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Achieving Organizational Sustainability: An Engineering Management Challenge Or Opportunity?

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Frontiers in Engineering Management

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.119.1 - 15.119.18

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Paper Authors


Andrew Czuchry East Tennessee State University

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ANDREW J. CZUCHRY received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1969 with a concentration in guidance and control systems engineering. He has more than twenty years experience as a professional manager in technical innovation and the electronics manufacturing industry. Dr. Czuchry has been the holder of the AFG Industries Chair of Excellence in Business and Technology since joining East Tennessee State University in 1992. He has published extensively in refereed journals and proceedings of professional organizations related to his field.

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Michael Parker Bristol Tennessee Essential Services

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MICHAEL L. PARKER received his undergraduate degree from East Tennessee State University in 2003 with a concentration in computer science. He has over 10 years of experience in networking and telecommunications in the cable TV and Internet service provider industry. He is the Network Supervisor for Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, a municipal electric utility and fiber to the user provider. He has participated as an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.

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Robert Bridges B&W Y-12 Technical Services, LLC

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Robert L. Bridges received his B.S. degree from East Tennessee State University in 2005 from the department of business and engineering technology. He has worked in the area of uranium metallurgy as a government contractor for thirty-one years with over twenty-five years in uranium process metallurgy research and development. Mr. Bridges has worked specifically in the areas of; Superplastic Forming, Semi-solid casting (rheocasting), destructive and non-destructive mechanical testing and is a senior metallographer with over twenty year experience. He is a member of ASTM on E04, E28, and F27 committees since 2003 and ASM International since 1995. Mr. Bridges is the author of many internal government reports and has published some journal articles, the most recent May 2008 for Microscopy Today magazine. He holds one patent and numerous Department of Energy awards of excellence.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Achieving Organizational Sustainability: An Engineering Management Challenge or Opportunity?


Organizational sustainability in terms of societal, environmental, and financial impacts may become the overarching success factor for technology-driven businesses in the global marketplace. This triple-bottom line has received considerable attention in the literature. However, the question of sustainability becoming an independent field is still being debated.1

Engineering management may become a major player in transforming compliance with legal regulations into an enhanced competitive business advantage by offering a total systems approach to achieving performance excellence. The applied research presented in this paper suggests a conceptual framework to guide the process of transforming the organization’s products and services to improve performance in terms of the expanded definition of sustainability. The educational aspects of sustainability are emphasized throughout this article. This framework may also be helpful to those in higher education faced with the challenge of reforming engineering education in the Engineering Management graduate curriculum.

A mini case study is discussed to illustrate the framework and suggest several managerial implications. The mini case tells the story of an electrical power distribution organization that expanded their customer provided services to include broadband and telephone technologies. They currently have 10,000 broadband customers and are operating this business segment in the black. Now the organization is exploring smart grid approaches to level load electrical power system demands. The mini case discussed in this article does offer a potential contribution. When addressing sustainability for a single organization in the supply chain, a best strategy for the local organization may be destabilizing for the entire supply chain. This suggests that sustainability strategies should be evaluated from a total systems perspective. Extrapolating to managerial implications one might conclude that Systems Engineering and Engineering Management disciplines could make a significant contribution in resolving the “sustainability” debate in higher education.


The purpose of this applied research is to: 1) Explore the emerging emphasis on the triple bottom line as organizations strive to survive in this turbulent decade; 2) Use relevant literature and the authors’ practical experience to suggest a conceptual framework that could guide organizations through a revolutionary process that involves disruptive or discontinuous changes to processes and business models; 3) Reflect implications of these sustainability transformation on Engineering Management Programs; and 4) Use the case of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) to illustrate the framework and show positive results for the discontinuous changes that have occurred. Throughout this discussion the authors strive to use the BTES experience as a benchmark for reinforcing the systematic approach to innovation suggested by the conceptual framework; and to suggest that the Engineering Management curriculum may need innovative changes to provide the skills necessary to excel.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015