The Commons

Todd Teske
The Commons co-chair
President & CEO, Briggs & Stratton

Jonas Prising
The Commons co-chair
Chairman & CEO, ManpowerGroup

Michael Lovell
The Commons co-chair
President, Marquette University

Talent is a strategic advantage for the state of Wisconsin, but we still face the issue of many students choosing to leave the state after graduation. As a solution to address the issue of this departing talent, The Commons was founded to create a strategic link between the region’s most interesting and motivated students, the academic community and business community in order to drive the growth of a strong talent pipeline and regional economy.


Through a blend of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation principles, plus a diverse network of mentoring professionals, The Commons delivers a truly unique, real-world experience that allows students from 24 colleges and universities in southeast Wisconsin to work on an innovation challenge presented by local corporations or explore their own startup idea.


At the end of the day, the program is not about project work, final deliverables, or starting companies - it’s about talent development and retention. The projects and overall process pushes students to develop skills needed for an entrepreneurial mindset: collaboration, communication, creativity, critical-thinking, confidence, flexibility, persistence, curiosity, risk-taking and focus. The diverse teams, mentor interactions and community support changes students’ perceptions of the region and helps them establish roots in



To put it simply: The Commons has proven that great talent is more likely to seek local opportunities when they can meet cool people, work on cool projects and do it all in a cool place.

Visit The Commons website.

Recent news stories & updates.

Questions? Contact Michael Hostad, Joe Poeschl or Maggie Dauss.

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