Contact: Tom Still 608-442-7557

MILWAUKEE – Jim Rygiel, Oscar winner for visual effects on The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King, will speak noon Wednesday, June 2, at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee, conference producers announced.

Rygiel, a Kenosha native and a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alumnus, worked his way to the top of the Hollywood technology charts after getting a strong foundation in digital design and special effects in Wisconsin.

“Digital media and design are technology and entrepreneurial strengths for Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin. From animation to architecture, from envisioning tomorrow’s cities to building today’s information systems, Milwaukee’s digital design cluster is a leader – and Jim Rygiel is a homegrown example of its success,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Along with his 2004 Academy Award for The Lord of the Rings, Rygiel has received awards for commercial work, such as the prestigious CLIO award.  Also to his credit is the digital and visual effects supervision of many feature films, such as Starship Troopers, Air Force One, The Last Action Hero, Cliffhanger, Batman Returns, and Ghost.

“Jim Rygiel’s presence at the conference exemplifies the entrepreneurial talent our state has to offer,” said Kelly Hansen, conference chairwoman and CEO of Neohapsis, a computer security firm with offices in Milwaukee and Chicago.  “His success story, as well as his connection to Wisconsin, will motivate our attendees and ultimately enhance our conference.”

Hansen serves on the Wisconsin Technology Council, which is producing the two-day event in conjunction with the Milwaukee chapter of the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) Foundation, the Wisconsin Business Incubation Association and the Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Consortium.

The second annual Entrepreneurs’ Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, 333 W. Kilbourn, will also feature:

  • Winners of the first Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which will offer $120,000 in cash and in-kind services prizes.
  • Presentation of the first “Seize the Day” award for entrepreneurial activity. Go to www.telaricideas/win to submit a nomination.
  • Seminars by top managers from federal research and development grant programs.
  • Other nationally known keynote speakers with stories to inspire and inform entrepreneurs.
  • More than two-dozen panel discussions or special presentations designed to give entrepreneurs the tools they need to be successful.

Go here to register or to get more information on conference sponsorship opportunities, or call (608) 442-7557