Tong BME Distinguished Entrepreneur Lecturer Series

Sponsored by the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mr. Peter Tong

Invited speakers address the entire BME design class at a special mid-semester event. The lectures are given by successful entrepreneurs and innovators in the biomedical industry and are designed to appeal to students, faculty and staff in biomedical engineering, and biological and medical science. A reception follows the presentation, offering both students and faculty an opportunity to talk with the distinguished guest in an informal setting.

Library of online presentations

  • 2019
  • Brett Rehm

    Brett Rehm

    Vice President of Technical Services
    Epic Systems Corporation

    "Building a Culture of Innovation"

    Brett Rehm (UW BS CMPE '03) has worked for over 15 years at local electronic health record company Epic. Epic's industry-leading software products are used to care for more than 250 million patients at customer sites around the world, including all of the top 10 health systems in the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings. Brett started in 2004 as a Technical Solutions Engineer, a role that works directly with healthcare organizations to configure, customize, and troubleshoot Epic software. Today, as Vice President of Technical Services, Brett leads the 3,000-person technical services division, oversees the support of all of Epic's clients, and works closely with the Epic Research and Development team on enhancements. He invests a lot of his time on working to maintain a strong service-oriented support environment and personally teaches a class on the philosophy of support to every new technical solutions engineer.

  • 2018
  • David Beebe, PhD

    Prof. David Beebe

    Claude Bernard Professor and John D. MacArthur Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Co-Founder and President, Salus Discovery (II) LLC
    Member, Bellbrook Labs LLC (acquired Salus Discovery)
    Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Ratio LLC
    Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Salus Discovery (I) LLC
    Co-founder and Manager, Vitae, LLC

    "Adventures in Commercializing "Biomedical" Micro Scale Technology"

    Prof. David Beebe is a Wisconsin native (UW ECE BS '87, PhD '94, studies in cancer biology '04-'09) and prolific inventor and serial entrepreneur for twenty years paralleling his time on the UW faculty. His commercial efforts have spanned many fields from assisted reproduction to drug delivery to drug screening to sample acquisition to sample preparation to global health to cancer diagnostics. A common thread across the companies is the application of micro scale physics/technology to improve human health. He has a particular interest in global health and continues to develop products to provide low cost/high performance diagnostics in the developing world.

  • Carla Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS

    Dr. Carla Pugh

    Susan Behrens, MD Professor of Surgical Education
    Vice Chair, Education and Patient Safety, Department of Surgery
    Vice Chair, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Department of Surgery
    Clinical Director, MOC Portfolio Program and UW Health Clinical Simulation Program (SEnSE Lab)
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine & Public Health

    "Tech-based Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Academia: An exciting and cautionary tale"

    Surgeon and education pioneer Dr. Carla Pugh wants doctors to fine-tune their haptic skills as a standardized part of their clinical education and daily practice. This means measuring it, developing a language to discuss it, and giving objective feedback for improving it. She achieves this vision in her lab by creating realistic patient models from unexpected materials that range from lentils to badminton birdies. The materials are then combined with sensors and data acquisition software, and teach everything from the breast exam to hernia repair. With this technology Dr. Pugh has founded 10Newtons with goal of "Decoding touch - Perfecting the measure, analysis, and understanding of touch." Dr. Pugh also directs the Clinical Simulation Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, where she is vice chair of education and patient safety. For her innovative work, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. (Excerpts taken from: "TEDMED")

  • 2017
  • Jim Berbee, MD, MS, MBA and Gregory S. Rebella, MD, MS

    Jim BerbeeGregory Rebella

    Assistant Clinical Professors
    Department of Emergency Medicine
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine & Public Health

    "How hard can it be?!?"

    Dr. Berbee started his professional career as a systems engineer at IBM. After leaving IBM, he founded Berbee Information Networks Corporation, which he sold to CDW 13 years later. During this time he founded the Berbee Derby Thanksgiving Day 10k Run & 5k Run/Walk. The annual Dane County event supports the Technology Education Foundation. As a leader, innovator, and entrepreneur he has served on the Board of Directors of the UW-Foundation, the United Way of Dane County, and the Thompson Plumb Trust Company. He currently serves as a trustee for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the Morgridge Institute for Research and WICell. He and his wife support human health and welfare projects through the Berbee-Walsh Foundation.

    Dr. Rebella has advanced training as a pediatric emergency sub-specialist physician, and as an educator he serves as the Director of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Residency Program. In addition, he is currently the Assistant Director of Medical Simulation at UWHC. It may be interesting to note that during his graduate studies at UW Madison, Dr. Rebella trained under Prof. Ed Bersu, now one of our BME Design faculty! Besides his focus on education and simulation training, Dr. Rebella's primary research interests include sports-related trauma and injury prevention.

