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Midwest Regional Office Ergonomics and Design Conference with Exposition
By Phyllis King

Earlier this year, I received combined support from the Consortium for Economic Opportunity and the School of Allied Health Professions Outreach Program to host the Midwest Regional Office Ergonomics and Design Conference with Exposition. The conference was held on April 6, 2001 at the Midwest Express Center and attended by over 150 representatives from Wisconsin businesses and industries. Participants included business managers, purchasing personnel, ergonomic consultants, architects, safety/risk managers, interior design consultants, and health care professionals. The purpose of this conference was to partner with the community in an effort to increase workplace productivity, work efficiency, health and safety through the application of office ergonomic design principles and technology transfer applications.

Office ergonomics has been given an enormous amount of publicity as it pertains to greater than 50 million workers nationally, sitting at desks in offices to do their jobs. Office ergonomics studies have shown to increase employee productivity by up to 30% when ergonomics principles are applied to the office environment. Wisconsin state workers' compensation statistics last year revealed that office positions involving data or key entry reported nearly 600 wrist injuries involving days away from work. This translated into an estimated $4,800,000 in lost time wages, medical care, etc. As health care increasingly focuses on prevention, ergonomics is becoming a key ingredient in the promotion of workplace productivity, efficiency, health and safety.

Five sessions were presented at the Midwest Regional Office Ergonomics and Design Conference by experts in the field of office ergonomics and design. Topics included office ergonomics principles, keyboard designs and alternative input systems, industrial hygiene and office air quality, workspace planning, and legal issues in ergonomics. The exhibit hall displayed state-of-the-art office equipment, offering conference attendees opportunities to try out devices and equipment, and experience the comfort of ergonomically-designed furniture.

The conference significantly increased the visibility of UWM as an ergonomics education, research and service provider. Increased awareness of ergonomics and an overwhelming interest in prevention and office ergonomics education had fueled requests from attendees for additional consultation and information. Partnerships with office furniture and supply vendors has led to the establishment of an office ergonomics and design center within the School of Allied Health Professions. Vendors have furnished the center to serve as a demonstration lab for the campus and community to view and try out products prior to making purchasing decisions.

By partially funding the office ergonomics conference, the Consortium for Economic Opportunity has raised community awareness of good office workstation design and fostered the development of community partnerships with UWM. These outcomes have an impact upon the business economy in the forms of reduced workers' compensation costs linked to poor workstation design, and increased health, safety and productivity of the workforce.

Phyllis King is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions.

rule / divider JANUARY 2002

Inside this issue

1   New CEO Initiative
2   Welfare Reform
2   Entrepreneurial Training
3   Equity Financing Seminar
3   Ergonomics Conference
3   New Business Counselor
3   Online Resources
4   CEO Faculty Fellows
4   Development Strategies
4   Staff Directory

PAGE 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Equity Financing Seminar
Acquiring Angel and Venture Capital Financing For Rapidly Growing and High-Tech Businesses

The Small Business Development Center, in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin, TechStar, the WI Department of Commerce, and the WI Department of Financial Institutions, will offer a new seminar on equity financing, February 21 through 22, 2002. This will be the first time this highly successful program has been offered in the Milwaukee area. The program is designed to answer the following questions:

· What equity financing is available?
· What type is best for your company?
· How do you get equity financing?
· Are you prepared for equity financing?
· What are the common equity financing mistakes?

The seminar will take place at UWM Outreach located at the Grand Avenue Mall, Milwaukee. Registration for the event is $149.

For more information call the SBDC at 414-227-3240 To registration call: 414-227-3200.

Meet Our New Business Counselor

Joe Hurst
Joe has a broad business background as an engineer, manager and small business owner. His experience includes manufacturing management, product development, marketing/sales, and business development. Most recently, he was VP of an electronics manufacturing firm. He has also managed a non-profit and was instrumental in a startup, federally-backed consortium. In addition, he has taught as an Adjunct Professor for the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

To reach Joe, call: 414-227-3129, or e-mail him at

Online Resources
The International Economic Development Council offers a comprehensive online economic development resources library. The site provides hundreds of documents including reports, case studies, best practices and area profiles.

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Last Updated: January 7, 2002

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