University of Wisconsin-Waukesha graduate Bill King, president of Waukesha-based marketing firm King Innovative, recently received a Bravo! Entrepreneur Award from BizTimes Milwaukee. The award honors business leaders who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit with bold leadership and innovation.
King, who attended UW-Waukesha in the late 1980s and graduated in 1990, talked to us about winning the award and his time here.
What made you pick UW-Waukesha? I enrolled shortly after high school. Most of my friends were going off to UW-Madison or Milwaukee and I knew I needed to further my education, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was paying for my own college and I didn’t see any difference between UW-Waukesha’s associate and Milwaukee or Madison’s associate, other than cost. Having grown up in the area, I was able to stay at home to save even more dollars so U-dub dub made a lot of sense to me.
In what ways do you think UW-Waukesha prepared you for your career? UW-Waukesha helped keep my head in the books and gave me the focus I needed to discover my inherent ability for marketing. I went on to complete Bryant Stratton’s marketing degree by the mid-‘90s and became partner/marketing director for an IT service firm in 1995. Looking back many of my friends that went off to school didn’t know what they wanted to do either and had more distractions than I did. I think finding your passion is a different journey for everyone, but I really needed the focus. There might be a tag line in there: “Find Your Passion.”
What are thoughts about winning a Bravo/IQ Award? It is humbling because I can think of many deserving entrepreneurs. At the same time, starting a business is the easy part. As a founder, having others recognize the value of the business is a validating experience, especially given the pool of candidates.
What advice do you have for current UW-Waukesha students who want to pursue a career in business? My advice to the future business leaders and entrepreneurs currently attending UW-Waukesha is to don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself. Surround yourself with people that tell you what you “need to hear” not what you want to hear. And, if you truly believe in what you’re doing, you can’t lose.