Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

October 2012    |    Volume: 44    |    Number: 10

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Keeping pace with IIE in the October 2012 issue of Industrial Engineer

VOLUNTEER SNAPSHOT: From one came many

Construction division has multiplied often since 2003

Next year will mark a milestone for both the Construction Division and its founder.

Lincoln Forbes has led IIE’s Construction Division since its beginning in 2003.Lincoln Forbes, who has been the division’s only president since he started it in 2003, will become the division’s first past president after turning the reins over to President-elect Matt Horvat in May.

Forbes emphasizes that this isn’t his swan song – he plans to remain active supporting the division’s new leadership – but he did admit to a bit of excitement at the growing division and solid leadership team that has developed.

“I am grateful for all the help that has been provided both by IIE members and staff, including [membership director] Heather Bradley, [membership coordinator] Pam Patterson and [headquarters operations administrator] Bonnie Cameron,” Forbes said. “I remember the early years when our membership hovered around 50, then 100, then several hundred. Now we are close to 1,500.”

Besides Horvat, the new crop of leaders includes Laura Ikuma, Isa Nahmens, George Gardner, Paul Ray, Al Attah, Berok Khoshnevis, Bobby Smyth and others. And Dan Epstein of the Conam Group of Companies has sponsored the student paper award for years, which has been a definite plus.

“We are now seeing an unprecedented wave of students joining the division and becoming active,” Forbes said. “That gives me a great feeling. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.”

Forbes, now a principal consultant for Harding Associates Inc., started his career as an electrical/mechanical design engineer in Jamaica’s construction industry. Although he knew nothing about industrial engineering, he saw wasteful design and construction practices that inflated costs.

When he came to the United States for an MBA, he discovered industrial engineering and earned a master’s in both disciplines. In the United States alone, construction is nearly a $1 trillion industry. Unlike other large industries, increased productivity is almost nonexistent. Forbes estimates that waste totals at least 30 percent of the industry’s costs.

So he worked in productivity improvement roles in large public sector organizations in South Florida. Joining IIE in 1980 made him aware of more opportunities to improve the built environment. He started a focus group in the University of Miami’s industrial engineering department that worked with local construction professionals. However, Hurricane Andrew blew away that momentum.

But after earning his Ph.D. in 1999, he published papers and articles about construction quality and developed an interest in lean construction. When he got the go-ahead for a new division from IIE headquarters, 50 people showed for the inaugural meeting at the 2003 IIE Annual Conference and Expo.

As the division grew, Forbes credited it with sparking his personal development as well. He wrote the first-ever chapter about IEs in construction for a 2005 handbook. Two years ago, he was lead author of the reference book Modern Construction: Lean Project Delivery and Integrated Practices, which included case studies from several Construction Division members.

CHAPTER CHECK-IN: Resurrection tales

Dedicated members bring two professional chapters back from the inactive list
How do you resurrect something that’s not dead? No, this isn’t a story derived from the latest zombie series or horror movie, but a phoenix-like tale of two dormant IIE chapters brought back to life by dedicated volunteers.Ben Fong, a former North Central Region vice president, has helped resurrect the professional chapter in Milwaukee, Wis. 

Within the past year, James A. Alloway Jr. has led the struggle to reinvigorate the Syracuse, N.Y., chapter (No. 13), while Ben Fong has pulled together disparate elements for the chapter in Milwaukee, Wis. (No. 45).

Although both chapters were listed as inactive by IIE headquarters, active members still met on an ad-hoc basis. But without a dues-paying, active president to handle the paperwork, they had dropped off the radar. In both cases, the members wanted to be a recognized chapter, but they needed a leader to go through the reinstatement process and handle that bane of efficiency called paperwork.

Fong had served as a regional vice president and acting regional vice president for the North Central Region. During that time he got to know members in the Milwaukee area. Once his regional duties were complete, Fong volunteered to be that guy.

He cites the help of Dennis Oates, the IAB president-elect who moved from Pittsburgh to the Milwaukee area late last year.

“I give lots of props to Dennis,” Fong said.Longtime IIE member James A. Alloway Jr. led the way to making the Syracuse, N.Y., chapter active again. 

The revamp also had the help of new members who have come online in the past year, Fong said. He engaged with the team, came up with a strategy and sent the proposal to IIE headquarters.

Since then, the chapter has received certification, held a plant tour at Cree Lighting, visited Miller Brewing and toured a Federal Express facility. Fong is using the fall to visit the campuses of Marquette, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee to talk about IIE and the chapter.

“I’m going to encourage the students to come to be part of IIE as student members and also to join our professional chapter,” he said.

He also will talk up IIE’s regional student paper competitions and other benefits.

Syracuse had similar issues, Alloway said. A group of six to 10 people met occasionally, but the chapter had lapsed. Alloway had served as president in past years but left the post after he moved away.

Alloway volunteered again as president, the chapter put up a LinkedIn website, drew in a few more members and established a strategic plan to send to IIE headquarters.

“One of the things that really helped the chapter is TACNY, the Technical Association of Central New York,” Alloway said. “I contacted them and said IIE is alive and well. So they put us on their website. So anybody who’s an IE knows there’s a chapter and they can contact me.”

