News and Awards

Smeal Again Ranks No. 1 for Graduate Supply Chain Education

The Penn State Smeal College of Business once again ranks No. 1 in graduate supply chain education according to a report from IT research and advisory firm Gartner, which also ranked the college best for undergraduate supply chain education in August. Gartner based its graduate rankings on assessments of program scope, industry value and program size. In each of the firm's two previous undergraduate and graduate assessments, Smeal ranked No. 1.

“We are proud of our stature among the top business schools for supply chain education,” said Gene Tyworth, chairman of the Smeal Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems. “Deep connections with our corporate partners ensure that our programs are highly relevant and our students are prepared to thrive throughout their supply chain careers.”

At the graduate level for supply chain students, Smeal offers a master of business administration concentration, a doctoral emphasis and an online master of professional studies in supply chain management (MPS/SCM). The MPS/SCM Program — offered in conjunction with Penn State World Campus — recently ranked No. 1 among the top 20 programs in an assessment by

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Gene Tyworth to Serve as Acting Director of New Penn State Center to Study Natural Gas Supply Chains

GE announced that it will invest up to $10 million in Penn State to establish a new innovation center focused on driving cutting-edge advancements in the natural gas industry. The Center for Collaborative Research on Intelligent Natural Gas Supply Systems at Penn State (CCRINGSS) will engage Penn State researchers and students from many disciplines in collaborative work with various industry stakeholders. The center will seek to advance efficiency and environmental sustainability both through technological innovations and improved supply chain management.

“Natural gas is extremely important as a domestic energy source for the United States and continues to serve as a crucial element in revitalizing Pennsylvania’s economy,” said U.S. Congressman Glenn Thompson. “I fully support the work that Penn State and GE will be doing through CCRINGSS to support new research innovations and create real-world applications that will build upon existing partnerships led by the University to make a positive impact on the industry and the communities of Pennsylvania.”

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Terry Harrison Receives Two Awards

Congratulations to Terry Harrison on receiving the George E. Kimball Medal and the INFORMS Fellow Award. The Kimball Medal is awarded for recognition of distinguished service to the Institute and to the profession of operations research and the management sciences with both a medallion and a certificate. The purpose of the INFORMS Fellows Award is to honor those who have accomplished a lifetime achievement in operations research and management science and whose exceptional accomplishments have made significant contributions to the advancement of OR/MS. Newly elected Fellows will be honored at the Fellows Luncheon at the 2014 INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco on November 10.

Nicholson Helps Dairy Farmers Mitigate Financial Risks

Charles Nicholson, clinical associate professor of supply chain management at the Penn State Smeal College of Business, is contributing to the introduction of the Margin Protection Program for Dairy Producers (MPP), a government-sponsored insurance initiative to help the nation’s dairy farmers mitigate their financial risks. Development of the MPP is part of the Agricultural Act of 2014, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February. The program provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin — the difference between the price of milk and feed costs — falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

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Fall 2014 SC&IS Career Fair

Each semester the SC&IS Department partners with the Center for Supply Chain Research to host the Supply Chain Career Fair. The purpose of this fair is to connect companies with our Supply Chain, Management Information Systems, Industrial Engineering, and Information Sciences & Technology students. The Fall 2014 Career Fair took place on September 9-11 and gave companies the option to interview students the day after they attended the fair. This fair brought in 112 different companies and more than 800 students.

Along with the Supply Chain Career Fair, we hosted our Supply Chain Corporate Information Sessions (Coffee House) during the evening of Monday, September 8. This year’s event hosted 15 corporate sponsor companies running concurrent information sessions with about 150 students attending.

On Monday, February 2, the Supply Chain Corporate Information Sessions will kick off the Spring 2015 recruiting activities. The Supply Chain Career Fair will follow on February 3 & 4.

Supply Chain Researchers Claim a Shift Toward 'Supply Ecosystems'

A new article from Penn State Smeal College of Business faculty member Christopher W. Craighead and colleagues David Ketchen at Auburn University—a 1994 graduate of the Smeal Ph.D. Program—and Russell Crook at the University of Tennessee suggest that disruptive technologies are creating an evolution from supply chains to “supply ecosystems.”

The article, “From Supply Chains to Supply Ecosystems: Implications for Strategic Sourcing Research and Practice, will appear in a forthcoming issue of Journal of Business Logistics.

A “supply ecosystem,” the authors write, can help “reduce risk, improve customer responsiveness, develop innovative products and processes, and market innovations more effectively.”

They continue, “We define a supply ecosystem as a set of interdependent and coordinated organizations that share some common adaptive challenges and that collectively shape the creation and nurturing of a sourcing base that contributes to competitive advantage and superior performance.”

