Jack Hu Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Jack Hu

Jack Hu

IOE Professor Jack Hu has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering “for methods for predicting and diagnosing root causes of product quality variation in multistage assembly systems.”

Professor Hu has led a pioneering research effort in quality engineering and multistage assembly systems and has devoted countless hours of service to the College of Engineering (as an associate dean) and to the University serving as the Vice President for Research. He is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. He teaches courses and conducts research manufacturing systems, assembly modeling, and statistical quality methods. He is a member of INFORMS, ASEE and SME, and a Fellow of ASME. He currently serves as the editor of SME Journal of Manufacturing Systems.

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

Thank You Donors!

These people gave gifts to the IOE Department in 2014. We truly appreciate your support!

Accenture Industrial and Operations Engineering Scholarship Fund
Kedrick and Lynette Adkins

Andrew S. Crawford Fund for Entrepreneurship Excellence
Barbara S. Osborn

Carlos and Clara Quintanilla Endowed Scholarship
Carlos R. Quintanilla

Center for Ergonomics Gift Account
Laith M. Nona

Clyde Johnson Memorial Fellowship Fund
David M. Giancola

Clyde W. Johnson Scholarship Fund
Thomas E. Grimshaw
J. R. Baker
Sonny S. Bloom
Michael R. Hamme
Michael & Eleanor Pinkert Foundation

Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety
Seth Bonder Foundation

Henrique Chang Scholarship Fund
Henrique Chang

Herman R. & Delores I. Rasch Scholarship Fund
Herman R. Rasch

Industrial & Operations Engineering Fellowship Fund
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
Anonymous Donor
William R. Barr
Don B. and Barbara A. Chaffin
Donald S. Bloswick
Mark S. Daskin
Lisa Davis
DMC Companies, LLC
Nancy W. Durance
Ergotek, Inc.
Steve J. Erlebacher
J. Paul Frantz
Michael J. Fry
Majid Jaridi
Carter J. Kerk
William M. Keyserling
Kerry E. Kilpatrick
David S. Kim
Terri M. Lynch-Caris
Marilyn J. Maddox
J. Michael Moore
Elaine D. Noon
Joan B. Plonka
Chittaranjan Jain
George J. Miller
Pfizer, Inc.
Rodney K. Schutz
Shiaw Y. Su
Jeanne L. M. Turner

Industrial and Operations Engineering Scholarship Fund
Anonymous Donor
Rebecca C. Branson
Ross B. Broms
Deloitte Foundation
Megan C. DeFauw
Mark A. Dobbie
Zachary M. Drennen
John P. Duker
Sherri M. Levers
Russell D. Meller
Merck & Co., Inc.
Murray James J. Pyle
Charles H. Rosa
Julie L. Somerville
Jim S. Yee
Ian C. Wild
Scott A. Williams
Christopher M. Wu

Industrial and Operations Engineering Special Gift Fund
Gerard A. Brosnan
David E. Browning
Chevron Corporation
Hyung In Chun
David A. Cohen
Lynn Congdon
Robert J. DeFauw
The Dow Chemical Company
Michael C. Fee
ExxonMobil Foundation
Sandra J. Foulke
Michael A. Grossman
Joseph H. Goldberg
Stephanie B. Hanks-Tingley
Barbara K. Harris
Donald J. Holtz
Wallace J. Hopp
John T. Illikman
William M. Keyserling
Donald J. Kunz
Richard M. Lynn
Lisa M. Mack
Daniel I. Manes
Richard J. Martin
Microsoft Corporation
J. Michael Moore
Rajeev A. Parlikarmucks
Murray James J. Pyle
Frederick J. Schanne
Percis Sholapurwalla
Ned J. Simpson
Richard and Donna Slayton
Nicholas J. Snow
Mary B. Soloy
Risa J. Sparks
Sherman D. Stenson
Chandra Varatharajan
Filmore Walker

IOE PhD Alumni Fund
Peter S. Benson
ExxonMobil Foundation
Ellen B. Hamilton
Donald L. Keefer
J. Michael Moore
Jack & Linda J. Muckstadt
Robert G. Sargent
Marlin U. Thomas

Jeff Mason Scholarship Fund
Millicent N. Mason

Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award
Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt
Kevin M. and Angela H. Gilligan Endowed Fund
Kevin M. Gilligan

Mark A. Van Sumeren Endowed Scholarship Fund
Mark A. Van Sumeren

Marlin U. and Susan K. Thomas Fund
Marlin U. Thomas

Master’s Program in Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety
Seth Bonder Foundation

Richard C. Wilson Faculty Scholarship Award Fund
Ranvir Trehan and Adarsh Trehan

Seth Bonder Endowment Fund
Seth Bonder Foundation

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

The Orchid Foundation Scholarship Fund
The Orchid Foundation

Thom J. and Grace P. Hodgson Family Fund
Thom J. Hodgson and Grace P. Hodgson

Timothy P. Gerios Endowed Scholarship Fund
Timothy P. Gerios

Walton M. Hancock Scholarship
Walt & Charlene Hancock

Department Chair’s Message

Mark DaskinWelcome to another issue of IOE News, our newsletter for alumni and friends of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. There’s a great deal of news I’m excited to share with you!

