Office Space: Renee Tacka (Professor, Marketing)
The way a person decorates can say a lot about them. In the Office Space series, we go beyond the résumé and get to know York College faculty and staff members through the objects they like to keep close.
Renee Tacka ’95/MBA ’02 is an Assistant Professor in the Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship Department at York College of Pennsylvania. Currently, she teaches courses in advertising, branding, principles of selling, and marketing policies and strategies–and if you take a peek into her office, you will see her love for these topics.
1. Hershey's Almond Quality Control Sign
Detailing the ideal quality for Hershey’s Almond bars, this sign was used in the original Hershey factory, built in 1905, on Chocolate Avenue. The sign showcases what the ideal almond bar should look like and what defective ones may look like. Bars that pass quality control had the “correct ratio of almonds placed throughout,” explains Dr. Tacka. Those that did not pass “had unclear logos, incorrect ratio, or unmolded corners.” The sign was purchased (not at an auction) when the factory was closing. According to the professor, the factory now serves as office space for The Hershey Company and a green park for the community.
2. Toothless the Dragon
“He’s my best buddy,” says Dr. Tacka of a plastic model of Toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon movie franchise. Toothless reminds her of a cat meets dragon combo, and if she could have one, she would.
3. Claritas Mug
Dr. Tacka had worked for some time at Claritas, and says it was by far her favorite job in industry. At Claritas, they “added intelligence to information,” she says. Dr. Tacka was the Account Executive for the Northeast Media and Agency division for a year and then transitioned to cover the Southeast/MidAtlantic region. She consulted clients and trained them on how to use a variety of software and analytic data tools to solve business problems, such as altering customer distribution routes, all while flying all over the country.
4. Ice Breakers PACS
Ice Breakers PACS were a popular candy created by Hershey in 2007. Dr. Tacka explains that they were Hershey’s attempt to compete with Listerine’s PocketPaks. Hershey promoted Ice Breakers PACS heavily, airing them during a Super Bowl advertisement. The appearance of the PACS were less than appealing, however. “Many were getting arrested for having them, because they looked like drugs,” says Dr. Tacka. “I don’t know how it passed through focus groups and research and development.” When discussing marketing blunders in class, Tacka uses this example regularly.
5. Coach of the Year Award
From 2016-2019, Dr. Tacka coached her nephews in the Hershey Little League.
She had played softball since she was eight and continued at York College of Pennsylvania, so she decided to give coaching a try. In 2018, Dr. Tacka was voted “Coach of the Year.” For this award, parents and people associated with the league voted. Receiving the award was very “impactful” for her. “I put a lot into coaching. If a player needed [equipment] I bought them gloves and bats.”
Renee Tacka has 23+ years of experience achieving results in the media, research, consumer goods, and retail industries. She has done vast amounts of research on the topics of consumer impulsivity and attitude toward snack food purchases and has published six different pieces that relate back to marketing. Dr. Tacka received the Advisor of the Year award in 2021 for her positive impact on her advisees.