WisBusiness: New database extends UW’s business outreach efforts

By Brian E. Clark

With more than 250 buildings, 153 departments, 41,500 students, scores of labs, dozens of consortiums and a head-spinning number of faculty and researchers, the UW-Madison campus can be an intimidating place to navigate.

"We’ve got a large number of resources for business people, but people often don’t know where to turn," said Noel Radomski, a policy and planning analyst in the university’s Office of Corporate Relations (OCR).

For the past two years, Radomski’s office has been connecting executives and others in the outside world with experts and consultants and job candidates in an effort to improve the Wisconsin economy. In most cases, they linked the parties by using the phone.

Now, the OCR is launching a free online database to provide businesses another tool to help them identify resources and services at the university.

Radomski said the Wisconsin Business Resources Database (WBRD) contains links to nearly 100 offices on the Madison campus and has an expanding list of other UW campuses. Its Web address is http://www.wbrd.wisc.edu.

"Over time, we plan to keep growing this database so that it is representative of all the UW resources available to business and industry, economic development groups and others," Radomski said.

"It’s a work in progress," he said.

He described WBRD as a searchable, Web-based database that can help people find a broad range of university resources at any time.

The user can conduct a search by campus, by industry sector or by keywords, he said.

Charles Hoslet, managing director of OCR, said the new service "is a tool to complement the services provided by our office."

Radomski said WBRD was designed as a tool for those who like to use the Internet to do their own searching.

"Our office isn’t going anywhere," he said. "But we wanted to give people a simple, on-line tool for people who perhaps want to work in the evening and send emails or follow up with a phone call to us or another office the next day."

Radomski said outsiders needed a more-focused search engine than Google or Yahoo.

"If you Google UW-Madison, you’ll get thousands of entries," he said. "That probably isn’t going to help you much. We designed this for people in business and industry who have specific needs."

Radomski said the database will include contacts at the College of Engineering’s Center for Quick Response Manufacturing, the E-Business Consortium, the Center for Dairy Profitability, the Food Research Institute and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

"This will get people into the bowels of the university," he said. "The aim is one-stop shopping."