Giant Leaps – Wabash National’s Jamie Lee – Purdue Polytechnic

You are at Wabash National Corporation, headquartered in Lafayette, Indiana. My name is Jamie Lee. I’m vice president and chief information officer. Wabash is a 2.3 billion dollar diversified industrial manufacturer, and we’re North America’s leading producer of semi trailers, liquid tank transportation systems and truck bodies. Wabash National has long been considered an innovator in our space and our industry — in the industries we serve, the markets we serve. I’m a graduate in the 1994 class and majored in computer technology in what was the College of Technology, now the Polytechnic Institute. I always had my eyes set on Purdue, and I never changed majors. The experience from Purdue is very relevant today. Because of the education I got, through basic building blocks of information processing, data capture and, really, problem-solving … and all that’s very relevant today, with today’s technology moving towards this digital transformation mindset. And so IT is meant to be at the forefront of change now, from every aspect of human resources and accounting, to manufacturing and how our products are made, and integrating with equipment and so forth. It’s very important. And Purdue really instilled in me the confidence to not only understand the technology I was going to deploy over my career but to be able to go into industries that are very different … and into … and abroad, living abroad in countries and cultures that are very different … but to apply that technology without fear and with purpose in meaningful ways to drive better performance in companies and growth. Companies are looking for you to hit the ground running and a lot of times be self-managed. So you need to be able to persevere and communicate where you’re at in the process, raise your hand if you have questions and ask for help, but also drive things to the finish line. So as a student, if you’re going to take a leap, you’re going to be leaping into more than just technology deployment. It has to be something you leap towards, considering people and society, business impact in a global economy in a global … in a global environment that is … that’s interacting with partners and customers and suppliers. So when you take your leap, make sure you’re considering all the facts. So treat people well, but have passion, purpose and performance. For me, my giant leap, after becoming a Boilermaker, was … to become a change-maker.

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