<![CDATA[Student Spotlight: Jose Sarmiento Exemplifies True Leadership]]> 27511 A life of purpose through inspiration and leadership is the way Jose Sarmiento, an undergraduate student in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), plans to bring positive changes to the world. Sarmiento, who seems to always have an infectious smile on his face, humbly exemplifies his leadership skills in everything he does, whether it is playing a game of pick-up soccer, working with the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) at Georgia Tech, mentoring his fellow students, as a member of Alpha Pi Mu, or representing ISyE on the College of Engineering Undergraduate Advisory Council.

“Jose has been a wonderful addition to the newly formed Undergraduate Advisory Council in the College of Engineering,” said Gary May, Dean of the College of Engineering. “His insights are extremely helpful as we discuss issues and initiatives designed to enhance the educational experiences of our undergraduates.”

When choosing a school to pursue his dream of becoming a gifted leader, Sarmiento said the choice was no accident or quick decision. Beyond ISyE’s high rankings and excellent reputation, Sarmiento believed Georgia Tech would be action-oriented and could provide him with the momentum to achieve his goals to make a difference in the world. As a student, Sarmiento’s drive, passion, and leadership skills have been very evident to his classmates and the ISyE faculty.

According the Chen Zhou, associate chair for undergraduate studies at ISyE, “The most fitting word to describe Jose is ‘intensity.’  He is always intensely involved in whatever he is doing whether it is figuring out better strategies for IIE events, finding cases or projects to support his class work, or teaching incoming students how to land intern or co-op jobs.  Jose is smart, reliable, and modest. You can always count on him to give 100% to his activities and endeavors.”

Sarmiento’s desire to become an authentic leader was nurtured through his invaluable life experiences growing up in Venezuela. Working in a market back home, Sarmiento saw first-hand opportunities to improve output and moral. He plans to put his leadership and industrial engineering (IE) skills into action with a future career in agriculture. He believes a degree in IE will give him the tools and knowledge he needs to solve problems with a systematic approach, while empowering others. According to Sarmiento, the power of a leader is measured by how powerful he makes those who follow him.

For students considering coming to Georgia Tech to study at ISyE, Sarmiento encourages them to believe in themselves and their possibilities. In his opinion, persistence is much more important than getting it right the first time.

“There is a way for you to encompass something much bigger than yourself and it’s done through persistence, through courage, through always trying to move forward regardless of what happens,” reflects Sarmiento.

In addition to his studies and campus leadership activities, Sarmiento is participating in the Co-op program with Delta Cargo, where he is enjoying expanding his horizons as he gains real-world experience. He expects to graduate from ISyE in the fall of 2012.

]]> Ashley Daniel 1 1324316456 2011-12-19 17:40:56 1475896253 2016-10-08 03:10:53 0 0 news A life of purpose through inspiration and leadership is the way Jose Sarmiento, an undergraduate student in ISyE, plans to bring positive changes to the world.

]]>
2011-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-19 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

]]>
75051 75061 75051 image <![CDATA[Jose Sarmiento and Chen Zhou]]> image/jpeg 1449178046 2015-12-03 21:27:26 1475894688 2016-10-08 02:44:48 75061 image <![CDATA[Jose has been playing soccer since he was a child.]]> image/jpeg 1449178046 2015-12-03 21:27:26 1475894688 2016-10-08 02:44:48
<![CDATA[Alumni Spotlight: Evan Toporek, a third-generation apparel executive, is CEO of Alternative Apparel]]> 27511 A third-generation apparel executive, Evan Toporek, 1993 IE, is the CEO, partner, and member of the Board of Directors for Alternative Apparel, a leading lifestyle apparel brand that specializes in casual clothing for young men and women.  At Alternative Apparel, Toporek is responsible for establishing the company’s long-term business strategy and overseeing the execution of its core business functions including marketing, global distribution, customer service, and information systems. Since joining Alternative in 1998, he has led the company through aggressive revenue earnings and employee growth while maintaining a focus on his core values: “Treat everyone with respect. Don’t cut corners. And keep things in perspective.”

Toporek has worked hard to propel the company from a blank tee shirt manufacturer to one of the world’s fastest growing young contemporary lifestyle brands, with a growing roster of retailers in over 120 countries.  Under Toporek’s leadership, Alternative has garnered recognition from Inc. magazine as one of the “500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America,” received a prestigious 2009 Apparel All-Star Award and, most recently, was named one of Georgia’s “20 Fastest-Growing Mid-Market Companies” by Georgia Trend magazine.

ISyE: How did you end up in the fashion industry?

ET: My father and grandfather were in the industry, but I didn’t necessarily see myself following suit.  I worked for Andersen Consulting for five years after graduating and learned a great deal.  In my heart, though, I was more of an entrepreneur.  So I left to buy into Alternative and partner with the founder who had started the brand a year or so earlier.  We were introduced by a mutual friend.  At the time, 1998, all of the other entrepreneurs were seemingly starting or joining startup “.coms.”  I was old school, I guess.  I wanted to make and sell something tangible.  Something you could try on and get immediate satisfaction.  Something accessible.

ISyE: How would you describe your sense of style?  How would you describe Alternative Apparel’s sense of style?

ET: I’m casual.  I’m not a very corporate person and I don’t dress corporately.  I own a suit or two, but reserve those for funerals and really, really special occasions.  I’m no fashionista but I appreciate quality, something that fits right, feels good, and looks a little different.  I don’t believe cloning is a good thing when it comes to fashion.  Alternative is a casual, fashion basics line.  I think our greatest product quality is softness.  Everything we make is washed and softened so that it feels like you’ve owned it for many years.  It’s vintage inspired.  We draw inspiration from styles that were cool years ago and bring them back to life. 

ISyE: Tell me about Alternative Apparel’s sustainability mission.

