Keeping pace with IIE in the November 2014 issue of Industrial Engineer

Creative competitions abound

Ergo Cup, practitioner/student of the year awards highlight conference 

Creative competitions abound 

Deadlines are coming up in the next month for ergonomists who want to take home prizes and international recognition at GOErgo's Applied Ergonomics Conference 2015.

Teams have until Nov. 30 to submit their entries to the internationally recognized Ergo Cup competition, always one of the conference highlights. And Dec. 5 is the deadline to submit for GOErgo's Creativeness in Ergonomics awards.

The Ergo Cup provides real-world practitioners with an exciting opportunity to highlight successful ergonomic solutions. Organizations that can demonstrate effective solutions or education initiatives between November 2012 and November 2014 are eligible.

Solutions should have been implemented for at least a year and come with actual productivity and safety ROI results. The Ergonomics Center of North Carolina and Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University are sponsoring the competition.

Ergo Cup finalists will be notified Dec. 15. The competition has four categories:

  • Team-driven workplace solutions: At least 75 percent of the problem-solving effort is conducted by in-house individuals whose primary responsibilities involve production and maintenance.
  • Team-driven workplace solutions, Ergo Cup internal competition: Same criteria as above, but this category is for organizations that conduct internal Ergo Cup competitions.
  • Engineering/ergonomist-driven workplace solutions: At least 75 percent of the problem-solving effort is conducted by in-house engineers and ergonomists.
  • Ergonomics program improvement initiatives: Must be a planned ergonomic program improvement initiative, process or management system designed to improve the effectiveness of a location's overall comprehensive ergonomics program.

The conference also includes two awards for creativity, the Creativeness in Ergonomics Practitioner of the Year and the Creativeness in Ergonomics Student of the Year. The practitioner award, sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., earns its winner or winning team $3,000. The student award, sponsored by CNA Insurance Co., earns the winner $4,000.

Both awards are given for a specific achievement or series of achievements, and the submission deadline for each is Dec. 5.

The 18th annual Applied Ergonomics Conference is scheduled for March 16-19, 2015, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. For details about registration, Ergo Cup, awards and more, visit

CHAPTER CHECK-IN: Resurrection in Atlanta

Georgia Tech professor led effort to reignite professional chapter
Chen Zhou had a quandary. Like any well-trained industrial engineer, he decided to fix it.IIE Atlanta chapter President Chen Zhou (far right) discusses transportation issues with Norfolk Southern’s Jeff Amado (far left) and Clark Cheng at the railway’s John W. Whitaker Intermodal Terminal in Austell, Georgia. 

Zhou, associate professor and associate chair of undergraduate programs in the industrial and systems engineering department at Georgia Tech, also is the advisor to IIE's student chapter at the school. Student IEs benefit greatly from mingling with and developing contacts with professional engineers.

But Atlanta didn't have a professional chapter. So Zhou got on the horn and started contacting people. It turns out that many in the metro Atlanta area were eager to resurrect the Atlanta chapter.

"I find a lot of support," Zhou recalled. "There are people who actually want to have this restarted, not just myself. … So I sent a survey out and the responses came back. People say, 'I want to be a board member.' 'I want to help.'"

Zhou worked with IIE headquarters to follow the steps needed to reactivate the chapter. By May, chapter members held their first event, a dinner. A big data and supply chain symposium, in conjunction with the Technology Association of Georgia, followed in September. Then came a tour of the Norfolk Southern intermodal yard in Austell, Georgia.

Members have reacted with enthusiasm. Crystal Davis, CEO of The Lean Coach Inc., said her dealings with the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and different companies reveal numerous opportunities where the industrial engineering skill set can make a huge difference.

Lean has taken off so far beyond its manufacturing roots that it can make a difference virtually anywhere, Davis said, including construction, hospitals, healthcare, supply chain, warehousing and other sectors.

