Inmar promotes, nurtures innovation

If you’ve ever had a prescription filled you can probably thank Inmar. If you’ve ever used a coupon to save money, you can probably thank Inmar. In fact, Inmar has an indirect impact on our everyday lives by creating and operating intelligent commerce networks, and managing billions of dollars of transactions for trading partners engaged in everything from retail to healthcare. And while Inmar uses technology to make our lives better now, the company is also working to ensure that our lives run smoothly in the future as well. One way they do that is by nurturing young talent, and encouraging today’s students to pursue careers in Science Technology Engineering and Math tomorrow.

First, Inmar opens its doors to school groups for tours of the company’s headquarters, located in Winston-Salem’s aptly named Innovation Quarter, as part of its S.T.E.M. program. “Teachers love bringing their students here to Inmar. We let them talk to our engineers, our analytics folks, and to our data scientists,” said David Mounts, Chairman and CEO of Inmar. “That lets them learn about and envision themselves in those types of careers. It’s a breakthrough moment for them, and creates motivation and inspiration for them” Such events and activities allow students to further explore their interest in the STEM arena.

For example, through its “Math Matters” program, Inmar demonstrates to young students how math matters in the real world regardless of the career they choose. Inmar also participates in a Robot Fun Run at Innovation Quarter in which middle school students “coach” engineers and technologists from area companies to build and program a LEGO Mindstorms robot, and then the teams compete to score as many points as possible on a thematic playing surface. Inmar also partners with the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont in co-sponsoring an all-girls robotics team to compete in the NC First program. “The robotics competition is the premier engineering challenge for high school students,” said Mounts. “Teams of students working with teachers and mentors conceptualize, design, build, program, modify and test a robot to participate in the annual competition. Last year we had six girls come into the program, and this year already we have 20 girls interested in joining the team.”

Then there’s the Analytics Forum, sponsored by Inmar and the Wake Forest University School of Business Marketing, in which the brightest university students from around the globe compete in teams to provide solutions to real world marketing situations. “The capabilities enabled through data analytics will touch almost every area of business across all industries, so we must ensure that students emerge from our universities with a sound understanding of this evolving area,” said Mounts. “This exercise provides an opportunity to apply classroom learning and creative team-based problem solving to a real world situation in a competitive setting, which is very much like what they will encounter post graduation.”

And as a way of bringing all these educational activities full circle, Inmar offers a comprehensive, 10 week intern program for college students who want to pursue a career in technology data science, analytics, supply chain, and finance. Appearing on Triad Today, Inmar corporate counsel Mark Johnson told me, “The intern program allows us to go onto campuses and identify top candidates early. We are competing with many other great companies for many of these same skillsets. It also gives the student time to see how they fit into the Inmar culture.”

Speaking on a corporate video, intern Yu Wang, a student at the University of Pennsylvania said, “The environment Inmar provided promotes open collaboration, and made me feel like I was really contributing to something worthwhile.” Said Johnson, “Our interns not only bring the newest skills and knowledge, they also bring a new perspective, different ways of thinking and operating. When your company is focused on innovation, diversity of perspective and experience is very important.”

From a purely selfish standpoint, Inmar’s involvement with students of all ages helps the company nurture a qualified and enthusiastic labor pool for the future. But Inmar’s commitment to innovation now also demonstrates a selfless desire to strengthen the area economy, and improve quality of life for people all over the world.

For more information on Inmar’s educational outreach programs, contact Girls interested in joining the robotics team, can come to Inmar headquarters at 635 Vine Street on any Tuesday night at 6:30pm. !

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).