News and Awards

John Metzger speaks at the 2015 Spisak Lecture

John Metzger, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, delivered this year's Spisak Lecture in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the Penn State Smeal College of Business.  He spoke on “Retailing, Wholesaling, and Supply Chain Operation: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board” on November 12.

The Spisak Lectureship was founded in 1990 through a gift from the Alex and Ann Spisak family of State College.  The fund supports lectures by outstanding professionals working in logistics and supply chain management.

Lei (Michelle) Wang Receives Best Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Lei (Michelle) Wang on receiving the 2015 Nunamaker-Chen Dissertation Award (NCDA) given by The INFORMS Information Systems Society (ISS). The award, which recognizes outstanding dissertation research in information systems, was presented at the Conference on Information Systems & Technology (CIST) – INFORMS Conference in Philadelphia.

The NCDA is named in honor of two University of Arizona professors, Jay Nunamaker and Hsinchun Chen, who have made significant contributions to the field of Information Systems over the past several decades. The NCDA has been created to recognize and reward outstanding dissertation research by scholars in the field of Information Systems. Senior faculty members from top IS academic departments reviewed the submissions and evaluated them on creativity and novelty, scope and magnitude of contribution to IS research, relevance to practice, technical quality, and richness of methodological approach.

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Research finds ‘buying local’ not all positive for dairy supply chain

Buying local might be appealing for individual local restaurants and businesses, but research conducted by Chuck Nicholson of the Penn State Smeal College of Business revealed surprising effects on supply chains for fluid milk products if there are large increases in local purchases in the Northeast.

Nicholson, a clinical associate professor of supply chain management at Smeal, collaborated with four Cornell University researchers:  Miguel I. Gomez and Elaine Hill in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and Xi He and H.O. Gao from the School of Civil Environmental Engineering.

The researchers found that if the supply chains for fluid milk products in five northeast states were reconfigured so that the milk consumed in those states was also produced and processed there, it would increase the total distance traveled by the fluid milk and other dairy products, total supply chain costs, and emissions of greenhouse gases.  The study also concluded that the additional employment and economic activity generated in the region from the reconfiguration would be modest.

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Saurabh Bansal Receives Runner-Up Award for Research Paper at INFORMS

Congratulations to Saurabh Bansal for being a runner-up for the 2015 Practice Award Competition organized by the Decision Analysis Society at INFORMS.  The award recognizes the research paper “Expert Calibration and Elicitation for Large Scale Investment Decisions” for its contribution to the body of knowledge on individual decision-making under risk and uncertainty.  This paper is in collaboration with a research scientist at Dow AgroSciences, a corporate sponsor of the Center for Supply Chain Research (CSCR).

Christian Heilman Highlighted in Penn State Today

Christian Heilman (MIS and Journalism, 2014), reporter, fill-in anchor, and producer at WTAJ News, was highlighted in the October 15 issue of Penn State Today. 

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Felisa Preciado Chosen for Homecoming Court

Congratulations to Felisa Preciado for being chosen as one of ten faculty members on the 2015 Penn State University Homecoming Court.

John Spychalski Earns Transportation Award

Congratulations to John Spychalski on earning the American Public Transportation Association Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Award. He received the award at a ceremony in San Francisco.

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Petruzzi New Chair in Smeal's Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems

Nicholas C. Petruzzi has assumed the role of chair of the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems in the Penn State Smeal College of Business.  He succeeds Gene Tyworth, John J. Coyle Endowed Professor of Supply Chain Management. In his 17 years as chair, Tyworth oversaw incredible prosperity for the department, including No. 1 rankings for supply chain at Penn State. He will continue in his role as a faculty member.

“The first thought that pops into my head upon entering this place is ‘infectious energy.’ This is a vibrant department bubbling with potential, and I feel nothing but unbridled excitement for landing in the middle of it all,” Petruzzi said. “It is my distinct honor to assume a central role amid the talent that is the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems at the Smeal College of Business.”

Petruzzi’s current research interests include pricing models in supply chain management, stochastic inventory theory, the operations/marketing interface, and supply chain coordination.  He comes to Smeal after 19 years as a faculty member at the University of Illinois, most recently as associate professor of business administration and Seass Faculty Fellow. Petruzzi taught courses in operations and supply chain management, manufacturing planning and control, design and management of service systems, and project management.  He also served as academic director of MBA Programs from 2007-14 and Gutman Teaching Excellence Fellow from 2006-13.

Petruzzi holds a doctoral degree in operations management from Purdue University, a master’s degree in systems analysis and management from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from the College of William and Mary.

“My plans are to invest in people and programs,” Petruzzi said. “The Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems has a storied history of success; it is my plan to build on that success and to press it forward.”

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New Faculty Members in the SC&IS  Department

Suvrat Dhanorkar is an assistant professor of supply chain management. Suvrat recently graduated from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management with a dissertation titled ‘Operationalizing Environmental Sustainability through Policy-based and Market-based Approaches.’ During the course of his PhD, he received the University Dissertation Fellowship, Harold Hardy Fellowship, Kristy Cua Award and Carlson Teaching Excellence Award. Suvrat's research interests include sustainable operations, online surplus markets and technology management and his primary methodological expertise lies in the domain of econometric/statistical analysis. His work has been published in the Journal of Operations Management and Production and Operations Management. Suvrat will be teaching Manufacturing and Service Strategies in fall 2015.

