2021 Innovation + Entrepreneurship Forum
December 10 @ 7:00 am - 10:00 am
Some of southeastern Wisconsin’s top entrepreneurs and innovators will be honored at BizTimes Media’s Innovation + Entrepreneur Forum, which will be held on Dec. 10, at 7:30 a.m., at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee. Click here to register.
The highlights of the program will include the annual BizTimes Media Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an extraordinary southeastern Wisconsin entrepreneur who has grown their company to huge success and made significant contributions to the community, and the Regional Spirit Award, given to an entrepreneur who has gone above and beyond to make the Milwaukee area a better place to live, work and play.
Jon Hammes, founder and managing partner of Milwaukee-based Hammes Company, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hammes Co. is a national real estate consulting, development, investment and management firm. Hammes founded the company in 1991. Two years, later Hammes Healtcare was established with an exclusive focus on health care real estate consulting and project management. The company has been ranked as a leading health care developer by Modern Healthcare’s Construction & Design Survey for 22 consecutive years—19 years as No. 1—and by Revista’s Outpatient Healthcare Real Estate Development Report.
Hammes Co. has also been project developer for several major sports real estate projects including Ford Field in Detroit, the Kohl Center at UW-Madison and Lambeau Field expansion projects and the adjacent Titletown District development in Green Bay.
Hammes also serves as a director for the University of Wisconsin Foundation, Teach for America and Marquette University.
Dan Katt, co-founder and CEO of Milwaukee-based Good City Brewing and owner of Craft Development, will receive the Regional Spirit Award. Good City Brewing has grown from its original location Milwaukee’s East Side and now also has locations in the Deer District in downtown Milwaukee and in Wauwatosa. The company also has operations at the Century City business park, the major effort by the city of Milwaukee to boost the economy of the central city area. Katt led an ownership group that acquired the 53,400-square-foot Century City 1 building, which was built in 2016 but wasn’t fully leased until this year. Now Katt’s group plans to build another similar building next to Century City 1.
Innovation Award winners will include:
- Milwaukee-based Renaissant, a provider of a loading lock intelligence platform. The company organizes warehouse and transportation management system data on a single platform to help companies visualize their operations. The platform then optimizes shipping and receiving schedules based on weather, traffic patterns and a host of variables incorporated into its machine learning algorithms. The platform addresses the challenges warehouse and logistics companies have had in matching drivers with loads, which is causing shipping congestion in the supply chain.
- Brookfield-based Hug Sleep Pod. Founder Matt Mundt said the start-up had $4 million in sales after its product, a cocoon-like enclosure that covers the entire body, was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank.
Entrepreneurship Award winners will include:
- James Kyle, CEO and founder of Delavan-based Millennium, a fiber optic network materials distributor. Millennium ranked #2,841 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies. It recently broke ground on construction for a new 75,000s-square-foot headquarters in Delavan.
- Dr. Indrajit Choudhuri, founder of Mequon-based MediCardia Health Inc. Medicardia’s digital health platform is designed to aggregate, organize and operationalize comprehensive clinical data for clinicians. It is in Verona-based Epic Systems’ App Orchard platform. MediCardia recently raised $3 million to ramp up its IT development, including embedded telehealth, remote patient monitoring, natural language processing for data discretization and automated chart preparation.
- Ryan Povlick, founder of Milwaukee-based Scratch Ice Cream, a producer of small-batch ice cream made from scratch. Launched in 2020, Scratch this year signed a contract with Sendik’s Food Market to sell its ice cream at 16 stores in southeastern Wisconsin. The new Sendik’s locations bring Scratch’s footprint to 50 locations across southeastern Wisconsin, including restaurants, grocery stores and the startup’s two storefronts at Zocalo Food Truck Park and the Crossroads Collective food hall in Milwaukee.
The Innovation + Entrepreneur Forum will also include a panel discussion on best practices in innovation and entrepreneurship featuring these panelists:
- Kyle Weatherly, co-founder and CEO of Milwaukee-based Frontdesk, a short-term apartment rental company, which ranked #136 on the Inc. 5000 list this year.
- Roy Dietsch, co-founder and CEO of Cedarburg-based PartsBadger, a computer numerical control (CNC) machining company, which ranked #525 on the Inc. 5000 list this year.
- Jackie Hermes, founder and CEO of Milwaukee-based marking firm Accelity
Following the panel discussion, there will be a breakout session, entitled “Reflections on the Road from Idea to Innovation and the Management of the Detours Along the Way.” Panelists will include: Brian Durst, CEO of Madison-based Tribe 9 Foods LLC; Ryan Sberna, CEO of Milwaukee-based Eagle Eye Power Solutions LLC; Scott Reigle and James Wawrzyn, attorneys at Milwaukee-based Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C. The session will address real world examples of taking ideas and implementing them within the framework of existing business operations and addressing other sources of potential resistance. The discussion will address lessons learned on navigating challenges that arise that may require leveraging outside professionals for assistance.
The Innovation + Entrepreneur Forum is sponsored by Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C. and supporting sponsor Vistage. Click here to register.