WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind – Manufacturing, logistics and transportation businesses, like many businesses, are undergoing a data-driven digital transformation, and Wabash, an innovation leader for technical solutions in these areas, has intention to stay one step ahead.
Wabash, formerly Wabash National, has a home court advantage to achieve its goal. Just across the Wabash River from the Lafayette, Indiana-based company is Purdue University, consistently ranked as one of the most innovative universities in the United States.
In December 2021, Wabash and Purdue announced a five-year contract research and development partnership who could apply cutting-edge knowledge in areas ranging from advanced engineering and quantum computing to materials science and electric vehicles to the challenges facing the company and its customers, including the explosive growth of commerce electronics and home delivery and the growing focus on sustainability and automation.
Now Wabash works with Purdue University Online in an educational partnership to train employees to better lead and implement digital transformation measures to keep up with the accelerating pace of change in the industry. To start, Wabash offers selected employees to complete Purdue’s Data Science in Finance and Data Storytelling online courses and five certificate programs – in Data Science, Applied Data Analytics, Business Analytics, Information Management and Cybersecurity. The company pays for tuition, fees, and books.
“At Wabash, our goal is to change the way the world reaches you,” said Dave Teeter, senior director, talent and organizational effectiveness. “We understand, as a forward-thinking organization, that this can be powerfully enabled in large part by digital transformation. It is essential that we improve our collective organizational understanding of the concepts within this space and use them to drive our business forward and create additional value for our customers.
“In addition to Purdue University being a critical and valuable partner to Wabash in several areas, they are also a recognized leader in delivering this type of learning and education,” Teeter said. “They have worked with us collaboratively to meet our learning needs and deliver in a way that benefits our dynamic workforce.”
Nile Gilmanov, a computer security engineer who has worked at Wabash for nine years, follows Purdue’s cybersecurity certificate series with modules covering secure foundations and secure applications. He said the program builds his skills and strengthens the security of the company’s digital assets in the process.
“It fills in some gaps for me, and it also refreshes things that I knew about but maybe had forgotten about,” Gilmanov said. “It helps me make better decisions and helps me apply more best practices in making decisions.”
Amanda Garman, head of talent, learning and development, said Wabash sees the educational partnership with Purdue only expanding in the future.
“This first cohort of students is a pilot project,” Garman said. “We have a small subset of employees using the program now, with the expectation that we will increase participation exponentially over the next few years.”
The educational partnership aligns with the research partnership with Purdue, Garman said, and it aligns with Wabash’s culture, which emphasizes employees with a growth mindset, being curious and always on the go. to learn.
“We really see it as an investment in our people,” Garman said. The company’s senior executives strongly support the program. Teeter and CFO Mike Pettit are even part of the initial cohort of students. Both are enrolled in Purdue’s Data Storytelling course.
“From our highly rated online master’s degrees in engineering to individual courses and certificate programs, Purdue is building a strong portfolio of offerings that appeal to working professionals and are taught by faculty who are recognized leaders in their fields,” said Dimitrios Peroulis, Purdue’s Michael and Katherine Birck Head and Reilly Professor, Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Special Advisor to the Dean of Engineering on E-Learning.
The fact that Purdue courses are 100% online gives busy people like Pettit, Teeter and other employees the flexibility to fit their learning into their schedule and also makes the learning opportunity available to Wabash employees. in other parts of the country. Wabash has employees from Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin enrolled in the first cohort.
Purdue University Online did more than just provide the courses, Garman said. Purdue University Online staff members have been “thinking partners” in setting up the program and have been readily available to help get it started.
“One of Purdue Online’s goals is to work with partner companies to meet the training and retraining needs of their employees, which can range from connecting and packaging the courses and programs that Purdue already offers collaborating with them to design bespoke programs,” said Gary Bertoline, senior vice president of Purdue University Online and Learning Innovation. “The educational partnership with Wabash is a perfect match for this goal.”
Wabash already had a good idea of what an educational partnership with Purdue could bring. The company regularly hires interns and full-time Purdue employees.
“Really, it’s a no-brainer,” Garman said. “When you have a top university just across the river, you have to use it.”
Writer: Greg Kline, 765-494-8167, [email protected]
Sources: Dimitrios Perulis, [email protected]
Gary Bertolin, [email protected]