MKE Tech News
Issue 37 - November 12th, 2021
Connections: "Value creation occurs in tech communities primarily through the interaction of the "parts" - the people, organizations, resources, and conditions involved - not the parts themselves." (Startup Community Way) 
The last month has been one of connections! MKE Tech Week had over 1800 participants participate in 50 events put on by over 45 partners. While we are still collecting all the survey data, initial perspectives have been extremely positive on the connections made through networking events and content of common interest. 
MKE Tech Hub Coalition also celebrated our two-year anniversary during Tech Week with Robert Cordova speaking about the “making of a champion”. Whether it is the Bucks, or the Milwaukee Tech ecosystem, it is clear that no one individual or organization can propel the region forward alone.  Together we can team to create amazing impact as demonstrated in our Update on the Coalition
One example of this teamwork is 2021 STEMMY Award that the Coalition and the Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA) received for their partnership in awarding the first ever Foundations in Data and Artificial Intelligence Badge to students who completed the Coalition’s Pre-Internship program this past summer.  This collaboration also included project team members from UWM, The Commons, Northwestern Mutual, GE Healthcare, West Bend Mutual Insurance and Rockwell Automation.  Community volunteers served as mentors and speakers throughout the summer. 
Our collective impact is being demonstrated through a connected ecosystem.  Come join us in driving forward the mission of inclusively doubling tech talent in the region in order to create enduring economic prosperity and create life-changing jobs. 
Coalition Updates
Membership Updates:
Welcome to the Coalition
Welcome to our new MKE Tech Hub Coalition who will contribute to the growth of our collective impact. We welcome three new Community Members: Cohesity, Clifton Larsen Allen (CLA), and NVNG Investment Advisors.
New Coalition Board Member
Dr. Gordon Nameni, Managing Director at August Brown

We're honored to welcome our third community member board representative to join the MKE Tech Hub Board of Directors. Dr. Nameni is an accomplished executive in technology with expertise in commercialization of emerging technology, water/ energy/ environmental tech and public/ private sector collaboration. We thank him for joining us!
Bold Vision
Showcasing Milwaukee as a Tech Hub
Built In Adds Milwaukee as a Tech Hub (Check it Out)
One of the strategies of the Tech Hub is to show up where Tech Hubs are being compared.  In October, Built In added Milwaukee, including profiles on our strong tech employers.  If your company is not yet highlighted, you can fill in a profile here highlights 2022 Milwaukee Startups with the Best Benefits
Developing and Retaining the Next Generation of Tech Talent
To stay up to date on K-20 subcommittee priorities and progress, please check out our web page.

Hour of Tech is right around the corner! Have you or your organization signed up to take part yet? Join us in this regional initiative! This initiative supports and expands upon the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, December 6–12, 2021. Our goal is to sustain a minimum of 10,000 hours with the active support of Coalition members and the Greater MKE community.
Filling out the form takes only a few minutes. Once you sign up, we’ll work with you to find a way to engage that meets you where you are. Examples of regional events include:

  • Molson Coors gives their staff time off during computer science week to mentor a student or class in grades K-12 on ANY tech or tech adjacent discipline.
  • Milwaukee Public Schools is holding an MPS Day of Code event plus activities for students throughout the week.
  • Kenosha Public Schools will be teaching tech to over 1,000 students.
  • The Milwaukee Academy Science partners with Northwestern Mutual and Direct Supply to teach hour of tech.
These are just a few events happening. For more information, visit our website or contact Kenge Adams

Many schools across the region are interested in guest speakers for computer science classrooms and career days throughout the region. The MKE Tech Coalition has worked with our members to create a video library as well as a classroom guide that supports Academic and Career Planning at the K-12 level. Have suggested improvements? Please contact
2022 Planning is Underway! Help us Build a Strong Tech Talent Pipeline in SE Wisconsin!

