2010 News Archive


Students propose a new line of defense for police

Five seniors in Lehigh’s IBE (Integrated Business and Engineering) Honors Program have spent a year developing a new “smart gun” technology they believe will help safeguard the lives of police officers.

To read the full story, please visit the Lehigh news Web site.

Watch the students give their elevator pitches.

Posted Thursday, December 16, 2010


Iacocca - Driven to Succeed

Lee Iacocca '45 was featured in the Fall 2010 Lehigh Alumni Bulletin. To read the full story, please visit the Lehigh Bulletin Web site.

Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Using optimization across the field

Dr. Stephen Boyd gives ISE annual Spencer C. Schantz Lecture

Many current products and systems employ complicated mathematical optimization algorithms to automatically make difficult decisions, or take action, in real time. Examples include recommendation engines, search engines, spam filters, on-line advertising systems, fraud detection systems, automated trading engines, revenue management systems, supply chain systems, electricity generator scheduling, flight management systems, and advanced engine controls.

During the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department’s annual Spencer C. Schantz Lecture on December 7, 2010, Dr. Stephen Boyd discussed the central issues that come up across many applications, such as the development or learning of mathematical models, the role of uncertainty, the idea of feedback or recourse, and computational complexity.

Dr. Stephen Boyd

“I hope the audience took away from my talk that optimization effects everyone,” said Boyd. “They may not even realize it’s happening, but it helps make their lives easier and more efficient.”

Dr. Boyd is the Samsung Professor of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Information Systems Laboratory at Stanford University. His current research focus is on convex optimization applications in control, signal processing, and circuit design. Dr. Boyd took a different path to find the passion for his current research.

“I really enjoyed both theoretical math and practical electrical engineering when I was younger, but wasn't aware of the connection between them,” said Boyd.

While pursuing his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Harvard, Boyd spent summers and breaks as a Rock-and-Roll sound engineer, touring with bands like Rick James and Andy Gibb, and designing custom audio processing equipment. He discovered the connection in his first year of graduate school, and switched departments from Mathematics to Electrical Engineering.

“What I do now involves Mathematics, with lots of applications to Electrical Engineering.”

His first research area was automatic control systems, during which Boyd was exposed to mathematical optimization as a user. After writing two books on convex optimization applied to control problems, he realized that convex optimization would be very useful in a wide range of areas, from finance to circuit design, and with Lieven Vandenberghe introduced a new course and book on the topic, with the goal of bringing the ideas to a wide audience, in many different application areas. This graduate course now has an enrollment of around 200, with students from 20 departments, making it one of the largest graduate courses at Stanford.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1985 from University of California at Berkeley, he joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at Stanford. On sabbaticals and leaves, he has had the opportunity to travel around the globe as a visiting professor, at locations including Katholieke University (Leuven), McGill University (Montreal), Ecole Polytechnique Federale (Lausanne), Qinghua University (Beijing), Universite Paul Sabatier (Toulouse), Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), Kyoto University, MIT, NYU, and Harbin Institute of Technology.

“I learned by visiting these areas that academia and research have no boundaries,” said Boyd. “I believe that good engineering departments have faculty and students from around the world. It’s a great source for the students to have professors and peers from other areas.”

Dr. Boyd’s current research will hopefully help professionals in many fields to solve complex problems easily. The long term goal of his research is to have convex optimization become part of the research and teaching infrastructure, as linear algebra and calculus are today, with everyone working in an applied mathematical field learning at least the basics. To help get the word out to a wide audience, his website includes past papers, books, software, lecture notes, and selected lecture videos, and is visited more than 1.3 million times per year, not counting accesses to his lectures on iTunes U, Stanford Engineering Everywhere or Youtube. The internet has become a medium for scholarly communication, says Boyd, even if it is not yet recognized alongside the traditional ones like academic journals and books.

The lecture series is endowed in the name of the late Spencer C. Schantz, who graduated from Lehigh in 1955 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Following progressive responsibilities with several electrical manufacturing companies, in 1969 he founded U.S. Controls Corporation and became its first CEO and President. The Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series was established by his wife Jerelyn as a valuable educational experience for faculty, students and friends of Lehigh’s Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. Past speakers in this series have included John Mulvey (Princeton University), William R. Pulleybank (IBM), Thomas L. Magnanti (MIT), Cynthia Barnhart (MIT), John E. McGlade ’76, ’80G (Air Products and Chemicals) and John T. Betts (Boeing).