ET: Around forty percent of our products fall under a sub brand called Alternative Earth, our eco-friendly line.  We broke down the manufacturing process and made small changes that we feel make a big difference in protecting our environment.  We use organic cotton, recycled polyester, low impact garment dyes, we re-use water in the washing process, but it still has a great wide color assortment and feels as soft as everything else we sell.  Our eco-friendly garments are certified as such and we perform random audits of our factories to guarantee this.  In our offices, showrooms, and our store, we use found objects from flea markets and bring them back to life as fixtures and interior decoration.  Someone else’s trash is our treasure.  These are small things that can make a big difference.

ISyE: How do you apply your industrial engineering skills to your role at Alternative Apparel?

ET: Specifically, I can certainly handle the details of any conversation related to warehousing, supply chain management, and information systems.  I’m not using the formulas I learned, but Tech taught me how to solve problems and I use that skill every single day.

ISyE: Do you think your IE degree has contributed to your success?

ET: Without question.  Not because of the formulas that I learned, but because of the problem solving skills that became ingrained and second nature to me.  Most entrepreneurs live and die by what I call “sticky note” solutions.  They might get you through the day or week but you’ll be ripping another sticky note off the pad sooner than later.  I think the training I got at Tech has helped me create solutions in all areas of our company, from end to end, that are far longer lasting.  And most of them tie back to systems.  Tech introduced me to the power of information systems.

ISyE: What prompted you to get a degree in industrial engineering?
 

ET: It was an engineering degree which I coveted, and a degree in industrial engineering was open ended and was applicable to many roles in many industries.  Heck, there are plenty of doctors and lawyers out there with IE degrees.  It established the foundation but didn’t pigeon hole me.  It got me ready for the real world, but allowed me to defer the decision of choosing what I wanted to do next.  I wanted to get out and work and I didn’t want to go to graduate school.  I’m not sure there is another degree at any other institution that prepares you better to enter the workforce straight out of college.

ISyE: What advice do you have for students of ISyE?

ET: Try to relate your class work to real life experience.  I worked in a warehouse every summer in high school and got to know the business pretty well.  I always tried to relate my IE class work back to that business the best I could.  Connecting book examples to real world examples helped me grasp the concepts.  Take advantage of the Senior Design projects, Co-op, and summer internships to match class work with job work where you can.  Also, take a sales job at some point in school.  Sell something door to door.  Wrapping paper.  Tee shirts.  Whatever.  Sales - it’s the one skill that I don’t think can be learned in a class, but it is absolutely critical in work.  Whether you are selling your products to a customer, or selling an idea to a co-worker or a boss, it’s as important as any other skill you can acquire.

ISyE: What is the most important thing you learned while at ISyE?

ET: I learned that there is a science involved in decision making.  I learned that you can make smarter decisions with factual evidence when it’s available.  I learned how to get to that evidence in school.  I use that skill every day.  Trusting your gut is important when no information is available, but confirming your gut feel with information gives you a far better chance of doing something right.

ISyE: Is there any one person who has been an inspiration to you?

ET: Not one person in particular.  I try to take a little bit of what I like from many people and use it myself.  I draw inspiration from my family though.   My wife, my parents, my siblings…they all give me far more confidence than I would have on my own.  In many ways, my drive has come from wanting to make those I’m closest with proud of me.

ISyE: What is the best advice you have received?

ET: Customer experience is just as important as product differentiation.

ISyE: Can you tell us one interesting thing about yourself, that you don’t mind me sharing with the rest of the world?

ET: I eat a mountain of ice cream every night…every single night.  I’m convinced it keeps me thin.  Perhaps I should start a new diet craze?

ISyE: What is your favorite flavor?

ET: Edy’s Grand Rocky Road.  Definitely.

ISyE: What would you be doing if you weren’t doing what you are doing?

ET: Something in Sports Management.  D-Rad, keep me in mind one day.

For more information about Alternative Apparel, visit their website at www.alternativeapparel.com.  Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/alternativeapparel and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/alternativeapp.

]]> Ashley Daniel 1 1322558949 2011-11-29 09:29:09 1475896242 2016-10-08 03:10:42 0 0 news Evan Toporek, 1993 IE, is the CEO, partner, and member of the Board of Directors for Alternative Apparel, a leading lifestyle apparel brand that specializes in casual clothing for young men and women.

]]>
2011-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2011-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2011-11-29 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

]]>
73087 73087 image <![CDATA[Evan Toporek, CEO of Alternative Apparel]]> image/jpeg 1449177979 2015-12-03 21:26:19 1475894671 2016-10-08 02:44:31
<![CDATA[Alumni Spotlight: Ramson Siblings Make Their Dream a Reality]]> 27511 Sherri Ramson (IE 2011) and Eric Ramson (IE 2011), a brother and sister duo from South Florida, recently graduated from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). Unlike most traditional ISyE undergraduate students, Sherri and Eric decided to make their dream of earning a college degree a reality after being in the workforce for ten years.  With the support of their family and each other, Sherri and Eric graduated from ISyE with high honors.

Since graduating, Sherri has been working as a consultant at Clarkston Consulting, and Eric is a software implementation consultant at Power Plan Consultants. They both share a common goal for the future: never stop learning.

ISyE:  What prompted you to pursue your undergraduate degree after being in the workforce for ten years?  Was it something you always wanted to do?

SR:  I would have liked to go to college after high school, but it always seemed like an unrealistic option for me. I come from a family of a single mom with three kids, and no influential adults in my life had a college degree. Finances were tight and school was expensive. My mother doesn’t have a degree, but she has an amazing work ethic and a constant desire to succeed in life. She instilled those values in me and my brothers, and it helped me to excel professionally. I worked for a few companies and was always put on the fast track to management. I came to a point where I was on a great track to make a career out of retail management. But I wanted more. I wanted something more challenging.  

