President and CEO
James (Jim) Heppelmann is president and CEO at PTC (Nasdaq: PMTC, market cap ~$3B) and is responsible for driving PTC’s global business strategy and operations. Mr. Heppelmann also serves on PTC’s Board of Directors. Mr. Heppelmann has 25 years of experience developing and deploying sophisticated product development software technology across the global manufacturing industry.
Mr. Heppelmann travels extensively to customer sites around the world and speaks regularly at product development and manufacturing industry forums on topics such as transforming the way products are created and serviced in response to new business opportunities created by digitization, globalization, personalization, smart products, and servitization. He has also been published and quoted in numerous business and trade media, including The Boston Globe, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Television.
An engineer himself, Mr. Heppelmann serves as a member of the national FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) executive advisory board, and is a member of the Dean’s advisory board at the University of Minnesota College of Science & Engineering.
Mr. Heppelmann is a strong believer in the corporate social responsibility approach known as Shared Value, where corporations contribute to their communities through vehicles that in return elevate the corporation’s value, in effect producing value for both the community and the corporate shareholders. PTC’s shared value program, “The Engineer of the Future”, is designed to inspire young people into career paths in science, technology, engineering and math through programs like FIRST and the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC). Through this program, students gain strong career opportunities, PTC’s customers gain an ongoing source of qualified employees, and PTC builds important relationships with potential future users of its technologies.
PTC is a software company whose technology solutions help manufacturers achieve sustained product and service advantage. Founded in 1985, PTC employs over 6,000 professionals serving more than 27,000 businesses in rapidly-evolving, globally distributed manufacturing industries worldwide.
PTC is a Strategic Partner of FIRST and is fully committed to the values of FIRST. Providing substantial financial support, free access to professional-grade engineering software and countless man-hours of employee support, PTC exposes FIRST students to sophisticated tools and global manufacturing customers to inspire students to develop the engineering skills that are in high demand from these organizations.
Additionally, PTC is a founding member of the Real-World Design Challenge (RWDC), an annual high school competition run by a public-private aerospace partnership with the goal of increasing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce in the USA.
Insight from the CEO
Why do you believe STEM education/workforce development is critical to our nation’s future?
America was built on innovation and entrepreneurship. If we want America to continue to lead in the 21st century, there is nothing more important than a continued focus on innovation. By getting today’s top students passionate about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, we create the pipeline of talent necessary to develop the leading technologies that will continue to be the backbone of our economy as well as our security and quality of life.
How do you believe STEM education can improve a nation’s competitiveness?
Too few of our top high school students invest their careers into STEM fields today, perhaps because it is increasingly characterized as being too nerdy. So the first challenge is to inspire students toward STEM education, in effect to make it cool again. The second challenge is to deliver a quality educational program. We believe that students form opinions about STEM well before their college years, so high-school programs that first capture the imagination of students, and then cultivate their aspirations, will be the source of tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs.
How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?
PTC is very active in two initiatives, FIRST and the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC).
FIRST reaches an estimated 300,000 students annually and offers an accessible, innovative, mentor-based STEM programs for K-12. These programs inspire young people to think, design and create something physical using their engineering knowledge and skills. As a Strategic Partner of the FIRST Progression of Programs for K-12, PTC provides free professional-grade engineering software, including PTC Creo® design software, PTC Mathcad® calculation software, and PTC Windchill® collaboration software to all participating FIRST teams, allowing thousands of students along with their teachers and professional mentors to collaborate digitally and virtually on their designs anytime, anywhere.
PTC is a founding member of the RWDC, an annual high school competition run by a public-private partnership with the goal of increasing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce in the USA aerospace industry. The RWDC began in 2008 through a partnership between industry, government, academia, and non-profits. PTC provides program management, software to each participating school, including PTC Creo®, PTC Windchill®, and PTC Mathcad®, as well as introductions and connections to industry partners, team support and technical and administrative support. This year, nearly 5,000 students from across the country participated in the RWDC. Every student participates at no cost to themselves or their schools with partners donating more than a billion dollars of financial and in-kind support to schools since the RWDC's inception.
What is the STEM initiative that your company has supported are you most proud?
We are proud of all our STEM-based initiatives because every one of them helps educate, nurture and build the confidence of students to pursue careers in math, science and engineering.
How can we advance mentorships and apprenticeships in the STEM pipeline?
Though everybody is ultimately a winner, the return to the student who becomes inspired toward STEM may be greater in the short term than to the mentor or company who employs the apprentice. A better program that helps companies to establish an effective apprentice program, coupled with the matchmaking necessary to connect them with the most needy students – many of whom are in rural or inner city areas – could be helpful to significantly increase the availability of apprentice programs and the exposure of students to these real-world environments.
What do we need in the US to continue to be at the top of global innovation?
