Aaron Olver, a distinguished leader in the realms of economic development and technology, currently serves as the Managing Director of University Research Park. Over his career, he’s played roles shaping Madison and Wisconsin’s economic landscape and fostering innovation in the public realm.
Aaron previously served as Director of Economic Development for the City of Madison. Prior to joining the City, Aaron spearheaded Wisconsin’s economic development efforts serving as the Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce. He held a handful of roles over two gubernatorial terms and led numerous initiatives including the development of the Governor’s economic plan, Grow Wisconsin, and the creation of an entrepreneurship agenda that launched programs such as Wisconsin’s Angel and Venture Capital tax credits (QNBV), the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, and the Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Network (now the Center for Technology Commercialization).
Currently, as Managing Director at University Research Park, Aaron is responsible for leading and managing the real-estate-focused 501c3 organization affiliated with the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Established in 1984, University Research Park is an internationally recognized research and technology park that supports early-stage and growth-oriented businesses in a range of sectors, including engineering, software and life sciences. Aaron is leading University Research Park’s vision to evolve their existing park into an innovation district and to launch a second location on Madison’s far west side. Prior to his career in economic development, Aaron was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company where his practice focused on growth strategy.
Aaron earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a graduate degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University, Oxford, UK, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is actively involved in the community and chaired the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce board in 2023, as well as serving on the boards of serves on the boards of the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Madison Public Library Foundation, Forward BioLabs, the Waisman Biomanufacturing Advisory Board, and the Association of University Research Parks. His dynamic and innovative spirit is an invaluable asset to the Wisconsin Biohealth Tech Hub, where he serves as the Steering Committee Chair, and to the broader economic development landscape of Madison and the state of Wisconsin.