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StartingBlock Board of Directors

Terry Sivesind, Board President & Treasurer. Terry is an established entrepreneurial leader, whose background includes early stage involvement at Promega, PanVera, Mirus, Takara Bio USA, Metabiologics, Renovar, Poseidon Probes, and Cellectar. In addition to being a StartingBlock Founding Member, Terry also co-founded Wisconsin’s first angel network, Wisconsin Investment Partners along with MERLIN Mentors and MadWorks seed business accelerator.

Anne Smith, Secretary.  Anne is a co-founder and Director of the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She previously served as the General Counsel for Winterthur U.S. Holdings Inc. and Promega Corporation. She also runs a small family business and has serves on a variety of nonprofit boards of directors. (LI)

Pam Christenson, Director.  Pam is the Economic Development Director at Madison Gas and Electric (MGE). Prior to joining MGE, she was the Director of the Bureau of Entrepreneurship and Technology at the Department of Commerce, and the Director of Public Affairs for the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. Pam is also a co-owner of a family-owned restaurant on Madison’s Lake Waubesa. (LI)

Peter Gunder, Director.  Peter Gunder is Chief Business Development Officer for American Family Insurance and is the executive responsible for AmFam Ventures, American Family’s venture capital fund. Prior to joining American Family in 2008 was co-founder, chief investment officer and managing director of Cardinal Investment Advisors in Chicago. He began his career at Procter & Gamble and Atlantic Richfield (now BP, plc). Peter earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, later receiving an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Peter is a chartered financial analyst (CFA). (LI)

Israel Lopez, Director. Israel is owner of Madison Noteworthy, which produces video blog on business and startup issues, and is founder of The Chin Ups Foundation, an IT non-profit organization whose software matches collegiate student-athletes with youth. A corporate attorney at Neider & Boucher, by day, Israel represents closely held businesses and individuals and specializing in Business and Cyber Law, Early Stage Growing Businesses, Business Entity Planning and Formation, and Ownership Succession Planning. (LI)

Mark Richardson, Director.  Mark is CEO and founder of GigBlender, a software tool that allows employers to incorporate their diversity values when finding and attracting talent. Mark is also President of Unfinished Business, which helps professionals prepare for, navigate, and accelerate career transition. Before stepping into entrepreneurship, Mark served as Vice President of Workforce Development at the Urban League, Division Administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Commerce’s Housing and Community Development program, and Deputy Secretary for Wisconsin Department of Tourism. (LI)

Laura Strong, Director.  Laura is the CEO and Founder of Propogate Health, a problem-oriented innovation network built around a core of advisors & entrepreneurs from healthcare, life sciences, & technology. She previously started and led a cancer drug development company that advanced a drug into a Phase I clinical trial in patients. Laura is also an Adjunct Professor at the UW-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health. She has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (LI)

New Director Bios

Kelly Ehlers is Founder/President of Ideas That Evoke.  As a pioneer in the social marketing space, Kelly’s entrepreneurial vision disrupted the industry in 2009 when she founded Ideas That Evoke to offer innovative brand solutions at the speed of the marketplace. Since then, her Madison, WI-based agency has earned national recognition including rankings on both the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 lists—naming Evoke the #23 Fastest-Growing Marketing Agency in the Country and the #4 Fastest-Growing Private Company in WI in 2016—and multiple listings among Entrepreneur Magazine’s 360 Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America. Kelly shares her expertise as a contributor to Forbes and Inc., among other publications, and as a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. (LI)

Kathleen Gallagher is Executive Director of the Milwaukee Institute, a not-for-profit that helps forward-thinking Midwesterners learn, connect, and unlock the potential of advanced technologies and high-growth businesses to help our region thrive.  She is also a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who covered technology, entrepreneurship and investments for over two decades for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (LI)

Max Lynch is the co-founder and CEO of Ionic, Madison-based creator of mobile app development technology used by millions of developers around the world. Max graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Computer Science, was listed as Forbes’ 30 Under 30, and is a fan of football (soccer), film photography, and trying to learn math. (LI)

Scott Resnik is the Chief Operating Officer of Hardin Design & Development, a nationally recognized web application and product development firm. For the last 10 years, Scott has provided technical services to companies like Mercedes Benz, Coleman Campers, and Sony Interactive. Scott was a two-term member of the Madison City Council, and served on the Plan Commission and Economic Development Committee.  Scott is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  (LI)

Keith Witek is Associate General Counsel and Director of Business Development for Tesla.  Prior to joining Tesla Keith worked at Advanced Micro Devices where he managed corporate strategy, new business ventures, corporate strategic alliances, business development, M&A and asset deals, corporate R&D, IP strategy and AMD Ventures’ strategic investments.  He has also worked at the Technology Transactions Group of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, Motorola, and Gould Electronics.  Keith is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a double major in Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  He also has a law degree from the University of Texas. (LI)

Troy Vosseller is the Co-Founder of gener8tor (www.gener8tor.com) – a nationally ranked, concierge startup accelerator. Prior to launching gener8tor, Troy served as a Clinical Assistant Professor/Supervising Attorney at the UW Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic and founded the T-shirt company Sconnie Naton (www.sconnie.com). Troy earned a BA, MBA, and JD, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (LI)

Forrest Woolworth has been a champion of all things entrepreneurial in Madison and a leader in our startup community. He is COO of PerBlue, a mobile gaming startup company started from a college apartment that now employs 40 people and entertains millions around the world. Forrest is also the Co-Founder of Capital Entrepreneurs, is on the organizing committee for the Forward Festival, and is a founding member of the Wisconsin Games Alliance. Forrest is a 2009 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. (LI)

Staff Leadership

Chandra Miller Fienen, Director of Operations and Programs.   Part of the StartingBlock Planning Team since 2013, Chandra handles StartingBlock leadership, management and operations. Prior to joining StartingBlock, she was VP and a co-founder of a Boston-based biotechnology startup (now Bioarray Genetics, Inc.); Senior Advisor to the Governor; in executive leadership at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce; and an associate at a San Francisco litigation firm (now Arnold & Porter). She holds a J.D. from UC-Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and a B.A. from Macalester College. (LI)

Lucas Frisbie, Startup Team Strategist. Lucas has over a decade of experience recruiting in Chicago where he assisted Fortune 500 companies and advertising agencies build their creative and technology teams. His focus areas include UI/UX Design, Development (Front/Back End and .NET), Project Management (both Digital and Technology driven) and Content Creation. He’s also a certified intermediate sommelier, talented amateur photographer, and the proud owner of a very friendly rescued pitbull named El. (LI)

Scott Resnick, Entrepreneur-In-Residence.  (bio above)

George Austin, Building Project Facilitator.  George is president and founder of AVA Civic Enterprises, which provides planning, project development and project delivery services to private and public sponsors and owners of complex development projects. In addition to StartingBlock and the Spark project, George has shepherded many of Madison’s most ambitious projects, including Judge Doyle Square; Overture Center for the Arts; Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and Morgridge Institute for Research at UW–Madison; Block 100 Foundation development on the 100 block of State Street and the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. (LI)