News and Awards

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

Undergraduates Compete in Inaugural Dell Case Competition

Penn State's SC&IS Department and Dell Technologies worked jointly to co-host the inaugural 2019 Penn State Dell Supply Chain Case Competition on Monday, April 1, 2019.  The Case Competition attracted more than 30 Smeal Freshmen and Sophomores eager to learn about supply chain management within the technology sector and to compete against peers in analysis and oral presentation. 

The case study, written by Dell (including Smeal alums), addressed tradeoffs associated with contract manufacturing in certain regions of the world.  Judges from Dell included Ashlie Wallace, Vice President, Supply Chain Enterprise WWP, Mary Jane Mitchell, Director, Product Engineering Operations, and Anthony Dong, Advisor, Materials Planning.  Susan Purdum, Associate Teaching Professor, Supply Chain Management, represented Penn State and was assisted by Ashley Kuhn.  "What a terrific way for Smeal students to test the waters of this exciting discipline before choosing a major,” said Purdum. 

The Dell team used the opportunity to assess and coach talent - even offering a summer internship on the spot to one lucky individual!  First place went to Carson Sniegocki, Mary George, Austin Thomas, and James Kosyla. Robert Wang, Joseph Dargon, Sean Douglas Hillman, and Jerry Dieter came in second place.  Dell generously provided $2000 in award monies distributed among members of the first and second place teams.

Marine Corps Logistics Fellowship Brings Supply Chain to the Battlefield

The Marines selected for the Smeal’s Supply Chain and Information Systems 2018 program are Lieutenant Colonel Thomas M. Warren and Major Jaehong “Jay” Park.

Penn State’s relationship with the military is ingrained in the school’s history. From the Blue Band’s performance honoring the military at the military appreciation football game to the Freedom 5k for PTSD, military appreciation week is always a memorable and important time at Penn State to thank our armed forces for their commitment to our nation. Ever since Penn State was established as a land-grant university in 1863, the military has had a tremendous impact on our school. Our ROTC program is one of the nation’s largest and oldest, and Penn State has a long-standing relationship with the Department of Defense for its research capabilities.

The Smeal College of Business has a special relationship with the military in the Marine Corps Logistics Fellowship program. Each year, two Marines undergo a competitive selective process to be chosen for the fellowship. Its purpose is to further the education of the selected Marines in supply chain in their respective military roles earning their master’s degree upon completion. The program is a hybrid of on campus MBA courses and online courses at Penn State World Campus. It was established to prepare supply professionals for the military’s ever-changing requirements for effectiveness on the battlefield, which has evolved to include new supply chain and logistics trends, e.g., artificial intelligence and machine learning in military supple chains.

The Marines selected for the Smeal’s Supply Chain and Information Systems 2018 program are Lieutenant Colonel Thomas M. Warren and Major Jaehong “Jay” Park. LtCol Warren most recently served in the Joint Staff Logistics Directorate at The Pentagon and Maj Park most recently served as the Chief of Contracting, Expeditionary Contracting Section for Headquarters Regiment, Third Marine Logistics Group in Okinawa, Japan.

Full Story 

Smeal Supply Chain Undergraduates Compete in Supply Chain Case Competition

Darren Florin, (Senior), Katie Gustas, (Junior), Stephen Day, (Sophomore) and Matthew Cavadas (Sophomore) took second place at the 7th Annual National Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition March 27-30.

A team of Supply Chain students took second place at the 7th Annual National Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition March 27-30 sponsored by the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.  The team consisted of Darren Florin, (Senior), Katie Gustas, (Junior), Stephen Day, (Sophomore) and Matthew Cavadas (Sophomore) and was advised by Ralph Sees.  Thirteen schools from across the country were represented in the competition which challenged teams to redesign and optimize the US Distribution/Transportation network for 3M, a large multi-national manufacturing company headquartered in Minneapolis and one of the competition’s chief sponsors.  The team had 24 hours to synthesize real-world data and present their recommendations to judges from major corporations in the Twin Cities area.  After two rounds of presentations, the team finished a close second to the eventual winner, the team from the University of Wisconsin.

