2022-23 Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter

In This Issue

New Things Going On With The Major

Dr. Ray Venkataraman

Dr. Ray Venkataraman

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Welcome to our newsletter for the Spring 2023 semester! We are delighted to welcome Dr. Hafez Shurrab, a new faculty member with significant expertise in the field of supply chain who joined us last fall. This newsletter highlights several of our amazing faculty, students, and alumni.

First, due to the success and popularity of the residential PSCM program, efforts are underway to launch an online undergraduate program in PSCM through Penn State World Campus. Second, our alumni are working in a variety of positions across the United States and have highly successful careers.

We are also honored to have Jeff Hollenbeck, director of operations at Barnhart Transportation, and Melissa Gustafson, vice president of sales and product strategy and program management at Erie Insurance, as Executives in Residence for the 2022-23 academic year. Their involvement and expertise have greatly benefitted our PSCM students.

The PSCM Club continues to be strong. The club participated in several recruitment and showcase events in the Fall and Spring semester. Our Speaker Series continues to be very active, with two events held this semester. In January, we jointly hosted an event with the PMI Erie Chapter that included an awareness session on PMI and a lecture on the impact of artificial intelligence on project management. We sponsored a speaker event in March in coordination with the Penn State cross-campus Project and Supply Chain Management Committee, and we are planning another event in April. We are planning multiple panel sessions next semester where our current students and alumni can share their internship and job experiences. Club activities generated interest among existing PSCM majors and new students interested in the major, and our membership base grew by around five percent this semester.

Finally, we thank PSCM Club President Lucas Saborsky, Vice President Eli Cary, Secretary Regan James, and Treasurer Ella Cuccaro, as well as faculty adviser Dr. Muhammad Odeh for their efforts in publishing this newsletter.

Dr. Ray Venkataraman, professor of management and chair of PSCM major

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Hafez Shurrab

Dr. Hafez Shurrab

Dr. Hafez Shurrab

Credit: Penn State

Dr. Hafez Shurrab is an assistant professor of Project and Supply Chain Management.

What is your educational background?

I hold a Ph.D. in technology management and economics (supply and operations management) from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Other degrees from various Swedish universities include M.Sc. in industrial engineering and management, M.Sc. in international project management, M.Sc. in information systems, and B.Sc. in industrial engineering.

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

Being a professor is highly fulfilling for me since it allows me to share my passion for operations and supply chain management subjects, make meaningful contributions to related fields, and have control over my work-life balance.

What made you want to become a professor?

After years of practice in my field alongside graduate studies, my desire to make a difference and my intellectual curiosity have grown in me. I performed well in several industrial positions, but none allowed the flexibility and autonomy offered by a professor role. I can share the knowledge and passion I have developed through personal experiences, academic studies, and professional work in operations and supply chain management with students and young professionals in my classes and with practitioners and academicians worldwide through published research and other platforms.

What do you enjoy most about Penn State Behrend?

The outstanding autonomy, recognition, and level of support offered by the Black School of Business and the Project and Supply Chain Management department to become a successful faculty member in teaching, research, and service.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?

I try to facilitate experiential learning as much as possible, encouraging students to actively work together on projects and assignments and share knowledge and expertise to solve problems and complete tasks in a setting that simulates realistic working environments. I often play a mentoring role, providing guidance and support to help students develop their skills and knowledge throughout the course.

What is your favorite topic to research?

Operations planning and control (tactical planning) and digitalization in supply chains (e.g., integrations of immersive technologies and cybersecurity).

What moment are you most proud of in your career?

I supervised several graduate students, and I always feel proud when I see the successful practitioners they have become in their careers. What makes me even prouder is when I realize my research or service has led to a positive policy or societal change.

Student Spotlight

Reagan James '24

Reagan James '24

Credit: Penn State

Reagan James

Major: Dual majors in Project and Supply Chain Management and Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies

Year of Graduation: 2024

Internship: Sales and project launch intern at Viking Plastics

What has most surprised you about the study of PSCM?

It has been amazing to learn about all the different methods of management, specifically the Agile and Waterfall methods, and how each has its own benefits for certain projects. There is no one absolute method that should be used for every project. I have learned that a good project manager assesses the project and chooses the right style of management for that specific project.

Why did you choose PSCM? What attracted you to it?

I have always been very interested in working in some form of management position after college. I thought the PSCM degree would complement the Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies degree that I am also pursuing.

What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?

I really value having a close connection with my professors and wanted to attend a college where the class sizes weren't too large. Behrend has been amazing for me because I am able to build connections with the faculty and spend a lot of one-on-one time with my professors when I need further explanations on the material or help with homework.

Club Updates

This semester the PSCM Club was able to help with and host the following events:

  • THE DISCOVERY LAB WITH IBM: Jeremy O'Mard and Jeremy Gorelick joined us on February 13 to discuss several topics related to IBM, including life at IBM, best practices when applying, and the role of a project manager in Agile projects.
  • SPOTLIGHT SPEAKER SERIES #1: Anthony Catanzaro and Lou Paioletti joined us on March 21 to discuss their career experiences in the project and supply chain management industry. They also spent time answering questions from our members who were interested in learning more about the industry.
  • SPOTLIGHT SPEAKER SERIES #2: Dr. Hala Strohmier Berry and Dr. Amer Jazairy joined us on April 19 via Zoom to discuss supply chain cybersecurity.

Students can join our Slack Channel by searching for "pscm_club" on the BSOB Slack Channel to stay up to date with the PSCM Club activities!