Deb Carey, co-founder and president of New Glarus Brewing Co., will receive the Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award June 1 during a luncheon at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

The conference at the Italian Community Center returns to the Cream City to celebrate the region’s rise as a startup and scale-up hub within the Midwest. Registration is open at or linked here.

Launching in 1992 with her brew-master husband, Deb Carey became the first woman to found and operate a brewery in the United States. The first barrels rolled out in November 1993 — the fastest microbrewery start-up ever. Daniel and Deb have combined their business management and brewing professionalism with a philosophy based on individuality, cooperation and use of 100% natural ingredients to produce world class, hand-crafted beers such as “Spotted Cow.”

Wisconsin native Carey attended Carroll College in Helena, Mont., majoring in marketing and graphics. An entrepreneur at heart, she started her first business at 16, followed by a succession of training and hands-on experiences. Today, New Glarus Brewing ranks among the top dozen craft breweries and top two-dozen U.S. breweries of any description.

Judged on the quality of its beers, New Glarus Brewing was named a “top 10 brewer in the world” by

The award, which celebrates entrepreneurial leaders who have been crucial to Wisconsin’s economic growth, is named in honor of the late Ken Hendricks, a Beloit businessman and 2006 “Seize the Day” award winner who died in an accident in late 2007.

The Tech Council produces the May 31-June 1 Entrepreneurs’ Conference and administers the award, which has gone to entrepreneurs who have shown persistence in building their companies.

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 (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); Sue Marks of Cielo (2019); Kevin Conroy of Exact Sciences (2020); Don Zietlow of Kwik Trip (2021) and Cory Nettles of Generation Growth Capital (2022).

Crossroads of innovation is the theme of the 21st annual conference, where entrepreneurs from around the state will showcase their ideas, services and technologies. Seven panel tracks formed under three unique stages of “launch,” “grow” and “succeed” will appeal to entrepreneurs in all stages. Detailed panel information will be posted soon at

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference is among the largest and affordable events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper Midwest. Other highlights will include:

  • Diligent Dozen: Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest square off on the afternoon of May 31
  • Charles Ross, Milwaukee native and chief executive officer of International Business Innovation Accelerator, to keynote morning of June 1
  • Governor’s Business Plan Contest “Diligent Dozen” awards announcements June 1
  • Innovation Showcase featuring exhibits from Wisconsin companies
  • Plenty of chances to network with seasoned entrepreneurs and investors over food and refreshments, including a May 31 reception at the Italian Community Center

Sponsors thus far are: Aberdean Consulting, Affiliated Engineers, Alliant Energy, Amazon, American Family Insurance, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, AT&T, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Business Fitness, Center for Technology Commercialization, City of Fitchburg, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), DeWitt, Findorff, First Business Bank, Foley & Lardner, Godfrey & Kahn, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, Insperity, J.P. Morgan, Lost Boys Interactive, Madison College, Madison Development Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ HEY! Communications, Marquette University, Microsoft, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Ruder Ware, Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction, Technology Entrepreneurship Office at UW-Madison, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, UMOS One Workforce – TechStars, University Research Park, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Innovate Network, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, UW-Madison Office of University Relations, Venture Investors, Versiti, WE Energies, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, Wisconsin Technical College System, WiSys and Yahara Software.

To become a sponsor, contact Angela Schlobohm at For more information, visit or call 608-442-7557.