Marketing executive and investor Gary Gigot to kick off Innovation Center Speaker Series

April 06, 2011

Green Bay native Gary Gigot comes to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Monday, April 11, to talk about the promising potential of startup companies.

Gigot will speak at Timmerman Auditorium in Timothy J. Hyland Hall from 6 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the new Innovation Center Speaker Series. The event is free and open to the public.Gary Gigot

"This will give people a chance to hear from someone with highly relevant experience," said Peter Zaballos, senior vice president of product for StudyBlue, a Madison-based startup that helps high school and college students study online. "Gary will help reinforce that ambition and challenge our own visions about what we think is possible."

Gigot is an expert at identifying startup companies with the vision to create a new category of products.

He served as vice president of marketing at Microsoft from 1990-1994, where he helped launch the company's Office and Windows products to the marketplace. From 1994 to 1999, Gigot was an investor in Visio Corporation and signed on as its chief marketing officer, where he played a central role in positioning Visio as the leader in business drawing software. Currently, he works as an adviser and private investor with Optimum Energy, a Seattle-based startup that helps significantly reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings.

Gigot's presentation, "Startups and exits: creating category-defining companies," will focus on the characteristics of successful startup companies, and how universities and communities can help foster and support them.

Although he's traveled extensively working for global companies, Gigot hasn't forgotten his roots. An active philanthropist, he founded the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater.

"Gary is a great example of an ambitious, talented person keeping his Midwestern ties alive," Zaballos said. "The Innovation Center and Whitewater University Technology Park can provide UW-Whitewater alumni a relevant place to get involved, enrich the experience for entrepreneurs and make the community more successful."

Gigot's appearance comes two months after the opening of the Innovation Center -- an incubator for new technologies where inventors and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to advance their ideas. The building is in Whitewater University Technology Park on the city's east side.


Sara Kuhl