DTNA & PSU: Partners for Innovation

by Lori Heino-Royer, Director of Business Development8/28/2018
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The partnership between a company and university often results in the mutually beneficial recruitment of students onto great career paths. Pictured here, DTNA employees who graduated from Portland State University’s School of Business: Yelena Ibadul '13, Nikol Marinova '13, Stefanie Lechner '13, and Scott Sutton '08.


At Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), we’ve been immersed in innovation since our founding, when Gottlieb Daimler invented the commercial truck. Striving to achieve and perpetually maintain an innovative mindset is something that impacts our every move, but we’re not simply chasing means to ends. Even our finite goals are built on a determined strategy to continually set innovative industry benchmarks, and we think perpetual innovation demands unique approaches to problem-solving and collaboration. One of many ways we’re thinking outside the box is through our collaborative partnership with Portland State University (PSU).

Rife with mutual benefits on both the corporate and academic sides, our partnership with PSU solicits and welcomes input from students, board members, alumni association members and advisors to the school of business. Key benefits from this relationship include both creative input from university students on select DTNA business projects, and exposure to real-world, potential career-inducing experiences at DTNA for students considering their first post-graduation steps.

Regular visits from guest lecturers, including DTNA advisors to the school of business at PSU, serve to advise and inform both students and employees. Classes on supply chains, finance and accounting invite students into DTNA at the ground floor, but they’re not the only ones learning. Students’ immediate reactions to what DTNA is working on are invaluable. We pick their brains and learn about what projects they’re engaging with in their classes. Paying attention to students’ concerns helps us to flesh out a variety of perspectives and avoid tunnel vision. We further facilitate engagement with alumni nights, deans’ nights and social-hour gatherings at our Portland headquarters. Final projects often result in internships and research projects (conducted at PSU and DTNA) that prove beneficial and revelatory to both partners.

We’re raising the bar – constantly iterating and changing with the goal of making interactions even more powerful and meaningful for all of us. A “science fair” atmosphere gets PSU teams talking about their school projects, which they in turn share in Daimler booths, as Daimler teams share and discuss their own projects from additional booths during these shared events. In short, this in-person crossover achieves tremendous turnout, and everyone benefits. Bridging the gap between student and engineer creates game-changing conversations for both.

Focusing on innovation with our partners at PSU means engaging with our communities and inspiring our employees, together. It means sharing our combined knowledge and enthusiasm with our fellow citizens, students and the innovators of tomorrow. It’s a two-way street that leaves all parties reinvigorated and motivated to influence an exciting, tech-fueled future, today.

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Lori Heino-Royer Director of Business Development

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