Cal Poly to Launch Online Professional Certificate Program in Packaging

Photo of a coworkers working in printing factory

Cal Poly’s Packaging Program will soon offer courses and certificates aimed specifically at packaging industry professionals that will feature interactive coursework on the critical subsets of the packaging value proposition in a global context.

Each nine-unit certificate program will take three to six months to complete, although individual courses can be taken.

Courses for the Packaging for Logistics and Supply Chains Certificate will launch in Fall 2017. The program will explore the impact of commoditization of packaging on its value proposition through global distribution, logistics and supply channel operations.

Packaging Value Chain Certificate courses will be offered in Fall 2017 and Winter 2018. Courses will provide an introduction to the value proposition in the global packaging industry, essential codes of practice as well as marketing and sales concepts.

Packaging Program Director and Professor Jay Singh said classes taken through the certificate program are also transferrable into Cal Poly’s M.S. Packaging Value Chain program, which will launch in the fall of 2018. The master’s program will also be offered exclusively online.

“The dynamic and engaging online curriculum will promote transference of learning to the workplace while providing professionals opportunities to assume leadership roles and advance their careers,” he said. Cal Poly also has plans to offer other specialized certificates in packaging design, analytics and marketing for professionals working across the nation and around the world, Singh said.

Applications for both certificate programs are open to those who have completed a bachelor’s degree in packaging or a related field from an accredited college or university with a 2.5 GPA. Applications also require a résumé, official transcript of coursework and a statement of purpose. The deadline for applications for the certificate programs are two weeks before the first course begins.

For more information on Cal Poly’s packaging certificates and the application process, visit the Orfalea College of Business Graduate Programs website at

Cal Poly Honors Faculty, Staff Who Received $32 Million in Grant Funding in 2015-16

Entrance to Cal Poly's campus

Cal Poly honored faculty and staff who received a record $32 million in grants and whose research resulted in five patents for the university in the 2015-16 academic year.

The patented inventions include an automotive air-conditioning system, an in-wall air-filtration system, CubeSats (or small satellites that launch as secondary payloads), a computer-implemented process to allow the visually impaired to transform touch into an audio response, and an environmentally benign packing design.

“I just want to say how proud I am of the work that you are all doing,” Dean Wendt, dean of research in the Office of Research and Economic Development, told about 80 faculty and staff members gathered at the annual reception held in the fall. “We are celebrating an unprecedented year of externally funded research activity at the university.”

Grant funding for research projects was up 25 percent over last year’s $26 million, and “ranks as the highest amount of external funding on record at Cal Poly,” Wendt said.

“Let me put that number in context for you: The annual base budget for the College of Science and Mathematics is around $37 million, and it includes all the salaries and wages and operating budgets for the college,” he said. “The $32 million is a significant contribution you are making to our institution and to the education of our students.”

There are other benefits to campus research, Wendt said. The grants contributed to more than $250,000 in tuition, fees and scholarships for students; funded more than $650,000 in lab equipment in the university’s six colleges; supported the wages of 58 Cal Poly Corporation employees; and paid $1.8 million in wages to more than 800 student researchers.

President Jeffrey D. Armstrong praised the faculty, who in addition to their teaching duties also apply for and oversee the research, and the staff of the Sponsored Programs and Grants Development offices who administer the more than 500 grants.

“You are impacting lives. You are helping students succeed,” he told the group. “And your careers are just blossoming and growing. It’s very, very exciting.”

Five university centers that each received more than $1 million and those who manage them were singled out: Stuart Styles and Charles Burt of the Irrigation Training and Research Center; John Keller and Chance Hoellworth of the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME); Sam Blakeslee and Christine Robertson of the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy; Wendt of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences; and Suzanne Phelan of the Center for Solutions Through Research in Diet and Exercise (STRIDE).

In addition, four individuals who secured a combined $50 million in grant funding over their Cal Poly careers were honored. Styles and Burt, director and chairman of the board respectively for Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training and Research Center, each has procured more than $20 million in external funding. Blakeslee, IATPP director, and Trevor Cardinal, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Regenerative Medicine Program, each has procured $5 million in grant funding.

The patent holders from the 2015-16 academic year are:

— Jay Singh and former student Evan Cernokus, patent for “System, Method and Apparatus for Making and Using Flex Column Void-Based Packing Materials.” Their system for forming space-consuming, shock-absorbing packing materials uses a three-sided flex-column to eliminate the need for non-recyclable polystyrene packing peanuts and better protect shipped items saving time and money in a manner that is also easier on the environment.

— Patrick Lemieux, patent for “Air-Cycle Environmental Control Systems and Methods for Automotive Applications.” This air-cycle air-conditioning invention uses an automotive turbocharger as the system core to maximize cooling while minimizing weight and space, as well as impacts on engine performance.

— Jordi Puig-Suari and Austin Williams of aerospace engineering, patent for “CubeSat Systems, Method and Apparatus.” These nano-satellites piggyback on the launches of larger satellites. The basic CubeSat unit is a box about 4 inches square; larger CubeSats are multiples of that unit.

— Dennis Fantin and Art MacCarley, patent for “Transforming a Tactually Selected User Input into an Audio Output.” Fantin, blind since age 12, and MacCarley developed a computer-implemented process to assist the visually impaired, transforming the touch of a selected Braille key into an analog audio signal output as human speech with an electro-acoustic transducer.

— Carmen Trudell and student Natacha Schnider, patent for “System and Method for Air Filtration Via Cyclone Separators Enclosed Within Exterior Walls.” The invention uses cyclone separators mounted within walls to purify the air in buildings.

