'Concept to Commercialization' Focus of March 18 UNL ARD 'Big Idea Seminars'

Feb. 26, 2014

            LINCOLN, Neb. — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research Division's "Big Idea Seminars" will continue with a March 18 panel discussion, "From Concept to Commercialization: Three Professionals on 'Making It' in the Global Marketplace", from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 1040 P St. in Lincoln.

            Walter T. Wilhelm, Joan Mudget and Paul Taylor will lead the panel discussion and Q&A, which is a featured event of the Center for Entrepreneurship's EntrepreneuringDays@UNL March 18-19.

            The ARD's seminar series builds big ideas and collaborations among faculty members not only at UNL, but across all University of Nebraska campuses.

            "Each of these successful executives knows that entrepreneurship is a big and broad idea that can be framed in many ways," said Michael James, professor and chair of textiles, merchandising and fashion design at UNL, and one of the co-organizers of the event. "They've each had to parse out the notion of entrepreneurship and to look at it from different standpoints."

            Panelists' individual and collective experience will help them answer these and related questions:

– What does it look like to transition from an idea to actual commercialization?

– How do you take undervalued assets and make real opportunity with them?

– How do you build market share and make that market work for you?

            Wilhelm, chairman of Walter Wilhelm Associates LLC, is recognized as one of the most innovative and connected executives in the soft goods industry, and one of the pioneers in creating and implementing technology to streamline the product design and development processes.

            WWA is a Utah-based boutique consulting organization that helps retail and brand clients refine "front-end" processes.   

            Wilhelm has held senior positions in retailing, manufacturing and technology sales and development. He has extensive experience domestically, as well as internationally, having opened six offices in Europe and four in Asia. 

            Mudget, current vice president of global product quality at lululemon, is leading a fast-paced retailer through a major reorganization of their quality assurance functions.

            Her knowledge of the international sourcing markets and supplier management experience has allowed her to hold senior level positions with some of the world's most prestigious brands.

            Formerly, Mudget was vice president of product integrity at JCPenney, vice president of international labor standards at The Walt Disney Company, vice president of supply chain at The Nordstrom Product Group and vice president of sourcing and quality at Lands' End.

            Taylor's latest venture is Long Splice Design, an apparel development and sourcing company.

            Long Splice Design took root from the experience Taylor gained after founding Arborwear, an outdoor work wear company, which he headed for 12 years.

            Taylor has built on the experience gained from one business venture and refining it in the next. He thrives on both the highs and the lows of retail entrepreneurship.

            In addition to their participation in the Big Idea Seminar during EntrepreneuringDays@UNL, the speakers will meet students and faculty in regularly scheduled classes the mornings of March 18 and 19.

            They will be on UNL's East Campus in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, 234 Home Economics Building, and in the School of Natural Resources, 101 Hardin Hall.

            For more information about times and locations, contact Sharon Reeder in TMFD at 402-472-2911 or Amanda Bergeron-Bauer in SNR at 402-472-7471.

            For more information about the ARD's Big Idea Seminars, including upcoming seminars, visit the website at bigideaseminars.unl.edu.

            The ARD's Big Idea Seminar series is in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This series is a joint endeavor of the ARD, Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and the Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration.

Michael James
Professor and Chair
Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design

Tom Field, Ph.D.
Paul Engler Chair of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship
Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program

Diane Vigna, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design

Sandi Alswager Karstens
IANR News Service

Click here for a photo of Joan Mudget

Click here for a photo of Walter Wilhelm

Click here for a larger photo of Paul Taylor

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