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MOT Best Capstone Award - The 2020 Version! | Technological Leadership Institute

Posted on
July 1, 2020

One of the (many!) highlights of the M.S. in the Management of Technology (MOT) program is the capstone project, which all students complete as an individual effort in the last two semesters. These projects, which allow students and their employers to demonstrate immediate return-on-investment from their investment in MOT, involve the identification of a challenging problem or promising opportunity, its in-depth analysis relying extensively on the learnings from the curriculum, the development of recommendations and, in many cases, pilot implementations. Our records are replete with examples of the substantial financial and other benefits that have accrued for our students from their capstones.

We have just finished the evaluation process for the finalists and winners for the annual MOT Best Capstone Award, and I am pleased — in fact, delighted — to announce them. The capstone projects are going from strength to strength year after year. This year the overall quality was so high that we had to exceed our guidance for how many students to recognize.

Without further ado, here’s the list of the finalists—the student (now alum) names, their affiliations, and the titles of their projects:

  • Matthew Dreon, Riverbridge Partners, “A Business Model for Delivering Software Subscription Services to Investment Managers”
  • Joshua Fehrmann, University of Minnesota, “A Technology Evaluation Framework for Rural Health Research”
  • Jason Goerges, ACS Motion Control, “A Growth Strategy for ACS Motion Control in China”
  • Nick Heath, Emerson Automation Solutions, “A Framework for Supplier Quality Cost Measurement and Reduction”
  • J. Troy Loop, Comm-Works, “The Augmented Employee: Using Technology-Centric Innovation to Increase Productivity, Reduce Errors, and Improve Customer Experience”
  • Mariah Marx, University of Minnesota, “Visualize This: Data-Driven Decision Making in Housing Operations” (Mariah recently left UMN to join U.S. Bank)
  • Joshua Retterath, 3M, “Development and Application of the ctc Strategy Framework for Teams to Better Serve Internal Customers”

And now for the drum roll ... We are announcing three (3) winners! They are Joshua Fehrmann, Troy Lupe, and Joshua Retterath! Please see below for brief notes on each of their projects.

Photo and titles of MOT 2020 students who are capstone winners: Josh Fehrmann, J. Troy Lupe, and Joshua Retterath

Joshua Fehrmann’s project developed a technology evaluation and selection framework for rural health researchers. The resulting product is titled the “Rural Health: Evaluation and Selection of Technology (RHEST) Framework.” The RHEST Framework is a guide that researchers can use to aid in technology selection during the development of a new rural health project. Ideation, analysis, and decision stages are included. Management of Technology tools are introduced in each stage, with links to additional information. The guide also contains a resource catalog for quick information look-up to find data sources, funding opportunities and expert connections. The framework has been published by the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA) and is available at http://z.umn.edu/RHEST. Josh has leveraged his MOT learnings in other ways too—he was promoted to the IT director of for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) in addition to his role as the director of the Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS) in OACA. Read more about his project here.

J. Troy Lupe is the chief operating officer at Comm-Works, a global technology integrator and managed service provider headquartered in Minnesota. Troy’s capstone examined in detail how Comm-Works can augment the capabilities of its employees with advanced technology and standardized business processes. Troy relied on numerous MOT tools to identify key recommendations: implement a new platform-as-a-service system, incorporate an IT intelligence platform and automate the most labor-intensive aspects of the business. The last of these will deliver short-term return-on-investment and help fund the other two recommendations. According to Troy, the MOT program “has been an incredible journey, providing lifetimes of knowledge directly from people who experienced it, including brilliant professors from diverse backgrounds, world-class guest speakers, on-site experiences with lead executives at their businesses and a cohort of amazing professionals.” (We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.)

For his capstone, Joshua Retterath focused on an often-overlooked need in companies: ensuring alignment of technology resource groups with their internal customers and the larger corporation. Josh developed a new methodology for this purpose, the “ctc Strategy Framework.” The framework is a blend of MOT tools and analysis methods and includes three modules focused on building customer-aligned competencies, identifying customer-focused technology needs and developing a customer connection strategy. This wasn’t just a paper exercise; Josh demonstrated the framework with his team during his capstone project with benefits substantial enough that we can’t report them. In the two months since his capstone, Josh has also been asked to deploy his framework in some other areas within 3M. Josh was also promoted during his MOT studies (we detect a pattern here) and is now manufacturing technology manager at 3M.

My congratulations to the winners and finalists — and to the many others who made our selection so difficult this year! You’ve set a high bar for future MOT cohorts!

About the Author

Photo of Tariq Samad

Tariq Samad, PhD

  • Honeywell/W.R. Sweatt Chair in Technology Management
  • Senior Fellow
  • Director of Graduate Studies - MOT

Honeywell/W.R. Sweatt Chair in Technology Management

Dr. Tariq Samad brings more than 30 years of professional experience, leadership and expertise to TLI. His corporate career was spent at Honeywell, where he focused on technology strategy and management, encompassing the end-to-end concept-to-commercialization pathway. He also has substantial experience in research and innovation globally, and works with TLI to pursue research interests in areas such as clean energy, advanced manufacturing and smart cities. Dr. Samad serves as the director of graduate studies for the Master of Science in Management of Technology degree program at TLI.

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