The chapter has an experienced secretary, treasurer and several past presidents.

Officially “resurrected” late last year, members have been doing plant tours with other professional societies, along with some events with local ASQ people, Alloway said, and the members are looking toward a bright future.

The leanest conference you’ll ever not go to

SEMS present virtual way to learn how to manage continuous improvement
Traveling to a conference never got so lean. Thanks to the technology revolution, you often don’t have to go there to be there.

Think of the explosion of options and software designed to facilitate e-meetings, conference calls and videoconferencing, not to mention virtual offices themselves. An Office Business Center Association International survey showed that virtual offices grew from 7.8 percent of total offices in 2008 to 18.3 percent in 2009. According to Davinci Virtual Office Solutions, more than two-thirds of U.S. workers engage in some form of virtual work, and 91 percent of them agree that virtual work saves time and money.

These types of statistics sparked the Society for Engineering & Management Systems (SEMS) to formulate the IIE Best Practices in Managing Continuous Improvement virtual conference on Nov. 14. Expert speakers from the likes of UPS, IBM, Boeing, Intel, and major universities and medical and research centers will be at your fingertips – virtually.

So wake up that morning, grab some coffee and doughnuts (or maybe some gluten-free bread, low-fat cottage cheese and green tea for the health-conscious set) and fire up the computer for this one-day boot camp.

For more details, visit

Cut tax burden; help an upcoming IE

As the end of 2012 approaches, it’s again time to focus on moves you could make that can lower your tax burden for the year. Donations to the IIE Foundation and Scholarship Fund are tax deductible, and the money will be used to support initiatives that promote the profession and help industrial engineering students through scholarships.

Donors can choose how their gift will be used.

If you prefer, you can use a credit card to make a donation. Credit card charges are deductible in the year they are given/charged, even though you might not pay the credit card bill until the next year. IIE will mail you a receipt as soon as it receives your gift.

“By making a gift to the IIE Foundation or the IIE Scholarship Fund, you will show through your support that you believe in your profession and that you understand the importance of helping those following along the IE career path behind you,” said Donna Calvert, IIE’s director of operations. “Whether you consider a major bequest, an annual contribution or a one-time gift, IIE can help you put your money where it helps the most. Through planned giving today you can make a significant change in the future of industrial engineering tomorrow.”

To download donation forms, go to

IIE offers confidential assistance for donations and scholarships. Contact Calvert at (770) 349-1108 or

Abstract time for ABET

Accreditation board holds annual symposium in the spring
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is asking for presentations for its annual ABET Symposium.

The deadline to submit abstracts is Oct. 22. The symposium is scheduled for April 12-13 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower in Portland, Ore.

IIE has 82 active program evaluators who volunteer for ABET, which accredits 122 industrial engineering programs and 16 engineering management programs worldwide. ABET includes 30 other professional technical societies. Many recruit, select, mentor and train qualified program evaluators to accredit programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology.

ABET accredits nearly 3,100 programs at more than 660 colleges and universities around the world. For more information, visit

Still looking for winners

IIE is continuing to accept nominations for its annual scholarship and fellowship awards until Nov. 15.

The program recognizes graduate and undergraduate industrial engineering students for academic excellence and campus leadership, and the awards have a value of up to $4,000. Students must be nominated by industrial engineering department heads or faculty advisors.

The Society for Health Systems Scholarship deadline is Dec. 1.

For a list of scholarships and more details, visit Contact Bonnie Cameron at or (770) 449-0461, ext. 105, with any questions.

Leaning the medical center

Best practices, case studies showcase IE healthcare applications
Where can you devour case studies that show you how to apply lean and Six Sigma to your healthcare facility without spending ages away from the office? Well, that’s easy. Ten speakers will gather on Oct. 29 at the Georgia International Convention Center in metro Atlanta to provide exactly that kind of training. There, one day’s attendance at the Best Practices in Applying Lean and Six Sigma to Healthcare conference can give you the whys and wherefores of using industrial engineering’s top tools in the healthcare field.

IIE’s Best Practices conferences are designed to get you in and out quickly with little hassle. The one-day timespan at this particular event allows you to learn and get home in time to give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

For more details, visit


Celebrating member achievements

Jane Fraser 

Jane Fraser, professor and chair of the engineering department at Colorado State University-Pueblo, has been named a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Jelece Morris 

Jelece Morris, who is pursuing her master’s degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology, earned the National Society of Black Engineers’ Mike Shinn Distinguished Member of the Year Award.

Sheldon Jacobson 

Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois has been named the new program director for operations research for the National Science Foundation.

Carl J. Kirpes 

Carl J. Kirpes, a summer graduate in mechanical and industrial engineering from Iowa State University, has been named a laureate by Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

Suraj Alexander 

Suraj Alexander has been named acting chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Louisville. Alexander previously served as department chair from 1995 to 2005.

John Usher 

John Usher has been appointed associate dean for Administration, Planning and Faculty Affairs at the University of Louisville’s engineering school.

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