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Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker back in Chicago on Monday

WASHINGTON– Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker is home in Chicago Monday to speak at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics with founder David Axelrod and later in the day, learns more about the newly launched Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), the first of its kind research facility on Goose Island. In the evening, Pritzker keynotes the Consular Corps Ball.

The ball, according to the Commerce Department, is to “celebrate members of the 85 foreign consulates and honorary consulates in Chicago and recognize leading Chicago-based companies and business leaders.”

The U. of C IOP event is at the school’s Hyde Park campus. Pritzker heads downtown for the DMDII roundtable with the key figures involved in the project.

Last February, President Barack Obama announced a federal $70 million grant to a consortium led by the Chicago-based UI labs, a non-profit spinoff of the University of Illinois, leveraged by $250 million from private and other public sector sources.

From the Commerce Department: “On Monday, December 1 at 2:00 p.m. CDT, United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will join leadership from UI LABS, local elected officials and top corporate and university leaders for a round table discussion about the future of manufacturing and the role of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII). The DMDII is one of the new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Institutes announced by President Obama in February. The Department of Commerce is committed to the President’s vision of creating a full national network of up to 45 manufacturing institutes over the next 10 years. Chicago’s DMDII is one of the first institutes in the U.S. According to Pritzker, support for this network of industry-driven commercialization hubs will help strengthen U.S. innovation and global competitiveness.

WHAT: Roundtable discussion of Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII)

U.S. Secretary of Commerce and assembled roundtable participants discuss Chicago’s DMDII and the role of innovation institutes on the future of manufacturing

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, UI LABS, DMDII and Round Table Guests available for media interview after the roundtable

WHEN: Monday, December 1 at 2:00 – 3:00 p. m. CDT

WHERE: Aon Center

200 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601


Penny Pritzker – U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Warren Holtsberg – The Tokarz Group, Chair, UI LABS Board of Directors

Larry Schook – University of Illinois, Member, UI LABS Board of Directors

Caralynn Nowinski – UI LABS Executive Director

Dean Bartles – Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) Executive Director

Steve Betza – Lockheed Martin

Christine Furstoss – GE Global Research

Adam Hecktman – Microsoft Corporation

Jian Cao – Northwestern University

Steve Schmid – University of Notre Dame

Adam Pollet – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Steve Koch – City of Chicago

Shaina Doar – Mayor’s Economic Development Council

John Schneider – Village of Franklin Park


Chicago-based UI LABS was awarded $70 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to fund the Digital Manufacturing Design Innovation Institute (DMDII). This award is leveraged by commitments of approximately $250 million from industry, academic, government and community partners.

The DMDII is the nation’s flagship research institute for applying cutting-edge digital technologies to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthen the capabilities of the U.S. supply chain, and reduce acquisition costs for DoD. The DMDII will both develop and demonstrate digital manufacturing technologies and deploy and commercialize these technologies across key manufacturing industries.

UI LABS solves large-scale industrial challenges by forming consortia of academic, corporate and civic partners who innovate and commercialize new technology solutions. UI LABS is developing a portfolio of applied research and commercialization programs that lead to a return on investment for its partners and improve local, regional and national competitiveness.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) is UI LABS’ first project. DMDII is revitalizing American manufacturing, by helping U.S. manufacturers to harness data to make their products better, faster, and more cost competitive. Learn more at and