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News and Awards from the Supply Chain and Information Systems Department at Penn State

Early Career Professorship Honoring John Coyle Will Support Faculty Recruitment

An anonymous donor has committed a gift of $334,000 to establish the Dr. John Coyle Early Career Professorship in Supply Chain in honor of John Coyle, professor emeritus of business administration and director of corporate sponsors for the Center for Supply Chain Research. With matching funds from the Penn State Faculty Endowment Challenge, the total endowment is worth $500,000.

Early Career Professorships are granted to promising young faculty who have completed their terminal degrees within the last decade. The professorships provide funding to support these faculty in their research and teaching at a critical point in their early careers. “Early Career Professorships are powerful tools for recruiting faculty members with the kind of potential to perform groundbreaking work in their disciplines,” said Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. “As the field of supply chain continues to grow and evolve, fostering faculty development in this area is more crucial than ever.”

This is the second professorship to be created in honor of Coyle, who has been a member of the Smeal faculty since 1961. In his more than 50 years at the college, Coyle has served in a number of administrative positions in addition to his teaching responsibilities, including department head, assistant dean, senior associate dean, and executive director of the Center for Supply Chain Research. “I am really honored by this special recognition,” said Coyle. “I’m hopeful that the professorship will encourage a young faculty member in supply chain to grow his or her career here at Smeal.”

Coyle taught the first course in business logistics to Smeal students throughout his career, which included delivery on public television, and is best-known for his popular co-authored textbooks. He has received numerous Penn State awards for teaching excellence and advising, including the Lion’s Paw award, for outstanding service to the University, in 2004. Well-known to the supply chain community outside Penn State as well, Coyle has received the Council of Logistics Management’s Distinguished Service Award (1991), the Philadelphia Traffic Club’s Person of the Year Award (2003), and the Eccles Medal from the International Society of Logistics for his contributions to the Department of Defense (2004). Coyle currently serves on the boards of three logistics and supply chain service companies and the advisory board of the National Logistics and Distribution Conference. He also continues to be active in teaching in the Penn State Executive Education programs.

MBA Case Competition and Round Table Focus on Supply Chain

On February 20-21, the Penn State Smeal MBA Program hosted the second and final round of the Deloitte Supply Chain MBA Challenge—a case competition sponsored by Deloitte Consulting LLP. The case was based on a situation at Crocs in the late 2000s after the company’s stock declined. Participating teams were asked to present on how they proposed to cut costs or expand product lines.

“The Deloitte Supply Chain MBA Challenge was a huge success. We had the exciting opportunity to work hand in hand with a number of talented Supply Chain MBA students and senior faculty from some of our target supply chain programs. The students handled changing scenarios and tight timelines very well and developed thoughtful, actionable recommendations that addressed an end-to-end business challenge. The faculty members provided us with good insights on developing supply chain talent. It was clear that they were committed to enhancing their curricula in line with the evolving challenges in industry,” offered members of the Deloitte Consulting Team. They also added, “Penn State provided support by hosting the competition and helping us manage the event. We were very impressed by the performance of all the teams and look forward to further expanding the Deloitte Supply Chain MBA Challenge competition next year.”

Smeal SC&IS Students Participate in APICS Case Competition

The APICS Mid-Atlantic District held the 2014 Regional Supply Chain Case Competition in Pittsburgh, from February 21st to the 22nd. A team of six undergraduate students comprised by Zhi Li, William Belsterling, Jerry Ouyang, Evan Chen, Matthew Mittereder, and Sun Yuen Hui won second place among the 12 participating schools. The competition involved a mixture of graduate and undergraduate teams. The students had only a few hours to develop a strategy for effectively managing reverse logistics for a U.S.-based large appliance manufacturer. Penn State's team finished as runner up, second only to one of the graduate teams. They represented our Department and the University with great pride. Team advisors were Dr. Ralph Sees and Dr. Felisa Preciado.


Smeal SC&IS Students Awarded Traffic Club of Pittsburgh Scholarships

Congratulations to Markea Dickinson, Karoline Rueckerl, Chelsea Miller, Megan Shivy, Jesse Swank, and Daniel Trushkov on being awarded scholarships by the Traffic Club of Pittsburgh. The annual black tie dinner was held on March 20. The students were in attendance to accept their awards and recognition.


Solving Industry Challenges an Important Goal for Supply Chain Ph.D. Alumni

Penn State Smeal College of Business doctoral program alumni James Abbey and Kaitlin Wowak are using their supply chain management expertise to improve supply chain practice in industry through research and teaching. Wowak, who earned a doctorate degree in 2012 and is an assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, cited her love of research as one of her primary motivations for pursuing an academic career.

“I enjoy working on issues managers face on a daily basis,” she said. “I am currently doing research on product recalls, which can have major implications on a firm’s financial performance and brand image as well as on consumer well-being.” Abbey, who earned a doctorate degree in 2013 and is an assistant professor at Texas A&M Mays Business School, is focused on closed-loop supply chains — also an area that has significant impact on business. A closed loop supply chain refers to one that incorporates re-use, remanufacturing and recycling of materials used in the production process as well as the product itself.

“Academia and industry can both realize benefits by engaging in partnership if they allocate time and resources towards developing relationships,” said Wowak. “If they drift apart, our research won’t have practical implications and industry won’t receive guidance about how to overcome various challenges.”

