40 Executives Under 40

Roy Hasenfratz, 32

Born: Jerusalem, Israel

Director of Services

Corbi Plastics

Many of us can recall the sage advice about going into plastics that Dustin Hoffman's character got in the iconic movie The Graduate, ["There's a great future in plastics. Think about it."] but not Roy Hasenfratz. Even though he's in upper management at Corbi Plastics, he has not taken this advice to heart.

The reason may be that Hasenfratz has never seen the movie. It was released 10 years before his birth (this is the 40 Under 40). Also, the fact that he was born in Jerusalem, Israel – and his first prolonged exposure to the United States was attending St. John's University in the 1990s – might explain his lack of familiarity with the film. "I should look that up, then, huh?" he quipped.

Well, it wouldn't be a bad idea, but these days such advice might well boil down to another term – logistics – for that has as much to do with the recent success of Corbi than even plastics. Specifically, the reverse logistics that Hasenfratz had a role in bringing from Europe.

Corbi was formed as the result of a joint venture between Cartonplast of Germany and ORBIS Corp., a subsidiary of Menasha Corp. Hasenfratz was working for the European company as a plant manager in France when he was offered the job as head of Corbi's services division – in part because he was fluent in English and in part because he was familiar with reverse logistics.

As a collegian, he enjoyed American culture and so was willing to come back. He was told he would be in Madison for a year to set things up, and then he could relocate to any place he wanted. Having been exposed to life in New York, he wasn't keen on staying here, but he came to appreciate the city. "As the company grew and I hired people, my staff grew and I quickly realized that it would be hard for me to move my staff anywhere else," he explained. "I also began to really appreciate Madison as the great city it is, to the point where I said, 'I don't really want to leave.'"

In life, one fateful decision often leads to another one. A year after making the decision to stay put in Madison, Hasenfratz would meet his future wife, Cindy Meicher.

Services Company

In five years, the services division has grown from $4 million to $27 million in sales, and Corbi has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private manufacturing companies in the nation by Inc. Magazine. There now are 80 employees in the services division, which has 16 facilities.

With reverse logistics, the company employs reusable plastic pellets and sheets – the official term is plastics dunnage – as an alternative to paper and wood packaging for aluminum cans, empty glass bottles, and empty steel cans. According to Corbi, the reusable plastic is more sanitary and has a longer lifespan of up to 200 usages. As such, it takes cost out of the supply chain and gives customers more of a precise gauge on how much money they are spending per unit. All the maintenance and cleaning is undertaken by Corbi, and in case the plastic becomes damaged, it is 100% recyclable.

From the onset, the strategy was to go after large, nationwide accounts, and companies like Rexam have signed up to share a system of secondary packaging.

"What we do is work with supply chains that have used one-way, non-reusable packaging, but where the volumes are high enough so that a reusable piece of packaging that's going to last 10 years makes economic sense," Hasenfratz explained.

Hasenfratz has the distinct impression he's being groomed for advancement, and he has begun Harvard University's Program for Leadership Development. He's already been at Harvard to complete one two-week stretch, and he will return for more in July and October, with a healthy dose of case work from home. "The participants include major CEOs from all over world," he said. "I think it's something really exciting to be part of."
 

Todd Asmuth, 38

Born: Milwaukee

CEO

AquaMost, Inc.

Todd Asmuth has left quite an educational trail, having earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Yale and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. However, as the leader of AquaMost, he's blending an intellectual pursuit with a clean-tech business. AquaMost, a manufacturer of water purification devices, is providing a solution to the difficult problem of removing viruses, bacteria, and chemicals from water. It is Asmuth's fifth start-up company, but he does not live by entrepreneurial activities alone: with wife Dana, he is raising three young children and enjoys the outdoors.

Jonathan Beck, 33

Born: Neenah, Wis.

Development Project Manager

The Alexander Company

With the Alexander Company, Jonathan Beck carries a big load, including the procurement of financing for projects that range from $5 million to $150 million. But big tasks are not foreign to this UW-Madison alum, especially ones with business and social significance. While working for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he helped put together tax credit financing for the Arthur Flemming Center, an adaptive reuse of three vacant row houses into office space for nonprofits. He also makes beautiful music outside the development world, playing guitar and supporting local artists, and restoring his Milwaukee-style bungalow on the near east side.

