Spring 2018 Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter

In this issue:


Welcome to our Spring 2018 newsletter. This semester has been busy and exciting. I am pleased to report that the proposals for two new courses, Project Risk Management (SCM 430) and Introduction to Supply Chain Analytics (SCM 340), have been approved and will be offered to our students beginning in spring 2019. The addition of these two new courses will further strengthen the PSCM curriculum by enabling students to enhance their skills in the project management and supply chain areas. We are in the process of recruiting a new faculty member to our PSCM area due to the continuing growth of our major and demand across the University for the courses taught by the PSCM faculty.

This newsletter has several features. First, we are pleased to showcase our project management faculty member, Dr. Jeffrey Pinto, professor of management, who was invited by The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, University College London, for its 2017-18 keynote lecture series. Second, our alumni are working in a variety of positions across the United States and have highly successful careers. One such alumnae is Ashley (Shuttleworth) Stephenson ‘16, who is currently a project manager for Avail Technologies in State College. This newsletter also spotlights three of our students, Alex Payne, Troy Valkusky, and Evan Augustine. The PSCM Club continues to be active. In the month of March, the club hosted information and networking sessions with Thermo Fisher Scientific and Bechtel Plant Machinery (BPMI) when their company representatives visited our campus.

Finally, let me also take this opportunity to thank PSCM advisory board members Joi Goffus (BPMI), Dianne Porter (Zeyon), and Jeremy Chaffee (Logistics Plus) for providing full-time and internship job opportunities for our PSCM students. I also thank the officers of the PSCM club, Chelsea Farner and Megan Wolczko; Dr. Ozgun Caliskan-Demirag, associate professor of PSCM; and Dr. Varun Gupta, assistant professor of PSCM, for their dedication and guidance to our PSCM club and efforts in publishing this newsletter.

Ray Venkataraman

Dr. Ray Venkataraman, Professor of Management
Department Chair of Project and Supply Chain Management major

Dr. Jeffrey Pinto’s Trip to London (University College London)

Dr. Jeffrey Pinto in London

The January 2018 event in The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management's 2017-18 keynote lecture series welcomed Jeffrey Pinto, Professor of Management and Andrew Morrow and Elizabeth Lee Black Chair in Management of Technology in the Black School of Business.

Infrastructure projects have an abysmal and expensive record of failed delivery, often running far over budget and behind schedule, and costing their sponsors billions. Examples of infrastructure projects include power generation (nuclear and hydroelectric), rail and roadway, Olympic, and information system and data infrastructure. Many of the seeds of failure of these large projects are sown at the outset, through poor planning processes due to a variety of human biases, miscalculations, and willful negligence.

Pinto’s lecture examined the “seven deadly sins” in infrastructure project planning, arguing that these errors are systematic, frequently recognizable, and correctable. Pinto also discussed some remedial steps that project organizations can take to mitigate the negative effects of the seven deadly sins of infrastructure project planning.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Jeffrey Pinto, Professor of Management

Dr. Jeffrey Pinto, Professor of Management

Pinto holds the Andrew Morrow and Elizabeth Lee Black Chair in Management of Technology and has received the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Project Management Institute and the Behrend Council of Fellows Research Award. He has consulting experience with a number of major organizations, including General Electric Company, PPG Industries, Aker Rauma Offshore in Finland, Data General Corporation, Erie Press Systems, Repola Oy in Finland, and Zurn Industries.

What is your educational background?

I did a double degree at the University of Maryland, with a simultaneous B.A. in History and a B.S. in Business (Finance). I got my M.B.A. (Finance) and Ph.D. (Organization Theory) degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. Four university degrees is plenty!

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

Business faculty sit at a unique junction between professionals in public and private organizations and students studying for future careers in those fields. Being able to work with, consult, and study the latest phenomena in business organizations and then bring that information to the classroom in order to prepare a new generation of business professionals is always very gratifying. Having the opportunity to personally research and reflect on what I am observing has helped me become a better writer and business scholar. Blending personal scholarship and classroom teaching is the really unique and rewarding aspect of my career.

What do you like most about Behrend?

