top of page
Session Title: Developing leadership skills for the knowledge-based economy
Speaker: William Swart, Professor, East Carolina University

Session description: The knowledge-based economy is driven by innovation and produces ideas as commodities. These ideas are the result of teamwork that has transcended the knowledge of any one member and produces an output that is greater than the sum of its parts. To achieve such results, team members must be free to brainstorm. Each team member must be willing to seize the discussion when they believe they can contribute and cede the discussion when another team member is contributing their thoughts. Thus, leadership must be shared, and each team member must assume the role of a leader or a follower when appropriate. Leadership abilities in general and shared leadership abilities, in particular, cannot be acquired through reading or attending leadership courses, they must be developed through experience. This session will present how shared leadership skills are developed concurrently with subject matter knowledge in a Master of Business Administration course with demonstrable success. The approach may be applicable to some talent development programs in government and industry.

Bio: Dr. Swart is a professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at East Carolina University. He holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research and a M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering with Honors from Clemson University. His career includes several positions in academia and the private sector. In the private sector, prior to obtaining his PhD, he held positions with the Engineering Service Division of E. I. DuPont de Nemours and with the Southern Kraft Division of International Paper Company. After receiving his doctoral degree, he held positions with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Burger King Corporation, where he held several positions including Corporate Vice President of Operations Systems and Corporate Vice President of Management Information Systems. In academia, Dr. Swart’s past positions include Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at East Carolina University, Dean of Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Old Dominion University, Associate Dean of Business and Economics at California State University, Chairman of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida, and faculty positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Miami, and the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. While at the University of Central Florida, he worked closely with the Kennedy Space Center to establish NASA’s first Industrial Engineering function to enhance the efficiency of space shuttle processing. His many achievements in the advancing the theory and application of Management Science earned him the Achievement in Operations Research Medal from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). He also is the recipient of a NASA/JFK Group Achievement Award and the Institute of Industrial Engineers’ Operations Research Division Achievement Award. He was the winner of the 2018 Decision Sciences Institute Educational Innovation Award Competition. He was bestowed the designation of FELLOW by The International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (IIIS) in recognition for exceptional achievements and service for Inter-Disciplinary Communication.

bottom of page