ER:  I always wanted to go to school, but as Sherri stated, I didn’t really have the opportunity.  Although I had a relatively successful career, I never felt that I was intellectually challenged at my job.  After talking it over with my wife, then girlfriend, Sandra, we came up with a plan to send me to college.  Without Sandra’s encouragement and influence, I probably would have never gone to college.

ISyE:  What influenced your decision to study at Georgia Tech?

SR:  Both Eric and I were attracted to Georgia Tech because it had the #1 IE program in the nation.

ISyE:  How was it that you and your sibling decided to get your degree at the same time, and at the same school?

SR:  We both had toyed around with the idea, and then Eric started talking about really taking the steps and moving to Georgia to pursue a degree from Georgia Tech. The more we talked, the more we realized how much we could be there and support each other. I was nervous about going back to school, but when Eric told me I wouldn’t be alone, I knew this was the time to take the leap or I may never go.

ISyE:  Did you both have the same class schedule?  In what ways did you support each other with your work load?

SR:  Though we didn’t always have the same schedule, were always there to motivate each other. We each have different skills and were able to combine those.

ER:  We always had a reliable study and homework partner in each other. We each have different strengths and skills, which made us a great team.

ISyE:  How do you think your “non-traditional” undergraduate experience compares to that of a traditional one?

ER: Our experience was very different than that of a traditional undergraduate experience. We missed out on the social side of things, like living in dorms and being involved in Greek life. It had been some time since we had been in a classroom, and there were many times when we fell behind in the information needed for the class. The age difference automatically makes you feel a little different. At first this seemed like a negative trait to have, but as we got to know more students, we realized we had a lot to offer them by having some real world work experience. We felt at times almost like an unspoken mentor. 

On the plus side, we were very focused and able to appreciate the value in learning the material. We viewed the classroom in the same way we would a work office, and treated it with the same maturity and professionalism.

ISyE:  What was your favorite spot on campus?

ER:  The ISyE main building was near most of our classes where we did most of our studying, and there was a microwave there.

SR:  Juniors was my favorite spot on campus, and our favorite place to eat.  We were always looking for an excuse to go there. Sadly, it closed.

ISyE:  What is your fondest memory of your Georgia Tech experience?

SR:  Graduation day at the Dome when Professor Chen Zhou walked over and shook my hand, congratulated me, and wished me luck on my future. That was the moment I realized I did it!

ER:  The week before we started at Tech, Sherri and I snuck into the IC building.  We walked around, looked at the classrooms, and talked about what we thought it would be like to go to Tech.  We were both so excited at the opportunity to go to such a prestigious school.

ISyE:  You both graduated with high honors.  What do you feel contributed to your academic success?

SR:  Determination. We both knew how great the opportunity to attend college was for us. We had both had a challenging path just to get there, and knew that we were setting the example for future generations. We didn’t want to just get through it, we wanted to achieve success.

ISyE:  What is the most important thing you learned while at ISyE?

ER: Both of us agree that learning how to handle any problem presented to us was very important. In ISyE, you are given problems outside of your scope of knowledge. You have to be able to do research to find answers, leverage all available resources , and break the problem down into small achievable pieces. You gain a special confidence after solving a few problems that seemed impossible in the beginning.

ISyE:  What advice would you give to a student considering coming to Georgia Tech to study ISyE?

SR:  Be prepared to find answers outside of the classroom. The professors give you work that is beyond what is covered in the lecture, and you have to learn how to research and solve problems on your own. It’s hard and can be frustrating at times, but it prepares you to have confidence when faced with something outside of your comfort zone—a valuable tool to have when starting a career.

ER:  Be prepared to work hard!

ISyE:  Can you tell us one interesting thing about yourself, that you don’t mind us sharing with the rest of the world?

ER:  I’m happily married and the father of a three and half year old daughter , who was born my second year of college.  My family has served as my support structure; I don’t think I would have done so well at Georgia Tech if it weren’t for them.

]]> Ashley Daniel 1 1320225263 2011-11-02 09:14:23 1475896238 2016-10-08 03:10:38 0 0 news Sherri Ramson and Eric Ramson, a brother and sister duo who recently graduated from ISyE, pursued a degree at Georgia Tech after being in the workforce for ten years.

]]>
2011-11-02T00:00:00-04:00 2011-11-02T00:00:00-04:00 2011-11-02 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

]]>
72295 72296 72295 image <![CDATA[Sherri and Eric after graduation.]]> image/jpeg 1449177454 2015-12-03 21:17:34 1475894653 2016-10-08 02:44:13 72296 image <![CDATA[Sherri and Eric at Junior's Grill.]]> image/jpeg 1449177454 2015-12-03 21:17:34 1475894653 2016-10-08 02:44:13
<![CDATA[Student Spotlight: Breona Jenkins is at the top of her class]]> 27511 Breona Jenkins, an undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), is among the top of her class for academic achievement and leadership. On track to graduate in the spring of 2013, Jenkins is the recipient of the Jack C. Webb Scholarship, Women in Engineering Scholarship, and the Atlanta Gas Light Scholarship. In addition to her high honors, Jenkins holds several leadership and extracurricular positions such as Tau Beta initiate, FASET leader, Kids@Kollege committee chair, peer advisor for the Office of International Education, Team BUZZ project coordinator, and member of the Mentor and Mentee Program with Women in Engineering.

Read the following interview to learn more about Breona.

ISyE:  Finish the sentence: Few people know that…

BJ:  My two passions are dancing and Spanish. I am the vice president of the Spanish Speaking Organization, and a member of the Ballroom Dance Club at Georgia Tech. I studied abroad last summer in Spain and Mexico, and hope to travel back one day soon. If I could use my engineering skills to assist in furthering the development of the Mexican infrastructure, it would be a dream.

