Spring Advisory Board Meeting Focuses on Strategic Plan Discussion

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The Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) hosted its spring advisory board meeting on April 21, 2011.  Advisory Board Chair Ed Rogers (IE '82, MS IL '02), global strategy manager with UPS’s corporate strategy group, welcomed the group to the meeting, and expressed his gratitude for serving as this past year’s Chair.  He then introduced Jane Snowdon (DR IE 1994) as the incoming Advisory Board Chair who will take over this role after the meeting.  He also introduced five new member nominees who were voted in at the end of the meeting and will serve the 2011 to 2015 term.  They include:  Louis “Lou” Fouts (B IE 1990), partner, Water Street Capital; Chris Gaffney (B IE 1985 & MS IE 1986), senior VP Product Supply System Strategy – CCR, The Coca-Cola Company; Denny Oswalt (B IE 2000), director – Logistics Engineering, Walmart; Sandy L. Pittman (B IE 1988 & MS IL 2009), senior program and project support manager, UPS – Corporate Engineering Group; and Ricardo F. Salgado (B IE 2000), managing director, Goldman Sachs Group.

After Rogers’ opening remarks, Mike Thomas, interim School Chair, updated the Board on ISyE School activities. With the March 2011 release of the 2012 Edition of the U. S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools rankings, ISyE’s graduate program has now been ranked # 1 in industrial & manufacturing engineering for 21 consecutive years. ISyE’s undergraduate program marked its sixteenth year as # 1 program of its kind in the nation with the release of the 2011 edition of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.  The 2012 rankings will be release in August 2011. The National Research Council ranked ISyE’s faculty as # 1. This ranking is done once every ten years.

As of fall 2010, ISyE had 1,183 undergraduates, 231 masters, and 171 doctoral students enrolled in its programs.  ISyE is the largest IE program in the country, and has strived to ensure continued and increased strength of the School’s foundation disciplines (optimization, stochastics & simulation, and statistics) and to broaden its impact beyond the academic community by addressing important societal and economic challenges. 

Thomas also introduced ISyE’s new one-year graduate program in supply chain engineering that will equip young professionals with problem-solving skills necessary to tackle the complexities of global supply chains.  The Board viewed a video, which highlights Nadia Viljoen, ISyE graduate student, discussing this new masters program.  Check it out at:

He also updated the Board on the new College of Engineering Dean search. Following a national search, Gary S. May, alumnus, professor and current chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been appointed as the next dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, effective July 1.  The ISyE school chair search is being chaired by Vigo Yang, AE school chair, with three candidates being considered as finalists.

Following Thomas’ School update, Rogers focused the Board’s attention on a working discussion to review and offer enhancements to ISyE strategic plan ( so that it aligns with the Institute’s new plan and vision ( and the College of Engineering’s vision and mission (www.coe.gatech/content/vision-mission).  Rogers compared and contrasted GTs new mission and plan with the College of Engineering and ISyE’s missions.  The Board then broke into six groups to work on one of the following areas  - the current vision, mission, and key success indicators; academic and teaching; basic and applied research; leadership and reputation; global perspective and challenges; and school effectiveness – looking for any glaring omissions and offering suggestions.  Each section leader presented the results of the group’s conversation.  Rogers collected the information and will add to the framework to offer as suggestions to the School Chair.

Jaymie Forrest, managing director of the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute (SCLI), presented an overview of the Center.  SCLI has had 14 public executive education courses offered in Atlanta in 2011 including two certificate programs: the Lean Supply Chain Professional Series and the Supply Chain Management Series.  SCLI has developed two new certificate programs that will begin this fall: a series in Health and Humanitarian Logistics and a series on Cold Chain Management.  SCLI has also designed nine company-specific executive education programs including for companies in the United States, Mexico, Spain, China, El Salvador, and Panama.

SCLI has launched the Georgia Tech Integrated Food Chain Center as an international research hub focused on designing, analyzing and improving the food chain for cold and perishable products. SCLI has also worked extensively on trade facilitation.  Because Latin American economies are growing and the U.S. trade is increasing at a faster rate with Latin America than with Asia, SCLI has focused on Latin America. SCLI has established the GT Trade, Innovation and Productivity Center in San Jose, Costa Rica ( and the Panama Logistics Innovation & Research Center in Panama City, Panama (  SCLI has future plans to open a center in Mexico. The key components of these Logistics Innovation Centers are education, research, and competitiveness.

Thomas presented Rogers with a plaque expressing ISyE’s appreciation for his service, visionary guidance and unwavering leadership.  Rogers concluded the meeting with advisory board business updates and wrap ups.  He then passed the gavel to Snowdon as she begins her term as the new Advisory Board Chair. 


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