News and Awards

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

Bob Novack Recognized by Poets & Quants for Undergrads

Congratulations to Bob Novack, associate professor of supply chain and information systems, for his selection by Poets & Quants for Undergrads as part of its 2017 Top 40 Undergraduate Professors.

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Robots by John Jordan Translated to Other Languages

Robots, authored by John Jordan, Penn State Smeal College of Business Clinical Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems, explores robots from many facets. The book, published by MIT Press, has already been translated into German and is now being translated in Russian, Chinese, Italian, Korean, and Japanese. Dr. Jordan’s Alumni Career Services webinar on robots has reached over 2,500 people via Smeal’s Facebook livestream.

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SC&IS Department Welcomes New Faculty

The SC&IS Department has added two new faculty:

Yue Zhang, assistant professor, holds a doctorate from Duke University, a Master’s from Hong Kong University, and a Bachelor’s from Tsinghua University.

Tariq Mughal, instructor, has held the position of visiting professor at Bucknell University. He holds two Master’s degrees from University of Utah and also a Bachelor’s from University of Utah.

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Smeal Research Reveals Computer Program Helps Pick the Best Expert Forecaster

Combining the intuition of humans with the impartiality of computers could improve decision-making for organizations, eventually leading to lower costs and better profits, according to a team of researchers.

In a study, researchers said a computer program that analyzed the estimates of an agribusiness expert helped a business division at Dow AgroSciences improve the accuracy of its forecasts, leading to an increase in profits of 2 to 3 percent and a decrease in costs of 6 to 7 percent, said Saurabh Bansal, assistant professor of supply chain management in Penn State's Smeal College of Business.

The team worked with a production expert from Dow AgroSciences management to improve predictions in the company's seed corn division. Producing seed corn, which farmers eventually use as seeds to produce their own crops, can be a tricky endeavor with several factors, including variations in demand and weather, increasing the uncertainty, according to the researchers.

"Every year, the company needs to figure out how many acres of land they are going to use to produce seed corn," said Bansal. "But in this competitive industry, many varieties of the seed corn are new, and the company does not have a lot of experience in growing the new type. As a result, it does not know what the yield would be, or how many bushels of corn they will get from its fields. Yet, an estimate of the yield is necessary to optimize the resources used for growing seed corn."

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First SCOR Grant Awarded to Faculty from Penn State Smeal, College of Engineering

The inaugural monetary award in the Smeal Commercialization of Research (SCOR) Grant Program demonstrates the power of research collaborations across Penn State University. 

As awardees in the Penn State Fund for Innovation program, Hui Zhao, associate professor of supply chain management in the Smeal College of Business, and Soundar Kumara, Allen E. Pearce and Allen M. Pearce Professor of Industrial Engineering, will share $30,000 provided by the FFI, Smeal, and the College of Engineering. These funds will be used over the next 12 months to help with: 

  • The development and demonstration of a commercially viable product or offering based on their research.
  • Evaluating the market potential of the proposed offering through a market viability assessment by Smeal’s Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
  • Work to identify and protect related intellectual property with assistance from the Penn State Office of Technology Management. 

“Smeal’s ‘proof of relevance’ activities have been an integral part of the Penn State Fund for Innovation since the beginning,” said Russell Barton, Smeal senior associate dean for research and faculty and Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems. “The SCOR program begins our support of moving Smeal faculty research to commercial success. It is particularly exciting that our inaugural project is collaborative with the College of Engineering.” 

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Marines benefit from partnership with Penn State Smeal, World Campus 

Two Marine Corps supply officers spent the past 12 months completing two years’ worth of coursework thanks to a partnership between the Marines and Penn State aimed at training military leaders in supply chain management.

“It’s important for professional development and diversification of knowledge in our functional area,” said Maj. Adam Chu, who is now stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. “If the Marine Corps didn’t participate in programs like this, we’d be operating in a vacuum. We’re here to learn from best business practices in industry.”

Chu and Lt. Col. Matt Hakola will graduate on Saturday, Aug. 12, with a master of professional studies in supply chain management after completing their degrees through a special program between the Marine Corps, Penn State World Campus and the Smeal College of Business. The officers will be among more than 900 World Campus students who will graduate during the University’s summer commencement.