ISyE:  Is there any one person who has been an inspiration to you or someone that you consider your hero? Who and why?

BJ:  My mother is my inspiration. As a soldier for the Army Reserve, she is also my hero. She has always been there for me to encourage me in my pursuits, advise me when I have a problem, and give me confidence in my abilities. She is a strong woman who has shown me that I can overcome any struggles that I may have in life.

ISyE: Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from originally?

BJ:  Originally born in Flint, MI, I moved to Woodstock, GA in 2005 and where I attended high school. I enjoy music, cooking, reading, rock climbing, and being involved on campus to meet new people.

ISyE: What motivated you to come to Georgia Tech?

BJ:  Georgia Tech is an amazing Institute and always in the top ten of public colleges in the nation. That reputation attracted me to Tech. In high school, I loved math and science, and I felt that Tech would give me an opportunity to pursue my interests and guide me to a career path that I would love.

I initially came to Georgia Tech as pre-architecture, but after completing a Senior Project with two practicing architects, I decided that it was not my passion. Still fascinated with science and math, I decided to pursue engineering. After much research, I chose industrial engineering, as it would offer me great flexibility in my choice of profession, and I would have the opportunity to interact with both people and machines on a daily basis.

ISyE: I understand that you participate in the Co-op program.  Tell me about your experience.

BJ:  I am in my second rotation as a co-op at Manhattan Associates, a supply chain software company where I work as a consultant. My day-to-day job includes testing issues, creating reports for the issues, and participating in conference calls with clients to resolve any concerns they have.

ISyE:  What has been your favorite IE course so far?

BJ:  ISyE 2028. I learned the software “R” and found that Statistics is a powerful tool that can be utilized in everyday life. Also, my professor, Heeyoung Kim, was enthusiastic about her position and made me excited about statistics as well.

ISyE:  What is something every student should do while at Georgia Tech?

BJ:  Every student at Tech should see a DramaTech play, go to a show at the Ferst Theater, spend a night in Tech Rec, and take advantage of the facilities in the CRC.

ISyE:  Tell me about a favorite ISyE experience you have had.

BJ:  I found my probability class quite interesting, especially after I started to fully understand it. One day, my professor was speaking on a particular topic and he proclaimed, “It’s like magic. It is magic, in fact. It’s probability!” It was one of the funniest moments in my ISyE career.

ISyE:  What are your prospective career goals?

BJ:  In the future, I hope to help others through service and through my profession. I would like to have a career that involves some travelling, holds my interests and challenges me, and also allows me to help humanity in some way - no matter how small or large. One of my biggest goals is to own a restaurant. It would be wonderful to use my engineering skills to be successful in the culinary arena.

ISyE:  What was the last book you read for pleasure?

BJ:  Crossfire by Dick and Felix Francis. Now I am reading I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman.

ISyE:  What piece of technology could you not live without?

BJ:  I could not live without my laptop. I store all pictures, music, and documents on it and it has been with me through all of my college years.

ISyE:  What music do you listen to?

BJ:  I love all music. Especially John Mayer, Teena Marie, Usher, NeverShoutNever, Reik, and Linkin Park.

ISyE:  What is your favorite spot on campus?

BJ:  Campanile hands down. It’s a reminder of the beauty and focus of the Tech community, and the changing of the colors is reminiscent of the growth that each student experiences while at Tech.

ISyE:  What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

BJ:  Life is what you make it.

ISyE:  What advice would you give a student considering coming to Georgia Tech to study at ISyE?

BJ:  I would suggest that the student keeps an open mind, studies hard, and explores different options in the ISyE major, as well as the clubs and organizations at Tech.

]]> Ashley Daniel 1 1318868734 2011-10-17 16:25:34 1475896230 2016-10-08 03:10:30 0 0 news Breona Jenkins, an undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), is among the top of her class for academic achievement and leadership.

]]>
2011-10-17T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-17T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-17 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

]]>
71504 71505 71504 image <![CDATA[This past spring, Breona and her dance partner, Drew Loney, competed in a dance competition at UNC Charlotte.]]> image/jpeg 1449177386 2015-12-03 21:16:26 1475894637 2016-10-08 02:43:57 71505 image <![CDATA[Breona Jenkins during her study abroad in Spain]]> image/jpeg 1449177386 2015-12-03 21:16:26 1475894639 2016-10-08 02:43:59
<![CDATA[Alumni Spotlight: Ran Jin Pursues a Career in Academia]]> 27511 After receiving his PhD from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), Ran Jin has accepted a position as an assistant professor at the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech (VT). Jin, who has always wanted to pursue a career in academia, is excited about starting his career. According to Jin, several features attracted him to his current position such as the flexibility to determine his research focus, the interaction with young people, the teaching and self-learning, and ability to measure his career success by the students’ success.

During his time in ISyE, Jin was the recipient of several prestigious awards including: 2010 INFORMS QSR Best Student Paper Award Finalist for “Reconfigured Piecewise Linear Regression Tree for Multistage Manufacturing Process Control”, Runner-up for the 2008 Best Poster Award for “Intermediate Adjustment Feedforward Control,” in the College of Engineering Graduate Symposium, and the 2007 Forging Industry Educational & Research Foundation Scholarship.

To learn more about Ran Jin, continue reading the interview that follows.

ISyE:  Ran Jin, what motivated you to achieve your career goals?

RJ:  When I was a kid, my father told me: “You can't expect to be both grand and comfortable.”  Now, even if I am having great difficulty achieving my career objective, I feel being persistent seems to be the only choice.  I want to contribute something in my area when I still have the chance. 

ISyE:  Tell us about yourself.