"I think it's just a pivotal time for people in our profession to be re-engaged and reignited and highlighted in the city of Atlanta and be connected and be a pivotal player in a lot of the decisions," Davis said. "There [are] just so many ways for industrial engineers to get involved in the process, and I think the chapter can serve as a great bridge to making that happen and stay current with what's going on."

Steve Hopper of Invicsid Consulting agreed. Hopper has been involved with IIE since the mid-1980s when he was a student at Georgia Tech. He was president of the Atlanta chapter in the mid-1990s, but it fell on hard times and fizzled away.

"But I'm so glad to see that it's getting resurrected because … there's a benefit to getting together as a community with people on a local basis to exchange ideas and talk about what's going on with the industry that you just can't do being an isolated member of the organization."

To see video interviews with Zhou, Davis and Hopper, visit the IIE YouTube channel at and select the "Resurrection in Atlanta" video.

Lean Division gets new board member

David A. Harry will serve on the Lean Division's board of directors for a three-year term that ends in 2016.

Harry is president and CEO of Process Whisperer Consultants LLC in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

VOLUNTEER SNAPSHOT: Follow the leader into employment

Schmeidler says IIE involvement has been invaluable to career advancement
In 1976, Neal Schmeidler followed the lead of his boss, who was an IIE member, by joining the institute.

Neal Schmeidler (standing) instructs students about staffing models during an IIE course last year."When the boss is a member it helps a lot," said the president of the National Capital Chapter in Washington, D.C. "I wanted to be more involved and know about what was going on in the field to make sure that I wasn't losing out."

Looking back, it was one of the best moves he ever made.

"I have gotten four jobs because of people I know in the institute," Schmeidler recalled. "And I know of three people in the D.C. area who recently got jobs because of meeting people at chapter events – I even wrote about it in our [chapter] newsletter."

Schmeidler, currently a human capital planning consultant for government clients at Grant Thornton LLP, has been active in the National Capital Chapter for years, helping re-energize the outfit from a lull earlier in the 21st century. Since then, the chapter has earned gold status every year since 2005, which came on the heels of silver status awarded from 2002 to 2004.

With the help of Grant Thornton LLP, which provides the office space, Schmeidler has made sure the chapter board of directors has a conference room for its meetings. And after Marvin Mundel, one of his favorite IIE mentors, passed away, Schmeidler advocated establishing the Marvin Mundel Memorial Scholarship. IIE awards two Mundel scholarships to deserving students each year. Schmeidler also teaches work measurement courses for the institute.

Along with a ton of other activities, the National Capital Chapter takes on two major endeavors each year: helping the Society of Women Engineers with its Capitol Hill Day in the spring and the Future City National Finals. Capitol Hill Day recognizes the importance of diversity in the STEM workforce.

The Future City competition has teams of sixth- through eighth-graders work with an educator and engineer mentor to imagine, design and simulate the building of cities of the future. IIE sponsors an Excellence in Systems Integration Award, and the winning team is featured every year in Industrial Engineer magazine.

Schmeidler called being a judge for the finals this year a "fantastic" opportunity. He said meeting the young people and hearing their ideas was an energizing experience, and he encourages other IIE local chapters to visit and see if they can work with local teams as engineer mentors.

Beyond networking for employment connections, IIE has been integral to the advancement of Schmeidler's career, he said. He has three IIE handbooks that he has used extensively in the past and continues to use, although the institute no longer publishes them.

Over the years, he has been able to work with some of the best in the discipline and remain up to date with the latest in industrial engineering.

"I depend on this organization to be there if I need help," Schmeidler said. "And like I said, I can't remember ever having to ask for assistance, but it's the comfort of knowing if I need some technical help and expertise, I know some people I can send an email to."

Schmeidler admires Richard Leshuk, an IBM retiree who serves as an advisor to the D.C. chapter. Leshuk brings local members a history and knowledge of what's happened in the past.