    Together they have developed patented technologies including the Digital Otoscope for Optimal Access, and Visualization of the tympanic membrane. Their work highlights the importance of a clinical partnership in medical device innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Dave Franchino, MS

    Dave Franchino

    President and Principal
    Design Concepts, Inc.
    Madison, WI

    "Thoughts and reflections on life as an engineer..."

    Mr. Franchino (UW BS ME '85, Stanford MS) has more than 25 years of product development experience as a corporate practitioner, academic and leader of a product development and strategic innovation firm. He was a Project Manager and Lead Engineer on the team that designed the first line of Saturn automobiles for General Motors. He worked at IDEO as a Product Development Engineer. He has also been a small business owner, an entrepreneur and a consultant.

    He coaches and mentors his clients on developing and sustaining innovative cultures and creating world-class design solutions with true business impact. Mr. Franchino is frequent lecturer on the topics of product design and design thinking.

  • 2016
  • Niko Skievaski, MA

    Niko Skievaski

    Redox - Co-Founder
    Vote (Mostly) Online - Co-Founder
    ICD-10 Illustrated - Founder, CEO
    100state - Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board
    Breadcrumbs - Co-Founder, CEO
    Community Partnerships - Board of Directors

    "Small Batches: How to Start"

    After graduating from Boston University in 2010, Niko accepted a job as a pricing analyst at the leading electronic medical record company, Epic. After only a month on the job he automated the role and reduced the team size by 50%. He spent the next three years at Epic leading internal innovation projects and lecturing on healthcare economics to the 7,000+ employees.

    Post-Epic, Niko has been a whirlwind of multitasking entrepreneurialism - helping launch 100state and Redox, selling a niche humor book aimed at the medical-cost coding community, licensing communications software (Breadcrumbs) to businesses, starting an online voter registration/absentee request tool, and teaching economics at Madison College.

  • Ayla Annac, MBA, MS

    Ayla Annac

    Co-founder, President, CEO, COO, and Director of Research
    InvivoSciences, Inc. (IVS)
    Madison, WI

    "Entrepreneurial Journey of a Team to Heal Hearts"

    Ms. Annac is responsible for achieving project milestones, financial deliverables, development of partners, establishing strategic alliances and leading negotiations of partnerships and R&D agreements under the direction of IVS board. She has 22 years of cumulative successful business leadership experience in strategic business development in Fortune 500 companies, and technology based start- ups.

    IVS has an NIH-Fast Track and Phase IIB funding for "Engineered tissue based high-throughput compound profiling and drug development". The company develops and commercializes a patented 3-D human cell, tissue culture models, and its automation technologies for drug discovery, diagnostic, and precision medicine development. Combined with high-throughput phenotypic compound screening system, IVS provides a powerful discovery platform for predicting efficacy patient specific responses to treatments and cardio-safety of pharmaceutical candidates. (Excerpts taken from The Wisconsin State Journal, 5/3/2015)

  • 2015
  • Doug Dietz

    Doug Dietz

    Innovation Architect
    Medical Science & Technology Organization
    GE Healthcare, Waukesha, WI

    "Designing with a Purpose"

    Doug graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor degree in Industrial Design. He then attended University of Illinois receiving his Masters in ID/ Human Factors. Doug joined Texas Instruments as part of their Corporate Innovation Team and worked on advanced concepts in educational products, calculators, business computing, and semiconductors. He holds numerous patents, including several for the first flat-bed scanner, the laptop computer, and the TI/90 calculator.

    In 1989 Doug joined GE and over the last 24 years he has designed products in all of GE Healthcare imaging modalities, compiled 8 Utility Patents and 23 Design Patents, and received an Edison Award for the GE Pediatric Adventure Series and numerous IDSA/ IDEA Product Design Awards.

