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Category: Business/Technology

‘Live, work and play’: Housing, hotel, offices, food and more proposed for University Research Park

Wisconsin State Journal

The research park is teaming with the Mandel Group of Milwaukee on an ambitious, multi-phase project with 400,000 square feet of new construction, including housing, a hotel, lab/office space, food hall, climbing gym and parking. It marks a major evolution for the 250-acre park, now characterized by modern labs and office buildings surrounded by green spaces and parking lots.

UW’s Badger Seal promises to make masks work better

Wisconsin State Journal

The innovation came after a study by two University of Wisconsin-Madison mechanical engineering professors revealed that various existing masks and face shields allow tiny particles to escape, both through the material and at the edges. If the wearer is infected with the novel coronavirus, that means the virus could travel from the wearer’s mouth or nose and infect those around them.

COVID-19 ‘far from done,’ expert tells biotech meeting in Madison

Wisconsin State Journal

Lennon Rodgers, director of the UW-Madison College of Engineering’s Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab, said that two weeks after UW Health asked him in early March if he could make 1,000 face shields, companies from around the country were contacting the university to use its design. “You think elastic is easy to get, or foam; it is, if you want to make 1,000 or even 10,000 (face shields),” he said. “But when you’re talking millions, it’s truckloads upon truckloads of material.”

What Economists Fear Will Happen Without More Unemployment Aid


Quoted: Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, said the July jobs report only confirmed his suspicion that the economic recovery was starting to plateau. Now, he thinks a W-shaped recovery — where the economy improves somewhat, only to crash again — is still possible, and “a stall is more and more likely.”

Kwik Trip Announces It Will Acquire Stop-N-Go Convenience Stores


Hart Posen, a professor who specializes in retail strategy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Business, said Kwik Trip’s expansion in the Midwest can be attributed in part to its unique model. The company owns many parts of its own supply chain, like dairy facilities and bakeries. Posen said while this model has been part of the chain’s success, it also means that when the company expands, it’s likely to happen locally.

Unemployment Rates Drop In All 72 Counties In Wisconsin

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Tessa Conroy, an assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Agricultural and Applied Economics Department who specializes in regional economic development, said it’s encouraging to see unemployment improving across the state. However, she said the numbers show that the economy has not gotten back to normal for a lot of people in Wisconsin.

“Even though things are better, we’re still quite a ways from where we were before the pandemic hit,” Conroy said. “So if we were to compare to say a year ago, we have a ways to go in terms of improving things again.”

Expert guides how to bring inclusion and diversity to work


Quoted: “I’m acknowledged for who I am, and I’m supported to do my best and to contribute at my best. That is the culture that we want to strive for,” Binnu Palta Hill, the associate dean for diversity and inclusion at the Wisconsin School of Business, said.

Palta Hill is also a consultant, workshopping with companies around the nation on different aspects of inclusion. She turns to research suggesting employees perform better when they feel like they belong and says the topic matters at every industry.

UW economist doesn’t blame government regulations for economic slowdown


UW-Madison economist Noah Williams said it would be inaccurate to blame government regulation for the economic slowdown that’s accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Economic activity started falling early in March, before there were any restrictions in place,” Williams said. “What the lockdowns essentially did was keep that activity at a very low level. Things deteriorated much more quickly than people expected.”

Working Wisconsin faces new challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic

Wisconsin Examiner

The COVID-19 pandemic imposed significant new hardships on American workers — and it’s exposed just how much hardship many of them have been enduring for years.

That’s a central conclusion of  a report published today, the 2020 edition of the State of Working Wisconsin. The report is published by COWS — formerly the Center on Wisconsin Strategy — a policy research and analysis organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wrist-mounted wearable tracks your hand in 3D using thermal sensors


Modern wearables like the Apple Watch use sensors like gyros and accelerometers to detect hand movements. Those components allow them to turn on their displays when you lift your wrist, as well as to ensure you’ve properly washed your hand. But thanks to the work of a joint team of researchers at Cornell Unversity and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, future wearables could offer more nuanced hand detection.

