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News and Awards

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

Smeal professor balances supply and demand with honors program

Robert Novack, specializes in moving things from one step to the next, whether it’s a product rolling onto the next conveyor belt in an assembly line or a student graduating from Penn State and moving on to the start of their career.

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Markea Dickinson earns MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award

Markea Dickinson, a graduating senior in the Penn State Smeal College of Business supply chain management major, has earned a Supply Chain Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Leah Davis and Jesse Swank, also supply chain seniors, earned honorable mention awards. The MIT Supply Chain Excellence Awards are granted to outstanding graduating seniors in Supply Chain here at Penn State as a result of a partnership initiated between the two universities last year. The award grants a tuition scholarship for the student’s use toward the MIT supply chain management master’s degree program.

“This is the second year now that MIT has granted more than one scholarship to our graduating Penn Staters, and that’s a real testament to the kind of quality graduates we produce in our supply chain program,” said Bob Novack, associate professor of business logistics.

Danny Yunes, a Smeal supply chain alumnus and graduate of MIT’s supply chain management program, visited Penn State last month to present Dickinson, Davis and Swank with their awards. Yunes is a manager of supply chain strategy at Coyote Logistics in Chicago.

Applications for the MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award open to supply chain seniors in January. Scholarship recipients are expected to spend two to five years in the workforce before joining the MIT graduate program. The MIT Supply Chain Management Program is a 10-month study program designed for early career supply chain professionals that includes coursework, a company-sponsored project and international travel.

Students Compete in Boeing Competition

The seventh annual Boeing Case Competition took place this week with Bryan Chou, Karoline Ruekerl, Anthony Dong, Alex Madzio, and Marlow Bryant taking first place. This competition provides Supply Chain and other business students an opportunity to apply classroom instruction to real world problems. Teams of four or five students, typically three supply chain and one finance or accounting student, use their knowledge of LEAN concepts to determine an optimal solution to a Boeing problem. Students have Boeing mentors to contact and answer any questions. Senior Boeing executives judge the 20 minute presentations and then drill the teams with a variety of questions. Six teams competed to win prize money provided by Boeing. The kickoff dinner and presentation dinner hosted by Boeing in the Business Building added to the professional experiences for these students.

Smeal Team Places Second at Arkansas International Logistics Case Competition

Smeal’s MBA team had a very successful run at the University of Arkansas International Logistics Case Competition held on April 26, 2014. They beat out teams from Sweden, Ohio State, and Brigham Young to make the finals. In the finals they competed against teams from Germany and Rutgers. The German team (Technical University Darmstadt) won and PSU was second! The judges afterward complimented our team their very “creative” solution. Judges from both the preliminaries and finals noted that our team did the best of any in responding to the judges follow-up questions.

The team consisted of all first year MBAs and all internationals! Twelve teams in total competed. Besides the six schools noted above, Arkansas, Iowa State, Maryland, Minnesota, UT-Dallas, and Wisconsin were also in the competition.

In the past three of these competitions, Penn State MBAs have won 1st place, 3rd place, and 2nd place, respectively.

John Jordan Makes TEDxPSU Video on The Robotic Paradox

Given the recent acceleration in the capabilities of robots -- especially given DARPA research and Google's investments in this field -- it's time to talk seriously about the place of robots in health care, warfare, work, and social interaction. The paradox derives from the role of science fiction in public conceptions of robots: given the work of Isaac Asimov, George Lucas, and others, everyone knows what a (fictional) robot looks like even as engineers and scientists cannot agree on core definitions. Thus it's time to be more conscious of our mental models in this emerging field that will be so important in the coming decades.

John Jordan’s video can be seen at

More information on TEDx programs can be found at

Sue Purdum Conducts Webinar with Students and Faculty in Peru

On April 30, Sue Purdum conducted a live webinar (followed by Q&A) using Blackboard Collaborative for 140 Industrial Engineering and Business Administration students/faculty in Lima, Peru.  The event was coordinated by Prof. Edgar Ramos.  The host was CSCMP's Peru Roundtable, and the event was held at UPC  (Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas) Peru University of Applied Science.  The title of the webinar was "Supply Chain Leadership: Driving Influence and Business Impact.”

Karen L. Hughes-Quintos Selected as 2014 Distinguished Alumni

Karen L. Hughes-Quintos ’85 Business Logistics has been selected as one of eight Penn Staters to receive Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2014. The Distinguished Alumni Award is the University’s highest award for an individual. Karen is senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Dell Inc, where she leads marketing efforts for corporate and enterprise solutions businesses in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Japan, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. She serves as an advisory board member for Catalyst and a board member for the Association of National Advertisers and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Quintos also serves on the college’s Board of Visitors and as a member of Smeal’s “For the Future” campaign committee dedicated to supporting the college through philanthropic giving. In addition, she served on a committee dedicated to Smeal’s branding efforts. She resides in Austin, Texas.

Distinguished Alumni are selected annually by the Penn State Board of Trustees. The official awards at a celebration coinciding with Traditional Reunion Weekend, slated for the first weekend in June.

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.

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.


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