Young Alumni Who Mean Business
Meet the 2015 Forward under 40 honorees.
The Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) is honoring nine entrepreneurs and leaders who are making standout contributions in their communities with the Forward under 40 award.
Now in their ninth year, the Forward under 40 awards recognize UW–Madison alumni under the age of forty who are making a significant impact on the world by upholding the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that the university leverages its knowledge to improve the world beyond its borders. All of this year’s winners have shown a knack for incorporating community service into their businesses or careers, whatever those may be.
The 2015 award recipients are:
- Heidi Allstop ’10, who earned her degree in psychology, is managing director of MeToo and chief executive officer and founder of Spill, Inc., an online forum where students can anonymously share difficulties and receive peer responses. Allstop worked with mentors to grow Spill, Inc. into an empathy powerhouse that encompasses young people from nearly 250 campuses in twenty-four countries. Spill recently became part of MeToo, a social network where users of all ages anonymously connect around life experiences.
- Jason (Jay) Blasi ’00 is one of the youngest contributing golf architects ever to design a U.S. Open course. His work with Robert Trent Jones II at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Washington, reclaimed a former sand and gravel mine on the shores of Puget Sound and earned national rankings as the number two most eco-friendly course and the number one municipal course. Blasi’s work, drawing on his degree in landscape architecture, also includes ties to the UW’s University Ridge golf course and SentryWorld in Stevens Point.
- Jill Carey ’08 taught on the south side of Chicago as part of Teach for America for more than two years. In 2013, she co-founded Smarty Pants Yoga, a girl-power and literacy-enrichment program for elementary school girls that teaches emotional, social, and physical health. The organization has reached more than one thousand girls in the Chicago area, and the partners plan to take it nationwide. Carey earned her degree in journalism and mass communication and is a former editor-in-chief of the Daily Cardinal.
- Omai Garner ’01, who earned his UW degree in genetics and bacteriology, is a faculty member at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Medicine and is in charge of infectious-disease testing at UCLA’s hospital, where he helps manage a team of seventy lab scientists who process more than one million laboratory tests a year. A former Chancellor’s Scholar, he is co-founder and chair of the Social Justice Learning Institute in Inglewood, California, and co-chair of the Chancellor’s Scholars and Powers-Knapp Alumni Community in Los Angeles.
- Jonny Hunter ’05, MPA’11 founded the Underground Food collective while a student. It now includes Underground Butcher; Forequarter Restaurant, nominated for best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation; Underground Meats, winner of three Good Food awards and recognized for its sustainability; and Underground Catering. The company works with more than one hundred small Wisconsin farms. Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s from the La Follette School of Public Affairs.
- Joe Kirgues JD’08 and Troy Vosseller ’06, MBA’09, JD’10 are co-founders of gener8tor, a startup accelerator program, that, to date, has launched more than thirty companies. Prior to founding gener8tor, Vosseller’s ventures included launching apparel company Sconnie Nation. Kirgues was an associate at Quarles & Brady and later at 94labs, an angel-investment and seed incubator located in Milwaukee and Madison. They contribute their expertise to the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic of the UW Law School, where they earned their JDs. Vosseller also earned UW-Madison degrees in history/history of science, economics, and political science, as well as an MBA in entrepreneurial management.
- Trevon Logan ’99, a former Chancellor’s Scholar who earned his degree in economics, is now an associate professor of economics at The Ohio State University. He is the youngest-ever president of the National Economic Association, director of undergraduate studies, and adviser to the Undergraduate Economics Society. He also earned the OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2014. He has advised senior White House officials and serves on an American Economic Association committee that advocates for minorities in the profession.
- Gabriel Stulman ’03 is a restaurateur and entrepreneur in New York who discovered his passion while working in restaurants at the UW, where he earned his degree in history and political science. While initially coined “Little Wisco” because of the many Wisconsinites on staff, Stulman’s family of six restaurants is now called Happy Cooking Hospitality. Stulman was included in a 40 Under 40 list by Crain’s New York Business and was named Restaurateur of the Year by Esquire magazine in 2012.
For more information, visit uwalumni.com/awards.
Published in the Spring 2015 issue