Ryan Behling, 29

Born: Madison

Financial Advisor

Merrill Lynch

Ryan Behling's proudest moment is not a career one, although it's linked to his work for Merrill Lynch, the financial services firm. As committee chair for the Merrill Lynch Grand Gala fundraiser, Behling has lent a hand in raising more than $540,000 over four years. Behling, who has a bachelor's degree and an MBA from UW-Madison, had a great philanthropic role model in Loren Mortenson (M3), and he's also made contributions to the United Way of Dane County Board, the Rosenberry Society, the St. Mary's Foundation Heart of Gold Council, and through volunteer work. He believes nurturing philanthropic young leaders "will benefit the community with greater magnitude than any other work activity I undertake."

Angela Black, 36

Born: Boise, Idaho

Partner

Michael Best & Friedrich

How does someone with a visual arts degree from Boise State end up as a partner in a Madison law firm? Perhaps it's because Angela Black's vision led her to UW Law School, not to mention shaping some of Madison's better commercial real estate projects. As a partner in Michael Best's transactional practice group, focusing on commercial real estate, she played a role in the development of University Square, Grand Central Apartments, and Arbor Gate. Raised by a single mother, she's proudest of graduating from a top law school, and her professional goal is to be the "go to" attorney for commercial real estate.

Emily Bradley, 28

Born: Bloomer, Wis.

President/Human Resource Associate

WI Assn. of Colleges & Employers/First Business Financial Services

Lately, things are coming up aces for Emily Bradley. She is the recipient of the Wisconsin ACE President's Award, the most prestigious honor that can be awarded to a WI-ACE member (she is serving as president for the 2011 term). With First Business Financial Services, she is responsible for managing the recruitment function for the entire First Business family of companies. The UW-La Crosse grad also is quite charitably minded. As employee campaign manager for the company's annual United Way campaign, she helped grow the donor participation rate from 43% to 71%, producing more than $115,000 in employee contributions.

Shawna Carter, 33

Born: Appleton, Wis.

Associate Dean-Arts & Sciences

Madison College

Shawna Carter admits her career path was non-traditional from the start. The UW-Whitewater alum, the first person in her extended family to attend college, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA, only to end up in the education field. That has its perks because not only is she responsible for the operations of the Arts & Sciences Center, including curriculum development and faculty recruiting, but she also teaches one class each semester. On a personal note, she fights stress by walking, and by enjoying the theater and musicals.

Mark Cassata, 24

Born: Rockford, Ill.

Associate/Owner

NAI MLG Commercial/Grindstone Management

Mark Cassata didn't let a bad real estate market stop him from closing 21 transactions in his first year, and he looks forward to a better relationship between developers and city government. Cassata, an associate with NAI MLG Commercial, also started Grindstone Management, a full-service property management company, with a business partner. He has set a goal of completing $80 million in transactions and purchasing 10 downtown commercial properties by age 30. His real estate mentor is Scott Lewis, owner of CMI Management, because Lewis built his real estate portfolio the way Cassata would like to – ethically and one premier property at a time.

Drew Cochrane, 38

Born: Oakland, Calif.

Senior Partner

Stafford Rosenbaum

Drew Cochrane cherishes his time with wife Gretchen and the kids, but he already has reached a number of professional goals in his brief law career. The UW-Madison grad is a senior partner with a prominent Madison law firm, he has argued cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and he holds several leadership positions in the firm and community. From the City of Madison Ethics Board to his status as a school board member for High Point Christian School, he derives satisfaction out of serving people, but he cites "a certain kind of joy" that comes with resolving a potentially life-altering legal issue.

Brad Crowley, 39

Born: Madison

Vice President-Partner

Design Structures, LLC

Commercial, industrial, health care, hospitality, or residential – no matter what type of building is needed, Brad Crowley has been involved in it. The UW-Platteville grad not only directs operations in the Wisconsin office of Design Structures, a provider of commercial design-build services, he has served as project manager on multiple projects. He also stays involved as a member of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, and he has some advice for local governments: streamlining the development process would help the local business environment. "Growth should be controlled, but not hindered," he states.

Nicholas Curran, 35

Born: Ripon, Wis.

Partner

CK Accounting & Tax

Nicholas Curran earned a degree in accounting from UW-Oshkosh, and wasted little time getting into the entrepreneurial act. At 29, he opened his CPA firm, which would later merge into CK Accounting. Starting in his basement, the business grew an average of 24% each year, which would make his mentor, Wipfli's Bill Young, very proud. Now, as 50% owner of CK Accounting, he specializes as a "CFO for hire" for various nonprofits. He belongs to three local Chambers and the only thing he'd change about Madison is to provide more free parking downtown.