"Hopefully that'll be my role someday," Schmeidler said. "But that's a few years from now."

Sustainable flow

Healthcare conference keynotes emphasize management and technology
The woman who literally wrote the book on a major medical organization's lean journey and an evangelist for applying process-aware technologies in healthcare will keynote the Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference 2015.

Dr. Chuck Webster advocates using Google Glass and other technologies to improve workflow and healthcare information. 
Kim Barnas led the development of ThedaCare’s system to sustain its lean journey. She recently wrote a book about the experience. 

The 27th annual conference is scheduled for Feb. 18-20, 2015, at The Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Kim Barnas, who served as senior vice president of ThedaCare and president of Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center, will speak on Feb. 19.

Barnas has been involved with ThedaCare's lean journey for nine years. The company's path began, like many lean initiatives, with value stream mapping, improvement events and projects. Barnas led value streams for obstetrics and cancer services. Then she led her team to develop a management system to sustain improvement through a predictable process that developed leaders and people, identified defects and solved problems.

Her book on the subject, released this year, is Beyond Heroes: A Lean Management System for Healthcare.

Dr. Chuck Webster will give his keynote speech on Feb. 20. Webster, who has master's degrees in accountancy, industrial engineering and intelligent systems in addition to his M.D., designed the first undergraduate program in medical informatics. He has helped three healthcare organizations win the HIMSS Davies Award and judges the annual Workflow Management Coalition Awards for Excellence in BPM and Workflow and Awards for Case Management.

Webster advocates including workflow management systems, business process management, dynamic and adaptive case management and other technologies in medical care. He has been researching how to use Google Glass to improve healthcare information and workflow. His webinar, presented Sept. 16, on the topic is archived at

For more details about the conference, sponsored by IIE's Society for Health Systems, and registration, visit

Cash in on video skills

Students can take home a grand, recruit next generation of IEs
For the sixth year, students have a chance to show off their video-making skills while taking home a cash prize.

Cash in on video skillsIIE and its Industry Advisory Board are sponsoring the 2015 YouTube Video Contest. Students have until Feb. 17 to produce a streaming video that could trigger high school students into pursuing industrial engineering as a career, along with getting high school teachers and counselors excited about the profession. The winning video will earn its team $1,000. Awards will be presented during the student mixer at the IIE Annual Conference and Expo from May 30 - June 2 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Additional prizes could be awarded depending on contributions received. Last year IAB, a group of professional industrial engineers from more than 30 companies, also awarded second- through fifth-place prizes. The initiative has generated more than 81,000 social media views.

Videos must be at least three minutes and no more than 10 minutes long, comply with fair use of copyrighted materials guidelines, and be in English or have English subtitles. An IIE-IAB committee will judge the winners and notify them by April 17, 2015. IIE will own the rights to the videos, and each university campus can submit only one entry.

To enter, send the YouTube website address to view your online video and mail two DVD copies in AVI or MP3/4 to IIE Headquarters. The address is IIE, Attn: Donna Calvert, COO, 3577 Parkway Lane, Suite 200, Norcross, GA, 30092. The email address is

For more information about the contest and to view previous contest-winning videos, go to

SEMS sets virtual lineup

Managing continuous improvement has been a successful three-year theme
The lineup is set for the Society for Engineering and Management Systems' third virtual conference, scheduled for Nov. 12.

Virtual conferences give participants the ability to log on without facing the hassle of airports, train stations, buses and hotels. SEMS inaugurated the Best Practices in Managing Continuous Improvement virtual conference in 2012, and it has become an annual event.