The size. We are an AACSB-accredited business school, which means we meet rigorous self-evaluation and peer-review standards. That's impressive. It speaks to the quality of the faculty, corporate connections, and administrators' vision that are driving us. Combine that with the opportunity for truly world-class faculty to teach class sizes of forty students in a school where people get to form personal relationships and you can't beat the setting.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?

I am a little different because I do the majority of my teaching in the online master of project management (MPM) degree program, which I have been in charge of since 2001. I miss classroom teaching because I miss the immediacy of feedback from students. I miss spontaneity and "performance" in the classroom. Online teaching requires constant email communication, regular and structured course instruction, and a commitment to staying constantly "in touch" with students. It is very time-intensive. I guess that my teaching style (and one that is followed by all the MPM faculty) is simple: stay connected. Or, as an old project manager once told me, "If I know nothing of what you are doing, I assume you are doing nothing." In online courses, students have to always know what you and they are doing. Structure is everything.

What is your favorite topic to research/work on?

Human behavior in project management settings. Project management is one of the most unique business undertakings because, short of being the CEO, you will never have a broader view of the organization than when you are running projects. You have to worry about strategy, budgets, stakeholders, technical challenges, managing a temporary team, keeping the customer informed and happy. The list goes on and on. The challenges of people management in these high-pressure, temporary assignments is really intense and people either "get it" or they don't. You are constantly being asked to move from the broad, 10,000-foot view, where you deal with higher-level issues like strategy and goal-setting, down into the weeds, where you have to embrace daily challenges. It takes special people to manage projects well.

Do you have any advice for current students majoring in PSCM?

Don't waste time! Internships, connections with businesses, networking with executives, getting your name out – these are all available for our PSCM students. While here, you are responsible for building your brand. That's the most critical thing to remember. You are a brand and you are in sell mode to a company when you graduate. Why should they take a look at your resume? The answer comes down to how well you have worked to build an attractive brand while you have been here. The Black School of Business has dozens of corporate speakers every year. Go to them, talk with them, and start developing contacts. The opportunities are there and your challenge has to be to seize them while you have the chance.

Student Spotlight

Alex Payne

Alex Payne

When are you graduating? When did you graduate and with what degrees?

May 2018, Project and Supply Chain Management; Minor in Technical Sales; Certificates: Mechanical Engineering Technology, ERP with SAP, OSHA

What is your current position and where?

I am a rental associate for Penske Truck Leasing in Erie.

How did you find your current job?

I was recruited by Penske Truck Leasing after I rented a truck in order to complete a very large service project through Penn State Behrend Lion Ambassadors.

What did you do to help you prepare for your current job?

I learned how to talk to people both personally and professionally.

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

The diverse problem solving that you have to do on a daily basis. No two days are the same and I never know what kind of logistical problems I will have to solve.

Do you intend to pursue any further education or training?

I intend to pursue further education as the need arises. This education will be determined by what career I choose after graduation.

How has your minor/certifications helped you?

My minor in Technical Sales has helped me by teaching me how to talk to customers in a professional manner. Most of my day at Penske is spent working with customers to resolve their issues and ensuring that they have the appropriate equipment when and where they need it.

What would you tell your college self if you could go back in time? -What was your favorite class at Behrend?

My single favorite and most applied class at Behrend has been Marketing 410 Personal Selling. The class was highly involved and very realistic to what occurs in industry. We learned many interpersonal communication skills that can be used both personally and professionally.

Student Athlete Spotlight

Troy Valkusky

Troy Valkusky

Why did you choose your major and what is your favorite course?

PSCM has been a growing area the past few years due the fast-paced environment business has become, such as keeping as little inventory on-hand as possible. There are also so many different areas of supply chain that someone with a PSCM degree can move into to find their niche.

What sport do you play?

Water Polo

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your sport?

Being eleventh in goals per game in the MPSF conference that includes the teams of UCLA, USC, Cal, and Stanford.

How do you effectively manage your time as a scholar and an athlete?

I always found myself performing better academically when I have a busier schedule. Playing a sport and being a full-time student allows little time for distraction. When the season is over, I am now on the schedule of getting all my work/studies done before a three-hour practice, so it is easy to maintain that schedule while also working ahead because of the three-hour time window I did not have during season.

