UW-Green Bay Names Noodles & Company Founder, Aaron Kennedy, TitletownTech Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Green Bay, Wis. — In the world of entrepreneurship, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin System today announced a first-round draft pick with the addition of Noodles & Company founder and former Chairman/CEO, Aaron Kennedy, to the TitletownTech leadership team. Kennedy was named Entrepreneur-in-Residence by UW-Green Bay Chancellor, Gary L. Miller, effective immediately.
“Aaron’s leadership will allow both UW-Green Bay and the UW System to be collaborative partners with TitletownTech,” said Chancellor Miller. “Aaron’s decades of experience in entrepreneurship and the University’s expertise in engineering, environmental sciences, healthcare and more, ensure the many ventures in Titletown Tech will be set up for success. The Phoenix family is proud to welcome Aaron to Green Bay.”
The announcement was made in conjunction with announcements pertaining to other key TitletownTech developments announced by the Green Bay Packers organization. Kennedy, a UW-Madison MBA ‘89 joins UW-Green Bay alumnus, Craig Dickman ‘82 (Business Administration), TitletownTech’s managing director, in establishing an entrepreneurial game plan for the unique partnership with UW-Green Bay, the UW System, the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft.
“We are both excited and fortunate to have Aaron Kennedy join the TitletownTech team,” said Dickman. “Aaron is a global entrepreneur who has built brands, companies and movements. We believe he reflects the world-class nature of what we are building at TitletownTech and brings to life this critical connection between UW-Green Bay, the UW System and TitletownTech. For new entrepreneurs, and our TitletownTech team, the opportunity to work with Aaron will be invaluable.”
Prior to starting Noodles & Company in 1995, Kennedy worked at a New York brand design firm where he directed projects on some of the largest and most recognized consumer brands in the world including Coca-Cola, Burger King, Sears, Swiss Army Products, The Limited family of stores and the PGA (World Golf Hall of Fame). Prior to that, he was brand manager at Pepsi Cola and market research manager at Oscar Mayer Foods. When Kennedy concluded his 15 years of building Noodles & Company as Founder/CEO/Chairman in 2008, the company had 170 locations in 15 states. He has spent the last 11 years as a board member for Sartori Cheese (Plymouth, Wis.), Sterling Rice Group, and Modern Market Eatery, and served as an advisor to Silver Oak Winery, Mad Greens, Larkburger, Maria Empanada, Napa Valley Vintners Association and 34° Crackers, as well as a mentor/advisor for Colorado business accelerators like Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, Boomtown and MergeLane. He also served as chief marketing officer for the State of Colorado from 2012-2014.
“I’m just thrilled to be joining this talented team and hope to help us realize the full potential of the TitletownTech vision: to foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Green Bay, Wisconsin and beyond,” Kennedy began. “I was immediately captivated by the opportunity to participate in the creation of this new, holistic model to germinate, support and grow businesses. Though I’m thankful to have had some nice professional experiences, I truly believe that helping the next generation of entrepreneurs succeed at TitletownTech has the potential to be my most important economic and societal contribution. We’re dreaming big and we intend to deliver.”
Kennedy serves on the board of the University of Wisconsin Business School, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and is a guest lecturer at several universities including the University of Colorado, University of Denver, Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin. In July 2018, UW-Green Bay and the UW System announced plans to team up with the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft in a unique partnership to help launch new companies in Wisconsin and strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Under the partnership agreement, the UW System is making a four-year commitment to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to fund the UW-Green Bay/UW System Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at TitletownTech. Kennedy will be an employee of UW-Green Bay and a member of the TitletownTech leadership team. According to Miller, he will work in collaboration with the UW-Green Bay Cofrin School of Business to educate and provide guidance in business development and operational areas, as well as work with the UW System’s Economic Development Office to generate collaborations with all UW System institutions.
“The Green Bay Packers-Microsoft collaboration at TitletownTech is one of the most unique and exciting partnerships for entrepreneurship in the country,” Miller noted in 2018. “The UW System and UW-Green Bay will join that partnership to establish an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to work with new venture companies in our community and throughout the state to grow Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
TitletownTech is an initiative that will bring world-class digital innovation and expertise to the region. It is headquartered in Titletown, the development west of Lambeau Field, in a state-of-the-art building home to the TitletownTech Venture Studio, TitletownTech Innovation Lab and TitletownTech Fund.
Kennedy will work onsite at TitletownTech in conjunction with the Packers-Microsoft management team to advance entrepreneurial opportunities in the region and help organize and make available entrepreneurial resources on other UW campuses. The Green Bay Packers and Microsoft intend that TitletownTech will help the region’s emerging and existing businesses define and build new digital products, transform their operations through technology, and provide capital to launch new ventures.
Cordero Barkely named Director of Finance and Investments
In addition to Kennedy, Cordero Barkley ’09 and ’16 (Business Administration, Master’s of Management) was named TitletownTech’s director of finance and investments. Barkley has a background in wealth management and banking with prior experience at Associated Bank and Wells Fargo. In 2018, he was named a recipient of UW-Green Bay’s Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.
The two-story, 46,000 square foot facility was announced in October 2017 as part of Titletown, the 45-acre mixed use development west of Lambeau Field. It will house:
- TitletownTech Venture Studio, working with early-stage companies to help create new digital products and services.
- TitletownTech Innovation Lab, working with established businesses to co-locate teams at TitletownTech to develop new digital technology products and services.
- TiteltownTech Fund, working to underwrite operation of the Studio and Lab, and invest in companies that participate in the programs, as well as potentially other regional startups.
About the UW System
The University of Wisconsin System serves more than 170,000 students. Awarding 36,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. More than 80 percent of UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents and boundless creative intellectual energy.
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to nearly 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu. See Chancellor Miller’s remarks from the press conference. 43-19