In addition to the competition, the Penn State team toured Target headquarters in downtown Minneapolis.  The tour was hosted by Michelle Li, a 2018 SCIS graduate.  Students were able to see the scope of procurement and inventory management responsibilities and opportunities available with that major retailer.  The team also visited the Innovation Center at 3M’s headquarters and the Polaris Small Engine lean assembly operation.  Throughout the competition the students heard presentations from the Vice Presidents of Supply Chain from Cargill, Target, and 3M, and had time to network with Supply Chain leadership as well as students and faculty from across the country.

Incoming SC&IS Faculty Member Receives First Place MIT Thesis Prize

Congratulations to Sergey Naumov on receiving the MIT Sloan doctoral research first prize for “Unintended Consequences of Automated Vehicles and Pooling for Urban Transportation Systems.”  Sergey will receive his PhD in June and will join the Smeal SC&IS Department.

Hui Zhao Receives Best Paper Award

Congratulations to Hui Zhao on her paper entitled "Mitigating the US Drug Shortages Through Pareto-Improving Contracts" being selected as a runner-up for the Ralph Gomory Best Industry Studies Paper Award from the Industry Studies Association (ISA) in 2018.  ISA, originated from Sloan Foundation programs, is an interdisciplinary scholarly association whose members come from a wide variety of disciplines such as management, economics, engineering, industrial and labor relations, operations research, law, economic geography, and public policy.  Scholars committed to industry studies research have demonstrated that the results of industry research that is grounded in observation and integrated with theory and analysis can make important contributions not only to academic knowledge but also to industry practice and public policy.

Zhao was also invited to an FDA "Expert Panel listening session on drug shortage," where she presented findings of her drug shortage study.  This invitation was from the new drug shortage task force led by FDA Associate Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives Keagan Lenihan and charged by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.  This study was also a finalist for the Piaskella Award from INFORMS Health Applications Society in 2015.

Students posing in front of 150 boxes they packed in support of The Jared Box Project.

Student Organizations Give Back to the Community

Penn State Smeal College of Business Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) student organizations joined forces to lift the spirits of children in the hospital during this upcoming holiday season. Our students packed 150 boxes supporting The Jared Box Project.  The boxes were filled with toys and goodies thanks to the generosity of Armada Supply Chain Solutions, a Smeal Center for Supply Chain Research™ Corporate Sponsor. WE ARE working together to make a difference! The Jared Box Project started with a young boy named Jared who was diagnosed with cancer.  Throughout treatment, Jared's backpack full of toys was the reason he was able to remain a kid. Members of CSCMP and APICS contributed to this effort and made a difference in our local community.

Bob Novack and Steve Tracey Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research

Smeal's Supply Chain and Information Systems faculty, Bob Novack and Steve Tracey, raised over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society's Real Men on Campus of Penn State campaign for breast cancer research and prevention during October Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Bob and Steve want to thank all of you who donated to this worthy cause. Your generosity is an affirmation that WE ARE determined to make a difference in the over 300,000 women, in North America alone, diagnosed with breast cancer (American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts and Figures 2017/2018).

 Full Story

Penn State Smeal retains No. 1 rank in graduate supply chain education

Gartner, Inc., has once again ranked Penn State Smeal College of Business as No. 1 in North American graduate supply chain programs in a recent report.

This marks the fifth time Penn State has earned the top spot in Gartner’s published rankings since 2008.

New this year is that Penn State, alone, achieved the highest score in all three major categories used to compile the rankings, which include: program scope, industry value and program size.

“Retaining the No. 1 ranking for graduate supply chain education provides great affirmation for the rigor, relevance, and impact of our professional supply chain programs,” said Nicholas C. Petruzzi, chair of the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems.

The No. 1 graduate rankings news comes on the heels of earning the No. 1 rank in supply chain undergraduate education back in June.