How has being an athlete helped you academically?

It has helped me stay on track and focus on my studies. If I wanted to continue to play my sport for the four years, I had to maintain good grades. If not, academic ineligibility would fall into effect and I would not be able to play the sport I love and part of the reason I came to Penn State Behrend.

What advice do you have for prospective Behrend student athletes?

Get involved early on with other organizations besides the sport you play. It allows for more networking opportunities and future growth. It is also vital to stay on track and not fall into a hole early on with academics. I have seen really good athletes fall to this because of the free time they have, thus not being able to continue playing in future seasons.

What are your plans after graduation?

As of right now I am traveling for interviews while also pursing the opportunity to go into the Pennsylvania State Police.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Evan Augustine

Evan Augustine ‘17

What are you studying?

I am pursing a master’s degree in Business Administration.

What degrees/certifications/minors do you have?

In undergrad, I graduated with a double major in Project and Supply Chain Management, as well as Management Information Systems. Within my MIS degree, I chose to take the business analytics route rather than the system’s path because I felt having more hands-on and face-to-face interaction was better suited for myself. I also received Oracle and SAP certificates.

What kind of research are you involved in?

Rather than doing research, I am employed in the athletic department as the assistant sports information director. My main responsibilities are to record, track, and compile the statistics for all each sporting event, collect information on each athlete, construct programs and media guides to promote athletic events to fans, and write recaps and releases of the sporting events for the athletics website.

What are your goals after you graduate?

My goal after graduation is to move out of Pennsylvania for a few years to experience a new atmosphere. I have lived in Pennsylvania all my life, and as much as I love living here, being with my friends and family, moving to a different area to challenge and help me grow as a business professional is my main objective. As for my career path, I am currently searching for supply chain analyst positions where I can utilize the information I learned from both of my degrees.

What advice would you give to undergraduate students at Behrend?

Treat undergraduate as you would a job, where you are completing your work between the typical hours of a work day. The reason I would suggest this is because it helps prepare students for what it is like in the real world, and also helps open their eyes as to what a full-time job entails. Not only that, but it will relieve the stress the student will endure by not having to worry about staying up the night before the assignment is due finish it. It would help them get into the groove of getting work done on time. Lastly, I would say to experience as much as they can with the people they love to spend time with most, and to get out of their comfort zone. Live it up, get out of their comfort zone, and have as much fun as possible because it is meant to be the time of their life.

Alumni Spotlight

Ashley (Shuttleworth) Stephenson ‘16

Ashley (Shuttleworth) Stephenson

Company: Avail Technologies Inc. located in State College, Pennsylvania.

About Avail: Avail is a privately held company that provides transit agencies across the U.S. with Computer Automated Dispatch (CAD) and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems to optimize operational efficiencies and is recognized as an industry leading integrator with Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Avail has recently acquired Fleet-Net Corp., which has allowed the company to expand our product-line offering and become a total solutions provider.

Title: Project Manager

Job Description: I am responsible for managing all aspects of CAD/AVL implementation projects both internally and acting as the main POC for customers. This includes planning for and managing the use of internal resources and all associated project costs, negotiating subcontractor agreements, controlling customer expectations, understanding and successfully implementing the Avail project process from end-to-end and completing projects within budget and on schedule while ensuring that all customer expectations have been met and managed effectively.

What I like most about my job: As a project manager, I touch every department in the company and get to work with a variety of people and personalities. I enjoy the challenge of creating relationships with people who have differing perspectives and skill sets and coming together to accomplish a common goal. The same thing can be said when dealing with customers. No one agency is the same!

Education: I graduated from Behrend with a bachelor’s degree in PSCM in spring 2016 and was interviewing and hired at Avail prior to graduation. I strongly recommend that every student seek internship opportunities. I was an intern at GE Transportation for two years, working in the company’s Global Supply Chain department. It looks great on your resume and it provides you with the professional experience companies are looking for from entry-level hires.

The courses I took as a PSCM student at Behrend have greatly benefited my career as a project manager. I use Microsoft Project on a daily basis and I have recently passed my Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification through PMI. A majority of the information and techniques PMI requires of project managers directly aligned with what was taught in my project management courses at Behrend. This gave me an advantage when it came to studying for and passing my final test.

