John Deere center doubles in size

By Daily Illini Staff Report

The John Deere Technology Innovation Center within the University’s Research Park doubled in size to accommodate additional intern opportunities for students and employment opportunities for faculty, the center announced Friday.

Construction was recently completed for the expansion and Laura Bleill, assistant director for external relations, said that they are opening up the seats for internships beginning this semester.

The expanded seating capacity will double the number of interns that are accepted. Last summer, 47 students worked at the center and they hope to add an additional 50 students.

“For students, John Deere has been a tremendous work environment for them to have access to,” Bleill said. “They can address a lot of different subject matters within one of the leading Fortune 500 companies and they can work while in school.”

The center, which opened in 2008, focused on research connections, including engineering and library research, Bleill said. With the expansion, researchers hope to focus on information technology and computing, specifically for improvements in analytics and mobile application development.

“Innovation is at the core of what John Deere has stood for in its entire 176-year history,” said director of product technology and innovation John Reid in a press release. “Our work with strategic university partners, such as the University of Illinois, helps us deliver these integrated solutions for John Deere customers.”

Additional space will help integrate more undergraduate and graduate students to “increase collaboration and project team flexibility,” the press release stated.

Students and full-time professionals are employed to produce research and information technology for John Deere. Research Park serves as a hub for startup companies and corporate research.

“From their days in Research Park, John Deere has been a valued partner to the students and the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a catalyst for ongoing social and economic development in the local community,” Chancellor Phyllis Wise said in a press release. “Their presence has made Illinois a more productive University and a more attractive home for new staff and faculty.”