U of M Technological Leadership Institute & Thermo King Launch Graduate Credential Program in Fleet Electrification 

December 28, 2022

U of M Technological Leadership Institute Attending a Fleet Electrification Class at Zeus Electric Chassis in White Bear Lake
Duane Wagner and Robert Grinstead Hosted the U of M Technological Leadership Institute Group on a Fleet Electrification Field Trip at the Zeus Electric Chassis R&D Facility in White Bear Lake, MN

The University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) is collaborating with Thermo King, a leader in transport temperature control solutions, to launch the first-ever graduate credential program in electrification engineering in the state. The program is being launched in response to the increasing demand in the work truck industry for professionals trained in fields such as electrical, mechanical and systems engineering, renewable energy policy, and energy conversion and storage. Launching in fall 2023, the electrification program will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of fleet electrification trends and state-of-the-art technologies, as well as a graduate certificate in electrification engineering.

Andrew Alleyne, Dean of the U of M College of Science and Engineering acknowledges Jim Steffes, on behalf of the Zeus Electric Chassis team for their Outstanding Leadership in Electrification Engineering Education.

“This partnership is a huge win for both TLI and Thermo King,” said Travis Thul, senior fellow and director of operations for TLI. “The transition from fossil fuel-driven systems to hybrid and all electric systems is happening very quickly, and the biggest challenge we face is having enough trained professionals ready to do the necessary work. Thermo King has always been committed to sustainability in its system design, and we look forward to working closely with them to build this much-needed program.”

Thermo King, along with several other organizations, is supporting the development of the program’s curriculum, and will provide site visits and direct contact between students and industry. These organizations include Polaris, MTS Inc., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Zeus Electric Chassis Inc., Wabtec Corp., and the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory.

“The transportation industry is undergoing a massive transformation in mobility with the shift towards electrification. This program will provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in this rapidly evolving field.”

Jim Steffes – Vice President of Business Development & Strategy at Zeus Electric Chassis

The program offers students a unique opportunity to advance the development of electrified work trucks and get an up-close look at how utilities and other companies are pursuing fleet electrification. As the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and other transportation funding continues to drive the transition away from fossil fuel systems towards hybrid and fully electric designs, the knowledge and skills these students will gain will be invaluable.

“We’re proud to partner with the University of Minnesota to develop these courses and build a world-class electrification workforce,” said Aftab Khan, Vice President of Engineering and Technology for Thermo King Americas. “The program will also provide a deep dive into the engineering and scientific components needed to realize the efficiency, cost savings, and environmental benefits associated with electric infrastructure.”

About TLI
Founded in 1987, TLI resides within the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering and serves as a bridge between academia and industry. In addition to the new electrification engineering program, TLI also offers three Master of Science programs (in Management of Technology, Security Technology, and Medical Device Innovation) as well as a number of short courses and certificates.