Meet the Team
Starting a business is not easy. If you’re not seriously passionate about what you do – reconsider. The gener8tor team is a group with lots of real world experience that startups can leverage. That’s critical because it’s hard. Here are the passionate people who are gener8tor:
Co-founder, Serial Entrepreneur
Troy is a three-time graduate of the University of Wisconsin, having earned his BA, JD and MBA in Entrepreneurial Management at the UW’s Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship.
As an undergraduate, Troy founded the apparel company Sconnie Nation (www.sconnie.com). Sconnie Nation markets a line of clothing that focuses on celebrating the Wisconsin lifestyle. He knows what it’s like to be a college student starting a business.
Troy recently extended the “Sconnie” brand into beer by releasing Sconnie Beer this spring (www.sconniebeer.com). He loves all things branding, marketing and product development.
Troy is also an experienced business attorney, having worked as an Assistant Clinical Professor for the UW Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic - a program providing free legal services to startup businesses and entrepreneurs.
Troy is based at the gener8tor Madison office.
Joe helps identify first-stage startups with a need for the program and helps create an environment for entrepreneurs to collaborate and establishes access to later-stage capital.
Previously, Joe worked at Quarles & Brady, where he focused his practice on private equity and securities law. Joe received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Order of the Coif.
Joe was awarded the Davis Award in Constitutional Law, which is annually awarded to the student in the graduating class with the best performance in constitutional law. Joe received his bachelors from Marquette University where he was awarded the Delta Sigma Pi Golden Key Award for best grade point average in the graduating class and the Wall Street Journal Award in Finance for best performance within his major.
Joe worked as a federal law clerk in the Eastern District of Wisconsin for the Honorable William E. Callahan, Jr., after graduating from law school.
Through his work at gener8tor, Joe has worked with over two dozen startups in Wisconsin on lean-startup methodology and development.
Daniel Bader has a diverse portfolio of experience in Philanthropy and Investing. As President/CEO of the Helen Bader Foundation, Daniel is responsible for ensuring that the Foundation is professionally managed and has a strong vision for the future. As of 2011, the Foundation has made grants surpassing the $200 million mark and facilitated idea sharing in support of a range of charitable efforts throughout the world. The Foundation has developed a range of innovative philanthropic tools such as Program Related Investing and Strategic Actioning. The Foundation broke philanthropic ground in 2008 by developing a Joint Venture with R. W. Baird to create a $25 million Private Equity Fund that produces both financial and social returns.
Daniel has invested in, and is involved in, numerous business ventures. Daniel is chairman of Generation Growth Capital, Inc., a Milwaukee-based private equity firm that invests in middle-market Wisconsin businesses. He serves as a board director of a number of local and national emerging technology and life science firms, including as chairman of Granite MEDSystems, Cedarburg Hauser Pharmaceuticals and Materia, Inc. Daniel is also the Vice President of Alfred Bader Fine Arts, an international trading company in fine arts and antiques.
Daniel serves on the boards of a number of civic and educational organizations, both locally and internationally, including: the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Milwaukee Water Council, International Centre for Democratic Transition (Budapest, Hungary), Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), Rogers Behavioral Health System, Rogers InHealth, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Milwaukee Jewish Foundation, and the UWM Research Foundation. Daniel has received 20 public service awards since 1992.
Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2006, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of his efforts to improve the quality of life in the city.
Talent Acquisition Expert, Co-founder
Joel’s expertise revolves around growing early stage cloud-based companies utilizing “the balanced scorecard” & “lean startup” principles.
He is responsible for testing startup hypotheses, customer model verification & validation and developing online/offline market strategies for local/national sales models.
Joel is also responsible for developing on-demand talent pipelines that support the needs of gener8tor entrepreneurs.
Jon is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship in the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Executive Director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship.
Jon got his first taste of entrepreneurship as an undergraduate student at Penn State when he started a small rental property venture after returning from the Army. His experiences as a student-entrepreneur still influence how he approaches entrepreneurship education today.
His published and ongoing empirical research projects involve the study of various aspects of the entrepreneurial process, including firm formation, venture finance, initial public offerings, the relationship between public innovation and commercial entrepreneurship, and the role of information in entrepreneurship.
Much of his research involves the study of the formation of commercial software markets for mobile computing platforms including the Palm Handheld Computer.
Jon is based at the gener8tor Madison office.
Mr. Armbrust, a serial entrepreneur, founded 7 companies. He co-founded Softworks in November of 1983 with $600. The initial software they produced was a DOS shell for the Commodore 64 called ‘Softfiler’. In 1985, he dropped out of college to devote his full time efforts to the company.
In 1986 he helped to develop a line of personal computers called ‘Citus’, which was sold regionally through a VAR network. An add-on service business which evolved was Softworks University. This division did Microsoft/various software program instructor lead training. Company was twice named to Inc 500 list (in 1990 & 1991 as #11 & #29 fastest growing private company in the United States).
After buying out a partner in 1992 he acquired a small 5 person engineering firm, Micro Linear Controls, from Racine, Wisconsin. The team transformed the business to focus on OEM customers exclusively and rebranded itself as Granite Microsystems. They further refined their marketplace by focusing on the medical market in 2008. This resulted in their current business model/name Granite Medsystems (www.granitemed.com) which provides medical OEM’s with global service/support.
In 2005 he and the team set up an overseas WOFE in Shanghai China envisioning duplication of the successful Low Volume high Mix (LVHM) philosophy. Since then they have successfully vertically integrated their supply chain in China through Joint Ventures or by green fielding new businesses as needed.
He continues to be active and give overall direction to the company & team. Dan is a former board member for Thor Technologies, and was honored in the inaugural “40 under 40″ by the Business Journal. Other industries he has been involved with include golf, auto parts, pressure valves and art.