Student Profile: Chris Glancy
“Your brain is kind of a muscle – the more you exercise it and stretch it, the stronger and more flexible it becomes.”
That’s a quote from Chris Glancy, explaining why he took Project Management training workshops at USM despite his decades of experience in the work. In fact, Chris had already studied project management 25 years ago and earned certification in it.
Now he’s done it all again. He completed the three Continuing Education courses in the USM Certificate in Project Management program this year. Then he took the CCE prep course for the Project Management Professional certificate, and earned the PMP designation from the Project Management Institute.
Chris is a Project Manager for IBM, employing his long experience in project management in the Global Technology Services group working on transition and transformation project for companies outsourcing IT to IBM.
It is completely in character for him to be on a constant search for new ideas and broader fields of knowledge. He likes to take some kind of course (project management, philosophy, psychology, etc.) every year or two, then dive deep into the literature of the field.
He is never at a loss for an opinion, but he is acutely conscious of the need to gather and examine other viewpoints. “You can’t learn it all on your own,” he says. “I read books all the time and have my own perspective on things. But going to Continuing Education exposes you to different perspectives. Maybe someone has tried that out and know why it doesn’t work. . . .
“You’ve had this idea in your head for a long time. Now you hear yourself saying it out loud and you’re getting feedback, professional feedback. One reason I like taking classes is to keep the gray matter engaged.”
That balance between academic learning and the real world experience goes back a long way with Chris. He took a year off after his junior year as a USM undergrad, and started a commercial diving business with a buddy on the Carolina coast.
“That was probably the best education I ever had,” he believes. “I was at best a ‘C’ student. I went out and took a few courses in the school of hard knocks, then came back and was a straight-A student from then on.”
He earned a BA in communication from USM 1983, then an MBA from the University of New Hampshire in 1991.
His professional career includes two years with Northern Utilities, then 15 years in various roles, including project management, for Unum. Since 2000, he has done and led similar work at IBM, at a much higher level on much more complex projects.
Coming back to the project management classroom after a quarter-century, “seeing how the discipline has changed,” is a professional activity as well as an intellectual one.
“One of the key things Continuing Education does, it gives you the ability to see how things are applied in different situations. Other people share the breadth and depth of knowledge from their experience. You can’t get that in your own organization.”
It’s an essential element in a life-long quest for new and better ways (“With project management, you’re only as good as your last project. You have to be creative – find and use things that have never been tried before.”)
And it’s a serious matter: “There is no safe job any more. You have to keep updating your skill set.”