Sharing Ignition with the Next Generation of Engineers

Inductive Conversations

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Today we are learning all about Inductive Automation’s University Engagement Program with David Grussenmeyer, who is our University Engagement Manager. We will discuss the ins and outs of this educational outreach program including the vision, early stages, current initiatives, curriculums, what we provide to institutions, and how this program benefits the next generation of engineers. We also dive into building partnerships through the program, share a real-world success story, look into the future for universities, and share how integrators can get involved.

“We’re fostering relationships in our local, national, and global communities by creating a bridge between industry professionals and educational institutions, promoting creativity and innovation through meaningful educational experiences with Ignition.” David

David Grussenmeyer has been with Inductive Automation since January 2020. He currently leads Inductive Automation’s University Engagement Program. David has always had a strong passion for computer science and education. Upon graduation from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, he took a position teaching technology at a private primary school in Sacramento. He cherished the opportunity to teach young students about technology and give them an opportunity in school that he did not have growing up. Continuing that theme, David completed the Masters of Education in Learning Design and Technology program at University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. With his experience in both computer science and education, he has brought a unique skillset to Inductive Automation and is dedicated to providing students with opportunities that will support their development as the driving workforce of tomorrow.

If you have any questions regarding the University Engagement Program, please contact David Grussenmeyer at

Episode Transcript:

Joanna: Welcome, everyone, to Inductive Conversations. My name is Joanna Cortez, I am the Video Content Producer here at Inductive Automation. I am very excited to host today and even more excited about our topic. We are going to discuss the University Engagement Program through Inductive Automation, and I have the best person you can possibly have to speak about the program: One of our very own IA members, David Grussenmeyer, who is our University Engagement Manager. David, welcome and thank you so much for being here today.

David: Thank you so much, Joanna, for having me here today. I'm extremely excited about this. It's a pleasure to be able to speak to you about this initiative and Inductive Automation, as well as kinda shine a light for all of our audience.

Joanna: Now, in my little intro there, I referred to you as the manager of the program, which you are, that is your title. But it's really just you, right? You are the whole program, aren't you?

David: Yeah, so when I was brought on board in January of 2020, I was really brought on to sculpt and lead this program, the University Engagement Program. And so it is me directly talking to all the schools, all the systems integrators, all the end users about how we can work with different academic programs. But I do have to say, my team, the Community Alliances Division at Inductive Automation, has been awesome and very supportive in all of my activities, especially Kristine Zukose, Director of the division, as well as Don Pearson, who oversees our division. It's been a great experience having so much support behind me.

Joanna: So we are gonna do a much deeper dive into the program, and what the program is, the value of it and your role within it as we go through the episode today. But let's begin with a very brief description of what the University Engagement Program actually is for those who maybe don't know or haven't heard of it before.

David: Yeah. So the University Engagement Program is an educational outreach program designed to give students the opportunity to work with Ignition while they're still in school. With over 2000 systems integrators worldwide using Ignition, there's a large demand for skilled engineers in these companies who have experience with the software platform. I'm striving to create relationships between the industry partners and academia in order to provide students with valuable experiences and curriculum that's supported by these industry partners and created by the professors. This allows for students to gain an understanding of Ignition while also gaining a skill set that is allowing them for a unique opportunity to work with the systems integrator through either program support while they're in school, which can come in the form of internships, workshops, guest lectures, or the students may find an opportunity to work for the industry partner upon graduation due to their expanded skill set that was obtained through their academic institutions.

Joanna: Can you tell the listeners where the need for this educational outreach came from at Inductive, and then kind of your origin story of how you were brought on board to formalize the program and really get it off the ground?

David: Well, Inductive Automation has always had an approach to educational institutions through our training department. As Inductive Automation grew, the contribution to the educational sector was much more passive. When instructors, professors or students would reach out to inquire about using Ignition within their academic work, our training department would ask a series of questions and, in turn, provide them with a temporary license based on how they intended to use our software. So if it was for a curriculum, the license would be valid for a school year, and we would revisit that relationship at the end of that time period. If the license was for a senior designer capstone project, the license was for the duration of the project, which is usually two semesters, maybe three quarters, depending on what their term lengths is.

David: So all of these interactions were documented, which gave me a great start to how to approach the new University Engagement Program. Now, the new University Engagement Program was an idea that was explained to me by Wendi Hechtman, our COO, and described the program as a way for us to help train the next generation engineer. This was directly fulfilling a need that was expressed to her by several of our customers, which are end users and systems integrators alike. When I was brought on board in January of 2020, the first item that I needed to tackle was really, what was the purpose of this program. And how would I change to a much more active role versus the previous passive approach. And the most important question: What does success look like?