If you are a representative of a Bronze+ member organization and would like to influence Coalition priorities around for 2022, please consider joining the K-20 committee. We meet every other week for an hour throughout the year. Our primary objectives are to 1) share best practices across member organizations; 2) build regional capacity for those things that are working; 3) demonstrate a value proposition for our members; and 4) build community throughout the #mketech ecosystem. Send an inquiry to #bettertogether
Developing new sources of talent while demonstrating a value for diversity and upward mobility
To stay up to date on Re/Upskilling subcommittee priorities & progress, please check out our web page.
MKE Tech Hub Members – AI Upskilling Opportunity

The MKE Tech Coalition has the opportunity to support member employers upskill their incumbent workforce on Artificial Intelligence competencies. All related instruction costs would be covered by a grant from the Department of Labor.  Some background in Python is preferred or can be provided. If this is something you would like to explore, please contact Laura Schmidt, chief talent development officer, for information on what this partnership might entail.  Related press can be found HERE.
2022 Planning is Underway! Help us Confirm YOUR top priorities around Re/Upskilling!

Re/Upskilling is critical to retain your existing workforce and to attract new, non-traditional talent with the aptitude and interest for tech and tech adjacent roles. If you are a representative of a Bronze+ member organization and would like to influence Coalition priorities around for 2022, please consider joining the Re/Upskilling committee. We meet every other week for an hour throughout the year. Our primary objectives are to 1) share best practices across member organizations; 2) build regional capacity for those things that are working; 3) demonstrate a value proposition for our members; and 4) build community throughout the #mketech ecosystem. All prospective committee members should contact their organization’s primary contact with their interest. Send an inquiry to #bettertogether
Leveraging cross-industry partnerships to accelerate start up growth and innovation
Congratulations to our most recent FOR-M graduates!
The most recent cohort of FOR-M founders concluded Monday night, November 8th with some excellent pitches from companies at all stages. Special congratulations to our top three pitches of the evening which were voted on by community members attending the showcase.

Reverse pitch – Register by 11/24 in order to access SME Mentoring (Register Here)

Reverse Pitch is a unique pitching competition where local organizations present industry challenges and seek solutions from entrepreneurs and startups. During the process, organizations provide mentorship and connect participants to subject matter experts as they craft a solution.

On 10/27, Froedtert/MCW, Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation and West Bend Mutual presented 7 business challenges which they’d like your help to solve! If you missed it, you can hear the replays at
Congratulations to FOR-M alumni, CrossKudi!

