WED AM News: Wealth of new data represents a challenge and opportunity for researchers; State supporting new medical products distribution center in Pleasant Prairie

— The interim director for a new data science center at UW-Madison says the wealth of information pouring from various industries represents both a challenge and an opportunity for researchers. 

The American Family Insurance Data Science Institute was announced in April, when the Madison insurer announced it would put $20 million into data science initiatives at UW-Madison. Half of that is going toward research over the next 10 years, while the other $10 million established the new institute. 

Brian Yandell, a professor of biometry, statistics and horticulture, is serving as the interim director.

“What’s been happening is, the amount of data that people are grappling with has mushroomed,” he told “That creates challenges, bottlenecks, in how long it takes to do things, and where you put things.” 

But all that information also opens up the door to new approaches for research questions. These growing treasure troves of information allow researchers to perform macro-analyses on anything from internet search results to genetic makeup of entire populations. 

He envisions the new institute collaborating with departments at the university, as well as businesses that produce an excess of useful data. Shipping companies, for example, create a lot of information as they move goods from one place to another. That could be used by researchers to analyze road conditions, economic activity and other topics. 

Across all industries, Yandell says the new data will allow scientists to ask and answer questions in ways that nobody has ever imagined. 

See more: 

— A German medical nutrition company called Fresenius Kabi is planning a new distribution center in Pleasant Prairie with some assistance from the state. 

According to a release from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the company could earn up to $500,000 in state tax credits through job creation. The release shows 95 direct jobs are expected to be created by this project, but the actual number of new jobs will determine how much in tax credits the company earns. 

Fresenius Kabi plans to spend $15 million on a 590,000-square-foot facility at Stateline 94 Corporate Park, which would handle regional distribution for the Midwest and southern U.S. states. 

The company specializes in nutrition-focused medicines and technologies for “critically and chronically ill” patients but also has products for oncology, anesthesia and other areas. Its main headquarters are in Bad Homburg, Germany, but its U.S. headquarters are in Lake Zurich, Ill. 

WEDC says the project could also create 110 more indirect jobs in the region, based on an economic modeling survey, for a total of 205 direct and indirect jobs created. 

Brian Bulgarelli, senior vice president of supply chain for Fresenius Kabi USA, says the new site in Kenosha County will be the company’s “flagship distribution center in the U.S.” and will help the company better serve hospitals and other customers in the region. 

“All the supply chain enhancements we are making by being in Wisconsin, as well as South Carolina and Nevada, will support our continued growth and award-winning customer service,” Bulgarelli said. 

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— West Allis had the fastest growing average rent of Wisconsin’s largest cities in June, according to the latest monthly rent report from RentCafe. 

The average rent in West Allis rose to $1,044 last month, for a 1.7 percent increase over the month. Over the first half of 2019, the average rent there increased 7.5 percent. The next highest jump in that period was 5.6 percent in Greenville. 

Apartments in Brookfield were the most expensive in June, at $1,537 on average.  

The slowest rising average rent over the year was in Wauwatosa, with 1.4 percent growth. The cheapest city to rent an apartment in was Racine, at $811 on average. 

See the report: 

— La Crosse has become the fifth city in Wisconsin pledging to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, ramping up a previous commitment to reach 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. 

The city’s Common Council recently passed a resolution establishing the new goal. Previous cities to make the same pledge include Eau Claire, Madison, Middleton and Monona. In a release, Sierra Club Wisconsin notes Milwaukee recently passed a resolution to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

The La Crosse resolution was created by the Coulee Region Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 team, the Sustainable La Crosse Commission and the city’s planning department. 

The resolution states that the future energy planning process should promote participation among stakeholders including local utilities, the construction sector, transportation providers and other businesses of all sizes. 

Kathy Allen, lead volunteer for the Ready in 100 team in La Crosse, says the transition will help address the impacts of climate change while improving human health through pollution mitigation. 

See the release: 

— Madison-based Redox has hired Elif Eracar as its chief customer officer and Ben Waugh as its chief security officer, the health tech startup announced recently.

According to a release, Eracar, who comes from a background of product management, engineering and sales support, will represent the more than 500 health care delivery organizations that use Redox.

Meanwhile, Waugh will focus on building a security organization for the company as well as supporting all companies in the Redox network to build more robust security capabilities.

“Elif and Ben bring an outstanding set of skills and knowledge as we continue to build strength in two critical areas of the business-customer success and service and security,” Redox CEO Luke Bonney said in a statement.

See more at Madison Startups: 

See a previous story on Redox: 


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

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