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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


How an App is Making Green Greener

According to iIT grad, Zachary Dryman, "When the end users are happy because you have provided them with a new technology tool, and they can work more efficiently and have greater insight into the business that they are hoping to achieve, then that’s success."

How has Zach achieved this? Well, for one, by developing an app called TreadMarks Mobile, which has eliminated 98% of his company's paper usage after less than two months post-launch.

Zach is the director of IT for Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS), a Canadian nonprofit that helps to facilitate Canada’s tire recycling program. Funded by an “eco fee,” every old tire in Ontario is collected and hauled to processing facilities where they are shredded into clean rubber, and repurposed for mulch, roads, shingles, playground flooring and other goods.

Ironically, this company, whose primary purpose is to facilitate a recycling initiative, was using paper transactions for all of its reporting. Just one of their largest program participants produces 2,000 transactions a month, which equates to over 7,000 pieces of paper!

It also left a lot of room for improving processes and efficiency, which is where Zach and his team came in. Specifically, the goals were to improve the user experience, design out opportunities for user error and improve access to high-quality data.

Fortunately, Zach was the right person for the job.

Zach began his college career in computer science, which has a heavy programming focus. “It didn't take me long to realize that the coursework and program requirements were not what I had in mind. Sitting in front of a computer and writing code isn’t my idea of a good time.”

He goes on to explain, “I knew that I wanted to work with technology, what I didn’t know was in which area to focus my studies. But it makes me happy to be able to solve problems that organizations have by integrating new technology within the current business processes.”

And that’s exactly what Zach did in designing TreadMarks Mobile. It’s what his degree in Integrated Information Technology prepared him to do: to find a business solution by applying technology.

The TreadMarks Mobile system works by taking the paper forms that were used by drivers and processors and replacing them with iPad Minis. OTS distributed 550 iPads, and in the first full month of use 7,503 transactions (or 98 percent) were received electronically. The new system also saved an astounding 23,844 sheets of paper through the month of August.

Zach’s advice to attaining success in the IT industry is this, “Embrace change, face it head on. Don’t ever remain in your comfort zone for too long, because then you become stagnant. Advancement is the product of change. One of my favorite quotes comes from Jack Welch, past chairman and CEO of GE, who says, ‘If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.’”

Translation… you won’t last if everything around you is changing and you aren’t. However, Zach is living proof that if you do embrace change, and also have the ability to solve business problems by applying technology, the results can be truly extraordinary.