Mark Yingling ’97 takes engineering degree to Hershey Co., gives back to College
Back in 1997, Elizabethtown College was a little different than it is today. Buildings were smaller, without high-tech computer rooms, and Brossman Commons didn’t even exist. But for Mark Yingling ’97, the core of E-town hasn’t changed a bit.
Yingling works for the Hershey Co. as director of global master data management. He has been with the chocolate manufacturer for more than 10 years, combining his engineering background into his business and management role. Working for a world-recognized brand, Yingling controls and oversees all information dealing with the international business in which the Hershey Co. deals. With the famous chocolate bar and many other Hershey Co.-owed products, selling all around the world and managing information on sales allows the company to expand and run efficiently , explained Yingling. “Data can be an asset for every business,” he said.
There are friendships and bonds I made at E-town that I still have today.”
After seeing the program at E-town,, Yingling started off his career path in engineering,. “The engineering program was a growing group,” explained Yingling in a recent interview. “There was a small ratio of professors to students, so even before I came to the College I had made relationships with the professors.”
Yingling was a part of the 3-2 program for engineering, completing three years as a Blue Jay and the following two years as a Nittany Lion, in Happy Valley at The Pennsylvania State University. The transition from the quaint campus at E-town to a massive university was smoother than one would expect. His time as a Blue Jay helped him master the college process and be able to focus on building his education when he arrived in State College.
Although his engineering background is on the back burner, Yingling explained how his college experience allowed him to learn skills that have helped him reach the role where is he today. From problem solving to collaboration skills, Yingling said how his six years in studying engineering was much more than just an engineering education.
As he studied engineering, he grew close with the other students in the program through study groups and pulling all-nighters to make it through finals week. “You are not a number at E-town,” explained Yingling. “You are a part of a big family.”
“There are friendships and bonds I made at E-town that I still have today,” said Yingling. “My favorite memories come from E-town.”
Now, in 2016, Yingling still is a part of the College in his role on the Advisory Committee for the Department of Engineering and Physics. “It’s my way to give back,” said Yingling. Every six months, Yingling meets with the Committee to bring his perspectives to the Department Chair. In these meetings, discussions can cover topics ranging from improving course materials to creating more business and engineering relations. Through the Advisory Committee, he helps guide the engineering program to connect with the industry through his own personal experiences in the field.
“E-town taught me that engineering is not just about being an engineer. It’s about being a part of a bigger business ecosystem,” said Yingling.
Although many years have passed, the core of E-town remains. As Yingling explained, Elizabethtown College has kept alive its mission to educate for service and, Yingling hopes, the College’s mission continues to be shared and taught.
“Anyone can make a difference, on sports team, in classes,” said Yingling, “Making the choice to come to E-town is just the start.”