Tag Archives: UW-Madison alumni

PerBlue founders among Forward Under 40 honorees

Justin Beck (left) and Forrest Woolworth (right)

Justin Beck (left) and Forrest Woolworth (right)

Justin Beck ’09 and Forrest Woolworth ’09 (both computer engineering and computer sciences) are among the nine exceptional young University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni honored with the 2013 Forward under 40 awards, presented by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. All recipients are living examples of the Wisconsin Idea, the guiding philosophy upon which this award is based, and honorees were featured in the sixth edition of Forward under 40, a publication distributed in March 2013 to UW-Madison alumni and WAA members.

For those still stuck in the Pac Man era, video games may seem like nothing more than child’s play. But these days, video games are big business.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, computer and video game sales topped $16 billion in 2011. And thanks to Justin Beck and Forrest Woolworth, Wisconsin is a major player in the industry.

Their company, PerBlue — a mobile and social gaming company based in Madison — created Parallel Kingdom, the world’s first location-based role-playing game that uses GPS locations to place players in a virtual world on top of the real world. It now has more than 1 million registered accounts and helped PerBlue become the third-largest video game company in the state.

“We started small,” recalls Beck, “a team of six squeezed into every inch of my 700-square-foot apartment in downtown Madison. Today, three years after the founding of PerBlue, we now employ over 30 full-time employees.”

And while Parallel Kingdom remains PerBlue’s primary focus, in 2012, the company launched Parallel Mafia and Parallel Zombies, two more location-based games. PerBlue also ventured into casual games this past year with Bugduster, Bob vs. Bear, and Boardtastic.

For Beck and Woolworth, though, the game they’re really in to win is the entrepreneurial one. And both owe their business ambitions to UW-Madison. Read more about the duo here.

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Badger Engineer Recalls Working With Steve Jobs

Michael DhueyMichael Dhuey (BSECE, ’80) worked at the forefront of several computer breakthroughs. During his 25 years at Apple Computing, he worked on the Lisa Project, which laid the foundation for the Macintosh. He also developed hardware for the little tool that’s become omnipresent: the iPod. We last talked with Dhuey in 2008. VentureBeat, a blog on innovation, more recently talked to him about his experiences with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Read the article here.
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Three Engineering Alums Named to WAA’s ‘Forward Under 40′

Three of the 13 UW-Madison alumni recognized in the 2011 “Forward Under 40″ awards, which recognize early-career achievement, are Badger engineers. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association, “Forward Under 40” shines a light on alumni who are making a difference both professionally and in the lives of others. Included in this year’s winners are 1997 Chemical and Biological Engineering alumnus Dalia Mogahed, a Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; 1996 Mechanical Engineering alumnus Anthony Eggert, the Deputy Secretary for Energy Policy at the California EPA; and 2009 Master of Engineering Professional Practice alumnus Rudy Quiles, a Civilian Affairs Officer with the United States Marine Corps.

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Field Reports: Mark Scheuer on Engineering an American Dream

Mark Scheuer, CEO of PS Engineering in Knoxville, Tenn.

Mark Scheuer, a 1982 graduate of electrical and computer engineering, has turned a lifelong fascination with electronics into a dream company building audio control systems for the aerospace industry. Yet it was hardly a straight path from tinkering in a basement workshop to a degree in electrical engineering. Scheuer is sharing his story of overcoming academic challenges in the hopes it will push young people in similar circumstances to follow their dreams. (more…)

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Field Reports: Matt Younkle of murfie.com in Madison

TurboTap Founder Matt Younkle

With 2011 Innovation Days right around the corner, we decided to catch up with one of the early champions of the competition: Matt Younkle (ECE, ‘97). Younkle parlayed his success in the 1996 Schoofs Prize into the highly successful TurboTap, a fast-pouring beer dispenser used in sports stadiums across the globe. Today, he’s launching a new venture called murfie.com. Younkle is writing the first installment of Field Reports, which will feature first-person accounts from UW-Madison engineering alums. (more…)

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Graduating at Age 94 — With an Engineering Assist

UW-Madison Communications posted a great article about Lyle Francis Robert Knudson, who at age 94 may be the eldest degree recipient in UW history. As an undergraduate senior in 1941, Knudson was called to World War II active duty in the U.S. Navy — on June 13, the same day of his last two final exams.

Knudson’s journey to a business degree almost seven decades later received a nice boost from Joseph Battenburg, a 1967 PhD graduate in mechanical engineering. Battenburg went to bat for Knudson as soon as he learned of his neighbor’s amazing story.

“Being a Wisconsin grad myself, I felt that something should be done to assist him,” says Battenburg. “Many universities have given students credit or degrees for life experiences, or because they have had their studies interrupted or at one time were refused admission to universities.”

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