MADE IN MKE: The Founders’ Stories.

How four alumni entrepreneurs are making their marks on your water, where you sleep, the beer you drink, and your better health. Join this lightning round to hear from 4 innovators in 40 minutes! #UWMMKEEngineerAlumniProud!



Ali Bakhshinejad (’18 PhD Mechanical Engineering), President and CEO, VasoGnosis

Dr Bakhshinejad is the founder and CEO of VasoGnosis, named one of 20 Wisconsin Startups to Watch in 2020 by WisconsinInno. VasoGnosis provides AI-powered diagnostic and surgical planning software as a service for cerebrovascular diseases. He founded VasoGnosis based on his PhD dissertation on brain aneurysms. After finishing his PhD, he started a postdoc fellowship position at the Medical College of Wisconsin, which he had to step away from in order to launch the company.




Carrie Bristoll Groll (’94 BS Civil Engineering),  Owner, Stormwater Solutions Engineering, LLC and StormGUARDen, LLC

Carrie has been working in the field of stormwater engineering since earning her degree, as a Stormwater Engineer for the Cities of Milwaukee and Brookfield, Wisconsin, prior to founding SSE in 2002SSE is located at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee and has a team of nine professionals who design stormwater, green infrastructure, water quality and flood control practices for municipal, transportation, water agency and private clients.  






Ben Caya (’12 BS Mechanical Engineering), President, Spike Brewing

Ben grew up about 45 minutes west of Milwaukee in Wales, WI. He has been entrepreneurial from a young age, starting his first business at age 12, when he imported t-shirts from China. Since then a few more businesses popped up along the way, including what would become Spike Brewing in 2011. Spike was a semi full time job throughout college while juggling studying, working at Briggs and Stratton as a mechanical engineering co-op student, president of the UWM club football team as well as typical college activities like spending Thursday nights on Water Street. Spike was originally a way to make a few extra bucks for Ben’s weekend beer fund but has since grown into a nationally recognized brand with a highly skilled team working out of our facility in Milwaukee, WI.



Jesse DePinto (’13 BS Mechanical Engineering), Co-founder & Chief Growth Officer Frontdesk

Jesse is a growth-oriented serial entrepreneur with a passion for technology. Along with his co-founder and talented team, Jesse started Frontdesk in 2017 and helped the company grow from scratch into an 80 employee, $12m revenue run rate technology company in less than three years. Jesse is a proud husband and father of two boys, and a complete nerd at heart.