Latest Badger Shield design draws global attention

Wisconsin State Journal

“It’s for cases where people want to be able to see faces,” said Lennon Rodgers, director of the Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It could be a teacher talking to their students, seeing smiles, things like this that are important, some people say, for developmental reasons.”

Too early to announce COVAXIN launch date

The Week

Young Ella wanted to become a farmer. However, he took up a job in Bayer to support his family economically. Scholarships enabled him to pursue his master’s at the University of Hawai’i and his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also had a stint at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, as a teacher and researcher.

M.B.A. Programs Debate Dropping GMAT

Wall Street Journal

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s business school decided to extend its test-waiver policy through next year after initially waiving GMAT requirements ahead of the coming fall semester, said Blair Sanford, assistant dean for full-time M.B.A. and master’s programs. The policy pertains to M.B.A. candidates who apply with at least five years work experience and at least a 3.3 GPA in undergraduate studies or applicants who have a terminal degree.

Face masks versus shields in schools: Doctors weigh in

The Capital Times

In March, Ellison partnered with Lennon Rodger, director of the Engineering Design Innovation Lab at UW–Madison, and Jesse Darley, a mechanical engineer at Madison design firm Delve, to create a face shield prototype using easily accessible materials. The team named the open source design the Badger Shield.

Farmers’ milk prices rising, easing dairy farm losses, but for how long?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “The sharp drop in May was the result of the COVID-19 virus shutting down schools, universities, restaurants and food-service which caused a big drop in the sales of milk, cheese and butter,” Bob Cropp, a University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension professor emeritus, wrote in a recent column.

What We Know About Face Shields and Coronavirus

Wall Street Journal

Some companies, including Midwest Prototyping, that already provide shields to hospitals are also starting to sell to consumers. Additionally, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers open-source shield design for its Badger Shield, which is being used both in hospitals and nonmedical settings, says Lennon Rodgers, director of the university’s Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab.

U.S. Insurers Use Lofty Estimates to Beat Back Coronavirus Claims


Only about 40% of small firms have business interruption coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and most of the policies explicitly exclude pandemics, according to Tyler Leverty and Lawrence Powell, professors who specialize in insurance at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Alabama, respectively.

Wisconsin’s ice cream makers rely on pints, carryout and new flavors as an unusual summer begins

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: A three-day short course in ice cream making has been taught for decades at the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Dairy Science in Madison. Students travel from as far away as Asia, often with a goal to make ice cream with indigenous ingredients and flavors.

“Certain ingredients behave differently when added to ice cream,” explains Scott Rankin, who heads the UW program. “Alcoholic beverages are one example. You can’t just add them” without consequences.

Fitness Machine Technicians Opens First Location in Wisconsin

Don and Traci both attended Kaukauna High School. Don received a degree in Economics from University of Wisconsin – Madison as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and Traci earned a degree in Family & Consumer Relations from University of Wisconsin – Madison. Prior to their new venture together, Don worked in the financial services sector for a Fortune 500 company and Traci worked in the health insurance industry as a business analyst.

Tom Still: Even with new scientific paths, broad vaccine availability still a year or more away

Wisconsin State Journal

Quoted: Dr. Jon Temte, an associate dean in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a former chairman of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and Dr. James Conway, also at UW-Madison, is a leader over time in the American Academy of Pediatrics for immunization and infectious disease strategies.

They’ve sold soap at the Brookfield Farmers Market for 20 years. Now, they’re ‘nonessential’ and not invited back.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Kristen Krokowski, a commercial horticulture educator at the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Waukesha, wrote the guidelines and recommendations for farmers markets in Wisconsin during the coronavirus pandemic.

Farmers markets were never prohibited under Evers’ safer-at-home order because the sale of food is considered an essential business. Regardless, that order is no longer in place.

“It’s all guidance now because there are no rules,” Krokowski said.

Unpaid unemployment claims top 728,000 as state Senate holds hearings on backlog

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: University of Wisconsin-Madison economist Noah Williams said the economic downturn would likely be sustained. He said lawmakers should consider ways to bring people back to work, such as by offering cash bonuses to those who quickly find jobs and are taken off the unemployment rolls.

