WisBusiness: the Podcast with Kathy Henrich, MKE Tech Hub Coalition

This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Kathy Henrich, CEO of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. 

The Milwaukee-based organization last month announced a series of AI workshops for businesses, funded with a $50,000 donation from local tech company 7Rivers. Henrich discusses the importance of AI training, particularly for small and medium-sized manufacturers. 

“They understand that AI was important, but often were struggling with those tactical first steps to get started,” she said. “So the reason for developing these workshops was to help these companies understand, how do you first prioritize the right use cases, and what kind of internal infrastructure should you put in place?” 

The small-group sessions will be led by subject matter experts, guiding participants through developing plans and defining first steps for integrating the technology, she said. Henrich says for the region to be competitive in the coming decade or so, “this is going to be absolutely a technology that has to be taken advantage of.” 

The coalition is encouraging companies to send two people each — one business leader and a technical specialist. 

“It really is the marrying between the potential and the reality, right, that makes this thing hum,” she said. 

Henrich discusses the role that 7Rivers will play in the AI workshops and applauded founder and CEO Paul Stillmank’s commitment to supporting tech development in the region. 

“His organization … is a leader in AI, and they see the challenges here in these small and mid-sized organizations,” she said. “They certainly are involved, they’ll be helping us as we go forward, and you know, sometimes tactical next steps will engage companies like a 7Rivers.” 

The podcast also touches on other initiatives of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, ranging from a regional “AI talent community” with about 550 members to a collegiate-level internship program focused on the ethics and impact of data and AI.

Listen to the podcast below, sponsored by UW-Madison:

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