Autonomous trucking will soon transform not just our freeways but the entire global supply chain. Still, serious concerns remain about safety, workforce changes, and policy. In this episode of Before IT Happened, our host Donna Loughlin talks with Paula Bejarano, Director of Business Development for Navistar. Paula started as a reliability engineer at the European Space Agency, inspecting mechanical systems in space shuttles. She also worked on oil drilling rigs at Shell, and interned at Tesla while authoring Autonomousity: Autonomous Vehicles and Emerging Business Models. Today, she’s merging her engineering and business sense in her leadership role at Navistar, a global company that is working to make trucks, buses, and engines more connected, electric and even autonomous. In this episode, she talks to Donna about her leap from space to the world of business and e-vehicles and explains how big cities could work in the future.
Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life.
JUMP STRAIGHT INTO:
(06:32) - A limitless education - "Not having those differentiations, I think it completely erased from my mind that barrier that, ‘My God, I'm going to be the only girl there.’"
(11:33) - From working in Space to building a more sustainable planet - "In terms of sustainability—the long-term impact for the world, for the planet—I had a bit of an epiphany."
(14:12) - A third career path at TESLA - "I think overall it opened doors for me and opened my mind to new opportunities."
(15:30) - The challenges facing autonomous technology - "I think the ultimate goal of autonomous transportation is to democratize transportation for everyone, to make it accessible in remote areas."
(23:52) - The future of autonomous transportation - "On one hand you have to get it out there to validate it and get people comfortable with the technology. On the other hand, people are going to misuse it, and that happens with everything."
(27:19) - How Paula views her work - "Nobody's done this before, and we don't know what's going to happen five years from now."
(35:51) - How to breakdown stereotypical gender roles in the workforce - "Exposing people to knowledge and giving them that connection to mentors who have accomplished things, I think is super important."
Connect with Paula Bejarano on Twitter.
Read Paula’s book: Autonomousity: Autonomous Vehicles and Emerging Business Models
Learn more about what Navistar is doing to bring the transportation industry into the future
Listen to Before IT Happened’s: Revamping a Tired Old Industry with Zohr’s Komal and Anoop Choong
Listen to Before IT Happened’s: Disrupting the DMV through Digital License Plates with Neville Boston
Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Susanna Camp.