Alumni National Awards

Opus College of Engineering Award Recipients


ButlerMichael S. Butler, Eng '95

Saint Charles, Ill.

Mike has some advice for budding entrepreneurs: “When leaning into entrepreneurialism, be obsessed with your vision.” And impressionable innovators may want to take heed. Mike is president and CEO of Life Spine, a multimillion-dollar spinal surgical tool and implant product company — his eighth professional startup and one of four companies he currently operates. Life Spine has brought to market more than 60 product families, focusing on micro-invasive technology. Holding more than 120 issued patents and 180 pending applications, the company is in the top-five innovative Chicago companies on the Eureka Index. 

“The most rewarding part of working within the medical-device community is impacting the quality of life for patients around the world,” he says.

With a career spanning more than 20 years, Mike has worked at Abbott Laboratories, Richard Wolf Medical, Visionary Biomedical, Microbrush and Eli Lilly. During this time, he successfully brought more than 300 medical devices or pharmaceuticals to market.

Mike believes Marquette’s holistic approach to engineering education helped him develop an ability to move in many directions simultaneously. “Our education was NOT just math; conversely, it encompassed the arts, theology and communications,” he says. “This is very valuable in developing divergent frameworks of thinking.”

Recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the city’s 40 Under 40, Mike has received several other recognitions, but considers nothing possibly more rewarding than being recognized by his alma mater: “There is a deep well of many talented individuals that have been and will be minted at Marquette; it is major accomplishment and extremely humbling.”

Fun Fact:

When asked to name someone famous with whom he’d like to have dinner, Mike replied that he’d like to dine with one of our founding fathers or Winston Churchill.