PhD Alumni Reunion September 14th, 15th, and 16th

Please save the date for the 2012 IOE PhD Alumni Reunion! The reunion will take place from Friday September 14 – Sunday September 16, 2012.

Invitations and additional information were mailed out in early June. Events will begin at 11:15 a.m. on Friday and run to 11 a.m. Sunday and will include a football game, faculty and student presentations, updates on the department, and many opportunities to catch up with your fellow alums! If you did not receive an invitation or need further information, please contact Liz Fisher at

We have hotel blocks reserved for the reunion at the following locations. Please book early to ensure availability.

Holiday Inn North Campus $129 a night, use group code IE2 or specify IOE Alumni Weekend, rates guaranteed until August 24th, 734-769-9800,

Campus Inn starting at $232 a night, use booking number 6909, rates guaranteed until July 13th, 734-769-2200,

2011 IOE Alumni Merit Award Winner Ranvir Trehan

Ranvir Trehan

Ranvir Trehan delivering his Alumni Weekend seminar

2011 IOE Alumni Merit Award winner Ranvir Trehan delivered a talk titled “Perspectives from a Multi-Dimensional Professional Life” on October 28, 2011 as part of IOE’s Homecoming Weekend events. Ranvir recounted his life story with a particular emphasis on important lessons that can benefit those who are transitioning to a profession. He discussed the role of self-reliance, excellent education, risk taking, perseverance and diligence, and timing in shaping his own career. He said of his time at University of Michigan in the IOE Department, “the three semesters I spent at Michigan in learning logic and the rigor of reasoning trump over a lifetime of Washington experience.”

About Ranvir Trehan
Ranvir Trehan received his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India, a Masters in Operations Research from the University of Michigan, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Dayton. He has also completed Ph.D. coursework at George Washington University.

From January 2005 to June 2011, Ranvir was Vice Chairman of Apptis Holdings, Inc., a professional services and technology deployment company with nearly $1B in revenue. Prior to that, Ranvir was CEO of SETA Corporation, which served as the platform for Apptis. Ranvir started SETA Corp. as a one-man information technology solutions provider in 1987. By 2004, when it merged with Apptis Inc., SETA had more than 600 employees and annual sales of about $86 million.

Before SETA, Ranvir served as a Department Head of Information and Communications Systems at MITRE. During his 18 years at MITRE, he successfully spearheaded the FTS2000 systems engineering effort (the $25 billion Government-wide telecommunications program), and effectively managed planning and implementation of large IT systems modernization projects for the Secret Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other Federal government agencies. He conducted critical performance analysis of ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet, for DARPA and presented results to the European Computing Conference in London. He also implemented X-25 packet switching technologies for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

Currently Ranvir serves on the Board of CARE and Washington Tennis and Education Foundation. He is also on the International Committee on the Arts of The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Arts and Culture Committee of the Asia Society. He has served on the Board of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and is active in numerous other charitable and cultural organizations. Ranvir has published numerous research articles, and has taught graduate courses in engineering and Operations Research.

Ranvir’s full talk can be viewed here.

In Fond Memory of Seth Bonder

Former faculty member and longtime friend of the IOE Department, Seth Bonder, died peacefully on October 29, 2011. He was 79 years old. A “Celebration of Seth Bonder’s Life” was held on November 17th and U of M’s Gerald R. Ford Library.

Seth Bonder

Bonder attended the City College of New York then served five years in the Air Force where he earned his wings as a pilot during the Korean War. He completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland in 1960. After working for the Westinghouse Air Arm Division in Baltimore, he became interested in Operations Research. In 1961, he enrolled in graduate school at The Ohio State University as the first Systems Fellow.

