Patrick Quirk, a UW-Madison graduate and software expert whose companies have been involved in more than $10 billion in exits over time, will kick off the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference June 7 in Madison.

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Quirk, PatrickQuirk is a proven software executive with more than 30 years of experience in enterprise software, research and development, marketing and sales, and global operations. Leading off the conference at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, June 7, Quirk will share his experiences with conference attendees as he looks back at “36 years and 10 companies: The good, the bad and the ugly.” The session is sponsored by World Wide Technology Inc.

He currently serves as president and CEO of ORCA Equities LLC, an angel investment firm focusing on software and real estate. He is a board member of Pramata Corp. and the Financial Fitness Group.

“Years ago, I realized how hard it was in the Midwest to get funding from strategic investors, to build a global business and to build the right executive team,” Quirk says. “We’re trying to take that knowledge from the Bay area back to Wisconsin today.”

Quirk earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from UW-Madison in 1979. While there, he was an active member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and an avid Badger football fan.

After graduation, he spent four years at Texas Instruments and six years at Control Data Corp., before joining Oracle as a Worldwide Group manager in 1989.

Quirk continued to grow as a leader and visionary in the enterprise software industry over the next 15 years. In 2002, he joined PeopleSoft’s Enterprise Supply Chain Management division as general manager and group vice president. He is known for leading the $1.7 billion acquisition of JD Edwards by PeopleSoft – the largest software acquisition in enterprise resource planning history at the time.

After leaving Peoplesoft, Quirk became senior vice president for worldwide sales at GoldenGate Software and led the company to record growth that resulted in its acquisition by Oracle in 2009. He then served as president and CEO of Emptoris Inc, where he managed its acquisition by IBM in 2012. Quirk then become president and CEO of Achievers, the leader in employee recognition and rewards software, and subsequently president and CEO of Vendavo.

“Pat Quirk is a prime example of the fact that Wisconsin produces graduates who can do anything, including running some of the largest and most successful companies in the world,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council. “Now, through Orca Equities and other avenues, he’s giving back to the state and helping to answer the question: Why Wisconsin?”

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference is one of the largest events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper Midwest. More than 500 people are expected to attend the two-day conference, to be held June 7-8 at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, just off Madison’s South Beltline Highway. Other highlights will include:

  • Erik Iverson, the new managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
  • Representatives from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • The 2016 Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award recipient
  • Diligent Dozen: Top 13 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest square off
  • Panel discussionsand seminars for emerging companies on how to “Launch, Grow and Succeed”
  • Innovation Showcase featuring more than 45 companies from around the state
  • Plenty of chances to connect with seasoned entrepreneurs and investors over food and refreshments

Sponsors so far include: Aberdean Consulting; Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium; Alliant Energy; Altapure; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; Ascendancy Advisors; AT&T; Baird Capital; Baker Tilly; BDO; BloodCenter of Wisconsin; BMO Harris Bank; Capitol Bank; Carroll University; Center for Technology Commercialization; City of Fitchburg; Dedicated Computing; DeWitt Ross & Stevens; Findorff; First Business Bank; Godfrey & Kahn; Google; HealthX Ventures; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Madison College; Madison Gas & Electric; Makin’ HEY! Communications; Marquette University; Michael Best & Friedrich; Midwest Prototyping; Murphy Desmond; Neider & Boucher; Quarles & Brady; RDC National; Red Arrow Production; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Rockwell Automation; Uber; University Research Park; UW-Madison Discovery to Product (D2P); UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; UW-Madison Office of University Relations; UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation; Venture Investors; WERCBench Labs; Whitewater University Technology Park; Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek; WIPFLI; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Wisconsin Technical College System; World Wide Technology; and WTN Media.

For more information, visit or call 608-442-7557.