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Local interns compete to design a light show that best reflects their company

MILWAUKEE  – The Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge is one of Milwaukee’s most iconic landmarks. Sponsored and catalyzed by Northwestern Mutual, Light the Hoan will engage with interns from Milwaukee companies to participate in a competition that will teach them how to code light shows, in celebration of National Intern Day on July 29, 2021. The event will be an opportunity to highlight the intersection between tech and art, while demonstrating Milwaukee’s growing reputation as a hub of tech talent. It is also intended to build a sense of camaraderie among the young professionals from across the country interning with Milwaukee businesses this summer, demonstrating the level of access to opportunity in our city.
“This competition is about more than lights on a bridge – it is inspiring tech and design talent by bringing coding to life in a beautiful, artistic and visible way while uniting Milwaukee through our brightest interns,” said Michael Hostad, Co-founder of Light the Hoan.
Interns from eight local companies including Northwestern Mutual, American Family Insurance, Baird, Direct Supply, Kohl’s, Quarles & Brady, Rockwell Automation and We Energies will develop light shows that reflect their company’s brand and culture. The light shows will be displayed as a bracket-style competition on the Hoan Bridge that will last four nights, starting on July 29th. The public will have a chance to vote for their favorite designs at vote.lightthehoan.com, and each individual intern on the winning team will receive a complimentary roundtrip ticket from Southwest Airlines, giving them the opportunity to connect with something important in their life.
Hundreds of interns are set to compete in the challenge, including 115 from Northwestern Mutual, all of whom are working from home this summer.
“We are committed to delivering memorable, challenging and fun experiences for tech interns, and connecting them to  Milwaukee’s thriving tech ecosystem,” said Neal Sample, Chief Information Officer for Northwestern Mutual. “This intern challenge will further strengthen the Milwaukee Tech community by providing the country’s burgeoning tech talent with an innovative opportunity for collaboration.”

Prior to starting the design process, participating interns will attend a two-hour Light the Hoan crash course that will provide an overview of the bridge’s coding software. Throughout the competition, interns will have the opportunity to gain understanding of the lighting mechanisms used to power the Hoan Bridge, experience conveying messages and feelings with the use of light and motion, practice pitching ideas, work collaboratively on teams, develop and apply design skills and connect with the regional intern community.
A collective of local business and civic leaders, Light the Hoan is a committee of the Daniel Hoan Foundation. In May 2018, the group launched a public crowdsourcing campaign to help raise more than $3.5 million to illuminate the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge, the iconic tied-arch bridge spanning nearly two miles across Interstate 794.

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