Bravo! Entrepreneur award
Keystone Insights Inc., dba Project Foundry
As chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Project Foundry, William Mortimore hangs on to memories of what his own project-based learning curriculum did for him. Though he followed a somewhat traditional education track, his eyes were opened and he became an instigator of his own education at 13, when a teacher told him he could accomplish anything he wanted.
While attending classes for his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, Mortimore and a friend launched his first startup company. Though more of a product than a business, the pair still sold more than $4 million worth and Mortimore got the bug for doing this work, he said.
He later moved to Milwaukee to help a friend run a skilled nursing facility, and in 1987 formed Merge Healthcare in the basement of his Muskego home.
Over 18 years, Mortimore led the Milwaukee-based company to become a worldwide health care IT vendor, employing more than 600 people worldwide and eventually reaching the $1 billion mark on NASDAQ.
“That was a very interesting ride,” Mortimore said. “It taught me a lot about who I am.”
After stepping away from that business, Mortimore got involved in management advisory services for several health care IT companies, but soon discovered his talents and desire for the operation and direct involvement in companies, he said.
It was his wife, Camille, a long-time educator, who led them to working with Project Foundry, he said.
Project Foundry, which originally began as a way to facilitate the mission of former Milwaukee-based nonprofit Homeboyz Interactive, is designed to support project-based learning environments. The Software as a Service is used to seamlessly manage teaching and learning in a project-based environment.
Today, Project Foundry serves more than 30,000 students at 200 schools in 25 states.