Join us at 4 outstanding (and free!) programs in the 2020-21 series!

Investment Strategy
Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 12:00-1:15 pm CST
•  Brian Jacobsen, Senior Strategist, Wells Fargo
•  Francois Trahan, Head of U.S. Equity Strategy, UBS

State of the Economy: Discussion with Wisconsin Business Executives
Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 12:00-1:15 pm CST
Presenters tba
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The Evolving Role of VC in the Innovation Economy and PE Trends and Themes in the Age of COVID-19
•  John Neis, Executive Managing Director, Venture Investors LLC
•  Michael Rogers, Principal (retired), Ernst & Young
•  Pete Witte, Associate Director, U.S. Private Equity, Ernst & Young

Watch now!

ESG and EVA: Making the World Better While Generating Solid Returns
•  Anthony Campagna, Global Director of Fundamental Research, Institutional
Shareholder Services
•  Patricia Dörig, ESG Analyst, Institutional Shareholder Services

Watch now!

The Evolving Role of VC in the Innovation Economy and PE Trends and Themes in the Age of COID-19

Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 12:00-1:15 pm CST


John Neis
Executive Managing Director, Venture Investors LLC

Michael Rogers
Principal (retired), Ernst & Young

Pete Witte
Associate Director, U.S. Private Equity, Ernst & Young

Venture capital has played a key role in the United States’ economic leadership over the last 40 years, fueling the formation of new industries and propelling the highest growth sectors of the economy. Over that period, a cottage industry that was concentrated in three states has become increasingly institutionalized and global. We will discuss the evolution and the implications. We will also review the recent market themes and long-term secular drivers of the private equity markets. Trends in fundraising, deal activity, exits and leveraged finance will also be explored, as well as the shift in capital formation from public sources of capital to private, and the implications for investors, regulators, and other capital markets participants.

Register now!

Sponsored by:

FTSE Russell is the global provider of benchmarks, analytics, and data solutions with multi-asset capabilities.


John Neis is Executive Managing Director of Venture
Investors LLC, a manager of early stage healthcare focused venture capital funds, where he has served since 1985.

John has extensive experience as a director of portfolio companies, including his current directorships at Cellectar BioSciences, Prevacept Infection Control, Delphinus Medical Technologies, and Health Scholars. He has experience in assisting companies from inception to public markets. He joined the Board of Third Wave Technologies, Inc. when they had three employees and served through the initial public offering (they were subsequently acquired by Hologic for $580 million), and he joined the Board of TomoTherapy, Inc. when they had one employee and served through their public offering, which was the fourth largest healthcare IPO in the first decade of the millennium. Other notable past directorships included NimbleGen Systems, Inc., which was acquired by Roche for $272.5 million, and Inviragen, which was acquired by Takeda for up to $250 million. John was appointed by the Governor to the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Technology Council, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt corporation organized to serve as the science and technology advisor to Wisconsin’s Governor and Legislature. He is also serving on the Board of the Wisconsin Venture Capital Association and on the Board of Trustees at the Morgridge Institute for Research. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Weinert Applied Ventures Entrepreneurship Program in the School of Business, and serves as Chairman of the Board of Advisors at Tandem Press, a fine art printer, in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was twice named to the Midas List, a Forbes Magazine list of the top 100 tech dealmakers in the world.

John graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Utah, and received a Master of Science in Marketing and Finance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Michael Rogers, now retired, was a Principal in EY’s US Private Equity practice with 31 years of corporate advisory and finance experience – 16 years in Big 4 management consulting (EY), and 15 years in global corporate and investment banking (Bank of America Merrill Lynch). In 2016 he became EY’s US Private Equity Origination Leader focusing on sourcing transaction opportunities for the largest private equity clients in the US. Additionally, he coordinated firm services to three New York based private equity firms. In 2013 he became EY’s Global Deputy Private Equity Leader in New York with responsibility for the firm’s private equity channel marketing strategy to funds and their investees in developed, emerging, and frontier markets with a particular focus on Latin America.  Previously, Michael spent three years in London as Global Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) Markets Partner driving go-to-market strategies across EY’s TAS practice globally.

In 2010 he designed and implemented the Capital Agenda Partner Training Program which enhanced participants’ business acumen. This program has become widely adopted across service lines and firm geographies. Prior to his assignment in London, Michael was the TAS Southwest Region Leader located in Dallas where he led TAS client teams on Wal-Mart Stores and global protein leader Tyson Foods. He began his career with EY in 2001 as Managing Director in the US Corporate Finance practice (EYCF) in Atlanta focusing on M&A, capital raising and restructuring in the consumer space.  Prior to joining the firm he was with Bank of America Merrill Lynch for 15 years where he last acted as Head of Food and Beverage Global Corporate and Investment Banking based in Chicago covering some of the largest clients in the industry.