IOE faculty members have been keeping busy and are being recognized for their superb work. I am delighted to share that Jack Hu has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering and Judy Jin has been named an IIE Fellow. These are both prestigious and much deserved honors.

I’m always proud of our alumni. In this issue we highlight two who have taken career paths some might consider unusual for IOE graduates: Mike O’Connell is running his own winery and Alexander Melidis is pursuing a career in music. What is evident in both interviews is the profound impact their time at IOE had on each of them and how it continues to influence them today.

Our current students have earned some impressive awards and recognitions. Three of our students were recognized as James B. Angell Scholars for achieving an all “A” record for two or more consecutive terms.

We are excited to be beginning the process of redesigning the IOE website in concert with the College of Engineering’s Communications and Marketing group. I invite you to complete a short survey about your usage, likes, and dislikes of the current IOE website. The survey is anonymous unless you wish to add your name and email for further contact and your participation and feedback are greatly appreciated. The survey link is https://umich.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bvK5asjjxSa9wuF.

We’re always eager to highlight alumni news in this newsletter and on our website. If you have news of achievements and awards that we can share with the IOE community or would like to be featured in the Alumni Spotlight, please contact us at IOENewsletter@umich.edu.

In the spirit of keeping in touch, I’d like remind you that IOE has a Twitter account, @UMIOE, which you can follow for the most recent news and updates.

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

Student & Alumni Updates

Three IOE students were selected as James B. Angell Scholars: Eleanore An, Ariella Rose, and Ashwin Varghese. Students who achieve an all “A” record for two or more consecutive terms are recognized as James B. Angell Scholars.

IOE Ph.D. Candidate Fred Feng has been selected to receive the 2014-2015 M. Scheller Fellowship from the College of Engineering. This fellowship supplements graduate education support for the academic year.


Brandon Pitts and Rosemarie Figueroa

IOE PhD students Rosemarie Figueroa and Brandon Pitts were awarded ScholarPOWER Academic Awards at the College of Engineering’s ScholarPOWER banquet on February 3, 2015. The annual banquet honors top minority scholars in a wide range of engineering disciplines. As part of the awards ceremony, students interact with eminent guests that include leading business executives and professional engineers.

Rose Figueroa has also received a student research grant from the Foundation for Science and Disability for her work titled “Development of a 3-d anthropometric model for simulating hand work”.

IOE students Jordan Jackimowicz, Nate Janes, James Kaune, and Zach Thieme were awarded second prize in the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Regional Conference Technical Paper Competition for their paper titled “Parking Structure Feasibility For North Campus.” The paper details a simulation project dealing with the feasibility of building a multi-tiered parking structure on North Campus.

PhD Candidate Pooyan Kazemian has been selected to receive a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for the year 2015-2016. The award consists of a three term stipend and other benefits and supports outstanding doctoral students who have achieved candidacy and are actively working on dissertation research and writing.

IOE students Brian Lemay and George Tam along with Professor Amy Cohn are featured in a College of Engineering article discussing their research on how weather delays affect flight travel. They are also featured in an MconneX video on the same topic which can be viewed below.

A student team from The Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety was presented with an honorable mention award for their entry into the Society for Health Systems YouTube video contest at The 2015 Healthcare Systems Process Improvement (HSPI) Conference. The video was filmed and edited by Pamela Martinez Villarreal and features Sarah Bach, Vanessa Morales, Rama Mwenesi, and Billy Pozehl. The purpose of the contest was to create a video presentation which would excite high school students to become an IE in the healthcare industry or convince a current IE to pursue a career in healthcare. Their entry into the competition can be viewed below.