David: So coming from a background in education, it was apparent to me that knowledge transfer occurs best when students participate in learning experiences or activities that simulate real-life scenarios, providing the learner added value for the curriculum that they experienced throughout the academic program that they are in. This was the first main goal that I had, and it brought me to the question of how to accomplish this on a large scale. Not just one or two colleges in our backyard, but how do I accomplish this worldwide?

David: Now, many of you listening to this podcast are probably aware of our vast integrator program that supports over 2000 systems integrators worldwide. In conjunction with that was our large group of end users who have engineers on staff that build out our Ignition systems to meet the needs of their companies. This was the key to making the program a success for not only the academic institutions that we work with, but also for the systems integrators and end users that are in need of new talent to fill their own job openings. Through these concepts, I was able to develop a vision statement for the program that would give a clear picture of what this program would look like and how success would be measured.

David: The vision statement for the University Engagement Program is as follows, "To foster relationships in our local, national and global communities by creating a bridge between industry professionals and educational institutions, promoting creativity and innovation through meaningful educational experiences with Ignition." This vision statement would be the driving force behind how we approached working with academic institutions. The cornerstone of the statement is the creation of a bridge between industry professionals and educational institutions, which will lead to supplementing or developing curriculum that is in line with the technologies and concepts of IIoT or Industry 4.0. Having our industry leaders as part of the conversation is essential to ensuring the skill set that is being obtained by the students is relevant and valuable as they make their way into the professional world after graduation.

Joanna: So you mentioned the next generation of engineers, and that's a huge part of this program, is getting this next generation of engineers the knowledge and the skills that they need moving into the 21st century. So what exactly are the knowledge and skills that they should have to thrive in today's industrial space?

David: Yeah, that's a great question. I think it's safe to say that the skill set of your average engineer today looks very different from the skill set of 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. As technologies have evolved and we're seeing more and more powerful tools such as Ignition as a software platform, we realize that the skill set is no longer separated into operational technology and informational technology, but instead is a mixture of those skills. As the automation industry continues to move forward, we're seeing the IT/OT convergence increase and, therefore, the workforce of tomorrow will need the skill sets that are appropriate for handling such overlapping technologies. Not all, but several academic institutions often settle on technologies that can be used within curriculum and lab settings for years and years to teach the content that is required for whatever the course is. While these technologies are able to accomplish the transfer of the core concepts, the students are still working on outdated technology and not able to grasp the complete picture of what automation looks like today in several industries.

David: So what does that mean for the University Engagement Program? Well, back to that cornerstone of creating partnerships between our industry leaders in the educational institutions, along with Inductive Automation's ability to provide Ignition to educational institutions, the industry leaders are able to expose the academic institutions to newer technologies and use cases that can provide students to exposure of common and relevant standards in today's industry. This, again, reinforces the idea of students getting applicable experience while having exposure to the technologies that drive our industry today.

Joanna: I'm curious to know how your educational background has helped sculpt this program for these next generation engineers.

David: Yeah, sure. So we're gonna have to go back a little bit of a ways here. When I completed my undergraduate degree in computer science at California State University Sacramento, I was working for an educational technology company that served more than 40 private schools in Northern California, mostly primary and secondary schools. The company developed their own LMS, or learning management system, as well as provided technical services for all technology needs at the schools. When I graduated, I was offered a position at one of the primary schools we worked at as their Director of Technology. So naturally coming right out of school, I jumped on board. I jumped at this opportunity to provide students something that I felt I didn't have growing up. Sure, I grew up with basic typing class, playing Oregon Trail, but I never had a teacher show me what an operating system was or the concepts behind an algorithm. What is that word all about? How does it work?

David: So over the next several years, I developed my own curriculum to teach the students. And I took a much more computer science approach to it rather than just technology. Prior to that, the students were just taught how to use software versus... I wanted to teach them the concepts behind the software so that they had a better understanding of that. And I took a much more computer-science-driven approach to my curriculum to development. To understand that a little bit better, you have to understand that here in the United States, computer science is just an auxiliary subject, it's not a core subject. There are rough guidelines of what is to be taught, and there's nothing set in stone, there's no standardized testing or curriculum for a technology or computer science subject in primary education.

