News about Business & Hospitality Management

Penn College Students Bat a Thousand in SkillsUSA Competition

SkillsUSA-Pennsylvania

All 25 members of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s SkillsUSA team, including more than half moving on to national competition June 19-23 in Louisville, Kentucky, were medalists during the Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference held late last month in Hershey.

Fifteen team members advanced to nationals with first-place finishes, seven placed second, and three placed third in their respective categories.

“I feel great about the students’ performance at the state competition. It goes to show how well prepared the students are from their respective fields and how great our instructors are here at the college,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. “I’m excited for the students going to the national competition in Louisville. I have every confidence they will put their best performance forward.”

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Alumna’s Return Yields Product Insight, Student Aid

Kate Hunter, a 2000 culinary arts alumna, offers career insight to students in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts majors.

Chef Paul Mach records the mathematical results of students’ bacon-cooking tests.

Chris Eckard, of Anchor Food Professionals, talks through boiling point and resulting evaporation – and loss of yield – of cream.

Dylan H. Therrien, left, of Reading, was named a 2017-18 recipient of the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Scholarship. With him (from left) are: Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations for Penn College; Kate Hunter, ’00, manager of Peak Sales and Marketing; and Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor and department head of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts.

Dylan H. Therrien, a culinary arts and systems student from Reading, learned during a visit to campus by Kate Hunter, a 2000 graduate of the college’s culinary arts technology and food and hospitality management majors, that he will receive the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Scholarship for 2017-18. Jones Dairy Farm, a six-generation family-owned leader in breakfast sausage, established the scholarship for Penn College students in 2015. Hunter is a manager for Peak Sales & Marketing, a broker for Jones Dairy Farm products. In addition to presenting congratulations to Therrien, Hunter brought a lesson in calculating yields, using bacon from Jones Dairy Farm that was cooked and tested by students in Chef Paul Mach’s Classical Cuisines of the World course. The students calculated how much bacon and fat remained after cooking and the resulting per-slice and per-ounce cost of the cooked product. Joining Hunter was Chris Eckard, of Anchor Food Professionals, who added further insight related to dairy products, such as cream and butter. Critically evaluating cost vs. quality among competing products will serve students well in working kitchens, Mach explained.

Mentored Students Dazzle at Silver-Anniversary ‘Chef’ Dinner

The star-studded Spring 2017 Visiting Chef lineup (from left): Tramonto, Folse, Gardner and Wressell.

World-class chefs spent several days on the Penn College campus to impart their wisdom while they guided students in the production of the 25th Anniversary Visiting Chef Dinner, held April 7. Chefs Rick Tramonto, John Folse, Donald Wressell and Elaine Gardner spent time in classrooms, where they shared their culinary journeys and offered professional insight, and in the School of Business & Hospitality’s kitchens, where they offered hands-on lessons while producing the $125-a-plate fundraising dinner, which helps to provide scholarships for students in the college’s baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, and hospitality management majors. Tramonto and Folse, who separately have received the highest honors in culinary arts and have authored several award-winning cookbooks, offered additional talks for the public in the Madigan Library, where they endeavored to inspire students to pursue both big dreams and a career of service to others. Together, the pair are the founders of Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development LLC. Their first joint venture, Restaurant R’evolution, opened in New Orleans’ French Quarter in 2012 and was named Restaurant of the Year by New Orleans Magazine. In 2014, they opened Seafood R’evolution in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Wressell, who was pastry chef for the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for 19 years, has led gold-medal U.S. teams in the World Pastry Team Championship and Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in France, and has brought home many medals himself. Gardner is the chef at Dizengoff in Philadelphia and was, while working at Zahav, featured in a PhillyVoice article that highlighted “six talented Philly sous chefs making their bosses look good.”

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Penn College Displays Excitingly Enhance STEM Expo

Instructor (and 2013 alumna) Kendra N. Tomassacci shares her passion and expertise in computer aided drafting and design.