The only Milwaukee company to be included in the Northwestern Mutual’s Black Founder Accelerator was also a star in our Spring 2021 cohort and a recipient of a $10K grant. Congratulations to Bobola Odebiyi! 
Coalition Members in Action
Congrats to Young Enterprising Society, Sherman Phoenix, Milky Way Tech Hub, and Journey House, Inc.. for being selected to receive $100K/ year for 3 years. The locations provide education programming in STEAM disciplines, offer cultural events, mentorship, training and entrepreneurship support.  
NVNG is a private fund of funds which will be an asset for our region for several reasons: 
1. Creates a platform for efficiently connecting Funders to Founders 
2. Accesses coastal capital and connections 
3. Provides visibility to startup innovation to corporate/institutional innovators 
A 40M raise is only the beginning! We are thrilled to welcome NVNG to the #mketech region! 
Learn how a 136 year old Johnson Controls has a plan to become digital to its core, including the collaboration between the CDO, CTO and CIO.   
The Milwaukee county data center will allow them to better serve increasing customer demand for its cloud based, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings in the central United States. 
Combine a well-documented tech skills gap, a need to focus on diversity and inclusivity, alongside a once-in-a-generation explosion of interest in competitive gaming (Esports) from the Gen Z/Millennial demographics and you are given the catalyst parts needed to spark an innovative solution. New Horizons has built a unique reskilling program to help enter careers in esports hardware and software.
Advocate Aurora Health was recognized by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) 
AAH earned 2021 CHIME Digital Health Most Wired recognition as a Certified Level 8 in both Acute and Ambulatory. The CHIME Digital Health Most Wired program conducts an annual survey to assess how effectively health care organizations apply core and advanced technologies into their clinical and business programs to improve health and care in their communities. 
Five startups were selected for the second cohort of the Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator. Each receive a $100,000 investment as part of the three-month program, which is a partnership with gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based accelerator operator. Northwestern Mutual announced its Black Founder Accelerator last year alongside its pledge to invest $20 million in Black entrepreneurs. The first cohort this spring included Milwaukee-based Tip a Scrxipt, which recently raised a $500,000 seed round including the funding from the accelerator program. Read more here.
Dana Guthrie is the founder and managing director of Gateway Capital and the first Black woman in Wisconsin to raise an investment round. Gateway Capital closed its first round of $13 million to invest directly in the Milwaukee area.
This fall, Molson Coors partnered with The Commons to launch a talent development and community innovation initiative called Community Collab. As part of this 8-week accelerator, select rising stars in the company divided into teams to come up with ideas to help local businesses in the near west side of Milwaukee build their brands and achieve sustainable growth. The inaugural program culminated with a demo day at Marquette University on November 4th with a limited audience of corporate executives, community leaders, business owners, and college students as well as Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
Resources & Opportunities
Legislation Introduced to Attract VC Investment from Across The Country in Wisconsin Startups 
Earlier this week, Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) along with Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) and Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine) introduced Wisconsin Startup Coalition-supported legislation that will reform the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Qualified New Business Venture Tax Credit Program to incentivize Angel Investors from across the country to invest in Wisconsin headquartered high-growth, job-creating startups. Currently, out-of-state Angel Investors are discouraged from investing in Wisconsin startups because the tax credit incentives are not transferable.  This bill allows out-of-state Angel Investors who invest in a QNBV company to transfer their tax credit to an entity or individual with a Wisconsin tax liability. If you are interested in getting involved in advocating for this legislation please consider joining the Wisconsin Startup Coalition.
Educators and Administrators - Help Inform STEM Education and Programing in SE Wisconsin!
K-12 Educator and Administrator – STEM Survey We know that providing students access to quality STEM curriculum and programs positively impacts their interest and performance in STEM. Your response to the survey below will help us benchmark current STEM programming and identify needs in SE Wisconsin, and results will be shared with local STEM organizations. Please take 3 - 6 minutes to complete this survey or forward it to the appropriate colleague by November 24, 2021. All survey participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of two $50 gift cards to Amazon. The survey closes on November 24, 2021. Thank you in advance for your participation! Click here to take the survey by November 21, 2021.
NCWIT WI Welcomes Board Members, Call for Appl Reviewers
NCWIT WI welcomes Kate Martino (Augustana CS, NCWIT-WI Alumnae Engagement), Kristi Smet (NM, NCWIT-WI Academic Engagement: K-12) and Pat Phillips (CS Consultant, NCWIT-WI Academic Engagement: Collegiate) to the Board for the 2021-22 school year. NCWIT nationally has again received over 4,000 applications nationwide. The national review team needs volunteers to review student applications to select emerging technologists at the national level. NCWIT-WI will review the WI applications in January and honor them at our Aspirations in Computing Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2022 at MSOE. If interested, please email

