Driving new opportunities

PSU celebrated its 4th annual PSU Day at Daimler Trucks North America on Friday, March 16, 2018. Students, faculty and alumni gathered at the Swan Island headquarters to network, connect and participate in a showcase of both PSU and DTNA-led projects.

Mimi Shang, a mechatronics engineer at DTNA, is one of the hundreds of PSU alumni working at Daimler. She is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at PSU, whose internship as an undergraduate led to her job with Daimler. Her area of expertise—mechatronics—melds several interconnected engineering fields, including mechanical, electrical and software for the purpose of integrating electronics with all parts of the trucks.

“It’s been really interesting to apply what I’ve learned at PSU directly to my work at Daimler,” she said.

Portland State University and Daimler Trucks have had a long, mutually beneficial relationship that has helped shape the curriculum of the School of Business and the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, supported scholarships for PSU students, and produced internships and high-paying jobs for grads.

In addition to engineers, the company also employs many PSU business alumni, including Lori Heino-Royer MBA ’02. Heino-Royer heads the company’s business innovation department; colleague Katie Tucker MBA ’16; and Finian Small ’08, who works in supply chain management—a fast-growing field involved in planning and oversight of a company’s entire supply chain, from people and activities to resources and products.

Cliff Allen, the dean of PSU’s School of Business, sees a long road ahead with Daimler, with the truck maker helping to keep PSU tuned in to the needs of business, and with PSU placing more and more of its graduates in the company’s Swan Island headquarters. The very fact that Allen, or any business dean, lean on outside business for insight is essential to staying current in what the University teaches.

“At Portland State, we are very ingrained in the community. We can’t and should not ignore what community members need from us,” Allen said. “They want to be involved with us because they want talent, they want access to researchers, and they would like to understand what it is they may be missing in the world of business.”