Life@OPENLANE: Q&A with Caleb Akinyemi
OPENLANE’s Tech Team navigates the ever-changing technology landscape and plays a vital role in the company’s day-to-day operations, from product development to long-term planning. It’s also a field rich with opportunities from entry-level on up, creating opportunities for individuals to grow and develop along with the company. In this brief Q&A, learn more about how Caleb Akinyemi leveraged a one-day contract into a flourishing career with OPENLANE’s Tech Team.
How did you get your start at OPENLANE?
Initially I had a one-day contract with the former ADESA IT Deskside Support team to help PAR move and set up employee equipment. ADESA IT then asked if I could come back the following week to assist with a Microsoft Office upgrade effort. After completing that project, my contract was extended for additional support and eventually I was offered a full-time position.
Tell us about your career progression at OPENLANE.
I joined OPENLANE in 2011 as a tier II support analyst on the Deskside Support team. In 2015, I became a support engineer on the newly created Client Services Liaison team. There were travel opportunities that allowed me to gain exposure and visibility to physical auctions and branches across the U.S. and Canada, which helped bridge knowledge gaps between corporate support and end users in the field. I networked with people to gain understanding of how the business units and processes interconnect each other. By 2018, I was promoted to supervisor of the team and had employees in Carmel, Mesa and Toronto. After OPENLANE IT adopted Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), I accepted an opportunity as a product owner.
You’ve developed your career at OPENLANE through moves and promotions. What do you feel has been an important factor in your success?
The most important factors behind my success are my dedication, optimism, consistency, accountability and always holding myself to a high standard. I also want to give credit to the people surrounding me because they played a big part in my growth here at OPENLANE by mentoring me and always pushing me to take on new challenges. Another key factor in my success is that I was nominated to join a leadership development program at OPENLANE. This program helped me have a more in-depth understanding of what it means to be a great leader, drive change within an organization and build team relationships. This is a testimony of how OPENLANE invests in their employees to build the next generation of leaders within the company.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?
The most rewarding aspect of my role is seeing the customer satisfaction from the services and technology platforms offered by my team. Anyone who knows me knows that I love helping people, and I can 100% say the same about my team. We are one of the core OPENLANE IT teams that provides support to end-users who are directly facing OPENLANE customers—so you can imagine how the changes that we make can impact the organization. I work with a supportive team that is built on trust, and we have proven to be adaptable as things change in our environment and when taking on new challenges. This is what drives and motivates me daily.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career at OPENLANE?
My advice to someone starting their career at OPENLANE would be to look forward to networking and building relationships by engaging with the people around you. OPENLANE has several different lines of business, and each business unit is connected to one another. Understanding the function of each business unit, their customers and the organization as a whole is one of the core components that will help you be successful at OPENLANE. When it comes to career growth and internal opportunities, OPENLANE is the right place to be. When jobs become available, OPENLANE looks at our internal talent first, which speaks well for the company’s morale and corporate culture.