That passion is serving Smith well in his current role as business development lead for Parker Hannifin’s central IoT team. In that position, he’s responsible for helping the $12 billion component manufacturer discover how the new world of connected products and services can be applied to the seven groups, 150 divisions and more than 300 diverse companies that make up the Parker Hannifin organization.
“This year, Parker Hannifin celebrates a hundred years of making components that go into other companies’ products—from submarines to spaceships,” Smith notes. “We have some plants running 24/7 to meet demand, which can make it hard to treat the IIoT a priority. To have meaningful conversations, I have to boil the IIoT down into its primary colors—the what and the why of the IIoT.”
BUILDER OF THE IOT WORKFORCE
Trent Salvaggio has a uniquely broad perspective on the Internet of Things. As executive director of the IoT Talent Consortium, he leads the non-profit consortium of industry, government and academic organizations in its effort to “inspire, create and grow the organizations and workforces needed to drive IoT-enabled digital transformation across every sector.”
Before joining the IoT Talent Consortium, Salvaggio led an array of commercial digital transformation efforts ranging from outsourcing logistics to payroll processing. In each case, what was needed was “execution on initiatives across widespread, diverse organizations with multiple cultures,” Salvaggio says. “The common theme in my experience is bringing together teams—finding out who has the right skills, who has the right education and bringing them together.”
In his current role, Salvaggio is working to coordinate the efforts of academia, industry and government across a variety of verticals, each of which is at different stage with a different set of problems—from smart cities to smart healthcare to smart factories. “Keeping up with change across such a broad swath of society is a real challenge,” Salvaggio confesses. “Often, a big challenge is not knowing what we don’t know.”
One of his key tasks lies in understanding and predicting the future of jobs and work, and one thing’s for sure: it’s not in repetitive tasks, Salvaggio says. “Digital transformation is being driven by human ingenuity.” The future won’t be about specialists, but about generalists who can work as part of a team. “It’s time to look at everything, challenge everything,” he says. “Success will be a different type of worker.”
Salvaggio is particularly proud of the work the IoT Talent Consortium has done in the realm of education, such as helping MIT to develop its Internet of Things curriculum. Plenty of work remains, however, as indicated by the ongoing disparity between academia assessments (high) and employer assessments (low) of graduating student preparedness.
And while the challenges are daunting, Salvaggio’s excited to be able to positively impact workforce preparedness on such a large scale. “I’ve got the best job in the world,” he says.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTIST-IN-TRAINING
Alan Amling, who today serves as vice president of corporate strategy for UPS, exemplifies the life-long learner. A 26-year employee of the global leader in logistics, he’s now back in graduate school, seeking to help UPS remain as innovative and relevant in today’s increasingly digital economy as it has been for the first 111 years of its existence.
“My dissertation is exploring threat recognition in incumbent firms—the process of moving from knowledge to action,” Amling says. “My aim is to expand the boundaries of the disruptive innovation theory of Clayton Christensen—who is on my dissertation committee—and provide guidance to UPS and other companies hoping to avoid their own ‘Kodak Moment.’ I’m two and a half years into that journey and going through the most intense learning period of my life.”
Amling is also corporate strategy lead for the company’s Additive Manufacturing Initiative, a capability he sees as key to staying ahead of the digital curve. “Recently, I also began leading UPS Ventures where we’re investing in innovative companies that can help UPS fill capability gaps in a changing and dynamic global marketplace.”
Amling graduated college (for the first time!) with a double major in business and psychology, but after a few years at forest-products company Weyerhauser realized he would need to augment these softer skills with the hard skills of finance, economics and operations to advance. After completing his MBA, he thought he would join a marketing-focused company like P&G or Nestle, but interviewed and took a job with UPS when they came to campus. “I moved from an industrial engineering group to the marketing strategy group at the corporate office, and begged to join a special assignment team looking at how the internet would impact commerce….and it was off to the races!”