Engineers’ Day 2013: Jeffrey Sprecher (BSCBE ’78)

The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering will honor the achievements of eight distinguished alumni during the 66th annual Engineers’ Day celebration on Friday, October 11, 2013. These honorees demonstrate the diverse and profound impact UW-Madison engineers have on industry and academia. In the lead-up to the event, Badger Engineers will be sharing bios of all the award recipients.

Engineers’ Day festivities will begin with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the lobby of Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive. Seminars will begin at 8:30 in Room 1610 of Engineering Hall. The evening banquet and awards ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Drive.

NOTE: Jeffrey Sprecher will also give a free talk on Friday, October 11 at 2 p.m. at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Full details here.

In December of 2012, Atlanta-based CEO Jeff Sprecher embarked on a corporate adventure that would capture the attention—not to mention amazement—of the international financial world: The purchase of the iconic New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Before the big NYSE news, Sprecher, who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical and biological engineering in 1978, had been steadily cultivating more than a decade of success as founder, chairman and CEO of IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) of Atlanta, a global operator of derivatives exchanges and clearing houses. Beginning in 2000, Sprecher transformed ICE from a focus on energy markets, into a broad range of traded asset classes including agriculture, credit derivatives, emissions, equity indexes and foreign exchange.

ICE went public in 2005, listing its stock on the NYSE. By 2010, Forbes magazine had named ICE the nation’s fastest-growing financial services company.

But Sprecher’s latest acquisition will merge the Internet-based cutting edge of ICE with the time-honored, people-driven clamor of the NYSE trading floor. In an era of “flash crashes” and other challenges related to unfettered computer-generated trading, Sprecher hopes to provide a fresh perspective on market structure challenges and is leveraging the acquisition to promote the dialogue on these issues.

A Madison native, Sprecher graduated from UW-Madison in 1978 and began his engineering career with industrial company Trane in La Crosse and in southern California, while also working nights and weekends to earn his MBA from Pepperdine University. In 1984, Sprecher began his entrepreneurial quest as a partner in Western Power Group in Newport Beach, a developer, owner and operator of large power plants in California. Sprecher purchased the Atlanta-based Continental Power Exchange in 1997, which he would ultimately transform into ICE in 2000.

His leadership of ICE has earned him many accolades, including finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program (2002) and finalist in the “MarketWatch CEO of the Year” award (2006). That same year, The Wall Street Journal recognized ICE’s stock as the top one-year performer.

Sprecher serves on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Global Market Advisory Committee, the Energy Security Leadership Council, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Buckhead Coalition, and Atlanta Committee for Progress.

Sprecher and his wife, Kelly Loeffler, are highly active in the Atlanta community in fundraising and philanthropy. Loeffler is an accomplished executive as vice president of corporate affairs at ICE, and as co-owner and co-chairman of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, the first women-owned professional sports team in Atlanta.

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