Penn College was well-represented at the recent Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology event at West Chester East High School, offering hands-on glimpses into “Taste of Sweet & Savory Technology” and “3-D Printing in Engineering and Industrial Design.” Students, faculty and staff from the schools of Business & Hospitality and Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, as well as the college’s Admissions Office, gave fifth- to 10th-grade girls a memorably experiential entree into career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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Online Learning Options at Penn College Offer Enhanced Flexibility

Penn College offers a beautiful, modern campus in Williamsport, but for students who need the flexibility of online programs, the college provides a variety of options.

Pennsylvania College of Technology is renowned for its “degrees that work,” and for those needing additional flexibility to attain a degree from the college, online options abound.

Online learning at Penn College offers more choices to students who are balancing work and family responsibilities. The offerings feature the same academic rigor and accreditation as on-campus programs, but there is no requirement to ever attend class on the campus in Williamsport. Online students may choose to enroll full time or part time.

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Alliance With Chocolate-Maker Sweetens Students’ Education

A partnership with Guittard Chocolate Co., the oldest continuously family-owned and -operated chocolate-making business in the United States – and exclusive chocolate provider to the college’s School of Business & Hospitality – is giving Penn College students and eye-opening and mouth-watering appreciation for quality. “I love their chocolate,” said Natascha G. Santaella, an applied management student from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. “I know the difference between like having a really good chocolate and having just like an OK chocolate.” Laura Tornichio-Vidal, northeast territory sales manager, who provided students with a primer on production and tasting in a February visit to campus, said Guittard prides itself on collaborating with the top schools across the country. “What I really appreciate about working with Penn College is that the program is top-notch from beginning to end,” she explained.

Penn College Students to Feed Hungry Fans at Kentucky Derby

Penn College student Kori A. Treaster, of Lewistown, staffs a kitchen at Churchill Downs as she helps prepare food for guests at the 2016 running of the Kentucky Derby. Treaster and 27 other Penn College students will return for Derby Week in May.

Twenty-eight Pennsylvania College of Technology students have been selected by Levy Restaurants to help serve an expected crowd of more than 160,000 at the 2017 running of the storied Kentucky Derby on May 6.

The Derby, an icon of Southern tradition, is the longest-running sporting event in the United States, first run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1875 before a crowd of 10,000. The race has continued each year since, despite world wars and the Great Depression.

Penn College students, who will be accompanied by Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts at the college, have served Derby Week internships for more than 25 years. Churchill Downs Executive Chef David Danielson and representatives of Levy Restaurants, which manages food operations at the track, came to campus in February to interview students.

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Culinary Giants Join Forces for 25th Anniversary Visiting Chef

In early April, Pennsylvania College of Technology will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Visiting Chef Series with the return, for the seventh time, of “Louisiana’s culinary ambassador to the world,” Chef John Folse, along with Folse’s renowned restaurant partner Chef Rick Tramonto, internationally heralded Pastry Chef Donald Wressell, and Chef Elaine Gardner, a 2011 Penn College graduate who has already made a name in Philadelphia’s food industry.

During their stay, the chefs will offer book talks for the public, share insights in classrooms and work alongside students to prepare an elegant, five-course fundraising dinner in the college’s Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

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‘How Do You Solve a Problem With No One Right Answer?’

A new “Your Class in 60 Seconds” video visits the Supervisor and Human Relations course of Summer L. Bukeavich, a faculty member in Penn College’s School of Business & Hospitality. Through a mix of individual instruction, small-group interaction and class discussion, students apply what they learn to build the best possible solution to the situation at hand. “Our instructor challenges us, giving us difficult personnel problems we have to solve,” says Alexander C. McDonnell, a business administration: management concentration major from Brookhaven. “Unlike lecture, managers are thrown into trying situations. Through this class, we simulate various workplace scenarios and prepare to tackle these supervisory issues with a hands-on approach. We learn. We play games. We argue. We debrief and we become comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”

Hollywood-Themed ‘Murder Mystery Dinner’ Held in PDC

Cast members riotously play their parts ...

... and interact with dinner patrons enlisted to help get to the heart of the mystery.

