Student & Alumni Updates

IOE PhD students Christine Barnett and Kayse Maass were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. These fellowships recognize and support outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Industrial and Operations Engineering student Jenna Bertke has been awarded the 2013 College of Engineering Distinguished Leadership Award for an Undergraduate Student. The College of Engineering Distinguished Leadership Award is presented in recognition of outstanding leadership through contributions to the college and/or the community.

IOE Students, Matthew DiTullio and Victoria Ranger, have been awarded the CoE George M. Landes Prize for Technical Communication. The prize honors excellence and creativity in both technical skills and presentation skills.

Andrew Hakim, IOE PhD candidate, has been awarded the Joel and Lorrainne Brown GSI of the Year Award. Every March, IOE students cast their vote for instructors who have made great impacts on their education and lives.

IOE Student, Vera Mann Hey Lo, has been awarded the CoE A.D. Moore Prize. The A.D. Moore Prize is presented to an outstanding sophomore or junior who has demonstrated academic excellence, leadership qualities and outstanding contributions to co-curricular activities.

Vera Mann Hey Lo has also been awarded the John L. Imhoff Scholarship for the 2013-14 academic year from the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE).

IOE students, Gerald Lou, Nisarg Patel, and Kevin Shallcross, are among members of the winning teams for the 2012 Tauber Institute for Global Operations Spotlight! competition. Kevin Shallcross was on First Place team Woodward Inc: “Accelerated Fuel Nozzle Repair and Overhaul.” Nisrag Patel was on Second Place team Boeing Parts & Assemblies: “Developing a Standard-Work Supplier Risk Monitoring System at Boeing.” Gerald Lou was on Honorable Mention team BorgWarner Turbo Systems: “Optimization of High-Speed Core Balancing Machines’ Utilization.”

Crawford Award Fall 2012

Mark Daskin, Karen Krawford, Rama Mwensi, and Kurt Skifstad

Rama Mwensi is the recipient of the Fall 2012 Andrew S. Crawford Award for Entrepreneurship Excellence for his work in IOE 422. Rama used his involvement with E-MAGINE, a student organization that designs, develops and deploys solar powered internet access systems in rural communities around the world, as a springboard for his project. According to Rama, “Strategically branded as a ‘hybrid social business’ E-MAGINE’s primary activity involves providing rural and off-the-grid communities (particularly in Africa) with access solutions to mobile and data connectivity, while simultaneously providing telecom carriers with access to new markets. (This effectively creates value for both parties served.) Traditional network service delivery for telecom carriers requires them to outsource work or partner with site leasing acquisition and hardware cell tower companies. E-MAGINE, however effectively integrates both roles into its operating plan and delivers value to its customers by building relationships with unconnected communities through local intermediaries, negotiating site lease agreements on behalf of the telecoms, and expanding their networks through the installation of E-MAGINE’s proprietary, low cost, solar powered GSM-Internet access systems. Our goal (as a final team of students) was to develop a business model that would not only create value for all customers served, but also capture value from the untapped market of potential Internet users in Africa.”

Brandon Pitts

Brandon Pitts explaining a game to a participant in the ErgOlympics

Industrial and Operations Engineering Ph.D. candidate Brandon Pitts has been awarded the 2013 College of Engineering Distinguished Leadership Award for a Graduate Student. This award is presented to those who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their contributions to the college and/or the community.

The IOE faculty selected Samuel Rosen as the recipient of the 2013 CoE Graduate Distinguished Achievement Award. The award recognizes outstanding academic achievement, exemplary character, leadership and service to the department, and potential for success in future endeavors.

Riker Stephenson Strinka

Riker Stephenson Strinka

IOE PhD Candidate Amir Sadrpour has been selected by the faculty as the 2013 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 PhD candidate Zohar Strinka and Stephen Strinka welcomed baby Riker Stephenson Strinka on February 5th. Riker was 7 lbs 9 oz and 20 inches long.

IOE PhD candidate Mingdi You has been awarded the Wilson Prize for the paper titled “Cutting plane approaches for designing robust and semi-robust networks under demand and topological uncertainty” jointly authored with Siqian Shen.

Department Chair’s Message

Mark DaskinWelcome to IOE News, our newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. As usual, I’m eager to share with you many exciting happenings from our department.

