Show Focusing on Management Careers to Premiere Nov. 25

Published 11.11.2013

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From kids playing on a dusty ballfield to seasoned executives contemplating million-dollar transactions in a stately boardroom, there is an inherent need in all facets of life for the structure and leadership that stem from effective management.

Those who wish to devote their professional lives to meeting those needs have considerable options. The avenues to pursue a management career are as varied as the field’s vast possibilities and rewards. That reality is the focus of the latest edition of “degrees that,” the award-winning documentary series produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media.

The episode, “Management Careers,” premieres throughout northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. on WVIA-TV.

"degrees that"“Management is really an individual or a process that sets standards, provides feedback, gives direction and tries to find the win-win between the employee who is actually doing the work and the organization that needs to keep itself alive and competitive,” says Eric J. Bergstrom, a human resource management expert who has taught leadership and management courses for Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College.

The expertise of Bergstrom, who holds a doctorate in workforce education and development from Penn State University, is shared throughout the episode along with the stories of three Penn College alumni thriving in management positions: Kristi L. Ritchey, class of 2002, culinary arts technology; John G. Kouroupas, class of 2003, automotive technology management; and Samuel D. Ranck, class of 2006, business administration.

They followed disparate management paths during the past several years and today face diverse challenges and responsibilities. Yet all three share one trait: a passion for their career. Those careers are illuminated by the “degrees that” cameras that captured the alumni fulfilling their management roles.

Ritchey is the executive chef and director of operations at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Southern California. She’s responsible for Greenleaf restaurants in Century City, Beverly Hills and Costa Mesa. Greenleaf specializes in made-to-order salads, wraps and sandwiches featuring fresh, organic ingredients. Ritchey joined Greenleaf during its startup phase in 2007. She is proof that an associate degree, coupled with tremendous industry experience, can lead to a successful management career.

Kouroupas is one of 22 consumer experience specialists nationwide for Ford Motor Co. He monitors 15 dealerships in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to enhance customer satisfaction. After working for several years as a Ford technician and technical training instructor, Kouroupas completed Penn College’s automotive technology management degree online. It’s one of four automotive bachelor-degree majors in the United States accredited by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering. The specialized degree facilitated Kouroupas’ ascension into management.

Ranck serves Little League Baseball and Softball as its league development manager and director of the Challenger Division. Little League is the world’s largest organized youth sports program with nearly 2.4 million participants in all 50 states and scores of other countries. Its Challenger Division provides boys and girls who have physical or developmental challenges with the opportunity to play baseball. The Challenger Division has more than 30,000 participants worldwide. Ranck used his bachelor’s degree in business administration as a stepping stone for his position with Little League.

In addition to exploring their individual career paths and present-day duties, the episode highlights management principles and offers advice on how young people can explore the possibilities of a future in management.

Following its Nov. 25 premiere at 7 p.m. on WVIA, the “Management Careers” episode of “degrees that” will be rebroadcast Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. The program also will be part of a WVIA “degrees that” marathon on Nov. 30. All eight “degrees that” episodes – “Nanotechnology,” “Welding,” “Advanced Manufacturing,” “Plastics,” “Going Green Part I,” “Going Green Part II,” “Natural Gas Careers” and “Management Careers” – will air on WVIA beginning at noon.

The “degrees that” series is a public-service initiative that connects young people to workforce needs and rewarding future career paths. Following a story-driven approach, episodes highlight the technologies, educational foundation and opportunities within career clusters. Free educational materials designed for classroom use have been developed to accompany the series.

Full episodes, lesson planning guides and supplemental information are available at the "degrees that" website. Complete episodes can also be accessed on the college’s YouTube channel.

For more about Penn College, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.