Episode #55: Justin Goldston, Ph.D.
Currently a professor of Supply Chain Management at Penn State, Justin has also given the TEDEx talk, “The Blockchain Effect” .
Justin Goldston, Ph.D., is a certified professional who has developed and executed a comprehensive supply chain strategic plan, resulting in optimal customer satisfaction and profitability for clients around the world. Experienced in consulting, planning and leadership roles while being knowledgeable of all aspects associated with Supply Chain Management, Agile Project Management, ERP implementations and business functions that are associated with relevant technologies.
Tell me about a time when you were in the trenches and managed to crawl out: (Justin) I think that my story is a little bit different. I think that one of the biggest times I felt that I was in the trenches was, whenever I wanted to make that shift into into higher education. I was nearing the end of my doctoral studies, and I was a management consultant. I was afraid, like most like many people, to make that shift, afraid of the unknown. I just made that transition, let the chips fall where they may. And I think that I was I was doubting myself, because I have a number of peers that, received their doctoral degrees and had a difficult time getting into higher education, although I was in adjunct roles, these roles don’t pay the bills. That was my biggest my biggest deciding factor. I think that that’s a story that’s a story for a lot of people within academia, whether you’re at the K 12 level or if you’re in higher education and administrative within administration, and you want to go to teaching to higher education or going into administration, there’s a lot of us with it within this discipline that won’t make that shift, but are just afraid of the unknown.
Talk about your work in the industry prior to teaching Higher Ed and explain supply chain management for the “K12 Educator in layman’s terms: (Justin) I spent a number of years as a management consultant working with manufacturers and distributors around the world. If you have heard of Blue Buffalo, the pet food company, I worked with them whenever they were in startup mode, they had just sold to General Mills for billions of dollars, I was working with them when they were 100 million. That was an exciting experience, and I worked with Intel as well as Siemens. During my time with with those organizations, I was working with them on digital transformations and implementing their enterprise resource planning applications. Within the higher education area, their is the LMS of business. So I was working with them on implementing those processes within their organization, from a supply chain management perspective. I think that a lot of people have heard the term, since in February and March during the start of the pandemic, when you would turn on your TV and hear “Supply Chain Management” going on the news stations because of shortages. Yeah, no toilet paper and hand sanitizer and things like that. So during the pandemic, we had a shortage of toilet paper. You know, we had a hard time with the demand of toilet paper and that created what we refer to as disruptions. So within supply chain management, we forecast products and we essentially guess how much toilet paper our Walmarts need, how much toilet paper our grocery stores need. Because of this spike, because of external factors, the manufacturers like Kimberly Clark and Procter and Gamble were unable to meet that demand. So if you amplify that to PPE, to hand sanitizer, that right now we have it we have a problem with lumber, when a building industry because you know that the interest rates are so low, a lot of people are trying to do DIY projects, there’s a lot of developers that are building homes. Because of that demand, the price of lumber has increased because there’s not enough supply to meet that demand. So that’s the ongoing issue we deal with and within supply chain management. There’s never a dull day, there’s never been a dull day since March. For me. There’s been a number of different disruptions from a global perspective as it pertains to supply chain management.
How would you advise teachers that want to make that shift to teaching higher Ed and what kind of positions would you advice K-12 teachers to apply to? (Justin) I would say the steps to make that transition do not occur overnight. I would say that for those that are currently in their their doctoral studies, whether it is in the coursework or whether it is during a dissertation, I say start now, I see a lot of doctoral students that I mentor, they wait until they have defended to start looking for those roles. So I would say that differentiator in my opinion, is to is to start is to start while you while you are currently while you’re currently completing your degree, start presenting at those conferences, start collaborating with your peers, all those peer reviewed journal articles, and I would say the most important part is to look for a mentor that’s been through it. One thing that I do explain to those that I mentor is you have to trust the system. They’ve though those individuals have been through the process, they understand the process, and they understand that rigor that goes into that goes into completing a doctoral study, if it was easy, everyone would have won. Mentorship was critical to my success with it within the industry. I will also say, you have to believe in yourself. So you have to believe in yourself, and you have to you have to push through because, I think that persistence is very important and critical to success and getting into higher education.