Below are the times, titles and lead presenters for each session. All times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

  • 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.: Enabling Continuous Improvement presented by Jannis Angelis, associate professor of operations strategy, Royal Institute of Technology
  • 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.: Building Daily Lean Management Systems in Healthcare presented by Steve Hoeft, chief of operations excellence, Baylor Scott & White Health
  • 11 a.m. - Noon: Small Changes, Big Impact: The Toyota Production System presented by Wade Vincent, manager of TSSC, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.
  • 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.: Implementing a Culture of Continuous Improvement in a Solution Design Center presented by Brian Carroll, vice president of field operations, Honeywell Building Solutions Americas
  • 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.: Build Your People Before Your Product presented by Derek Bartley, president and CEO, C2Q
  • 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.: City of Fort Lauderdale's Process Improvement Program presented by Paula Romo, senior performance analyst for process improvement, City of Fort Lauderdale

For more information or to register, visit

CIE is all smiles at Northwestern

CIE is all smiles at Northwestern 

The Council on Industrial Engineering (CIE) met in September at Northwestern University. IIE CEO Don Greene, fifth from the right, participated in the meeting, which included representatives from a number of organizations such as Deere & Co., Walt Disney, Intel, Jabil, UPS, Chrysler, Wal-Mart and the Ohio State University. The meeting featured discussion of big data analytics, manufacturing innovation, benchmarking, and discussions on how to support IIE and the profession.

Pioneer thinker passes away

In a career spanning decades, Nadler earned practically every IIE award
Gerald Nadler, who spent decades making key contributions in multidisciplinary systems planning and design methodologies as a pioneering scholar and educator in industrial engineering, died July 28. He was 90 years old.

A professor emeritus of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Southern California, Nadler's achievements earned him membership in the National Academy of Engineering and selection as a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Engineering Education and several other organizations, including IIE, which he also served as president.

"Gerry Nadler exercised a lasting and wonderful influence on the intellectual life of the USC Epstein ISE Department's faculty and students, on the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, on the University of Southern California, and on our field as a whole," said James Moore II, IIE's president-elect and vice dean for academic programs at the Viterbi School of Engineering. "Few scholars can claim a contribution of such importance, sweep and scope. Gerry never truly retired, remaining a steadfast contributor to the academic mission of the Epstein ISE department and to the discipline of industrial and systems engineering until the moment of his death."

Nadler first joined IIE in 1952 and has received practically every award given to members. He received the highly regarded Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Industrial Engineering Award in 1992.

Show off your best

Annual conference abstract deadline nears
Abstracts are due Nov. 26 for next year's IIE Annual Conference and Expo, which is scheduled for May 3 - June 2, 2015, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

The IIE Annual Conference is two conferences in one: the Applied Solutions Conference with presentations that show off industry applications of proven solutions, and the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC), where presentations focus on research from academia or industry scholars.

Applied Solutions presentations should take 35 or 75 minutes and detail how industrial and systems engineering principles have benefited industry, healthcare or service companies. Include an abstract, a description and three to five presentation objectives.

ISERC presentations should last between 15 and 25 minutes. Submissions of preliminary research results, works in progress, and significant or final results are welcome, and full papers are encouraged.

To submit abstracts electronically and learn more about the conference, go to


Celebrating member achievements 


Maria Carolina Diaz has been hired as a lean manufacturing engineer at Johnson and Johnson, where she will run the company's Six Sigma certification program. She formerly was a supply chain process engineer for Office Depot and a business process re-engineering consultant for Heartware.


Edward A. Pohl has been named head of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Pohl holds the 21st Century Professorship in the Department of Industrial Engineering and previously directed the department's operations management graduate program. He serves as director of the Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics (CIHL).


Amanda James, who previously worked at LEANFrog, now is U.S. Space and Rocket Center crew trainer for Robotics Camp and academy-level trainees. She teaches engineering, programming and wireless communication to trainees at the camp and helps devise curricula for teachers who want to learn robotics.


Brian W. King, who serves as a manager of maintenance facilities in Gannett Fleming's transit and rail section, has been named a vice president at the company's corporate headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. King, a licensed professional engineer, oversees the planning, design and construction-phase services of bus and rail maintenance facility projects.

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