David: As I continued through my time teaching at the school, I eventually went back to school to get my master's degree of education and learning design and technology. The skill set that I acquired with my undergraduate degree and the skill set I acquired through teaching and my master's degree of education gave me a great perspective when working with colleges and universities on how to implement Ignition into their curriculum. I wanted our approach to those academic institutions to be supportive and contributing to their curriculum evolution, not demanding that Ignition is taught in a particular way. Curriculum development is a constant evolution. There's not a point in which you go, "Okay, I'm done. This is what it is, and we can teach this course this way forever." No, it's an ongoing evolution, and it's important for the professors to feel comfortable with the evolution of their own curriculum and the technologies that are being used, which is a sensitivity that I've always taken into consideration when working with an institution on how Ignition is implemented and delivered to students.

Joanna: As I was listening to you talk about how your background led you to want to construct a program that would fill the gaps in what you were missing as a student, I realized it parallels Steve's message so well about wanting to create a software to solve the pain points he was having as an integrator. I just wanted to say that it's great that you're building this university engagement from a place of understanding what the students and the instructors really need.

David: Yeah, Steve saw several different points in the industry that really kinda acted as hurdles for him as a systems integrator, and I see that too in the education side, I see those hurdles. And being sensitive to those hurdles is essential to creating those relationships and keeping those relationships moving forward in a positive way.

Joanna: So right after you were first brought in, what were some of the early challenges that you were facing with trying to reach out to colleges to kind of pitch this whole idea?

David: Oh yeah, absolutely. So the early challenges... Well, where do I start? As I said previously, we had documented a lot of the cases of people contacting us to try to use Ignition within their curriculum, whether it was a professor or a student to use it in academic life somehow. And that was a good place for me to start. That was a great place for me to reach out and contact some of those previous engagements in order to formalize our relationship with them. And so that gave me a good kind of heads up in what to look for. And then I started with schools that I went to. I started with the connections that I knew, and I was able to get my foot in the door at Sacramento State. And I was able to talk a little bit with USC, where I did my master's program as well. But then it turned to cold calling, then it turned to emailing professors and chairs of departments. The overall response that I got from those interactions was more like, "Okay, so what? We have this technology in place, or we have something that is similar to this in place and we're using that. Why would we use Ignition?"

David: And so it became very apparent to me that this was a path that wasn't going to work, that wasn't going to get our foot in the door with several institutions that we wanted to. And then I sat back for a second and I thought about it, and I said, "Well, what is it that these professors are ultimately trying to do?" They're trying to provide the students, sure, with a skill set, get them their diploma, but what are they doing? They're training our next-generation workforce. They're training the workforce of tomorrow, and that workforce needs to be employed. And so that's when I flipped the script around on how to contact colleges and how to work with colleges and universities. Instead of going directly to the colleges or universities, let's go back to that cornerstone, let's go back to working with our systems integrators, our end users. They all have connections, they all went to college somewhere, they all have close connections to some college, some university that they feel would benefit from their help, would benefit from that relationship.

David: And so then I started working with our Integrator Program Manager at the time, Justin Reis, and I started working with him. And he would give me introductions into our integrators, our systems integrators. And then we would develop a conversation about, "Okay, are you working with colleges? What colleges are you working with? How can Inductive Automation support your educational initiatives?" And then that opened up a whole new avenue of exploring education outreach. And that has been a great, great way to approach how Ignition can get in the curriculum.

Joanna: Yeah, it's about strengthening the ecosystem and sort of creating these vessels of knowledge transfer, not just, like you said, cold calling them and trying to pitch Ignition like, "You should be teaching this."

David: Absolutely, and that's a great point that you bring up. And that is one thing that we pride ourselves on here at Inductive Automation is our ecosystem. We see it every year with our ICC event... Steve came from the background of being a systems integrator for 25 years. We like to highlight our systems integrators, we like to highlight our end users, we like to highlight the work that's being done with Ignition. And what better way to complete that picture than to add an educational element to it? That's another driving force behind this program.

Joanna: We do love knowledge transfer.

David: Absolutely.

Joanna: Alright, well, now I wanna start getting into some of the main objectives of the University Engagement Program, starting with partnerships. Can you give us a little detail about the plan for creating and fostering partnerships through this program?