It was after earning his PhD from The Ohio State University that Bonder joined the faculty of the IOE Department in 1965. In 1966 Professor Bonder founded the Defense Systems Laboratory in the Department to continue his research in modeling the operations of large scale systems. The laboratory received multi-million dollar funding from various defense agencies and research organizations. In 1967 Bonder developed and ran a UM continuing education course titled “Topics in Military Operations Research” for practicing analysts in industry and government, including military officers. Approximately 100 students attended the course, which was offered for a number of years in the UM continuing education program.

Bonder came to believe the Operations Research graduate program in the IOE Department was not well-suited to prepare students for careers as practicing analysts. A significant part of the deficiency was the fact that students were taught a family of OR models but not the “art of modeling” operations processes in large-scale systems. In 1968 he developed and taught IOE 580 to provide students with experience in (1) identifying and converting a real world problem into an analytic one, (2) the process of making reasonable assumptions for developing and then building a process model that could be used to address the problem, (3) assessing the feasibility of obtaining data for model use and validation; and (4) using the model to address the real world problem.

By 1969, in addition to spending 50 percent of his time directing the DSL, Bonder was teaching the 310, 460, 560, and 580 courses; running the continuing education short course; guiding a number of Ph.D. and masters level students; actively participating in professional activities; and consulting 4-6 days per month with industrial clients. That summer he started Vector Research, Inc. to conduct studies for the Department of Defense during the Vietnam War. In 1972 he left the University to run Vector Research Inc. full-time.

Seth loved the IOE Department and his involvement here continued throughout his life. He graciously endowed an OR fellowship which supports one graduate student a year in the IOE Department. He also endowed a similar fellowship at OSU, two PhD fellowships at INFORMS, and two scholarships at Washtenaw Community College. In addition he endowed cancer research funds at the UM Comprehensive Cancer Center and at Saint Joseph Mercy Oncology Research Center in Ann Arbor.

Bonder was a past president of ORSA (1978-79), the Operations Research Society of America, one of the two precursor organizations of INFORMS. He was also a Fellow of INFORMS and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He also received the Kimball Medal from ORSA and the President’s Award from INFORMS.

Seth’s contributions to the department and field of operations research ensure a lasting legacy. Students, faculty, and alumni will benefit from his generosity and his knowledge for years to come.

Jon Lee Recognized As G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering

Jon Lee delivering his professorship lecture

Professor Jon Lee was recognized as The G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering in a ceremony held on March 13th. He presented a lecture titled “Discretion in a Nonlinear World.” The G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professorship of Engineering was established to support the teaching and scholarship of a distinguished faculty member in the College of Engineering to reflect its benefactors’ interest in engineering and business.

George Lawton Johnson received his B.S. degree from the College of Engineering in 1931. In the same year Louise Ganiard Johnson earned a degree from the University of Michigan’s College of Education. The pair met during the course of their studies at Michigan and married in July of 1932. They remained loyal, active, and generous friends to both the University and the College of Engineering throughout their lives.

Dr. Jon Lee is a world-recognized scholar in the fields of combinatorial optimization and non-linear integer programming. He received his PhD in 1986 from the School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering at Cornell University. Prior to joining IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in 2001 as a Research Staff Manger, Jon worked at Yale University as an Assistant and then Associate Professor. He then moved to the University of Kentucky where he was promoted to full professor. While at IBM, Jon worked on theoretical, methodological and applied problems in optimization.

Jon is a prolific scholar with over 80 refereed publications with a specialization in convex optimization and non-linear integer programming. His publications have appeared in the very top journals in the field. In addition, he is the author of a text titled, A First Course in Combinatorial Optimization. Finally, Jon has been instrumental in the translation of theoretical results into application-oriented software. He is associated with three major

Larry Seiford, Jon Lee, and Mark Daskin

software solvers that are now distributed as part of international open source software program The Computational Infrastructure for Operations Research (COIN-OR): Bonmin, Couenne, and MOCHA.

