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Wisconsin Roundup: Epic, Promega, White House Demo Day, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Here is a collection of the latest headlines from Wisconsin’s tech and innovation community:

—Verona-based Epic Systems lost a high-profile bid for a $4.3 billion, 10-year contract to modernize the electronic health records system for the U.S. Department of Defense. Epic submitted a joint bid with IBM, but the military ended up going with a partnership between Epic competitor Cerner, Accenture Federal, and Leidos. Winning the contract would undoubtedly have spelled even more growth for Epic, which has expanded rapidly over the past several years.

—Milwaukee businessman Sheldon Lubar and his wife, Marianne, announced a $10 million donation to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to build an entrepreneurship center on campus bearing their last name, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported. The university’s business school is also named after the active philanthropists.

—The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded a $50,000 grant to the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium’s startup accelerator WERCBench Labs. The award is from the same program that doled out $50,000 grants a year ago to Milwaukee’s VictorySpark accelerator for veterans and Racine’s Launch Box Growth Accelerator.

—Meanwhile, the SBA announced another $50,000 grant to the city of Milwaukee (among other winning municipalities) to create a website to help entrepreneurs more easily set up businesses. The grant was part of the federal agency’s “Startup in a Day” program.

—Promega shareholders Ted Kellner and Nathan Brand are trying to purchase a majority of the private company’s shares and replace CEO Bill Linton, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Linton founded the Madison-area life sciences research products business in 1978 and has grown it to 1,348 employees worldwide and $367 million in annual revenue, but the activist shareholders have concerns with the direction of the company under Linton, the newspaper reported.

—Madison software startup Export Abroad was among the companies chosen to pitch at a startup demo day held at the White House this week, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

—The Water Council and Milwaukee developer HKS Holdings have purchased a warehouse near the council’s Global Water Center, with plans to turn it into a second location to house water tech startups and larger water-related businesses, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported. The first center is at capacity.

—Glendale-based Johnson Controls said it plans to expand the production of “start-stop” vehicle batteries at its Toledo, OH, factory. The technology shuts off the engine when the car is idling and restarts it when the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal. During that gap, the vehicle’s electrical systems pull energy from an advanced lead-acid battery, instead of the gas-powered engine. That can reduce fuel consumption by 5 percent versus traditional technology, the company said.

—Life sciences products supplier SciLog will close its Madison office, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.