PACCAR, the semi truckmaker and the No. 1 company in the InformationWeek 500, had a major strategic push on wireless--to deliver a more affordable, built-in way for dispatchers to track their vehicles and how they're performing. But PACCAR's IT team didn't have deep wireless chops. It had planned to hire that expertise, but when the recession hit, sales fell nearly in half, prompting layoffs across the company, including IT. So PACCAR turned to a small startup, also in Seattle, that built much of the capability. PACCAR learned wireless, and the startup, Signal Set, learned about manufacturers and large-scale project management. PACCAR worked closely with other partners, including Microsoft. "We couldn't add staff. We found ways to add expertise from outside our staff," CIO Kyle Quinn says.
Lesson for job seekers: Stock options aren't the only reason to work at startups. It could be the best place to break into a cutting-edge tech segment, one that larger employers may value as the tech matures.