Jon is a recent recipient of the INFORMS Computing Society Prize for the best paper(s) on the Operations Research/Computer Science interface. He has an extensive record of professional service as well. He currently serves as the chair of the executive committee of the Mathematical Optimization Society and as the chair of the INFORMS Optimization Society. For nearly the last decade, he has been an associate editor of Discrete Applied Mathematics and is the founding managing editor of Discrete Optimization.

Faculty & Staff Updates

updates listed in alphabetical order by last name

Professor Tom Armstrong and Researcher and Project Director, Sheryl Ulin, have received funding from the State of Michigan for “Reducing Worker Risk and Musculoskeletal Disorders through Direct Assistance and Safety & Health Program Guidance.” The objective of this project is to provide employers and workers with information and procedures necessary to identify and control the conspicuous ergonomics workplace risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders.

Professor and Director of the Center for Health Care Engineering and Patient Safety, Jim Bagian, spoke at a TEDxUofM Event on March 29, 2012. You may view the talk at

Larry Burns

Professor Larry Burns was the keynote speaker at Robotics Day 2012 in April. The event showcased cutting-edge robotics research going on at U-M, at other Michigan universities, and in government and industry.

Professor Amy Cohn is IOE’s 2012 Professor of the Year. Every March, IOE students cast their vote for instructors who have made great impacts on their education and lives. Professor Cohn follows in a long tradition of teaching excellence.

Professor Amy Cohn has also been selected for the IOE Department Award for 2012. The award is to recognize a high impact accomplishment in some meritorious area benefiting the Department and the College. Professor Cohn was selected by a vote of the entire IOE faculty. She is being recognized for her outstanding teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, for her active engagement of students of all levels in research, and for her leadership in the new Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety. In less than a year, she has started a new graduate seminar course on healthcare engineering and has initiated a number of resarch projects involving clinicians at the UM Hospital as well as other IOE faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates.

Professor Amy Cohn and Dr. Michelle Macy have received research funding from Whitaker for “Developing a Framework for Hands-On Collaborations between Engineering and Medical Students on Open-Ended Projects.” Professor Cohn and Dr. Macy will collaborate to develop and test-pilot a program in which small teams of engineering and medical students, an engineering faculty member, and a clinical member of the medical faculty will work together on hands-on projects within the clinician’s practice. This will provide students with improved skills for solving open-ended problems through the application of engineering tools to improve healthcare delivery. The students will develop interdisciplinary communication skills while functioning in new environments, thus reducing barriers caused by technical jargon, and collaborating across fields to identify relevant problems and collectively formulate solution approaches.

Professor Paul Green was quoted in a Detroit Free Press article, “U.S. safety regulators urge states to ban texting — or even hands-free calling — while driving.” Green, research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute and adjunct associate professor of industrial and operations engineering, advised against any cell phone use by drivers, saying, “You’re driving. Keep your eyes on the road and your mind on the wheel.”

Professor Jon Lee has received funding from NSF for the development and analysis of practical exact and approximation algorithms for general submodular optimization problems, by generalizing and extending mathematical-optimization and approximation methods that have been successful in specific application areas. Important application areas include redesigning environmental monitoring networks and Boolean quadratic optimization. Thus far, general techniques for submodular optimization have been developed with the aim of providing provably good worst-case behavior. This includes theoretically-efficient algorithms for exact minimization and efficient approximation-algorithms for maximization. On the other hand, practical algorithms, not encumbered by theoretical requirements, have been developed and implemented for several special cases. This project is aimed at extending such success to the general case.

Professor Jon Lee will be a Visiting Fellow of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University, for four weeks this summer, participating in the Polynomial Optimisation program.

Professor Jeff Liker is quoted in an April 12th Bloomberg article, “Tesla Motors Cuts Factory Cost to Try to Generate Profit”, describing the electric car company’s approach to cutting it’s manufacturing costs as well as a Detroit Free Press article on the promotion of Toyota’s new North American manufacturing chief. Professor Liker also spoke with Michigan Radio’s “Changing Gears” article about why he believes Apple products aren’t being manufactured in the United States.

