John Byrnes, Chairman   John is a lawyer and private equity investor who, during his 40-year professional career in the financial service industry, earned a highly respected reputation in commercial banking, corporate finance and venture capital.  John began his legal career in 1971 doing debt restructuring, corporate re-organizations, and debtor-in-possession financing in bankruptcy and pre-bankruptcy situations. He joined the Marshall & Ilsley Bank in 1977, where he did merger and acquisition financing and multi-bank credit agreements. In 1982 he organized the private equity arm of the M&I Corporation, where for 15 years he successfully invested $200 million of bank capital in more than 30 venture capital and private equity investments. In response to the pressures of banking regulations at the time, John managed the spinout in 1998 of M&I's private equity team into Mason Wells, a newly-formed, equity investment firm that since inception has successfully raised and deployed more than $1 billion in three independent buyout funds. All three funds have had top- tier performance.  Shortly after his retirement in December of 2015, Mason Wells raised $615 million for Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, making it the largest independent private equity investment firm in Wisconsin. While he is no longer involved in making new investments, John serves as Chairman of the Mason Wells board, the firm’s investment committees, and the Boards of some Mason Wells portfolio companies.  Since 2000 John has been actively involved in efforts to encourage new business formation in the Midwest region and to enhance the regional ecosystem for scaling up technology-rich businesses. He was a founding member of the Wisconsin Technology Council and author of the Council’s Vision 2020, a comprehensive strategy for economic growth in Wisconsin. From 2002-2006, he was a member of the Wisconsin Governor’s Economic Growth Council, where he proposed and sponsored legislation to permit angel investors to write-off part of their venture capital commitments at the time of the investment. This tax credit legislation is now heralded for dramatically increasing the availability of early-stage venture capital in the Wisconsin and has been copied in many other states.  In 2007, John founded and funded the Milwaukee Institute to provide high-performance computing and super-fast network resources in support of public-private collaboration in the modeling and simulation of complex systems. This work was supported by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.  Coincident with the formation of the Milwaukee Institute, John served on the Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he helped to finance genomic research and clinical translational research that frequently used HPC resources of the Milwaukee Institute. In his capacity as Chairman of the Milwaukee Institute he was instrumental in the construction of the Potawatomi, Class 1 Data Center in Milwaukee and the decision to link it to the State of Wisconsin’s Class 1 facility in Madison with a 100Gig dual redundant fiber optic network, the first of its kind in the state. John and the Institute are currently working to extend the 100Gig network into a state-wide loop to enable future growth of high-tech industry in Wisconsin.  John is a frequent public speaker and he continues to donate time and money to many civic and business organizations that encourage a more robust technological and entrepreneurial landscape in Milwaukee, the State of Wisconsin, and the broader Midwest region.  John received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and his undergraduate science degree from the University of Notre Dame.

John Byrnes, Chairman

John is a lawyer and private equity investor who, during his 40-year professional career in the financial service industry, earned a highly respected reputation in commercial banking, corporate finance and venture capital.

John began his legal career in 1971 doing debt restructuring, corporate re-organizations, and debtor-in-possession financing in bankruptcy and pre-bankruptcy situations. He joined the Marshall & Ilsley Bank in 1977, where he did merger and acquisition financing and multi-bank credit agreements. In 1982 he organized the private equity arm of the M&I Corporation, where for 15 years he successfully invested $200 million of bank capital in more than 30 venture capital and private equity investments. In response to the pressures of banking regulations at the time, John managed the spinout in 1998 of M&I's private equity team into Mason Wells, a newly-formed, equity investment firm that since inception has successfully raised and deployed more than $1 billion in three independent buyout funds. All three funds have had top- tier performance.

Shortly after his retirement in December of 2015, Mason Wells raised $615 million for Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, making it the largest independent private equity investment firm in Wisconsin. While he is no longer involved in making new investments, John serves as Chairman of the Mason Wells board, the firm’s investment committees, and the Boards of some Mason Wells portfolio companies.

Since 2000 John has been actively involved in efforts to encourage new business formation in the Midwest region and to enhance the regional ecosystem for scaling up technology-rich businesses. He was a founding member of the Wisconsin Technology Council and author of the Council’s Vision 2020, a comprehensive strategy for economic growth in Wisconsin. From 2002-2006, he was a member of the Wisconsin Governor’s Economic Growth Council, where he proposed and sponsored legislation to permit angel investors to write-off part of their venture capital commitments at the time of the investment. This tax credit legislation is now heralded for dramatically increasing the availability of early-stage venture capital in the Wisconsin and has been copied in many other states.

In 2007, John founded and funded the Milwaukee Institute to provide high-performance computing and super-fast network resources in support of public-private collaboration in the modeling and simulation of complex systems. This work was supported by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Coincident with the formation of the Milwaukee Institute, John served on the Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he helped to finance genomic research and clinical translational research that frequently used HPC resources of the Milwaukee Institute. In his capacity as Chairman of the Milwaukee Institute he was instrumental in the construction of the Potawatomi, Class 1 Data Center in Milwaukee and the decision to link it to the State of Wisconsin’s Class 1 facility in Madison with a 100Gig dual redundant fiber optic network, the first of its kind in the state. John and the Institute are currently working to extend the 100Gig network into a state-wide loop to enable future growth of high-tech industry in Wisconsin.

John is a frequent public speaker and he continues to donate time and money to many civic and business organizations that encourage a more robust technological and entrepreneurial landscape in Milwaukee, the State of Wisconsin, and the broader Midwest region.

John received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and his undergraduate science degree from the University of Notre Dame.

