and startup companies to help them build business strategies. He also works with business incubators and accelerators to help them design and build education and mentoring programs to help the companies in them be more successful. As an executive strategist, educator and author, George helps senior level business leaders grow their organizations through leveraging human resource approaches including; organization design, talent management, and organizational development. As a strategic partner to key decision makers, he contributes a unique multi-dimensional perspective and insight gained from extensive experience as a leader in the business world, academia, and in the military.

Steve Webster is Executive Fellow and Managing Director of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, University of St. Thomas. Prior to the University of St. Thomas, Mr. Webster was CEO, founding director and Board Chair of the Prima Civitas Foundation, an economic development nonprofit enterprise that fosters economic development in communities across the State of Michigan. Steve also served as Vice President for Governmental Affairs at Michigan State University advising four University presidents regarding important research, instruction and community engagement policy proposals in local, state and national government. He also advised University leaders regarding off-campus economic development opportunities. Steve splits his time advising a range of clients on domestic and international economic development projects in the Middle East, North Africa and other international settings. He also has extensive experience developing and leading large and small university/public/private consortia formed to address complex, stubborn, challenges. 
He is a conceptualizer with a keen ability to see the 'big picture’ and create the vision, strategies and tactics necessary to realize that vision. 
He is passionate about building strategic partnerships, team building, mentoring and leadership development. 

Innovation Competition presented by Polsinelli:  Showcase Judges

John Banta serves as the Executive Director of BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners L.P., a $315 million corporate venture fund complex sponsored by the BlueCross BlueShield Association, and as the Managing Director of the fund’s General Partner. In this capacity, he is responsible for maintaining relationships with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the operational success of the Fund, its portfolio companies and for the generation of an appropriate rate of strategic and financial return for participating Blue Plans. Prior to joining BCBSA, John served as the CEO & Managing Director of IllinoisVentures, the premier seed and early-stage technology venture investment firm focused on starting and building globally-competitive businesses deriving from Midwest Universities and labs. John is also the former President and COO of DigitalWork, Inc., a Draper Fisher Jurvetson, TL Ventures and Dell Ventures portfolio company, having served previously as its Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development. Prior to DigitalWork, Inc., John served as Vice President of Corporate Services for UBS PaineWebber (formerly Kidder Peabody), and as a Director of the Investment Management Consultant's Association. John has worked with a wide variety of portfolio companies, and serves or has served on the Board of Directors of numerous early-stage clean technology, agriculture, IT, instrumentation and medical device businesses. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Venture Capital Association and the Argonne Venture Accelerator; and the Advisory Boards of the Midwest Venture Forum, the Clean Energy Trust, the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University and the Energy Directive of the Midwest Governors Association. John earned an MBA in finance and statistics with high honors from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business where he has been a frequent guest lecturer, and a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Illinois College of Commerce.

Satish Jayaram is the principal for Cummins Energy Ventures. He formed the group in 2014 with a $100M fund and a mandate to invest in distributed generation businesses and technologies. Satish currently spends time thinking about the macro market trends and resulting opportunities for Cummins to strengthen its participation and portfolio in the energy markets. He joined Cummins in 2004 in a technology leadership role. In the intervening years, he has held general management positions and led several business transformation initiatives. Prior to forming Energy Ventures, Satish moved to Africa on an expatriate assignment to start up Cummins’ Power Generation business. This gave him the opportunity to create several new joint ventures as well as restructure existing investments to grow Cummins’ footprint on the continent. Before joining Cummins, Satish was both an entrepreneur and held leadership positions in technology start-ups. A native of India, Satish attended Bharathiyar University and graduated with a B.Com in Accounting and Commerce. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters. When not working, Satish enjoys a round of golf in what is an especially short season in MN.

Matt Logan is an Associate with Cummins Energy Ventures, a recently formed venture capital business unit within Cummins Power Generation. His responsibilities include analyzing markets, financials, business models, deal structures, and competition pertaining to prospective investments, as well as deal sourcing. Prior to joining Cummins he received an MBA from the Ross School of Business. While in business school he worked with two early stage venture capital firms, and spent his summer internship at Sunrun. Before business school Matt led business development for a residential solar water heating startup, and worked in corporate social responsibility at the Inter-American Development Bank. 

Tony Palcheck is a Managing Director at Zebra Technologies Ventures, based in Lincolnshire, Illinois. In this role, he is responsible for identifying and executing strategic, minority-equity investments in start-up firms to accelerate access to new technologies, future markets and emerging talent for all of Zebra’s businesses. Prior to joining Zebra, Mr. Palcheck was the Managing Director for Motorola Solutions Venture Capital where he led deals in analytics, wireless broadband, location solutions, wearables, artificial intelligence and mobile marketing companies. Before joining Motorola Ventures, Tony was a Director in the Corporate Strategy Group at Motorola. He joined that team from Motorola's Cellular Infrastructure Group, where he led the next generation cellular market requirements of research, forecasting and segmentation. Mr. Palcheck earned an undergraduate degree in marketing and an MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, where he graduated with honors. Mr. Palcheck serves as an adjunct professor of marketing at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

