There is a group of very happy employees from Pratt & Whitney Engine Services in Bridgeport, West Virginia, this holiday season.
Last week, a group of eight P&W employees — along with five other members of the business community near the Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex — put the icing on the cake December 16 when they graduated from the MBA program at WVU’s College of Business and Economics.
“This was an on-site MBA program delivered to the Pratt & Whitney employees at their facility,” said Elizabeth Vitullo, assistant dean, graduate programs. “The class was comprised of employees and some members of the local business community, and the MBA program was tailored to meet the needs of the Pratt & Whitney group.”
Vitullo explained that the group wanted the program to run a little longer than usual, so as to provide the program in manageable sessions where the students would not be overloaded between work and MBA responsibilities. She said the class also wanted a hybrid type of program that represented a combination of face-to-face curriculum with online content.
“It’s great outreach to our state to provide a program to a prominent member of West Virginia’s business community,” she said.
Jeremy Mitchem, Pratt & Whitney human resources representative, and Vitullo said the program was treated like an extension of the WVU B&E campus, as faculty and staff from the business school traveled to the aerospace complex to deliver the program and the services that go along with it.
“Our group said that program was challenging, but they feel they are better professionals because of it,” Mitchem said. “Anyone who takes on an MBA program while they’re working knows that it will be a challenge.”
The parent company of Pratt & Whitney Engine Services is United Technologies Corporation, which also owns such companies as Carrier, Otis Elevator Company and United Technologies Aerospace Service. The company has 350 employees in West Virginia and an estimated 575 in the U.S. alone.
For Mandy Forgac, being a part of this group in the MBA class was beneficial for her everyday job and her career moving forward. As a field service engineer, she supports the United Technologies Aerospace Systems installed on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Boeing’s assembly campus near Charleston, South Carolina.
“I didn’t really expect that each class would leave me walking away with real world applications,” Forgac said. “I figured it would just be a degree — the next step for future opportunities that left me with information that may or may not help me. Yet it was so much more. There isn’t a day that goes by where something I learned in the MBA program has not benefited me in some way.”
“Our students were very appreciative of WVU coming to us, instead of the group going to WVU,” Mitchem said. “All of B&E’s resources came to us, and this group and our company is very grateful for that.”
He added that the MBA program added value to the aerospace company.
“The program is doing exactly what it’s designed to do. It’s giving those who were in the program an opportunity to advance in the company at a faster rate with better skills than they had before, but it’s also giving them skills and knowledge they’ll use the rest of their lives,” said Mitchem. “It’s adding value to the company as a whole.”