Design Wisconsin coming to UW-Stout in 2025; student wins Merit Award during event at Milwaukee Tool

University’s third annual statewide celebration of design featured state companies, products, professionals
Design Wisconsin 2024 was hosted by UW-Stout and held at Milwaukee Tool in Milwaukee. The 2025 event will be at UW-Stout.
​Jerry Poling | May 30, 2024

Design professionals from around Wisconsin representing some of the state’s biggest and best-known brands gathered May 18 in Milwaukee for UW-Stout’s third annual Design Wisconsin.

The event was hosted by Milwaukee Tool at its headquarters and supported by the Milwaukee chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America.  It featured displays by Milwaukee Tool and more than 20 other companies that have made Wisconsin a leader in industrial and product design, including Mercury, Kohler, Gulfstream, Oshkosh Corp., National Presto, Trek, Brooks Stevens and Fiskars.

UW-Stout, which started the event in 2022 under the direction School of Art and Design Associate Professor David Richter-O’Connell, announced that it will host Design Wisconsin on campus in May of 2025.

Guests at Design Wisconsin check out a product design display.
Guests at Design Wisconsin check out a product design display. / UW-Stout

“As our industrial and product design program serves many employers beyond Wisconsin borders, we decided to hold next spring's event here on the Stout campus and include many of our great design/manufacture partners in northern and western Wisconsin and Minnesota. The impact of our I&PD program reaches regional, national and international levels, and we feel it's important to keep telling the story of our ever-expanding outreach,” Richter-O’Connell said.

Richter-O’Connell, who previously worked for Kohler, started the event to “showcase the impact of industrial design and industrial designers on Wisconsin’s culture, commerce, community and brand — past, present and future. Wisconsin is an important hub of global new product innovation and development, across many diverse product categories, and we want to keep showcasing that key leadership with our events,” he said.

UW-Stout’s David Richter O’Connell speaks at Design Wisconsin, which he founded in 2022.
UW-Stout’s David Richter-O’Connell speaks at Design Wisconsin, which he founded in 2022. / UW-Stout

Richter-O’Connell, UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank and Tim Albrecht, group president for Milwaukee Tool, were among the speakers at Milwaukee Tool.

The first two Design Wisconsin events were held in 2022 at DELVE in Madison and 2023 at Trek in Waterloo, east of Madison.

Student wins Merit Award

The Milwaukee IDSA chapter sponsors an annual student Merit Award competition, part of a national IDSA competition.

UW-Stout’s Amelia Dobbratz was named the Merit Award winner in a campus competition among seniors in the program and presented her work at Milwaukee Tool. She will go on to compete for the regional IDSA title and, possibly, the national title this fall in Texas.

Amelia Dobbratz, UW-Stout industrial and product design senior, presents at Design Wisconsin. Dobbratz won an IDSA Merit Award for her design work.
Amelia Dobbratz, UW-Stout industrial and product design senior, presents at Design Wisconsin. Dobbratz won an IDSA Merit Award for her design work. / UW-Stout

Dobbratz, a senior from Waupun, is majoring in industrial and product design. She presented on three products she designed, a lamp, a hearing device and a table, in three hands-on studio courses.

Two other UW-Stout industrial and product design majors were chosen as campus Merit Award finalists, Jordan Dinwiddie, a senior from Minneapolis, and Ananda Van Wie, a senior from Merrill. They graduated May 4.

Contest judges, all UW-Stout alum, were professionals Mike Berge, of National Presto; Riley Crotteau, of Nordic Ware; and Angela Hastings, of Rypen furniture.

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