Cydney L. Ginter, a legal assistant/paralegal major from Altoona – assuming a "Princess Leia" persona for the event – takes part in a spirited "Rock, Paper, Scissors" duel.

Ditchfield (background), instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and students from the School of Business & Hospitality

April R. and Stephen A. Manley, sporting name tags identifying them as Betty Boop and Christopher Walken, decipher clues at the table. (Stephen is the executive chef at the college's Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.)

The Penn College community recently joined the Student Activities Office for “Lights! Camera! Murder!” a Hollywood whodunit in the Thompson Professional Development Center’s Mountain Laurel Room. Attendees of the mystery dinner, many of them adopting celebrity or character aliases for the evening, were called upon to navigate an intricate web of deception and crack the red-carpet killing. To supplement the crime-solving fun, Chef Michael J. Ditchfield and his catering students from the School of Business & Hospitality put together a movie-themed menu that included “Pirates of the Caribbean Shrimp Salad,” Chicken Oscar and “50 Shades Chocolate Decadence Cake.”
Photos by Tia G. La, student photographer

Internship Takes Student Behind Scenes of PA Pro Soccer Team

Jared M. Dancho

This spring, a Pennsylvania College of Technology student is taking one more step toward a career dream to work in the sports industry.

Jared M. Dancho, of Catawissa, is studying business administration with a management concentration. With an internship in the Harrisburg City Islanders’ fan development department, he is gaining valuable real-world experience that will help him prepare for work in that field.

“I’ve always wanted to work in sports, and that’s the reason I’m pursuing a management degree,” Dancho said. “I had heard about the City Islanders when I was younger and was always interested in working for a pro soccer team.”

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Penn College Hospitality Students Share Stages With Pro-Level Peers

Students Tessa M. Stambaugh and Arielle E. White plate samples for Farm Show visitors.

Students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s hospitality-related majors recently showcased their skills on two noteworthy stages, one group working alongside industry leaders at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and the other interacting and providing demonstrations for professional-level peers at the Philadelphia National Candy, Gift and Gourmet Show.

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Alumna Establishes Scholarship for Hospitality Students

An alumna and longtime adviser of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s hospitality department has established a scholarship to benefit students pursuing careers in the same field.

The Diane L. Dorner Scholarship will benefit first- and second-year students in several of Penn College’s hospitality-related majors: culinary arts and systems, culinary arts technology, hospitality management, and business administration: sport and event management concentration.

Dorner graduated from Williamsport Area Community College, Penn College’s immediate predecessor, in 1979 with an associate degree in food and hospitality management. She is district manager for Carrols LLC, a Burger King franchisee that operates more than 700 restaurants in 16 states.

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Students Form Short-Term Business to Benefit Scholarship Fund

Penn College’s Wildcat mascot stops by a sales table for Comfy & Sweet, a retail operation set up by students in the college’s Business Planning and Operations class to raise money for a student scholarship fund. With the Wildcat is Michael D. Seitzer, of Williamsport, a student in business administration: management concentration.

Pennsylvania College of Technology students took course learning in the Business Planning and Operations class far beyond the textbook, forming a retail operation that raised money for a student scholarship fund.

Coining their company Comfy & Sweet, the students devised a plan to sell blankets and handmade candy at two on-campus locations. To help entice their target audience, the blankets were adorned with the college’s Wildcat logo, and the candy featured paw prints. The students exceeded their expectations, quickly selling their initial stock of blankets and running out of a second order before their two-week planned sales period expired.

In total, Comfy & Sweet sold 275 bags of candy and an equal number of blankets, raising $1,782 for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded each fall to a student who is pursuing a minor in small business management and entrepreneurship and has taken the Small Business Management class.

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Business Students Make Worldwide Top-100 List 21 Times

Pennsylvania College of Technology students set an impressive record during their fall-semester participation in the Business Strategy Game.

In all, Penn College student teams earned spots on the international game’s weekly Top 100 lists 21 separate times.

“This is quite impressive given that, at some point during the semester, over 5,700 teams competed in the BSG,” said Chip D. Baumgardner, associate professor of business administration/management.

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