Santa Clara University


Innovative Collaboration Benefits International Energy Leaders

When Abengoa, an international leader in innovative technology solutions for sustainability, was seeking a project management program for its employees, they reached out to Santa Clara University. Following a successful previous workshop by the Leavey School of Business in February 2012, the program was expanded this year when the School of Engineering was invited to collaborate with Abengoa executives and faculty from the Business School’s Executive Development Center on a second workshop designed to provide understanding of the technical fundamentals of project management and sharpen participants’ skills in leadership, negotiations, and managing across cultures.

Civil engineering's Gary Walz and students from Abengoa
Photo: Charles Barry

The current workshop began in December with a visit to the company’s Arizona solar plant, where Frank Barone, chair of the Department of Engineering Management and Leadership, presented “Project Initiation.” Over the next six months, eight three-day modules will be held on Santa Clara’s campus—five modules to be taught by engineering faculty, two modules by professors from the Department of Management, and one module by Abengoa senior staff. Civil engineering assistant professor Hisham Said, whose research focuses on sustainable development and efficient construction operations, is coordinating the effort for the School of Engineering. “Our engineering faculty bring a wealth of industry experience in team management, planning, estimation, and execution of construction and engineering projects. At the end of the program, participants will be well prepared to seek Project Management Professional (PMP) certification if they choose,” he said.  

“There are many benefits stemming from this collaboration,” Said continued; “Abengoa gains project management professionals who have been exposed to SCU’s Jesuit tradition of educating ethical leaders; faculty take their experience working with an industry trailblazer back to the classroom, and the Schools of Business and Engineering pave the way for future fruitful collaboration. I envision a lot of opportunities by building this unique relationship with Abengoa that would benefit our Sustainable Energy graduate program, and international senior design projects that relate to sustainable energy.”

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