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UW honors four with Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards

April 16, 2013 By Greg Bump

Four University of Wisconsin–Madison alumni and faculty will be recognized with Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards for making a significant impact with their entrepreneurial pursuits.

“UW-Madison has long been an incubator for entrepreneurs, with a vibrant culture that encourages innovation among our faculty, staff and students,” says Interim Chancellor David Ward. “This award was created to honor some of the many talented and creative alumni and faculty who have achieved great entrepreneurial success, become job creators and have served as exceptional models for our students.”

A ceremony honoring the recipients is set for Monday, April 22 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

The 2013 recipients are:

Photo: Laurie Benson


Laurie Benson, CEO of LSB Unlimited, a consulting firm that provides professional training and coaching for executives. She is co-founder and former CEO of Inacom Information Services, now CORE BTS. As CEO of Inacom for its 25-year history, Benson helped the business grow into one of Wisconsin’s largest technology solutions providers. She retired from the business in July 2009. Benson’s 35-year career also includes her role as a nurse and in Xerox sales and management.

Photo: Richard Burgess


Professor Emeritus Richard Burgess, a molecular biologist and biochemist who co-founded ConjuGon, a company that develops products to combat the growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance. His research focus is on the mechanisms that control the transcription of messages from DNA into RNA. Burgess also founded and directed from 1984 to 1996 the University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center, which has become a catalyst to advance biotechnology research, education and industry for the benefit of society and the environment.

Photo: Brian Raffel


Brian Raffel, a former high school art teacher who, with his brother Steve, co-founded Raven Software in 1990. The company launched several popular games before attracting the interest of Activision, which acquired Raven in 1997 and appointed Raffel the head of the studio. Raffel has overseen the development of several popular game titles, including Soldier of Fortune, Star Wars Jedi Knight 2, X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Call of Duty Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3.


Photo: Eric Sheinkop


Eric Sheinkop, co-creator of Music Dealers, a global music technology company that bridges the gap between bands and brands. Sheinkop also recently developed Social Empowerment, an industry-leading marketing approach that advises brands on how to leverage music most effectively. He has also co-authored the book “Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World’s Smartest Brands,” published by MacMillan and expected to hit bookstore shelves in April 2013.