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Preciado brings lessons learned during fellowship to new role as Penn State Smeal associate dean of undergraduate education 

When Felisa Preciado started the 2016-17 academic year as a Penn State Administrative Fellow, she thought she would apply what she learned to her role as a clinical associate professor of supply chain management. 

When Preciado finished the 2016-17 academic year, she was transitioning into her new role as associate dean of undergraduate education for the Penn State Smeal College of Business. She said many decisions she has made early in her tenure stem from knowledge she gained during her fellowship. 

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Burlingame, Calderaro earn top MIT Supply Chain Excellence Awards

Karen Burlingame and Alexandra Calderaro, both graduating seniors in the Penn State Smeal College of Business Supply Chain and Information Systems (SC&IS) major, have earned first place in the Supply Chain Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Nick Artman, Lauren Fellin, and Sarah Miller, all graduating seniors from Smeal’s supply chain program, were runners-up. 

The MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award is granted to an outstanding graduating senior in supply chain at Penn State as a result of a partnership initiated between the two institutions in 2013. The award grants a tuition scholarship for the student’s use toward the MIT Supply Chain Management Master’s Degree Program.

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SC&IS Faculty Receive Sustainability Faculty Awards

Congratulations to Dan Guide, Smeal Chaired Professor of Operations & Supply Chain Management, and Terry Harrison, Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems and Earl P. Strong Executive Education Professor in Business, on receiving Smeal Sustainability Faculty Awards.  This award recognizes faculty for extraordinary achievement and service in advancing Smeal’s sustainability goals in teaching, research, and outreach.  Guide’s research focuses on closed loop supply chains and reverse logistics.  Harrison led the effort in the Smeal Business Building receiving LEED Gold certification, added the first non-profit executive to the advisory board, started faculty sustainability workshops, and maintained the awards program.

SC&IS Faculty Members Earn Promotions

Congratulations to Brent Moritz and Christopher Solo on receiving promotions effective July 1.

Moritz has been promoted to associate professor of supply chain management. He joined the Smeal faculty in 2010. His research interests include supply chain management, behavioral operations, operations strategy and cognitive decision processes. He has a particular focus on inventory and forecasting decisions. Moritz holds a Ph.D. in operations and management science from the University of Minnesota. 

Solo has been promoted to clinical assistant professor of management information systems. Prior to joining the Smeal faculty in 2016, he served more than 21 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, where he held leadership positions in the intelligence, acquisition program management, and operations research analyst career fields. During that time, Solo served on the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He taught undergraduate courses covering probability and statistics, optimization, decision analysis, queueing theory, and simulation. Solo holds a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research from Penn State. 

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Russell Barton Named 2017 Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Fellow

Congratulations to Russell Baron, senior associate dean of Smeal College of Business and distinguished professor of supply chain and information systems, on being named a 2017 IISE Fellow. Barton was a member of the Penn State Industrial and Manufacturing faculty for 11 years before moving on to Smeal. He continues to hold a courtesy faculty appointment in the Marcus department. The Fellow Award is the highest classification of membership in IISE and recipients are chosen by the organization’s Fellows Committee. The award recognizes distinguished leaders in the profession that have given significant, nationally-recognized contributions both to mankind and the field of industrial engineering.

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Penn State Smeal Names 2017 Sustainability Research Grant Recipients

The Penn State Smeal College of Business recently awarded a combined $10,000 to Jason Acimovic, assistant professor of supply chain management, and Razvan Lungeanu, assistant professor of management and organization, as the 2017 Smeal Sustainability Research Grant recipients.

Acimovic, who received $3,500, will use the money to fund his research titled, “Metrics for disaster relief pre-positioning: Theory-driven tools for non-expert practitioners.”

The project’s goal, according to Acimovic’s grant proposal, is to provide tools and analyses to the global disaster-assistance community in order to help it plan how many emergency items to store, where to store them and how they should be transported.

