The award, which celebrates entrepreneurial leaders who have been crucial to Wisconsin’s economic growth, is named for the late Ken Hendricks, a Beloit businessman and 2006 “Seize the Day” award winner who died in an accident in late 2007.
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Conroy was part of a small team that moved the nearly defunct Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS) from Boston to Madison in 2009, recognizing that Wisconsin offered the talent, research capacity and overall climate to turn around the company and build on some existing cancer-detection technology.
Conroy and Maneesh Arora, who later served as Exact’s chief operating officer, knew from previous stints at other Madison-based companies it would be possible to develop a non-invasive colorectal cancer test using a combination of DNA-based techniques.
Today, Cologuard is a leading non-invasive alternative to conventional colorectal cancer screening. Most recently, the precision oncology company pivoted to help provide COVID-19 testing supplies by converting laboratory space to that use.
“What excites me most about working at Exact Sciences is solving hard problems with exceptional people,” Conroy said. “It’s incredibly energizing to know that our collective ability and experience is making a real difference in the early detection of cancer, a space in which few companies have been able to carve out a leadership position. I’m just as excited that we’re putting our skills and know-how to work bringing other products to market where we can make a similar difference.”
The June 4 conference will be held on a virtual platform under the theme of Crossing the coronavirus chasm: Surviving and prospering during a ‘new normal’ for young companies. The “Seize the Day” presentation with remarks by Conroy will take place mid-day.
Past winners include Don Weber of Logistics Health Inc. (2004); Bob Cervenka of Phillips Plastics (2005); Ken Hendricks of ABC Supply (2006); Jan Eddy of Wingra Technologies (2007); Michael Cudahy of Marquette Medical Systems (2008); Toni Sikes of The Guild and Guild.com (2009); Bill Linton of Promega (2010); Bob Hillis of Direct Supply (2011); Kay Koplovitz of USA Network (2012); Fred Foster of Electronic Theatre Controls (2013); Craig and Lea Culver of Culver Franchising System Inc. (2014); Jim Berbee of Berbee Information Networks Corp. (2015); Mark Gehring of HealthMyne (2016); Zach Halmstad of Jamf (2017); Dude and Kerry Frank of Comply365 (2018); and Sue Marks of Cielo (2019).
Produced by the Tech Council, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference is one of the largest events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper Midwest. Other highlights will include:
- Keynote by UW-Madison graduate Brian Pinkerton, chief architect of Siri, Apple.
- Six panel presentation by industry-leading experts, successful entrepreneurs and seasoned investors
- Diligent Dozen: Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest will have presentations available to watch online in the week preceding June 4th.
- Five interactive and virtual workshops on different topics.
- Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards ceremony with category winners, a grand prize winner, a “Bright New Idea” award and a new “People’s Choice” award this year
- Virtual interactive exhibitor booths from more than 40 Wisconsin companies
- A presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest, and;
- Plenty of chances to network with 1:1 virtual private meeting times
Sponsors thus far include: PLATINUM: American Transmission Co., AT&T, Godfrey & Kahn, Husch Blackwell, Michael Best, Northwestern Mutual, University Research Park, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. GOLD: Aberdean Consulting SILVER: Affiliated Engineers, Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Boardman & Clark, Burish Group at UBS Financial Services, CD Smith Construction, Center for Technology Commercialization, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Dedicated Computing, DeWitt, Discovery World, First Business Bank, Findorff, HealthX Ventures, J.P. Morgan Chase, Kimberly-Clark, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Microsoft, Neider & Boucher, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer, Oshkosh Corp., Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Rockwell Automation, UW-Madison D2P, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, UW-Madison University Relations, UWM Research Foundation, Venture Investors, Versiti, WEA Trust, Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Technical College System, Yahara Software, Zerology and SPECIAL SUPPORT: Board member Susan Healy and Madison Development Corp.
To learn more, visit witrepsconference.com or call the Tech Council at 608-442-7557.