Faculty Spotlight: Meet Jan Shi

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Dr. Jianjun "Jan" Shi joined the faculty of Georgia Tech's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering as the Carolyn J. Stewart Chair of Industrial and Systems Engineering in January 2008. Before joining Georgia Tech, he was the G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering in the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Research Interests: My research interests are variability modeling, analysis and control for complex manufacturing systems, and transfer knowledge learned from manufacturing systems to non-manufacturing applications. My research methods emphasize engineering-driven data analysis methods with integration of control theory, signal processing, and statistics in problem solving.

Family: Our family has settled down in Marietta, Georgia. My oldest daughter, Helen, currently lives in Ann Arbor as a college student at the University of Michigan. My younger daughter, Katherine, is a freshman at Walton High School. And my wife, Leah, started working for the Crane Nuclear Company in Kennesaw early this year. We are all very happy to move here for various reasons: better weather (at least so far compared to Michigan!), lots of international markets, nice restaurants, etc.

Hobbies: I used to be a college basketball player in China. Now I have started to enjoy playing golf, although I have only played once since I have moved to Atlanta. If someone needs a partner to play, I will be happy to join.

Favorite book: It is hard to point out one favorite book, but I'd liked to recommend Sun Tzu's Art of War.

Best piece of advice you ever gave: By respecting others you gain respect. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Best piece of advice you ever received: People do not like to hear how many storms a captain has encountered, but if he or she had brought the ship back to the harbor.

What inspires you? My inspirations definitely come from my students' persevering progress, growing up, and achieving their goals.

Few people know that: My daughter Katherine is correcting my grammar for this interview.

Birth place: I was born in Hebei province, P. R. China. I came to United States in September 1989 as a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Interesting "American* experience: I bought a $700 used 1982 Renault wagon in 1990, and immediately began learning how to fix it. Since there are no Renault dealers in the U.S., I had to do many things myself. All my training was in electrical engineering; I had limited experience as a mechanic. By fixing my old car - as well as my fellow students used cars, I learned a lot about cars, as well as machine tools, fixtures, etc. Along with routine work such as changing the oil and replacing the muffler and pipes, I also rebuilt break cylinders and changed my engine gaskets. One time there was more than a foot snow in Ann Arbor. I had to dig a snow tunnel to get under the car. After I unscrewed some nuts with a wrench, the tool froze to my hand! Thanks to my used car and my two and a half years of Ph.D. study at UM, I became a true Ph.D. in ME (with lots of hands-on experience). Where is my Renault wagon? One dollar was required to transfer the car's title so I sold it for $1.00 to my first Ph.D. student, Dr. Darek Ceglarek, who is currently a full professor in the IE Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He droved it for three years, and then sold it to a visiting scholar for $1.00. The wagon was finally put in the junkyard in 1997.

Education: I received my B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Beijing Institute of Technology in 1984 and 1987 respectively, and my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1992.


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