Jack Pawlik
  1. What’s your name, where are you from and what did you major in at UW-Madison?

My name is Jack Pawlik, and I am originally from Minneapolis, but moved onto campus in Madison right after my high-school graduation. I was a business major at UW, although school has always been the back-up plan as I’ve been involved in entrepreneurship from the moment I stepped on campus. I had randomly stumbled across a start up created by a few students from USC in California. It was called EnvoyNow and was similar to what UberEats is today. My roommate Max and I saw…


Hillary Higbee, Chief of Staff for Bright Cellars

What is Bright Cellars, and how did you get where you are today?

Bright Cellars is the data-driven wine subscription service that matches members to wine they’ll love. You start by taking a 7-question quiz and our algorithm takes those answers and curates your first experience.

Our co-founders are 2 MIT grads who identified the fact that many people are willing to spend a premium on craft beer and cocktails, but don’t usually know the first thing about wine. It’s so intimidating. So, they set out to change that. …


Laura Kaiser, Conference Planner of WTC

What is your name and profession?

My name is Laura Kaiser, and I started my career as a reformed banker, but left the banking world and am now a conference planner and social media director for the Wisconsin Tech Council.

How did you get to where you are today?

I worked in banking for a very, very, very long time, and eventually became a bank manager, but after many years I got burned out. There were skills that I learned from banking that I wanted to apply to my life in a different way, so I pivoted my career in…


Do you think the next big idea is just outside your doorstep? Innovation in the Midwest is more widespread than you think. Transcend UW is a unique student organization; our purpose is to foster innovation and entrepreneurial collaboration among students. We host the largest all-student run innovation competition in the nation, and it’s designed to inspire students here at UW-Madison to make their life-changing ideas a reality.

In a time when the world changes every day, innovation is crucial to positive progress. But oftentimes thinkers need access to the resources they require to become doers. Transcend serves as the bridge…


Leah Haman

What is your profession?

I’m an Intellectual Property (IP) manager at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, better known as WARF. WARF is UW-Madison’s dedicated technology transfer office and moves innovations from campus into the marketplace in order to generate revenue that supports campus. WARF also manages investments and supports various initiatives such as WARF Therapeutics. I work directly with UW Madison innovators in a variety of fields such as computer science and engineering to evaluate their intellectual property needs.

What got you started in what you do now?

I received an industrial engineering degree from UW-Madison. During my time at…


Jeffrey M. Glazer, Clinical Associate Professor for the UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic (i.e., Lawyer)
  1. How I got started: Prior to teaching at the L&E Clinic I had a number of careers: I was a software developer for multiple Fortune 500 companies; I was a trademark and copyright lawyer for a small intellectual property boutique law firm in Chicago; I was a litigator and intellectual property attorney for a law firm in Rockford; I moved to Madison and started my own law firm; I started a blog called Madison Beer Review; I started, ran, and sold a company called Madison Craft Beer Week; I’ve been working with the L&E Clinic since 2011; I also have…

Three months shy of graduation, many students are still struggling to land an entry-level job.

But Zach LaVallee is getting ready to run the company he started as an undergraduate.

LaVallee, about to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in mechanical engineering, co-founded Emonix along with Neil Klingensmith in 2014.

Using sensors to moderate salt applied by water softeners, Emonix’s technology cuts the amount of salt dispensed by nearly a quarter. Reducing reliance on salt not only cuts costs, but curbs the adverse effect of salt on the environment. The first iteration of Emonix’s technology saved Chadbourne…


Emonix develops a smart water softener, saving University of Wisconsin facilities thousands of dollars.

Zach LaValee (left) and Neil Klingensmith, cofounder of Emonix

One PhD engineering student was working on a project in Chadbourne Residence Hall when a maintenance man approached him, asking him if he could take a look at the building’s water softener. The student evaluated the system and setup some crude sensing equipment to moderate its salt consumption.

The application ultimately improved the efficiency of the water softener by nearly 50 percent, saving the residence hall over $8,000 in the first year alone.

Neil Klingensmith, a PhD student of computer engineering and Zach LaVallee a senior studying mechanical engineering, met through their advisor, Suman Banerjee, a professor of Computer Science.

Transcend UW

UW-Madison's collaborative project hub for engineers and entrepreneurs. All you need is an idea. transcenduw@gmail.com

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