University Research Park

Still influential after all these years

Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still talks about state’s dynamic tech sector

By Brennan Nardi, Madison Magazine

Many of us associate the hub of today’s startup scene with downtown or the near-east side. For west siders, startup central is University Research Park, where Exact Sciences is perhaps the most familiar occupant.

Long before Exact Sciences took up residence in the sprawling 260-acre campus that’s home to some 120 tenants, the Wisconsin Technology Council, established in 2001, hung its shingle on the other side of URP to begin its wonky policy work under the leadership of former Wisconsin State Journal associate editor Tom Still.

StartUp-City-jpgI check in regularly with Still to download his big picture of the tech sector’s climate and culture. We cover industry trends in higher education, technology transfer, the politics of stem cell research, angel and venture capital, investor deal flow and whatever else is rattling around in his giant brain. I think of him as the dean of the state’s tech community, and appreciate his thoughtful and pragmatic perspective.

While it’s easy to get googly-eyed over the latest local app or tool, Still plays the long game. He talks strategy versus tactics, such as “reinforcing the message that most economic growth begins at home.” Homegrown businesses, he says, are “more likely to stay, mirror the culture, have an indigenous feel about products, services and corporate culture, and attract local investors.” And, naturally, he’s optimistic about tech. Read more …

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