The Institute

Keeping pace with IISE 

Dive under many hoods

Annual Conference offers facility tours, networking, loads of education 

Participants pay rapt attention during a student track
session at last year’s conference.Content is one of the main attractions of the IISE Annual Conference and Expo. 2017 is no different, with more than 1,000 educational talks on tap to "fill in the gaps" between numerous networking events, facility tours, exhibits and vendors. From one of the earliest sessions ("Statistical Techniques for Climate Change Point Detection") to one of the last ("Failure Diagnostics Using Concurrent Subset Algorithm Selection for Fusion Approach"), visitors to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh will have numerous opportunities to take away valuable knowledge, ranging from newfangled 3-D printing ("Additive Manufacturing of Multiphase Materials for Electronics") to old-fashioned engineered labor standards ("Can We Make Work Measurement 'Sexy' Again?"). Check out more of the May 20-23 conference's content through the interactive conference schedule under the Program tab at Other highlights are below.

Saturday, May 20

  • Sustainable Development Division volunteer event: From 9 a.m. to noon at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
  • Doctoral colloquium: This all-day event is designed for doctoral candidates expecting to graduate by spring 2018. Panels of experts will lead discussions on topics that include the job search, life in academia and industry, the tenure process, teaching, research and professional services. Attendees must be nominated and pre-register.
  • New faculty colloquium: This all-day event is for new faculty, specifically junior faculty within their first three years on a tenure track. Information provided will help participants navigate the challenges of an academic career. Participants can ask questions, network with peers and interact with senior-level professors. Attendees must be nominated and pre-register.
  • Pre-conference workshops: "Toyota Kata: Improving and Coaching Your Way to Success," "Unleash Your Strengths-Based Leadership Horsepower," "'Communication' is the Key to Your Success" and "Systems Engineering and Advanced Analytics in Healthcare" offer continuing education units (CEUs) and professional development hours (PDHs).
  • Networking reception: Attendees receive a complimentary ticket for this reception, which is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Any additional guest tickets should be bought during conference registration.

Sunday, May 21

  • IISE morning eco-walk: From 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.; hosted by the Sustainable Development Division; a brisk 2-mile walk (3.5-4 mph) repeats Monday and Tuesday.
  • First-time attendee orientation: For those who never have been to the world's premier industrial and systems engineering conference, this session, scheduled from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., will educate them.
  • Keynote presentation – Sev McMurtry: McMurtry, senior vice president of operations planning and engineering for FedEx Ground, will speak from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. (
  • Executive roundtable: Limited availability; 11 a.m. to noon. Ticket and additional fee are required.
  • ABET workshop: The IISE Accreditation Advisory Council again will sponsor this workshop from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The session will focus on assembling documentation and making arrangements in advance of an accreditation visit, with a specific emphasis on industrial engineering program criteria. The session can accommodate up to 40 people, and pre-registration is required. To pre-register, email Bonnie Cameron at
  • Student networking mixer: From 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., sponsored by FlexSim and the Healthcare Systems Engineering Institute at Northeastern University
  • Welcome reception: Network and mingle with exhibitors and peers from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the exhibit hall. Conference attendees receive one ticket. Any additional tickets should be bought during conference registration.

Monday, May 22

Attendees can visit the GE Center for Additive Technology Advancement during one of the IISE Annual Conference’s facility tours.

  • Facility tour – GE Center for Additive Technology Advancement: The 8:30 a.m. to noon tour will highlight GE's flagship center for additive manufacturing, which develops industrial applications to benefit all GE businesses.
  • Keynote presentation – Gerald G. Brown: Brown, professor of operations research and executive director of the Center for Infrastructure Defense at the Naval Postgraduate School, will speak from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. (
  • Exhibit hall: Exhibitors will be on hand to give attendees a chance to learn about useful products and services. The hall will be open from 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Vendor presentations: 11 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
  • Facility tour – Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC: From 12:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., visit a new hospital campus that was designed with children in mind and based on input from physicians, nurses and families.
  • Honors and awards dinner and dessert reception: IISE formally recognizes the accomplishments of prominent practitioners and students with a variety of awards. This event carries an additional fee, and tickets must be purchased before the conference. The dinner and ceremony will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., followed by the dessert reception until 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 23
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is one of
four facility tours offered at this year’s IISE Annual
Conference and Expo.

  • Facility tour – FedEx Ground, North Pitt: Visit one of FedEx Ground's newest, high-tech, automated sortation facilities during a live inbound sort as workers load thousands of packages onto vans for delivery throughout western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. From 6:10 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Facility tour – Westinghouse Waltz Mill: This 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tour of the Westinghouse Operations and Control Center and training areas gives participants a glimpse of the logistics involved, the metrics used and a look at real-time video of maintenance operations at a nuclear power plant.
  • Keynote presentation – Francis J. Kramer: Kramer, chairman of the board at II-VI Inc., will speak from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. (
  • Exhibit hall: Open from 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ergo, we have several records

Applied Ergonomics Conference celebrates 20th anniversary with 'reality and practicality'

Records fell all over the place at the 20th Applied Ergonomics Conference.

The venue, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida, welcomed a record number of attendees, a record number of vendors and a record number of Ergo Cup participants, said conference Chair Brian Roberts. The success was particularly satisfying for conference veterans like Roberts. The director of manufacturing and ergonomics for CNA Insurance has been to every AEC except the inaugural edition. He said members of various conference committees combine with IISE staff to provide content that practitioners can't find anywhere else – hence its twodecade run of success.