April’s 14% unemployment rate is likely an underestimate, Williams said. It could be closer to 18%.

“We’re seeing very high levels of unemployment,” he said. “It doesn’t seem out of line with national averages, although other states have certainly done better.

Opinion: The University of Wisconsin and other public universities are on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From Rebecca M. Blank is chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and chair of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, a research, policy, and advocacy organization. Peter McPherson is president of APLU and former president of Michigan State University. 

How colleges and universities are producing PPE for health-care workers


For the team at USF, the process started by leveraging open-source design materials from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and making adjustments according to feedback from their local hospitals. Now, Celestin has shared all that he and his team have learned about producing face shields online including directions, 3-D printing details and instructional videos.

UV light machine cleans masks


Bruce Winkler started his innovation skills at UW Madison, and they haven’t stopped 30 years later. He is the founder of Innovation Strategies LLC. where his company is shifting their focus to ways they can help frontline workers battling Covid19.

Unemployment checks: Elizabeth Brandeis and Paul Raushenbush invented Great Depression insurance for jobless

The Washington Post

E.B., as she was known to family and friends, wanted a career at the intersection of economics, labor and the law. She hoped to attend an elite East Coast law school, but those programs, including Harvard, where her father studied, didn’t accept women. With her father’s approval, she chose the University of Wisconsin, where the “Wisconsin Idea” — fusing academic research to solving social problems — was flourishing.

Tom Still: Wisconsin biotech companies could play key roles in long-term economic recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

Wisconsin State Journal

Shortening vaccine development, which normally has a multi-year cycle. Wisconsin has expertise in this area through its research universities and private companies such as Madison’s FluGen. Co-founders Yoshihiro Kawaoka and Gabriele Neumann are known around the world for their past anti-viral work, which is why FluGen was approached by an India-based firm, Bharat Biotech, which has developed 16 vaccines in the past, to take part in a larger vaccine development project that also involves the UW-Madison.

Madison School District offers guidelines for staff on how to keep Zoom secure for direct instruction

Quoted: Dave Schroeder, an information technology strategist with the Division of Information Technology at UW-Madison, wrote in an email that controls like those outlined in the district’s email are “ways to use Zoom securely,” but added that “some of those can only be controlled by the person hosting the meeting.”

‘You’re laid off. Sorry.’ When coronavirus closed colleges, student workers lost jobs

USA Today

As the University of Wisconsin-Madison joined universities around the country in shutting down dorms, classrooms and event venues because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jennifer Morzfeld found herself wading through a barrage of emails.

In the midst of finding out about her coursework, the junior political science and international affairs student got one message in particular that left her with a pressing concern, one that thousands of college students now face.

Milwaukee’s recently hot housing market has slowed due to coronavirus, which has real-estate agents moving to virtual showings

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: That makes the real estate markets difficult to predict for industry experts like Mark Eppli, director of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We have a lot of uncertainty and not a lot of data,” Eppli said.

A simple change that CEO/CFO’s can make to help small and mid-sized companies across the country


If your firm is fortunate to feel confident in your survival and has the liquidity, you should take this opportunity to pay your vendors early. This can make a huge difference in their short term cash flow and might very well be the determining factors in keeping them operating until the environment changes and/or other funding sources become available.

Written by Dan Olszewski, UW Entrepreneurship Center Director

Coronavirus Pandemic Deals Another Blow To Wisconsin’s Newspapers

Wisconsin Public Radio

The COVID-19 shutdowns have taken away cornerstones of newspapers’ already-struggling revenue: business ads and events, said Mike Wagner, a journalism professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“When news organizations rely on events to advertise about and rely on events that they themselves host, and they’re in an environment where there are no more events, they lose a significant portion of their revenue model,” he said.

Wagner said the situation still has time to get worse.

“It feels like March 84th, but really, we’ve just been at this for a couple of weeks,” he said. “The real economic hits are still to come, and the fact that an organization like the Isthmus had to close down so early, suggests how fragile some news organizations see themselves financially.”