American Family and UW–Madison Partner for Mutual Success Dane County

UW Connections in Dane County

Data Source: University of Wisconsin Service Center

The productive partnerships that Madison-based American Family Insurance has with UW–Madison are not an accident of proximity, but a product of quality.

American Family has a strong track record of supporting UW–Madison initiatives across campus, notably the American Family Children’s Hospital, but also diversity programs such as the PEOPLE Program and Chancellor’s Scholarship Program. The company also sponsors the university’s “Career Kickstart,” the Greater Bucky Open fundraiser for UW Health’s children’s hospital, and many other programs and events.

The Madison headquarters has a Badger network that includes more than 500 American Family employees. “From the talent side, we have a world-class university in our back yard, and it is producing world-class talent. We want to make sure we take advantage of that,” says Jim St. Vincent, American Family’s chief human resources officer. “It’s an important partnership to maintain and deepen.” Of the American Family’s 111 interns from across the nation, St. Vincent said that 40 interns are from UW–Madison. “We want to keep the best and brightest here,” he says. “It’s very intentional.”

“From the talent side, we have a world-class university in our back yard, and it is producing world-class talent. We want to make sure we take advantage of that.”

American Family has also partnered with the university on data science research, putting UW–Madison faculty and graduate students to work on challenges in data analytics — providing the insurer with business solutions and students and faculty with real-world experience.

Justin Cruz ’96, the company’s vice president for strategic data and analytics, says American Family has partnered with computer scientists, engineers, business experts, and statisticians to tackle issues in data mining, customer service, and analyzing data sets. “It’s worked really well for us,” says Cruz, a UW–Madison mathematics graduate. “Our partnerships have brought great enhancements to our statistical modeling and results, which ultimately translates into value for our company and our customers.”

Recently, Cruz says that a UW–Madison graduate student who worked on one of the projects as an intern was hired to a full-time post by American Family. “Right out of the gate, he brings experience with the company and how we do business. That’s a win for us,” Cruz says.

Thank you, Dane County, for American Family Insurance — and its strong and successful partnerships that benefit business and UW–Madison students in powerful ways.