In this issue we continue our video series by giving you a look at the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety through the eyes of Director Jim Bagian and Associate Director Amy Cohn. I could not be more proud of the Center and the work being done there and I’m certain you’ll share my enthusiasm after seeing the featured videos.

In our alumni spotlights, you’ll meet two recent graduates. Brian Rumao received his BS and MS from our department and Katrina Appell her MS and PhD. You’ll see that both are at the start of promising careers and have already accomplished a great deal in the short time since graduating from IOE.

We also highlight several IOE faculty who are participating in the new MCubed research venture as well as a multitude of other research projects, awards, and achievements from our faculty, students, and alumni.

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 and to feature more IOE alumni in our Alumni Spotlight. If you have news of achievements, awards, or personal milestones that we can share with the IOE community or would like to be featured in the Alumni Spotlight, please contact us at

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.

Go Blue!

Mark S. Daskin

Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety

The mission of the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety is to improve the safety and quality of healthcare delivery through a multidisciplinary, systems engineering-based approach. In the videos below, the Center’s director, Jim Bagian, and associate director, Amy Cohn, discuss some of the projects the Center is undertaking, the current state of healthcare, and how engineering is a critical component in delivering care to patients.

IOE Faculty Participate in Innovative MCubed Projects

MCubed is a two-year seed-funding program designed to empower interdisciplinary teams of University of Michigan faculty to pursue new initiatives with major societal impact. Several Industrial and Operations Engineering faculty members are collaborating with faculty across campus on innovative projects funded by this program. You can view the descriptions of their projects below and learn about these projects and more on the MCubed website.

Improving Resident Rotation Scheduling to Maximize Training Opportunities
Cube members: Rishindra Reddy (Medicine), Frank (Jake) Seagull (Medicine), Amy Cohn (IOE)
The variability and unpredictability of when low volume surgical cases are scheduled has a negative impact on the ability of surgical residents to participate in these less common surgeries. It has been shown that heart and lung transplants occur in such a way that resident participation in a strict call schedule routinely results in work hours violations and the inability to achieve certification numbers. We propose to evaluate data of surgery schedules and resident schedules from UM and other peer institutions, to create simulation models that will allow us to analyze this data for the ability to achieve required training numbers as well as propose potential changes, and to assess surgery residents with regards to the impact new schedules could afford them in their training.

Brian DentonMeasuring the Costs and Benefits of New Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer Screening
Cube members: Brian Denton (IOE), Scott Tomlins (Medicine), John Wei (Medicine)
Prostate cancer is the most common solid tumor in American men. At its current level of prevalence, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. In the past, screening relied heavily on the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. However, concerns about the potential for false positive and false negative results have called into question whether the benefits of PSA tests outweigh the costs and harms of testing. The imminent release of several new biomarkers in the U.S. has added to the complexity of decision making about whether and when these new tests should be used. This MCubed project involves the building of quantitative models, based on data collected through systematic review of the literature, and through the National Cancer Institute Early Detection Network (NCI-EDRN), to investigate mortality, quality of life, and cost implications of implementing these new biomarkers.

Performance Evaluation in Organ Transplantation: Beyond Case Mix Adjustment
Cube members: Robert Merion (Medicine), Mark Daskin (IOE), Alan Leichtman (Medicine)
Solid organ transplantation is a highly specialized multidisciplinary field. It is also arguably the most heavily scrutinized and regulated area of modern medicine. Current methods of transplant program performance evaluation focus on comparisons of observed to expected outcomes, using statistical adjustment for patient case mix (indirect standardization). Significant differences between observed and expected outcomes may reflect unmeasured confounders and/or true differences in quality/performance. To date, facility characteristics – including descriptors of processes or systems of care and elements of organizational culture – have not been incorporated in performance evaluation metrics due to limitations in available data. Linkages of large clinical registry and administrative datasets with data from regulatory agencies (e.g., Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) will permit testing of novel elements to improve understanding of the so-called “center effect” and to identify best practices for performance improvement.

