MADISON – Jack Salzwedel, the chief executive officer and president of American Family Insurance, will describe how a 90-year-old Wisconsin success story is investing in the growth of the state, community and the company itself at the annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 16-17 at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

Salzwedel, who is also known for being one of the most prolific Fortune 500 CEOs on social media, will speak around 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, just before this year’s fast-paced Elevator Pitch Olympics and just after the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education awards ceremony.

He’s expected to cover topics such as the creation of AmFam Ventures, which has invested in emerging companies that focus on connected technologies, data analytics and innovation in insurance; the company’s partnership role in Madison’s “Starting Block” project; and how a company founded in 1927 remains innovative in a mainstream industry.

“We’re excited to have ‘@AmFamJack,’ as he’s known on Twitter, speak to this year’s Early Stage Symposium,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Jack Salzwedel is one of the nation’s leading CEOs when it comes to understanding how the early stage economy intersects with all business sectors.”

Formed in 1927, American Family Insurance is the largest insurer of homes and automobiles in Wisconsin. American Family Ventures launched in 2010.

A native of DeForest, Salzwedel began his career with American Family in 1983 as a claim adjuster and became an agent two years later. He then took leadership roles in sales and product lines, leading up to his election as chairman and chief executive officer in late 2011. In his current role, he oversees American Family and its subsidiaries, Homesite and The General.

Applications are being accepted from early stage companies that would like to present in one of three tracks at this year’s symposium, which will be held at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Those tracks include the Elevator Pitch Olympics, the Tech Council Investors’ Network track and the new Investor Intros track.

Instructions for how to apply for all or a mix of the investor presentation opportunities are here or found at The conference will also feature:

  • Speakers, panel discussions and educational seminars featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
  • SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past year.
  • The 3rd annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation.
  • The “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 15 Wisconsin WOMEN reception (Women, Opportunities, Mentors, Networking, Entrepreneurs). This event is open to both men and women.
  • A Nov. 16 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors so far include: 100State; Aberdean; Adana Holdings; Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium; Alliant Energy; American Transmission Co.; Ascendancy Advisors; AT&T; Aurora Research Institute; Baird Capital; Baker Tilly; BDO; BloodCenter of WI; Carroll University; City of Fitchburg; Concordia University; Cresa Madison; Dane County Regional Airport; Dedicated Computing; Findorff; First Business Bank; Fluno Center; Functional Biosciences; Godfrey & Kahn; HealthX Ventures; HP Enterprise Services; Husch Blackwell; Madison Gas & Electric; Makin HEY! Communications; Marquette University; Medical College of Wisconsin; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Midwest Prototyping; Murphy Desmind S.C.; N29 Capital Partners; Neider & Boucher; NEW Capital Fund; Perkins Coie; PreventionGenetics; Promega Corp.; Quarles & Brady; Red Arrow Production; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Skyward; Smith & Gesteland; Square 1 Bank; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; University Research Park; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation; Venture Investors; WERCBench Labs; Whitewater University Technology Park; WIPFLI; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity; Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Wisconsin Health & Educational Facility Authority; WTN Media; Ziegler

Learn more and register at