Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program
Senior Lecturer/Short Subject Program Manager
Rick Schuhmann joined the Gordon–MIT Engineering Leadership Program in September 2012 after 15 years at Penn State University where he served as the Walter L. Robb Director of Engineering Leadership Development.
Schuhmann earned degrees spaced ~10 years apart (B.S. Geology 1981, M.S. Environmental Engineering 1993, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering 2003). This discontinuous approach afforded him the opportunity to spend a balanced life in academia and industry, his experiences in both venues providing him with a strong appreciation for the importance of leadership skills and character and the opportunity to practice them.
In the 1980s, after earning a B.S. in Geology from the University of New Hampshire, Schuhmann had the opportunity to study and work with MIT’s Doc Edgerton and Charlie Mazel, becoming skilled in the use of high resolution acoustics to locate shipwrecks—which he did, working on the excavation of three off the coast of New England. This experience eventually led him to the Gulf of Mexico where he worked offshore on surveys for oil and gas exploration and construction activities.
After a decade of offshore work Schuhmann dusted off his books, returned to school and earned an M.S. in Environmental Engineering, beginning what has become two decades of consulting on large environmental projects around the world. Schuhmann has worked with prominent law firms in both a consulting and testifying role; he has been qualified by state and federal courts to testify as an expert in quantitative risk assessment and the quantification of industrial emissions and modeling their transport in the environment.
Schuhmann developed and taught groundbreaking classes in international engineering leadership at Penn State, engaging students in virtual teaming with business students in Budapest, Hungary and in on–the–ground teaming with Moroccan engineering students at the Ecole Mohammadia d'Ingénieurs.
He was recognized for his non–traditional teaching approaches, receiving the GE Learning Excellence Award in 2002 for "Promoting learning across the traditional college boundaries" and in 2009 the W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award for "Extraordinary contributions to the advancement of the international mission of the University".
Dr. Schuhmann’s 15 year teaching experience has spanned the civil engineering, entrepreneurship and leadership curricula, with a focus on sustainability and global collaboration. He is active in both local and international water resource engineering projects, agricultural projects in rural developing world communities, and in supporting U.S. State Department efforts to promote innovative engineering enterprise development in North Africa.