Union Pacific sets up shop in Austin, Texas for IT center
December 14, 2012 - LM Editorial
In an effort to have closer proximity to one of the biggest technology regions of the United States, Class I railroad carrier Union Pacific said this week that it has opened up an Austin, Texas-based information technology center.
UP officials said that this new location will serve as a software development and engineering research and development center for Union Pacific’s technology group, adding it has the capacity to support more than 40 programmers and engineers and is equipped with a lab and an audio/visual training room.
UP spokesman Tom Lange told LM there were various drivers for this effort.
“Union Pacific is experiencing attrition levels of 3,000 to 4,000 people a year, largely retirements, at a time when technology demands continue to increase,” he said. “Our IT group commonly has 20-to-30 positions that remain unfilled because we have not identified the right skills. Opening a satellite IT office in Austin is pretty much a test-run for us. Austin’s existing technology ecosystem and proximity to colleges and universities with very strong computer science and electrical engineering programs makes it a good location. We have been evaluating the possibility of a satellite IT office for about two years.”
In regards to what specifically IT staffers out of this office will work on, Lange explained they will be involved in everything from predictive analytics that help run a safe and reliable rail network, which in any 24-hour window has as many as 3,300 active trains—to mobile apps serving its customer base of 10,000.
He also explained that this office also brings benefits to customers, too.
“We believe one of the most significant benefits to shippers will be our increased access to top-tier IT talent, which will help Union Pacific continue to develop industry-leading technology solutions for our customers,” he said.
The Austin office is UP’s first true satellite information technology center, Lange said. UP will evaluate its success over the next 12-to-18 months and determine whether to expand its Austin presence, add other satellite locations, or pull the work back into its Omaha, Nebraska headquarters location.
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