PW: You took over the program in mid-2001 after Jorge Marcondes, Ph.D., accepted a position at Clemson University. What is it like to follow in his footsteps?
Schueneman: Jorge Marcondes is a young, energetic, and extremely knowledgeable professional packaging educator. I'm extremely pleased to have worked closely with him over the past seven years during his tenure at San Jose State University.
PW: What has been your biggest challenge?
Schueneman: The packaging program was relocated from the College Of Applied Arts into the College of Engineering two years ago. As a result, all classes in COE must pass the Accreditation Bureau of Engineering and Technology (ABET) requirements. This means that all class content has to be upgraded quantitatively to meet minimum standards of both the University and the accrediting agency. Upgrading all classes to meet these requirements has been extremely challenging. In addition, the university requires a minimum enrollment in the program in order to support a certain minimum faculty level. Recruitment of students into the program is a big part of the job and has also proven challenging.
PW: What does it mean for the school to graduate packaging engineers?
Schueneman: The industry clearly demands a high-quality packaging engineer, capable of handling a wide variety of engineering-related tasks. This goes beyond the materials, systems, and general education that packaging normally encompasses. It means that the SJSU packaging engineering graduate should have the capability of studying complex engineering-related problems, determining quantitatively the best possible solutions for those problems, and implementing those solutions in a thoughtful and quantitatively correct manner.
PW: The university’s Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, which includes the packaging curriculum, has just made the annual list of top colleges from U.S. News & World Report. What does that ranking mean for the school?
Schueneman: We are extremely pleased that our department has been ranked No. 5 among the non-Ph.D.-granting universities in the country for the content and curriculum of the ISE Department and is ranked No. 2 among all public schools that do not offer a Ph.D. We like to believe that the inclusion of packaging program in this department played a role in that ranking. It means that the efforts of the department faculty have been recognized and rewarded by a knowledgeable group that looked over the entire United States and decided that this program was significantly better than most of them that were reviewed. This type of recognition and positive feedback is always extremely rewarding. It gives a type of vindication to all the hard work, planning, and other efforts that have gone into the ISE department. We are proud to be part of that overall program.
More about Herb Schueneman: He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University School of Packaging (1969) and an MBA degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University (1976). He previously worked for the Western Electric as a packaging engineer (1970-1977), the Clorox Company as a Unit Manager in package development (1977-1980), and Lansmont Corp. as marketing manager (1980-1983). He cofounded and is currently president of Westpak, Inc., San Jose, CA, which provides package testing. Schueneman has also been associated with San Jose State University as an instructor in the package program (1985-1988) and more currently as the Packaging Program Director (2002-present).
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Packaging Professionals and holds professional certification in Packaging and Material Handling (1974). He is a member of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and has published numerous articles dealing with product and package testing, cushion material evaluation, and techniques to optimize the package engineering function.