Pat Penfield, professor of supply chain practice and director of executive education, spent the first 15 years after earning his bachelor’s degree in business working for leading brands such as Johnson and Johnson, United Technology/Carrier, Raymond/Toyota and Philips Electronics. His responsibilities included purchasing, operations, supply chain management and materials management.
Along the way, Penfield decided an MBA might help propel his career, so he enrolled part-time at LeMoyne College and earned the degree while maintaining a full-time job.
Over the course of his professional career, Penfield earned several certifications from the American Production and Inventory Control Society, i.e. Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management and Certified in Integrated Resource Management, and became a Certified Purchasing Manager through the Institute of Supply Management. His last position in industry was VP of operations for a $100 million computer company in Syracuse, N.Y., which is now part of Arrow Electronics.
Penfield started his teaching career by instructing classes through the local chapter of the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). This is where he met Fred Easton, professor of supply chain management and director of Whitman’s Robert H. Brethen Operations Management Institute. Easton asked Penfield if he’d be interested in teaching at Whitman as an adjunct professor. That led to a full-time professor of practice position initially instructing operations management and sourcing courses.
Penfield was hooked on teaching right from the start. “I enjoy interacting with people in general, but the energy students bring is contagious and invigorating,” said Penfield. “Teaching is especially gratifying when you see how students mature during their time at Whitman and then again when they come back to visit you.”
The list of classes Penfield can now teach tallies 14 and he instructs undergraduate, graduate and executive education students. In addition to the perspective he gained through years of professional experience, he brings lessons he is learning through his pursuit of a Ph.D. from SUNY-ESF to the classroom.
Penfield’s research areas include green supply chain, manufacturing, warehousing, strategic sourcing and negotiations, among others. He has been quoted extensively by print and broadcast media outlets, has authored one book and published numerous articles in leading journals and industry publications.
Penfield enjoys collaborating with industry professionals. He recently completed an article with Hamish Walker, chief procurement officer of Molson Coors, on the Molson Coors innovation process and another on LEED certification with Carol Britton, chief procurement and real estate officer for BNY Mellon.
In addition to teaching, research and writing, Penfield has worn a couple other hats at Whitman, including director of supply chain management executive education programs, which he took on seven years ago. Last fall, he assumed the position of Waverly House mentor in the IMPRESS program. He enjoyed shepherding students through this new program and shared in their pride as they took the inaugural Goodman Cup for most points earned among the four houses.
Penfield feels the IMPRESS program is a clear success. “In addition to the benefits of skill development and professional preparation, IMPRESS really acclimates students to one another and to Whitman, its faculty and staff,” said Penfield. “Students feel early on that they are part of something.”
At the end of the past academic year, Penfield passed the “key” to the Waverly House to Will Geoghegan, assistant professor of management, so he could lend more time to his new post as director of executive education at Whitman. This position entails extending programming across Whitman disciplines as well as innovating offerings to meet the changing needs of employers and professionals.
The Six Sigma certification in supply chain has been a foundational executive education program at Whitman for nine years. It has saved companies an estimated $11 million in that timeframe. New non-credit certifications across finance, accounting, supply chain management, marketing management, entrepreneurship and strategic management are the core of the expanded program. These certificates consist of five classes, each spanning 10 weeks with two to four hours of instruction per week.
“We have long provided quality executive education program in supply chain at Whitman, and the best practice lessons we’ve learned position us well for successfully increasing the scope of our offerings,” said Penfield, who points to partnerships with St. Josephs’ Hospital Health Center and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families as evidence of early successes in the expansion efforts.
“We developed a Healthcare Project Management Certificate Course Program for St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, through which employees can take three levels of project management training, totaling 65 hours,” added Penfield. “We also created a two-hour culmination test for the program. Students receive a certificate once they pass the exam.”
Whitman also designed a customer service class for the Onward to Opportunity program run by the Institute of Veterans and Military families. This class will train veterans coming out of the military for customer service jobs.
Such partnerships are key to creating, implementing and adapting both certificate and non-certificate continuing education offerings. The program is up to 30 classes with plans in the works for more as well as for providing re-certification, continuing education credit courses and customized training for companies with instruction taking place on campus, at an employer site or online. Penfield also sees partnerships with other SU schools and colleges on the horizon.
“We can provide creative, customizable and flexible solutions that support the goals of organizations and their employees whether that’s an in-person or virtual certificate program, a course to develop or upgrade a particular skill set or an industry scenario exercise developed for a specific company,” added Penfield. “We have outstanding professors, state-of-the-art technology and world-class facilities. We are poised to be an important partner in helping companies progress in a competitive business marketplace.”