The Institute

Keeping pace with IISE in the October 2016 issue of ISE

VOLUNTEER SNAPSHOT: From resurrecting to revamping

With an eye on the future, Georgia Tech's Zhou turns attention to examining ISE curricula
Chen Zhou is moving from resurrecting IISE chapters to modernizing ISE curricula.Chen Zhou 

Zhou, associate professor and associate chair of undergraduate programs at Georgia Tech's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, was a driving force behind the rebirth of IISE's professional Atlanta chapter. For that effort, he won the institute's Phoenix Award at the 2015 Annual Conference. He also has earned IISE's Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award for the Southeast Region.

Now, Zhou plans to lead a project to examine the curricula at industrial and systems engineering schools, starting with U.S.-based institutions before turning his attention to international schools. Many universities, including Georgia Tech, Cornell University and the University of California-Berkeley, face a plethora of students wanting to get into industrial and systems engineering or a related program.

"We kind of get destroyed by our own popularity because there are too many students who want our major," Zhou said. But other programs struggle for students, Zhou said, and he hopes the forthcoming work will help, as perhaps their curricula needs an update. And in today's fast-paced society where everything seems to change overnight, even top-notch schools cannot rest on their laurels.

"So I think we need to take a serious look at our curricula across the country," Zhou said. "We'll try to connect with all the large, well-established programs. And we will try to really kind of modernize our curricula a little bit."

Zhou said the first step is examining the current state. Many programs have a lot of information online, so students can research that data. Then the project team will try to engage with different departments and send out surveys for more in-depth questions.

The summary will be presented to the community at a future IISE Annual Conference, probably in 2017 or 2018, Zhou said.

The worst case, or low goal, as Zhou put it, is that it will be informative. The highest possible goal is to have a few different styles of programs derived from the data. Every institution doesn't have to be the same, Zhou noted, because economic conditions vary.

For example, programs at North Carolina State and Michigan might concentrate more on manufacturing, while the Atlanta area, where Georgia Tech is, would focus on other things. "But that's OK as long as you provide students with a good position upon graduation," Zhou said. "Then I think we did our job. Otherwise we didn't do our job."

An anniversary of cups and creativity

20th Applied Ergonomics Conference offers chance to win Ergo Cup and other honors
Ergo Cups await the victors at the 20th annual Applied Ergonomics Conference.Excitement is building as GOErgo's Applied Ergonomics Conference gets ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

This year's extravaganza is March 27-30, 2017, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. As usual, attendees have numerous opportunities for awards and honors, from multiple categories of Ergo Cups to five Ergo Excellence awards and two Creativeness in Ergonomics awards.

The deadline for Ergo Cup entries is Oct. 28. Ergo Cup finalists will be notified Dec. 2. The Ergo Excellence winners also come from the pool of Ergo Cup finalists.

The Ergo Cup, which started with one prize at the 1999 Applied Ergonomics Conference, has grown into an internationally recognized showcase of best ergonomics practices. Sponsored by the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina and Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University, the general theme is innovation. Winners will need to show actual productivity and safety ROI results.

The five categories are:

  • Team-driven workplace solutions: The winning solution in each category must be a new or significantly improved device or process. At least 75 percent of the problem-solving effort must come from in-house production and maintenance personnel, although some technical support from engineering/ergonomic staff and consultants is allowed.
  • Team-driven workplace solutions, internal competition: The same criteria from above apply, but this category involves applicants who won their organization's internal Ergo Cup competition.
  • Engineering/ergonomist-driven workplace solutions: At least 75 percent of the problem-solving effort must be conducted by in-house engineers and ergonomists.
  • Engineering/ergonomist-driven workplace solutions, internal competition: The same criteria from above apply, but this category involves applicants who won their organization's internal Ergo Cup competition.
  • Ergonomics program improvement initiatives: The winner will be a planned ergonomic program improvement initiative, process or management system that improves a location's overall ergonomics program.