Posted Monday, December 13, 2010


Larry Snyder Receives the “Chuck ReVelle Rising Star Award”

Larry Snyder was awarded the Chuck ReVelle Rising Star Award from the Section on Location Analysis (SOLA) of INFORMS at this year’s annual conference.

Dr. Larry Snyder

“It means a lot to me to receive this recognition from the location science community,” said Larry. “It is especially significant to me that the award was named for Chuck ReVelle, whom I knew and respected greatly.”

Chuck ReVelle was one of the founders and most prolific researchers in the field of location analysis. He was a professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering (DoGEE) at Johns Hopkins for most of his career. He passed away in 2005 due to lymphoma.

This award is a biannual honor given to a person within eight years of receiving his or her Ph.D. who has made a significant contribution to location analysis research and displays the potential to continue to do so. The award will not carry a monetary prize but will be regarded as an extremely high honor within the location analysis community. The previous winner was Dr. Max Shen of the University of California at Berkeley, who is currently writing a textbook with Larry on Quantitative Models of Supply Chain Management.

Posted Thursday, December 2, 2010


New lab rises on old foundation

ISE Department celebrates the grand opening of new lab

Over 80 members of the Lehigh and ISE Department community celebrated the grand opening of the new computer lab, conference room, Computational Optimization Research at Lehigh (COR@L) research lab and lobby in Mohler Lab during homecoming weekend this past October.

John McGlade

Besides the support the university, Tamás Terlaky, department chair, states that this renovation couldn’t have happened without the support of its generous alumni.

“We graciously thank Dr. Gary and Marian Whitehouse ’60, ’62G who has donated the Gary and Marian Whitehouse ’60, ’62G COR@AL Lab to enhance our research capabilities. Tim and Nancy Wilmott ’80, ’81G who made significant donation towards the renovation of the main computer lab to enhance our computing/simulation/visualization research and finally the Biedler – Gott Endowment contributing the lobby renovation that is providing a needed space for students to socialize and study.”

Cutting the Ribbon

Chairman, President and CEO of Air Products, John McGlade ’76, ’80G, along with his wife Brenda, contributed to the lab in honor of long time friend and Professor Emory Zimmers.

“My personal experiences here at Lehigh and at the department are the reasons why I give back,” John said. “Emory helped me significantly over the years and has been a tremendous support, and in time he became a good friend. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that Brenda and I give our gift in honor of Emory.”

Tamás and John had the honor of cutting the ribbon to the new lab along with the P.C. Rossin College of the Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean David Wu, Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies Alan Snyder. Guests had the opportunity to view student research projects and demonstrations in the new lab and take tours of the first floor of the building.

Assoc. Dean Tonkay, students and alum

“Working and studying in this modern, clean, high-tech facility is motivating,” says Tamás. “This new lab has already elevating professors’ and students’ effectiveness.”

To see the full collection of pictures from the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, please visit the ISE department photo album.

Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Bill Maloney '80 gives talk on the Chilean mine rescue

The rescue of the 33 Chilean miners earlier this month attracted global attention. One of the people responsible for the rescue is a Lehigh University alum.

Bill Maloney, a 1980 graduate, spoke to current students about his role in the rescue effort. Maloney, a life long drill man, was in charge of the drill work during "Plan B" of the rescue phase.

To read this full story and to see the video, please visit the WFMZ news web site.

To see pictures from the talk, please visit our pictures web page.

Posted Monday, November 1, 2010


Air Products' McGlade honored

Air Products President and CEO John McGlade '76, '80G —who spent half his academic career at Liberty High School studying civil engineering at what the school district then called its vocational-technical school — was honored Monday as one of the programs' chief national boosters.

He credits technical education with giving him a leg up on his career.

"It really gave me a sense of what an engineering curriculum would be like and in my mind helped accelerate my development when I got into Lehigh University," McGlade said.

To read this full story, please visit the Morning Call news web site.

To see pictures from the SkillsUSA Awards Dinner, please visit our pictures web page.

Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Feeling a bond, ISE alumnus helps free Chilean miners

Bill Maloney '80 found it difficult to unwind when he and his wife drove to Cape May, N.J., for a vacation in August.

Nothing could take his mind off the fate of the 33 Chilean miners who had been buried 2,100 feet below the earth’s surface when their mine caved in above them Aug. 5.

To read this full story, please visit the Lehigh news web site.

