Cross-border Collaboration Results from Visit
By Jill Gambon
After earning a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering at UMass Lowell in 1992, Edwin Garro returned to his native Costa Rica to work. Over the years, he built a successful consulting practice helping companies improve operations and become more efficient.
Now president of PXS Performance Excellence Solutions, Garro recently returned to campus, bringing a group of 17 professionals from Costa Rica to Lowell as part of “Lean Camp,” a weeklong trip aimed at educating participants about best practices among businesses known for their efficiency.
The group stayed at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center, attended a few classes, met with faculty and toured campus facilities including the Baseball Research Center and the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center. Off campus, they visited numerous companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to see operations firsthand and meet with executives. The group also took in a Red Sox game and did some sightseeing. The trip, Garro says, was a success.
Garro now envisions future collaborations with the university on study abroad opportunities and is interested in helping to bring a UMass Lowell’s master’s degree program to Costa Rica.
“I have been connected to the university, so I was aware of the many changes going on. I was delighted to see everything in-person. Everything I saw was absolutely vibrant,” says Garro, whose business is based in San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. Garro also reconnected with his thesis adviser, Prof. David Lewis of the Manning School of Business Operations and Information Systems Department, while he was back on campus.
In June, Lewis and Deborah Finch, a lecturer in the Manning School, will travel to Costa Rica with students for a study abroad course on comparative management. Garro says he will host some of the activities for the group, which include visits to local companies so students can see how Costa Rican businesses run compared to those in the United States.
Ashwin Mehta, a lecturer in the Manning School of Business, says he has talked to Garro about the possibility of introducing a master’s degree in Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship (MS ITE) in Costa Rica. The program, which the university launched five years ago, is seeing growing interest from international students, Mehta says.
“It is in the very early stage of discussion,” Mehta says. “Since we have a plan to offer all of the required courses online as well on-campus, an offering of the MS ITE program in Costa Rica or other places becomes quite practical and attractive.”