RJ:  I was born in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China. My hometown is famous for panda bear and spicy food. I received my bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.  Afterwards, I joined Professor Jan Shi’s research group at the University of Michigan where I received a master’s degree in statistics, as well as in industrial engineering.

Outside of work, I enjoy photography, kayaking, and reading books, specifically history and economics related. I enjoy cooking, and I seldom repeat what I cook because I always want to try something new. 

ISyE:  What influenced your decision to get your PhD at Georgia Tech?

RJ:  Professor Shi heavily influenced my decision to pursue a PhD at Georgia Tech. I think the most important part of the PhD study is to find a good advisor. A good advisor can lead you to the objective that you want to achieve. A good advisor is a tour guide to help you quickly explore the areas that you might have interests in. Professor Shi is such a good advisor.  When Professor Shi decided to join the faculty at Georgia Tech, I wanted to transfer with him, and I feel that was probably the best decision I ever made.  Another aspect that drew me to Georgia Tech was the size of the ISyE faculty. I was happy to have so many faculty members in our department, with flexible course choices and many research collaboration opportunities. 

ISyE:  Tell us about a favorite or most memorable ISyE experience you had.

RJ:  I highly enjoyed the seminars given by world class scholars invited to our department.  As a graduate student, the learning, dialog, and questions with these scholars helped me understand what defines good research, and what makes that research outstanding in the academic society. 

ISyE:  What is something every student should do while at Georgia Tech?

RJ:  Go workout at the CRC! As a student, balancing work and life is important.  Besides, how many students from other schools have a chance to go workout on an Olympic site?

ISyE:  Where was your favorite spot on the Georgia Tech campus?

RJ:  The lawn beside the ISyE and Instructional Center buildings. From this spot, I enjoyed many picnics and beautiful views of the campus.

ISyE:  What have you been doing since finishing your PhD last April?

RJ:  I moved to a new place and joined the VT faculty.  Joining the VT faculty is a completely new start for me. It means challenges, and also opportunities.  Being outstanding in this top IE department of the country is not easy, but fortunately I have a lot of great colleagues to learn from.  

ISyE:  Would you say that ISyE prepared you for your current position?

RJ:  ISyE prepared me for almost every aspect of my current position. ISyE has one of the best industrial engineering programs in this country, with teaching and research being performed by some of the best scholars in the field.

ISyE:  What do you do to make learning more engaging for students?

RJ:  I use multiple types of media, such as video and images, to help students link new material to information they already know.  I teach students how to solve real-world problems, rather than focusing on textbook problems.

ISyE:  What piece of technology could you not live without as an instructor?

RJ:  PowerPoint. Without the PowerPoint presentation, it is hard to use video, photos, or data plots to illustrate the ideas behind the problems I teach.

ISyE:  Tell us a little bit about your PhD thesis and current research.

RJ:  My thesis is about how to manufacture products with better quality.  To improve the quality, we need to understand the relationship between the quality and the important factors to change the quality.  Nowadays, the manufacturing system becomes more complex, and we may have limited knowledge about this relationship from an engineering perspective.  On the other hand, the advancement of sensing technology gives us a data-rich manufacturing environment.  My thesis is about how to integrate the engineering domain knowledge and operational data to model the manufacturing process, and improve the quality.  I applied this methodology in the semiconductor manufacturing processes.

My current research involves engineering driven data fusion in manufacturing system modeling and quality improvements, with specific interests in the variation reduction in product realization and manufacturing scale-up, and quality engineering based on high definition profile data.

ISyE:  What is your favorite book?

RJ:  Modern History of China, by Tsiang, Tingfu. The reason why this is my favorite book is that the author has a completely new angle and new evidence to show the history of China from years 1840 to year 1911, with only 50,000 Chinese characters (It could be very challenging even with 500,000 Chinese characters).   I believe this should be the first book to read to understand the Chinese modern history. Dr. Tsiang’s personal experiences are also interesting to me. He was a faculty member at Tsinghua University in the 1920s, where I completed my undergraduate degree.

Recently, I have been reading Economic Imperialism, by Wuchang Zhang.

ISyE:  What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

RJ:  Actually I got two from my advisor Prof Shi about how to work efficiently:

“Have a beginning and an end.”

“Only Handle It Once” (OHIO)

]]> Ashley Daniel 1 1319100638 2011-10-20 08:50:38 1475896230 2016-10-08 03:10:30 0 0 news After receiving his PhD from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), Ran Jin has accepted a position as an assistant professor at the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech (VT).

]]>
2011-10-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-20 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

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71628 71629 71628 image <![CDATA[Ran Jin received his PhD from Georgia Tech ISyE]]> image/jpeg 1449177396 2015-12-03 21:16:36 1475894639 2016-10-08 02:43:59 71629 image <![CDATA[Ran Jin]]> image/jpeg 1449177396 2015-12-03 21:16:36 1475894639 2016-10-08 02:43:59
<![CDATA[Student Spotlight: President’s Scholar Connor Perkett]]> 27511 Connor Perkett, a President’s Scholar (PS) at Georgia Tech, is a second year undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) on track to graduate in the spring of 2014. Perkett is a member of Lambda Sigma Honor Society, an honorary organization for sophomores dedicated to leadership and service. He is also a host for Connect with Tech, Georgia Tech’s recruitment program. Perkett, who was born in Connecticut and raised in Lake George, New York, was first drawn to Georgia Tech through the President’s Scholarship Program, which was designed for students who have been identified as being capable of making significant contributions, both in and out of the classroom.

ISyE:  Tell me a little about yourself.

CP:  I am a second year undergraduate student at ISyE and have loved every bit of it!  The PS program really drew me to Tech because it is like a family- the connectedness and kindness of the program really shines through.

ISyE:  What motivated you to come to Georgia Tech?

