SEMS Town Hall - A Summary of SEMS Past, Present and Future

SEMS held our yearly Town Hall Meeting at the IIE Annual Conference on May 20. The purpose of the Town Hall is to recognize the accomplishments of the Society and our members, as well as to give members the opportunity to become actively engaged in the future of the Society. SEMS Immediate Past President Jennifer Farris and President Michele Dekelbaum led the meeting.

The meeting started with an introduction of the purposes of the Society, as well as the members of the Society’s Board of Directors and other Society initiative leaders. In particular, SEMS was pleased to welcome our new president-elect for 2013-2014, Wiljeana Glover, as well as our three new Directors for 2013-2016: Cecilia Martinez, Edson Pinheiro de Lima, and Brian Smith. SEMS also recognized our four outgoing Board members: Geert Letens (2012-13 immediate past president), Beth Cudney, Sergio Gouvea da Costa and Wiljeana Glover for their hard work and dedication in continuing to build SEMS.

The next portion of the meeting focused on the key offerings of the Society, including SEMS’ bimonthly Industrial Management magazine and companion Newsletter (which continues to see high readership rates in its second year), conference achievements, webinars and student activities. SEMS conference offerings continue to grow, with the addition of a book signing event and pre-conference workshop at the IIE Annual Conference, as well as the creation of a new, annual Virtual Conference on Best Practices in Continuous Improvement. This conference, which was IIE’s first virtual conference, drew over 100 attendees, attracted some of the most well-known speakers in the field, and generated rave reviews from the audience. Meanwhile, the IIE Annual Conference was pleased to announce Dr. Earll Murman, as the featured speaker for the SEMS’ sponsored Engineering Management tracks. Dr. Murman’s talk attracted a standing room only crowd and created a lot of positive buzz among attendees after the session. The ISERC and Solutions tracks continue to be among the largest and most well-attended in the conference, with more than 100 presentations total, at least 60 full papers, and strong attendance in most sessions. 

SEMS was also excited to recognize several outstanding accomplishments during the Town Hall meeting.  For the second year in a row, Transformation Systems Inc. provided generous support as the sponsor of the SEMS Student Best Paper competition. Garry Coleman, Transformation Systems Inc. representative, and Beth Cudney, organizer and chair of the selection committee, proudly announced the first, second and third place winners:  Andrea Cabrera, Leticia Ceballos & Lorena Tamez (first place, $600 award and certificate); William Gillis (second place, $300 award and certificate); and Carl Kirpes (third place, $100 award and certificate).  Meanwhile, the six finalists for the Best Paper Award for the ISERC Engineering Management track were also recognized, including the Best Paper Winners, Qing Li, Wiljeana Glover, Eitan Naveh, and Michael Gross, who were recognized for their paper, "Improving Departmental Quality Performance With Interdepartmental Integration." Finally, SEMS was honored to recognize Art Muniz with the 2013 SEMS Management Award, presented in recognition of his history of outstanding leadership in engineering management positions at UPS. 

The final part of the meeting focused on SEMS’ progress on our strategic plans for 2012-2013, and our new plans for 2013-2014. In addition to continuing to expand our key activity offerings, this year SEMS introduced a completely redesigned website, with easier access to important Society information, as well as new content on almost 30 topic domains within the online SEMS Book of Knowledge created by our very activity content committee led by Lukasz Mazur. The website also includes highlighted links to our Blog website where topic leaders and other interested parties continue the discussion in an interactive forum, with more than 5,000 total views on 31 blogs to date. Other strategic accomplishments for 2012-2013 were the introduction of new bylaws as well as the development of standard policies & procedures for key SEMS activities. Finally, SEMS met our goal to continue to increase our membership, with total membership just less than 1,300 at the time of the conference. SEMS several exciting new initiatives for 2013-2014, including an expanded social media presence, increase international activities, and an overall marketing initiative that will help SEMS better define how we can meet the needs of each of our member types (professional and student) and better recruit new members. 

Clearly SEMS can only continue our success and reach our future goals with your support. We have a great current volunteer network with 11 Board members, four other initiative leaders and many active contributors to the various initiatives. We thank you for your involvement in and support of our Society. If you are not actively volunteering yet – or if you would like to expand your volunteer efforts – we would love to have you join the team. All our initiatives continue to grow and there is room for more contributors in almost any area (e.g., topic/blog leaders, webinars, etc.). We would also love to hear from you about ideas for how SEMS can better meet your needs as your preferred knowledge society for engineering, management and transformation!