Yes, it’s an old company. It’s been a fixture in the transportation industry since Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 to create a transcontinental railroad. But that doesn’t mean Union Pacific is out-of-date.
“Most people look at us and think, ‘You’re a railroad, you must use a lot of old technology,’” says Travis Duncan, BAdm’08, IST’08. “And while it’s true that Union Pacific has been around for 150 years, we are a leader in developing and applying cutting-edge technology in transportation.”
The nation’s largest railroad covers 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States and employs about 45,000 people.
Based in Omaha, Neb., Duncan is manager of “MyUP,” Union Pacific’s internal company portal. “It’s a place where our various departments (operations, marketing, sales, etc.) have access to the information and applications they need to do their jobs. Our goal is to be a one-stop shop that brings together what they need on a daily basis,” he says.
“Because MyUP touches all departments, I get to interact with a lot of people throughout the company and learn about all the different pieces of the business,” he says.
Duncan says he was initially drawn to UP because of its technology aspect, not from a fascination with trains as many other employees have. But he’s a fan now. “I’ve developed a real appreciation for trains since I’ve been with Union Pacific,” he says. “We get things from one place to another in ways trucks just can’t. A single train can carry as much as 300 trucks can. And we’re really efficient too, with less impact to the environment.”
Union Pacific moves freight, not people, but Duncan plans to get out in the field soon and take a ride on one of the trains himself.
He encourages new graduates and others to consider Union Pacific for a career. “A lot of baby boomers will be retiring in the next few years, creating tremendous career opportunities for younger employees,” he says.
“It’s the diversity in both the technology and people that makes Union Pacific a fun, challenging and rewarding place to work,” he says.