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Management Students Tackling High-Tech, Multidisciplinary Projects

SOCORRO, N.M. March 15, 2012 – Management and engineering students at New Mexico Tech are getting practical experience with technology and market analysis, thanks to the state-funded Small Business Assistance Program.

Assistant professor Dr. Frank Reinow spearheads the program that partners New Mexico small businesses with students and faculty. Now in its third year, the program at New Mexico Tech focuses on high-tech small businesses or small companies that need technological assistance.

“New Mexico Tech’s program is unique because it’s interdisciplinary,” Reinow said. “Our students start each project by understanding the science behind the technology as a way to assess the task. We then tackle the technological dilemma concurrently with a business and market analysis.”

Engineering management students and students from other departments team up to tackle complex issues in semester-long or year-long projects. During 2011, Tech students completed three projects in the spring and three more projects in the fall.

Each project included students from the undergraduate Technology Management Program and students from another engineering department.

“The direction of the program is a reflection of our approach to management education here at Tech,” Anselmo said. “Instead of a conventional business-school model, we build an integrated view of technology into everything our management students experience. Their backgrounds in required math and science courses, along with the rigor of our curriculum, prepare them for success in projects like these – projects that have a real-world component to them.”

In 2011, students worked with Lava Living of Los Lunas, Lotus Leaf Coatings of Los Alamos, Into the Om of Santa Fe and Southwest Wines of Deming.

For each project, Reinow collaborated with an engineering professor to oversee the project. Students assessed the technological issue and provided the companies with engineering and marketing reports. The marketing component reports are prepared by integrated student-faculty teams and are technology-focused

Reinow said, “Many management programs offer assistance to small businesses, but we have the technical expertise to incorporate engineering and technology-based analysis and solutions. Our niche is understanding the science and providing a market and financial analysis that fits with each company’s mission and operation.”

The state legislature provides funding for the program, which is administered by the national laboratories. New Mexico Tech won annual awards from Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories in 2010 and 2011 for successful business assistance projects.

“The national labs have recognized our successes because we approach projects from both engineering and management perspectives,” Reinow said. “These projects also provide excellent, hands-on experience for tomorrow’s leaders in New Mexico’s high-tech fields.”

Reinow is currently evaluating proposals for the spring 2012 program. Small-business owners in New Mexico learn more about entering the program at http://management.nmt.edu/nmsba/.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech