Tag Archives: Dana Johnson

THE Project: SBE works to make higher education more affordable in MI

rsz_1the_project_2015_2For the 4th year in a row, Michigan Tech placed second in THE Project’s 2015 competition on April 13. The event was held at the Pinnacle Center in Grand Rapids, MI and included 15 teams from the State of Michigan. The competing students were asked to prepare a variety of deliverables to reduce the cost of higher education in the state of Michigan.

Michigan Tech had 2 teams both receiving recognition and awards. Michigan Tech’s Team A received the highest presentation score in their division. The students of Team A consist of:

  • Helen Richards, majoring in Engineering Management
  • Arissara (Kwang) Suthijindawong, double major in MIS and OSM
  • Cody Waffle, majoring in Engineering Management

Michigan Tech Team B placed second overall and received the highest score in their division. The students of Team B consist of:

  • Taylor Auguston, majoring in Management with a concentration in Supply ChainTHE Project 2015
  • Kareem Fayssa, majoring in Operations Systems and Management
  • Frances Kallio, majoring in Operations Systems and Management
  • Dylan Whittaker, majoring in Operations systems and Management

Both teams worked over the course of the two semesters to prepare for their deliverables and final presentations. With guidance from Dr. Dana Johnson the students all received valuable knowledge and project management skills that can be utilized as they move forward with their careers. Kallio expressed “It was the greatest experience of my college career. Not only did my presentation and public speaking improve, but my team work, leadership and communication skills grew beyond belief.”

Members of both teams improved their understanding of project management concepts along with gaining confidence in their ability to apply them to a real world experience. Fayssa noted that he now intends to pursue a career in project management and will often reflect on his experience with THE Project 2015.

 

This article was written by Frances Kallio.


Portage Health, Michigan Tech Join Hands to Solve Problems

Dr. Dana Johnson's Six Sigma and Quality Engineering courses worked with Portage Health last semester to applied what they learned in the class room to real-world situations.
Dr. Dana Johnson’s Six Sigma and Quality Engineering courses worked with Portage Health last semester to apply what they learned in the class room to real-world situations.

When Portage Health turns some of its problems over to Michigan Tech students, it’s a win-win situation. The hospital gets innovative solutions, and the students gain real-world experience.

Business and engineering students from Professor Dana Johnson’s Six Sigma and Quality Engineering courses worked with Portage Health on a series of projects last semester, enabling them to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life situations.

Six Sigma Fundamentals is a course on Six Sigma methodology, a data-driven approach for eliminating mistakes. Quality Engineering covers concepts and methods for quality and productivity improvement.

Johnson worked with Portage Health to find projects that challenged the students to put their classwork into practice.

“My role is to be the customer,” explains Mark Randell, director of rehabilitation and sports medicine at Portage Health. “The students meet with us, and we present the project ideas to them, saying ‘here is an issue we are having difficulties with.’ They act as consultants, investigating it and coming up with more questions, identifying the causes of the problem, and then they put together a plan for making changes.”

In one of the projects, the pediatric physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy department was facing an issue with the scheduling of appointments. They had noticed that they had a high cancellation or no-show rate, which was ultimately affecting their bottom line. The goal of the project was to see if the students could find a trend or common problem that explained these cancellations, and then to find a way to change how scheduling is done to address that issue.

Was the problem a particular date or time? What were the reasons for the cancellations? Did the rate go up when appointments were scheduled too far in advance? The students examined all of these questions. The information they gathered was used to implement some changes, and time will tell if the changes show an actual impact on the problem.

Another project took a look at employee transfers. Its goal was to help Portage Health find ways to automate the process of completing employee transfers. Destin’e Clark, a Michigan Tech alumna who majored in Operations and Systems Management and Marketing, applied Six Sigma tools to determine the root cause of inefficiencies and improvement opportunities for the employee transfer process. She is now working with the team to develop and recommend alternatives.

Portage Health and the students found the projects mutually beneficial.

“I have done projects with other departments and the experience working with the students has been fantastic,” said Randell. “They are very professional as consultants. It’s a win-win for Portage Health and Michigan Tech because the students get real-life experience solving real business problems. The students get to be a part of something useful, and we benefit from getting an outside view.”

The projects with Portage gave the students a look at what working in real business situations is like and how to handle themselves, both on the business side and the problem-solving side. “Experiential learning is critical to student experiences,” says Johnson. “It does come from more than Enterprises and Senior Design.”

The students are also very grateful for the opportunity to have this experience before stepping into their post-graduate careers. “Six Sigma and Lean practices are vital to a company’s success,” said Clark. “Being able to gain this knowledge and experience while still in school is exceptional and something employers will admire. The information and experience I obtained in this course is very applicable to my career. I currently work in transportation where Six Sigma techniques are used daily in improving our processes.”

This story was originally written by Erika Vichcales, student writing intern for Tech Today.


Tech Business Teams Take 2nd and 3rd in THE Project

Business and Economics students from Michigan Tech had another successful showing at THE Project, taking 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

Two Michigan Tech teams competed in the second West Michigan Project Management Institute THE Project 2013 competition. There were seven collegiate teams competing for $10,000 prizes, and both Michigan Tech teams made it to the Final Four.

Michigan Tech Team B placed 2nd overall and received $3,000, and Michigan Tech Team A placed 3rd overall and received $2,000. Team B consists of Danielle Boettger (Economics), Evan Beckner (Operations and Systems Management), August Skultety (Operations and Systems Management). Team A consists of Kira Eck (Marketing), Mitch Fedie (Management), Amanda Halonen (Operations and Systems Management), and Mandi Severn (Management). All students were enrolled in BUS4950 Advanced Project Management this semester.

Details about the competition are located at: http://www.wmpmi.org.


Operations and Systems Management Students to Compete in THE Project

THE Project provides Operations and Supply Chain Management experience for students.

The Western Michigan Chapter of the Project Management Institute is sponsoring a Collegiate Project Management Competition titled THE Project.  The competition officially kicked off in September with the forming of teams from several colleges and universities including, Michigan Technological University, the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, and Grand Valley State University.   Formally beginning in November and concluding in April, THE Project will serve as an intern-like opportunity in Project Management.

Operations and Systems Management and Management majors from Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics are participating and taking advantage of this unique opportunity in their area of study.  The purpose of THE Project is to develop young business leaders by partnering college students, community leaders/business mentors, and Project Management Professionals to competitively tackle a commonly shared business challenge. 

The competition is an opportunity for students to work on real life business challenges with a West Michigan Business Partner and Project Management Professional Mentor.   The students will be competing for financial reward, recognition, and a chance to develop career focused skills which will translate to career opportunities.  THE Project is a real world opportunity to showcase leadership and interpersonal skills. 

Dr. Dana Johnson, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, serves as the advisor to two teams of Michigan Tech students competing in THE Project.  When asked about the significance of the competition, Johnson noted, “Project Management is not a widespread undergraduate discipline.   The project management profession is rapidly growing, with many companies seeking undergraduates with project management skills.  We are pleased to give our students the opportunity to work with companies.  This will give them an edge when it comes to finding internships as undergraduates and employment opportunities upon their graduation.”

For additional information on this competition please visit www.theprojectpmi.com or www.wmpmi.org