Michael received his BSM from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and his MBA from the Tippie School of Management at the University of Iowa. He has completed executive education at the Harvard Business School (1998, 1999) and The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (2007).  Michael is also a member of the Wake Forest University School of Business Board of Visitors in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Pete Witte is an Associate Director in EY’s private equity group, leading EY’s research and analysis initiatives in the PE space. He manages a global team of industry analysts to produce insights and thought leadership designed to keep industry practitioners informed about topics and trends across a range of dimensions, including fundraising, structuring, acquisitions, value creation, and the emerging markets.

Pete joined EY in 2008 from Morgan Stanley, where he was an equities trader in the firm’s Venture Capital Services Group, working with VC funds and their LPs to provide liquidity management. Prior to that, he was an Associate at Deutsche Bank, where he managed the liquidation of over 1,000 VC and PE stock distributions.

A recognized authority on the industry, Pete has been quoted in publications including Buyouts, PE Hub, The Deal, Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times on a range of topics impacting PE. He currently sits on EMPEA’s Latin America Council, and is a member of the CFA Society of Chicago.

Peter earned is BA and BS degrees from Miami University and is a CFA Charterholder.

Past Events

Defining Markets events have been held since 2011. Our most recent events include:

September, 2019

Equity Investing
Brian Hellmer, Managing Director, Public Equities, State of Wisconsin Investment Board
Matt Rose (moderator), Consultant, Alpha Investment Consulting Group

Investment Strategy
Jeff deGraaf, Chairman, Renaissance Macro Research LLC
William Delwiche, Managing Director and Investment Strategist, Robert W. Baird & Co.
Mike Roth (moderator), Founding Principal, Stark Investments

IoT: Can It Solve the U.S. Productivity Problem?
David Aho, Director of Engineering, Eaton Corp. Power Systems Division
Joe Mariani, Research Manager, Deloitte Services LP
David Vasko, Director of Advanced Technology, Rockwell Automation
Kathleen Gallagher (moderator), Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist and Executive-in-Residence, UWM Lubar School of Business

Main Issues Transforming the Global Economy & Health Care
January, 2018

Healthcare Panel

Kathleen Gallagher, (Moderator), Pulitzer Prize winner & Executive-in-Residence, Lubar School of Business
Mike Anderes, (Speaker), Chief Innovation & Digital Officer for Froedtert Health and President of Inception Health
Coreen Dicus-Johnson, (Speaker), President & Chief Executive Officer of Network Health
Catherine Jacobson, (Speaker), President & Chief Executive Officer of Froedtert Health
Brian Pinsker, (Speaker), Healthcare Portfolio Manager/CEO of 11:11 Capital, former head of North American Equities for Proprietary Trading Business of JP Morgan

Investment Strategy Panel
Bob Bukowski, (Moderator), Principal & Senior Consultant, Alpha Investment Consulting Group
Scott Opsal, (Speaker), Director of Equities for Leuthold Weeden Capital Management
Michael Roth, (Speaker), Founding Principal of Stark Investments

Technical Analysis and the VIX as a Market Indicator, November 9, 2016
Philip J. Roth, CMT, Market Technicians Association Educational Foundation
Russell Rhoads, CFA, Director of Education, CBOE Options Institute
Kevin Spellman, CFA, David O. Nicholas Director of Investment Management (Moderator)

Investment Strategy and the Next Boom, October 28, 2015
Dennis DeBusschere, Senior Managing Director, Portfolio Strategy, Evercore ISI
Doug Ramsey, Chief Investment Officer, The Leuthold Group
Jack Plunkett, CEO, Plunkett Research, Ltd.
Joseph Veranth, Chief Investment Officer & Portfolio Manager, Dana Investment Advisors (Moderator)

Investment Strategy, Geopolitics & Strategic Surprise, February 24, 2015
Tobias Levkovich, Managing Director and Chief U.S. Strategist, Citigroup
Francois Trahan, Partner and Investment Strategist, Cornerstone Macro
Dr. Milo Jones, Visiting Professor, IE Business School in Madrid
Joseph Veranth, Chief Investment Officer & Portfolio Manager, Dana Investment Advisors (moderator)

Business Outlook and M&A Capital Use Trends, September 24, 2014
Ted Crandall, Senior Vice President & CFO, Rockwell Automation
Christopher Goller, Regional President, PNC Bank
Ron Miller, Managing Director, Cleary Gull
David Westgate, CEO, Jason Industries

For More Information

Dr. G. Kevin Spellman, CFA
Senior Lecturer, Finance
David O. Nicholas Director of Investment Management
Lubar Hall S442
(608) 334-2110