David: Yeah. So I talked a little bit about creating those partnerships, previously, working with systems integrators and end users and their connections and their relationships that they currently have with colleges and universities within their area, or somebody that they may have a close tie to. Even if they don't have a close tie to those colleges and universities, it's important that we have an industry leader within the community reaching out to whatever educational institution is in their area and saying that, "We would like to support you. We would like to be that industry partner for your institution." And just showing them that we are hiring your graduates, we are going the extra mile to work with you and to cultivate an atmosphere that is beneficial, advantageous to both parties involved... To all parties involved, really. And so that concept of creating partnerships between our systems integrators, our end users, and the academic institutions is very important to this process.

David: Also, I wanted to kinda highlight in that partnership process is our strategic partners and our onboard partners. Having them be a part of this conversation is great. Having our on-board partners be able to get their hardware put into various college institutions is a great opportunity for them to not only showcase their hard work and what they've been able to create, but also to give to students those newer technologies, be able to use devices that have the ability to use cutting edge technologies like MQTT, cloud computing, even machine learning concepts, driving the technologies behind them. Those are great opportunities. And our strategic partners, both Sepasoft and Cirrus Link have voiced their support for the University Engagement Program and being able to be part of these partnerships as we start to build more and more of them. That's one of our main objectives right there, is creating that partnerships, and that's why it's embedded right into our vision statement.

David: Our next objective is to provide students the means to obtain a valuable and transferable skill set in the automation industry. So being exposed to these technologies and being able to learn from these various learning experiences or these learning activities that have associations with real-world scenarios provide an increased amount of knowledge transfer and added value for the activity that you're doing. When there's added value, there's always increase in knowledge transfer. And I think that the more the industry partners play into a partnership role, into guest workshops, into projects that help develop curriculum or lead curriculum development, really helps the students on that path of obtaining that skill set.

David: And the last objective is providing educational materials and guidance for institutions to supplement or implement curriculum with Ignition. And again, I talk about supplementing and implementing curriculum. It's really up to the professors and how they want to use Ignition as a vessel of knowledge transfer. When I was in my master's program and studying about education and how people learn, it was a common concept that would come up that technology does not drive knowledge transfer. It doesn't matter. Whatever technology you use, knowledge transfer doesn't happen because of the technology you use. Knowledge transfer happens due to the content, due to the instructional design that's behind it. And the technology being used, the media being used, is simply a vessel to facilitate that knowledge transfer.

David: A couple major things that you think of when you think of, "Well, what vessel do I wanna use to facilitate knowledge transfer?", the number one thing is cost and availability. And that's what we're trying to do here at Inductive Automation, is we're trying to make that cost and that availability high availability and very low cost in order to make it a vessel that you wish to pursue.

David: And so being able to provide those educational materials through Inductive University, through our user manual, through the support of our systems integrators and end users for educational programs, it definitely plays into what the other objectives are about and how to reinforce those and support those objectives. And as many of you know, at Inductive Automation, we host our own classes here at Inductive Automation. Well, now they're all virtual due to COVID-19. But we host our own classes, and we have our core modules class, we have our database scripting class, we have our Perspective class that go over several concepts that we feel really features, highlights, the core features of Ignition and how to use Ignition properly or in a certain standard. And so being able to supply the professors a lot of this content has been able to give them the ability to create and develop their curriculum based on our hard work that we've already done dealing with those classes.

Joanna: I'd like to touch on one more thing under this umbrella of main objectives. You made a comment about keeping costs low and availability high. I know this is a pretty major highlight and also ties in a lot with our company values, so I was hoping maybe you could elaborate on that a little more.

David: Yeah. I think that it's important for us to make it very clear that Inductive Automation is absolutely committed to educational institutions and to their academic programs. We've always been on the forefront of how the automation industry is evolving, and that's not gonna change any time soon. And so what better way than to support educational institutions? We do this through, as I've said before, creating these partnerships, creating this open line of communication with industry leaders, but also providing educational materials and guidance for institutions to evolve their curriculum, as we talked about before. We wanna work with educational institutions, we wanna make sure that the monetary impact, the financial impact, on the institution is zero. We wanna be able to provide Ignition to these educational institutions free of cost. We would love to see labs up and running, all workstations running Ignition, students being able to work on projects concurrently. And while we are in this kind of awkward phase, this kind of weird time of COVID-19 and distance learning, it's important for us to know that our software is still being used, that it's still being used in curriculum, that it's still being accessed.

David: And due to our features and how we have built our software, it's very much so that a student can work from home and access the software. They can work from home and access their projects that are held on campus as a server. And so it's important for, I think, schools to understand that we're here to help you, we're not here to sell you something. We're here to help you with the new technologies that are out there and help support your program.

