UW-Madison honors leading entrepreneurs with achievement awards

May 2, 2014

by David Tenenbaum

Two entrepreneurial leaders and UW-Madison alumni have been named recipients of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Entrepreneurial Achievement Award — an honor that recognizes talented and creative UW graduates and faculty members who have built successful companies that create jobs and contribute to economic growth.

The recipients are:

Photo: Elisa All

Elisa All

Elisa All of Evanston, Illinois, founder and president of 30Second Mobile, which produces content for mobile devices. The company's creation, 30Second Mom, was selected as one of the five hottest startups in Chicago by The Digital Collective. A 1990 UW communication arts graduate, All previously founded iParenting Media, a multimedia publishing company serving women and parents.

Photo: Mike Shannon

Mike Shannon

Michael (Mike) Shannon of Denver, Colorado, founder and managing director of KSL Capital Partners, a $3.6 billion private equity firm that invests in the hospitality, real estate and leisure industries. Shannon, who earned his UW bachelor's degree in business administration in 1980, is also a cofounder of the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation and is on the board of directors of the University of Wisconsin Foundation. He and his wife, Mary Sue Goodspeed Shannon, have made significant contributions to the rebuilding of Memorial Union and the establishment of Alumni Park next to the union.

The awards were presented at a dinner in Dejope Hall on the UW-Madison campus last night.

"In their records of achievement, both Elisa and Mike have demonstrated the ability to get things done," Chancellor Rebecca Blank says. "Elisa is on the cutting edge of digital technology; she's identified a niche and turned it into a success in the face of significant competition. Mike has an extraordinary ability to take the seed of an idea or opportunity and see it through to remarkable success. He exemplifies the value in bringing the right people together around a shared vision."

Past winners of the award include: Judy Faulkner, who founded Epic Systems in 1979; James Weinert, who endowed the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and created Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship; Jon Hammes, chairman and chief executive officer of Hammes Company, whose company has been involved in the development of sports facilities such as UW-Madison's Kohl Center; and Sheldon Lubar, founder and chairman of Lubar & Co., a Milwaukee-based private investment firm active in corporate acquisitions and venture capital investment.