Eunshin Byon

Eunshin Byon

Project Incentive Design Toward an Integrated Sector in a Carbon Constrained World
Cube members: Hyun-Soo Ahn (Business), Eunshin Byon (IOE), Xiuli Chao (IOE)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that temperatures are expected to increase to 11.5F by 2100, highlighting the importance of adopting greenhouse gas emission regulations. Within the US, transportation sector produces 33% of total U.S. emissions, and the electricity generation contributes 40%. What is more, these two sectors are even more closely related today by the proliferation of electrification of vehicles. However, the availability of a carbon-neutral technology says little about its economics and adoptability of this technology in the market place. This research aims to propose cost efficient investment strategy to satisfy the emission regulation in a planning horizon. We also investigate which incentive or/and financial instrument can guarantee effective emission management and the cost of deploying a unified GHG emission constraint for both auto and power generation industries. This research studies the value and impact of collaborative efforts in two sectors when pursuing the emission target.

Radiation therapy treatment plan optimization for liver cancer
Cube members: Martha Matuszak (Medicine), Edwin Romeijn (IOE), Mary Feng (Medicine)
This project focuses on radiation therapy treatment planning for liver cancer. We propose to develop plan optimization models that account for the impact of radiation delivered to individual anatomic liver segments on liver function, leading to decreased risk of radiation-induced liver toxicity as well as safe escalation of tumor doses, and thus better treatment outcomes. Dynamic Contrast Enhanced MRI images (registered to CT scans used for treatment plan optimization) can be used to assess local liver perfusion levels, which are indicative of local liver function. New predictive metrics of the probability of liver radiation damage based on dose delivered to individual voxels and overall dose to liver segments as well as more information on uncertainties from image registration and liver perfusion data (which are unavoidable) are becoming available. We aim to incorporate these models and uncertainties into treatment plan optimization using state of the art robust and stochastic optimization algorithms.

Strategic Health Workforce Planning
Cube members: Mariel Lavieri (IOE), Gary Freed (Medicine), Kristy Martyn (Nursing)
The purpose of this project is to develop a multidisciplinary approach to better understand strategic health workforce decisions and its implications. As demand for healthcare resources continues to grow, different sectors of the population will compete for constrained and costly healthcare resources. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to understand how the healthcare needs of the population are linked to long-term workforce management plans. The key is to ensure that sufficient resources are available in the future to meet the growing and uncertain healthcare needs of the population, while accounting for the costs associated with meeting these needs.

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Rumao, BS IOE 2009 and MS IOE 2010

Are there particular fellow students, faculty or staff from IOE that had a significant impact on you?
There are many to name. I will miss a few, so apologies in advance.


  • Prof. Larry Seiford, who gave me the opportunity to teach IOE 202 when I was a graduate student. I loved that class and introducing undergrads to the exciting IOE world.
  • Prof. Gary Herrin, who was both a professor and a mentor to me. He always had a positive spirit, and he is missed.
  • Prof. Amy Cohn; even though I never had the privilege to take her class, I’ll always remember the time she baked me apple pie in exchange for my wearing a bicycle helmet.
  • Prof. Yili Liu, who inspired me to travel around the world and realize how much we can learn from people of other cultures.
  • Prof. Jussi Keppo, who exposed me to the world of entrepreneurship and, in general, encouraged me to think big.
  • Dr. Paul Green, who used to wear these fascinating sweaters that I secretly admired.
  • Dr. Luis Garcia-Guzman, who loved sharing his passion about student development and IOE.

Brian RumaoStaff
I loved going into Wanda Dobberstein’s office to hang out and say hi. It was always an uplifting conversation. When we involved Tina Blay, there were usually some hijinks involved. It’s a good thing Liz Fisher sat close to keep Tina in check. Finally, I have fond memories of being one of the few people who understood Matt Irelan’s sense of humor.

A lot of students had an impact on me – in fact, I keep in touch with more fellow IOE students than any other cohort. Spending so much time in 1610 IOE, we created special bonds.

What do you consider some of your biggest accomplishments since graduating?

What are you doing now?
I work at LinkedIn in Mountain View, CA. I hope everyone who is reading this has a profile on LinkedIn – it’s the world’s largest professional networking website, with over 200 million members around the world. I focus on product strategy – which entails evaluating the attractiveness of new markets and opportunities for LinkedIn to pursue in the near future. It’s an amazing place and an extraordinary time, and I absolutely love the company, the people with whom I work, and my role. In my spare time, I find myself running races, learning to paint, supporting local start-ups, reading a lot of books, and finding ways to stay engaged with the University of Michigan.

