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.”

Aaron Kennedy
Aaron Kennedy

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.

About TitletownTech

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

The Pitch on Thursday, April 11 will feature two UW-Green Bay teams

The UW-Green Bay student businesses Bookbates and Fervid Life will be competing at “The Pitch” on Thursday, April 11, at 4 p.m. at TitletownTech. Bookbates is owned by Business Administration students Garriet Kanis, Wyatt Smet and Zach Zeutzius. Bookbates won the Spring 2019 UW-Green Bay Student Business Idea Contest and earned the People’s Choice Award at the Quick Pitch event. Business Administration student Renee DeGrand owns Fervid Life. Fervid Life won the 2018 Northeast Wisconsin Business Plan Contest, has made it into the second round of the Governor’s Business Plan Contest for the state of Wisconsin and was accepted to The Commons as a startup that college students work on throughout the Spring 2019 semester. The UW-Green Bay Community is invited to cheer on the student entrepreneurs by registering to attend “The Pitch.” The event is free, and refreshments will be served. For more information on the “The Pitch” or the UW-Green Bay entrepreneurship program, please contact entrepreneurship lecturer Ryan Kauth at KauthR@uwgb.edu.

The Power of Partnership

Partnerships energize the campus and the community

Two significant developments on campus and near downtown Green Bay illustrate the importance and power of partnerships in the life of UW-Green Bay.

The first is right here on campus, as the Brown County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Innovation Center, which broke ground Sept. 17, 2018, is quickly taking shape and becoming part of the campus skyline.

Excitement is building for TitletownTech in the shadow of Lambeau Field.
Excitement is building for TitletownTech in the shadow of Lambeau Field.

The second is front-and-center in the shadow of Lambeau Field, as the finishing touches are being put on the 46,000-square-foot, modern, steel-and-glass silhouette of TitletownTech.

“What’s another building or two?” you might ask. Universities and downtowns regularly construct new buildings. It’s the way they keep their infrastructure in step with the needs of their respective communities.

These buildings do all that — and then some.

The Brown County STEM Innovation Center will provide about 63,730 square feet of space to house the new Richard J. Resch School of Engineering, the popular and creative Einstein Project, the community-focused UW-Extension, and Brown County’s Land and Water Conservation departments. The facility is expected to open sometime in August 2019.

Of great significance, the building, its occupants and its shared workspace demonstrate the power of partnership. The partners are able to do more than any of them could do alone and the effect of their collaboration ripples from the campus, across the community and into the region. The $15-million construction budget is shared among three central partners: the State of Wisconsin capital budget, Brown County funds and private donations from citizens and organizations intent on sustaining a thriving, public University and the social, cultural and economic gains that come with it.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller commented on the gap the Center closes by hosting the Resch School of Engineering. He said that the community has been asking for engineering and STEM programs for decades.

“This is the first school of engineering established and based in Northeast Wisconsin,” said Miller, “and it will transform the economy for generations.” County Executive Troy Streckenbach, in his remarks at the groundbreaking, said this shared investment is expected to “help secure our region’s manufacturing future by helping create economic development for years to come and ensuring all our students have opportunities to be tomorrow’s innovators.”

Across town is a partnership that can move the needle at supersonic speeds

The excitement is building for TitletownTech — and its unique partnership that can be a model for the future. The collaboration between UW-Green Bay, the University of Wisconsin System, the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft Corporation — is poised to serve as a hub for business innovation and economic development in the region, the state and the Midwest. It holds promise to keep local young talent in a region that is thriving for more reasons than its storied NFL franchise.

A description on the Green Bay Packers website shows this state-of-the-art building will feature the TitletownTech Venture Studio, TitletownTech Innovation Lab and TitletownTech Fund. The center is designed to connect start-up businesses with investors and promote business development and growth, particularly in the technology sectors.

A UW-Green Bay and the UW System “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” (EIR) will work as part of the TitletownTech leadership team.

The EIR role has three main foci: 1. Work with UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin School of Business to educate and provide guidance in business and operational areas. 2. Work with the UW System’s Economic Development Office to generate collaborations with all UW System institutions. 3. Establish connections to the business community and be their single point of contact.

Deepening the connection between the organizations, UW-Green Bay alumnus Craig Dickman ’82 (Business Administration), who brings his reputation for innovation, was named TitletownTech’s managing director in September. Dickman is the founder and former CEO of Green Bay-based energy logistics company, BreakthroughTM. In an interview with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Dickman reflected on the nature of the facility and its vision.