CP:  Georgia Tech had a perfect balance of a work hard/play hard mentality that I couldn’t find at other schools. The classes are very rigorous and challenging, but the sports are always there to cheer on the Yellow Jackets! I also wanted to go to a place where I could find some diversity and try something new- something I didn’t have in upstate New York.

ISyE:  What piqued your interest in becoming an industrial engineer?

CP:  Throughout high school, I have always loved working with numbers and anything scientific. However, at the same time, I loved business and the decisions that are made in the business realm of companies. Therefore, ISyE was the best combination of the things I enjoy, and it is something that I can be happy about the rest of my life.

ISyE:  Who is your favorite professor and why?

CP:  I would definitely have to say John D. Cressler who is currently teaching COE 3002 for management and technology, as well as the Honors Program. He really cares about every student learning the material and gives that extra push. He wants to see every student succeed to the best of their ability.

ISyE:  Favorite IE course so far and why?

CP:  I have just started taking ISyE courses this semester, my first course being ISyE 2027. It is interesting thus far.

ISyE:  What is something every student should do while at Georgia Tech?

CP:  Study Abroad! Georgia Tech has an amazing study abroad program, and there is something for everyone’s taste. After my freshman year, I decided to go on the Oxford Study Abroad program which was definitely the greatest experience of my life. The places we traveled, the friends we made, and the fun we had surpass anything I have ever experienced before. The Office of International Education works with each student to give them the best experience they could ever imagine.

ISyE:  What are your prospective career goals?

CP:  I really want to concentrate in financial optimization and then find the perfect school to get my MBA. From there, I just want to find a job that will make me happy, which could include non-profits, managerial positions, business transactions, or something in the amusement park industry.

ISyE:  What are some of your non-academic interests?

CP:  I enjoy being on the Student Center Programs Council concert committee, which plans the homecoming concerts and other live performances throughout the year. I also enjoy sports, hiking, travelling, working with disabled children, playing percussion, listening to music, and exploring Atlanta.

ISyE:  How do you spend your free time?

CP:  I really enjoy trying new things with friends, whether it be different kinds of foods, exploring new places, or running distances I have never ran before. However, sitting down and taking a quick rest is always nice too!

ISyE:  What was the last book you read for pleasure?

CP:  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Objectivism at its best.

ISyE:  What piece of technology could you not live without?

CP:  Transistors- they are literally in everything.

ISyE:  What music do you listen to?

CP:  I love all kinds of music, but I really appreciate bands that can perform live. The experience of a live concert cannot match that of a disc.

ISyE:  What is your favorite spot on campus?

CP:  Bobby Dodd Stadium; there’s nothing like game day.

ISyE:  Tell me about one of your accomplishments?

CP:  My greatest accomplishment occurred in ninth grade. Unfortunately, I used to be a very obese child growing up, but in ninth grade I decided to change that. I was fed up being so out of shape. Throughout the next six months, by watching what I ate and going to the gym four times a week, I was able to work off sixty pounds. Ever since then, I have been able to maintain a proper weight/muscle ratio.

ISyE:  What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

CP:  Wherever you go in your future, never forget where you’ve been and the people that have touched you. 

ISyE:  Is there any one person who has been an inspiration to you or someone that you consider your hero? Who and why?

CP:  I would definitely have to say my parents. They have sacrificed so much to raise my family and make sure that all of us succeed. I will definitely model my family style off of them.

ISyE:  Finish the sentence: Few people know that...

CP:  I have eight brothers and sisters- five of which are adopted; three from China, and two from Guatemala.

]]> Ashley Daniel 1 1318516328 2011-10-13 14:32:08 1475896226 2016-10-08 03:10:26 0 0 news Connor Perkett, a President’s Scholar (PS) at Georgia Tech, is a second year undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) on track to graduate in the spring of 2014. Perkett is a member of Lambda Sigma Honor Society, an honorary organization for sophomores dedicated to leadership and service.

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2011-10-13T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-13T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-13 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

]]>
71268 71268 image <![CDATA[Connor at a Georgia Tech football game]]> image/jpeg 1449177367 2015-12-03 21:16:07 1475894632 2016-10-08 02:43:52
<![CDATA[Student Spotlight: Adjoa Aka]]> 27511 Adjoa Aka, an undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), is volunteering with the Georgia Tech chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-GT) in their fundraising efforts as they prepare to send a team of students to Cameroon, Africa in December to implement a clean water distribution system.  According to Aka, who is originally from Togo, a country in West Africa, working with EWB-GT is a way for her to “give back”.  When asked what motivates her to give back, she stated that giving back brings her so much joy.  Even when she was in Africa, she tutored children as a way to serve her community.  According to Aka, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described it best when he said, “Everyone can be great, because anyone can serve… you only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.”

Aka also volunteers her time to help African refugee families as they adjust to a new life in the United States, specifically encouraging them to further their education.  In addition to her volunteer work, Aka is a member of the Student Alumni Association and the African Students Association at Georgia Tech.

To learn more about Aka, continue reading the interview that follows.

ISyE How are you contributing to EWB-GT’s fundraising efforts?

AA:  I have been helping the fundraising team on a project to implement a clean water distribution system in Cameroon, Africa.  I have been making phone calls and distributing information to potential sponsors who may be interested in supporting this trip, and EWB-GT in general.  Gifts in support of this project will assist with travel expenses, as well as the cost of construction for the water distribution system, solar pump, and storage tank.

ISyEFor any of our readers who would like to help support this project, where can they go for more information?

AA:  That would be great!  Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the Georgia Tech Foundation in support of EWB-GT can contact Nancy Sandlin, the director of development for ISyE, at 404-385-7458, or nsandlin@isye.gatech.edu.

ISyE: What have you enjoyed most about working with EWB-GT?

