The University of Notre Dame’s iNDustry Labs is pleased to announce several staff updates, including the addition of two new team members tasked with enhancing the platform’s growing operations and scope. Scott Ford has been promoted to executive director of iNDustry Labs. McKenna Pencak has been appointed associate director, iNDustry Labs and Jason Harrison joins the team as experiential learning program manager, iNDustry Labs. They join a team of professionals with extensive experience in advanced industry who serve as advisors and collaborators with manufacturing companies in the South Bend-Elkhart region seeking to advance their businesses.
Scott Ford, who previously served as managing director of iNDustry Labs, is also the associate vice president of economic development for the University of Notre Dame, building and executing strategic partnerships among University, industry and community stakeholders to promote innovation, job growth and quality of place in the South Bend-Elkhart region. In his role as executive director, Scott drives the platform’s strategic vision and oversees the execution of iNDustry Labs services and operations in support of the region’s industry.
McKenna Pencak brings more than a decade of experience working in higher education administration at Notre Dame to her role as associate director. In this role, she manages day-to-day operations for iNDustry Labs and administration of the LIFT Grant. Most recently, McKenna served as associate director for the Notre Dame Scholars Program, where she oversaw academic-year programming, enrichment funding and operations for the University’s merit scholarship office. Previously, she served as program manager for The Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, the University’s first merit scholarship program, and assistant director of Communications and Outreach for International Student & Scholar Affairs, a part of Notre Dame International.
Prior to working at the University, McKenna coordinated national consumer education programs, communications and media relations for Bridgestone Retail Operations, the world’s largest network of company-owned automotive service providers. McKenna graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., with a bachelor of arts in communications and Spanish. She holds a master of arts in international education from the School for International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, Vt.
Jason Harrison brings over 20 years of experience in education and learning environments to iNDustry Labs. As experiential learning program manager, Jason provides direct support to Notre Dame experiential learning courses with companies in the South Bend-Elkhart region. Working closely with iNDustry Labs staff and partners, Jason will help streamline and scale experiential learning activities undertaken in collaboration with regional companies.
Prior to joining iNDustry Labs, Jason served as the vice president of pathways at Horizon Education Alliance, where he helped redesign the workforce development system. Jason led collaborative efforts with seven school districts and more than 80 industry partners to launch programs like Career Quest for 4,500 seventh graders, Manufacturing Days for 3,000 eighth graders and modern youth apprenticeships for high school students and adults. He also orchestrated business-education roundtables with each school district in Elkhart County in support of industry-Infused, project-based learning.
Jason holds a doctorate of philosophy in leadership from Andrews University, a master of arts in Christian formation and youth ministry from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and a bachelor of arts in business administration from Goshen College.
About iNDustry Labs
The University of Notre Dame’s iNDustry Labs forges innovative partnerships between the South Bend - Elkhart region’s industries and dedicated resources at the University to support a more prosperous region. An anchor of the South Bend-Elkhart region’s Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) initiative, it was established through a $42.4 million grant awarded to Notre Dame in 2019 from Lilly Endowment, Inc.