Missoula software firm adds jobs, eyes new education market in Saudi Arabia
By Martin Kidston/MISSOULA CURRENT
A technology firm based in Missoula has added eight senior managers to its staff and is looking to hire 30 new employees to continue growing the company's presence in both domestic and international markets.
Education Logistics, Inc., founded in Missoula in 1977, provides transportation software to school districts around the world to help bring efficiency and organization to bus routes. More than 150,000 buses across the U.S. and Canada are routed daily using EDULOG software.
Shannon Furniss, the company's communications officer, said EDULOG is now working to close a deal in Saudi Arabia that would greatly expand operations. The firm is also looking to expand its software base and has hired eight senior managers from several Fortune 500 companies to help EDULOG take the next step.
“They're bringing their expertise to EDULOG from the software industry,” said Furniss. “Technology is changing rapidly, and as everyone moves to mobile devices, people expect data to be available right away. We understand this and are ramping up our development right away.”
The new hires include Jeffrey Hay, a former Intel and Panasonic employee who will serve as vice president of software delivery, and Aimee Burt, who led the recent merger between Continental and United Airlines and will serve as director of EDULOG's project management office.
Furniss said the new senior managers will be based in Missoula. EDULOG currently employs 160 people, with 130 of them based in the Garden City. The company is looking to add 30 new positions to grow its line of products, includes GPS tracking, scheduling and routing.
“We're hiring up to 30 new employees to really help build our technology,” said Furniss. “They'll be in all sorts of different roles, from customer service to Internet technology to business and product management. We've hired 20 people since October and we're looking to hire more to keep building and growing.”
EDULOG's senior management team has traveled to Saudi Arabia several times over the last year to help the nation's government implement a transportation system for students, particularly young girls. Women are prohibited from driving in Saudi Arabia, making it difficult for girls to get to school.
But Furniss said the Saudi government is making new investments in education, with a growing emphasis on getting girls educated and into the workforce. School buses and transit will play a hand in the process, and EDULOG is working with IBM and Microsoft to develop the system.
“We're excited to be involved with a project like this, with 2 million students and 30,000 school buses to ensure these young women have an opportunity to get an education,” said Furniss. “The Saudi government is making a huge investment in education, and it's happening all over the world, where people understand that education is the key, and with education, buses are needed.”
Bolstering the company's new management with Fortune 500 experience could also benefit the wider community. The senior managers have experience with Intel, Panasonic, Nike, GE, Xerox and major airlines, among others.
Furniss said EDULOG is working collaboratively with the University of Montana to bring its experience to the classroom. It's also looking to hire the university's top students and keep them in the state.
“Some of our people will be going into classrooms to talk about technology, opportunities in the tech industry and software development,” said Furniss. “It's a great opportunity for us to get some great students from UM. We're looking forward to that partnership.”