November 4, 2021

Leader Perspectives: Preparing for electrification and lightning speed innovation

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Electrifying the future of the transport industry

Electrification is one of the three megatrends directly affecting the Transportation Industry, with Connectivity and Autonomy being the other two. It’s not only the technology areas that are disrupting the industry but the pace of innovation required to keep up is accelerating as well. As an industry, we are in a place right now that reminds me of the Automotive Industry more than 15 years ago. And to transition successfully, it is going to take tremendous teamwork, cross-industry collaboration, and investments to ensure the innovation is sustainable and meets customer and industry needs. This begins and ends with talent and strong skill sets, many of which do not exist within the industry today.

The electrification of the Transportation Industry will take bright and innovative thinking for technological development, and entirely new skill sets that will move the ideas forward and service the products far into the future. Indeed, I believe that the design and development of electrified, connected, and autonomous systems will create jobs for decades to come.

Partnerships with educational institutions like universities and technical schools, as well as consortiums, researchers, private sector laboratories and other industry influencers such as local Chambers of Commerce, community boards, and trade associations are an important way to ensure the talent and skills will be available when the innovation cycle accelerates. This collaboration must start now so that the opportunities can be seized, and a skills pipeline can be established.

Thermo King has answered the call to lead the effort and is eager to move forward quickly due to its commitment to customers, sustainability, innovation, and talent recruitment and retention. Our team is working to generate excitement about STEM through volunteerism and resources for K-12 students in our communities. National STEM Day on November 8 is an opportunity to get involved if you also want to make a difference in this important effort.

We are also collaborating with elite universities for talent recruitment, technological ideation and testing, and the development of a new ecosystem of foundational skills that will be needed to support the development of electrified, connected, and autonomous systems. In short, our team is actively working to ensure that the best and brightest students not only have transport refrigeration on their radars but seize the opportunities that are coming in this amazing industry.

And these opportunities are great. In fact, the amount of innovation that will happen in the next 10-15 years will equate to what typically has been done in 50 years. Think about that … things are going to move quickly and compared to past product development, at lightning speed.

When I joined Thermo King and Trane Technologies in July 2021, I was excited about the company’s passion and commitment to providing sustainable solutions for our customers – a commitment that has been loudly declared through our 2030 Sustainability Commitments. I am excited to lead a team of exceptional talent and together further define and pave the road to an all-electric zero-emissions product portfolio, which will undoubtedly shape Thermo King’s future as the industry leader delivering customers innovative and sustainable solutions for the cold chain.

Learn more about available employment opportunities at Thermo King and throughout Trane Technologies.

Poised for the Future

Our team is actively working to ensure that the best and brightest students not only have transport refrigeration on their radars but seize the opportunities that are coming in this amazing industry. In fact, the amount of innovation that will happen in the next 10-15 years will equate to what typically has been done in 50 years.

Aftab Khan

VP, Engineering & Technology

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Aftab Khan - Vice President of Engineering and Technology

Aftab Khan is the vice president of Engineering and Technology for Thermo King Americas, a division of Trane Technologies. He has an extensive background in electrification, which is the driving force behind Thermo King’s product innovation and strategy. His work was previously recognized by Automotive News’ Electrifying 100 when he was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world paving the road towards automobiles’ electrified future.