Concordia University

Wisconsin Startup Week Concordia University Wisconsin

About the Series

Join Concordia University Wisconsin as we partner with Wisconsin Startup Week. Experience powerful life lessons and practical advice from some of Wisconsin’s most intriguing entrepreneurs. With multiple locations in Southeastern, WI, find the location nearest you and join fellow entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs) for this inspirational event.

Lunch is provided with all RSVPs.

2017 Seminars

Multiple Concordia University Wisconsin centers across the state of Wisconsin are hosting events during Wisconsin Startup Week.

Appleton - Raising Startup Capital

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: 4351 W. College Avenue, Suite 100, Appleton, WI 54914


Gary Vaughan

Gary Vaughan’s experience spans many areas including; retail, manufacturing, and academics. Prior to launching Guident Business Solutions, Gary worked in economic development as Associate Director of the Venture Center, an Entrepreneurship Center at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI. Gary conducts seminars at the state and national level. He specializes in speaking to Associations helping to educate their membership on best business practices, strengthening their member’s businesses, and helping to sustain a stronger membership base.

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: 635 3rd St, Beloit, WI 53511


Ross Thomas

Ross Thomas came to Beloit from Los Angeles, CA Ross worked for the L.A. Times for 12 years. He owned 3 delivery agencies for the L.A. Times. He was the youngest person to own an agency and the only person to have 3 agencies. He left L.A. and headed to Beloit, WI where he owned the local Dairy Queen for 8 years. From there, he went to Culver’s where he’s been the General Manager for 13 years. He recently completed the franchise training for Culvers which allows him the opportunity to open his own Culver’s store. Ross has been married to Jill for 39 years. They have 2 children and 7 grandchildren. Ross earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Concordia University Beloit.

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: Executive Center II, 1150 Springhurst Drive-Suite 101, Green Bay, WI 54304


Tara Carr

Tara Carr is the Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. She and her staff assist with strategic planning, expert strategy, financial management, raising capital, market research and business plan development. She provides business outreach through education, referrals and resources to help small businesses evolve. Tara is also a faculty member at Concordia University's Green Bay & Appleton Centers.

Date/Time: Monday, November 6th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Location: 10222 74th Street - Suite 110, Kenosha, WI 53142


Ray Koukari

Ray Koukari, Jr is the Dean of Academic Affairs for the Racine Campus and the Dean Business and Information Technology departments (BIT), Interim Dean Manufacturing, Engineering and Transportation (MET). During his tenure, he has helped to address the skill gap by creating innovative programs that meet industry depends. His unique life experiences and leadership skills has assisted him to merge employment and educational trends in the sectors of manufacturing, business, and information technology. Ray is a veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps for 6 years obtaining the rank of staff sergeant. Ray holds a MBA degree in Financial Controls from Regent University, which he earned in 1999.

Josh Kosmala

Josh Kosmala is the Director of Operations at Good Goods Group, LLC. Through his experience in manufacturing, he has specialized in organizational leadership and development, project management, and continuous improvement. His current position provides him the opportunity to help build and strengthen the workforce at Good Foods Group, LLC. Mr. Kosmala is on the frontline of the workforce shortage and skill gap concern in manufacturing. Josh holds a Master Degree in Organizational Leadership from Norwich University.

Matthew Hurtienne

Matthew Hurtienne is an Associate Professor of Business and an Assistant Dean for the Batterman School of Business at Concordia University. In addition to working at CUW, Dr. Hurtienne has worked as an academic dean for the Wisconsin Technical College System where he helped to develop programs to meet industry needs. Through involvement with a regional Workforce Development board he supported the development of many career pathways, and as a board member of a manufacturing business alliance, he helped to bring awareness of employment opportunities to the manufacturing sector. Matthew holds a Ph.D. in Education and Human Resources, with a specialization in Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change from Colorado State University.

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: 2909 Landmark Place, Suite 101, Madison, WI 53713


Tom Hershberger

Tom is a customer-focused marketing and business strategy leader with expertise in maximizing revenue and profit. He has held senior marketing and innovation positions with Fortune 100 companies and equity-funded organizations spanning consumer products, B2B products, and services. Tom received numerous patents and trade secrets for product and technology innovations, and his broad functional experience has resulted in new revenue streams from new brands, new products, new users, new occasions, and new locations. Tom is also an adjunct professor at Concordia University of Wisconsin and UW-Madison Small Business Development Center.

