Promega: The Epitome Of A 21st Century Company
The great thing about being a reporter is the license it gives you to ask questions. For this Isthmus cover story, it meant I could learn about one of Dane County’s signature high-tech companies, Promega biotech.
“Capitalism with a soul” is how Huffington Post recently described the Promega operation in a lengthy appreciation of its philosophy. Allen Dines, who works in UW-Madison’s Office of Corporate Relations, put it another way: “Promega is the epitome of a 21st-century company.”
Credit founder Bill Linton, whose fascination with life at the cellular level is matched by his curiosity over the meaning of life itself. François Ortalo-Magné, dean of UW-Madison’s Wisconsin School of Business, puts Linton in the very top rank of business leaders he’s met.
“They all share a passion for deep, long-term questions,” says Ortalo-Magné. “It’s beyond strategy. It’s beyond operations. It’s about what makes us unique as humans.”
Not without his critics, Linton ranks with Epic’s Judith Faulkner as Dane County’s signature entrepreneur. And as with Faulkner at the privately held Epic, there are concerns what happens to Promega when Linton, 66, passes from the scene.
To which Linton’s matter-of-fact reply is: He’s working on a 100-year plan for Promega.
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