Before this, I was a management consultant for two years at McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles.

How do you think your IOE education prepared you for where you are today?
I think the IOE education was most valuable in three ways:

1) Problem solving: I learned how to dissect tough problems and think logically, two valuable skills no matter where you go or what you do.
2) Domain knowledge: I learned to appreciate the importance of statistics and the nuances of lean manufacturing and operations management. These skills continue to help me with my career.
3) Developing friendships: At the end of it all, I made some amazing friends in the IOE Department. Even though we are all around the world, I still talk to them on a regular basis. I know my fellow IOE alums are doing amazing things, and I’m glad I took time during college to nurture those relationships. They truly last.

– contact Brian at brumao at gmail dot com

Alumni Spotlight: Katrina Appell, MS IOE 2006 and PhD IOE 2011

What are some memories from your time in IOE or the University of Michigan that stand out?
Katrina remembers many of the social activities members of the IOE community participated in like the “Team 7 a.m.” tailgating group, late night happy hours, department picnics and banquets, and once a month IOE get togethers. “IOE always had such a great culture,” she says adding that events such as these helped her to get to know students from IOE who worked in different focus areas than she did. Katrina says she still maintains many of the friendships she formed through these events.

Are there particular fellow students, faculty or staff from IOE that had a significantKatrina Appell impact on you?
“Everyone had an impact, particularly my dissertation committee members,” Katrina says. She notes that her first job after graduating from the PhD program was with Jeff Liker who was her dissertation committee chair. Katrina now works for Whitney Walters who she met when she was a graduate student instructor for a course Walters taught in IOE.

What do you consider some of your biggest accomplishments since graduating?
“Well, I graduated. That was huge,” is Katrina’s first response. She adds that since then she’s held two jobs. She was a Senior Lean Consultant at Optiprise and she is now a Lean Coach with the University of Michigan Health System. She is also the second vice president of the University of Illinois Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering Alumni Board. Katrina is also proud to have just purchased a house in Ann Arbor.

What are you doing now?
Katrina is now a Lean Coach in the University of Michigan Health System working with Lean for Clinical Redesign. She works with physician organizations and primary care offices throughout Michigan to help them improve patient care. “We coach the PO (physician organization) and clinic (primary care office) coaches enabling them to improve their processes using lean methodologies to be patient centered medical homes.” This work is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

How do you think your IOE education prepared you for where you are today?
“I spent seven years thinking deeply about Lean. To do Lean effectively, you need to be very adaptable. The level of understanding I achieved makes it easier to use in different environments,” Katrina says.

Katrina also stresses that the social piece of her education was vital because “you change organizations through people.” She believes that knowledge alone is not enough and you need to have the social skills necessary to make sure your technical skills get used. “People understand their work and problems better than anyone else can. Through good questions and dialogue you can start to understand [your client’s] problems and can help them understand what your skills are that can help them solve their problems.”

– contact Katrina at appell [at] umich [dot] edu

Thank You to Our Generous Donors!

These people gave gifts to the IOE Department in 2012. We appreciate the support of our alumni!

Accenture IOE Scholarship Fund
Kedrick and Lynette Adkins
David C. Miller

Andrew S. Crawford Award for Entrepreneurship Excellence
Microsoft Corporation

Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety
Joel and Lorraine Brown

Clyde Johnson Scholarship Fund
J. Randolph Baker
Sonny S. Bloom
Thomas E. Grimshaw
Michael R. Hamme
Clyde W. Johnson

Industrial & Operations Engineering Fellowship
Paul S. Adams
William R. Barr
Don B. Chaffin
Lisa Davis
Paul W. Durance
Steven J. Erlebacher
Monica J. Fox
Wallace J. Hopp
Hongwei Hsiao
Mark W. Isken
Majid Jaraiedi
Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker
Joy O. Oguntebi-Olabisi
Joan B. Plonka
Frederick J. Schanne
Shiaw Y. Su
Marlin U. Thomas
Roger L. Tobin
Roger N. Turner
Sheryl S. Ulin
Daryl C. Weinert
Zelda B. Zabinsky