“We take pride in this news and being recognized as a leader in supply chain education is a testament to the dedicated and tireless efforts of our faculty and staff, students, alumni and recruiters,” Petruzzi said.

Gartner compared 46 universities in its study. Program scope measured for best curricula that prepares students for supply chain careers. For industry value, Gartner surveyed university programs and supply chain practitioners on program reputation and recruitment. Finally, program size was evaluated using the number of full- and part-time supply chain students with full-time faculty.

The Gartner report is intended to help supply chain leaders identify university partners best equipped to help them recruit the right talent.

Full Story 

SC&IS Department welcomes new faculty members

The SC&IS Department welcomes three new members to its faculty this academic year.

Rashmi Sharma, clinical assistant professor and managing director of Laboratory for Economics, Management and Auctions (LEMA)
Doctorate: Penn State University
Master’s: Indira Ghandi National Open University (India) and Penn State University
Bachelor’s: University of Rajasthan (India)

Mostafa Sabbaghi, visiting assistant professor
Doctorate: University at Buffalo
Master’s: Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology (Iran)
Bachelor’s: Iran University of Science and Technology (Iran)

Hossein Fateh, visiting assistant professor
Doctorate: George Mason University and West Virginia University
Master’s: George Washington University
Bachelor’s: Isfahan University (Iran)

Full Story

Russell Barton Receives IEOM Distinguished Educator Award

Congratulations to Russell Barton on receiving the IEOM (Industrial Engineering and Operations Management) Distinguished Educator Award.  The award recognizes Barton’s exceptional contributions to the field of industrial engineering and operations management.  The award will be given on September 28, 2018, at the IEOM 3rd North American Conference Awards Dinner in Washington, DC.  Barton will also be a keynote speaker at the conference.

The IEOM Society Third North American International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management 2018 program can be seen at

Gartner ranks Penn State Smeal No. 1 in undergraduate supply chain education

Gartner, Inc., has once again ranked the Penn State Smeal College of Business No. 1 in North American undergraduate supply chain education.

Previous reports on supply chain education providers were released in 2016, 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.

“This ranking is a testament to the shared vision and coordinated efforts of our dedicated faculty and staff, recruiters, and alumni that ensure our curriculum remains not only rigorous but also highly relevant to industry needs.  It is gratifying to have Gartner’s validation of the excellence in supply chain education at Smeal for which we strive every single day,” said Nicholas C. Petruzzi, chair of the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems.

To compile its rankings, Gartner evaluated three categories: industry value, program size, and program scope.

The industry value measurement considered recruit mentions, “best” mentions in SCM World’s ‘Top Supply Chain Universities,’ undergraduate internship participation, and average starting salary. Gartner highlighted that leaders in this category tend to have large, externally facing supply chain research and experiential learning centers, much like the Center for Supply Chain Research™ at Smeal.

Full Story 

SC&IS Faculty Members Receive Promotions

Congratulations to the SC&IS faculty members who received promotions effective July 1.

Suresh Muthulingam will receive early tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor in the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems. Muthulingam’s expertise is in environmental issues in operations management, supply chain management, quality management, and learning and forgetting. He joined the Smeal faculty in 2014.

Muthulingam holds a doctorate in business (operations management) from UCLA, a master of business administration from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India, and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India.

Saurabh Bansal will receive tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor in the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems. Bansal’s research interests lie in three dimensions of supply chain and operations management: model and data-driven understanding of how business managers perceive and estimate uncertainties; descriptive models for how they react to these uncertainties; and, prescriptive optimization-based models for how they react to the uncertainties.

Bansal earned a doctorate in risk analysis and decision making from the University of Texas and a bachelor’s in industrial engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He joined the Smeal faculty in 2010.

Arthur Jones will be promoted to associate teaching professor in the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems. He teaches courses in information systems health administration, organization of data, information systems management and applications, and business information systems analysis, among others. Jones joined the Smeal faculty in 2011.

Full Story