On April 13, the department of Engineering Management & Technology hosted a PechaKucha night to help students network with local professional organizations that can provide resources and career opportunities. Students from the Engineering Management Club (EMClub) and Dr. Aldo McLean, assistant professor and faculty adviser, planned and coordinated the event.

PechaKucha 20×20: A simple presentation format in which presenters show 20 images for 20 seconds each, giving them a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds (about the time it will take you to read this post) to present their information. This requires each presenter to get to the “bottom line up front” (BLUF).

Dr. Daniel Pack, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, kicked off the evening with a welcome. He then tried his hand at PechaKucha 20×20 with some information about the college. Dr. Pack managed to present an impressive amount of information in a short amount of time, including the origin of the college in 1969, its mission, its status and continued growth today (5 departments, 13 degrees, and over 1500 students), and its goals for the future. He also talked about students’ success, both academically and outside the classroom, and the practical experience the college requires of students before they graduate (internships, undergrad research, and community service). Dr. Pack’s presentation was a great opening to the evening.

Before jumping into the speed rounds, Dr. McLean introduced Sharhea Bell, a student in Computer Engineering with a minor in Engineering Management, and the first engineering student to receive an APICS scholarship (historically given only to students in the College of Business).

In the spirit of PechaKucha 20×20, we’ll practice brevity and give you the highlights for each presentation.

Dr. Nesli Alp, Department Head for the Engineering Management & Technology Department and Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. She talked about her department and the difference between engineering management and engineering. Dr. Alp got the entire room involved by offering unspecified figures and having people guess what they pertained to, such as the number of undergrad and grad students in the department (130/70), the number of graduates each year (50–60), average salaries after graduation ($53,199), and that the department is ranked #7 of the best online engineering management graduate programs according to US News & World Reports.

Richard Loftin, VP of Programs for the Tri-State chapter of APICS and two-time graduate of UTC. He gave an overview of APICS—a professional association for supply chain management that provides education, certifications, and research in the field. The local chapter opened in 1969 (as did the College of Engineering and Computer Science), is run by volunteers (“Why? To give back”), and offers scholarships to students in business and engineering. They also organize plant tours and use games to provide supply chain training in a fun, tangible way. “Operations management makes a lot more sense if you can see it,” said Loftin.

Ann Maddox, Audit Chair of ASQ Chapter 1101. She talked about the mission of ASQ (American Society for Quality) to develop and exchange principles and practices of quality. She also talked about the resources they offer, such as training and certifications, conferences, and publications. The local chapter, which offers additional resources such as local job postings and networking opportunities, gave a one-year membership to three lucky students at the event: Sara Thomas (Engineering Management), Rachel Anderson (Mechanical Engineering), and Tim McGee (Engineering Management).

Lolita Jackmon, MBA, President of the Project Management Institute (PMI). She talked about the growing field of project management and how PMI, the largest nonprofit for project management in the world, can help advance students’ careers and improve success by offering resources such as research funding, certifications, teaching and academic resources, and opportunities for collaboration. The local chapter includes employers in pretty much every area, including TVA, and hosts events every month in Chattanooga that provide students with great opportunities for networking. “PM can take you places”—figuratively and literally, according to Jackmon, who recently went to Dubai to see how mega structures are built.

Engineering Management Club students Michael Curry (Engineering Management) and Rachel Anderson (Mechanical Engineering) joined Dr. McLean to finish up the evening. They talked about students wanting more involvement and practical, on-field learning. This inspired the creation of the EMClub, which gives every member a chance to be a team leader each semester and works to provide students with more hands-on experience—like a Coca-Cola plant tour (very difficult to get) and OSHA 10 certifications.

Dr.  McLean closed the evening by addressing the students directly. “We need more students to come and participate, more student leaders, and more organizations to partner with,” he said. “Our faculty spends a lot of time doing research and going to conferences to continue bringing you new knowledge and offering you the best. We’re excited to see you succeed and we’ll do our best to make sure you do so.”

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