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Penn State Smeal Students Employ Supply Chain Skills to Rise up Against Hunger

More than 100 Penn State Smeal College of Business students banded together recently to use the skills they’ve acquired from the college’s top-ranked Supply Chain and Information Systems program to help fight world hunger.

Smeal welcomed Rise Against Hunger, previously Stop Hunger Now, a non-profit organization with one million volunteers around the world. It is determined to end world hunger in our lifetime. Nearly 800 million people worldwide face hunger and acute malnutrition daily and 21,000 perish from malnutrition each day.

The goal of the Smeal event, which was held in the Business Building Atrium, was to package 20,000 meals. More than 100 students from Smeal’s Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the Beta Gamma Sigma international business honor society, and the Sapphire Leadership Program participated.

The process of packaging meals exposed students to different elements within a simplified supply chain.

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Team of PSU Smeal Students Wins 2017 Supply Chain Entrepreneurship Pitch Contest

The Penn State Smeal College of Business 2017 Supply Chain Entrepreneurship Pitch Contest drew 26 submissions from seven different Penn State campuses: Abington, Altoona, Berks, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Worthington Scranton and University Park.

A team of four Smeal students — Cameron Stevens, senior finance, economics, and international politics triple major; Karen Burlingame, senior supply chain and information systems; Yue Shen, senior supply chain and information systems; and Tasha Burman, sophomore business — calling themselves Team DropLocker, was selected as the winner and awarded $6,500.

The 26 submissions were pared down to eight in a virtual elimination round of two-minute videos judged by Smeal faculty members Shawn Clark, Travis Lesser, Dave Lenze, Robert Novack and Steve Tracey to determine the top four teams to compete in the face-to-face final round.

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Penn State Smeal names spring 2017 Senior Award recipients

The Penn State Smeal College of Business recognizes graduating seniors each spring with five named awards. Seniors who are graduating in the spring, summer, or fall of the same year are eligible. Recipients will be recognized at commencement and receive a Nittany Lion statuette as well as a monetary award.

Four SC&IS students were among the recipients of the following awards:

The John M. and Anne B. Stevens Academic Integrity Award: Awarded to a graduating senior or seniors who demonstrate leadership in academic integrity by serving on a college committee, task force or in a leadership role, dedicated to upholding the Smeal Honor Code and to promoting a culture of academic integrity.

  • Arissa Green, Supply Chain and Information Systems
  • Andrew Murphy, Supply Chain and Information Systems

Ralph H. Wherry Student Service Award: This award honors graduating seniors who excelled in service to the college, have exhibited academic achievement, and manifest the promise of a successful professional career.

  • Laura Peterson, Supply Chain and Information Systems
  • Zachary Weinhold, Supply Chain and Information Systems

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Terry Harrison Participates in Project for National Academy of Science

Terry Harrison has completed a one-year project serving on a committee of the National Academy of Science to author the report entitled Strengthening Data Science Methods for Department of Defense Personnel and Readiness Missions.  The work is now published and can be downloaded

Gartner Ranks Penn State Smeal No. 1 in Supply Chain Graduate and Undergraduate Education

Gartner Inc. has again ranked the Penn State Smeal College of Business No. 1 in supply chain graduate and undergraduate education.

Gartner’s report indicates that Penn State undergraduate education scored among the top two schools as an industry value leader, which tend to have large, externally facing supply chain centers and strong internship participation with big companies. Smeal’s Center for Supply Chain Research™ (CSCR™) is a leader in research, executive education, benchmarking and sponsorship.

Penn State also ranked among the top three schools in program scope, which takes into account a diverse, balanced program based on the Gartner Supply Chain Talent Attribute Model.

In graduate education, Penn State Smeal received the highest scores in both program scope and industry value.

“Our commitment to excellence in supply chain education is realized through our world-class faculty and our connections to industry through CSCR,” said Nicholas C. Petruzzi, chair of the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems. “These No. 1 rankings are a welcomed affirmation of both the rigor and the relevance of our state-of-the-art curriculum.”

Previous reports on supply chain education providers were released in 2014, 2011 and 2009, naming Smeal No. 1 each time. The university rankings are part of Gartner’s larger research project identifying skill and talent gaps in the supply chain industry.

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