Posted Monday, October 18, 2010


Bill Maloney ’80 Played Role in Helping Rescue Chilean Miners

Bill Maloney ’80 doesn’t cry easily or very often. But as he watched those miners being hauled one-by-one from that mine in Chile, he couldn’t help but to tear up.

Maloney had good reason to be emotional. The Morgantown man played an important role in getting those miners out safely, and a lot sooner than first expected.

Maloney, who owns Drill Leader Consulting in Morgantown, couldn’t believe it when he first heard that it could take four months to get the miners out after the Aug. 5 accident.

Bill Maloney '80

“I heard four months and 2,100 feet and (thought) it shouldn’t take that long,” Maloney told me Wednesday on Metronews Talkline.

He offered his services, and then teamed up with other drilling experts including Brandon Fisher of Center Rock, Inc., from Somerset County, Pennsylvania. They went to the mine site and joined the rescue.

They came up with what they called “Plan B,” a drill that used a specialized bit that pulverized hard rock. It worked like a jackhammer, creating a wider hole, one large enough to bring out the 33 miners. It was a massive challenge.

“You’re drilling in rock that’s real abrasive and hard,” Maloney told me. “You’re drilling at an angle. You’ve got a caved in zone. It’s really deep.”

There were setbacks. About 850 feet down, about a third of the way to the miners, they drilled into a roof support bolt, shearing off part of the drill bit, stalling the operation. Those in charge of the rescue grew impatient.

“They were ready to throw us off and start again,” Maloney said.

But they stayed with it. Crews had to fish for the broken drill bit for a week before they got it out and drilling could resume.

Then there was the challenge of getting the miners out once the hole was drilled. The Chilean Navy built a rescue chamber with rollers on the sides so it could move through a 28-inch wide, angled shaft.

Maloney says those involved in the rescue were always optimistic. “The people in Chile were so emotional and gung-ho,” he said. They were confident that they could overcome any obstacles that appeared.

“We made it, somehow or another,” he said.

Most Americans are familiar with the Quecreek Mine rescue in 2002, but that was only 240 feet. These miners were trapped nearly a half mile underground.

Maloney calls the Chilean effort, “the mother of all mine rescues… (but) we never doubted we were going to get it done.”

And the sight of the rescued miners emerging, after 69 harrowing days underground, was enough to bring a man to tears.

-Article by Hoppy Kercheval


To see photos for the drill that they used to rescue the miners, please visit the Metro News web site.

To see the interview that Bill did for channel 13 WOWK, please visit their web site.

Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010


Recent IBE alums head to national innovation competition

Lehigh Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) students were named as finalists in the 2010 Collegiate Inventors Competition. This annual competition, first held in 1990, has recognized, rewarded, and encouraged hundreds of students to share their innovative ideas with the world. The Competition promotes exploration in invention, science, engineering, technology, and other creative endeavors and provides a window on the technologies from which society will benefit in the future. The students will be presenting their product the MPlug, a specially designed magnetic plug aimed at assisting the arthritic community with daily activities.

“It is a tremendous honor to be one of the finalists in this competition,” says Greg Capece ’10. “We really didn’t expect it, but this competition is more about being an inventor and talking about the process and our story. Without being involved with the IBE program, we wouldn’t have this exposure to this competition.”

The IBE Honors Program (a joint partnership with the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Business and Economics) is a carefully planned integration of courses in business and engineering with additional requirements in mathematics, sciences, English and humanities. In four to five years, students in this program participate in labs, seminars, workshops and a Senior Capstone course to teach them how to use engineering principals to solve problems in the business world.

The IBE Honors Program directly addresses the constantly changing realities of the new industrial and professional marketplace: rapid technological innovation; diffusion and obsolescence; emergence of new standards; short product life-cycles and decaying margins due to increased global competition; and outcome-focused development and delivery of new products and services. This program (a joint partnership with the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Business and Economics), teaches students how to use engineering principals to solve problems in the business world.

“This program prepares students for real world situations,” says Mike Harm ’10. “The curriculum isn’t just engineering and business courses, but also includes working in groups, presentation skills and public speaking. We do several presentations and speeches throughout the course of the program, which will help us when we present during this competition.”

Greg, Mike and Nick Rocha ’10 will present their invention to a committee of judges representing various fields, including mathematics, engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, information technology, materials science, and medicine. Entries are judged on the originality and inventiveness of the new idea, process, or technology.

The idea for the MPlug came about in the IBE Freshman Workshop taught by Pat J. Costa, Professor of Practice who challenged the students to invent a device that will help the elderly remain self sufficient and less dependent on others. The MPlug team continued under Professor Costa's guidance through an IBE independent study program and the senior IBE capstone program.

