Kohler Establishes Innovation Center at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to Impact the Future of Kitchen and Bath

Categories : Events, Research Park
Posted on: October 10, 2023

Kohler Co., a global leader in the innovation and manufacture of plumbing products; tile, cabinetry and lighting; and engines, generators and clean energy solutions, today celebrated the grand opening of the new Kohler Innovation Center at the University of Illinois Research Park.

The new center is a reflection of the company’s objective of positively impacting current and future generations through design, craftsmanship, and innovation. The center’s portfolio focuses on areas of interest to Kohler including supply chain optimization strategies; investigating and adapting technology for the factory of the future; and developing a pipeline of engineering and data analytics talent for the company tapped from its student intern program.  

“Our partnership with the University of Illinois is a win for Kohler, the university, and students. We are excited about this new facility and the future possibilities of our collaboration,” said Norb Schmidt, Senior Vice President of Kitchen & Bath Operations for Kohler. 

“Our commitment here is a genuine investment in our [Kohler’s] future, added Schmidt.

Specifically, Kohler’s Research Park location supports research and design efforts related to robotics, electro-mechanical systems, machining, and pneumatic and hydraulic functions.

“The Kohler Innovation Center at UIRP provides our students the opportunity to work on solutions for the Midwest and beyond,” said Susan Martinis, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “Such real-world experiences are examples of the transformative educational opportunities at Illinois that grow from our leadership in engineering, data science, and industrial design.”  

The center is hiring several positions and eventually plans to employ up to 25 students. A full-time site manager, Will Newton, supervises the students and serves as liaison between the Kohler Innovation Center at UIRP and the University of Illinois. 

Initiatives to cultivate a culture of innovation, including the new campus innovation center at Illinois, supports why Kohler Co. recently landed as a finalist on the Fast Company Best Workplaces for Innovators list.

Download the full press release here.

About Kohler Co.

For 150 years, Kohler Co. has been a global leader in design and innovation, dedicated to providing gracious living through kitchen and bath products; luxury cabinetry, tile and lighting; distributed energy solutions – home energy, industrial power systems, and powertrain technologies – and luxury hospitality experiences and major championship golf. Kohler’s Whistling Straits golf course hosted the 43rd Ryder Cup in 2021. Privately held Kohler Co. was founded in 1873 and is headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin. The company also develops solutions to address pressing issues, such as clean water and sanitation, for underserved communities around the world to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations.
Learn more at kohlercompany.com.