66 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
with Bopaya Bidanda
Bopaya Bidanda, Ph.D., is president-elect
of IISE. He is a professor and chair of the
Department of Industrial Engineering at the
University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. He
earned his doctorate in industrial engineering
from Pennsylvania State University. In addition
to his educational experience, he has worked
in industrial consulting for several firms,
including the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare and
Canadian defense departments, as well as
the U.S. Department of Energy. He earned the
John Imhoff Award for Excellence in Industrial
Engineering Education from the American
Society for Engineering Education in 2012.
He was chosen a Fellow of IISE in 2002 and
earned the Albert Holzman Distinguished
Educator Award in 2013. He previously served
on the IISE Board of Trustees in 2006-2007
and 2013-2016.
What is your history
with IISE and
different areas of
I always think that you
have to put 100% into the
discipline. IISE was my
professional society and I
decided to go in 120%. Ive
been a faculty adviser to
the IISE student chapter on
and off for 20-plus years. I
was involved with the IISE
local chapter, the Pittsburgh
chapter, which we bolstered through university resources and now is one of the most
active chapters in the country. I was on the board of trustees for two rotations – one
as the senior vice president of continuing education and one for international. So I’ve
been involved for the last 37 years.
Why did you choose to seek the presidents position?
I think we’re at a historic crossroads. I really think we have to move to the next level
and expand our membership. And I believe our membership expansion is purely
going to come outside of the United States. I have as many contacts outside the United
States as any other industrial engineer I know. I have spent a lot of my time trying to
globalize the profession, and now this is a good opportunity to globalize IISE. One
of the things we did was appoint Doug Long as director of strategic initiatives; that’s a
huge first step. We have someone in place to focus on long-term initiatives. I’ve begun
working closely with Doug already to see if we can identify specific countries where
we can go in and work with their agencies to develop and increase our membership
there. I think its a perennial win-win both for that country and for IISE. We’re
beginning that work now; I think things look very promising.
As a college professor, what qualities do you see in the next
generation of ISE professionals and what can they achieve in
2020 and beyond?
One of the things that’s so heartening to see in the younger generation today is that
they believe in doing good. I think more and more students want to give back to
society in multiple ways, from being more sustainable to using their IE tools to help
people who are more disadvantaged than they are. I think what the younger genera-
tion wants is to go beyond industrial engineering. We have a new program at Pitt – IE
Plus – that emphasizes getting your IE degree but going beyond by getting minors
and certificates in other fields. Right now, IEs have to choose between becoming a
beginning engineer and pursuing the humanities. That should not have to be a choice
for college students; I think they should be able to choose both. Id love to see IEs get
minors in dance and theater and English literature and humanities, political science
and philosophy. I’d love to see every IE have a minor so they can pursue their passion
and leverage their degree. I’m excited about the possibility of IE Plus, where students
really follow their passion, and work with IE as a major.
We want to make IE the engineering profession of choice for high school kids.
Because I think its exciting, it’s fun and it can be applied anywhere in terms of IE
– Interview by Keith Albertson
IISE President-elect Bopaya Bidanda, right, chats with
immediate past President Jamie Rogers during the Board
of Trustees meeting March 12 in Norcross, Georgia.
Bidanda served two terms previously on the board.
We have exciting news to share about the 2020 IISE Annual Conference & Expo! With the health
and welfare of our members and Conference attendees as our top priority, we’ve been working
hard to determine the right approach in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Circumstances in New
Orleans and the world make it inadvisable to hold #IISEAnnual2020 as originally scheduled.
However, we have been able to reschedule the Conference! New dates – Oct. 31 - Nov. 3, 2020.
Same location – Hyatt Regency New Orleans in New Orleans.
Staff and volunteers are planning the rescheduled event, and more details will come soon.
Fortuitously, the Halloween season and New Orleans are made for each other – think haunted
houses, ghost tours, voodoo and more! This will be an opportunity to celebrate the premier
industrial and systems engineering event in a special place. IISE and New Orleans need your
support. Let’s make this Conference one of the best ever!
www.iise.g/Annual #IISEAnnual2020
Save the Revised Date!
Oct. 31 – N. 3, 2020
Photos by David Brandt | IISE