From information technology manager at a leading international energy management company to entrepreneur in the additive manufacturing industry to college graduate, Glenn Adams took the road less traveled toward earning his college degree.
Adams, 38, will graduate at the top of his class from Penn State Berks on Dec. 21, with a 4.0 grade point average and a bachelor of science degree in information sciences and technology, as well as a few engineering entrepreneurship courses under his belt.
However, Adams was no stranger to the fields of information technology and entrepreneurship when he enrolled as a student in the spring of 2010. At that time, he was employed as an IT manager at Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, at their Leesport location.
Schneider Electric had acquired RAM Industries in 2008. Adams had worked in various information technology positions for RAM Industries since 1997.
As is often the case when companies merge, the organization restructured and Adams was laid off in 2011. However, he made the most of this unexpected development and devoted all his energy to completing his degree in record time.
Not only was he a diligent student, but he was also a budding entrepreneur, dabbling in the additive manufacturing industry. He had ordered a three-dimensional printer online and began tinkering with it – and ideas for a future business – in his spare time.
He brought the printer in to share with Sadan Kulturel-Konak, coordinator of the engineering entrepreneurship minor, and she asked him to set it up in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development in the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building.
In addition to printing cool three-dimensional action figures and novelties, Adams also prints actual parts for the printer itself. He also taught fellow students to use the technology.
Adams also had the opportunity to share the printer with an enthusiastic group of fifth graders at the Lauer’s Park Elementary School in Reading, through a connection he made with someone in the private sector through the entrepreneurship program at Penn State Berks. He said he hoped the technology got the fifth graders thinking about all the possibilities that exist for the future.
While his ultimate goal is to put his 10 years of experience in information technology and 15 years of experience in manufacturing to work in an enterprise-resource planning consulting position, he is also brainstorming ways to use his entrepreneurial skills within the additive manufacturing industry.
“I see myself as a technology and life architect,” explains Adams.
Adams actually began his academic career at Penn State University immediately after graduating from Fleetwood High School in 1992, but his restless entrepreneurial spirit led him to also start a car stereo business at the same time.
The business consumed more of his time attention and he left the university, but he always regretted not earning his degree.
He credits Chancellor Emeritus Susan Phillips Speece, his former neighbor, with convincing him to enroll at Penn State Berks and complete his degree.
Asked how he thinks earning his degree from Penn State Berks will give him a competitive edge in the workplace, Adams said, “I got to know the professors here in a different way. The environment at this campus is so completely different. The open-door policy with professors and that communication lead to so many new things and new opportunities.”
And so, for Adams, taking the road less traveled really has made all the difference.