Panasonic has built its company by working with businesses, using B2B sales to produce much of its $73 billion of revenue.
But Todd Rytting, Panasonic’s chief technology officer, was quick to note that working with businesses is just one form of collaboration the company is emphasizing.
Since moving to Newark more than a year ago, Panasonic has strengthened its collaborative relationship with the New Jersey Institute of Technology and its president, Joel Bloom.
“By the fact that they’re in Newark, our students, their engineers and our faculty are moving much more seamlessly in working together on projects,” Bloom said.
One such project, the college’s Panasonic Creative Design Challenge, engages students on both the high school and collegiate levels with technology.
“It’s targeted toward high school students and they compete in a robotics competition,” Bloom said. “The competition involves not only building a robot, but learning engineering principles and then getting the robot to perform.”
The challenge, or problem to be solved, is designed by NJIT students who work together with Panasonic’s engineers. Building these relationships is crucial for students before entering the workforce.
“Many of the students who work with the engineers from Panasonic each summer to design the challenge — they wind up getting offered jobs when they graduate,” Bloom said. “The major benefit of that is the employer gets to look at the talent and the students get to meet the organization, (and) understand it and the world of work.”
Both Bloom and Rytting see the relationship as mutually beneficial.
“In addition to moving over here, we wanted to be more involved with the community than we were, and we just finished a round of summer interns. There was an influx,” Rytting said. “I’ve met with Dr. Bloom a couple of times and we’re going to participate in speaking engagements there to their students where I tell them what we’re looking for.”
For Rytting, the most important things you learn aren’t facts, but how to think critically and adapt to change.