Craig Pote was awarded the Fall 2014 Andrew S. Crawford Award for Entrepreneurship Excellence for his work in IOE 422. Pote said of his award and business plan, “The business that I conceived, and that my team and I developed, was a metropolitan-based coffee chain called Primo Joe. What distinguishes Primo Joe from its competitors is an application that allows customers to pre-order their coffee on a customized, user-defined basis, and allows them to pick up orders from a heated locker and circumvent lines. Additionally, scheduling software allows workers to fulfil orders in bulk by displaying ingredient quantities, mixture ratios, and order routing information. Primo Joe aims to mitigate shortcomings inherent in the coffee industry by maximizing production volume and asset utilization and minimizing wasted time and resources. There were several exceptional candidates. I feel honored to receive the award. In addition to Karen Crawford, the IOE staff, and Professor David Tarver, I’d like to sincerely thank my teammates—Levi Smith, Kevin Michaud, Nicholas Fehrman, Leo Devota, and Paul Lee—without whom, I wouldn’t have received the award.”

Mark Daskin, Craig Pote, and Karen Crawford

Mark Daskin, Craig Pote, and Karen Crawford

Engineer by Day, Rock Star by Night

From the time he was a child, Alexander Melidis wanted to be a musician. Melidis, who goes by the name Zander Michigan when performing, was in his high school band and played in additional bands during high school. It wasn’t the last half of his undergraduate career in Industrial and Operations Engineering that he began writing songs.

egf7Zander graduated from The University of Michigan in April 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in IOE. In September 2013 he released his first album, Never Going Back Home. After that release he played a variety of venues in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and surrounding areas, including the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Now he’s following up that success with his sophomore album Zander the Great. The album was released online in February of 2015 and will have its official release party on March 29th at 7pm at Corktown Tavern in Detroit.

While his interest in IOE may not have developed quite as early as his love of music, Zander says, “I knew coming to U of M that I wanted to be in the College of Engineering and I figured IOE suited my strengths.” He is hoping to play to those strengths with a job at Ford Motor Company in the near future. Engineering and musicianship may not appear to go hand in hand but Zander says, “It’s exciting to be able to have that duality, engineer by day and rock star by night. Those are the two things that I excel in and that I do best and I’m glad to be able to do both of them.”

Zander spends a great deal of time getting word about his music out to fans, radio stations, and media. He attributes part of his success in promoting himself as a musician to his IOE education. “I took an entrepreneurship class (IOE 424) here that really helped me to see it as marketing. A lot of classes that I’ve taken [in IOE] helped me gain that professional viewpoint…. When you hand somebody a professional business card, right away they take you more seriously than some schmoe on the street handwriting something on a piece of paper saying ‘Oh, check my music out,’” he says and adds that he’d encourage all IOE students to take 424.

If you do get one of those professional business cards and decide to check Zander’s music out, you’ll likely find some relatable lyrics. “My approach is the lyrics always come first,” he says. “Everything you do in your daily life can be turned into a song…. That’s the approach that I take, taking every day sort of mundane things that people can relate to and jazz them up and make them exciting for people to hear about. All the rest of the music, once I have the lyrics, falls into place – melodies, rhythms, things like that.”

Though his songwriting process has remained the same in many ways, Zander describes his new album as drastic change from his first. “The first album was about as low budget as you could possibly get. I recorded that entire album in three hours in my cousin’s closet…. I actually went to a professional studio for this new one. And I started jamming along to the songs and making full band arrangements and actually fleshing out what I think the songs should sound like and I can’t even listen to the old record now…. It’s night and day to me and I hope that I can still keep progressing.”

egf8As if to challenge his professed ability to write music about anything, Professor Amy Cohn challenged Zander to write a song based on the IOE 310 course. Her suggested title was “The Simplex Degeneracy Pivot Blues.” Should that track ever be released, IOE News will be certain to feature it.

Zander credits Professor Cohn, who he describes as one of his biggest fans, with helping him through a period of indecision in his junior year as to whether to pursue a musical career. “She was one of the first people that counseled me and said ‘Hey, you’ve got to follow your heart.’ So I credit her a whole bunch for helping me through that whole period of indecision and helping me to understand and put into practical use what my calling was.”

Music isn’t his only calling, however. Zander hopes to additionally be putting his IOE degree to a more traditional use soon with the career opportunities he is exploring with Ford Motor Company. He’s also considering pursuing an MBA in the future.

Whatever his future holds, IOE has made a lasting impression on Zander. “I can’t thank IOE enough for straightening me out and making me into the young professional that I am…. Even if not necessarily in the more technical aspects, it puts you in a different caliber of person in your mindset more than anything, to have these goals and know how to achieve them and know how to work for them. You can apply it to any profession.”

Readers can learn more about Zander and his music at his website. He encourages current IOE students or anyone else with questions to reach out to him at zandermichigan@gmail.com.

Operational Efficiency Key to Alum’s Success in Wine Industry

egf3Mike O’Connell never envisioned himself owning a winery. So how did he end up the proprietor of Grayson Cellars whose Grayson Chardonnay just received its 10th straight Best Buy and whose Block 9 Pinot Noir was rated the best California Pinot Noir under $25 for the third year in a row, both by The Wine Advocate?

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering in 1993, O’Connell worked briefly at Cummins Manufacturing before returning to The University of Michigan to earn an MBA at Ross Business School. It was after graduating from Ross in 1997 that he was asked to run Mario Andretti’s winery in Napa, California. The invitation came from Andretti’s partner in the winery who O’Connell had met when he came to speak at an event at Ross.

When he first started his own company, O’Connell kept the planning simple. “I had a spreadsheet of financials to know how much capital we needed but spent no time dealing with office space, org charts or anything along those lines. We bottled some wine and I got out a pen and paper and started calling potential customers to see if I could send them samples. I still have those hand written notes today,” he says.

During his time at Michigan, O’Connell says IOE’s Professor Andrew Crawford was an important influence. O’Connell was part of a group of alumni who established the Andrew S. Crawford Award for Entrepreneurship Excellence in memory of Professor Crawford who founded IOE’s entrepreneurship course and taught it for 15 years. The award recognizes a top student in IOE 424 each semester. “Recognition at that stage in someone’s life goes a long way,” O’Connell says. “I wish Andy were here today to see how much entrepreneurial focus there is on the engineering campus. He’d be humbled to see what he started.”

He also notes that John Birge, then the IOE Department Chair, giving him the chance to serve as an IOE graduate student instructor when he was in the Ross program was a wonderful opportunity. And, in fact, his time at IOE as an undergrad helped prepare him for his time at Ross.

“A lot of those business classes [taken as an undergraduate in IOE] gave me a different perspective than I would have gotten in other engineering programs,” he explains. O’Connell says he was able to test out of many of the first year requirements at Ross because of the business focused courses he’d already taken in IOE which allowed him to explore a wider variety of classes during his MBA program then he might have been able to otherwise.

O’Connell says one invaluable concept he carried from his time at IOE into his work at Grayson Cellars is operational efficiency. “We started 11 years ago with a winemaker, my wife, and me. Today we sell wine in 50 states and 12 countries and it’s still just a winemaker, my wife, and me.”

Grayson Cellars focuses on doing what’s critical. “I figured out the three things that we need to do well to be successful and I spend my time on those things,” O’Connell says. Those three things are watching the company’s margins, making sure the product is top quality, and ensuring that customers believe in the brand.

“It’s been that focus that has prevented our business from getting more complicated as we’ve grown… Part of it is that what we do, we do efficiently. But, we’ve also decided not to do a lot of things. We don’t have a tasting room. We don’t have an event center. Part of operational efficiency, to me, is also knowing what not to do at all,” O’Connell says of his strategy.

In addition, he emphasizes the importance of time spent out of the office. “I also spend two hours each week by myself out of the office thinking about the business. My best ideas have never surfaced staring at a screen.”

To that end, he encourages his fellow entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs to try something that may seem a bit unusual, a week-long training session at SEALFIT that aspiring Navy SEALs attend. He says the program, which he participated in and now sometimes returns to as an instructor, helped him to focus on the moment in front of him and on controlling things that he could control.


“As an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to get stressed and to and let your mind think about a million different things… and part of the SEAL program is you can’t think about what’s not in front of you at the time. “ In addition to helping him at work, he says the lessons of SEALFIT also helped him compartmentalize and not bring his work home with him.

O’Connell hopes others will challenge themselves by attending the program and will see its benefits. “It’s amazing how mentally tough you sometimes need to be as an entrepreneur,” he says.

Judy Jin Elected IIE Fellow

Judy Jin

Judy Jin

Professor Judy Jin has been elected a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). This award recognizes outstanding leaders of the profession who have made significant, nationally recognized contributions to industrial engineering. A fellow is the highest classification of IIE membership. Professor Jin’s award will be presented during the IIE Annual Conference & Expo 2015, to be held May 30 – June 2 in Nashville.

Professor Jin’s teaching and research interests are primarily in the areas of industrial statistics and quality engineering. Her recent research focuses on data fusion for complex system modeling, design innovation, and performance improvement decision making, which requires integration of system control theory, signal processing, data mining, applied statistics, DOE, quality and reliability engineering. Her research has been applied to various automotive and semiconductor manufacturing processes, transportation, and human decision support systems.

She is an associate editor of International Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems and a board member of IIE Transaction on Quality and Reliability Engineering. She is a member of ASME, ASQC, IIE, INFORMS, and SME. She has received numerous awards including Excellence at the Student Interface Award, Best Paper Awards, and prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).


