Media Advisory: International Leaders Visit UWM Campuses to Learn About Innovation, Entrepreneurship

MILWAUKEE _ Nearly 50 high-ranking officials from 28 countries will visit the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Innovation Campus and School of Freshwater Sciences, as well as UWM labs in the Global Water Center, on Thursday, April 23, as part of the third Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


The exchange provides an opportunity for commerce and economic development officials to establish long-term global and regional partnerships and to see the results of economic development initiatives that are strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems. 


The six-day tour showcases advanced technology centers, innovation hubs, public-private partnerships, and strategic investments in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Six industries are highlighted — manufacturing, medical devices, water, agriculture, energy, and information and communication technology.


From 9 to 10:30 a.m., the group will meet local officials and tour UWM’s Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa. The 72-acre research park is where some of UWM’s most exciting and promising research is taking place. Just across the street from Medical College of Wisconsin, it allows UWM scientists and engineers to collaborate with nearby medical professionals. The Innovation Accelerator, which opened last year, features a rapid prototyping center for use by both UWM faculty and research and business partners.


The tour stops at the Global Water Center, 247 W. Freshwater Way, Milwaukee, from 2 to 3 p.m. Researchers from UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences and College of Engineering and Applied Science work there with industry partners to drive innovation in water technology.


From 3:30 to 5:15 p.m., the group will visit UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences, 600 E. Greenfield Avenue, Milwaukee.  The nation’s only graduate school dedicated solely to the study of freshwater, the UWM building is located in Milwaukee’s Harbor District on the edge of Lake Michigan. Its 210,000 square feet include a pathogen-testing facility, biosecure and quarantine labs, intensive aquaculture labs, and the Great Lakes Genomics Center, the U.S.’s only DNA sequencing lab dedicated solely to water and environmental issues.


Media are invited to join the tour at all three locations. Along with federal officials and tour participants, interviews can be arranged with scientists working at UWM.


Federal and local leaders participating in the tour include:

  • Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
  • Alejandra Castillo, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency
  •  [endif]John Anderson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, International Trade Administration
  • Kathy Ehley, Mayor of Wauwatosa (at Innovation Campus only)
  • David Garman, Dean of the School of Freshwater Science (at Freshwater only)

Participants from other nations include:

  • Argentina: Guillermo Acosta, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Mining and Science, Province of Cordoba
  • Bahamas: Matt Sweeting, Secretary/Director The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce
  • Barbados: Charles Cyrus, Acting Director, National Council for Science and Technology
  • Belize: Michael Eugene Brian Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Trade, Investment and Private Sector, and Nilda Riverol, Manager, SBDC Belize
  • Bolivia: Guillermo Pou Munt, President, National Chamber of Exports
  • Canada: Douglas Walter Kinsey, Executive Director (Pacific Region) Industry Canada; Hélène Joncas, Partnerships, Industrial Research Assistance Program, National Research Council (NRC) Canada, and Dani Rachel Fisher, Public Affairs/Policy and Economic Relations Officer, Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis
  • Chile: Alejandro Espíndola, Autonomous University of Chile
  • Colombia: Iván Gutierrez, Executive Director, CENIRED- Network of I&DT Centers of the Colombian Agricultural Sector; Maria Eugenia Lloreda, Director, INVESTPACIFIC –  Investment Promotion Agency; and Victoria Ibañez, Executive Director, AmCham Barranquilla
  • Costa Rica: Carlos Mora, Vice Minister of Economy, Industry and Commerce; and Gabriela Castro, Director of the Investment Division, Foreign Trade Ministry 
  • Dominica: Roselyn Paul, Minister of Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development
  • Dominican Republic: Tamara Vásquez, Coordinator of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Areas, National Competitiveness Council
  • Ecuador: Maria Walevska, Chief Executive Officer, Co-owner and founder, Quality Control
  • El Salvador: Luis Alonso Martinez Perdomo, Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Universidad Francisco Gaviria; and Yax Canossa,  Innovation and Quality Director at Ministry of Economy 
  • Guatemala: Karim Mercedes, Chief of Supply & Technological Demand, Innovation Section, National Secretariat for Science & Technology; and Irvin Calderon, Head of Basic and Applied Research
  • Guyana: Christina Samanta Samaroo, Research & Marketing Officer, Small Business Bureau, Ministry of Tourism, Industry & Commerce
  • Honduras: Ricardo Irías, Founder and CEO at Grupo Nueva Higueras y Honduras (NH&H)
  • Jamaica: Reginald K. Nugent, Senior Policy Advisor to Minister G. Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce
  • Mexico: President of FUMEC, Guillermo Fernández; Iván Gerardo Torres, Vice-president of Innovation, Chamber of Commerce in Guadalajara and President, Youth CONCANACO – National Confederation of Chamber of Commerce; Rafael Carmona Dávila, Head of the Cleantech and Entrepreneurship division, GreenMomentum/CTO; Mildreed Noguera Leines, Director of  Hidalgo State Business Network; José Guadalupe Octavio Cabrera-Lazarini, Dean of Manufacturing Engineering Department (2006), Universidad Politecnica de Queretaro; and Adriana Tortajada, Managing Director of Entrepreneurship Programs and Financing, National Entrepreneurship Institute; Paloma Saldaña Sánchez., INADEM        
  • Paraguay: Gricelda Cañete, Technological Park Itaipu
  • Perú: Jorge Alfredo Huarachi, Director of INNOAE at Catholic University Santo Toribio of Mogrovejo
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Bernadette Ambrose-Black, Executive Director of Invest SVG
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Armand Jackson, Senior Planning Officer, Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development
  • Uruguay: Catherine Krauss, Director of NEXO – Center for Entrepreneurial Development at Catholic University of Uruguay
  • Venezuela: Dunia de Barnola, Executive Director, Venezuela Competitiva – National Center for Competitiveness

About UWM

As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, UWM has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching and entrepreneurism. UWM educates more than 28,000 students on an operating budget of $546 million, an amount that does not include federal financial aid passed through to students. The Princeton Review named UWM a “2015 Best in the Midwest” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. An engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin, UWM’s economic impact is more than $1.5 billion per year in Wisconsin alone.