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has chosen Professor Emeritus Katta Murty as the recipient of the 2012 ASEE Meriam/Wiley Distinguished Author Award. The award consists of an honorarium and certificate and was presented at the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in San Antonio, Texas.

Professor Vijay Nair received the Work/Life Champion Award for Supervisors from U-M Work/Life Resource Center. Professor Nair is one of 10 supervisors out of 150 nominations, selected from across all U-M campuses and the health system, who were recognized for their exemplary support of work/life balance.

Left to Right: Mark Daskin, Edwin Romeijn, Ranvir Trehan

Professor Edwin Romeijn received the Richard C. Wilson Faculty Scholar Award. The award, established by Ranvir Trehan and Adarsh Trehan, honors the impact and legacy of Professor Richard Wilson by recognizing outstanding faculty within the IOE Department.

Professor Nadine Sarter was one of a panel of leading experts who gathered at Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, to “discuss key safety and policy issues pertaining to the planning, implementation, and unintended consequences of automated transportation systems” on April 13th. The roundtable discussion was attended by over 200 participants from various government agencies, state and local offices, and individuals from industry and labor organizations.

The Tauber Institute for Global Operations is the first winner of the UPS George D. Smith Prize. This new award was created in the spirit of strengthening ties between industry and the schools of higher education that graduate young practitioners of operations research. IOE Professor Lawrence Seiford is the Goff Smith Co-Director of the Tauber Institute.

Professor Siqian Shen has received a 2011 IBM Smarter Planet Innovation Faculty Award for her project “Optimization in Smarter-Grid Engineering and Operations.” The grant will support research and mainly teaching activities for optimizing Smarter-Grid operations, to answer some critical questions arising in developing energy sustainability pathways. These questions coincide many traditional optimization problems in the realm of operations research and management science. The plan is to develop curricula that introduce the state-of-the-art optimization models and will benefit UM students with an interdisciplinary vision of Smarter Energy implementations.

Professor Siqian Shen has also received teaching funding from Procter & Gamble Higher Education Grant for “Mathematical Modeling for Improving System Sustainability: From the Classroom Experience to Real-world Applications.” The grant will support a project focusing on how to enhance students’ learning experience on sustainable modeling and optimization. Students will apply the knowledge they learnt from the classroom to a wide-ranged class of practical problems, that relate to real-world sustainable energy use. The project will develop online games, smart-device applications, and intellectual lecturing programs to provide students a more interactive learning experience. The project will engage both undergraduate and graduate students with multidisciplinary backgrounds, and investigate optimization models and tools in sustainable supply chain, smart-grid operations, and other energy related topics.

IOE Senior Excels As Entrepreneur

Cheng Chen, a rising senior in IOE, was honored as one of two Student Entrepreneurs for 2011, by the College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship and, co-sponsor, RPM Ventures of Ann Arbor this past year. The winners were selected from a group of 12 applicants by a panel of judges made up of staff, faculty and community partners.

Cheng is co-founder of Educatrium which offers tutoring, mentoring and consulting services to students in China and the United States. The company’s mission is to “create an empowering environment where students are paired with talented consultants, giving our clients not just improved scores, but, most importantly, a stronger future.”

Cheng Chen

Cheng met and joined the founding team of Own Point of Sale, his first startup, through UM’s Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) and its TechArb program. The team was able to bring in $1.2 million in funding to that company before Cheng left to form Educatrium Corporation. Cheng says of CFE, “I think the most powerful tool that CFE has built overtime is a network to connect like-minded people who, once in a while, bump into each other to fuse great products, services, and organizations.”

In addition to the CFE, Cheng’s IOE education has influenced him as an entrepreneur. Cheng says, “IOE’s focus, especially in the usage of applied statistics, has started to become increasingly influential to myself and my company. For instance, we’ve [Educatrium] initiated a data analysis project where we’re looking at the past standardized exam statistics of top U.S. universities and formulating individual score distributions for every school. This data will help us produce a statistical value representing our students’ scores compared to the colleges that they are interested in applying to.”