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 @ 11:30am - 1:00pm

Location: 12800 N Lake Shore Dr., Mequon, WI 53097

Overview: We will be holding a panel discussion about Veteran Entrepreneurship.  The panel will discuss the successes and hurdles of starting a business or project as a veteran. They will also discuss resources available to veterans and have open dialogue including question and answer.  Lunch will be included.


Eduardo Garza [Moderator]

Dan Buttery

Daniel W. Buttery is a Wisconsin native, growing up in Rio, a farming community just 30 miles north of Madison in Columbia County.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 1994 with honors.

Commissioned as a US Army Engineer Officer in 1998, Dan went on to become Company Commander of C-Company 724 Engineer Battalion in 2001.  His deployments included Chontales, Nicaragua (Peace Keeping for Southern Commanded, USSOUTHCOM) 2001 - 2002, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) – 1 in 2003.

Dan’s combat engineer company successfully conducted 300 missions in Iraq from May 2003 – April 2004, covering all corners of the country.  As a company commander, Dan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for missions conducted in Iraq.  Injuries sustained in country eventually ended his military service.

While in military service, Dan also managed his civilian career, which took him in the direction of owning and operating his own media marketing company, High Value Target (HVT) Marketing.  Recent and current clients include the Milwaukee Public Museum, MERRELL Footwear, CAT Footwear & KIA Automotive North America.

Dan recently served as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs in Madison, WI, where he was responsible for advancing pro-Veteran legislation in the State of Wisconsin.  The following Acts received unanimous, by-partisan support in the Wisconsin State Legislature, signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in 2016:

  • Wisconsin Veteran Entrepreneur Grant Program
  • Wisconsin Disabled Veteran Employment Employer Grant Program
  • Wisconsin Veteran Owned & Disabled Veteran Owned Logo and Recognition Program
  • Wisconsin Grants to Non-Profit for Assistance to Veterans & Their Families Program

Dan returned full-time to his private sector business, HVT Marketing, in January 2017.

Dan understands the sacrifices that members of the United States Armed Forces and their families give on a daily basis to maintain our freedom.  For that, he works to serve these individuals and the charitable organizations that best serve our Veterans.  Dan was the founder and now past President of the Board of Directors for Fisher House Wisconsin, Inc., a 100 percent volunteer appointment.

The Milwaukee Armed Services Committee recognized Dan’s volunteerism and support of the Veteran community by presenting him with the Citizen Support of Our Armed Services Award during Armed Forces Week, 2015.  His work to help build Wisconsin’s first Fisher House was also recognized by the Milwaukee Brewers organization by naming him Veteran of the Month in May 2013.

He and his wife Patty live in the town of Waukesha along with their loyal hunting dog, Scout.

Saul Newton

Saul Newton, Executive Director at Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Neil Willenson

Neil Willenson is a national non-profit leader, public speaker, social activist, entertainment industry executive and author. Most notably, Willenson is the Co-Founder of Camp Hometown Heroes, a national summer camp for children of fallen U.S. service members. He is also the Founder of One Heartland (formerly Camp Heartland), a U.S. non-profit organization that greatly improves the lives of children, youth and families who experience HIV/AIDS and other significant life challenges worldwide. Willenson lead this national summer camp for nearly 20 years. Willenson is the Vice President of Community Relations for Kapco Metal Stamping in Grafton, WI where he is responsible for raising funds and distributing grants to hundreds of worthy charities. Willenson is also the Vice President of a fast-growing entertainment company called K-Nation Entertainment.

Willenson and One Heartland have been featured by the Oprah Winfrey Show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and Dateline NBC. Willenson and Camp Heartland were profiled in a CBS Movie of the Week, in the Disney Channel film “Friends for Life,” on Today, Good Morning America, and countless television talk shows. Along with many of Camp Heartland’s campers, Willenson authored the award winning book, “A Journey of Hope – Inspiring Stories of Courage and Unconditional Love.” In December 2008, Willenson was named one of GQ Magazine’s “Men of the Year.”

Fundamental in every project Willenson leads, is the belief that all people have value and that we should follow our heart to work for a brighter tomorrow.

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: 1670 Miller Park Way, West Milwaukee, WI 53214


Ted Balistreri

Ted Balistreri is co-owner of Sendik’s Food Markets (the ones with the red bags), and oversees their current growth across southeast Wisconsin. He is also a driving force for many new innovations being adopted at Sendik’s, including their Online Grocery Service, Grind2Energy and Fresh2Go initiatives. Sendik’s was founded 91 years ago and Ted is a third generation owner. Ted received his business degree from UW Madison and his Law degree from Marquette University.