    Doug also teaches creative Innovation modules (design thinking) as part of GE MENLO and is also an instructor at Stanford University as part of their coaching staff for Executive Design Thinking BootCamps. Doug is currently Lead Innovation Architect for two key design incubators; GEHC Menlo Immersion sessions, and the Pediatric Adventure

  • Dennis Bahr, PhD, PE

    Dennis Bahr

    Vice President of R&D
    HelionX, LLC
    Madison, WI

    "The biomedical entrepreneur"

    Dr. Bahr is biomedical innovator and an entrepreneur who has founded or co-founded several companies. After earning bachelor's ('68) and master's ('72) degrees from UW-Madison in electrical and computer engineering, Bahr took a job as an engineer at Nicolet Instrumentation (now Thermo Fisher Scientific) in Madison. After realizing he liked to invent stuff rather than work an 8 to 5 job, he left Nicolet to pursue inventions in pulse oximetry, advanced blood-pressure monitors, vital signs monitors, an intracranial pressure monitor, and a generator for cardiac ablation. He holds 13 patents, wrote a book chapter, and has published in a wide variety of scientific journals. He has tested products on himself in his laboratory and on patients in operating rooms. "We'd always target the market-not go out and invent something and say, 'Now what do I do with it?'" he says. Recently, Bahr earned his PhD in BME from UW-Madison in 2012 while designing a hot flash monitor, the data analysis algorithms and associated software that help doctors make sense of these mystifying physiologic events. Now, Middleton, Wisconsin-based Simplex Scientific will make and sell them, and Bahr has moved on to the next big thing. This time, it's nuclear engineering, and Bahr is working with several longtime collaborators to perfect a new inexpensive "desktop" deuteron accelerator. As Bahr states "When you get a job initially out of school, don't do it for the money. Do it for the fun-for something you're really interested in," he says. "That's one thing I've learned about life. Life is not money. Life is fun." And Bahr is not about to retire from fun. (Excerpts taken from PERSPECTIVE, 8/27/2012)

  • 2014
  • Law & Entrepreneurship Center (LEC): Anne Smith, JD, & Catherine Witczak
    MadWorks: Eric Englund, JD
    STELA Medical: Katie Baldwin, Alyssa Mitchell, & Terah Hennick - BME Design Team


    "How to Become an Entrepreneur while an Undergraduate in BME"

    This group will discuss an introduction to the resources provided by the LEC and MadWorks, an accelerator for start-up companies, followed by defining IP (intellectual property), what WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund) has to officer, strategies and options for starting a business or commercializing a product. Finally, hear from a BME Design team in this process. The team has placed the Tong BME Design (1st), Burrill (2nd), and Innovative Minds (1st) competitions and has now started STELA Medical, developing a lidocaine applicator designed to interface with state of the art airway visualization technologies while offering increased functionality with older technologies, making it a universal applicator. What will be the path you take and how can you get there!?

  • Jonathan Baran

    Jonathan Baran

    Co-founder & CEO of Healthfinch
    Madison, WI

    "Beyond the Degree: 10 Lessons Learned from Life after Graduation"

    Jonathan Baran is the co-founder & CEO of healthfinch, a Madison based health IT startup. In leading healthfinch since it's inception, Jonathan has successfully brought the companies first product, RefillWizard, to market and has raised over $1.5M to date. Jonathan is a Biomedical Engineer and Health IT designer with a passion for fixing healthcare's inefficiencies through better technology. Jonathan graduated with both his B.S. '08 and M.S. '10 from the University of Wisconsin—Madison's Biomedical Engineering Department. He was undertaking a PhD in Biomedical Engineering before putting the degree on pause to start healthfinch. Jonathan speaks regularly on how to use design thinking to improve health IT.

  • 2013
  • Rimas P. Buinevicius

    Rimas Buinevicius

    CEO & Chairman of the Board of Directors: Rowheels, Inc.
    Managing Partner: Madcelerator, LLC
    Madison, WI

    "Innovation through Collaboration and Getting Outside your Comfort Zone"

    Mr. Buinevicius is a long time technology innovator and entrepreneur. He currently heads two organizations. Rowheels is a company concentrated on improving the biomechanics of manual wheelchair use through a unique reverse propulsion wheel. Madcelerator is an early stage business accelerator focused on rapidly advancing new products and innovations that establish market viability. Buinevicius is the former CEO and Chairman of Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOFO) a Madison, WI-based technology company. For over 25 years, he has been involved with numerous early stage companies. His industry background has included Internet, high technology, medical device manufacturing, defense and aerospace and industrial control markets. During his 14-year tenure as CEO of Sonic Foundry, he led the company and developed products and services that advanced the technology in the multimedia, streaming, webcasting and online learning sectors. Prior to joining Sonic Foundry, he spent the majority of his professional career in the fields of biomedical and industrial control research and development. Mr. Buinevicius earned an M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago; a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Mr. Buinevicius is a recipient of Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award.