Joanna: David, you've mentioned the pandemic a couple of times, and I am curious to know how this COVID situation, forcing everyone to move towards distant learning, has impacted the efforts with this program.

David: Yeah, that's a great question. So the move towards distance learning definitely took all of our academic faculty some time to get used to, and rightfully so... You're kinda thrown into the fire of, "Hey, you've done in-person classes for 20 years, here you go, we're going online with all these technologies that you never even touched before." But I think the bigger picture that we need to look at here is industry and how industry has moved forward during COVID-19, and how more and more things are done remotely, and these technologies are being used more and more in order to kind of create that atmosphere or that work environment. And so for us to be in the educational realm, to be contributing to curriculum and to be using Ignition in that realm, I think it's very important for us to make that impact and to show the features and the abilities of using a software platform like Ignition and using the technologies that we're using currently within the automation industry. Time and time again I've heard, especially on our integrator round table meetings where a lot of our integrators come and we usually highlight some feature or some project that's going forward, I've heard it time and time again since COVID-19 has hit, "Because of Ignition, it's made this time very easy on us, not having engineers have to go out to a site. Being able to actually access all the information we need from our work-at-home environment."

Joanna: Yeah, that's great. I'm curious to know if Ignition Maker Edition has been utilized through this program at all.

David: Yeah, that's a great question, and that's a question that has... It's came up many times about Maker Edition. So Maker Edition is a version of Ignition that was put out late 2020, and it is a personal use edition of Ignition. While we stress the fact that it is personal use only, it does have value within academic settings as well. I wanna make this perfectly clear that if an educational institution would like to use Ignition, we are more than happy to provide licensing for that, provide modules for that, that is outside the realm of Maker Edition. And I want to also emphasize the statement that, sure, your students are coming into the classroom, they're using Ignition, the full edition, but when they go home, they can download Maker Edition for free. They can sign up with a personal email, download Maker Edition for free, and they can start doing home automation projects, whatever that is. That could be automating their dorm room, automating their apartment. Very simple activities and projects like that can reinforce the concepts that they're learning within the classroom. In terms of working with universities and colleges, we still are providing full licenses to those institutions, and we will continue to do so. We're not trying to switch to Maker Edition, but Maker Edition is a great tool for students to enrich their current studies.

Joanna: Yeah, I think it's a really solid point to make that the educational growth with Ignition doesn't just have to end in the classroom.

David: Yeah, absolutely.

Joanna: David, I am very curious to know how you measure the success of a program like this, especially since it is relatively new. I'm in marketing, and in marketing, we have our statistics. So is it stats for you? Is it success stories? Is it something else?

David: So when you measure success of a program, you have quantitative and qualitative data associated with it... And you just touched on both of those. You have the quantitative aspect. You have, what do the statistics look like? How many universities are we engaged with? How many different countries? What type of programs do we have? And then you also look at the qualitative aspect, those success stories, those case studies. How is it making an impact on whatever the academic program is? Whether it's chemical engineering, electrical engineering, food sciences, whatever the program is, how is it making that impact there? And so it's really difficult to measure success. It's a combination of both of those.

David: You have the quantitative approach, we do have statistics. We are in currently in over 40 schools worldwide with Ignition as some form of curriculum. We're in various research projects using Ignition. We also have some qualitative data, those interviews, those case studies, those success stories. But the thing with education is success stories take a while to get. We can implement this program this year, and we're not gonna hear of some great success stories until two, three, four years down the line 'til we see those maybe freshmen and when they become seniors and then they graduate and they go and work for X company, whatever it is. That's when we're gonna start to see, really see, those success stories ramp up. And so it's difficult to measure the success right now, but qualitatively, we are making a huge impact just in the short amount of time that we've had this program launched.

Joanna: The standards for success are still being written.

David: Exactly.

Joanna: So I know we have a success story, one of which we highlighted in the keynote at ICC this year, or last year I guess I should say, the University of Waterloo's Ideas Clinic. Can you tell us about Waterloo and the story of what they wanted to accomplish and how we worked with partners to provide a solution for them?

David: Sure. This kinda goes back to the concept of working with our systems integrators and our end users to build those relationships with colleges and universities. And when I realized that that approach was a very good approach on how to get our foot in the door with various institutions, one of the systems integrators that I called and talked to was Brock Solutions, which is one of our large systems integrators up in Canada, in Ontario. When I started talking to one of their representatives, he started telling me about their work with the University of Waterloo. He told me a little bit about the Ideas Clinic, which is this massive engineering lab that's built to hold up to 200 people at one time... 200 students at one time. They all have nice high top tables, different workstations. And the Ideas Clinic had the idea that they wanted to create an automation section of the Ideas Clinic. They wanted to build out kind of a manufacturing and automation section. And they were working with Brock Solutions on different use cases and projects that students can explore, and so when I approached Brock about working with colleges that they are possibly working with, that's when they brought us into the conversation with the University of Waterloo.

