SEMS Says ... New members join board for 2020-21

By the Society for Engineering and Management Systems Board

July/August 2020

Greetings to all SEMS members. SEMS is still looking for volunteers to step up for about 10 hours of effort per month to help drive our efforts to improve SEMS products such as content for Industrial Management magazine, “SEMS Says” articles, newsletters, society’s webpages, LinkedIn and Facebook content. This was discussed in my president’s message over the last year in Industrial Management. If you would like to discuss assisting us, please send me an email to and add “SEMS” in the subject line. Please assist.

We recently welcomed new SEMS Board of Directors members and said goodbye to a few outgoing members.

Gene Dixon left the board after three years as a director. We thank Gene for his many contributions to SEMS and IISE. Rumor has it that Gene is taking on a volunteer leadership responsibility for an IISE/SEMS cousin. Hopefully, Gene will help facilitate a partnership between the two organizations and we will continue to work with Gene in this capacity.

Society for Engineering & Management Systems Board 2020-2021

President 2019-2021: Russell Wooten, chairman of the board, Whole Earth Consulting & Engineering, Hedgesville, West Virginia

Immediate Past President 2019-2021: Brian K. Smith, assistant professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi

President-elect 2020-2021: Henry Lester, assistant professor, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama

Directors 2020-2023: Diamond Williams, data engineer, ENGIE, Houston, Texas; Lizzette Perez Lespier, assistant professor, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina; Ruel Ellis, lecturer, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; Michael Graul, assistant department head, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Directors 2018-2021: Fernando González Aleu, associate professor, Universidad de Monterrey, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo León, Mexico; Kevin Nortrup, principal, Sugar Creek Solutions, Fairland, Indiana; Michael V. Testani, director of outreach and continuing professional education, Binghamton University, Vestal, New York

Director 2019-2022: Chanchal Saha, industrial engineer, IBM, Poughkeepsie, New York

Special Projects 2020-2021: Julie Drzymalski, clinical professor and program director, Systems Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Julie Drzymalski’s three years are up as a SEMS board director. She is not stepping down but remaining on the board as a nonvoting board member. Julie will continue her dedication to Industrial Management and “SEMS Says” articles.

Newly elected is Henry Lester as our incoming president-elect, plus four new directors, each for three-year terms. The new directors are Diamond Williams, Lizzette Perez Lespier, Michael Graul and Ruel Ellis.

Work is underway for our IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2020 on Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in New Orleans. It should be a great conference and all the conference tracks will be outstanding, especially the Engineering Management track. With your help as presenters, participants, practitioners and purveyors, our performance will be perfection.

I would like to thank all who have contributed to the content of Industrial Management and “SEMS Says” with their articles. I learn from you each month. Please reach out to Julie Drzymalski for assistance or questions about contributing to our magazine.

And finally, I would like to thank all the members of our current SEMS board for their dedication, efforts and hard work in providing guidance, substance and value to SEMS and our members. Some of the many topics and issues that our board of directors is currently working on include communications; messages; IM publication; SEMS articles; storage; upgrading of communication channels and methods; flyer/current offerings; webinars; websites; welcome letter; branding and value; marketing; data; analytics; values; accomplishments; strategic plan, one-, three- and five-year road maps; certification and training; mentoring; conference presentations; and conference papers and competition. Please volunteer if you can assist us in any of these important topics.

Thank you, stay safe and enjoy your life.

– Russell Wooten is president of SEMS and chairman of the board for Whole Earth Consulting and Engineering.

Annual Conference Oct. 31-Nov. 3 offers bright ideas, frightful fun under full moon

It’ll be a full blue moon on Halloween in Louisiana when the brightest minds in industrial and systems engineering gather for the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2020 Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Registration is open at; attendees can save on fees by signing up by the Sept. 13 early-bird deadline.

The conference will include a full array of speakers, panels, presentations and workshops to help professionals boost their skills and knowledge and head toward year’s end on the rebound.

Joining the keynote speaker lineup is Ola Harrysson, an Edward P. Fitts distinguished professor at North Carolina State University, who will speak at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 2. Harrysson has conducted research in rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing for more than 25 years, including work in the medical application of additive manufacturing technologies. He teaches courses in additive manufacturing and product development and is part of a faculty team offering a graduate level course in product development for students in engineering, industrial design and management.

The opening keynote speaker at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, will be Pooja Dewan, vice president and chief data and analytics officer for Otis Elevator Co. Her focus is on strategy and execution, sustainable business growth and profitability, internal efficiencies through improved data structures, data cleanliness and insight and efficient data governance and process.

Jim Tompkins will provide the final keynote address at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3. Tompkins is the chairman, CEO and founder of Tompkins International and an international authority on designing and implementing end-to-end supply chains with a focus on digital commerce, unichannel and supply chain reinvention. He is a former IISE president and Fellow. His regular column and a feature article on supply chain adaption in the COVID-19 crisis is featured in the July issue of ISE magazine.

You can keep up with program additions and updates at

IISE celebrates its best in 2020 Honors & Awards

IISE’s Honors & Awards winners for 2020 have been chosen and will receive their awards at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2020 set for Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The Honors & Awards Banquet is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2; tickets are available for purchase.

Industrial Management authors sought to share stories of success

Anyone with stories to share on industrial and systems engineering management tips, successes and ideas are invited to submit their research findings in an article for Industrial Management.

Articles generally run 1,000 to 3,500 words in length and are written in a narrative, magazine style that can appeal both to ISEs and non-engineers. Author guidelines are available at Send submitted articles to Managing Editor Keith Albertson at

The coveted Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Industrial Engineering Award, the institute’s highest and most esteemed honor, goes to Deborah Nightingale, a distinguished professor at the University of Central Florida and former researcher and educator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Presented annually since 1962, the award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves through contributions to the welfare of mankind in the field of industrial engineering. The contributions are of the highest caliber and nationally or internationally recognized.

A partial list of this year’s winners is available at

Find pandemic ideas, discussions on IISE podcast

While we gear up for a new season of Problem Solved: The IISE Podcast, look for bonus episodes featuring experts discussing solutions to the COVID-19 crisis.

The first includes healthcare professionals Amanda Mewborn, an ISE on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, and Ali Hobbs and Aaron Kanne, who have led multiple online panel discussions known as SHS Think Tanks that examine how healthcare organizations can navigate through the crisis. Another bonus episode features healthcare ergonomist and registered nurse Lynda Enos discussing workplace challenges faced by caregivers treating coronavirus patients.

All episodes are available at as well as on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. Stay tuned for Season 2 beginning later this summer.

IISE Six Sigma Black Belt course earns ACE recommendation

IISE’s Six Sigma Black Belt course has been evaluated and recommended for graduate semester credits by the American Council on Education (ACE). Students can earn up to six semester hours in graduate credit at the discretion of each student’s college or university.

“This speaks to the high quality of our IISE training,” said Larry Aft, IISE director of continuous education and corporate training. See details at