Information about the PSCM Club

Our purpose is to provide an environment where students within the PSCM major have the opportunity to engage with other students with similar interests, network with potential employers, participate in discussions with experienced professionals, and enjoy activities specific to the field.

Recent Activities

B$OB Club Promotion

The first B$OB Club Promotion event was held in Clark Cafe in early February. The PSCM officers were excited to meet and talk to prospective students interested in joining PSCM Club.

PSCM Club Recruitment

From left, Cole Ferguson, Megan Wolczko, and Chelsea Farner

Thermo Fisher Scientific Visit

On Tuesday, March 12, Thermo Fisher Scientific representatives Maddie Hagaman and Amelia Payne ’15 visited campus to discuss career paths and work-life balance. Thermo Fisher Scientific is a world leader in serving science. With over 65,000 employees and having just added 10,000 new hires, the organization is rapidly growing. The organization is functionally diverse and seeks to hire a variety of majors.

During their visit to campus, they talked about their experience and what they enjoy most about working at Thermo Fisher. They both mentioned the opportunities for growth, mentorship, culture, and volunteer events.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Visit corporate day table

The information and networking session with Thermo Fisher was hosted by the PSCM Student Club. Thermo Fisher was involved in several other meetings and sessions as part of the Corporate Day initiative at Black School of Business. Company representatives highlighted the importance of leadership experiences during college education. They encouraged the PSCM students to take on leadership roles and engage in volunteering activities in order to differentiate themselves from other job applicants in the market. Thermo Fisher is currently recruiting for co-op and full-time positions.

Below: Maddie Hagaman (left), Amelia Payne ’15

Thermo Fisher Scientific Visit: Maddie Hagaman (left), Amelia Payne ’15

Bechtel Plant Machinery Visit

On Wednesday, March 13, Bechtel Plant Machinery (BPMI) representatives Andrew Rubeo and Britt Bailey visited campus to talk to students about the company and positions available. BPMI is a prime contractor for the United States Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. BPMI has a location in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, which is twenty minutes north of Pittsburgh. Positions available within their organization are internships, co-ops, and full-time jobs. BPMI also attended the Career Fair on campus on Thursday, March 15.

The information and networking session with BPMI was hosted by the PSCM Student Club.

Andrew Rubeo (left), Britt Bailey (right)

Bechtel Plant Machinery Visit

Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) Annual Conference visit by the PSCM Faculty

PSCM faculty members attended the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., during Thanksgiving break. In addition to presenting their research projects and attending research sessions, the faculty conducted interviews with candidates who have applied for the PSCM tenure-track faculty position.

Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) Annual Conference visit by the PSCM Faculty

From left, Dr. Ray Venkataraman, professor of management; Dr. Varun Gupta, assistant professor of PSCM; and Dr. Ozgun Caliskan-Demirag, associate professor of PSCM

During the DSI Conference, SAGE Publishing featured the new textbook Operations Management: Managing Global Supply Chains by Black School of Business faculty members Dr. Ray Venkataraman and Dr. Jeff Pinto.

Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) Annual Conference visit by the PSCM Faculty

From left to right, Dr. David Ding, associate professor of PSCM; Dr. Sourish Sarkar, assistant professor of management; Dr. Ray Venkataraman, professor of management; and Dr. Ozgun Caliskan-Demirag, associate professor of PSCM

Meet the Officers

  • Chelsea Farner - president
    Chelsea Farner, a native of Pittsburgh, is a junior PSCM major. She will be returning as an intern to Target Freight Management, a logistics company, for her second summer. When she is not doing her studies, you can find her giving tours with the Behrend Lion Ambassadors or dancing on the court for the dance team.
  • Megan Wolczko, vice president
    Megan Wolczko, from Apollo, Pennsylvania, is a junior PSCM major and MIS minor. She will be interning with Allegheny Technologies Inc. this upcoming summer. Outside of classes, Wolczko is involved in Lion Ambassadors, Circle K, TOPS, and enjoys being active.
 From left, Chelsea Farner and Megan Wolczko

From left, Chelsea Farner and Megan Wolczko