Faculty & Staff Updates

Professors Jim Bagian and Nadine Sarter were featured in a Michigan Today article on automated systems in aircraft. They discussed the pros and cons of increasingly automated systems.

Eunshin Byon

Eunshin Byon

Professor Eunshin Byon‘s paper, “Wind turbine operations and maintenance: A tractable approximation of dynamic decision-making”, has been awarded Best Applications Paper in IIE Transactions Focused Issue on Quality & Reliability Engineering for 2015. IIE Transactions is an official journal of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Professor Byon will be recognized at the Honors and Awards Banquet during the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference in Nashville, Tennessee held from May 30th to June 2nd, 2015.

Professor Amy Cohn has been selected as a recipient of the 2014-2015 College of Engineering Service Excellence Award. This recognition is in honor of the numerous undergraduate, master’s, and PhD students that she has supervised; her community service in the Ann Arbor public schools; her service to the Industrial & Operations Engineering Department including five terms on the Department Committee; her service to the College and the University including her work on the leadership committee of IHPI; and her leadership on national and international levels in healthcare and aviation.

Professor Amy Cohn was also interviewed on Michigan Radio to discuss her research on airline industry operations with emphasis on easing the flight delays caused by bad weather.

Don Chaffin

Don Chaffin

Professor Emeritus Don Chaffin has been selected to receive the inaugural College of Engineering Emeritus/Emerita Outstanding Service Award. The award recognizes the countless hours he continues to devote to the College and the profession including his work nominating CoE faculty members for membership in the NAE, his work in organizing the IOE PhD reunion, his work on the CoE Bicentennial Historical Preservation Committee, and his work on the NSF Workshop on Advanced Manufacturing. In addition, since his official retirement, he continues to actively serve the profession through his work on various editorial boards.

IOE Department Chair and Clyde W. Johnson Collegiate Professor, Mark Daskin, has been elected to faculty membership in The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, most selective, and most prestigious all-discipline honor society. Their mission is “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Professor Daskin was nominated by Dean David Munson for his outstanding accomplishments on behalf of the College of Engineering.

Professor Wally Hopp is quoted in a recent Forbes article online on the high cost of living in American cities.

IOE Professors Wally Hopp and Mark Van Oyen along with IOE Alumni Soroush Saghafian have had their paper chosen as one of five representing the best work in Manufacturing and Service Operations Managemen (MSOM). The paper is titled, “Complexity-Augmented Triage: A Tool for Improving Patient Safety and Operational Efficiency” and will be distributed to Deans and Department Heads to promote the journal. In addition, this paper won First prize in the 2012 INFORMS MSOM student paper competition, won University of Michigan College of Engineering 2011 Outstanding Ph.D. Research Award to advisee S. Saghafian, and earned SSRN’s Top Ten download list in Health Economics.

Professor Judy Jin has been named the Richard C. Wilson Faculty Scholar for a two-year period starting January 1, 2015. Professor Jin is an excellent student mentor who has placed students at some of the top universities and also has one of the best funded research programs of any of the IOE faculty.

Jon Lee

Jon Lee

Professor Jon Lee has been selected for the IOE Department Award for the 2014-2015 academic year. The award is to recognize a high impact accomplishment in research, teaching, or service benefiting the Department and the College.

Professor Yili Liu has received funding from the Ford Motor Company for his project titled “Computational Driver Modeling for the Evaluation of Multimodal Interactions between the Driver and In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems.” In contrast to the high cost and lengthy test time associated with traditional usability experiments with human participants, computational models of driver performance allow vehicle designers to explore a large design space quickly, not limited by hardware interface prototyping or human subject availability. In 2013-2014, a joint UM-Ford team (Yili Liu, UM PI) has developed a computational driver model based on the Queuing Network Cognitive Architecture developed by Yili Liu and his research group. The goal of the current project is to further develop this computational driver model to cover a broader range of multi-modal multi-task interactions between the driver, the vehicle, and in-vehicle infotainment Systems.

IOE Professor Matt Reed is featured in an article on the U-M Research blog about the research his group is performing on the safety and comfort of seating aboard military vehicles.

Gabriel Zayas-Caban, a postdoctoral research assistant in the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety, has been awarded a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship. His dissertation, written while he was a student at Cornell University, is titled “Dynamic Allocation of Healthcare Resources.” Beginning in 2011, the University of Michigan joined in a partnership with the University of California to offer postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at the University of Michigan. The program offers postdoctoral research fellowships in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), economics, and political science fields, coupled with faculty mentoring, professional development and academic networking opportunities.