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Lorrie Heinemann recognized for service to WiSys, regional UW institutions

Lorrie Heinemann, middle, accepts an award for destinquished service on the WiSys Board of Trustees from WiSys President Arjun Sanga, left, and WiSys board chair David Ward, right.

MADISON—WiSys recognized Lorrie Heinemann, emeritus member of WiSys’ Board of Trustees, for her long and distinguished service to the organization in May.

Heinemann served on the WiSys Board of Trustees from 2008 until 2022. During her time on the board, she was elected Secretary of the Board and Chair of the WiSys Finance, Audit and Administration Committee.

She contributed to WiSys’ growth as a statewide organization supporting research, innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin System’s 11 regional institutions.

“Lorrie was a valued member of the WiSys board. She brought a wealth of experience and chaired the Finance committee during a period of incredible growth of the organization,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “WiSys and the regional UW institutions are better off for her contributions.”

Heinemann has been an entrepreneur and angel investor for more than 30 years.

From 2003 to 2010, Heinemann served as the Cabinet Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), the agency that oversees banking and securities regulation and corporate registrations. Heinemann co-founded the Wisconsin Angel Network with the Wisconsin Technology Council (WTC) in 2004. 

Currently, Heinemann is the president/CEO of the Madison Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that owns and manages 352 affordable workforce housing units in the Madison area and provides gap financing to businesses in Dane County. Since 1977, MDC has provided loans to more than 450 businesses totaling over $35 million, helping to create over 5,000 quality jobs in Dane County. 

“I feel really proud of my involvement in the entrepreneurial world,” she said. “I really enjoyed bringing that perspective to the board.”

During her time with WiSys, the organization expanded its services for entrepreneurs, including launching the WiSys VentureHome program, which is a network of startup hubs in communities with UW System institutions that offer entrepreneurs “everything your startup needs under one roof.”

As one of the longest serving board members in WiSys history, Heinemann also saw the growth of WiSys from its early years as a nascent technology transfer office into a multidimensional organization supporting a wide range of research, innovation and entrepreneurship endeavors, including making students a more central focus for the organization.

“The students were the reason I stayed on the board for so long,” Heinemann said. “It is so much fun to see students get opportunities. I love that part.”

Heinemann received her MBA in Finance from UW Oshkosh and her BBA in Business from UW-Eau Claire. She is the youngest of 12 children of Mary Lou and Joseph Keating who were both UW-Madison alums and who helped finance their children’s 18 UW degrees – from bachelor’s degrees to masters degrees to a Ph.D.

“I enjoyed being on the board and enjoyed working with WiSys leadership. I enjoyed the camaraderie and was constantly learning,” she said.

WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.