UWM’s Connected Systems Institute executive director steps down

Mary Bunzel, who has led the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Connected Systems Institute for the past year, has stepped down as executive director.

Bunzel joined the institute in April 2020 after working as a manager and director with IBM and Intel Corp.

UWM established the CSI in 2017 as a higher education-industry consortium with the goal of helping area manufacturers take advantage of Industrial Internet of Things technology. It launched with the help of a $1.7 million donation from Rockwell Automation, and in 2019 received a $1.5 million gift from Microsoft Corp.

The institute has made several strides forward over the past year, including opening a manufacturing facility on UWM’s campus. The new industry testbed and accompanying digital twin laboratory allow researchers and students to virtually simulate manufacturing challenges and find solutions.

“Under Mary’s direction, the Connected Systems Institute has made significant advances, maturing into an established advanced manufacturing research center,” UWM said in a statement announcing Bunzel’s departure. “Mary led the development and implementation of the IoT network and data server connecting the testbed equipment to the network within CSI. Her work assures CSI capabilities to support advanced research in technologies important to manufacturing, including the use of AI, digital twins, and OT cybersecurity.”

UWM Lubar School of Business dean Dr. Kaushal Chari will serve as interim executive director of the CSI while the university conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.

“We thank Mary and the entire staff at CSI for bringing us to this next level of preparedness, ready to take on more innovative research and academic programming,” the university said.

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