How Did You Do That? What does it take for an entrepreneur to go from an idea to a successful startup? Hosts Kathleen Gallagher and Tim Keane talk with Wisconsin entrepreneurs about how - and why - they've succeeded. Kathleen Gallagher is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the executive director of the Milwaukee Institute. Tim Keane is the director of Golden Angels Investors and an entrepreneur who led his own startup to a profitable acquisition.
How Did You Do That?

How Did You Do That?

From WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR

What does it take for an entrepreneur to go from an idea to a successful startup? Hosts Kathleen Gallagher and Tim Keane talk with Wisconsin entrepreneurs about how - and why - they've succeeded. Kathleen Gallagher is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the executive director of the Milwaukee Institute. Tim Keane is the director of Golden Angels Investors and an entrepreneur who led his own startup to a profitable acquisition.

Most Recent Episodes

How A Wisconsin Spine Surgeon Became A Successful Entrepreneur

Pete Ullrich was a young spine surgeon in Neenah, Wis., who wasn't satisfied with the available tools. So he came up with a new one: a titanium spacer to put between vertebrae during spinal fusion surgery. "We really thought we saw an opportunity for an unmet market need," notes Ullrich. "And another thing is I knew nobody else was going to do this, and the patients were doing significantly better." The invention took Ullrich, a self-described reluctant entrepreneur, on a very successful startup

How Andy Nunemaker Went From Corporate Executive To Serial Entrepreneur

Milwaukee native Andy Nunemaker studied electrical engineering and business at some of our country's top universities and held high-level jobs at two of its biggest companies. He got an undergraduate degree at Valparaiso and a master's degree at Georgia Tech, both in electrical engineering. After running major operations for GE Healthcare, first in Australia and New Zealand, then for all of Southeast Asia, Andy was deep into a career as a very successful corporate executive. But then came a

How Kevin Conroy Transformed Exact Sciences With Three Guiding Principles

After successfully growing and steering the $582 million sale of Madison-based Third Wave Technologies, Kevin Conroy went looking for another company to run. He found Exact Sciences — a struggling, publicly traded Massachusetts company with a DNA-based test for colon cancer that hadn't been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). When Kevin took over in April 2009, Exact Sciences had a handful of employees and a stock that was trading around $1 a share. Ten years later, the company

How Kevin Conroy Transformed Exact Sciences With Three Guiding Principles

How Mike Harris Jumped From No. 2 Job To Successful Entrepreneur

Mike Harris was a middle-class kid from Racine with no family history of entrepreneurship. He played it safe at UW-Parkside by studying accounting, then got a job as an auditor with Ernst & Young and became a Certified Public Accountant. However Mike's appetite for risk grew when he got a job at Wind Point Partners, the venture capital fund led by the Johnson Wax family at the time. At Wind Point, Mike took on the extra duty of part-time Chief Financial Officer for a built-from-scratch

How CEO Bob Atwell Created One Of Wisconsin's Largest Banks

Bob Atwell's critical career decisions can be summed up in one word: contrarian. Unlike most of his classmates at Yale School of Management, Bob came back to the Midwest to find work. Secure in a coveted commercial lending job at a big Milwaukee financial institution, Bob decided he would rather be in a smaller town at a smaller bank. At that smaller bank in a smaller town, Bob found a stable job with a great deal of responsibility. Then, despite having 10 kids and an 11th on the way, Bob quit.

How Michael Major Grew From Chemist To A Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company Leader

A chemistry whiz who grew up in Poland, Michael Major left his job as a tenured professor when he was in his early 30s to immigrate to Milwaukee for a job as a chemist at Aldrich Chemical. Two years later, in 1992, he moved to Cambridge Chemical, where he rose to vice president of research and development. When Cambridge Chemical's owner passed away, leaving his widow with all the equity in the company, it underlined for Michael what would eventually become a life-changing reality: he needed to

How Michael Major Grew From Chemist To A Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company Leader

How Craig Dickman Used Entrepreneurship To Solve Real Problems

Craig Dickman got his first computer, a Radio Shack TRS-80, in 1977. That purchase, a few coding classes and a lot of self-teaching (combined with two business degrees), sparked a career that landed Craig a job at Schneider National Inc., one of Wisconsin's biggest companies. For some, that might have been enough. But never afraid of taking a risk, Craig left his job as Vice President of Information Technology at Schneider after just a year, to run Paper Transport Inc., a then-$10 million

How Todd Dunsirn Grew His Company From The Ground Up

Todd Dunsirn grew up in an entrepreneurial family. His grandfather, father and brothers have all started and owned their own businesses. So, it was no surprise when, two years after graduating from UWM with a mechanical engineering degree, Dunsirn decided corporate jobs weren't for him. The fourth startup he founded, called True Process, was the one that would lead to a big payday. Todd started True Process in 2004 and after 14 years running the business he sold it in two parts to two different

How Ed Ward Created The World's Largest Celtic Festival in Milwaukee

Ed Ward has experience in the Peace Corps, the military, politics, law and investing, but it's in the not-for-profit world that he made his mark as a successful entrepreneur. In 1981 Ed turned his passion for Irish music into a venture that now requires 4,500 people to run and has 125,000 annual customers. It has been the guiding force in a global movement that he inspired, shepherded, and grew — and it will have a lasting influence on Milwaukee. The venture is called Irish Fest and it's

From Musician To Experiential Marketing: Entrepreneur Gary Reynolds

Gary Reynolds started out as a musician, left for the West Coast to try songwriting, then followed his entrepreneurial instincts back to Wisconsin. His idea of connecting emerging bands with big company sponsors got him his first client, Miller Brewing. His idea of using his band support network of 300 representatives on campuses across the country to market tech products got him his second client, Apple Inc. Today, Gary is considered a pioneer in experiential marketing. He sold his company, New

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