What do you do for fun to get through winter? Are you a bring-on-the-snow-and-play-outside type person? Or is a stack of books by the fireplace more to your liking?
I’m fortunate that I live near Lake Winnebago, because I love all sorts of outdoor winter activities: sturgeon spearing, ice skating, and ice sailing. At least, I wish I could say that.
I recently moved here from Hawaii, so the past two winters have been just a bit different. Up until this year, my winter activities included going to the beach, hiking through rain forests to forage for fruit, going to parks with my four-year-old son, and topping off my vitamin D levels. This year, in contrast, I have built snow forts with my son and enjoyed the occasional Wisconsin craft brew with Wisconsin artisan cheese. Yes, I have been reading more, too – especially when it gets below 20 degrees. Next year, I’ll hopefully be able to truthfully answer that I do, indeed, enjoy outdoor activities like ice fishing and ice sailing. They just seem like so much fun.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
One plunge into entrepreneurialism wasn’t enough for me. I founded two companies and to this day that remains my greatest professional accomplishment.
In 1996, I launched my first company – Business Network Consulting (BNC). BNC, based in Denver, offers enterprise-grade IT support and service to small and mid-size businesses. A decade later, I founded Dallas-based Legal Workspace after I saw the potential for cloud-based workspaces to enhance law firm operations. It isn’t easy running two companies in two different cities. In fact, it’s long hours and a lot of work. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I count myself fortunate every day that I can lead a professional life focused on using technology to make work easier for law firms and other organizations.
What drew you to the food and beverage practice area?
I counsel clients of all sizes on matters involving product development, labeling, marketing and advertising, food safety issues, and supply-chain analysis. I also guide clients through recalls and market withdrawals and ensure they have proper insurance coverage to protect them from business disruptions and any brand damage.
I was drawn to this practice because the challenges facing the food and beverage industry only continue to intensify. From labeling and ingredient issues, to food safety and recalls, to trademark protection, today’s manufacturers face many obstacles, and I’m happy to provide guidance and strategic counsel to them along the way.
Plus, my interest in this industry has been driven by where I make my home and my law practice. It’s no secret that Wisconsin is a manufacturing powerhouse when it comes to food and beverage production and distribution. Food consistently ranks in the top three industry categories in the state for employment, and we are regularly among the nation’s leading producers of beer, cheese, dairy, and cranberries.
And now, the state is enjoying a booming wave of entrepreneurial activity in a wide range of new arenas like distilleries and wineries, helping set the stage for the next generation of innovative businesses. I’m proud of this strong heritage and tradition of food and beverage excellence in our state, and it’s my goal to continue advocating for Wisconsin’s food and beverage companies.
What is the most exciting aspect of your work?
The most exciting aspect of my work in the Master of Science in Biotechnology Program at U.W. – Madison is the frequent, and often lively, interaction with students, alumni, faculty, and biotechnology leaders. The opportunity to discuss the fast-paced and evolving field of biotechnology with those who are experts in the field, or new to the field and just learning all of the intricacies, has given me the freedom to continue to learn and expand my expertise as well.
I garner personal and professional satisfaction in facilitating the career development of our alumni and students and in matching students and faculty with opportunities for employment, volunteering, or teaching. Working with adult students, who are motivated and passionate about biotechnology and all that it entails, provides for a very engaging career.
Although my original path as a scientist did not involve teaching, I have been drawn to it because I have found the entire process to be highly enjoyable – what topics should be covered, what laboratory activities should be included, how will student knowledge and progress be assessed, and what could be done differently the next time around. Teaching itself is like an experiment, which plays well into my natural curiosity and willingness to take on new challenges.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face as a law professor?
The biggest challenge for me – and I think it’s one shared by anyone who has to teach or work with beginning lawyers or other professionals – is remembering what it was like to be a beginner. “Know your audience” is, of course, key advice to anybody trying to communicate anything. And so I do my best to recall what it was like not to know much of anything about law or how it works, and to be mindful of that when I’m teaching. I also try to remember how old and potentially intimidating someone my age seemed when I was my students’ age.
That second one’s always kind of amusing to me, because I don’t feel all that different (or old). But I recognize that it’s part of the dynamic, and that somewhere along the way I crossed the line separating “a little bit older than me” from “about as old as my dad.” It’s usually nice, and often useful, to have that extra bit of authority, but it means that it sometimes takes a bit more work to put students at ease.
What would you do if you won an enormous lottery prize?
Jeffrey Glazer, University of Wisconsin Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, Madison.
If I won an enormous lottery prize, next month I would use the winnings and continue to do my same job, except I’d be a lot richer.