  • Laura G King

    Laura King

    President & CEO
    NeuWave Medical
    Madison, WI

    "Re-Invention -- The Twists and Turns"

    Ms. King is President and CEO of NeuWave Medical, a Madison, WI based company that develops and commercializes energy based minimally invasive medical devices. Ms. King possesses significant executive level operating experience, having led multiple GE businesses both in the US and globally. Prior to joining NeuWave Medical, Ms. King was a GE company officer while leading the $1.2 B Global Interventional Cardiology and Surgery business. Prior to this, she ran GE Mammography, where she made the decision to invest in the first digital mammography system, revolutionizing mammography and enabling improved breast cancer detection. Ms. King has core expertise in strategy, finance, operations as well as new product introduction. Ms. King is also co-owner of Vino Veritas, a wine distribution company. Raised in San Francisco, CA, she is a graduate of UC Davis in Economics.

  • 2012
  • Kristin Myers

    Kristin Myers

    Arboretum Ventures
    Ann Arbor, MI

    "Rethinking What Innovation Means in Healthcare and Medicine"

    After earning a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kristin spent nearly 7 years working in the medical device industry, specifically focused in cardiology. She spent 5 years working in Medtronic's Cardiac Rhythm Management. Before that Kristin worked for Guidant's Drug Eluting Stent division, Guidant's Cardiac Rhythm Management division, and for Abiomed's Total Artificial Heart program, and during this period she authored several patents.

    She left industry to earn an MBA from Harvard University, and then joined Skyline Ventures in Palo Alto, CA where she sourced and led new investment opportunities and supported portfolio companies. She became a Partner, served on the Board of Directors at Medivance, supported multiple new investments including SI Bone.

    Kristin joined Arboretum Ventures in 2012, where she is responsible for sourcing and leading new investment opportunities as well as supporting existing portfolio companies. In 2012 she was also named to the Crain Business Top 40 Under 40 list.

  • Thomas "Rock" Mackie

    Rock Mackie

    Board of Directors Shine Medical Technologies and
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Madison, WI

    "Spinning Out Spin Off's"

    Prof. Mackie is a Emeritus Professor, Medical Physics and Human Oncology; Director, Medical Devices Focus Area in the Morgridge Institute for Research. His career has been focused on planning and delivery of radiation therapy to cancer patients. His group developed the 3-D treatment planning system that became the Philips Pinnacle treatment planning system, the most widely used radiation therapy treatment planning system in the world. He has cofounded several companies in Madison. One of these, Tomotherapy (which is the marriage of a linac and a CT scanner), is very well known and was acquired last year by Accuray. His latest endeavor is serving on the board of directors for SHINE

  • 2011
  • Matthew Ogle

    Matthew Ogle

    President and CEO
    Vatrix Medical
    Eden Prairie, MN

    "Evolution of Medical Technology: an Entrepreneur's Perspective"

    Matthew F. Ogle, CEO - Matt is the founder of Vatrix Medical and has served as president and chief executive officer since 2009. He has more than 18 years of experience developing and commercializing innovative medical devices. He was recognized for his patent contribution to the economy of the State of Minnesota in 1998 after working in R&D at St. Jude Medical for just 4 years. Prior to Vatrix Medical, Matt founded and served as Chairman, CEO and/or President of MedCity Medical Innovations, Lumen Biomedical, and TriVent Partners. Matt has several publications and over 50 patents for medical applications in the areas of embolic protection, drug delivery, medical adhesives, and coatings. He received his M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Minnesota and has served as Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2007, he developed a Technology Development Entrepreneurship course in the College of Engineering, UW-Madison and offered it that year and in subsequent years. In 2009, he was invited to become a member of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation's (WARF) Catalyst Program, evaluating technologies for spin-out

  • Scott Wiener

    Scott Wiener

    Chairman of the Board of Directors
    Capital Brewery
    Madison, WI

    "It All Started With My Gilbert Chem Lab"

    Mr. Scott A. Wiener received his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UW-Madison. He has started numerous companies including SAW Consulting LLC and Osteometrix. He is currently the IP Manager at Cameco Instruments, Inc., and chairman of the Capital Brewery Board of Directors.

  • 2010
  • Mark Gehring

    Mark Gehring

    Sharendipity and Reciprocal Labs (now Propeller Health)
    Madison, WI

    "Biomedical Entrepreneuring"

    Mr. Gehring shared his experiences in developing several 'disruptive technologies' companies. After graduating with a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University in 1986 he has co-founded Geometrics Corp in 1992 to commercialize 3D radiation treatment planning software; UltraVisual Medical Systems to develop enterprise imaging systems for large hospitals in 2000; and more recently Sharendipity, a web-based software development environment targeted at non-programmers, and Reciprocal Labs, a startup dedicated to improving asthma control. Successful commercialization, he concluded, is a combination of passion, hard work, solid & committed partners, and of course timing.