Patrick Fosdick, 29

Born: Burlington, Wis.

President

Madison Sports and Social Club

He runs a business for Madison's active set, doing everything from planning events, organizing the sports leagues, maintaining the website, and securing fields for the games. For Patrick Fosdick, blending sports and social interaction is a natural. Madison Sports and Social Club boasts the only co-ed flag football league, its signature activity and a great way to connect with people. Social connectivity seems to be a 24/7 thing for this UW-Madison grad, given his full-time job with Mennenga Tax & Financial Service, his membership in Madison Area Growth Network, and his participation in organized runs.

Mike Gotzler, 39

Born: Waukesha, Wis.

General Counsel

QTI Group

Mike Gotzler's main job is to offer legal and business advice to all QTI-affiliated companies and represent the company's interests in legal matters, and he aspires to be a trusted business and community leader. The UW-Milwaukee (and UW-Madison Law School) grad thinks Madison would be a better place for everyone, including business, if there was less emphasis on towing the party line and more focus on collaboratively developing solutions. Given the current environment, that might take a long time to accomplish, but then Gotzler has the patience and endurance these days to raise three girls with wife Sherry, and participate in triathlons.

Amy Hasselman, 37

Born: Reading, Penn.

Architect-Project Manager

Architecture Network, Inc.

In one sense, Amy Hasselman works as a makeover artist because she works to make old buildings useful and beautiful again. She also works from the start, managing projects from first client contact to finished construction, while also assisting with firm management, strategic planning, and marketing. The Virginia Tech grad might be a Jill of All Trades, but her proudest accomplishment is her role in the restoration of Olin House, the UW-Madison Chancellor's residence. "It was a test case for a different way of delivering a university project," she noted. Her future aspirations are a combination of the communal ("To help Madison evolve its potential") and the personal ("to lead an architecture firm of good people doing great work.") On both aspirations, she can emulate her professional mentor Arlan Kay, who has shown that rehabilitating historic buildings also restores communities.

 

David Haug, 35

Born: Madison

President-Founder

Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate

David Haug's proudest achievement is founding Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate because it allows him to inject some integrity and honesty in an industry that he admits "isn't always known for that." The 1999 UW-Madison and Leadership Greater Madison grad most wants to emulate Thrive's Jennifer Alexander, whose enthusiasm for Madison he finds infectious and impactful. He, too, aspires to be a leader in a community he raves about, and he vows to continue serving on local boards and committees. Outside of the office, he enjoys the company of wife Jahna and pursuits like golf, travel, and leadership development training.

Kevin Hickman, 38

Born: Bloomington, Ill.

Director of Business Development, J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.

Kevin Hickman knows he's in the business of building business relationships, but a guy who loved playing Monopoly as a kid wears many hats for J.P. Cullen & Sons, one of the largest construction management firms in Wisconsin. From keeping J.P. Cullen's 600 employees, many of whom reside in Dane County, busy with challenging construction projects, to authoring the company's manual on how to win construction referendums (a highly valuable task for his employer), his position is challenging to say the least. When it comes to signature projects, the Camp Randall restoration is the one he is most proud to be associated with, but the UW-Whitewater alum also contributes to organizations like Independent Disability Services and the Downtown Madison Rotary.

Brian Hornung, 39

Born: Madison

Director of Field Operations

J.H. Findorff & Son

When you work for J.H. Findorff & Son, the list of award-winning projects you've influenced, including Monona Terrace and the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, is extensive. It's telling, then, that Brian Hornung points to the American Family Children's Hospital as his proudest career achievement. As a father of three and husband of Julie Hornung, it means a great deal to the West Point grad to be part of the hospital's development and construction. As a board member for Porchlight, he serves an organization that provides emergency shelter, permanent housing, food, and other services to homeless people in Greater Madison. The business leader he most respects is Gary Wolter of MG&E because of the manner in which he listens to people, processes information, and makes decisions.

Amanda Houdek, 33

Born: Antigo, Wis.

Owner-Director

Communication Innovators, Inc.

When you have built a business that helps special needs children reach their potential, citing your proudest accomplishment is a piece of cake. That's exactly what Amanda Houdek, owner, director and speech therapist for Communication Innovators, a pediatric therapy center, has done. After earning a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison and a master's degree from Penn State, she launched what started as a sole proprietorship, but now has 19 therapists offering a number of new, evolving therapies to its client base. Her patients provide all the inspiration she needs, as do her spouse, Dan Hoechst, and her nine-month-old son.

Brad King, 31

Born: West Lafayette, Ind.

