LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College business instructor Robert A. Markley was named the winner of the eighth annual Saint Vincent Projektenmacher Award in recognition of initiatives that, in the spirit of Saint Vincent founder Boniface Wimmer, “brought vision to reality through hard work and perseverance.” Saint Vincent College president Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., presented Markley with the honor at the Founders’ Day Honors Convocation on Nov. 15 in the Saint Vincent Basilica.
Eight years ago on Founders’ Day, Br Norman announced his intention to begin honoring a member of the Saint Vincent community annually with the Projektenmacher Award.
“Before Boniface Wimmer came to America,” he said, “his confreres in Germany saw this visionary as a dreamer. The nickname they gave him was Projektenmacher. While the literal translation is ‘project maker,’ in the early days, it connoted someone living in a fantasy world, a dreamer, someone disconnected from the day-to-day life. By the end of his life, though, the title had a meaning that captured the extraordinary achievements of Wimmer in America.”
Markley, who holds a bachelor of science degree from Penn State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, is the Carpenter Technology-Latrobe Specialty Metals-Sponsored Lecturer in business administration at Saint Vincent. He currently teaches management information systems and accounting information systems in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government. In his teaching role, Markley leads the certification program for SAP Business One, a software system used worldwide that is designed for business enterprises to automate functions in financials, operations and human resources.
Under Markley, the Saint Vincent SAP Business One program has become one of the leading collegiate training programs worldwide. He has developed a hands-on curriculum that includes transactional exercises and in-depth case studies, and through this curriculum, students in their junior year undergo intense self-study and take part in a hands-on workshop. After this, they work for an SAP partner before taking an official certification exam in the fall of their senior year.
“Saint Vincent has been on a 10-year journey with SAP Business One,” Markley said. “We were one of the first two schools in North America, and fourth worldwide, to incorporate SAP Business One into our curriculum. Through its incorporation in our management information systems classes, we’ve exposed SAP Business One to more than 1,200 students. We’ve formally trained 143 students, while 92 have attended professional conferences, 68 have landed summer internships and 45 have taken full-time jobs within the SAP ecosystem.”
“What Bob has done,” said Br. Norman, “has not been simply developing an instructional class for students to learn the system, but he has created a network and culture that has enabled our students to grow as mavens and extend themselves geographically and professionally. Each year, we have students heading off in the summer between their junior and senior years for internships across the country, and then, upon graduation, accepting jobs at these sites throughout the United States.”
Saint Vincent is now one of approximately 3,500 schools from across 113 countries taking part in the SAP University Alliance program. The Saint Vincent curriculum received worldwide recognition in Jan. 2018 with the release of a video promoting its success that was distributed to both colleges and businesses across the globe.
In addition to his teaching position at Saint Vincent, Markley is co-founder and vice president of Regulatory and Quality Solutions LLC, a provider of full-service regulatory affairs and quality assurance expertise to medical device designers and manufacturers across Pennsylvania and Ohio. Prior to this, he was co-founder of both Manufacturing Solutions LLC, a reseller of the Made2Manage Enterprise Business System, and Corporate Solutions LLC, a consulting firm specializing in management and technology solutions.
After successfully negotiating the sale of both companies in 2004, Markley’s wife, Christina, suggested he try his hand at teaching.
“She correctly observed that I like an audience,” he joked, “and what better audience is there than a group of students who must listen to me?”
While he has been the main cog in the successful SAP Business One programming at Saint Vincent, Markley was quick to give credit to a number of his colleagues for the program’s success and for the impressive outcomes achieved by so many of its graduates.
“I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the dean of the McKenna School, Dr. Gary Quinlivan, for his support of this program,” said Markley. “He introduces it to parents and students at all of our get acquainted days, and always talks it up it to transfer students and in one-on-one meetings with his students. I owe a special thank you to Courtney Baum and the staff at the Career Center, who assist so much in preparing students for conferences and interviews, and is the face of our program to so many employers.
“And,” he concluded,” I would like to thank all of the faculty at Saint Vincent College. At conferences and interviews, we hear so many frequent comments about how well-rounded our students are, how well they think on their feet and how strong their interpersonal and communication skills are. All of our faculty play such a key role in preparing our students for life beyond Saint Vincent.”
PHOTO 1: Robert Markley (left) accepts the 2018 Projektenmacher Award from Saint Vincent president Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., at the Saint Vincent Founders’ Day Honors Convocation on Nov. 15, 2018.
PHOTO 2: Robert Markley addresses the crowd at the Saint Vincent Founders' Day Honors Convocation on Nov. 15, 2018.
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