Zhuojun Gu is a visiting assistant professor of information systems. She holds a Ph.D. in Information and Decision Sciences from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, and received her master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in China, respectively from Fudan University and Zhejiang University.  Her research interest includes online markets, social media, and crowdsourcing. Methodologically, Zhuojun focuses on building econometric models to examine and solve interesting research questions using both observational data and randomized experiments. Topics that she has investigated include sniping behavior in online auction markets, referral reward scheme design using users’ Facebook profile, and the impact of crowdsourcing on mobile app user engagement and loyalty. As an empirical researcher, Zhuojun aims to use data analytical techniques to unpack the underlying mechanisms of these IS applications as well as to extend the theoretical understanding to improve their efficiency.

Shan Jiang is a visiting assistant professor of information systems. He received his B.S. degree from Tsinghua University, China, and his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. His research interests include business intelligence, social media analytics, computational linguistics, and social network analysis. His works have appeared in Decision Support Systems, Journal of American Society for Information Science and Technology, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, and International Conference on Information Systems.

Siyuan Liu is a visiting assistant professor of information systems. Siyuan has a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Shandong University. He received his first Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and his second Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University from 2013 to 2015. He has published over 50 papers in data mining, database and systems, machine learning, artificial intelligence, distributed systems, data visualization, and information systems. His research interests include trajectory mining, social networks analytics, and data visualization.  In 2015 he was selected to receive the Google Faculty Research Award, an Award of USDOT National University Transportation Center for Safety, and an Award of Russian Science Foundation.

Vince Slaugh is a visiting assistant professor of supply chain management.  Vince graduated in August 2015 with a PhD in Operations Management from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was advised by Sridhar Tayur.  His primary research interest is stochastic inventory models, focusing on supply chain management for rental businesses.  He has also worked with the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption Network to increase the adoptive placement rate for children in state custody and is currently collaborating with the Passavant Community in Zelienople, PA, to improve the consistency of care provided by nurse aides.  Before attending Carnegie Mellon, Vince earned degrees in industrial engineering, operations research, and history from Penn State.  He resides in Bellefonte with his wife, Lindsey, who also attended Penn State and is a costume patternmaker specializing in historical clothing.  Both Vince and Lindsey were raised in Lancaster, PA.       

New PhD Students in the SC&IS Department

Tugce Vural earned her MS and BS degrees from the Industrial Engineering Department in Bilkent University. Prior to her admission to Penn State, her research mainly focused on evaluations of different delivery date policies in e-tailing.  Her current research interests include application of operations research and data mining tools to new business models, specifically web-based markets and e-businesses.

Yi Liu graduated from Columbia University with a Master of Science in Marketing in 2014. During his stay in New York City, he also worked as an analyst at Havas Worldwide. He previously gained his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Operations Management, and Industrial Management at Purdue University in 2013.

Marine Fellows for 2015-2016

Lt. Col. Mike Murchison is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, Combined Logistics Career Captains Course, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the Joint and Combined Warfare School, and The Air War College. He is married to Carolyn Storck, an Emergency Medicine Nurse Practitioner, and they have one son, Merrick (12).

Major Luke Sauber is a graduate of the University of Memphis and was commissioned via the Officer Candidate Course program in March of 2004.  His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor and two Gold Stars, and the Combat Action Ribbon.  Major Sauber holds an MBA from Boston University.  He is married to Rachel Sauber and has two daughters, Addison (4) and Eliza (2).  He and his wife are expecting a son in October.

Special Thanks to Dr. Gene Tyworth after 15 Years as Chair of the SC&IS Department

The SC&IS Department gives special thanks to Gene Tyworth for his efforts in leading our department since its inception in 2000.  Gene is now stepping down from the position of Chair and returns to continue his work in teaching and research.  The Department is happy to have Nick Petruzzi join us as the new Department Chair.  Nick comes to Penn State from the University of Illinois.

Below is a letter from Dr. Tyworth reflecting on his time as Department Chair:

“Farewell,  with thanks”

Fifteen years ago, the Smeal College launched a supply chain program that captured industry best practices by integrating logistics, operations, and information systems.  The new Supply Chain and Information Systems (SC&IS) Department introduced a curriculum based on the industry-driven Supply Chain Operating Reference (SCOR) model, which focused on core (plan, source, make, deliver, return) processes enabled with information technology.  Additionally, we linked the core processes to new product development at the back end of the supply chain and customer relationship management at the front end.

The new department also introduced a new Management Information Systems major, which initially focused on systems design and administration.  We have now transformed this major to an IT-centric business analytics program that not only provides a stand-alone major, but offers complementary supporting courses for SC&IS and other business majors. 

The industry value, scope, and depth of our programs has enabled our program to earn top undergraduate and graduate program rankings from Gartner’s university survey, as well as recognition as one of the top three programs in the world for supply chain talent development in SCM World’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Report.  Moreover, this year Gartner/Software Advice identified our undergraduate program as number one in supply chain technology education.

This success reflects the program-building contributions from many stakeholders.  I send special thanks to our faculty and staff in the SC&IS Department, the Center for Supply Chain Research, the Executive Management Program, and the Smeal College leadership team over the past 15 years.  Special thanks, as well, to our large and loyal alumni base, corporate sponsors, and recruiters.  Most importantly, warm thanks to students, for you are ultimately the key success factor.

Finally, a warm “welcome aboard” to Nick Petruzzi, who will lead the department in the ensuing years.  

Dr. Gene Tyworth
Department Chair, Supply Chain and Information Systems
Penn State Smeal College of Business