Superintendent

Mortenson Construction

On-site and hands-on. That pretty much describes the job responsibilities of Mortenson Construction's Brad King, an Air Force veteran whose job it is to make every project shape up and fly right. Perhaps nowhere was that more important than when he served as a project team member on the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery, the latest crown jewel on the UW-Madison campus. From the site location and high level of architectural finishes, to the complexity of the mechanical and electrical systems, this project was very challenging, but not overly so for a guy with a bachelor's degree in engineering and management from Purdue.

Scott Kohl, 38

Born: Green Bay

Producer

Activision – Raven Software

With Raven Software, one of Activision's game development studios, Scott Kohl is a member of the creative class, but his pursuit of a bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA (the latter while working full time), both from UW-Madison, was no game. Thanks in part to those pursuits, he serves as director of production for Raven Software, and leads a team of 104 artists, programmers, animators, and designers who develop games for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PC. He seeks to emulate technology leader Laurie Benson, and he leads in his own ways, serving as an industry adviser for Milwaukee Area Technical College's computer simulation and gaming program. However, he still aspires to build his own creative company and then change gears and volunteer for an organization like the Peace Corps.

Chris Lay, 36

Born: Madison

Executive Director

Madison Area Youth Soccer Assn./Reddan Soccer Park

To say Chris Lay gets a kick out of his job is understating things. As the director of youth soccer in Greater Madison, he not only oversees the sport that gives many children their fitness start, he's getting more kids into the act, increasing membership in the eight-county MAYSA by more than 15% in three years. Lay and his staff have built membership to 14,300 by making soccer easier to play, offering flexibility in scheduling and value-added reasons to join. At home, he values five-year-old daughter Emilia and food experiences made possible by wife Angela, a professional chef.

Joe Leschisin, 27

Born: Clayton, Wis.

Owner-Founder

Kella Design

Joe Leschisin has found his niche in life – building custom websites with Kella Design, a graphic design and website development business. It's not easy being an entrepreneur, with the extra time required, the stress, and the financial challenges, but Leschisin believes the rewards are "second to none." He hopes to emulate Kennedy Communications' Bill Kennedy, whom he says has re-invented his company numerous times, adapting to society's rapid pace of change. Leschisin's aspiration is to grow Kella Design into one of the nation's best-known marketing firms, and continue to enjoy the outdoors and travel with spouse, Kelly, and daughter Ella.

Julie Lombardo, 38

Born: Minneapolis, Minn.

President-Owner-Physical Therapist

Capitol Physical Therapy

Julie Lombardo's professional passion is the outpatient physical therapy clinics she runs with an emphasis on multiple therapists and specialties, not to mention quick access to appointments and profit-sharing for employees. A graduate of the University of Minnesota and the College of St. Scholastica, where she received her masters in physical therapy, she wants to follow in the footsteps of Dr. John Rogerson, an orthopedic surgeon who led the way for medical providers to branch off into private practice. Her personal version of physical therapy includes weight lifting, running, and family walks.

 

Charity McCarthy, 36

Born: Lena, Wis.

Partner, Melli Law

Charity McCarthy has gone from farm to fashion to fiduciary (tax law), and her story is that of a renaissance woman. One of 11 children, she was born on a farm in Northern Wisconsin, but followed a professional model mother to the runway, modeling for catalogs. At 16, she prepared her own tax returns. She was the first female in her family to attend college, but decided to travel abroad. While in Barbados, she joined the Air Force and became a computer operator on spy planes. To stay close to Air Force beau and future husband Michael, she trained to become a mechanic. We could go on, but you get the idea.

John Miller, 37

Born: Iron Mountain, Mich.

Vice President of Sales

PDS

Perhaps a technology career was inevitable for John Miller, who entered the workforce in 1997 armed with a bachelor's degree in marketing from Northern Michigan, because it was only a matter of time before marketing and technology would become deeply intertwined. At PDS, Miller directs the sales strategy for the IT management company, but he's not a Johnny One Note. He also plays an active role in strategic marketing, he's a contributing writer for LEAD IT magazine, served on an advisory board for Lenovo, and he is a founder of the Wisconsin and Illinois K-12 IT Leadership Councils.

Albert Muniz, 28

Born: Tucson, Ariz.

