CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Research Park at the University of Illinois (U of I) at Urbana-Champaign recently welcomed two more companies to create innovation labs that help connect industry leaders and U of I students and faculty. St. Louis-based Graybar, which distributes networking products, announced the grand opening of the Graybar Innovation Lab last week, while Lake Forest, Ill.-based Brunswick Corporation announced the opening of the Brunswick Innovation Laboratory in late March.
“Graybar has a long history of innovation, dating back to the original founding of our company,” said Kathleen M. Mazzarella, Graybar chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. “We’re proud to continue that tradition here at Research Park. The Graybar Innovation Lab will accelerate our digital transformation by combining leading-edge technology with fresh ideas from the University of Illinois’ students and faculty. I’m excited to see how this collaboration will drive supply chain innovation and raise the bar for our entire industry.”
Students will also get the opportunity to learn more about Graybar and its involvement in the wholesale distribution industry, as the Graybar Innovation Lab will even provide full- and part-time jobs for both undergraduate and graduate students.
“We’re excited to welcome Graybar and its new Innovation Lab. This is a great first step in our relationship with Graybar but also clearly reinforces our commitment to working with industry partners,” said Chancellor Robert J. Jones in a statement. “By tapping into the broad diversity of talent here, Graybar will offer University of Illinois students new opportunities that will expand their skills and education in ways that go far beyond the classroom.”
The Brunswick Innovation Laboratory will work closely with Brunswick corporate and divisional resources to advance Brunswick’s progress in high-interest areas such as the Internet of Things, advanced analytics, and a range of human-machine interaction and enhanced user-experience technologies.
The 200-acre Research Park serves as a technology hub for startup companies and operations in corporate research and development. Graybar and Brunswick Corporation the list of more than 100 companies within the Research Park that employ students and full-time technology professionals. Some of the industry leaders located within the Research Park include Abbott, ADM, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Caterpillar, Capital One, CME Group, John Deere, State Farm and Yahoo.