Innovation and creation of the infrastructure necessary both for security and quality of life represent the backbone of a strong economy and a strong nation, and the inexorable slide toward a service economy may become a precursor of trouble ahead. Organizations, educators and government officials need to work together to create more awareness of the importance of innovation, and then stronger STEM programs so that more students are able to better understand and pursue the wide variety of career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math fields. When this is successful, we’ll have more students in the types of jobs that will keep the United States at the top of the list of global innovators.
Senior Vice President, Solutions Marketing & Communications
Robin Saitz is senior vice president, solutions marketing & communications for PTC, responsible for the development of messaging, positioning, and integrated marketing programs for the company and PTC solutions.
Divisional Vice President, Global Services
Sanjay Verma is currently the Divisional Vice President for PTC's Global Services. His responsibilities include worldwide operations, strategic planning and global initiatives. He is also a contributor to Celebrity Series of Boston in the roles of a Board Member and a member of the Executive Committee. He recently joined the board of DRINKWELL (drinkwellsytem.com), an organization dedicated to bring cost effective water solutions to areas in the world affected by poor availability of quality water using cutting edge technology developed in the US.
Before moving to PTC he was the Founder and Managing Director of ITC Infotech India Ltd., a software services and solutions provider with offices in India, USA and UK.
Sanjay is a Charter Member of TiE Boston. In this role, he mentors early stage technology ventures to achieve their potential.
PTC is a Needham, Massachusetts-based software solutions company. Founded in 1985, it employs over 6,000 professionals serving more than 28,000 global manufacturing businesses. PTC Solutions transforms product delivery through a combination of process know-how and best-of-breed capabilities, delivered through a flexible platform. Its solutions for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Computer Aided Design (CAD), Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) span the complete product and service lifecycle.
PTC is also a Strategic Partner of FIRST, to which it provides financial support, access to professional-grade engineering software and countless man-hours of employee support. By exposing FIRST students to sophisticated tools and global customers, PTC hopes to inspire students to develop high-demand engineering skills.
Additionally, PTC is a founding member of the Real-World Design Challenge (RWDC), an annual high school competition run by a public-private aerospace partnership that aims to increase the U.S. STEM workforce.
How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?
Accessibility and insight into career opportunities drive interest in STEM careers. Inner city students, rural students, women, etc. need to have easy and non-intimidating access to STEM technology. This could include completely outfitted computer labs, access to software, embedded classroom curriculum and after school clubs like FIRST robotics. Also creating targeted internship aligned to the STEM initiatives
We also need to provide role models for these students. Everyone who can and should, has a responsibility to give back in a meaningful way. If you can motivate just one person to participate in STEM, that is a win. However, usually one mentor, one role model can influence a roomful of students or a few students on a robotics team.
Motivating these students to participate in the after school programs makes a world of difference. You can learn as much outside the classroom as you can inside it. You can learn collaboration, conflict resolution, team building, competing and winning, etc.
What traits do corporate leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM education today?
Corporate leaders need to promote awareness of STEM education and socialize it in employee, industry and customer settings. At PTC, we make STEM education and our Engineer of the Future program a standard talk track of our corporate overview and corporate communication. Our leadership team is active at local and regional events which drive the STEM message. This includes initiatives such as FIRST robotics.
In our case at PTC, our CEO Jim Heppelmann, actively encourages employees and customer to participate in FIRST. It is part of his normal talk track in employee and customer meetings. As a result, many of our employees (over 300) and customers (over 100) have participated in supporting FIRST.
What do corporations need to do to create more STEM careers and fill existing jobs?
Corporations need to provide employee, financial and program support to create more STEM careers. PTC has created its "Engineer of the Future" program to address this for itself, for our 28,000 customers and for the community. We have encouraged our 6,000 employees to get involved and invest $1.0 Million per year in FIRST.
In our Engineer of the Future case, we have created a STEM Certificate program. This provides software, curriculum, technical support and hands on modules to help teachers adopt STEM in the classroom. The good news is that benchmarks have indicated the content is world class. And the best part of it is the program is free to students, teachers and schools. We feel we will get paid at the back-end when these students go work for our customers.
What is your vision for the future of STEM careers, through diversity?
In the global interconnected world of today, opportunity is no longer restricted by, race, geography, economics or sex. As technology reaches every part of our lives and the world, it inherently creates career opportunities.
The beauty of STEM is that from an early age it has no glass ceiling related to demographics. Students are in touch with technology in its different forms from an early age. Through early introduction and easy accessibility to STEM, students of all backgrounds and means are creating new nontraditional careers.
We can also address major global problems like access to energy, water and basic hygiene. Technology can provide a much better quality of life. Students here in the United States are creating and can continue to create solutions that can be adapted globally.
In our case, we are participating in many outreach events with cities, schools and programs. There are so many audiences that help promote a good message, we want to take advantage of them.