By Emma Livingston, Co-Editor
While beloved Thunderbird Professor Michael Finney, for years the driving force behind the school’s capstone TEM Lab program, is retiring at the end of this semester, happily for Thunderbird, the TEM Lab program will continue under the guidance of Program Director Charles Reeves. Two teams of MGM students will be representing Thunderbird on the international stage this summer:
Economic Development Strategy for the City and Region of La Arena, Peru
Located in the northern Peruvian state of Piura (site of many previous Thunderbird TEM Lab projects), close to the border with Ecuador, La Arena is a small district with a population of about 35,000. La Arena has a “concerted development plan” 2016-2021, to improve the welfare of its people, and the municipality is asking the Thunderbird team to play a role in fleshing out the economic side of the development plan.
Over the course of 5 weeks in country, the team will develop a comprehensive and actionable economic development strategy for La Arena, conduct workshops on economic development with local economic development agents, and map out competitive production strategies for the district with an emphasis on agriculture, tourism, gastronomy, and crafts.
The Team: The Peru TEM Lab team is composed of Brad Hoffa (MGM, USA), Nicole Meacham (MGM, USA), Kevin Roos (MGM, USA), and Andrea Fajardo (MGM, Colombia / USA). Brad Hoffa can’t wait to get started: “I’m looking forward to applying our freshly invigorated business acumen to the real world. I came to Thunderbird not expecting a job but hoping to make an impact, and this TEM Lab will be my first opportunity. I couldn’t be more excited!”
Public Private Partnership (PPP) Assessment and Opportunities in the Agriculture Education and Training Sector, Faranah and Conakry, Guinea.
This project is the only Thunderbird international consulting project not taking place in Peru this summer. With the backing of USAID and under the auspices of Winrock International, the Thunderbird team will work closely with staff from Guinea’s National Agricultural University (ISAV/F) and members of GAIN, an agriculture education and training group, to identify 2-3 high potential projects the university could pursue in partnership with private sector organizations, valuate the projects, develop an action plan to bring the projects to market, and meet with organizations such as World Bank and Peace Corps to explore avenues of potential funding for these projects. Quite a daunting assignment, but nothing that a group of T-Birds can’t handle.
Harry Gkornean (MGM, Liberia) brings five years’ experience in policy formulation, program implementation, and development planning in the public sector. He also has over a decade of experience in youth development, youth and student leadership, and civil society activism.
Mandeep Sharma (MGM, India) brings a wealth of knowledge in the application of agricultural sciences. With a PhD in Agronomy from Penn State University, Mandeep has a background in curriculum development and knowledge transfer in the fields of Crop Sciences and Plant Biotechnology.
Finally, Brad Willcoxon (MGM, USA) brings a diverse background in strategic planning, opportunity assessment and curriculum development. Incorporating the principles learned during his time in the military community, Brad has nearly five years’ experience in the supervision of training strategies, mentorship, and cross-functional team dynamics involving multiple international partners.
Good luck and safe travels to both of our TEM Lab teams this summer. We wish you all the best.