A normal household appliance plug, i.e. a lamp, has a small plug that may cause difficulty gripping and plugging in and out of outlets for someone with arthritis. The MPlug is designed to have a large plastic handle so it will be easier to grab, and magnets to guide and make the connection between the plug and the outlet. Ultimately, the handle and the magnets make it easier for the elderly and people with arthritis to plug in and unplug household appliances.

“These courses are designed to address technical issues in a business context from an entrepreneurial focus,” said Costa.

The MPlug team has raised almost $50,000 toward their invention through numerous grants and campus-wide competitions. Professor Costa said the MPlug team filed for a patent and has hired a business consultant to help license their technology to interested manufacturers.

"What says so much about the work ethic of these students is that they accomplished all this while still undergrads working toward their degree," Costa said.

A normal household appliance plug, i.e. a lamp, has a small plug that may cause difficulty gripping and plugging in and out of outlets for someone with arthritis. The MPlug is designed to have a large plastic handle so it will be easier to grab, and magnets to guide and make the connection between the plug and the outlet. Ultimately, the handle and the magnets make it easier for the elderly and people with arthritis to plug in and unplug household appliances.

“The MPlug targets a certain population of people that have arthritis, suffered from a stroke, elderly with limited hand dexterity, and people with poor eye sight,” says Mike. “This product will be able to help that population with daily day to day activities,” says Mike.

The team will be traveling down to Washington D.C. this month for a chance to win $10,000 in prize money. More information about the competition can be found on their web site.

To read more about the IBE team, please visit the Brown and White web site.

Posted Thursday, October 7, 2010


Gregory L. Tonkay appointed Associate Dean

Dr. Gregory L. Tonkay has been appointed Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Dr. Gregory Tonkay

Greg was the Associate Chair and Associate Professor of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. In 2007-2008, he also served as the interim chair of the department.

Along with coordinating new undergraduate programs and activities, and managing the accreditation process, Greg works closely with admissions to help recruit strong undergraduate students to Lehigh. He meets with many prospective students and their parents to talk about the advantages and uniqueness of Lehigh.

“The number one thing I’m looking forward to as Associate Dean is promoting Lehigh to parents, prospective students, employers, and colleagues. I am trying to learn as much as I can about all of our programs so I can be a good ambassador for RCEAS and Lehigh,” says Greg. “I believe parents and high school students who have visited Lehigh leave with very positive views of our university and college. Often they don’t know what questions they should be asking. This position provides the opportunity for me to educate them not just about Lehigh, but about higher education.”

A member of the Lehigh faculty since 1986, Greg’s research interests are in the area of integration and control of manufacturing systems. He teaches courses in industrial control systems, automation and production systems, and databases and networking. Greg is also an excellent teacher. He won the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2005, the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science Service Teaching Excellence Award in 1999 and 2001, and the College of Engineering and Applied Science Teaching Excellence Award in 1993. Greg still continues to be a member of the department even in his new role.

“Many people have asked how I could leave ISE after so many years, but I don’t view it as leaving the department. I will still be teaching a course each semester, and I will still be the director of the George E. Kane Manufacturing Technology Laboratory,” says Greg.

“For me, it has always been about service to the undergraduate ISE programs. My primary interest has always been teaching, and it still remains. Many of my experiences over the past 24 years at Lehigh, including curriculum development and being the ISE representative for college committees and for accreditation reviews, have led me to this position. It is a natural move, although I don’t think many of the Associate Deans before me would say that they dreamed of or hoped for the job. It is really about service and how you can serve Lehigh to the best of your abilities.”

Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Lehigh graduate programs stand out in NRC study

The National Research Council (NRC) has released its rankings of more than 5,000 doctoral programs at U.S. institutions of higher education. The last time NRC rankings were released was in 1995.

Lehigh’s programs in chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and industrial and systems engineering were recognized for overall excellence in the NRC survey.

To read the full article please visit the Lehigh news page.

Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Bill Maloney ’80 helps Chilean rescue effort

Bill Maloney ’80, who currently owns a drill consulting business in West Virginia, just got back from Chile after two weeks of work on the rescue effort. He was among six Americans who flew down to offer elbow grease and expertise in mining and drilling techniques. Bill will be making a second trip to Chile this October.

To read the full article from The Dominion Post, please click here.