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Christian Heilman (MIS/Communications) Wins Emmy Award

Congratulations to Management Information Systems alum Christian Heilman on winning a Mid-Atlantic Emmy in the News-General Assignment Category for his story about drive-in theaters striving to stay open in Pennsylvania. Christian is currently a reporter for WTAJ News.

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Gartner Ranks Smeal No. 1 in Supply Chain Undergraduate Education

Gartner Inc., has again ranked the Penn State Smeal College of Business No. 1 in supply chain undergraduate education. In addition, Gartner’s report indicates that Penn State scored highest on the number of industry mentions, reflecting “its strong brand with the supply chain community at large.”

Supply chain practitioners and academics were asked to rate U.S. supply chain education providers based on industry value, program size and program scope. Also factored in were data on enrollment, offerings and faculty size.

“We work hard to stay on the forefront of the supply chain education and research, through our leading faculty and our connections with industry through the Center for Supply Chain Research,” said Charles H. Whiteman, the John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. “This ranking brings a welcome confirmation from our peers and the industry that we continue to produce some of the top graduates in supply chain.”

Previous reports on supply chain education providers were released in 2011 and 2009, naming Smeal No. 1 both times. The university rankings are part of Gartner’s larger research project identifying skill and talent gaps in the supply chain industry.

A graduate education ranking will be released in the coming months.

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Memoriam for Dr. Susan Hong Xu

The faculty, staff, students, and friends of the SC&IS Department mourn the loss of their friend and colleague, Dr. Susan Hong Xu, who passed away in her home in Vienna, Virginia, after a courageous battle with cancer. Susan is survived by her husband, Robert Carritte, of Vienna, Virginia, her parents, XuJingqi and Fang Ye, her sister, Xu Mei, her brother, Xu Zuoying. She was also the sister of the late Xu Zuoquen.

Susan was a long-time faculty member in Smeal. She was a tenured professor of Management Science and Supply Chain Management, chaired the Intercollege Dual-Title Degree Graduate Program in Operations Research from 1998 to 2007, directed Smeal’s PhD program from 2010 to 2012, and was named the Robert G. Schwartz Fellow of Supply Chain and Information Systems.

A memorial service to celebrate Susan’s life and her work within the SC&IS Department, Smeal, and Penn State will be held on Friday, October 10, 2014, at the Eisenhower Chapel at Penn State at 3:00 pm.

Susan’s Obituary

Students learn real-world supply chain, sustainability skills in Italy

This summer, 23 Penn State Smeal College of Business students spent six weeks in Florence, Italy, studying supply chain and management from an Italian perspective with Norm Aggon, assistant department chair and instructor in operations and supply chain management, and Ron Johnson, senior instructor in management and organization.

The course, “Extreme Global Makeover: Integrating Supply Chain Applications, Managerial Skills, and Italian Culture for Personal Success,” provided students an opportunity to visit four different Italian companies and learn to assess their manufacturing operations in terms of supply chain management and sustainability.

“We wanted to combine supply chain and management skills to provide students with an understanding of how to enter and evaluate a manufacturing facility and assess that plant in about three hours,” said Johnson.

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Harrison to Lead Smeal's Sustainability Efforts

Terry Harrison, professor of supply chain and information systems and the Earl P. Strong Executive Education Professor in Business, has been appointed to lead the Penn State Smeal College of Business sustainability initiative. A strategic priority for the college, the initiative’s goal is to bring sustainability issues to the forefront across the areas of teaching, research, outreach, and operations.

“Smeal has been a leader among academic units here at Penn State in answering the University’s call to prioritize sustainability. In 2012, we developed and approved a dedicated Sustainability Strategic Plan for the college,” said Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. “I’m confident that Terry will help us continue to make great strides toward becoming a more sustainable college.”

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The SC&IS Department Welcomes New Faculty Members

Suresh Muthulingam, assistant professor of supply chain management
Muthulingam comes to Smeal from Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, where he was an assistant professor of operations management. He holds a doctoral degree in decisions, operations, and technology management from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, as well as an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management and a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Lei (Michelle) Wang, assistant professor of information systems
Wang earned her doctoral degree in operations and information management from the University of Connecticut’s School of Business. She earned her master’s degree in economics from Xi’an Jiaotong University and her bachelor’s degree in electronic science and technology from Nanjing University of Science and Technology, both in China.

Hansa Sinha, instructor in management and information systems
Sinha comes to Smeal from Lock Haven University, where she served as an assistant professor of business and computer science. She holds a doctorate in information sciences in technology and an MBA from Penn State, a master’s in industrial relations from Xavier Labor Relations Institute in India, and a bachelor’s in economics from St. Xavier’s College in India.

