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Dan Olszewski has been the Director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business for the past 8 years.

Prior to joining UW-Madison, Dan was CEO and Chairman of Parts Now! during which time revenues increased from $26MM to over $400MM and he led the successful buyout in 1999.

For much more click below to watch! [Video & mp3 included]


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What will you learn in this interview?

  • What was it like for him taking computer science back in the day?
  • What were his inspirations as a child?
  • What is his favorite game and why?
  • What did he learn while interning at IBM?
  • Why is talking with your customers so mportant?
  • What were some moments that customer comments changed the company approach?
  • How can having a management team with equity makes a great impact?
  • How do you keep a team excited about change when most people don’t easily accept change?
  • What do you need to consider when thinking of buying into a company?
  • Who are his mentors and what have they taught him?
  • What’s the best and hardest part of his job at UW-Madison?


Dan was president of his class in UW and one of the semi-finalists for a role in the movie “Back to School” with Rodney Dangerfield.

Business Mentors, Tools, Books mentioned:

  • Steve Jobs
  • Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
  • “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Douglas Milroy – Chief Executive Officer of G&K Services Inc.

A little background about Dan Olszewski:

Dan Olszewski is the Director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business.

He teaches the capstone Entrepreneurship WAVE course and was one of the co-founders of the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp(WEB) program for UW graduate students enrolled in the sciences and engineering.

Prior to joining the UW, Olszewski was CEO and Chairman of Parts Now! during which time revenues increased from $26MM to over $400MM from the organic growth of Parts Now! and the acquisition of Katun Corp. With the assistance of private equity sponsors, he led the successful buyout of the founder in 1999.

Before joining Parts Now! Olszewski was a consultant at McKinsey and Company, with a focus on strategy, supply chain, technology and finance. He has also worked for IBM, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance in Tokyo.

Olszewski currently serves on the board of First Business Bank, Inc. and the Henry Vilas Zoological Society. He has previous served on the boards of Parts Now! LLC, Sologear LLC, World Data Products, Inc., and Wisconsin Public Television.

Olszewski graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Computer Science, and received an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Courses he has taught at University of Wisconsin:

Undergraduate Courses:

  • Fundamentals of Business for Non-Business Majors

Graduate Courses:

  • Contemporary Topics
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship(WAVE) Practicum 1 & 2

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