Abbey added, “Though the process of working with companies is not always simple, I find the process invigorating and exciting as problems that have never been seen before come to light. That process of discovery makes my work with the companies and related research significantly more enjoyable.”

Both Abbey and Wowak cited Smeal’s focus on research excellence as a primary reason they chose the college for their doctoral studies. They also indicated that the Smeal community played a significant role in their choice.

“I wanted to go to a premier academic institution that allowed a balance between the work environment and community,” said Abbey. “As such, Penn State represented the ideal solution — a fantastic community environment with scholars who are among the best in the field.”

Abbey began his career in health care consulting after earning a bachelor of science degree in economics from Iowa State University. He later returned for a second bachelor of science degree in statistics and master of science degree with a focus in supply chain. Wowak holds a bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of Florida and an master of science degree in information and telecommunication systems for business from Johns Hopkins University.


SC&IS Students Take First Place at Case Competition

An SC&IS case competition team captained by Karoline Rueckerl and including Will Belsterling, Tony Bracrella, Bryan Chou and Matt Mittereder took first place in a competition sponsored by the Chrysler Corporation and hosted by the Buckeye Operations Management Society at Ohio State University on April 4th and 5th. The overnight express case featured decisions about supplier selection, production schedules and addressing quality issues for a Jeep Wrangler "Buzz Model" to be marketed to China. Ohio State University finished Second and Ohio University third. Other participating universities included Michigan State, Western Michigan, Wayne State and Northwestern. Congratulations and well done to Karoline, Will, Tony, Bryan and Matt.


Karoline Rueckerl Receives R. Gene Richter Scholarship Award

Karoline Rueckerl, Supply Chain and Information Systems major at Penn State's Smeal College of Business, was chosen by the R. Gene and Nancy D. Richter Foundation as one of ten students around the country to receive the 2014 R. Gene Richter Scholarship Award. The $5,000 scholarship is presented annually to senior supply chain students based on high-achieving academic records, strong leadership skills, high ethical standards, and a commitment to a career in supply chain management. Along with the tuition support, Richter Scholars also are enrolled in a mentoring program and invited to attend with all expenses paid the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) International Conference, which will be held May 5-7, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Karoline will be honored at a special Scholarship Presentation Awards Banquet.

The SC&IS Department has been participating with the Richter Scholarship Award for ten years. Former winners are Markea Dickinson, Samantha Jarmul, Chelsea Miller, Kelly Glavin, David Wu, Theresa Piazza, Richard Carelli, Christina Round, Douglas Burke, Andrew Spicher, Leslie Hubbard, Marcio Oliveira, and Tania Mirabel Santiago.

Guide Named Smeal Chair in Supply Chain and Information Systems

V. Daniel R. Guide, a faculty member in the Penn State Smeal College of Business, has been named the Smeal Chair in Supply Chain and Information Systems.  Guide joined the Smeal faculty in 2002. His research expertise includes product design and the extended supply chain, design and control of closed-loop supply chains, product returns, remanufacturing, and sustainable operations. He currently serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Operations Management, and he is also co-departmental editor for sustainable operations at the Production and Operations Management journal. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clemson University.

“My colleagues, my doctoral students, the department, and the college have all helped create an environment where I’ve been able to be successful, and I am very grateful,” said Guide. “I hope to be able to pay it forward and help mentor the next generation; the Smeal Chair provides me with an excellent platform to do just that.”

The college’s Smeal Endowed Chairs are awarded to faculty who excel in scholarship, leadership, and vision. The chairs were established with funds contributed by 1942 Penn State graduates and benefactors Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal, for whom the college is named.

“Our Smeal Chairs are internationally recognized for their publications, awards, leadership, and the success of their doctoral students,” said Russell Barton, senior associate dean for research and faculty at Smeal. “They contribute critically to the national and international reputation and stature of the Smeal College of Business and, more broadly, Penn State.”

Smeal Chairs in other departments include Steven Huddart in Accounting, Charles Cao in Finance, Donald Hambrick in Management and Organization, and Wayne DeSarbo in Marketing.

Smeal's Supply Chain Education Ranked Highly by Industry Professionals

The Penn State Smeal College of Business was ranked third among universities producing talent in the supply chain field, according to a recent survey of supply chain professionals that appeared in last year’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Report, published by SCM World. The survey was sent to members of SCM World’s global community and other supply chain, procurement, and operations practitioners. Recipients were asked to write in the top three schools they perceived as markers of supply chain talent. The 2013 Chief Supply Chain Officer Report was the fourth annual report published by SCM World, a global community of senior supply chain professionals.

MIS Student Places in National Journalism Competition

Congratulations to Christian Heilman (MIS) on his award in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, a national journalism competition with 79 entries from all across the country. Christian placed seventh for three feature stories he worked on as a reporter for Centre County Report, the College of Communications’ Emmy-award winning newscast. The stories can be seen at:

More information on the Hearst Journalism Awards Program can be seen at

Smeal Student Society Honors Bob Novack

The Smeal Student Society has honored Bob Novack by choosing him to be in the Smeal Student Society Spotlight. Stop by the Atrium to see the poster about Bob.

News and Awards Archive