​Dan Phillips is a Managing Director at Sandbox Industries, a venture capital firm that partners with large corporate organizations to identify and invest in innovative technology companies across several industry verticals. Sandbox is the exclusive investment management services provider to Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners, a corporate venture fund licensed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. The fund invests in promising emerging companies of strategic relevance to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Additionally, Sandbox has partnered with Cultivian Ventures to manage a fund focused on the food and agriculture industry. The Fund invests in Ag Tech companies that offer solutions across the full value chain of agriculture, including crop production, animal health, food safety and water technology. Prior to Sandbox, Dan spent six years in healthcare consulting focused on strategic planning for health systems and large physician groups. Dan is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned his degree in Biology.

John is a Managing Director at Energy Foundry.  He has more than 25 years of experience within the IT, energy, and venture industries. Throughout his career he has played key roles in early stage venture capital firms that combine IT and energy investing. He invests at the intersection of IT and Energy with particular emphasis on advanced materials, renewable energy and software applications. Prior to joining Energy Foundry, John was a Managing Director at Illinois Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and is a founding member of the Illinois Emerging Technology Funds. His portfolio investments won numerous awards including MIT top 10 Technologies, EPA Product of the year and WSJ Annual Technology Innovation Award. While there, he helped grow the firm from start-up to $70 million under management. Earlier in his career, John was Managing Director of Keystone Venture Capital a venture capital firm making investments in early and expansion stage companies. John was the lead investor in several transactions as well as an active board member. Several of John’s investments were acquired or went public including, VST Technologies, Imaging Automation, Arnold Palmer Golf and EnvestNet. John was an early member of Apex Venture Partners, a Chicago-based venture capital firm focusing on technology and business services. He made numerous investments including a manufacturer and specialty retailer, which grew over $200 million in revenue and a successful IPO. He started his career at General Dynamics where he received an Educational Fellowship, Emerald Recognition Award and held a top secret clearance. John received a MBA from the University of Chicago. He also holds an M.S. and B.S. in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mike Rehberg is a Senior Investment Manager in Dow Venture Capital (DVC), an investment arm of The Dow Chemical Company. He is responsible for sourcing and executing strategic investments that enable and accelerate Dow’s business growth in Electronic Materials, Light-Weighting, and Automotive. Mike joined Dow in 1980 and moved to the Dow Venture Capital team in 2000. He is currently a Director on the board of Dow portfolio company Stablcor. Outside of Dow, Mike is also a Director on the board of CMU-RC, a non-profit business development organization which is part of the CMU University. For CMU-RC, he sits as an observer on the Michigan Angel Fund (MAF). Mike has a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University, 1980.

Reese Schroeder is the Managing Director of Motorola Solutions Venture Capital. He has been in this role since January, 2004. In this position, he is responsible for overall management of Motorola Solutions’ corporate venture capital program. Reese joined Motorola, Inc. in 1989. Prior to his current position, Reese was a Director in Motorola’s Corporate Development and Strategic Transactions Group responsible for a wide variety of M&A activity. During his tenure with Motorola, he has served in various capacities in the Networks Business Unit, including Senior Manager of the Contracts Department, Commercial Strategies Manager for the International Marketing Organization, Director of Operations for the Asia Pacific business and Director of Business Development. Prior to joining Motorola, Reese was Vice President of Sales and Administration for a Midwest-based manufacturer of chemical transportation containers. He also engaged in his own private law practice for a brief period of time. In 1981, Reese graduated from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois with a B.A. majoring in Political Science. He also received his J.D. from John Marshall Law School in 1984. Reese has been active in Future Founders of Chicago for the past 5 years. In addition, he has been active with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since 2008 as team captain of Reese's Pieces, as well as serving for two years on the Light The Night Volunteer Leadership Council. Finally, he mentors start-up companies every year at Tech Stars in Chicago.

Mark Wight is the Managing Director of Strategy, Marketing and Operations at GE Energy Ventures. A native of Albany, NY, Mark attended Clarkson University and graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1992. He continued his graduate studies at the State University New York at Buffalo achieving an M.S. in Environmental Engineering. Mark also received an officer commission in the Army National Guard where he served until 2000. Mark joined GE in 1995 in the Technical Leadership Program for GE Plastics. After positions in manufacturing and finance, Mark moved to Power & Water with diverse roles in Quality, M&A, Project Management and Commercial Finance. During this time, Mark attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and graduated with an MBA. In 2008, he joined Renewables as Marketing and Strategy leader where he led global initiatives with solar and offshore wind. In 2011, Mark joined the Corporate Ventures team and was promoted to Managing Director in 2013, focusing on collaboration between the Energy businesses and start-up companies. Mark currently spends his time thinking about the macro trends affecting the Energy space and creative ways for GE to participate. When not working, Mark likes playing and coaching sports with his three children. He enjoys hiking and skiing in the Adirondacks and doing home improvement projects.

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