Light the Hoan
Press Release

Light the Hoan Intern Challenge Lights Up the City for a Second Year

400 interns compete to design a light show that best reflects local employers

By - Jul 19th, 2022 12:58 pm

MILWAUKEE  – The second annual Intern Challenge will light up the iconic Daniel Hoan Bridge for another year – and the program is better than ever. With more than 400 interns participating from 12 different Milwaukee-area companies, the Intern Challenge has grown to nearly double the size of the inaugural event held in 2021. Presented by Northwestern Mutual, the Light the Hoan organization is encouraging teams of interns to code light shows that best represent their company in honor of National Intern Day on July 28, 2022.

The rapid increase in program size reflects how Milwaukee companies are investing in the next generation of talent as part of their long-term workforce and infrastructure strategies for the city. The event is an opportunity for interns, some of whom have relocated to Milwaukee from across the country,  to professionally collaborate in-person while building relationships, demonstrating their talents, and showcasing the intersection between art and technology. The event will reinforce the growing access to opportunities within Milwaukee’s flourishing reputation as a tech hub.

“Milwaukee has so many of the elements needed to attract and retain talent. The intern challenge is an example of a creative way of pulling those assets together to develop a unique experience for our local interns,” said Michael Hostad, President and Co-Founder of Light the Hoan. “We’re excited to continue to demonstrate how Light the Hoan is about more than just lights on a bridge.”

Interns from twelve local companies including Northwestern Mutual, Quarles & Brady, American Family Insurance, Baird, Johnson Controls, Generac, Johnson Financial Group, Molson Coors, Rockwell Automation, We Energies, Milwaukee Tool, and last year’s winner – Direct Supply – will develop light shows they feel best represents their company’s brand and culture.

Employers realize that cultivating interns into successful full-time team members requires an investment in company culture, while also creating a sense of camaraderie and belonging in the city each company calls home.

To kick off this year’s Intern Challenge, Johnson Controls will sponsor an intern mixer event on July 25th, complete with a live band, DJ, light show synced with music sponsored by Generac, food trucks, and a lounge built and sponsored by Milwaukee Tool.

Starting July 25th, companies will compete “bracket-style” with each unique light display shown on the Hoan Bridge over the course of four nights. The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite designs at vote.lightthehoan.com. Teams with the most votes will advance to the next night’s round of competition until an overall winner is crowned on National Intern Day, July 28th. The interns who designed the winning light show  will receive a complimentary round-trip ticket from Southwest Airlines and the winning company will receive a traveling trophy that they can proudly display until next year’s challenge.

The Intern Challenge has received an overwhelming positive response from the community, including from past participants.

“The challenge allowed me to reflect professionally on the mission of American Family Insurance and the manner in which my day-to-day work, as well as that of my colleagues, embodies our goals to support community through our various enterprise initiatives,” said 2021 intern Andrea Contreras, who has since been hired full-time by American Family Insurance, with whom she interned last summer. “It gave me the confidence to continue to show up authentically at work and be proud of what I have accomplished thus far in my career. What I am most grateful for, however, is that it allowed me to feel closer to a city that I called home for four years and share that Milwaukee pride nationally.”

Prior to starting the design process, participating interns will attend two-hour training sessions that will provide an overview of the bridge’s coding software. Throughout the competition, interns will have the opportunity to experience conveying messages and feeling 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. They will also gain understanding of the lighting mechanisms used to power the Hoan Bridge.

ABOUT LIGHT THE HOAN:  A collective of local business and civic leaders, Light the Hoan is nonprofit lighting up and uniting Milwaukee. 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.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

Recent Press Releases by Light the Hoan

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Non-profits selected to showcase their organizations on the Hoan Bridge

Light the Hoan’s “HOANCHELLA” Kicks Off Campaign to Light East Side of Hoan Bridge

Unique event will celebrate Milwaukee landmark while raising awareness to light up lake-facing side.

Light the Hoan Intern Challenge Lights Up the City for a Second Year

400 interns compete to design a light show that best reflects local employers

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