Interim Director-Posse Program

UW-Madison

At the age of 28, Albert Muniz can point to a real first – he was the first director of undergraduate admissions and recruitment for the University of Wisconsin School of Business. He attained that at the age of 26, serving two years before becoming the director of a local Posse, which is not as dangerous as it sounds. The Posse Program, a scholarship program for diverse student leaders, now occupies his professional time. Muniz, who earned a bachelor's degree in geography and a master's degree in higher education at the University of Arizona, took quite a geographic turn in coming to Madison, but he and wife Lindsay enjoy traveling in higher education circles. With more diversity in mind, the one change he'd make in Madison is to have more people of color and women in highly visible and influential community roles.

Elizabeth Norman, 30

Born: Milwaukee

Financial Consultant-Partner on Droster Team

RBC Wealth Management

Elizabeth Norman loves spending time with engaged citizens, which explains her membership in the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Madison. Since her involvement with the Bob Heideman Memorial Golf Outing, the Kiwanis have raised more than $35,000 to support local hands-on service projects. She's also hands-on with the YWCA of Madison's Circle of Women event planning committee, and chaired the event last month. At work, she's a financial planner who manages over $250 million in assets for RBC's Droster Team, three financially savvy women named for Norman's partner and mentor, Lauri Binius Droster.

Andrew Pulvermacher, 32

Born: Madison

Chief Probability Officer

Nighthawk Intelligence

What does a chief probability officer do? When you serve a company that applies the science of math to the art of business, it entails the use of business analytics. The probability of Pulvermacher's skills driving better business performance is pretty high, given his status as a recipient of the Brad Anderson Legacy Stock Award at Best Buy. He earned the honor for his development of operations research methods – simulating customer purchasing behavior – when he was a member of Best Buy's financial services department.

Scott Resnick, 24

Born: Binghamton, N.Y.

Vice President

Hardin Design & Development

Mobile applications and Flex programming are the calling cards of Scott Resnick's company, and his proudest accomplishment was the night the business hired its fifth full-time employee. That's when Resnick realized that all the long nights and hours were worth it, and that they were indeed an established small business. Resnick has an entrepreneurial model in Matt Yonkle, who returned to Madison after building and selling TurboTab, and Resnick serves on the board of Capital Entrepreneurs. Resnick would also like to return to school – he attended UW-Madison – and teach about entrepreneurship.

Steve Santek, 34

Born: Madison

Vice President-Business Banking

Mid America Bank

Developing banking relationships with small to medium-sized businesses has not been an easy task in the Great Recession, but it's one Steve Santek has taken up with enthusiasm, enough to earn the 2009 Business Banker of the Year award. That came on the heels of a 2006 Sales Manager of the Year award, as he has not only monitored the independent community bank's loan portfolio, he works with business owners to help them identify needs. His ultimate ambition is to be president of a community bank in Greater Madison, but he'll also take time for community with Habitat for Humanity and he enjoys golf, local sports teams, and relaxing up north with wife Jenny.

Julie Sheldon-Vike, 37

Born: Madison

Marketing and Events Manager

Applied Tech

She might not have taken the prize, but Julie Sheldon-Vike has raised the bar for her fellow professional women. Nominated for the Professional Business Woman Award and the Athena Young Professional Award, she was honored to be recognized alongside others who also are making a contribution to Madison. She handles marketing and events for Applied Tech, and a growing part of her job is making sure the IT services company leverages social media in its e-marketing initiatives. That's well aligned with her social awareness and her aspiration to teach people that even a small philanthropic effort can make a big difference.

Jill Skowronski, 30

Born: Danville, Ill.

VP-Marketing & Customer Loyalty

SupraNet Communications

Jill Skowronski has an unusual title, but one that makes plenty of sense in this day of enhanced customer engagement. In charge of both business development and customer loyalty initiatives, she's also the office ombudsman, the trusted "go-to" person for SupraNet staff to file complaints or pitch ideas, and the person who oversees philanthropy and company giving. If that sounds like a rewarding enough gig for the Illinois State grad, she also aspires to help SupraNet create a greener future, especially reducing technology's claim on the power grid with the construction of a green data center. The goal: an Internet with zero carbon footprint.

Dawn Smith, 31

Born: Ripon, Wis.

Vice President of Operations

Web Courseworks

It wasn't long ago that Dawn Smith started as a part-time receptionist with Web Courseworks, but her rapid ascension – four promotions over the past 3-1/2 years – to the position of VPO, proves that some companies leave no stone unturned to find business skills. Hearing her boss, Jon Aleckson, say things like "Dawn runs the company" brings a measure of pride, but the UW-Platteville grad is not letting it get to her head. She admires Aleckson's entrepreneurial prowess so much that she hopes to one day run her own business, but she'd prefer that Madison evolve into a community that does a better job supporting and incentivizing businesses to hire and grow.