After starting Own Point of Sale and learning to operate a startup, Cheng felt the opportunity was ripe to start his own firm. He had tutored for The Princeton Review since high school and built up teaching experience that would prove valuable to him in starting Educatrium. Cheng knew that the private education market in China was worth over one hundred billion dollars. He says he figured, “Right timing, right opportunity, right people. Why not start?”

It’s obvious he made the right decision. Educatrium has now been operating for over a year completely without external funding. The company’s balance sheet has been consistently strong enough to support growth from a two person operation to a firm of over 20 individuals. The company continues to grow at over 300% annually.

His work doesn’t give Cheng a lot of free time. When I spoke to him, he was busy managing new interns in Educatrium’s Nanjing office and working on an upcoming large marketing session. With the free time he does have, Cheng enjoys sharing his success by mentoring other future engineers. “It’s more important to learn how to live as a refined individual than it is to build products,” Cheng says. “Anyone can create a startup. Not all can lead it to a stable stage. In such manners, the role of mentors is clear.”

Cheng says his biggest challenge this coming year won’t be stabilizing or growing his company which is already doing quite well but graduating from his senior year which will require taking two semesters of 18 credits each. He hopes to manage his senior year by delegating many company tasks to employees he is currently training.

Congratulations PhD Graduates!

PhD Graduates

Soroush Saghafian, Tim Maull, Jonathan Helm, and Kamran Paynabar at the 2012 Graduate Student Banquet

Jonathan Eugene Helm, Spring Summer 2012, Stochastic and Deterministic Methods for Patient Flow Optimization in Care Service Networks, Chair: Mark Van Oyen, employment: Assistant Professor, Operations and Decision Technologies, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

Brock C. Husby, Spring Summer 2012, Integrating People, Process, and Technology in Lean Healthcare, Chair: Jeffrey Liker, employment: Senior Lean Six Sigma Coach / Senior Analyst, Altarum Institute

Xiaoning Jin, Spring Summer 2012, Modeling and Analysis of Remanufacturing System with Stochastic Return and Quality Variation, Chairs: Jun Ni and S. Jack Hu

Marcial Lapp, Winter 2012, Methods for Improving Robustness and Recovery in Aviation Planning, Chair: Amy Cohn, employment: Scientist, US Airways

Qiang Li, Winter 2012, Process Monitoring and Quality Control in Hot Rolling Processes Using Image Sensing Data, Chair: Judy Jin, employment: Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Contemporary China Studies, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University

Tim Maull, Spring Summer 2012, Hiring and Firing with Labor Market Frictions, Chair: Jussi Keppo

Dan Nathan-Roberts, Spring Summer 2012, Using Genetic Algorithms to Support Aesthetic Ergonomic Design, Chair: Yili Liu, employment: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hoda Parvin, Spring Summer 2012, Dynamic Flexible Queuing Network Models for the Design and Control of High Performance Operational System, Chair: Mark Van Oyen, employment: Research Analyst, Center for Naval Analyses and Adjunct Faculty, Georgetown University, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Kamran Paynabar, Spring Summer 2012, Nonlinear Profile Data Analysis for System Performance Improvement, Chair: Judy Jin, employment: Assistant Professor, H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Soroush Saghafian, Spring Summer 2012, Optimal Dynamic Control of Queuing Networks: Emergency Departments, the W Service Network, and Supply Chains under Disruptions, Chair: Mark Van Oyen, employment: Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Adam Allan Wadecki, Winter 2012, Essays on Private Equity Finance and Supply Chain Management, Chair: Jussi Keppo, employment: Global Purchasing & Supply Chain, General Motors

Li Yang, Spring Summer 2012, Stochastic Traffic Flow Modeling and Optimal Congestion Pricing, Chair: Romesh Saigal, employment: Junior Analytics Manager, Opera Solutions

Thank You To Our Generous Donors!

