Local Professor Has International Impact

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Dr. Christopher Scalzo added a little international panache to his entrepreneurial portfolio this summer.

The associate professor of business and entrepreneurship at Morrisville State College traveled to Kenya, East Africa, to share his entrepreneurial skills and help a soy and maize producing company enhance its operations.

Scalzo, a Liverpool resident, traveled to Kenya through the Farmer-to-Farmer Organization as part of CNFA, (originally the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs), a private, nonprofit organization which strives to produce sustainable growth and reduce poverty by nurturing entrepreneurship.

During his three-week trip, Scalzo helped Soy Afric, Limited, a company located in an industrial area in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, redesign the plant layout, assess their production flow and implement a new accounting system.

“The company was getting ready for their next stage of growth where they needed assistance with operational and financial changes and I knew I could provide help with those business activities,” he said.

Scalzo applied his vast entrepreneurial expertise, honed in and out of the classroom, offering solutions to enhance the company.

There was a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation before Scalzo made the 18-hour air trip in May, including familiarizing himself with soybeans.

“I didn't know anything about soybeans so I did a lot of prep work learning about manufacturing and processing soy,” he said.
Like many volunteers, Scalzo's work not only allowed him to help and inspire others, but it also provided him with a new learning experience and personal growth.

He'll take that back to his classroom and share it with his students, who he hopes to get funded to accompany him on similar trips in the future.

During his downtime, Scalzo visited Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and the second highest mountain peak of Africa and Meru, a coffee-producing town in the eastern part of Kenya, to learn more about the country and its different cultures.

He also gained knowledge about a new culture and the realization of the impact a simple volunteer can have.

It also gave him a better appreciation of the basic necessities of life that people take for granted in the United States.
Scalzo will return to Kenya again in December to help the company install a new financial and accounting system, and will return again next summer to help them implement a marketing plan and provide training for Soy Afric, Limited and its customers and suppliers.

“CNFA provides a great opportunity for anyone who wants to volunteer,” he said. “I was able to interact with people in their culture and that is a different experience than if I would have just traveled to the country.”

This was Scalzo's first volunteer effort in Africa. Two years ago he spent part of his summer helping dairy farmers in Honduras, where he was recognized with a President's Volunteer Service Award, a prestigious national honor which lauds volunteer service.

He'll add another feather to his cap soon too, being welcomed as an international member of the Soy Afric, Limited Board of Directors.