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time to be screaming from the mountain- top that there is a career in this field around technology,” Kristynik said. “There’s a blatant gap right now. The tech- nology is building, but you don’t have enough people in this industry that know how to best utilize it yet.” Kristynik said his lone IT professional

was working for the company when he arrived, so he didn’t have to go looking for him, but he knows that the trucking indus- try can struggle to find that kind of talent. Tech guys go to work for Facebook, Google and Apple, right? Well, not if a motor carri- er also sees itself as a tech company. Chris Rhodes, vice president of infor-

mation services at USA Truck, said his com- pany will hire skilled IT professionals even if it doesn’t have an opening and then find a place for them. It interns three or four col- lege students each year and gives them opportunities to perform data analyses of real-world situations. At the end of a sum- mer, those interns present what they have found. One intern determined that the com- pany’s trailer pools were not positioned cor- rectly in relation to the maintenance facili-

ties. A job at USA Truck was waiting for him when he graduated last spring. “There’s a lot of credibility that comes

with being young now that wasn’t there before,” Rhodes said. “You having to put in your 10 or 15 years just so that you get a voice at the table—that’s not the case any more. And I think that really works well for the millennials, because the millennials that we’re dealing with and that we’re see- ing, they want quick wins, short wins. They don’t want these two-year projects. They want a project that has deliverables over the next three months, six months, and that they can see positive things happen, which makes them more confident and also makes everybody more confident in them.” Max Farrell, a founder of Create

Reason, a company that encourages employee engagement and innovation, said young IT professionals in the so-called “millennial” age group want three things: autonomy, mastery and purpose. They have a hunger to learn, test and explore new concepts. So to attract that age group, com- panies can work into their cultures what he called “micro actions,” such as giving

employees a few hours to explore ideas, and then celebrating their successes. Farrell said young people want their work to be meaningful, so they care about how a com- pany embraces its corporate and social responsibilities. They also want a clear career path “almost to the point of each month of how one thing leads to the next. Otherwise, disengagement does start to occur,” he said. Training IT professionals must be a

top priority, even though it means employ- ees might leave for greener pastures after only a few years. Accepting that reality requires a shift in mindset for an industry that prefers office employees to stay there for life. As Farrell described it, “The CEO says, ‘Why are we training all these people if they ultimately wind up leaving?’ And the vice president says to the CEO, ‘Well, what if we don’t train them and they stay?’” Another shift in thinking will require

motor carriers to look at IT professionals from a cost-benefit perspective. They’ll have to be paid what they’re worth in the marketplace, which means that a 23-year- old who really understands data might



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