These people gave gifts to the IOE Department in 2011. We appreciate the support of our alumni!

Accenture IOE Scholarship Fund
Lynette and Kedrick Adkins

Andrew S. Crawford Award For Entrepreneurship Excellence
General Electric Company
Joseph D. Whittaker
The Woodmar Group, LLC

Center for Ergonomics
Agilent Technologies, Inc.
Dr. Carter J. Kerk
Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Inc.

Clyde Johnson Scholarship Fund
J. R. Baker
Sonny and Anita Bloom
Mr. Thomas E. Grimshaw
Mr. Michael R. Hamme
Nadra and Clyde Johnson
Frederick J. Schanne, Ph.D.
Mr. Mathew W. Steiner

Industrial and Operations Engineering Fellowship
Michael and Lynn Bagliebter
Mr. Ross B. Broms
Mr. Brian A. Cameron
Don and Barbara Chaffin
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
William Keyserling
Mr. John Lee
Aron and Dorothy Levko
Mrs. Millicent N. Mason
Prof. James M. Miller
Ronald and Jessica Tesarik
Dr. and Mrs. Marlin U. Thomas
Daryl C. and Cathleen M. Weinert

Industrial Engineering Special Gift Fund
Ms. Rebecca C. Branson
Mr. Gerard A. Brosnan
Joel and Lorraine Brown
Lisa and Timothy Davis
Mr. and Mrs. Scott Edwardson
ExxonMobil Foundation
Michael and Jennifer Fee
Roberta and Charles Fick
James and Sandra Foulke
Fidelity Foundation
Mr. Michael A. Grossman
Steven and Anne Hiss
Steven Erlebcher and Marcy Horwitz
Peter A. Jackson
William Keyserling
Michael and David Kim
Dean Jeffrey Layman
Mr. Bernard K. Lee
Mr. John Lee
Richard and Joan Leshuk
Mr. Daniel I. Manes
Medlmmune, Inc.
Barbara and J. Michael Moore
John and Linda Muckstadt
Rajeev and Urmila Parlikar
Dr. Murray J. Pyle
Mr. and Mrs. Ned J. Simpson
Ms. Julie L. Somerville
Deborah and Raymond Stephens
Yahoo! Inc.
Jim S. Yee

IOE PhD Alumni Fund
Dr. Jeffrey Morgan Alden
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
ExxonMobil Foundation
Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Haessler
Richard Allan Hamilton, Ph.D.
Dr. Wallace J. Hopp
Dr. Hongwei Hsiao
Richard Hughes and Nancy Nelson
Nejat and Anne Karabakal
Dr. Jennifer N. Karlin
Donald and Beverly Keefer
Dr. Richard L. Marcellus
Barbara and J. Michael Moore
John and Linda Muckstadt
Pfizer, Inc.
Francis and Joan B. Plonka
Peter Benson and Heidi Robb
Dr. Robert G. Sargent
Dr. Shiaw Yuan Su
Dr. and Mrs. Marlin U. Thomas
Roger N. and Jeanne L. Turner
Richard C. Wilson Trust

IOE Scholarship Fund

Joel & Lorraine Brown Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor
Joel and Lorraine Brown

Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award
Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt

M. Scheller Fellowship Support
Michael and Mary Scheller

Mark A. Van Sumeren Endowed Scholarships
Mark and Kate Van Sumeren
Jeffrey and Elizabeth Zucker

Quintanilla Endowed Scholarship
Carlos and Clara Quintanilla

Richard C. Wilson Faculty Scholar Award
Adarsh and Ranvir Trehan

Susan Horvath Ferreira and John Stephen Horvath Scholarship
Dr. Rebecca S. Horvath

Timothy P. Gerios Endowed Scholarship
Timothy Gerios and Elizabeth Pancik

Walton M. Hancock Scholarship
Walton and Charlene Hancock

Student & Alumni Updates

updates listed in alphabetical order by last name

Shi Cao has been selected to receive a 2012 Rackham International Research Award for his research on “a cross-cultural examination of speech interfaces and driving performance.” His research combines laboratory experiments and computational modeling with a Queuing Network (QN) cognitive architecture.

