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Teaching Professor, Engineering Entrepreneurship

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2019 FYEE Conference


Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

T2A: GIFTS - Session A

Tagged Topic

FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

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Frank T. Koe SEDTAPP College of Engr.

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Frank T. Koe, Ph.D.
Teaching Professor, Engineering Entrepreneurship
School of Engineering, Design, Technology and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP)
College of Engineering
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802

Frank has over 20 years experience as an entrepreneur/intrapreneur, university administrator, and educator. Academically, he served as Professor and Chairman of the Education Department at Saint Francis University of Pennsylvania; Dean of the Baker School of Business and Technology at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York City; Associate Director of the W.R Berkley Innovation Labs, Stern School of Business, NYU, and Director of the Executive MBA program at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He has also taught in the Earth Institute at Columbia University where he pioneered the first graduate course in ecopreneurship.

As Vice President of Scalamandre, a noted New York City textile firm, he initiated his first intrapreneurial venture, the Restoration Division, with average annual sales of $3 million. This work gave him exposure to many historic sites and restoration projects that included The White House, the US Department of the Treasury and historic homes such as The Breakers and Marble House located in Newport RI. His on-going company, Whipple D Productions, Inc., creates, designs, manufactures, and sells hunting and fishing accessories.

At Penn State, Frank teaches entrepreneurship courses in the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) within SEDTAPP. He has also served as a Schreyer’s Honors College Scholar from 2016-2018 where he spoke to Schreyer students on entrepreneurship three times a semester.
Frank received a Ph.D. from Penn State University in educational psychology and curriculum and instruction and has published widely on topics ranging from the teaching/learning process, textiles, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. The Second Edition of his text and video, Fabric for the Designed Interior that details textile technology and the application of fabric in residential and commercial spaces was published by Bloomsbury and released in 2017.

Frank has lectured nationally and internationally on entrepreneurship, education, curriculum development, innovation and business.

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Engineers and Entrepreneurial Thinking

Frank T. Koe, Ph.D. School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) email: ph: 917-414-4120 fx: 814-863-7220

This GIFTS presentation acknowledges that engineering studies coupled with exposure to entrepreneurship training develops a mindset that contributes to innovation and solutions to complex problems.

Through exposure to entrepreneurial thinking, engineering students are encouraged to identify needs, evaluate the issues and markets and to create a global perspective. Although engineering design is part of most engineering programs through the US where the use of new knowledge is applied, such courses do not always encourage a creative mindset. Developing models and possibly incorporating additive manufacturing helps a great deal to engage students in their engineering courses but may not go far enough to incorporating questions such as: When is an idea an opportunity?

We know that the mindset of an engineer develops very early in life with a passion to figure out how existing things work--or do not work for that matter. Studying complex STEM subjects in depth over time develops a mindset quite different from students who are not engineering majors. It is easy to see why some students see courses unrelated to their engineering major as simply a distraction and something required to graduate.

However, by including entrepreneurial thinking within engineering courses or taking a technology-based entrepreneurship course, students can begin to apply their skillset while thinking beyond the required and important learning that a textbook/lecture based engineering course can provide where answers/calculations are mostly either right or wrong. Some of these entrepreneurial skills that can be incorporated include:

• Ideation • Assessing and managing risk • Understanding the concept of pivoting • Creating a customer-centric value proposition • Understanding qualities of entrepreneurial leadership • Developing cross-team effectiveness • Economics • Resourcefulness • Open-mindedness • Innovation • Resource management • Strategy and vision • Commitment • Manufacturing • Customer identification

Job satisfaction is contributed by being properly degreed and competent in meeting work expectations. But there is more to it than that. Engineers who are also creating value and using their specialized knowledge to advance society can gain an added sense of accomplishment. Possessing an entrepreneurial mindset along with a solid foundation in STEM courses creates an engineer who is capable of impacting the world.

Koe, F. T. (2019, July), Teaching Professor, Engineering Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania.

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