Nexteer Automotive won an Ergo Cup for “3-D Printing …
Bringing Ergonomic Solutions to Life!”Both keynote speakers, Ben Zavitz of ErgoHP and Nancy Larson of Nancy LJ Larson Consulting LLC, told fabulous stories of how to develop and maintain strong ergonomic programs, even in places with no previous ergonomics culture, Roberts said, which were very timely for the 20th anniversary of the conference. He also received a lot of positive feedback about the seven pre-conference workshops. The half- or full-day workshops give participants advanced and detailed instruction.

"If you can come away from the conference with two, three or four concepts to take back to customers or clients or your plant, it's a true success," Roberts said. "I think the pre-cons really allow you to do that well."

Josh Kerst, a principal ergonomist for Safco, gave a compelling presentation on sit/stand desks, and Vincent Baudo of CNA Insurance made a solid case for how ergonomics programs provide a good return on investment. "Those guys left everybody with information they could really use," Roberts said.

Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. took home an Ergo Cup
with “The Enforcers.”And, of course, there's always the one and only Ergo Cup competition. The internationally recognized event, which began in 1999 with one award, has multiplied into five separate, highly competitive categories.

"The Ergo Cup makes the conference so unique in that it brings so many different ideas and concepts that people can see and touch and feel," Roberts said. "As far as I know, there's no other conference that brings that kind of reality and practical experience to a conference. We don't just give you lectures and presentations; we give you hands-on teams that have made a success with a business ergonomic solution. … And that's one of the real reasons we've stayed so relevant as well."

The winners of the 20th anniversary Ergo cups were:

The Depuy Synthes’ team won the Team-Driven Workplace
Solutions Ergo Cup category.
  • Ergonomics Program Improvement Initiative: Nexteer Automotive of Melbourne, Australia, for "3-D Printing … Bringing Ergonomic Solutions to Life!"
  • Team-Driven-Workplace Solutions: Depuy Synthes, Horseheads, New York, for "Dog Bone Tool"
  • Team-Driven Workplace Solutions with Internal Competition: Honda of America Manufacturing Inc., East Liberty, Ohio, for "The Enforcers"
  • Engineering/Ergonomist-Driven Workplace Solutions: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, with "Detonator Potting Upgrades Eliminate Ergonomic Risks and Productivity Issues"
  • Engineering/Ergonomist-Driven Workplace Solutions with Internal Competition: The Timken Co. – Bearing Inspection Inc., Los Alamitos, California, for "3-2-1 Clamp and Pull"

The Timken Co. – Bearing Inspection Inc., of Los Alamitos, California, won the Ergo Cup in the Engineering/Ergonomist- Driven Workplace Solutions with Internal Competition category.In addition, conference attendees selected Ergo Excellence award winners in five categories:

  • Innovation: Toyota Motor Manufacturing, San Antonio, for "Gravity Elevator Lift"
  • Simplicity: Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc., Akron, Ohio, for "Driver Reach Tool"
  • Cost Savings or ROI: Ethicon Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, for "Motions to the Horizon"
  • Ergonomics Risk Reduction: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, for "Enhanced Launcher Electronics System RECAP Enhanced Tooling"
  • Presentation Quality: Gulfstream Aerospace, Long Beach, California, for "Extra Hand"
  • Kathryn Peditto of Cornell University and Michael Drouin of Université du Québec à Montréal won the Creativeness in Ergonomics (CE) Student of the Year Award. The $2,000 award is sponsored by CNA Insurance Co. And Lori Huffman of GE Appliances, A Haier Company, won the $3,000 Creativeness in Ergonomics (CE) Practitioner of the Year Award, sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

    Beating the sharks with networking

    Healthcare conference adds new ways to innovate, meet people

    Additional networking events and a "Shark Tank" style competition spiced up this year's Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference held in March in Orlando, Florida.

    A speed networking event helped attendees meet each other the first day of the 2017 Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference.Bianca Garcia, a performance improvement specialist at Wellstar Health System and co-chair of this year's gathering, said nearly every educational session, speech, group lunch, networking event – even walking down the halls – involved meeting new people. A "speed dating" style networking event on the conference's first day set the table, Garcia said, making it easier to talk to people in later days.

    An attendance of several hundred also benefited networking, she said.

    "Being … that intimate, it was nice to actually approach people," she said. "It wasn't like you were walking in a sea of people all the time where you couldn't really stop to talk to anyone."

    Poster presentations were a popular stop at the healthcare conference.Based on feedback from the previous year, Garcia, who will chair the committee for next year's HSPI Conference in Atlanta, and her colleagues created a "lean cocktail event" (similar to lean coffee events) to close out the conference March 3. Several groups of people who didn't have to catch flights, including some who were staying in Orlando for the weekend, met at the hotel bar.

    "It was a nice way to close out the conference for folks who were still around who didn't need to leave early for a flight," she said. "And that was followed by dinner afterward with everybody who wanted to."

    Networking is important, Garcia said, in finding best practices, getting help with specific improvement projects and career advancement. In fact, when she moved from Florida to Atlanta, reaching out to Society for Health Systems (SHS) members in Georgia helped Garcia find job opportunities.

    The University of Washington team won the FlexSim Student Simulation Contest.
FlexSim’s Lou Keller (from left) is pictured with student team members Rungpatch
(Petch) Nethnapat, Dustin Wang, Courtney Seto and Brandon Pittaway.SHS, the IISE society that sponsors the HSPI Conference, also put together a healthcare innovation competition. Six finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of reputable judges, who picked a winner. That was one of Garcia's favorites, and not just because her team took first place.

    "I know the audience really loved that from the feedback that we heard during the conference because it was new, and it was exciting and some of the ideas that came out of it were really great," she said. "That's definitely a piece of the conference that … they want to have in the future and to make it even bigger. This is kind of the innovative branch of SHS that we want to develop."

    Visit for the proceedings, photo album and updates about next year's conference scheduled for Feb. 21-23, 2018, in Atlanta.