Valerie Chase’s abstract “Improving Discharge Communication and Room Turnover Using Systems Engineering” was accepted for poster presentation at the 2012 Society for Health System’s Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference. The abstract evolved from a project in IOE 424.

Cheng Chen, a junior in IOE, has been honored as one of two Student Entrepreneurs for 2011, by the College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship and, co-sponsor, RPM Ventures of Ann Arbor. You can read more about Cheng in our feature article.

Fred Feng is IOE’s 2012 Joel and Lorrainne Brown GSI of the Year. Every March, IOE students cast their vote for instructors who have made great impacts on their education and lives. Fred follows in a long tradition of teaching excellence.

IOE PhDs Jonathan Helm and Hoda Parvin and Professor Mark Van Oyen, along with Shervin AhmadBeygi, an IOE alum, and Peter Larson, authored the paper, “Malaria Treatment Distribution in Developing World Health Systems and Application to Malawi.” The paper has been selected as one of the finalist for the 2012 College of Healthcare Operations Management (CHOMS) Best Paper Award.

IOE PhD Candidate, Jonathan Helm, has been selected by the Faculty as the 2012 winner of the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement. This prize is awarded annually to one IOE graduate student based on excellence in leadership, academic performance, and research.

IOE Alumni, Kate Heynoski has been nominated as a finalist for the best paper based on a dissertation by the Organization Development and Change Division at the Academy of Management annual meeting. Each division nominates one paper as a finalist for the William H. Newman Award.

Marcial Lapp

Marcial Lapp has been selected as one of the Rackham Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award recipients for 2012. The awards are designed to honor Graduate Student Instructors who have demonstrated: exceptional ability and creativity as teachers; continuous growth as teachers; service as outstanding mentors and advisors to their students, colleagues and others in need of their help; and growth as scholars in the course of their graduate programs. Marcial was also selected to receive the 2012 Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding GSIs. As one of four award recipients, he received a cash prize and was recognized during the College of Engineering Student Leaders and Honors Brunch.

The IOE Department was quite successful in this year’s NSF Graduate Fellowship competition, winning two of the seven “Industrial Engineering/Operations Research” fellowships that were awarded nationally. Those awards went to IOE students Elliott Lee and Troy Long.

IOE PhD candidate Troy Long is also the 2011 Bonder Fellow. The one year Seth Bonder Fellowship is awarded on a competitive basis to a superior IOE graduate student who wishes to study and do research in the field of applied operations research.

Sara Lu is a 2012 recipient of the Rackham Centennial Spring Summer Fellowship Award. Awardees receive a stipend of $6,000 to work on research, scholarly, or creative projects in collaboration with faculty mentors during the Spring/Summer 2012 term to advance progress towards the degree and their future impact as “Michigan Graduate Students in the World.” Sara’s faculty mentor is Professor Nadine Sarter.

IOE undergrad, Rama Mwenesi, has been selected to receive the Stellar Multicultural Performance Award. The awards are given to those nominees who show outstanding contributions to multicultural understanding and diversity awareness. The primary initiative Rama has been working on called E-MAGINE in which the goal has been to create awareness and solutions to “help teachers, help students, by bridging the digital and social divide in underprivileged schools around the world”. Learn more and help out at:

Nadine Moacdieh and Zohar Strinka, both IOE PhD Candidates, tied for first place award in the College of Engineering 2011 Engineering Graduate Symposium technical poster presentations. Nadine’s presentation was titled “Eye tracking based measurement of clutter in visual displays”. Zohar’s was titled “Exact and heuristic methods for a class of selective newsvendor problems”.

