Purdue Engineering Impact Magazine Fall 2009

Industrial Engineering Is there an end in sight? - stopping the economic downturn

There is a famous saying, “May you live in interesting times.” We are certainly living in interesting times and I hope this issue of Industrial Engineering Impact magazine finds you well.

I am writing this, having just returned from the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Annual Conference in Miami, where Purdue had a strong presence and we held a reception in honor of Professor Jim Barany. One of the speakers at the reception noted that Professor Barany had served Purdue IE in six different decades, and reminded us of some of the events that transpired during that 60-year period.

The meeting also featured sessions that focused on the history of industrial engineering. One of the featured speakers on this topic was former school head Ferd Leimkuhler, who has just written a book titled, An Enduring Quest: The Story of Purdue Industrial Engineers. I know that IE alumni will find this book delightful.

In addition to revisiting the strengths of our past, Professor Leimkuhler’s book looks at the future of the IE discipline. On that note, I believe a golden age of IE lies ahead. Industrial engineers will have to make critical contributions to the financial system, energy system, healthcare system, homeland security, and so forth if we are to enjoy the fruits of the 21st century. Indeed, I can think of no discipline more relevant, and whose interdisciplinary leadership is more important, to positively influencing the complex system of systems that our world has become.

With the help of our IE Advisory Council, we have developed and are executing an ambitious strategic plan that aligns with the University’s new strategic plan and the College of Engineering’s strategic plan 2009-14. The School of Industrial Engineering’s vision is to be the world’s leading industrial engineering school by having a continuous transformative impact on the discipline and society.

As you read on, you will hear about how the School of Industrial Engineering is making impact—a student who has plans to make a difference in the world, ways in which faculty are working with manufacturers to streamline efficiency and process, and an alumnus who has translated her IE education into a magical career.

In coming issues of Industrial Engineering Impact you will be able to learn more about how our curriculum, research, and service are evolving to help lead a golden age of IE. In moving forward, we can build on our storied past.

Joseph F. Pekny
Interim Head

Comments on the U.S. Mortgage Meltdown and Economic Outlook
October 15, 2009
Many banks and other mortgage lenders, including Countrywide, bear some of the guilt by encouraging borrowers to take out mortgages they could not afford.
Recent grad shares enthusiasm, energy with world
October 15, 2009
When Alison Jonkman and her roommate planned a summer trip to celebrate graduation, they didn’t focus on traditional rites of passage like backpacking through Europe or taking a cross-country drive. Instead, Jonkman, who graduated in May, looked to Iceland.
Strategic Partnerships Counteract an Economy Gone Bad
October 15, 2009
Purdue experts have fixed assembly line bottlenecks, scheduled surgeons, created an employee skill matrix, made ergonomic improvements, and redesigned workstations, among other projects.
Putting IE skills to work for Disney
October 15, 2009
Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kathy Kortte Kilmer (BSIE ’92) was much like other girls her age—at least in her love of all things Disney.
Professor's dedication to school honored through endowments
October 15, 2009
James Barany came to Purdue in 1956 as a master’s student in industrial engineering. He never left, joining the faculty in 1958.
Undergraduates put learning to the test
October 15, 2009
Ryan Marshall (BSIE ’09) knows trucks. As an undergraduate, he interned for two summers at Pierce Manufacturing, the world’s leading fire truck producer.
Technology broadcasts school life
October 15, 2009
Whether they’re in hotel lobbies or airport terminals, many of us have benefitted from self-service kiosks that alerted us to special events and pointed us to the nearest coffee bar. Now, visitors to Grissom Hall can benefit from the same technology.