How is your approach to teaching higher Ed different? (Justin) Based on certain institutions, you have the teaching institutions, Penn State is a research institution. I think that the differentiator for me is that I stay close, I stay close with the industry, I stay close with the leaders of the industry, I refer to as a voice of the customer. So I collaborate with the leaders of these organizations to understand what they are looking for in undergraduate. What are you looking for in a master’s student? Because of some of the academic freedom that I have, I include real life cases into the curriculum of my courses. I think that that’s very important especially in my discipline, where supply chain is probably one of the most important disciplines. Right now, I explained in my class that Amazon saved the world in March. You have to you have to think Amazon sold books, Amazon started selling books, and they just need to work through supply chain management. In real life companies that can relate to tying in the Amazons and the logistics and logistics models that Amazon has, tying in the Tesla’s and the automation that Tesla has within their organization, they’re there, they’re going to understand the importance of it. Netflix uses artificial intelligence, Amazon uses artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence has been around since the 1950s. But now, we are seeing more awareness, we’re seeing how we can actually use it for good, that’s my biggest thing of using these technologies for good for a positive impact on the world. All of the issues we’re having in the world, we can use technology to kind of mitigate these issues, the risks that we have, we can use technology to fight global climate change and things like that. We can use artificial intelligence to fight this diversity and inclusion. People say, Well, how do you do that? You know, but that’s what I’m talking about. I thought that’s what I bring to the classroom. You have to make it interesting. Especially for freshmen.
What industries will be most quickly replaced by AI? (Justin) There are a lot of jobs that by 2030 and 2050, will be replaced by AI and however, instructors and teachers, there’s a very minimal chance that will be replaced by AI. When we think of that, like, maybe 30 years in the future, we’re thinking like agriculture, what is going to be most quickly replaced by AI, agriculture, cleaning, those type of things.
Tell me about your work on thee diversity and inclusion committee at Penn State? (Justin) First of all, you have to define your definition of diversity/inclusion and sustainability. 1 professor said there’s 11 categories. When you adopt initiative, you have to tackle 2-3, get voice of the customer- i.e. students, the consumers. From an organizational perspective, can be a comparative advantage. You are also part of Penn State’s Alumni sustainability institute. (Justin) There are a number of environmentalists, interdisciplinary, you have those who have a focus on diversity, inclusion. Look at the UN sustainability development goals, I always for every single one of my classes, what’s your top two? My top two are essentially tech, innovation, and education, and innovation in education are important to me. Because if I educate individuals on sustainability, if I educate individuals on social responsibility, if I educate individuals on on social justice on social justice, if I educate individuals on environmental justice, I can use technology to address all of the other issues within those sustainability development goals.
Name some positive things that have come out of the pandemic for you: (Justin) I have done a lot of conferences for Asian companies virtually. I have been in touch with top researchers in sustainability. I am getting that international speaking experience. Prior to pandemic, I only spoke to people in U.S. and did TedTalks. Very interesting that we think we have problems here, but others think theirs are larger, very eye opening. It opened his eyes to get diverse perspective. Like a research students in Australia, because they import from India, Bangladesh, they have a huge problem with modern day slavery. We have to raise awareness of modern day slavery. We have the platform to raise the awareness, because we’re teaching future leaders, we’re coaching future leaders, it’s kind of that, trickle down effect, where these leaders are going to be leading 10s of 1000s of people, you know, and they’re going to be developing these sustainable these sustainable environments within our organizations. And that’s where it starts.
Key Quotes: His mindset is about making the shift, his primary takeaway is challenging the status quo and thinking traditionally. His approach isn’t traditional, but his students like this approach. It relates to what he discusses in class (real-life situations). It’s not theory, it is practical application that organizations can implement things that students can take with them as they progress throughout their careers.