This year marks our 75th Anniversary. To celebrate, we’re publishing 75 stories about members of our community. Scott Converse has been a part of the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development team since December 1996 and is currently a CPED instructor and program director.
Scott left his career in the private sector in the mid-1990s to work at the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) as an information technology manager. He soon joined the team that was designing and building the Fluno Center. When the Fluno Center was finished, Scott went back to school and graduated with his Executive MBA from the Wisconsin School of Business in 2003. In 2005, the dean of the business school at the time, Andy Policano, asked Scott to join the WSB team as a program director. In his early years as a program director, Scott oversaw multiple content areas that had already been developed, including operations management, maintenance management, field service management, and purchasing and supply management. As time went on and trends began to change, Scott was able to adapt to industry needs and develop new content of his own.
“In 2007 we saw a big interest in the marketplace around continuous improvement and process improvement, so I worked on developing our continuous improvement certification training. I’m very proud of what it’s become and the contributions everyone has made to this area.
“In 2010, one of my mentors, David Antonioni, decided to retire from the Project Management content area. We had a nice transition period together where I was able to see and learn how he built curriculum, managed courses, and coached instructors. I have been overseeing the Project Management area ever since. In 2011, with the help of many, we launched the Business Analysis Certification path, and it was also during that time that I worked with the College of Engineering to help create the Technical Leadership Certificate.”
Scott has great appreciation for the mentors and fellow instructors he has met along his career path.
“I was lucky because early in my professional career I was able to attend a program on developing training curriculum offered by CPED. It was there I met two of my teaching mentors – Buck Joseph and Bob Shaver. I saw professional development done by some of the best. At the time, I was working in the private sector and didn’t know that five years later I’d be working here. What serendipity. While those two mentors are now no longer in the classroom, I feel very fortunate that on any given day I can walk into any of our programs and observe and learn from dozens of the best instructors in the nation. You can’t help but get better as an instructor by watching and adapting the approaches our world-class instructors use. They do great work.”
Scott has always been passionate about teaching, leveraging technology, working in project teams, and striving for improvement, so he is happy his career has progressed to fit with his passions. Scott passes along one piece of advise:
“It’s important to be present, to work hard, and to do your best to understand what you can do to create positive change. That positive change won’t happen unless you also work with those around you to create a better future state. You’re only a piece on the puzzle board – but without you the picture will be incomplete.”
A BRUSH WITH GREATNESS
Shortly after the Fluno Center opened, the Dalai Lama visited the University of Wisconsin to participate in a research study. During that time, he visited the Fluno Center. Scott was lucky enough to meet him and said that will always be one of his favorite CPED memories.
“The Dalai Lama and his entourage were at the Fluno Center having lunch in the Executive Dining Room. Afterward, they were going to be in the auditorium giving a talk. It was a big deal – there was press here and the building was packed with people.
“With all the people in the building, there was no easy way to meet him. However, because I had been involved closely with the design and construction of the building, no one knew the ins and outs and back hallways better than me. As they left their lunch event and went to the auditorium, I used one of those back hallways and timed my entrance into the dining room to coincide with when he was leaving. In the pinched bottleneck of the hallway intersection, with all the flowing robes and bodies, I literally ran into the Dalai Lama! So, I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.”
Learn more about the Master’s Certificate in Project Management and Lean Six Sigma, as well as view all of Scott’s blog content. See more stories from our community in the 75th Anniversary section of our blog.