Greater Milwaukee STEM Ecosystem (GM-STEM) Design Studio
Session led by TIES | Presented by Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition & Northwestern Mutual | Powered by Connect Business Consulting 
Thursday, January 20th | 9 a.m. – Noon | Virtual 
Join TIES for a virtual design studio for the Greater Milwaukee STEM Ecosystem (GM-STEM). WI DPI Assistant Superintendent, Duy Nguyen, will provide opening remarks to connect the state’s NEW computer science education plan to STEM education in Wisconsin. Registration is OPEN HERE. Help workgroup leaders set community informed goals and develop prioritized action plans that both raise awareness of and capitalize on existing resources and organizations to provide unity. This includes the development of discrete success statements based on design principles, swot based on data, proposed structure for GM-STEM ecosystem based on design principles, and the identification of ecosystem champions that commit to establish a preliminary operating budget, identify potential funding sources, and execute on the plan. A summary whitepaper will be distributed to all participants.  
 New Resources Consulting will host an in-person event at Milwaukee Tool on November 16thRyan Garlock, Milwaukee Tool’s Software Development Manager, will discuss learnings and best practices of their digital transformation journey – in particular, the development of their One-Key Technology, a collaborative platform that has changed their business. During the session, attendees will learn how to successfully incorporate new technologies and improve your competitive edge, how to leverage technology to engage with customers and meet market demands, and how to foster and drive innovation within your organization. Register here to attend.
 A recent survey of 400 C-level manufacturing executives in Wisconsin revealed most of them are confident in their company’s digital defenses and they think cybercrime attacks happen to someone else, not them. Is your company overconfident, fully secured or somewhere in between? Find out how your business can assess its cyber-readiness. Panelists thus far include Buckley Brinkman, executive director and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity and Jim Blair, managing partner of Aberdean Consulting.
Northwestern Mutual to Host Second Annual Women in Tech Conference to Educate, Connect & Inspire Technologists
Northwestern Mutual is hosting the second annual Women in Tech Conference on Thursday, Dec. 2. This one-day, free and virtual conference will gather thousands of women in tech and their allies to hear 60 speakers (98% women!) from 30 top companies diving into everything from deep tech to professional development including keynote speakers Abby Wambach, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Girls Who Code founder, Reshma Saujani! Register now and don’t miss this exciting day of collaboration and empowerment.
Conquer the Digital Skills Gap in 2022, Dec 8 at 2 pm
Join Brian Herczeg, of Vaco Milwaukee, along with a panel of Milwaukee tech decision makers and national labor experts, for a discussion about how companies are approaching the tech labor market’s biggest challenges, while preparing to close the digital skills gap in 2022. Register here.
We are so excited to be hosting the 2021 Tech Showcase LIVE at the Brookfield Conference Center on December 9, 2021. Join us for a full day of presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions from local IT leaders as they discuss their 2021 technology initiatives, challenges, changes and more. Registration is open now at!
The Wisconsin IoT Council (WIoT) will host their final symposium for the year at the Bull at Pinehurst Farms in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. The event will have as their speakers, Mandy Huth, Kohler Company's VP of Cybersecurity; Brian Schauf, Schreiber Food's Innovation Technology Program Director; and Tim Dickson, Generac's Chief Information Officer.
I.c.Stars Annual event brings together Milwaukee’s tech community and a next generation of tech talent.
The 18th Annual sySTEMnow Conference was a Success!
The 18th Annual sySTEMnow Conference was held on October 27, 2021, and the theme was STEM for Good: Equity, Innovation, and Change. sySTEMnow is Metro Milwaukee's premier STEM conference bringing together business leaders, community members, educators, and government officials to share best practices and lessons learned. Based on the evaluations and reactions from the audience, this year's conference was a success! We encourage you to view the general sessions, event photos. Stemmy Award Winners and the breakout sessions presentations by visiting
Early Stage Symposium Nov 3-4:  It’s a wrap!
Networking, Pitching Olympics, and Investor intros were part of the event attended by over 400 individuals, sponsored by the Wisconsin Tech Council. Thanks to brothers Khalif El-Amin and Que El-Amin, founders of Young Enterprising Society who represented the Milwaukee Tech region so well!
The Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute partnered with Data You Can Use for their Data Day 2021 conference for the third consecutive year. One of the four winners in this year’s Data Dream competition is Riverworks Development Corporation, an organization sponsored by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. Riverworks’ Data Dream is to better understand the impact of small business development in the Harambee neighborhood. Another highlight from Data Day was NMDSI Co-Director Keri McConnell’s interview with Antonio Butts of Walnut Way, a past awardee of the NM Foundation funding where ten students from Marquette University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee participated. McConnell and Butts discussed the event keynote, “Data as a Language, Lens, and Lever for Social Change”, and the direction the organization has taken since NM Foundation and NMDSI’s involvement, which showed the lasting community impact of the Data Dream competition.
Tech Ecosystem
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