SEMS Says ... We welcome your feedback

By the Society for Engineering and Management Systems Board

Your SEMS board of directors is currently working to develop more value-added content for the membership. We are revamping the SEMS website,, and exploring ways to use IISE Connect more effectively.

In addition to these initiatives, we are seeking your help in telling us what type of content you would value from SEMS and through what media you would prefer that content to be delivered. Be on the lookout for a survey from IISE-SEMS seeking your input. We really need to hear your voices to make SEMS even more valuable to our membership in the future.

— SEMS President Brian K. Smith is an assistant professor at Mississippi State University. SEMS President-elect Chinweike Eseonu is an assistant professor at Oregon State University. SEMS Immediate Past President Sreekanth Ramakrishnan is a senior data scientist at IBM Corp.

Get ready for IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2019

For some of you in the more temperate areas, spring has sprung and that means the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2019 is right around the corner. This signatory event for industrial and systems engineers will take place May 18-21 in Orlando, Florida. In addition to the educational sessions displaying both cutting-edge research and proven solutions and applications, there are numerous other ways to enrich your experience. (Learn more at

The diversity and depth of our distinguished keynotes really speaks to the blending of industrial and systems engineering. From Lt. Stayce D. Harris, inspector general of the Air Force and an industrial engineer, to Pascal Van Hentenryck, chair of ISE at Georgia Tech, to Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of the Girl Scouts and an industrial engineer, you are certainly going to be inspired.

The Engineering Management Track is always one of the largest and most attended tracks at the conference. Track chairs are compiling abstracts from all over the world and will ensure high quality presentations and papers. Read below to hear from Fernando Gonzalez Aleu and Pilar Pazos-Lago to see all that is in store.

SEMS paper competition at the IISE Annual Conference

The SEMS track of the annual conference will feature both a student paper and a track paper competition. The paper competitions will recognize academic works from students, faculty and practitioners who demonstrate outstanding scholarship. Both graduate and undergraduate students were able to submit papers to the competition. Papers co-authored by professors are excluded, but a professor’s assistance is welcome. The review criteria evaluates papers with regards to originality, applicability, robustness of the methodology and overall quality. Up to three awards may be given upon recommendation of the SEMS selection committee for both the student paper and track paper competition.

The best paper winners must be registered and present their findings in the ISERC Engineering Management Track at the annual conference. First-place winners will be announced at the SEMS Town Hall meeting. The winning papers will also be published in the ISERC proceedings.

Here is the eligibility criteria for the student paper competition:

  • The applicant must be a full-time student at the time of submission.
  • The paper must present original research results.
  • The research must have been conducted while the applicant was a student.
  • The paper must not have won or been considered for an award in another competition.
  • At least one author must be an IISE member and present the paper at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2019.
  • Winning papers will appear on the SEMS website,
  • Authors will be asked to sign an ethics statement stating that they are full-time students and that the research and writing is their own work.
  • Advising by a nonstudent is allowed, such as an academic or industry adviser. However, only students can be authors or co-authors.

See you in Orlando!

— Pilar Pazos-Lago is an associate professor and graduate program director of engineering management and systems engineering at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Updates from the 2019 Engineering Management Track

Service activities are an important role for practitioners and academics. These activities give you the opportunity to impact people around the world (students and colleagues) and increase your social network.

Personally, I believe that the role of a co-track chair in an international conference as the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2019 is a demanding service activity, but gratifying. Let me tell you what is happened in the Engineering Management track for this year annual conference.

The Engineering Management Track chair team is integrated by five members (four from academia and one from industry) split into two sections: oral presentations and invited oral presentations. All these members have experience as a track chair in previous IISE conferences. The most important challenge that all track chairs have is the migration to a different platform (system) to manage all the abstract and paper submissions and review process.

This new system is easier to manage and learn but required time from the track chairs in the conference to understand and give feedback to IISE staff to get the system improved. This situation originated some delays in the abstract review deadline and paper review deadline; please be sure that all track chairs are working hard to offer you an outstanding annual conference. During this process of system migration, all the track chairs are focused to promote IISE conference participation, review abstracts and review papers.

What do we have for you at the annual conference? There are around 23 different tracks (Engineering Management, Data Analytics & Information Systems, Emerging Directions, Health Systems, Engineering Education, Lean System and Logistic & Supply Chain) receiving a total of 1,371 abstracts. The Engineering Management track received 104 abstracts, the fourth highest track in the conference.

You are welcome to participate and/or attend the SEMS town hall meeting, workshops, panel discussions, oral presentations and invited oral presentations. At the town hall, the president and board of directors will show results, such as SEMS enrollment trends and student undergraduate/graduate paper competition. But the most important goal of the town hall meeting is the social networking, so schedule this meeting in your agenda; we want to know you.

Performance Mindset is an 80-minute workshop that we prepared to help increase your skill as a professional. In a competitive environment, it is important to prepare yourself with certifications and additional degrees. For that reason, a panel discussion about professional engineering was included this year. As in the previous conferences, you will be able to select from several oral presentations that most impact your academic or professional career. This year, you will have 71 oral presentations in the Engineering Management track.

Finally, in order to increase the level of knowledge at the annual conference, each track created a session for invited oral presentations. In these sessions, only academic and professionals that receive a formal invitation from track chairs will be presenting. The Engineering Management Track will offer 31 invited oral presentations from prestigious academics and professionals in our field.

So, are you ready for the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2019? See you in Florida May 18-21.

— Fernando Gonzalez Aleu is an associate professor in the engineering department at the University of Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico.

Lend a helping hand: A call for volunteers

If you are interested in getting involved with SEMS, there are numerous opportunities for volunteers. We need people to help with new initiatives and ongoing activities like conference planning, newsletters and Industrial Management magazine. If you have ideas and suggestions to improve the value that industry members get, contact Brian Smith, SEMS president, or Julie Drzymalski, newsletter editor, at