AA:  EWB-GT is 100% run by students.  It is amazing that students can take what they learn in class and apply it to such a great cause.  For example, Georgia Tech students are responsible for designing the water tank and water distribution system which will be used in Cameroon. 

ISyE: How do you plan to apply what you are learning as an ISyE student to EWB-GT?

AA:  As an industrial engineering student, I plan on working with the team to offer more efficient and cost effective ways to help those in need.  For example, I can use statistical data to determine how much water a community needs each day, or to assist in finding out the probability of disease in the water.  I hope to have the opportunity to travel with EWB-GT, and work on location. 

ISyEWith the strenuous work load from your classes, how do you have time to volunteer?

AA:  It is always easy to find time for things we love.  When I have a little free time away from my books, I find time to do what I am passionate about.

ISyEWhat motivated you to pursue a degree in industrial engineering?

AA:  I have always known I wanted to be an engineer, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity I wanted to pursue this field.  My strength lies in mathematics and problem-solving.  As an industrial engineer, I can use my strengths for the good of humanity, helping underprivileged communities, which is where my passion lies.

ISyEWhat are your hobbies and interests?

AA:  I enjoy Agbadja, a traditional dance from my home in Togo, and listening to soukousse and zouk music, popular music in African culture.  I also like to travel and explore other cultures.  On my last visit to Africa, I visited Benin, my family’s native country, to learn more about my heritage. 

ISyEWhat is your favorite thing to do on the Georgia Tech campus?

AA:  The Georgia Tech Christian Campus Fellowship (CCF) is a great place to meet fellow students and make friends here on campus.  I enjoy attending the CCF events and listening to their guest speakers.

ISyEHow do you hope to contribute to society, making the world a better place, as an industrial engineer?

AA:  Using my skills as an industrial engineer, I hope to work with disadvantaged communities, helping them gain access to such basic needs as clean water, food, and healthcare. 

]]> Ashley Daniel 1 1315847933 2011-09-12 17:18:53 1475896209 2016-10-08 03:10:09 0 0 news Adjoa Aka, an undergraduate student in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), is volunteering with the Georgia Tech chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-GT) in their fundraising efforts as they prepare to send a team of students to Cameroon, Africa in December to implement a clean water distribution system.

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2011-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-14T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-14 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

]]>
69961 71509 69961 image <![CDATA[Adjoa Aka (R) and Adam Drozek (L), EWB-GT project leader and civil engineering student, review the group's water distribution plans for Cameroon.]]> image/jpeg 1449177275 2015-12-03 21:14:35 1475894614 2016-10-08 02:43:34 71509 image <![CDATA[Adjoa Aka]]> image/jpeg 1449177386 2015-12-03 21:16:26 1475894639 2016-10-08 02:43:59
<![CDATA[Alumni Spotlight: Retired Two-Star General Ron Johnson Leads NBA Refs]]> 27328 Ron Johnson (MS OR 1985), retired two-star general and graduate of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), oversaw the Army Corps of Engineers’ $18 billion reconstruction of Iraq in 2003 and 2004 and then supervised the clean-up of the Gulf Coast after hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now Johnson is guiding the nation's top basketball officials in his capacity as the NBA's senior vice president of referee operations.

For Johnson, his transition from the combat theater to the basketball arena isn’t as broad a leap as one might think. In fact, in a recent interview in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) Johnson stated that, “you should never be surprised that an industrial engineer [IE] is anywhere,” particularly given ISyE’s status as the number-one ranked graduate program in industrial engineering in the nation. IEs take real-life situations, Johnson explains, “and through our analytical talents, we make them better.”

Believing that the value of any level education at Georgia Tech, regardless of the field of study, is measured by the success of its graduates around the world, Johnson is committed to helping students pursue their goals at Tech and take their skills into the world. To that end, he has endowed two scholarships at Georgia Tech -- the Ronald L Johnson Scholarship for African American students who have financial needs and are pursuing a degree in the Stewart School of ISyE and the Ronald L Johnson Roll Call Scholarship Endowment Fund. Johnson shared that he feels blessed to have the opportunity to do this, and he thinks “that it is right to give back when I've been blessed with so much.” 

Prior to earning his master's at Tech, Johnson graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he received a bachelor of science degree with a concentration in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering.  He is also a "Jedi Warrior" graduate of the Army's elite School of Advanced Military Studies, where he earned a Master's in Strategic Planning. Johnson has received executive leadership and national security training at Harvard University, Gallup University, George Washington University, the University of Virginia, and the Center for Creative Leadership. He was an Army War College Fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

In the interview that follows, Johnson explains how his IE degree has helped him both in his military career and now in the NBA and what his relationship to Georgia Tech means to him.

 ISyE:  You have had quite an illustrious career as a two-star general and then with the Army Corps of Engineers before heading the NBA's referee operations. How has your IE degree helped you as a two-star general and working in the Army Corps of Engineers?

R.J.: I would like to think that my successes from the day that I left GeorgiaTech to the day that I retired from the military were somehow influenced by my experiences at Tech in many ways. The diversity of the student body, the rigor of the Masters in OR program at Tech -- all of that helped me. To be specific, as the Gulf Region division commander in the Corps, understanding a systems approach to a large-scale program/project management in Iraq made it clear that field commanders, government representatives, and the Iraqis should have input to what we were doing IF this reconstruction was going to add value. Understanding how to synchronize all the pieces of the nation's largest public engineering firm as the Deputy Commander General (DCG) was key to success of the Corps. Also, as the DCG of the Corps, I was the lead for our Lean Six Sigma efforts.  There is no doubt that my credentials from West Point and Georgia Tech were key in making me desirable to both Lockheed-Martin and the NBA.

ISyE:  How has your IE degree helped you do your job as the NBA’s senior vice president of referee operations? 

R.J.:  Georgia Tech has given me some quantitative skills that are critical to evaluating our performance. Understanding what data tells you, as well as what it does not is critical to success. Having the Operations Research and Systems Analysis (OR SA) degree from Tech also gives me understanding that allows me to take a systems approach in my position. In other words, it is important to seek input from other basketball operations folks before implementing solutions or even making assessments.


ISyE:  Do you have a formal procedure for scheduling your referees? If so, what is it? 

R.J.: We do have a formal process in scheduling our referees that is not much different from how airlines crews are scheduled. We do not use the classic "travelling salesman" algorithm, nor do we attempt to solve any linear programming scheduling problem because our crews have constraints and restraints that are not conducive to a simple solution.


ISyE:  What is your biggest challenge as the person responsible for NBA referee operations? 

R.J.: This is a leadership position. Leading a highly competent and specialized group of people is very difficult when you haven't done what they have done. What I do bring to the job is proven leadership and a calm style that is necessary to deal with the emotions of our game.

 
ISyE: What are the logistics questions/issues in scheduling the NBA referees?

R.J.: Of course there are logistical challenges associated with getting crews in place. Many think that referees go to games where they live -- not true -- our NBA referees are rapidly deployable League-wide. They go where they are scheduled, regardless of where they live. We are able to overcome some of the challenges of weather and flight cancellations by having work rules which require referees to be in place far in advance of our games. Therefore we will know far enough in advance whether to send in a replacement referee in the case of transport challenges or injuries/illness. The biggest advantage we have is the dedication of our officials -- they will do whatever it takes to get to their games.

 
ISyE:  What motivated you to come to Georgia Tech to pursue your graduate degree?  

R.J.: I met a Georgia Tech professor, the late Griffin Callahan, also a West Point graduate, and he sold me on the ISyE's ORSA program.

 

ISyE:  Describe one of your most interesting moments at Tech? 

R.J.: There are six -- the first was being admitted and accepted in a conditional status; the second was Tech basketball; the third was graduation; the fourth was being named a Distinguished Grad; the fifth was meeting the young man who received my scholarship; and the sixth and most recent is endowing my scholarship - forever.


ISyE:  In your interview with the AJC, you stated that your education at Tech taught you how to think rather than what to think, can you give me an example or tell me why this is important to you? 

R.J.: This is a very important concept. There is a lot of "training" that you can receive in the classroom that teaches you methods of solutions to problems. All you need to do is to just do a lot of problems. In my graduate education at Tech, we were often assigned problems that had no simple or "elegant" solutions. You had to know HOW TO THINK about the problem and some possible ways of solving the problem based upon what you already knew. Knowing HOW to think allows people to find solutions that are NEW. Knowing what to think oftentimes limits you to solutions that already exist.


ISyE:  What advice would you give a student starting the program today? 

R.J.: Carpe Diem!  You are getting a great education and you can expand that education by getting involved in the entire college experience. Trust me – Georgia Tech is a great place to learn and a great place to expand your horizons. Get involved. Get to know your classmates - embrace the diversity at Tech. Your classmates will be leaders of industry around the world. The relationships you build today will be of great help to you in the future.


ISyE: What do you read for pleasure and what are you reading now? 

R.J.: The NBA Rule Book -- I'm still learning.  For pleasure, I just finished the 52nd Floor - Thinking Deeply about Leadership by David A. Levy, James E. Parco and Fred R. Blass; With Honor in Hand by Terron Sims; Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell; and Private by James Patterson.


ISyE:  Finish this sentence: Few people know that....... 

R.J.:  1. I am a very private person.  2. I work very hard every day to get better.  3. I go anaerobic Monday through Friday to improve my fitness (I work out instead of go to lunch each week day unless I'm forced to attend a lunch meeting). 4. I won’t feel that I have been successful until I have the title "Dr" in front of my name.


 ISyE: Is there any one person who has been an inspiration to you? If so, who, and how did they inspire you? 

R.J.: I have three. CW4 (Ret) Don Lesch - he saw something in me that I never saw in myself and dared me to go to West Point, which tricked me into actually doing it. Also -- every soldier and civilian that I have ever had the privilege of leading -- they selflessly serve just to get it done. Finally - my son, Ian. He is learning how to become a man. He does it in a very brave way and in his own way, but it scares me sometimes.

]]> Edie Cohen 1 1294919240 2011-01-13 11:47:20 1475896077 2016-10-08 03:07:57 0 0 news Ron Johnson (MS OR 1985), retired two-star general and graduate of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, oversaw the Army Corps of Engineers’ $18 billion reconstruction of Iraq in 2003 and 2004 and then supervised the clean-up of the Gulf Coast after hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now Johnson is guiding the nation's top basketball officials in his capacity as the NBA's senior vice president of referee operations.

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2011-01-13T00:00:00-05:00 2011-01-13T00:00:00-05:00 2011-01-13 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
404.385.3102

]]>
63361 63362 63360 63361 image <![CDATA[General Ron Johnson (right) and General Kip Ward, AFRICOM Commander, at Johnson's retirement ceremony in March 2008.]]> image/jpeg 1449176690 2015-12-03 21:04:50 1475894557 2016-10-08 02:42:37 63362 image <![CDATA[(Left to Right) Ron Johnson with his son, Ian, and nephew, Doug Jackson, at Johnson's first All Star game in Phoenix in 2009.]]> image/jpeg 1449176690 2015-12-03 21:04:50 1475894557 2016-10-08 02:42:37 63360 image <![CDATA[Ron Johnson (seated third from left) talking with his five-year-old godson, Eli Easley, at a Wilmington, North Carolina, book panel. Standing is Eli's mohter, Tara Easley (Mrs Hawaii International 2002).]]> image/jpeg 1449176690 2015-12-03 21:04:50 1475894557 2016-10-08 02:42:37