MADISON – Entrepreneur and investor Toni Sikes has been elected chairwoman of the Wisconsin Technology Council, a post she will assume at the Tech Council’s October board of directors meeting at Plexus in Neenah. 


Sikes is co-founder of The Art Commission and a general partner in Calumet Venture Fund, both based in Wisconsin. She previously founded two e-commerce companies tied to the arts industry, and was an investment banker with Gruppo, Levey & Co. in New York. Sikes has served as the Tech Council’s board secretary and chairwoman of its Investment Capital Committee. 


She will succeed current chairman Mark Bugher, who is retiring as director of University Research Park in Madison, effective Nov. 1. Sikes is only the third chair in the Tech Council’s 12-year history, including Bugher and former chairman Tod Linstroth of Michael, Best & Friedrich. 


Read this story at here and in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.


In addition to Sikes, the Tech Council’s board elected the following officers to one-year terms beginning July 1, 2013:  

  • Vice president Trevor D’Souza of Keane-D’Souza Venture Capital, Brookfield.
  • Secretary Marsha Barwick of Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences, Marshfield.
  • Treasurer Deron Curliss of BDO USA, Madison

The Tech Council is an independent, non-profit organization that serves as the science and technology advisor to the Governor and Legislature. It is a catalyst for the creation of tech-based based business in Wisconsin.


“I am honored to succeed Mark Bugher as chair. I look forward to continuing the Tech Council’s tradition of helping policymakers, entrepreneurs, investors and others propel Wisconsin’s high-growth economy,” Sikes said. 


“Toni Sikes’ experience as an entrepreneur and investor, as well as her previous service to the board, will make her an excellent chairwoman for the Tech Council,” Bugher said. 


New members of the Tech Council board since January 2013 are:

  • Bijan Dorri, GE Healthcare, Waukesha 
  • Jonathan Fritz, attorney and entrepreneur, DeForest 
  • Rich Johnson, HP Enterprise Services, Madison 
  • Greg Lynch, Michael Best & Friedrich, Madison 
  • Mark Tyler, OEM Fabricators, Woodville 
  • David Vedder, CG Bretting Manufacturing, Ashland

They join a statewide council that includes more than 45 representatives from tech companies, early stage investment groups, education, research institutions, state government and professional services. 


Formally organized in 2001, the Tech Council’s major publications include “Vision 2020: A Model Wisconsin Economy,” “The Wisconsin Portfolio” and other periodic white papers. Its programs include the Wisconsin Innovation Network, the Wisconsin Angel Network, the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest and the Wisconsin YES!