More than a century ago, Wisconsin served as the birthplace for a series of blue chip industrial giants. The likes of Harley-Davidson and Johnson Controls, or engine makers like Fairbanks Morse and Briggs & Stratton, were the bold startups of the day.

We believe that living the Wisconsin Idea is about using our skills at the university as inventors and engineers and in the trades as machinists, electricians and other specialties to revitalize this industrial heritage in a modern context. We believe that to achieve that it is a priority to teach our local children, and to encourage them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Let’s work together to develop our students and fortify our companies because the whole world will benefit from the innovations coming out of the University of Wisconsin system of campuses, as well as our technical schools, with the greatest impact felt here in the state.

We share this love of manufacturing and faith in the capabilities of Wisconsin, even though we had very different pathways to this partnership.

Dan was born in, and raised near, Beloit, once home to a great manufacturer of papermaking machines. A core part of his identity was attending local fairs to see once state-of-the-art equipment of a century past and hear his grandparents reminisce about the Midwest at the peak of its industrial might. He dreamed of one day contributing his engineering skills for something productive that will be used by the citizenry of the state, and now that has become his life’s work.

Cecil, originally from Sri Lanka, was trained as a mechanical engineer in Russia and as an electrical engineer in Germany. He moved to the United States and eventually settled in Wisconsin because it was home to some of the world’s greatest makers of machine tools and other serious, industrial manufacturing products. Cecil and his wife Irina started Velicon in Milwaukee to make high-performance electric motors for testing and other special applications. Read the full story here.