Aaron Olver Shares Future of University Research Park

–submitted by Valerie Johnson; photo by Mike Engelberger

Olver AaronBAaron Olver previewed the future of University Research Park with Rotarians Wednesday, January 13.

Olver is the Managing Director of the University Research Park. Established in 1984, University Research Park, a UW-Madison affiliate, is an internationally recognized research and technology park that supports early-stage and growth-oriented businesses in a range of sectors including engineering, computational and life sciences.

Olver shared the strategy underpinning the park’s direction.  It has three purposes: support UW-Madison via real estate; commercialize UW research; and make technology transfer more fruitful.

Originally the park wanted to attract employers, Olver said.  Rather they had more success attracting small entreprenerus.  We accidentally become a real estate developer, unique nationally, he added. He answered the question of the biggest challenge being transportation, since so many professionals live off mass transit lines.

He closed by outlining the park’s agenda:

  • Reposition @1403, a building next to Wisconsin Institute of Discovery (WID) on University Ave, as a campus-focused entrepreneurial hub
  • Add density through development of large tenants such as Exact Science
  • Expand food cart program
  • Attract/Develop amenities such as coffee, fitness
  • Invest in programming/events and community making
  • Make green spaces more usable
  • Conceptual master plan for URP 2, second research park
  • Attract development partners for areas not core to URPs mission

Olver previously served as Director of Economic Development for the City of Madison. Prior to joining the City, Olver spearheaded Wisconsin’s economic development efforts as Secretary of Commerce under Governor Jim Doyle.

Olver earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from UW-Madison and a graduate degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University, Oxford, UK, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

For more, visit www.universityresearchpark.org

CLICK to watch the video of this presentation on our club’s YouTube Channel.

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