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: 4151 North 56th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53216


Jay Mason

Jay Mason is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 30 years of starting and growing nearly a dozen highly successful businesses, many in the health technology sector. As a strategist he regularly advises other high growth enterprises nationally as well as serves on numerous for profit and non-profit boards. Jay is an outspoken advocate and tireless evangelist for creating and supporting a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Wisconsin.

Chauntel Mckenzie

Chauntel Mckenzie is a marketing strategist, national speaker, consultant and the CEO and Founder of The PowHER Network. She has twenty plus years of sales and marketing experience in the Fortune 500 space and recently took the leap into full time entrepreneurship.

Ariam Kesete

Born and raised in Eritrea, Ariam Kesete migrated to the U.S. in 1997. Raised by a single mom, Ms. Kesete was taught the important values of hard work and dedication as a means to improve her livelihood. Through collaborative efforts with a number of varied organizations, Ms. Kesete has made her company, AK Development, an organization dedicated to working with and serving underserved and under-represented neighborhoods in Milwaukee’s central cities.

JoAnne Sabir

JoAnne Sabir's life's work and personal mission has advanced her standing as a community change agent. Today her work focuses on the advancement of community development through the lens of personal physical and spiritual wellness. JoAnne and her husband, Maanaan Sabir, own and operate The Juice Kitchen, a fresh juice cafe in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood, serving over 500 customers weekly. The successful Black-owned business has sparked pride and possibility for neighbors, transformed a vacant commercial corridor, and become a remarkable gathering space.

Marlena Ward-Dodds

Marlena Ward-Dodds is a teacher, trainer, change agent, innovator, coach, and servant leader with over 20 years of successful professional experience that includes entrepreneur, college professor, insurance professional, training and development, business development, marketing and instructional design consultant. . She has created and conducted many workshops for adult learners and business professionals namely: The Leader in Me, Reinvent Yourself, JumpStart Marketing, and Sales 101.

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: N14 W23777 Stone Ridge Dr., Suite 290, Waukesha, WI 53188


Loren Peterson

Loren Peterson is an entrepreneurial advisor and owner of EAS-MKE, LLC, an entrepreneurial advisory service firm working with institutions of higher education as well as their faculty and students on strategies and tactics for developing and commercializing innovative research, often through the formation of new companies established for this purpose. Prior to forming EAS-MKE, Loren was a Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer for Venture Investors, LLC, a leading venture capital firm in the Midwest, focused on making seed and early stage healthcare and technology investments. Loren was responsible for all operations of the company’s capital partnerships including investor relations, financial reporting, legal, accounting, valuation analyses, and audit and tax compliance and issues. Earlier in his career, he worked for 15 years as a CPA and another 17 years as an executive in the pharmaceutical and drug development industry. He has extensive operational experience with small-to-medium-sized businesses and has successfully financed and grown several drug development companies. He previously served as President, CEO and Director of ZyStor Therapeutics until from 2003 until 2010, when it was acquired by a larger pharmaceutical company. Loren currently serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship as well as for Concordia University Wisconsin.

Steven Visuri

Dr. Steven Visuri has over 25 years experience in development and commercialization of medical devices and therapeutics in a variety of environments including industry, start-up, applied research, and academic settings. Steve is currently CEO and co-founder of FloraSeq LLC, a company that is in early stage clinical trials with a microbiota-based drug for treating gastrointestinal diseases. Previously, Steve was Sr. Director and managed a clinical diagnostic business segment for Hologic Gen-Probe with responsibilities for R&D, marketing, regulatory and business strategy. He led the development and commercialization of multiple FDA cleared IVD assays and launched an automated instrument program. Prior to Hologic Gen-Probe, Steve was CSO and VP of Business Development at clinical diagnostics company Prodesse which was acquired by Gen-Probe. Steve started his career in applied research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, responsible for advancement and deployment of technologies in the areas of helathcare and national security. He is active in mentoring and supporting the start-up community in Wisconsin and is a member and Chair of the Healthcare Committee for the Golden Angel Investors. Steve obtained his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University and his MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.

For more information on the seminar series, please email Dan Sem, Dean of the Batterman School of Business, or fill out the request form on the side.