We look forward to sharing an insider look of the Tech Council corporate and individual membership base.

 

Paul Radspinner, president and CEO at FluGen

What prompted you to start FluGen in 2007?

Two things- one aspirational and one personal.  First, I had been lucky enough to work with great scientists at WARF over the years I was there and knew that there were many technologies that could make a big difference in people’s lives.  With that in mind I met with Drs. Yoshi Kawaoka and Gabi Neumann and we agreed to start a company.  The goal was to make a better flu vaccine and save lives and we feel like we are well along that path.  The personal goal was to create something from scratch that would make me excited to get up every morning.  While at times the ride has been a little harrowing, I can honestly say I have met that personal goal.

FluGen has been active in developing new approaches to vaccine. What are your hopes for public acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines?

My hope is that these amazing vaccines that have been made, studies and delivered in months rather than years will be readily available and accepted by people all over the world.  I know it can be disconcerting when you are bombarded by information- both good and bad- about these vaccines.  It is especially hard for everyday people who do not work with vaccines or pharmaceuticals.  But we have been here before.  In the 18th century people were vaccinated against smallpox and 2-3% died.  Imagine that!  Clearly, we are not facing that kind of risk with these vaccines.  I hope that everyone who has questions or doubts will turn to their physicians and not to the internet for advice.  This is a great opportunity to focus on “we” not “me”.

What keeps you busy and fulfilled outside of work?

Since the pandemic started, the anticipation of that long commute down to my basement office and the Zoom meetings that await me every day keep me thoroughly stimulated!  I am enjoying my first grandchild, Luka, more than I ever thought I could.  My wife Kimm and I live on Lake Wisconsin and are avid cyclists.  Most recently we are trying to figure out how this new smart bike we just bought can save us from a lifetime of pandemic-induced-obesity.  In my own time I like to get away from work by reading history and novels.  Most recently I am halfway through the Ian Toll trilogy on the Pacific War.  It is very well written and tells a great story rather than recounting battles step by step.  I recommend it highly to all.

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Paul Radspinner is a member of the Tech Council and can be reached LinkedIn.

Mark Ehrmann, partner at Quarles & Brady

Describe your specialty practice within Quarles and Brady. What are your “sweet spots” as a business attorney?

As a business attorney, I work as outside counsel to clients in a variety of industries.  I specialize in transactional work, such as mergers and acquisitions and angel and venture capital financings.  I also work in the emerging company space where I work with startups and their founders and investors and research institutions who are spinning out technologies.  What I like about my job, is that I am able to work with creative, intelligent and motivated people and help them grow their businesses and that I have different matters to work on every day.

You’ve practiced throughout the Q&B network of offices, including Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago and beyond. What’s your take on the state of the tech economy in the Upper Midwest?

I believe the tech economy in the Midwest is similar to other parts of the country.  Companies that are well positioned because of their products or industries are getting funded, but it would be nice to see more successful exits.  One positive I have seen from the move to virtual events is that investors from other parts of the country can attend presentations and pitch events easily and they would likely not have attended similar events in person.  What is difficult with virtual events is people miss the personal connection which often closes the deal.

What keeps you busy and fulfilled outside of work?

I am an avid sports fan, specifically college sports and especially Badger sports.  I spend most of my free time watching, reading about or attending sports events.  COVID has been difficult, because I have not been able to attend Wisconsin football or basketball games in person.  I also enjoy traveling with my wife Tammy and two daughters, who both now live in other cities and often schedule trips around Badger sporting events.  I am looking forward to resuming my trips and watching sports in person.

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Mark Ehrmann is a long-standing board member for the Tech Council and can be reached on LinkedIn and via Quarles & Brady.