  • Lee Pryor

    Lee Pryor

    Portico™ Learning Solutions
    Baton Rouge, LA

    "The Savvy Entrepreneur, an Insider's Secrets to Managing for Success"

    Lee Pryor, currently CEO of Portico Learning Solutions, has many years of experience as a founder and chief executive for startup and late stage entrepreneurial companies. He is the author of The Savvy Entrepreneur, an Insider's Secrets to Managing for Success. He has been an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business, business executive coach for emerging enterprises, and speaker on the topic of entrepreneurship at venture capital confererences, association meetings and business schools. He presented a synopsis of his basic rules for entrepreneurship, drawn from lessons learned on the way to becoming successful and teaching others how to do the same.

  • 2009
  • Dean Re

    Dean Re

    MECA & Technology Machine, Inc.
    Green Bay, WI

    "Capitalizing on the Entrepreneurial Spirit Within Each of Us"

    Mr. Re gave an engaging presentation on why he made the decision to leave a very well compensated position within a strong, stable company to venture out and purchase a small business. He shared his experience and honest insights regarding the numerous challenges and rewards of growing his own business - from 'Having a Passion,' through development of a new product, marketing and positioning it, raising capital, and ultimately being financially successful.

  • Randall C. Iliff

    Randall C. Iliff

    Director of Strategic Innovation
    Bjorksten | bit 7
    Madison, WI

    "Unlimited Potential - The Essential Role of Mind in Design"

    Randall Iliff built his career specializing in the design and management of complex multi-disciplinary systems, and has been Proposal Manager, Project Manager, or Senior Systems Engineer on over thirty major ($10 Million-$2.5 Billion) projects. In 1991 he helped found the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), from 2002-2004 worked with UW as a member of the ICECUBE project, and today supports a diverse client mix ranging from simple start-ups to multi-national corporations. Through this experience he has observed that purposeful application of intellect ultimately determines the success or failure of any endeavor, and will discuss why no engineering skill is more valuable than learning to respect and direct the human mind.

  • 2008
  • Margaret "Peggy" Lescrenier

    Peggy Lescrenier

    Gammex, Inc.
    Middleton, WI

    "Turning Ideas into Products - A Small Business Perspective"

    In 1969 Peggy Lescrenier and her husband Charles founded Gammex, a Middleton-based developer of diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology equipment that has twice won the Wisconsin Export Achievement award. Usually working behind the scenes, making sure operations went smoothly, Peggy has been honored with the Wisconsin Entrepreneur of the Year award. On the basis of her familiarity with the medical physics community and its work environment, she shared observations about how much timing, luck, preparation and opportunity play in making an idea a winner (or loser).

  • Robert Lowery, PhD

    Robert Lowery

    President, CEO, and Founder
    BellBrook Labs
    Madison, WI

    "The Twisted Path to Commercialization."

    Prior to starting BellBrook Labs in May of 2002, Lowery served for ten years as Vice President of R&D at PanVera Corporation and previously served as Director of Manufacturing at Promega Corporation, both in Madison, Wisconsin. He discussed the challenges of fostering innovations from introduction to mass adoption in the pharmaceutical industry, using integrated high-throughput screening (HTS) assay kits and the iUVO microfluidic conduit array platform as examples.

  • 2007
  • Dr. Barbara Israel

    Barbara Israel

    Echometrix, LLC
    Madison, WI

    "The Role of Opportunity in Technological Innovation."

    Dr. Israel is an adjunct professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, UW-Madison; founder, board member and former CEO of Platypus Technologies, which develops innovative products for the life and analytical sciences, and currently co-founder and CEO of Echometrix LLC, which develops ultrasound analysis systems for quantitative evaluation of soft tissue injuries. Dr. Israel shared her experience, observations and key insights on the challenges and opportunities in integrating science and business.

  • Paul Reckwerdt

    Paul Reckwerdt

    President and Co-founder
    Madison, WI

    "Painting with Protons: An Insider's Perspective on the Science and Cents of the TomoTherapy HiArt System."

    Entrepreneur Paul J. Reckwerdt gave the inaugural lecture. A former UW-Madison researcher, Reckwerdt co-founded (with Medical Physics, Human Oncology, Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Physics Professor Thomas Rockwell Mackie) in 1997 the radiation-therapy company TomoTherapy. Its Hi-Art System integrates CT imaging and helical intensity-modulated radiation therapy to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of radiation treatment for a full range of cancer tumors.

The Tong Biomedical Engineering Design Awards are made possible by a generous gift from the Tong Family Foundation (UW-Madison alumni Peter and Janet Tong).