David: Since Brock Solutions was already working with the University of Waterloo, it was a great opportunity to introduce our company and to talk to the heads of the Ideas Clinic. And they described what they wanted to do and how they wanted to build out an automation segment for the Ideas Clinic. This was a great opportunity for us to kind of work with that relationship, create that relationship with the academic institutions and the systems integrator, and highlight that framework in action. As I was talking to Brock more and more, it became apparent that they were trying to acquire some hardware for the lab that would make this work. And they weren't really getting anywhere at the time, and so I decided to introduce them to one of our Onboard partners, Opto 22. And Opto 22 came into the conversation and they were very happy to join the conversation. They were very happy to join the partnership. They were very interested in supporting this program by donating hardware for the Ideas Clinic. And so through the relationship that we created through Brock Solutions, Inductive Automation, Opto 22 and the University of Waterloo, we were able to pool our resources together and help launch this section of the Ideas Clinic.

David: Now, we had just received a presentation a few weeks ago on what they were able to accomplish in the one term that they have had since this relationship came to fruition. And they had a team of 14 students that were able to work on a project where they had four conveyor belts assembled with a arm robot in the middle, and they were able to move packages down the conveyor belt and then identify certain packages using actuator arms or arms powered by actuators to push packages into waiting stations, and the arm robot would then pick up that package and move it to another waiting station. It was really fascinating to see the students and how they were able to build this project using Opto 22, group series PLCs, as well as Inductive Automation, Ignition and a few other technologies were built into there. Really fascinating also seeing the students be able to give a presentation on what they have been able to accomplish and also connect it to real-life industry right away. It's remarkable, and it's exactly what we wanna do and exactly what we wanna see in varying educational institutions all over the world.

Joanna: It's quite a testament to the power of collaboration, for sure.

David: Absolutely.

Joanna: So looking into the future now, what are some ideas that you're hoping to incorporate into the program to make the partners and the universities and the students even more successful?

David: Sure. So there are a few different things going on in the mix. One of them that I think that is very important to us is working more and more with research projects and opportunities around the world in terms of propelling the automation industry forward. There's various research projects that we have committed to, to help modernize current manufacturing technologies using Ignition, as well as other devices. And these are all research projects. These are all done in curriculum settings and in research settings in which they're able to study how to bring those manufacturers that have been left behind because of how small they are, or they can't afford current technologies, or they just are nervous about taking that leap. And so the more and more research projects that we do, those, we feel like, will be able to not only shine a light on Ignition, but also shine a light to those industry leaders on how to revolutionize their own capabilities into what we call Industry 4.0 or IIoT, the emerging technologies that we see today.

David: Another idea that I have that is still in the works, it's still in its infancy, is an idea involving how we work with students to get placement within different systems integrators and end users within their companies. And as of right now, it's through the relationships that those systems integrators and end users are building with the academic institutions. So eventually, I would like to see a much wider area for students to be able to apply for positions at systems integrators that use Ignition as their software platform. So that's an idea that's kind of in the works right now, but I can't really go into any details past that.

Joanna: Sure. Is there any way that the integrators or engineers listening today can get involved with the University Engagement Program?

David: Yeah, absolutely. So if you're a systems integrator, an engineer, a college institution, anything like that, and you wanna get involved with our University Engagement Program, please reach out to me directly. My email address should be in the description within the podcast, If you can't find it for any reason, please feel free to reach out to Community Alliances, which is also the department that I am within. So you can reach out to the Director of Community Alliances, Kristine Zukose, or you can reach out to our Integration Program Manager, Amanda Karkar.

Joanna: David, thank you so much for joining me today. I personally was very excited to learn about what you were accomplishing through the program, and I am very much looking forward to seeing how it will continue to grow. And not just grow, but really change the lives of new grads and professionals in this industry.

David: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me here. And just to kind of echo on that statement, that's my passion right there, is to give those students the opportunity that I never had or that I have struggled to get. And so a program like this is really aiming towards that goal of being able to provide the students what they need to have in order to be successful in the world.

Posted on January 25, 2021