Direct Supply unveils $14 million Innovation & Technology Center renovation at MSOE

Now occupies an entire 55,000-square-foot building

Direct Supply's Innovation & Technology Center at 1020 N. Broadway on MSOE's campus.
Direct Supply's Innovation & Technology Center at 1020 N. Broadway on MSOE's campus.

Last updated on October 9th, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Milwaukee-based Direct Supply Inc. unveiled Tuesday the completion of a $14 million renovation of its Innovation & Technology Center on the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus.

The ITC, formerly located on two floors of the former German-English Academy at 1020 N. Broadway, now occupies the entire 55,000-square-foot building. Direct Supply, a senior living industry supplier based on Milwaukee’s northwest side, opened the ITC in 2012 to connect MSO professors and students with research projects and internships at Direct Supply.

The college has served as a talent pipeline for the company as it has expanded its e-commerce and technology solutions services in recent years.

“Senior care is at a major inflection point,” said Tom Paprocki, managing director of the ITC. “Demographic shifts, generational preferences and systemic financial constraints are all converging, and they cry out for practical technologies and innovation that will transform care. The building is awesome, but it’s the work we’re doing here that matters. We’re here to shake things up in a major way.

The newly expanded center is expected to host more than 200 engineers, who will collaborate with startups, universities and “progressive care providers” to develop technology-based solutions for senior are.

“Direct Supply’s ongoing partnership with MSOE is a transformative commitment to our students and our campus,” said John Walz, president of MSOE. “This type of partnership between business and industry leaders is the bedrock of MSOE’s foundation. Since 1903, our university leaders and community partners have built upon this foundation with the shared goal of providing an experiential education that results in graduates who are driven to solve the complex challenges of today and tomorrow.”

The opening of the revamped ITC follows another significant new building project at MSOE. In September, the school opened its new $34 million Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall, a 64,000-square-foot AI-focused academic facility in the center of its campus.

State and local leaders said the new facilities play a big role in the region’s ongoing efforts to become a tech hub.

“Direct Supply is helping lead the way for innovation in Wisconsin,” Gov. Tony Evers said. “By connecting MSOE students directly with their industry leading expertise in the critical and growing field of senior care, Direct Supply is building a national hub for applied research, and helping train the next generation of Wisconsin innovators.”

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.