“We’re really trying to create something that’s world-class,” said Dickman, “so we can transform this region’s economy, transform the businesses that are here and bring innovation capabilities focused on building scalable new ventures in our area.” The support of Microsoft is key to those innovation capabilities. Not only will it provide two full-time staff (one of whom will be a technologist-in-residence), it will bring its global digital resources to support TitletownTech’s mission and vision. Those resources include people and technology. By connecting those resources with new and existing businesses, teams working at TitletownTech will help them incorporate digital capabilities into their operations.

Ed Policy, Packers chief operations officer and general counsel oversees Titletown development. He sees TitletownTech as a natural extension of the Packers’ vision for the area.

“We intended to develop Titletown as a magnet to draw world-class employees,” states Policy on the Packers website. “The Microsoft involvement clearly takes this to another level. The remainder of the century will belong to communities that can draw talented young people.” And developing talented young people is what UW-Green Bay is all about. Through the power of partnerships like these, the University aims to attract and enroll Brown County students, continuing the five-year enrollment growth trend it touted in November.

As Chancellor Miller noted at the STEM Innovation Center groundbreaking, “It’s a great time to be here at UW-Green Bay.”

Impactful UW-Green Bay Partnerships

  • The Education program, with Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and Green Bay Area Public Schools, partner in a nature-based four-year-old kindergarten program.
  • Social Work and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families provide tuition stipends and specialized training to more than a dozen social work students annually, preparing them for future careers in public child welfare
  • Psychology partnered with multiple high school psychology teachers from across the state to organize a day-long teaching of psychology conference for more than 50 attendees.
  • Cofrin School of Business students were provided a valuable networking experience by Kohler Co. executives from around the world when invited to dine and network during a fall executive training event at Lambeau Field.
  • Accounting students attended the Institute of Management Accountants Conference in St. Louis, MO, with support from local firm, Wipfli.
  • Biology faculty and students teamed-up with the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay to sponsor the inaugural “Tiny Earth” event at Lambeau Field aimed at using undergraduate research to discover new antibiotics.
  • The Environmental Management Business Institute (EMBI) and Aurora BayCare partnership provides real world energy and waste-reduction training for students. Students are both engaged in improving the environmental and energy footprint for the hospital, and are given leadership experience as an active member of Aurora’s Facilities Energy Team.

– Story by freelance writer Jim Streed ’05

WEDC CEO Mark Hogan says Foxconn, TitletownTech will attract young talent

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Mark Hogan feels good about Wisconsin’s technological development. In addition to Foxconn partnerships, Hogan acknowledges more opportunities in the region, such as TitletownTech, a partnership between Microsoft, the Packers and UW-Green Bay. “What the Packers and Microsoft are doing at Titletown, what’s happening in Milwaukee and Madison, is changing the culture,” Hogan explains. “This is a significant statement on what’s happening in the Green Bay area.” Read the full story on the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

TitletownTech applauded by Sen. Robert Cowles

Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) praises the TitletownTech partnership between Microsoft, the Green Bay Packers, UW-Green Bay and the UW System. After attending the announcement on the project’s details, Sen. Cowles released a statement saying “Northeast Wisconsin is ready to prove that you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley to be in the cutting edge of the new digital world.” He added that TitletownTech will provide support and resources for creative minds in the region to generate innovative digital solutions that will not only benefit the region but the whole nation.

UW-Green Bay and UW System to have an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at TitletownTech

Along with the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft, UW-Green Bay and the UW System will partner up with TitletownTech to attract young professionals to Green Bay with the new innovation center. UW-Green Bay and the UW System have agreed to fund an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, who will be employed at UW-Green Bay, but will be stationed at TitletownTech. “Part of their job will be to bring students here and find ways for students to intersect, but another important role is we know students are great entrepreneurs and so we want this person to develop programs for them to get their ideas out there, to get them in front of business people,” says UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller. WTAQ has the story.

TitletownTech wants to keep young professionals close to home

TitletownTech, a partnership between Microsoft, the Green Bay Packers and UW-Green Bay, attempts to attract and keep young talent in Green Bay. The facility will include a venture studio, innovation lab and a tech fund. Director of Microsoft Tech Spark Mike Egan says the purpose of TitletownTech is to spur up the economy. See the full story from WFRV, including an interview with UWGB student Sallie Petty.