Vern Stenman, 33

Born: St. Cloud, Minn.

President

Madison Mallards and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters

Few people can expound on the beauty of baseball like Vern Stenman, but to him, America's favorite pastime is more than a business and a form of family entertainment, it's a way of life. The baseball "Like It Oughta Be!" slogan of his Madison and Wisconsin Rapids baseball operations has been woven into both community's fabric for several years, and he'd like to expand to other cities. The St. Cloud State University alum merges his love of baseball with family time for wife Kallie and toddling daughter Chloe, plus downhill skiing, and playing in a rock band called Superstar Fantastico. (Do you think they know "Center Field"?) With a band name as grand as that, he promises we'll soon know all about it.

Michelle Marie TerMaat-McGrath, 38

Born: Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Executive Director-CEO Wis. Assn. of School Councils

She is the CEO and wearer of many hats, but Michelle Marie TerMaat McGrath mainly finds volunteers to donate hours to serve young people in Madison and Wisconsin. Heading a nonprofit youth leadership development organization is a labor of love, but education-leadership is a constant theme in her affiliations like the Wisconsin Parent Teacher Association. Most educational leadership associations have been male-dominated, so she's proud to lend a new perspective. Looking forward, her vision is to make Madison the student leadership hub of Wisconsin.

Bryon Thompson, 36

Born: Green Bay, Wis.

Regional Executive

ADP

Bryon Thompson is a risk-taker, but only with half of his business interests. While he manages the sales staff and the Madison Regional office of ADP, a Fortune 500 company that provides HR and payroll services, the UW-Stevens Point alum also owns and manages a real estate investment portfolio. He is very proud of taking that entrepreneurial risk, he has a pretty good role model, Jason Punzel of WhiteCap Real Estate, to emulate personally and professionally, and he's also president of the Leadership Greater Madison board. Thompson and spouse Daniele are enjoying every minute of raising children ages four and six, especially water-related fun at their home on Lake Kegonsa.

Casey Trudgeon, 39

Born: Milwaukee

Executive VP-GM

Wisconsin Distributors

For Casey Trudgeon, being an executive with Wisconsin Distributors not only brings the opportunity to lead daily operations of a Dane County-based beverage distributor, but a chance to develop the culture and careers of 200-plus employees. His high-integrity, give-back-to-community mentor is Dan Lee of First Weber Group, who he wants to emulate in terms of career-family balance. He throws a little community into that balance with a board membership at the Dane County Salvation Army, and some fitness balance with a zest for running marathons and coaching his kids' sports teams.

Benjamin Udell, 31

Born: Janesville, Wis.

Sr. VP of Retail Sales

Monona State Bank

Since his 40 Under 40 selection, Benjamin Udell continues to make strides in banking, moving from a VP position at Wells Fargo to his new post at Monona State Bank. He's excited to make this switch because the new position will increase his responsibility and career development. His development as a new citizen of Madison includes the strong impression that organizations like the Madison Children's Museum and the Overture Center have made on him, but this baseball fan, who turns 32 on March 12, loves statewide institutions as well. He attends 15 to 20 Milwaukee Brewers games each year with wife Amanda, who grew up in Milwaukee, and even travels out of state to watch them play. He's somewhat of a Brewer himself, as he makes his own beer.

Jennifer Uphoff Gray, 39

Born: Madison

Artistic Director

Forward Theater Company

Armed with degrees in dramatic literature and stage history from Harvard College, Jennifer Uphoff Gray returned to Madison, after 16 years on the East Coast, to found Forward Theater Company. She marvels at the experience of building a company from scratch with theater artists she respects, while creating a collaborative model that fits Madison. The business person she most admires is Carol "Orange" Schroeder of Orange Tree Imports, citing her business philosophy, her tenacity, and Schroeder's gift of building relationships with customers. A new goal? Gray would love to see more awareness in the business community of art's many benefits.

Kenneth Walz, 39

Born: Park Ridge, Ill.

Chemistry-Engineering Instructor/Project Director

Madison College/CERET

Renewable energy is vital for our economic and national security future, and research and education will be needed to drive new discoveries. Kenneth Walz is eager to prepare a new generation of alternative energy evangelists, which is why he serves as project director and principal investigator for the Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technology. The mission is to advance renewable energy technical education for high school and two-year college students. That's well-suited to his day job at Madison College, and his interest in global education with Engineers Without Borders.

Sign up for the free IB Update — your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click here.