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Partnering with Daimler Trucks
Partnering with Daimler Trucks


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. PSU and Daimler are now formalizing the relationship by forming a strategic partnership that could expand Daimler’s presence in other parts of the University.

PSU has strategic partnerships with nine other business and government entities to fulfill shared economic, social and environmental goals in the Portland metro region. Daimler becomes the tenth.

Blake Kashiwagi, the director of mechatronics engineering, is one of the hundreds of PSU alumni working at Daimler. He earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at PSU in 2003. His work at Daimler—mechatronics—melds several interconnected engineering fields, including mechanical, electrical and software for the propose of integrating electronics with all parts of the trucks.

“We’re designing the nervous system of the vehicle,” he says.

Mechatronics is what makes self-driving trucks possible, and is a reason why Daimler is supporting a scholarship, begun two years ago, for students to study it at PSU and then go on to an internship at Daimler to apply what they’ve learned.

Renjeng Su, the dean of PSU’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, sees the relationship between Daimler and PSU as natural.

“We produce two things: people and ideas. And they produce technology and products,” he said. “I see this as a solid marriage.”

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.”

Formalizing strategic partnerships with government entities and businesses like Daimler elevates PSU’s central role as a civic and economic partner in the metro region, and it is just one of the many ways PSU’s model of community engagement fulfills our mission to “Let Knowledge Serve the City.”