MADISON – The corporate “futurist” for one of the world’s leading technology solutions companies and a Wisconsin-born astronaut who moved on to a career in small business and engineering are the lead speakers at the 2007 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.

The symposium will be held Nov. 14-15 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison.

Speaking during lunch on Wednesday, Nov. 14, will be Jeff Wacker, a director of strategy for EDS in Plano, Texas, and the company’s futurist. Wacker’s “IT3+” presentation on the future of information technology more than three years into the future is requested worldwide for corporations and governments looking to use emerging technologies as a means of identifying, creating and sustaining competitive advantage.

In addition to his roles at EDS, Wacker is a frequent guest on national news programs and serves on the board of directors for the SciTech Discovery Centers, Center for Convergence Technologies, Motorola’s Research Visionary Board and is a Technology Scout for Computerworld magazine.

Speaking during the SBIR Awards Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 15 will be Mark Lee, the director of special projects at Affiliated Engineers, Inc. He has a unique background in program management, research and education gained through his career as an astronaut with NASA and a pilot and engineer with the U.S. Air Force. As an astronaut, Lee circled the globe 517 times during four shuttle missions and spent 33 days in space. He was one of only eight astronauts to walk in space, untethered, with a jet pack.

Virocqua native Lee currently manages several projects for Affiliated Engineers, Inc., including overseeing the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, a multi-disciplinary research complex to be located on the UW-Madison campus. He was the recipient of two SBIR grants while working with early stage companies.

The annual conference also includes a number of networking events, panel discussions and company presentations, such as the Wisconsin Angel Network Investors’ track and the Elevator Pitch Olympics.

To register for the full symposium, the Wacker luncheon speech or the SBIR dinner where Lee will speak, visit