Crawford Award Presentation (Left to Right: Mark Daskin, Kurt Skifstad, Natalie Naruns, Karen Crawford)

Natalie Naruns was the Winter 2012 recipient of the Andrew S. Crawford Award for Entrepreneurship Excellence. Akshay Baliga won the award in Fall 2011. Askay worked on two projects. The first was Autogreeter, aimed at making the process of checking into hotels more efficient, and the second was Clearwater, an environmental consulting firm for developing economies. Natalie, working with fellow students Katy Feaver and Jon Rubins, developed Spirit Friday, a retail website that promotes using non-branded, colored apparel to show team spirit. Fans who prefer a dressier, more unique look for game day outfits, professional wear, or everyday spirit, can use Spirit Friday to easily find clothes in their desired color combinations. Spirit Friday is in the live beta stage this summer.

IOE PhD candidates, Jie Ning and Soroush Saghafian, are winners of the 2012 Wilson Prize. This prize is given to the best student paper dealing with any aspect of manufacturing systems, including, but not limited to, operations, quality control, finance, logistics, production planning, product development, facility layout, material handling. Jie’s paper is titled, “Pricing Production Capacity in Component Outsourcing Under Guaranteed-Delivery Contracts” and Soroush’s is titled, “Compensating for Dynamic Supply Disruptions with Backup Flexibility”.

Jie Ning and Mark Daskin at the 2012 Graduate Student Banquet

PhD student Jie Ning has been chosen to receive the 2012 Murty prize. Her paper is titled “Optimal Contracts Based on Customer’s Willingness to Pay: An Empirical Study”. A committee reviews papers nominated for the annual award, formally known as the Katta Murty Prize for Best Research Paper on Optimization by an IOE Student.

IOE Alumnus, Maury Nussbaum (PhD ’94), professor of industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been appointed as the Hal G. Prillaman Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Kamran Paynabar received a Best Student Paper Award in the Data Mining Section of INFORMS (2011) for his paper “Hierarchical Non-Negative Garrote for Group Variable Selection.” He also received Best Application Paper Award from IIE Transactions, for his paper “Characterization of Nonlinear Profiles Variations using Mixed-Effect Models and Wavelets.”

Soroush Saghafian won the College of Engineering Outstanding PhD Research Award for 2011. Each department in the College of Engineering nominates one person and three winners are selected for the 2011 Richard and Eleanor Towner Outstanding PhD Research Award. Each winner will receive a $2500 prize. The main criteria are academic achievements and publications and the nominees are judged by representatives from the College.

Samantha Scotland has been selected to receive a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for the year 2012-2013. The award consists of a stipend for three terms and other benefits and supports outstanding doctoral students who have achieved candidacy and are actively working on dissertation research and writing.

Department Chair’s Message


Welcome to the first electronic issue of IOE News, our newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. As usual, we’ll update you on outstanding achievements by our faculty, students, and alumni.

In our feature article, you’ll meet Cheng Chen, an IOE undergrad who was named one of two Student Entrepreneurs for 2011 by the College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship. You’ll also see news of some exciting research grants our faculty and students are working on as well as an impressive list of awards and accolades.

I’m especially pleased to tell you that The Tauber Institute for Global Operations has been awarded the first ever UPS George D. Smith Prize, an award which celebrates the ties between industry and the schools of higher education that graduate practitioners of operations research.

I’m proud of each and every achievement in our IOE community and I know those listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. We hope to highlight more alumni news in upcoming newsletters and on our website. We ask that you let us know about your achievements and awards so that we can share them with the IOE community. Please send your comments, suggestions, news items, etc. to

I have enjoyed meeting many of you in the past years. Whenever you are on campus, our doors are always open to you. Please drop by to introduce yourself or catch up! And I hope I’ll see many of you PhD alumni at our upcoming PhD reunion in September.

Go Blue!
Mark S. Daskin