Frank Cooper has volunteered as a TCinC Mentor since 2004/2005. He retired from over 33 years in the Information Technology department of Alcoa in November 2002. His last 10 years were spent as a team member and as a project manager implementing Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which contain modules to run the entire corporation including sales, manufacturing, accounting, purchasing and personnel. During this time he worked with many consultants as they assisted with the technical aspects of the ERP. He earned his Bachelor of ---s in --- and then spent 2 years in the army before he started working for Alcoa. He attended night school at Duquesne University to obtain his Masters of Business Administration.
Bob Maher has volunteered as a TCinC Mentor since the program’s inception in Spring 1998. He is a retired businessman who served in management and Corporate Planning positions with ALCOA. Later, he became a CEO of a software development firm. He also served as a Marketing Consulting for the Carnegie Mellon University Technology Transfer Office. He has been engaged as a consultant to local high technology firms in the areas of Business Planning and Human Resources for the past 10 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Union College and an Masters of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Business. His other volunteer nonprofit activities include serving as Peer Reviewer with the Standards for Excellence program conducted by the Pennsylvania Associations of Nonprofit Organization (PANO), Management Consultant with the Executive Service Corps in areas of Operational and Business Planning as well as Organizational Structure and Staffing, and Coach of start-up local technology firms in the EnterPrize Business Plan Competition.
Virginia Mertz has volunteered as a TCinC Mentor since Spring 2003. She is Project Manager at Fiserv Inc. and has 30 years of experience in data processing, managing both people and projects, including technical and product related work. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been a board member of non-profit organizations such as the Hunger Action Coalition and Just Harvest and has been locally affiliated with Bread for the World. She enjoys her experience with TCinC because of the opportunity to be involved with three areas that she finds challenging and rewarding – mentoring, non-profit organizations, and technology.
Richard Penson has volunteered as a TCinC Mentor since --- 2000. He left the corporate world in 1999 after a career with the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) in which he lived and worked in many countries around the world. His work experience included Internal Audit and other management positions where he conducted international consulting and project management assignments. His last assignment with Alcoa was in Milan, Italy as Manager-Business Processes after Alcoa acquired the nationalized Italian aluminum business. His experience in Italy included reengineering of multiple business processes as well as replacement of legacy systems with Oracle based applications operating across multiple locations. While Richard was with Alcoa's Internal Audit Department he recruited several high caliber staff from the CMU GSIA program and he is pleased to be visiting campus again to mentor students enrolled in the TCinC course. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology. Since 1999, he has been involved with several diverse volunteer activities. As well as mentoring for the TCinC course, he has worked with the Pittsburgh Mediation Center, CONTACT Pittsburgh, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He is also Volunteer Mentor, Advisor, and Program Representative for the Technology Consulting in the Global Community (TCinGC) program.
Charles Pfeifer has volunteered as a TCinC Mentor since Fall 2002. He retired from Westinghouse in 1994 after 35 years as a mathematician, manager of scientific program development, and computer network development at the Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin. He earned his Bachelor and Masters of Science in Applied Mathematics from ---. Since retirement, he has performed volunteer tasks for Executive Service Corps helping non-profit organizations. Most of these efforts involved computer equipment upgrades and implementation of small networks. He has served on the Planning Commission since 2000 and on the Zoning Hearing Board for the Municipality of Bethel Park since 1980. He was also a Navy fighter pilot for eight years during the Korean War period and has run five marathons since retirement.
Tom Lietman has volunteered as a TCinC Mentor since Fall 2006. He began his career at the Union Switch and Signal Company in Swissvale, PA as a Project Manager by designing, building, and installing both tracking and remote control systems for the local railroads. He then moved to Alcoa, where he worked for 35 years in engineering, managerial, and strategic job positions. His final position before retiring in 2005 was as a Project Management Consultant for the corporate information technology group called Global Business Services in Pittsburgh. He is currently the Owner of a company called LEET Enterprises and is working for a local law firm as an Independent Contractor. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Math and Electrical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently Vice President of the Pittsburgh Alcoa Retirees Club and the Alcoa Pittsburgh area United Way Campaign Coordinator.
Mentors for whom we hope to have bios up shortly:
- Joe Kupfner
- Jeanette Stroud
- Ned Troup
- Joe McLaughlin
Current Mentor Schedule
Click here for Current Mentors Schedule
Role and Tasks of Mentors
Our course's professional mentors have extensive experience with how technology is used, managed, and integrated into the life and business of an organization. They also have experience consulting and working with non-profit organizations.
Our mentors are retired professionals with extensive careers in various fields that provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the impact that technology can have organizations. They are very effective in helping students connect their skills to the mission of the organization and advising how technology can enable the organization to carryout its mission.
Professional mentors serve as "consulting coaches." Throughout the semester, they review student consulting reports, offering feedback to the student consultant directly. This feedback often takes the form of probing questions, suggestions for alternative paths, identification of useful resources and suggestions for where communication might be improved. To be effective, consultants draw upon their experience. Generally speaking the students have limited experience and are often not sure how to think about a situation or what alternative strategies might prove useful. The professional mentor is able to support the student in exploring alternative strategies and paths.
Through the review process, the student and professional mentor develop a relationship such that students often ask for help from the mentors in thinking through problems and strategies. Often students use the professional mentor as a sounding board for ideas or as a way to think through a problem or solution. The student consultant and mentor exchange email and from time-to-time may meet in person. Toward the end of the semester, professional mentors attend class and facilitate their consulting peer groups analysis of individual case studies.