Get to Know ISyE’s Newest Advisory Board Members
Ron Beerman, Laticia Khalif, Jennifer McKeehan, Evren Ozkaya, and Amy Wheelus joined the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) Advisory Board in the summer of 2021.
These five, along with 15 other distinguished professional and community leaders, serve as a sounding board for the school chair in an advisory capacity and assist with development goals. Each new member will serve a four-year term (2021-25). Scott Herren (IE 1984), executive vice president and chief financial officer of Cisco, was named the advisory board’s new chair, and Kathryn Cooper (IE 1990), president of World Connections, was named vice chair. Both will serve a one-year term in these roles.
Ron Beerman (IE 1973) is founder and chairman of the board for Profitmaster Displays, Inc., a company that has grown to become the leading supplier of merchandising and point-of-purchase displays for the soft drink and packaged beverage industry. Prior to this role, he was employed by Anheuser-Busch, The Coca-Cola Company, and Mead Corp. in a variety of engineering, marketing, and planning positions. In addition to his ISyE degree, Beerman holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
What was your takeaway from the ISyE undergraduate experience? “The IE program provided me with a great technical and analytical background on which to build a career. It taught me how to define, approach, and solve a problem, and the value of having a system for everything, disciplines that I know I apply every day, even if sometimes subconsciously.”
Laticia Khalif (IE 1988, M.S. IE 1991) is director of quality, medical device for Aptar CSP Technologies. In this role she is responsible for ensuring compliance with all internal and external requirements, as well as for monitoring the effectiveness of Aptar’s quality management system through maintenance, assessment, and improvement. Prior to this role, she worked at well-established medical device manufacturers as well as startup companies, which have collectively led to an extensive, well rounded, and focused career as a quality professional in the medical device industry.
Who was your favorite professor and why? “My favorite professor was Augustine Esogbue. Not because of the courses he taught, but because of what he represented to African American students at the Institute during those first 25 years of African American students on Georgia Tech’s campus. It was his role modeling, mentorship, and encouragement as the faculty advisor for the National Society of Black Engineers. It was knowing how proud he was going to be when we “got out” of GT. Those are the things that pushed me forward, made me excel and caused me to dig deep — because I wanted to make my favorite professor proud.”
Jennifer McKeehan (IE 2005) is senior vice president, integrated supply chain, for Peloton Interactive. In this role, she and her team are leading the supply chain transformation to scale and support an incredible growth trajectory across people, process and technology. Prior to this role, Jennifer was vice president, supply chain for The Home Depot — leading the inventory planning and replenishment supply chain functions for all fulfillment channels across stores and online, and managing over $15 billion of inventory.
What was your favorite class and why? “I loved probability and statistics — it is the foundation to so many things we use in everyday life. I still bust out my textbook in a meeting every now and then.”
Evren Ozkaya (Ph.D. IE 2008) is the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Wizard, LLC, a management consulting and digital solutions firm helping clients establish and execute cost-effective and scalable digital transformation programs via data-driven decision-making by leveraging state-of-the-art technology. Prior to starting Supply Chain Wizard, Ozkaya was a consultant and led various business transformation programs in industries such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, consumer goods, industrial, logistics and private equity.
Who was your favorite professor and why? "Pinar Keskinocak. She was my primary Ph.D. advisor and she presented me with lots of cool opportunities at ISyE from internships to research and teaching. She also later became a lifelong friend, collaborator and a person I look up to as she continued to excel in every aspect of her career as a globally recognized leader.”
Amy Wheelus (IE 1990) is vice president of architecture and strategic planning for AT&T’s consumer technology platforms. In her career at AT&T, she has done everything from building buildings to launching new businesses, and held various technology leadership roles across business units including AT&T Labs. She currently serves as board chair for Tech Titans, a forum that connects the regional technology community of north Texas. In addition to her ISyE degree, Wheelus holds an MBA from Emory University.
What is your best ISyE memory? “My best ISyE memory comes not from when I was a student, but rather after I started working at AT&T and submitted a project proposal for Senior Design. Having the opportunity to work with students from ISyE to solve real problems for my company is a great memory.”