Quang “Neo” Bui, visiting assistant professor of management information systems
Bui earned his doctoral degree in business with an information systems concentration from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, in May. He also holds a master’s degree in information system management and a bachelor’s degree in information systems from Brigham Young University.

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Supply Chain's Preciado Honored for Teaching Excellence

Felisa Preciado, clinical associate professor of supply chain management, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Penn State Smeal College of Business Fred Brand Jr. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Preciado joined the Smeal faculty in 2007 after spending several years in industry at Kimberly-Clark, where she served as a supply chain senior specialist for Latin American operations. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, a master’s degree from Florida State University, and a doctorate from Purdue University, all in industrial engineering.

Faculty are nominated for the Brand Award by their academic departments. Students then offer their support of the nominees, with a committee of past honorees and student representatives selecting the recipients.

The award is named in honor of 1932 Penn State graduate Fred Brand Jr. Brand was a successful insurance executive who spent much of his career with Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company. He died in 1998.

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Smeal Alumni in Profile: Trotman Uses Business Logistics Background to Fill Need in Online Marketplace

While Karla Trotman ‘98 was a Business Logistics major—a precursor to today’s Supply Chain and Information Systems major—in the Penn State Smeal College of Business, she took an independent study course examining how growing use of the Internet might change consumer behavior in the coming years.

“My independent study course was focused on the question of whether or not people would eventually buy things online, so I did a lot of research into how people were projecting that e-commerce would develop.”

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Akhil Kumar Serves as Associate Editor

Akhil Kumar, professor of Management Information Systems, will be serving as associate editor for ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems (ACM TMIS). For more information on ACM TMIS, please see

David Huff Receives MBA Teaching Award

Congratulations to David Huff on receiving the MBA Class of 2014 Best All-Around Teacher Award at the 2014 MBA Faculty Teaching Awards in April.

Veronica Villena Receives Best Reviewer Award

Congratulations to Veronica Villena on being selected for a Best Reviewer Award from the Operations Management (OM) Division of the Academy of Management. She will be recognized at the Operations Management Division Business Meeting at the annual Academy of Management meeting that will be held in Philadelphia in August.

Brent Moritz Awarded for Best Research Presentation

Brent Moritz, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management, was named the Best Research Presentation at the 9th Annual Behavioral Operations Conference held on June 12-14 in Cologne, Germany. He shared this award with Yesim Orhun, Assistant Professor of Marketing from the University of Michigan. Dr. Moritz is also the first two-time winner of the award, having also been recognized in 2008. The annual conference brings together researchers with a common interest in the operations interface between human behavior and analytic modeling, with the aim of sharing current work, identifying new problems, and developing relationships between scholars in the field. The host sponsor was the University of Cologne, with supporting sponsors Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State and UT-Dallas. Penn State hosted the first Behavioral Operations Conference in 2006, and the 2015 conference will be at Cornell University on June 24-26.

Company Looks to Penn State Smeal for Next Generation Supply Chain Talent

The Penn State Smeal College of Business is one of only two schools from which Burlington Stores, a national off-price retailer headquartered in New Jersey, actively recruits for its Supply Chain Leader Development Program. This leadership program for supply chain graduates is an 18-month program that introduces new graduates to the various roles and responsibilities of leadership at the company.

“We find that students from Penn State are able to hit the ground running in the supply chain area and also have a broad foundational understanding of business,” said Donna Norton, talent acquisition manager for college recruitment.

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Bernie Quiroga Awarded Doctoral Scholarship

Bernie Quiroga has been awarded the The Peter E. Liberti and Judy D. Olian Doctoral Scholarship 2014/'15. The Liberti-Olian Scholarship is a competitive award conferred to a full time PhD Student enrolled in the Smeal College of Business who has achieved a superior academic record and who manifests promise of outstanding academic success.

Bernie is a Business Economist (with expertise in Microeconometrics and Experimental Economics) and Management Scientist. Before joining Penn State as a graduate student, he was a faculty member at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the University of the Andes, both in Santiago, Chile. He has taught Statistics, Econometrics, Managerial Decision Making, Data Analysis, Microeconomics, and Optimization Methods, at the graduate (MBA, M.Sc.) and undergraduate levels.

Bernie's current research is devoted to Auctions and Procurement Decision Making. In particular, his work explains bidding behavior in governmental procurement auction processes where price and quality-related dimensions are taken into consideration for contract assignment, combining laboratory experiments and game-theoretical structural estimation techniques. His research is tied to practice through his scientific collaboration with the Chilean Public Procurement Agency, ChileCompra, in an effort to implement transparency and efficiency in public procurement processes. In other research, he studies procurement inventory decisions under competition, financial performance of public family-controlled firms, and hedonic valuation measures of unobservable, non-market attributes.

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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