Spring 2019 Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies Newsletter

In This Issue:

Dr. Jeffrey J. Vaitekunas

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Jeffrey J. Vaitekunas, Assistant Teaching Professor of Engineering

Before joining Behrend as an assistant teaching professor, Vaitekunas spent over twenty-five years in industry designing and manufacturing products, working in intellectual property law, and managing research and development teams. His previous company was located in Knowledge Park, and he was on the Industrial Advisory Board at Behrend where he learned about the Master of Manufacturing Management degree and the Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies major. He attempted to hire an MMM student out of the program into his business because of the value that he believed the program could bring to his operations department.

He previously held positions at Ethicon Endo-Surgery, a Johnson & Johnson company, in product development, negotiating licenses, performing due-diligence for acquisitions, strategic planning, research and development, and new business development. He has founded small start-up companies, has experience in large venture capital funded opportunities and medium-size, privately-held companies.

Vaitekunas also is licensed to practice federal patent law. He has a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He received his M.S. in theoretical and applied mechanics from Northwestern University, and his B.S. in electrical engineering from Purdue. He currently holds over twenty-five U.S. patents for ideas ranging from ultrasonic surgical devices to advanced image-processing techniques.

Vaitekunas was formerly president of the Ultrasonic Industry Association and served on the board of directors of the association, including several years as editor of their annual newsletter, Vibrations. He is a musician, playing drums for a classic rock and roll band, and restores vintage motorcycles for relaxation.

Alumni Spotlight

Madelynn Monte '15

Madelynn Monte

What is your current position and where?

I work for Westinghouse Electric Company as the customer account engineer for Korea and Japan.

How did you find your current job?

I had an internship with Westinghouse during the summer between my sophomore and junior year. I interned as a commercial integration engineer and was later hired into the same group. I worked in that position for a little over a year, then entered into my current role, which I have held since August 2016.

What steps did you take while at Behrend to help you prepare for your current job?

Learning and understanding the link between the business world and engineering world was instrumental to finding and being successful in the two positions that I have held within Westinghouse. Coming into a full-time position with this knowledge proved to be invaluable, as it was something that traditionally took people years to learn on-the-job.

What do you like best about your job and your employer?

With my current position, I have many opportunities to travel to Westinghouse and customer sites both within the U.S. and abroad. My customer base is all of the Westinghouse customers located in South Korea and Japan, so I travel frequently to the Westinghouse offices there and the customer locations within those countries.

What advice do you have for future graduates?

Take as many opportunities as you can to get an internship, co-op, or on-the-job experience. This can help you decide what type of position you would like to have in the future.

Senior Capstone Project Spotlights

Home Security IBE Capstone Project

Home Security: Stanley Black & Decker

Stanley is an industry leader in professionally-installed security systems with key strength and assets in solutions design, installation, and professional monitoring. However, the residential home security market is changing fast and Stanley’s key strengths are contested by start-up companies such as SimpliSafe, Ring, Arlo, and the like that offer DIY security solutions that can be monitored and controlled using mobile devices.

The capstone is working on value-added innovative solutions to enhance Stanley’s core competency and competitive advantage through product and business model innovations.

PI Lab Logo

Neuro Research: Pi Lab

The product is Life Line 3 in 1. They are currently selling an energy/stress relief/focus drink similar to 5-hour ENERGY® and are available in over 400 retail locations. Pi Lab is looking to expand not only the sales of that product, but expand revenue options.

Thalamus One, the company that introduced the drink, intended to do some preliminary studies of brain wave activity before and after drinking Life Line, 5-hour ENERGY®, and a placebo, then using the brainwave analysis tools, see if there are any changes in brainwave activity whether that be positive or negative.

Simultaneously, Thalamus One also will be creating a mobile app with custom relaxation sounds to help the customer relax/focus/sleep/stay awake. This will create an add-on subscription-based revenue model to be branded and go along with the energy drink offerings.

Capstone Team Deliverables: Evaluate and create plans for the physical product and the software service landscapes.

News and Updates

The First Step for IBE Majors

Bright Idea

Any IBE declared or undeclared student needs to first have a course review and initial advising session with Dr. Diane Parente, professor of management, before registering for any future classes. This review will take thirty minutes or less and provide you with an individualized roadmap to graduation on a semester-by-semester basis. Dr. Parente will examine your options and recommend what courses needed. According to Dr. Parente, “The IBE major supports a wide variety of dual majors and concentrations, so it is critically important to develop a plan of action at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Just as the saying goes that “a lawyer who represents themselves has a fool for a client,” don’t try to self-advise because an “IBE major who advises themselves…”

International Logistics Course Debuts in Fall 2019

Coming this fall, IBE majors will have the opportunity to examine the logistics function and the unique requirements of international movement of material. According to Gary Smith, lecturer in management, “It is not uncommon for a product to be manufactured in the United States with material purchased from China and sold to a customer in Germany. To effectively maneuver in today’s global marketplace, a mastery of the international logistics function has become a critical success factor.” Dr. Parente will sub this course for one of the elective courses in the OPSCM or Technical Sales modules.

Before joining the Black School faculty in 2016, Smith most recently served as the Global Logistics Program Manager – Foreign Trades Zones for a Fortune 100 company.

As a bonus, the 3-credit course will help students prepare for taking the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) exam. The CGBP designation confirms proficient knowledge in international trade as certified by the North American Small Business Trade Educators (NASBITE).

According to Dr. Diane Parente, chair of interdisciplinary programs, “The ability for our students to earn CGBP certification is another example of how the Black School of Business helps set our student up for their future success. NASBITE is a well-respected organization in the logistics world and the opportunity for our students to differentiate themselves with the CGBP designation is just another example.”

The International Logistics course, MGMT 497, will be appearing on the fall 2019 Penn State Behrend schedule.