FRI AM News: UW-Platteville professor develops system for detecting tiny defects in bridges; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Matt Cordio, president and founder of Startup Milwaukee

— An engineering professor at UW-Platteville has developed a new monitoring system to recognize tiny defects in concrete structures such as bridges. 

According to an info sheet from the WiSys Technology Foundation, the system can measure cracks as thin as a human hair, as well as minute changes to internal stress within the structure. Using sensors and an ultrasound signal generator along with data processing software, it can visualize cross sections of structures. 

The system could be used for structural health testing for a variety of concrete structures including bridges, tunnels, dams, buildings and others. The inventors claim it improves existing methods, which can only measure internal physical stress. 

Hanwan Jiang, an assistant professor of civil engineering at UW-Platteville, partnered with an electrical engineer named Hanyu Zhan from New Mexico State University to develop the system. They’ve developed a “fully functional prototype,” completed testing in a laboratory and in the field, and applied for a patent on their invention. 

WiSys, which handles research licensing for all UW campuses other than UW-Madison, is seeking partners to help further develop the system and find a path to market. 

The info sheet describes a “clear and unmet need” for this kind of system, as the global non-destructive testing market is expected to exceed $26.4 billion by 2024. 

In the United States alone, 39 percent of the country’s 614,387 bridges had “exceeded their design lives” by 2016, suggesting many are in need of repairs of some kind.

See more: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Matt Cordio, president of Skills Pipeline, Startup Milwaukee and Startup Wisconsin. 

The podcast centers on the upcoming Startup Wisconsin Week, which is anchored by Startup Milwaukee Week. It will be held Nov. 11-17, with over 50 events in Milwaukee alone and many more spread across the state. 

He says these initiatives “are focused on connecting, educating and celebrating high-growth tech entrepreneurs” throughout Wisconsin. 

“We think they’re a critical part of the economy as we evolve forward to a tech-driven economy,” he said. 

Events will highlight the various organizations working in the startup space, in places like Appleton, Beloit and Eau Claire, as well as Madison and Milwaukee. 

“We’re also excited too about what’s happening in Green Bay, with Titletown Tech, that’ll be heavily highlighted,” he said. “Also in those smaller cities too, like Beloit — they have 15 events there, and it’s really been interesting to continue to watch the transformation of Beloit’s economy to a tech-driven economy driven by Hendricks Commercial Properties.” 

In the podcast, Cordio also touches on the “concerning trend” of Milwaukee lagging behind Madison in terms of venture capital activity. 

“If we aren’t punching at our weight in terms of venture investment dollars, we need to really focus on fixing that,” he said. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— Republican legislators haven’t yet caucused on “truth in food labeling” bills discussed in a public hearing at the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions, according to Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green.

Senate Bills 463, 464 and 465 would ban foods from being marketed as milk, meat, or any kind of dairy product unless they originally came from an animal. Under the bills, products like almond milk could no longer be labeled as “milk” when sold in stores.

“We know these bills aren’t silver bullets that will solve the problems for our ag economy but they’re something we can do to protect and promote real agricultural products to our consumers,” Marklein said in a news conference before yesterday’s hearing.

Marklein said the bills are also meant to put pressure on the federal government to “take action on existing food labeling regulations that aren’t being enforced.”

During the hearing, Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said he “didn’t feel comfortable” about some of the language in the bill, allowing possible prison time for those found guilty of not following the labeling instructions. Larson said he’d be open to fines.

Marklein said the penalties are written so the bill would “have teeth,” but he said any actual punishments would be left up to a judge’s discretion.

Marklein said milk labeling bills are already circulating in 11 other states, while meat labeling legislation has been approved in 11.

“I don’t think these laws would be growing unless there was some positive impact in the other states,” Marklein said.

Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduced a similar milk labeling bill on the federal level. But Marklein said his labeling legislation is modeled after bills which passed in other states such as Maryland and North Carolina.

The Maryland and North Carolina laws will not go into effect until a pool of other states approves similar legislation.

When asked in the hearing why state law is needed if it’s already circulating federally, co-sponsor Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, said he “wouldn’t want 15 percent of our economy to be left in the hands of Washington.”

See the press release:

Watch the committee hearing:

— Home health care providers in the state are backing a bill that would increase Medicaid rates for home health care services by 10 percent. 

The Wisconsin Association for Home Health Care says stagnant reimbursement rates have led to a crisis in the industry. The group says health care costs have grown more than 30 percent in the past decade, while the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate has stayed flat. 

WiAHC says home health agencies in the state face “an impending nursing workforce shortage crisis” due to low reimbursement rates for skilled nursing. Registered nurses providing at-home care make up around 6 percent of the state’s total nursing workforce, and about 13 percent of the total U.S. nursing workforce, according to a release. 

In Wisconsin, more than 14,000 home health care workers receive more than $386 million in wages each year. 

Across the country, more than 14 million Americans get home health services, and WiAHC says an additional 1.3 million people will require these services by 2025. 

See the release: 

— WEDC’s new Wisconsin Supplier Network has been launched, expanding on the previous Wisconsin Supply Chain Marketplace developed by WEDC and the New North. 

The new online platform grants manufacturers access to a directory of services and companies, connecting buyers and providers. According to a release, the site is meant to be a “key asset” in the state’s efforts to attract and retain businesses, highlighting the state’s “robust supply chain” across various sectors. 

See the new site: 

— Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has promoted Nick Novak to vice president of communications and marketing. 

Novak started with WMC in 2016 as director of communications and marketing, and was promoted to senior director earlier this year. 

See the release: 


# Wisconsin Republicans pursue truth-in-labeling bills

# Advocate Aurora breaks ground on $228 million Mount Pleasant project

# UnitedHealthcare not joining influx of insurers on Wisconsin Obamacare exchange: CEO

# 3 more people charged in Wisconsin THC vape manufacturing



– Harvest struggles across Wisconsin could impact supply of livestock feed

– Cropp: Various Factors Contributing to Higher Milk Prices

– Wisconsin egg production mixed in September


– State Bank of Chilton to open Brookfield branch


– Pence pushes trade deal in Wisconsin, denounces Democrats


– Farm disaster options available to Wisconsin producers


– Foxtown Brewing, opening Nov. 6, reflects Mequon’s historic brewing past: Slideshow


– Milwaukee Public Museum adds chief planning officer


– Pet food manufacturer Stella & Chewy’s launches canine hemp oil supplements


– 2020 DNC Host Committee announces official leadership structure

– Wisconsin Republicans pursue truth-in-labeling bills


– Houses on Geneva Lake sold for $5.5 million


– Equity Sparta, Marion markets receive organic certification


– California-based gift and novelty store opening at Southridge

– Take a peek at Duluth Trading Co.’s new concept store — if you dare


– Ski hill expansion, mountain biking could come to Rib Mountain


– Williams-Smith: Becoming CEO of Visit Milwaukee ‘a natural progression’


– Wisconsin-Iowa ferry service closes for the season


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Health groups: Support bill that includes e-cigarettes in Wisconsin’s clean indoor air law

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: Scott Manley promoted to executive vice president

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin Business Closing and Mass Layoff Notice (WARN): Silgan Containers