SEMS Says ... Getting your story into your magazine; welcome new board member

By the Society for Engineering and Management Systems Board

Want to be in this magazine? Talk to me

So have you ever wondered where all the features that populate Industrial Management magazine come from?

Well, the easy answer is the bloke in the picture on the left. I’m responsible for sourcing these articles, making sure they’re relevant to SEMS members, editing them and turning them over to our tip-top art director.

But that process doesn’t work without you: The researchers, scholars, professors, CEOs, CIOs, analysts, engineers and managers who are supervising the work that brings the world its needed products and services. And each one of you has a story that Industrial Management would love to help you tell. This is, after all, your magazine As happens to many, I was burned out from newspapers and also wanted to get paid enough to eat. But to be honest, when I landed here at IISE, I figured leaving the exciting world of journalism, what with the drama of politics, courts, cops and corruption, for a world of boring, dry engineering material would be, well, dull.

The lead feature of the first IM issue I edited, the January/February 2010 edition, changed my perspective. David Schwager and Brian Kleiner penned “Modeling systems by nature,” which examined how to apply neural networks, genetic algorithms and ant colony optimization to solve commercial and management problems. Insects can help you find a better logistics path? I was hooked.

That made me much happier about becoming a refugee from the newspaper world. And since then, the great ideas that pour forth from IISE and SEMS members – along with the processes to make those ideas come to fruition – have amazed me. Process improvement makes everything better, from manufacturing to logistics to healthcare to ergonomics to strategic planning to information technology to sustainability to virtually every operational piece of almost any organization, public or private.

These tales need to be told, and SEMS members are the ones to tell them. You are the people in the management trenches, designing and leading the projects that smooth processes and transform enterprises. Don’t be afraid of writing – another surprise has been the ability of engineers to craft solid narrative, not just bulleted lists of facts and figures. And just like you translate ISE tools into real-world solutions, I can help translate management and academic jargon into enticing articles.

So drop me a line at the email in my signature. Let’s add your success story to the list.

— Michael Hughes is managing editor of IISE. He has an English degree from N.C. State University and lean Six Sigma green belt certification from IISE. Reach him at

SEMS, the right place for students, academics and practitioners

I am honored and delighted to have been elected as a new board member of SEMS. Let me take this opportunity to tell you a bit about my education, professional, academic and service background, as well as share my vision for the SEMS community during the next three years.

I have a B.S. in mechanical and management engineering from Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico), an M.Sc. with a specialty in manufacturing systems from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Mexico), and an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech. From 1994 to 2008 I worked implementing statistical process control in a wire transformation organization in Mexico, implementing quality and environmental management systems (ISO 9000 and ISO 14000) in a steel transformation organization in Mexico, and designing and implementing management systems in food and service organizations in Puerto Rico, Chile and Peru.

I also taught a quality systems course at Universidad de Monterrey each semester, helping students understand how the information learned during their bachelor’s degree is applied in a job. After earning my doctorate in 2015, I returned as associate professor at Universidad de Monterrey where I teach, research and coordinate student activities as ASQ and IISE student chapter advisor.

Daniel Villarreal, one of my undergraduate professors, recommended that I get involved with IISE and reopen the IISE student chapter at Universidad de Monterrey. Since 2008 I have been involved with IISE in different service capacities, such as 2009 IISE student chapter advisor, 2010 IISE Annual Conference coordinator (Cancun, Mexico), 2013 IISE Annual Conference volunteer (Puerto Rico), 2014 IISE Annual Conference session chair (Toronto), and 2018 IISE Annual Conference SEMS track chair. During these years I met extraordinary colleagues who inspire me to continue sharing my time with the SEMS community, leading me to seek a post on the SEMS board.

I will work with my fellow SEMS members to disseminate the crucial role of engineering management professionals in our society through three initiatives. First, promote the benefits that students have when they participate in the SEMS student paper competition (undergraduate and graduate level). It was sad to observe a decrease in the number of participants this year.

Second, introduce the engineering management profession to high school students, creating a forum to disseminate research and application works. Last, disseminate the benefits of the social network that SEMS offers to students, academics and practitioners. The SEMS community has affected my life by creating a research network that involves colleagues from four different countries and seven different universities. Please contact me for any comments related to the SEMS community.

— Fernando Gonzalez Aleu is an associate professor at the Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico. He can be reached at