Capstone project reveals new solutions

Mitchell, right, celebrated graduation with her mother in a special ceremony at UW-Oshkosh.
December 30, 2016

 

Earlier this year, Master of Science in Project Management student Tara Mitchell received a unique opportunity to put her education into action by becoming the project manager for a new business venture. The company, 4EG Solutions, focuses on taking waste materials from factory production lines and repurposing them. Mitchell’s step father helped establish 4EG Solutions in 2015 when he and a coworker realized there were additional uses for the absorbent material used to make diapers. Instead of continuing to ship the excess material to the landfill, 4EG Solutions is now trying to sell the repurposed material to interested markets.

When Mitchell began working with 4EG Solutions for her capstone project, production was stagnant because it lacked planning and project management initiatives. “When I first joined the team, I saw how enthusiastic every one was and heard a lot of great ideas,” she said. “I loved seeing the excitement, but the team lost focus quickly. The end goal and objectives weren’t clearly defined, so the team had no sense of direction to help them move the project along.” 

Having finished all of the MSPM courses before starting her capstone, Mitchell was able to apply lessons from every class in the program to her work at 4EG solutions–even ones that were not project management focused, such as Organizational Behavior and Managerial Accounting. She was also able to apply her experience as an online student to managing the project remotely from her home in Florida.

The company is now moving forward due in large part to Mitchell’s implementation of tools and techniques learned in her UW-Platteville courses. “We identified the project scope, generated a task schedule, and appropriately allocated resources,” she said. “The addition of a communications plan was impactful and forced us to stay focused and stick to the task.” Mitchell also led a risk assessment that identified potential pitfalls and opportunities that wouldn’t have been revealed otherwise.

After her capstone course ended in December, Mitchell made the decision to stick with 4EG Solutions indefinitely. “The rest of the team is so close to the project in a way that might affect their ability to think rationally about the project’s success,” she said. “My continued involvement would be highly beneficial, and I therefore plan to continue with future projects in relation to the full business start-up of 4EG Solutions.”

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