Conference attendees will vote for the five Ergo Excellence awards. The categories are innovation, simplicity, cost savings, ergonomic risk and presentation quality.

Three webinars are available to help potential contestants: How to Submit a Winning Ergo Cup Entry, Conducting an Internal Company Ergo Cup Competition and How to Create a Winning Ergo Cup Booth. For more information on the Ergo Cup, along with links to enter the contest and access to the webinars, click here. The webinars are at the bottom of the page.

GOErgo also presents a Creativeness in Ergonomics Practitioner of the Year and Creativeness in Ergonomics Student of the Year. Liberty Mutual Insurance sponsors the practitioner honor, which includes a $3,000 award. CNA Insurance Co. sponsors the student award, which includes a $4,000 prize.

Liberty Mutual also sponsors the Tom Waters Award, which goes to the best manual handling presentation at the conference. The winner receives $500. For more details and to register for the conference, visit .

Awards for the taking

IISE offers bounty of honors and scholarships
Deadlines are approaching for students, researchers, practitioners and academics to compete for IISE honors, awards and scholarships.

Bo Zeng (from left), Natasha S. Vidie and Bryan Norman, all from the University of Pittsburgh, pose at the honors and awards reception at the 2016 IIE Annual Conference and Expo. The 2017 conference will be held in Pittsburgh.The IISE/Arena Student Simulation competition is one of the institute's premier venues for students to showcase the skills they have learned to solve a real-world situational case study using Arena, Rockwell Automation's simulation package.

The deadline to enter the winter session, which runs from January to March, is Jan. 6, 2017. Teams of up to three undergraduates then have until March 21, 2017, to submit their solution. The top three finalists will be announced in early April.

Teams can win a first-place prize of $5,000, along with a $500 donation to the team's student chapter. Second place is $2,500 and $250 for the team's chapter, while third place yields $1,500 for the team and $250 for the team's chapter. The three finalist teams will receive a $1,250 stipend for travel to the finals competition at the IISE Annual Conference and Expo, which is scheduled for May 20-23, 2017, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

Finals contestants who are not IISE members will receive a one-year membership courtesy of Rockwell Automation. For more details, visit and click on "Undergraduate Student Simulation Competition."

IISE scholarships can help deserving students pay for school, but entrants must ask department heads or faculty advisors for nominations. Nominations are due by Nov. 15, except for the Society for Health Systems Scholarship, which is due Dec. 1. Scholarships and fellowships are valued up to $4,000 and awarded to graduate and undergraduate student members.

To be eligible, students must be IISE members (except for the John L. Imhoff Scholarship) and must be enrolled in a full-time graduate or undergraduate industrial engineering program, have a GPA of 3.4 or greater and have a graduation date of May/June 2017 or later.

Nominees will be considered based on their scholastic ability, character, leadership and potential service to the profession. For more information, visit .

IISE's honors and awards recognize achievement through leadership, teaching, research, service or academic pursuit, spotlighting the accomplishments of fellow IISE members.

Show your appreciation by nominating a colleague, peer or student member for an IISE award. Members may not self-nominate with the exception of the Innovations in Curriculum Competition, but they can let colleagues and advisors know about their interest. The deadline is Dec. 1. For more information, visit .

And now there is one

IISE Annual debuts new presentation formats; abstract deadline is Nov. 7
Past attendees of the IIE Annual Conference (now the IISE Annual Conference) have expressed a desire to have a more integrated gathering.

Attendees pay rapt attention to a presentation at the 2016 IIE Annual Conference and Expo.With this year's abstract submission process, which ends Nov. 7, the conference committee has delivered. The two segments of the conference – Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC) and the Applied Solutions Conference – have been combined for 2017. So all abstracts will be submitted to the one conference, although presenters can still pick their preferred audience (practitioner or researcher).

Another first for the 2017 conference lets presenters link their abstracts to a recognized IISE group, making it easier to find discussions related to a particular society or division.

