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Putting Engineering Management on the Executive Track

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Developing Better Engineering Managers - Curricular Ideas from Year 1 Through Graduate School

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

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Paper Authors


Joseph J. Suter Johns Hopkins University

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Dr. Suter is Chair of the Engineering Management and Technical Management graduate programs for the Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering. In addition, Dr. Suter is also a member of the JHU Whiting School of Engineering Graduate Committee. Dr. Suter has authored or coauthored more than 57 publications, which have been published in various publications, including IEEE Transactions, Cryogenics, the Journal of Physics D, the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, and the Journal of Applied Physics.

Dr. Suter received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a Master of Science degree in physics from Michigan State University, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, and a PhD degree in materials science and engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.

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Stanislaw Tarchalski Johns Hopkins University

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Staś Tarchalski is a retired senior executive with more than 30 years of progressive responsibility and experience in leading strategic business planning and execution, large/complex program development and management, technical leadership and systems engineering, and organizational development in various businesses and projects ranging from a $100M innovative business to an over $3B annual revenue portfolio of projects. In his 30+ years at IBM he worked with clients in Government, Aerospace, Automotive, Electronics, Communications, and the Architecture/Engineering/Constructions industries across North America, Europe and Asia. He was a key leader of R&D transformation during the turnaround of IBM in the mid-1990s. Today Staś teaches various courses in Senior Leadership, Program Management, System Engineering, and Governance, and is a consultant to numerous clients in the complex systems integration business. He is also actively involved in developing new courses and innovative course delivery methods.

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Judith G Theodori Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineeering

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Ms. Theodori is a Program Coordinator for the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering’s Technical Management, Engineering Management and Space Systems Engineering. She also has developed online and blended classroom courses for the program and lectures in Information Research and Advanced Technology. Ms. Theodori is a Principal Staff member at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory working in information management, policy and communication. Judith received her Bachelor’s in Labor Relations from San Francisco State University in 1983, and her Masters in Library Science from Queens College in 1998.

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James D Beaty Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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Dr. James Beaty is the Advanced Health Technologies Program Manager for the Research & Exploratory Development Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He leads world-class teams of engineers and scientists to develop, integrate, and test leading edge health. James has 15 years of experience in image/signal processing research and development.

James began his career at APL in 2005, where he has held progressively responsible line and technical management positions (Section Supervisor, Assistant Group Supervisor, Team Lead, Project Manager, and Program Manager). .

James received an B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), a M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT), M.S. Electrical Engineering and Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Yale University (New Haven, CT), and a M.B.A degree from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA).

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Michael McLoughlin Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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Michael P. McLoughlin received his B.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees from the University of Delaware in 1983 and 1985 respectively. He is the Chief Engineer for the Research and Exploratory Development Department, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). Mike has extensive Executive, Program and Line Management experience, leading complex multidisciplinary efforts at the intersection of Biotechnology, Biomedicine, Healthcare and Systems Engineering. In 2009, Mike assumed leadership responsibilities for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program, successfully demonstrating brain control of high dexterity prosthetics with amputees and quadriplegics. He is also leading efforts to develop human integrated robotics for a wide range of applications including visual prosthetics, assistive robotics and robotics for hazardous environments. His experience includes working with start-ups, academia, and government organizations to develop and grow new business and address critical challenges facing our nation. Mike began his career at JHU/APL in 1985, and has held progressively responsible technical and managerial positions. During his tenure at JHU/APL, he had significant roles in establishing the Biomedicine and Homeland Protection Mission Areas. Mike teaches both Technical Executive Leadership and Advanced Technology Management in the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering and is a member of the APL Principal Professional Staff.

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Richard Warren Blank Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering

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Mr. Blank is a part-time instructor and program committee member for Technical Management and Engineering Management at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School Engineering for Professionals Program. He teaches Introduction to Project Management, Executive Technical Management, and Enterprise Systems Engineering. He also holds a full-time position as the Deputy Chief Quality Officer for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Chief of Strategy for the Force Projection Sector. Appointed to these positions in August 2015 and February 2014, respectively, he supports the Laboratory in establishing policies and procedures with respect to the quality of the Laboratory's delivered products and services, defining standards with associated scalability and maintaining the Quality Management System and he supports the Force Projection Sector in the development and execution of strategies to bring solutions to the warfighter addressing their most significant operational challenges.

Mr. Blank was appointed as an adjunct instructor in the Whiting School of Engineering in January 2009 after joining the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in October 2006. He has served as the Deputy Business Area Executive for Undersea Warfare from January 2010 to February 2014 and held the prior role of Ocean Data Acquisition Program Manager delivering acoustic and non-acoustic systems to the US Navy submarine fleet. From 1975 to 2006, Mr. Blank served in a variety of leadership and engineering positions for Rockwell Collins including Senior Director of Programs, Director of Engineering Processes, Director for International Joint Ventures and Alliances, Program Manager, Marketing Manager, and Systems Engineer. He has contributed to communications, navigation, and flight management system solutions for both commercial and military applications.

Mr. Blank received a Master of Science degree in Engineering / Applied Science from the University of California, Davis in 1975, a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 1973, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics in 1973 also from the University of California, Davis. He has completed executive seminars in International Strategy Development from Thunderbird University, the Executive Development Program from the University of Iowa, and Contract Finance for Program Managers at the Defense Systems Management College.

Mr. Blank has authored four technical papers, and his article, “The NAVSTAR Global Positioning System,” was published in Signal Magazine, November 1986 edition.

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The [Univesity] has been a pioneer in the discipline of Technical Management and Systems Engineering education, offering its first graduate courses in Technical Management and Systems Engineering in the 1980s. As part of an ongoing effort to provide education leadership, and currency in our program offerings, the school conducted a comprehensive assessment of Engineering Management (EM) course offerings in not only in our current Technical Management program, but also at other institutions throughout the country. This study led to the development of a comprehensive new Masters in Engineering Management degree for professionals.

In designing the program, we proactively expanded beyond the traditional curriculum found in most Engineering Management Programs, and focused specific attention on the development of technical leaders for the executive level track. We specifically addressed, the Engineering/Development Executive, Manufacturing Executive, and Chief Technology Officer roles and career paths. This paper describes our approach and the components of our new capstone course, which includes executive case studies and hands-on projects enabling students to work in groups on challenging technical leadership situations. In addition, the paper describes how we facilitate the interaction of the students with leading executives by using in-class review panels, which offer feedback to the student teams, to challenge their assumptions and proposed management approaches. Included in these discussions are not only the technical challenges, but also the human resource, social and personal challenges of the ever-changing work force and society.

The paper further describes our spiral development approach, executed by a team which was comprised of technical executives and faculty with extensive experience in technical leadership at executive levels, coupled with backgrounds in both systems engineering as well as education. In addition to the development of the core curriculum, the paper also describes how the team constructed customized case studies, used in conjunction with the course lectures, to provide the students the scenarios needed to understand the roles and relationships of the different executive leaders.

The paper will also provide a discussion of the hybrid delivery methodology combining face-to-face, net meeting, and asynchronous on-line delivery to accommodate the challenging schedules of students who are also full-time working professionals. The paper concludes with lessons-learned feedback based on the first two offerings of the course in Spring / Fall 2015 semesters.

Suter, J. J., & Tarchalski, S., & Theodori, J. G., & Beaty, J. D., & McLoughlin, M., & Blank, R. W. (2016, June), Putting Engineering Management on the Executive Track Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26019

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