  Kathleen Gallagher, Executive Director   Kathleen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and published book author with expertise in business and science communications and extensive connections in technology-related industries.  On her popular How Did You Do That? radio show, Kathleen and co-host Tim Keane talk with noteworthy entrepreneurs about how - and why - they succeeded. The show airs on WUWM in Milwaukee and is available on the  National Public Radio podcast platform  and on iTunes.  Kathleen also writes  a column  for BizTimes.com.  During more than 20 years as a business reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kathleen won a number of prestigious awards, but none more notable than the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. She was awarded journalism’s top honor for co-authoring a series of articles about how doctors at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for the first time in history sequenced all the genes of a patient for diagnosis. The result of this pioneering effort: A young boy with a mysterious disease received a diagnosis and a life-saving treatment. Kathleen and co-author Mark Johnson wrote a book based on that series called "One in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine."  At the Journal Sentinel, Kathleen also wrote a weekly Investment Trends column, did extensive investigative reporting into large, multi-state businesses, traveled to places like the Gulf of Mexico with one of the country’s best energy industry analysts, uncovered important information needed for scientific and technical stories, and delved into cutting-edge science at, for example, a startup that sold stem cell-derived heart cells to large pharmaceutical companies.  Prior to joining the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kathleen was a Communications Coordinator at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and a Writing Instructor at the American Institute of Banking.  Kathleen has an MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kathleen Gallagher, Executive Director

Kathleen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and published book author with expertise in business and science communications and extensive connections in technology-related industries.

On her popular How Did You Do That? radio show, Kathleen and co-host Tim Keane talk with noteworthy entrepreneurs about how - and why - they succeeded. The show airs on WUWM in Milwaukee and is available on the National Public Radio podcast platform and on iTunes.

Kathleen also writes a column for BizTimes.com.

During more than 20 years as a business reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kathleen won a number of prestigious awards, but none more notable than the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. She was awarded journalism’s top honor for co-authoring a series of articles about how doctors at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for the first time in history sequenced all the genes of a patient for diagnosis. The result of this pioneering effort: A young boy with a mysterious disease received a diagnosis and a life-saving treatment. Kathleen and co-author Mark Johnson wrote a book based on that series called "One in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine."

At the Journal Sentinel, Kathleen also wrote a weekly Investment Trends column, did extensive investigative reporting into large, multi-state businesses, traveled to places like the Gulf of Mexico with one of the country’s best energy industry analysts, uncovered important information needed for scientific and technical stories, and delved into cutting-edge science at, for example, a startup that sold stem cell-derived heart cells to large pharmaceutical companies.

Prior to joining the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kathleen was a Communications Coordinator at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and a Writing Instructor at the American Institute of Banking.

Kathleen has an MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  Greg Meier, Entrepreneur in Residence   Greg is a pioneer in 21st Century Innovation. He has worked with over 300 startup and early-stage companies as a founder, advisor, mentor, and teacher and is a Presidential Champion of Change for his work in entrepreneurship.  Greg co-founded the Global Entrepreneurship Collective (an early member of the Global Accelerator Network), which operated two accelerators: Revolution Labs and Victory Spark; the first seed accelerator in Wisconsin, 94 Labs; Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer, Inc; Alithias, Inc; Neuro Amp, LLC; Crowds, Inc; he is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Greg formerly served as Executive Vice-President of Physiogenix, Inc., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lansare Corporation - an on-demand reporting and analytics solution for annuity, life insurance and bank owned life insurance and as the Chairman of the Board of Green Leaf Market. He has also served as Chief Operations Officer for Broadlook Technologies, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies, home of the NASA sponsored Classroom of the Future.  Greg’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Administration. Greg's projects have been featured in Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the Journal Sentinel, TechCrunch, and the White House Blog. Greg was also quoted in the book, "The Coolest Startups in America," (Bloch, Doreen).  Greg has been invited to the White House on numerous occasions and to the United Kingdom by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; he has been recognized by the U.K. Government in a report on entrepreneurship for his work to help the poor through entrepreneurship. Greg is also featured as the case study for accelerators on launchpadcentral.com.  Greg earned his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (B.A., with distinction, 1989; J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif, 1993). He is also a graduate of Steve Blank’s inaugural Lean LaunchPad Educators’ Class at U.C. Berkeley and he is a graduate of the Babson College Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators.

Greg Meier, Entrepreneur in Residence

Greg is a pioneer in 21st Century Innovation. He has worked with over 300 startup and early-stage companies as a founder, advisor, mentor, and teacher and is a Presidential Champion of Change for his work in entrepreneurship.

Greg co-founded the Global Entrepreneurship Collective (an early member of the Global Accelerator Network), which operated two accelerators: Revolution Labs and Victory Spark; the first seed accelerator in Wisconsin, 94 Labs; Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer, Inc; Alithias, Inc; Neuro Amp, LLC; Crowds, Inc; he is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Greg formerly served as Executive Vice-President of Physiogenix, Inc., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lansare Corporation - an on-demand reporting and analytics solution for annuity, life insurance and bank owned life insurance and as the Chairman of the Board of Green Leaf Market. He has also served as Chief Operations Officer for Broadlook Technologies, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies, home of the NASA sponsored Classroom of the Future.

Greg’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Administration. Greg's projects have been featured in Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the Journal Sentinel, TechCrunch, and the White House Blog. Greg was also quoted in the book, "The Coolest Startups in America," (Bloch, Doreen).

Greg has been invited to the White House on numerous occasions and to the United Kingdom by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; he has been recognized by the U.K. Government in a report on entrepreneurship for his work to help the poor through entrepreneurship. Greg is also featured as the case study for accelerators on launchpadcentral.com.

Greg earned his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (B.A., with distinction, 1989; J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif, 1993). He is also a graduate of Steve Blank’s inaugural Lean LaunchPad Educators’ Class at U.C. Berkeley and he is a graduate of the Babson College Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators.