FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE08/11/16CONTACT: Kurt Sippel, 608-575-5660 [email protected]


‘Accidental techie’ from UW-Madison is IT entrepreneur Newswise — MADISON — The final straw landed in the middle of the night, when Kurt Sippel smashed his foot into a box laden with computer equipment at his apartment. Sippel, the solo operator of a technology assistance firm, got the message: "I've gotta get out of my apartment!”

Deliveries of computers, monitors and routers were so frequent that the UPS man had his key.

So Sippel and his young firm, Applied Tech, spent five years growing at Madison Gas & Electric’s business incubator on East Washington Avenue.

A native of rural Mt. Calvary in eastern Wisconsin’s Fond du Lac County, Sippel had worked at what was then called the La Follette Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while getting a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and applied economics. With an aptitude for technology, he gravitated to computer technology and support during the late 1980s, when the PCs invading campus were causing all kinds of consternation.

"I was hired to do economic development, outreach and data mining, and getting into tech was a slippery slope,” Sippel says. La Follette's director, Don Nichols, wanted to connect the organization (now called the La Follette School of Public Affairs) with his fellow economists. "I was decent with technology and got us connected. I got pulled into straight IT (information technology), and I became the accidental techie."

Lacking a Ph.D., Sippel saw little future at La Follette, so in 1999 he started Applied Tech Solutions and worked out of a 450-square-foot apartment on Madison’s east side. Today, the business, with 62 employees, provides computer support and technical oversight to small and mid-size companies, mainly in Wisconsin.


# # #—David Tenenbaum, 608-265-8549, [email protected]