Dr. Petrizzo offers 25+ years of experience in senior-level accounting and program leadership roles. Currently, as MBA Lead Faculty with Franklin University, she has not only developed courses for, and taught within, undergraduate and graduate programs, she has played a key role in the creation of Franklin’s new Global MBA Program.
Since joining Franklin University in 2009, Debra has been involved in numerous institutional and academic development committees, crafted courses marketed to schools around the world, traveled internationally to teach within partner schools, and championed efforts to bring Sigma Beta Delta—international honor society—to campus. Through these efforts, Dr. Petrizzo has been instrumental in elevating programs, extending reach to students around the world, cultivating international partnerships, and recognizing the successes of students graduating from Franklin University.
With foundations in industry, Dr. Petrizzo combines her passion and experience, in teaching, with an equal zest for the accounting profession. Learning first-hand about the importance of a solid financial infrastructure, following high school Dr. Petrizzo co-operated an 8,000-acre ranch in South Dakota. Not afraid of hard work, she committed countless hours each day to managing a thriving business—generating $1 million-plus in annual sales—and ensuring the cost controls, resource allocation, and administrative management to sustain the business.
Leveraging this wealth of experience, Dr. Petrizzo then took her passion for accounting to a new industry. Working first with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, she learned from the ground up. Literally starting as a conductor on the railway, Dr. Petrizzo took the opportunity to learn everything she could about the operations and logistics of the organization. Moving into the office soon therafter, Dr. Petrizzo managed auditing functions, established cost controls, deployed standard operating procedures, and improved organizational efficiencies and effectiveness.
Continuing this pattern of contribution throughout each of Dr. Petrizzo’s career roles, her work with Alstom Train Life Services and Electro-Motive Diesels, Inc (EMD) was just as impressive. With each organization, she improved systems, created first-time processes, enhanced cost controls, and recognized opportunities to optimize performance. For example, with Alstom, Dr. Petrizzo increased contract revenue more than 300% by understanding contract terms and capitalizing on missed opportunities. With EMD—as their International and Global Inventory Controller and Aftermarket Controller—she gained control of $285 million in inventory sitting on 3 continents; put in place the systems and controls to manage said inventory; and brought a new level of accountability and transparency to accounting, analysis, and auditing processes.
Whether leading or facilitating an academic program, or contributing at the highest levels in accounting leadership positions, Dr. Petrizzo exudes passion for what she does. When not busy at work creating a new course, cultivating partner relations, or serving as a student advocate, she enjoys time with her husband and two dogs Annabelle and Charlotte. Dr. Petrizzo holds a Bachelor of Arts (BBA) with majors in accounting and management, a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), and a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) in accounting.