The conference committee also has added two new presentation formats. One, PechaKucha, debuted more than a decade ago when two architects decided presenters should talk over 20 images, with each image advancing automatically after 20 seconds. Why? According to the PechaKucha website, they asserted that people generally talk too much when giving a PowerPoint presentation.

The second new format is interactive. It gives a speaker with a standard oral presentation more time to incorporate an audience participation activity. Oral presentations all have a standard duration of 20 minutes. All other presentation types (except PechaKucha) will be 80 minutes long.

The IISE Annual Conference will be held May 20-23, 2017, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

For more information about the conference and the abstract submission process, .

Win-win with the new IM

Peering through the ‘evaporating cloud' and other helpful techniques
The September-October issue of Industrial Management, ISE's sister magazine, offers a management technique that could turn lose-lose compromises into win-win breakthroughs.

industrial magazineThe husband and wife team of Michael and Elisabeth Umble, who teach and research operations management at Baylor University, detail the "evaporating cloud," a theory of constraints method that can help organizations eliminate the dysfunctional me vs. you syndrome. "Get Your Head in the Clouds to Resolve Conflict" uses puzzles and a theoretical ascent of Mount Everest to explain how management can eliminate the invalid assumptions that stand in the way of problem-solving. 

In addition, Dan Carrison's 21st Century Management column tackles how the Uberization of the labor force will challenge your leadership. SEMS Says describes the transition from a technical to a leadership role, along with welcoming a new board member to IISE's Society for Engineering and Management Systems.

In other features, Sue Kozlowski looks into the world of weeklong kaizen events with a caution: Lean principles and goals don't include the phrase "hold repeated five-day events." Jennifer D. Chandler and Yuna Kim examine how organizations can cultivate dynamic capabilities to handle fast-changing environments. Michael Timms helps your company figure out how succession planning can fix your broken recruiting. And Raj Sanne writes a case study on how a manufacturing company's training program increased quality and productivity while reducing turnover and safety issues.

Industrial Management is the member publication of IISE's Society for Engineering and Management Systems.

Two decades of dedication

IISE Customer Service Manager Robyn Dowdall retired on Sept. 30 after 20 years of service.Robyn Dowdall 

In addition to her tireless commitment to IISE's members and customers, whether from IISE headquarters or face to face at conference events, Dowdall also contributed to planning staff activities to make headquarters a great place to work as a longtime member of the IISE Spirit Team.

"As the saying goes, customers may forget what you said, but they'll never forget how you made them feel," said IISE Chief Operating Officer Donna Calvert. "For 20 years Robyn Dowdall has made IISE's members and customers feel appreciated and valuable. She has strived to solve their issues and address all their concerns. I have often told Robyn that when I call a business for assistance I always hope to get someone as dedicated and caring as she is. We wish Robyn well as she transitions into the next phase of her life and pursues her retirement dreams!"


Celebrating member achievements 

Gul Kremer 

Gül E. Kremer, a professor of engineering design and industrial engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, has received the 2016 Kos Ishii-Toshiba Award for her outstanding contributions to engineering design from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Connor Jennings 

Connor Jennings, an industrial engineering doctoral student at The Pennsylvania State University, was part of a team of students and industry professionals that earned second place in the first 2015 Digital Manufacturing Commons (DMC) Hackathon. The 11 teams had to "hack together" a solution.

Behrokh Khoshnevis 

IISE fellow Behrokh Khoshnevis, a dean's professor of engineering at the University of Southern California, has been elected to the College of Fellows of SME, formerly the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Lourdes A. Medina 

Lourdes A. Medina, an assistant professor of industrial engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, was named as an "Emergent Leader" by the College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico (CIAPR). She also recently earned IISE's Manufacturing and Design Division outstanding service award.

Let your peers know about hirings, promotions, awards, appointments and other notable accomplishments. Send Kudos items to Michael Hughes at