Industrial & Operations Engineering Scholarship
Ross B. Broms
Shari E. Finsilver
Daniel J. Lovera
Gary A. Ludema
Millicent N. Mason
Russell D. Meller
Brian D. Netter
Murray J. Pyle
Robert G. Sargent
Ned J. Simpson
Clifford J. Wilcox
Mikhail R. Zolikoff

Industrial Engineering Special Gift Fund
Rebecca C. Branson
Gerard A. Brosnan
Hyung In Chun
David Cohen
Marvin E. Dunham
ExxonMobil Foundation
Michael C. Fee
Jill E. Feldman
Brian S. Fleming
James A. Foulke
Robert S. Gelber
Barbara Harris
Thom J. Hodgson
John T. Illikman
Peter A. Jackson
Patrice A. Jarski
Michael W. Kim
Donald J. Kunz
Bernard K. Lee
Calvin Lee
Timothy D. Lortz
Daniel I. Manes
MedImmune, Inc.
J. Michael Moore
Raymond Muscat
Michael F. O’Connell
Rajeev A. Parlikar
Mark W. Pelley
Murray J. Pyle
Steven P. Rotz
Robert J. Schoenhals
Joseph L. Simons
Richard and Donna Slayton
Richard A. Stein
Christopher J. Villerot
James C. White
Mark A. Whitman
Scott A. Williams
Christopher M. Wu
Jim S. Yee

IOE PhD Alumni Fund
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
Peter S. Benson
David E. Browning
ExxonMobil Foundation
J. Paul Frantz
Robert W. Haessler
Mark W. Isken
Donald L. Keefer
Carter J. Kerk
George J. Miller
J. Michael Moore
John A. Muckstadt
Linda J. Muckstadt
Shamkant B. Navathe
Jane L. Snowdon
Marlin U. Thomas
Sheryl S. Ulin
Leigh Wang
Chih-Kuan Yen
Xudong Zhang

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

Katta Murty Optimization Prize
Madhu Katta

M. Scheller Fellowship Support Fund
Michael H. Scheller

Seth Bonder Fellowship
The Seth Bonder Foundation

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

The Orchid Foundation Scholarship
The Orchid Foundation

Timothy P. Gerios Endowed Scholarship Fund
Timothy P. Gerios

Walton M. Hancock Scholarship
Walton M. Hancock


Faculty and Staff Updates

Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker

Professor Amy Cohn has been selected as Alpha Pi Mu Professor of the Year. Every March, IOE students cast their vote for instructors who have made great impacts on their education and lives.

Professor Judy Jin has been selected for the IOE Department Award for the 2012-2013 academic year. The award is to recognize a high impact accomplishment in research, teaching or service benefiting the Department and the College.

Professor Jeff Liker recently discussed the FAA’s grounding of Boeing 787s on Bloomberg Televisions’ “Surveillance” program. You can watch it here.

Professor Jeff Liker was also quoted in a November 14th Bloomberg article, “Automakers Boost Investing on Vehicle Factories in Mexico”, describing Toyota’s plan to source cars from Mazda’s Mexican plant – which highlights a “growing reliance on the Latin American nation for quality production as well as lower costs”.

Research Funding Updates

Xiuli Chao has received funding from Ford Motor Company for his research project “Optimal Investment Allocation of Automakers and Electricity Generators in a Carbon Constrained World.”

Marina Epelman

Marina Epelman

Professor Marina Epelman has received funding from Ford Motor Company for the research project titled “Optimized Scheduling for Prototype Test Vehicles.”

The Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery have received research funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. The project, titled “Development, Implementation and Evaluation of a Checklist for Patient Handoffs,” is a joint research project with the UMHS Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Joel Gagnier ND, MSc, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is the PI and Joseph DeRosier, PE, CSP the Co-PI. A cognitive aid in the form of a checklist will be developed to facilitate the transfer of comprehensive patient information in a structured format to improve communication between physicians during handoffs. The checklist will be structured in the read verify format commonly used in the aviation industry. Observers will record the checklist during use to assess usability and timeliness. The effect of the handoff tool on patient safety will be assessed by the change in the number of adverse events related to handoffs from pre to post checklist implementation.