Wendt recognized the individuals who had the highest grant funding totals in their colleges:

— Orfalea College of Business: Stephen Hamilton, economics.
— College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences: Stuart Styles, bioresource and agricultural engineering.
— College of Architecture and Environmental Design: Cornelius Nuworsoo, city and regional planning.
— College of Engineering: Trevor Cardinal.
— College of Liberal Arts: Patrick Lin, philosophy.
— College of Science and Mathematics: Stan Yoshinobu, mathematics.

Cal Poly Packaging Professor Jay Singh Travels to China

Cal Poly Packaging Professor Jay Singh Visits Jiangnan University

Over winter break, Cal Poly Packaging Professor and Program Director Jay Singh traveled to China, where he visited premier packaging programs at four universities and met with distinguished professors and administrators to discuss the Cal Poly Packaging Program and to develop international connections for Cal Poly.

After landing in Hong Kong, Singh began his university visits at the Packaging Engineering Research Institute at Jinan University in Zhuhai in the Guangdong province of China. Here, Singh visited the Guangdong Key Laboratory of Packaging and Logistics and also met with Assistant President and Professor Dr. Zhi-Wei Wang to discuss potential scientific research cooperation and student exchange programs between Cal Poly and the university.

Singh then traveled to Beijing, where he visited the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication and met with the university’s vice-chancellors and discussed the opportunity for international cooperation. Following this visit, Singh visited the Tianjin University of Science and Technology and met with the Director of the Department of Packaging Engineering. While in Tianjin, Singh also took advantage of the opportunity to visit the leading packaging testing and research facilities of the China Packaging Research and Test Center (CPRTC).

Finally, to end his university visits, Singh traveled to Waxu in the Jiangsu province and visited the Jiangnan University. During this final visit, Singh gave a presentation titled, “Distribution Environment Measurement and Simulation” to students and faculty and shared ideas with the university’s Dean of Packaging Engineering regarding teaching, training, and research.

Throughout these visits, Singh discussed the Cal Poly Packaging program and worked to develop international academic and research collaborations between Cal Poly and these universities. Through the exchange of information and the discussion of potential academic and research collaboration opportunities, Singh aims to create channels for undergraduate student exchanges, collaborative research projects, and M.S. in Packaging Value Chain opportunities between the universities and Cal Poly.

As packaging supply chains continue to grow in global stature, international connections for the Cal Poly Packaging Program have become more important than ever. Thanks to Jay Singh, Cal Poly’s Packaging Program looks to expand into a Center for Packaging Value Chain in the coming years.

Cal Poly Packaging Program to Host Fresh Produce Packaging Seminar May 16-18

freshPACKmoves 2016Cal Poly’s Packaging Program faculty will host freshPACKmoves, an educational seminar focused on fresh produce packaging, May 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, Calif.

The event will share insights on packaging innovation, food safety and traceability, sustainable packaging solutions, and cold-chain logistics for fresh perishables.  

The seminar will feature several industry speakers, including keynote presentations from the leaders of Sun World International, The Packer and Peterson Insights Inc. Also scheduled are expert panels and interactive discussions on branding innovations and trends in produce packaging safety, technology and ecommerce. On the seminar’s last day, attendees will take a field tour of California Giant Berry Farms and Tanimura & Antle in Salinas, Calif. to survey the complete supply chain from grower, to packer, to shipper. Event registration is open now.

“Designed to expand the knowledge base of participants with access to first-hand intelligence, data-driven research, and top-notch speakers, this seminar has the scope to positively impact decision-making and to boost the careers of participants,” said Cal Poly’s Packaging Program Director Jay Singh.

Now in its third year, freshPACKmoves is particularly suited to professionals responsible for translating perishable quality initiatives into packaging, supply chain, logistics and food safety solutions for their companies. Content will be geared toward product development directors, regulators, industry suppliers, transportation directors and operations managers.

For more information and registration, visit  

Cal Poly Students’ Packaging Line Design Wins National Competition

Pack Solutions Win SmallA team of Cal Poly students took first place in the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s (PMMI) annual PACK Solutions Challenge held Sept. 28-30 in Las Vegas.

Cal Poly’s team won the competition after presenting its proposal for a pharmaceutical packaging line to a panel of industry experts at PACKEXPO.

The PACK Solutions Challenge asked partner schools across the nation to create proposals for a dedicated production line to package and ship a fictional fast-dissolve, over-the-counter pharmaceutical product.

Cal Poly’s team included industrial technology and packaging seniors Nick Abbatelli (San Jose), Rebecca Kisch (Paso Robles), Jeff Norton (Emerald Hills) and Patrick Salibi (Felton). They will share a $4,000 scholarship for their first-place finish. Cal Poly’s team topped entries from seven other schools, including Michigan State and Rutgers University. The group’s poster presentation also earned the People’s Choice Award during the conference.

This is the first time Cal Poly has won the competition. The students came together outside of class during the summer to work on the PMMI project. Under the guidance of Cal Poly Professor Ajay Kathuria, the students developed an end-to-end packaging line solution for a water-sensitive product that incorporated federal regulations, efficiency and economic viability.

The team won the competition because of its hands-on approach, sound technical understanding, hard work, and good communication skills.

For more information about the PACK Solutions Challenge and the PMMI, also known as the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, visit

Pictured (L to R): Jeff Norton, Patrick Salibi, Professor Professor Ajay Kathuria, Rebecca Kisch, Nick Abbatelli and Marc Ostertag, President of competition sponsor B&R Industrial Automation.