Posted Thursday, September 30, 2010


ESC student presentation helps St. Luke’s Physician Group

Preparing students for real-world challenges is one of the goals of a Lehigh education. Over the summer, 50 undergraduate and graduate students got a taste of life after graduation by working on industry projects with 20 companies through the Enterprise Systems Center (ESC). Students worked for several companies including Kraft Foods, Nestle Waters and PB Transit & Rail Systems. On September 20, students presented their results to members of the St. Luke’s Physician Group (SLPG).

The SLPG already has a very high rating for customer satisfaction at 89-91%, but they ultimately want to break out of that range into the higher percentile. Industry advisor Dan Mulholland, Chris Martine ’09, ’11G, Grace Mullane ’11 and Dr. Beibei Dong presented their results in front of administration and staff of the SLPG.

The group took an integrated approach to this project by conducting surveys, the secret shopper method, and interviews to find the best results for the project. They looked at employee, physician and patient satisfaction to find what the needs of getting the SLPG customer satisfaction rating to go up.

“I really enjoyed presenting at St. Luke's because it gave our team a means of displaying all of the ground breaking work that we completed this summer,” says Martine. “We were able to give the senior management at SLPG a set of recommendations that were statistically proven to increase patient satisfaction and ultimately increase revenue growth for the group.”

The recommendations that the group gave to SLPG were for the short, immediate and long term. This included written notes by the physicians about aftercare, easier check-in and check-out, and monitoring the wait times. SLPG received all of the data and recommendations and can use them as they see fit.

“Interning for the ESC, I was given more responsibility than the usual internship. In fact, my boss consistently told me not to be an intern, but to be a consultant,” said Mullane. “In that sense, St. Luke’s really didn’t view us as students doing a project but as consultants doing a job. I learned pretty fast to show confidence in my ability.”

Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2010


An internship program gets the business

Preparing students for real-world challenges is one of the goals of a Lehigh education. Over the summer, 50 undergraduate and graduate students got a taste of life after graduation by working on industry projects with 20 companies through the Enterprise Systems Center (ESC). Last week, those students gave presentations about their experiences at the new STEPS building.

To read more, please visit the Lehigh news web page.

Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2010


ESC students showcase industry-driven research

To read more, please visit the Lehigh news web page.

Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2010


ESC students help Nestle and Kraft go green locally

To read more, please visit the Lehigh news web page.

Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Optimization expert joins the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department

Katya Scheinberg joins Lehigh from the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department at Columbia University

Katya Scheinberg has always been excited about the academia environment, and has remained so after completing over a decade’s work in an industrial research lab at IBM.

“The time I spent in the IBM research lab was very enjoyable and stimulating, but I realized that what I enjoyed most is academic research and that I should continue my career in academia,” says Scheinberg. “The Industrial and Systems Engineering department at Lehigh continues to develop strength in optimization and is a perfect match for my interests.”

Katya Scheinberg

Starting this fall 2010 school year, Scheinberg will be joining the department from the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department at Columbia University. A native from Moscow, she earned her Master’s degree in operations research from the Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1992 and then received her Ph.D. in operations research from Columbia in 1997. Scheinberg was a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research center, where she worked on various applied and theoretical problems in optimization, until coming back to Columbia as a visiting professor. While at Columbia, she taught Optimization Methods in Machine Learning, Nonlinear Optimization and Introduction to Deterministic Modeling.

Her main research areas are related to developing practical algorithms (and their theoretical analysis) for various problems in continuous optimization, such as convex optimization, derivative free optimization, machine learning, quadratic programming, etc. Scheinberg has also published a book in 2008 titled, Introduction to Derivative Free Optimization, which is co-authored with Andrew R. Conn and Luis N. Vicente. Scheinberg is eager to collaborate with ISE faculty while expanding in her own research area.

“I am looking forward to working with other faculty and students at ISE and expanding my own knowledge base while also getting my colleagues interested in the machine learning applications,” says Scheinberg. “Although I live with my family in New York City, I am looking forward to introducing my two elementary school-aged daughters to the campus life at Lehigh and to the attractions of Lehigh Valley.”

Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010


ISE Council Networking Event - September 15, 2010

To read more about this event, please visit the ISE Networking Event web page.

Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Alums take second place at the IIE Student Simulation Competition

ISE Department alums Greg Capece ’10, Mike Pankey ’10 and Ben Thomas ’10 competed in the IIE Student Simulation Competition sponsored by Rockwell Automation at the annual IIE Conference in Cancún, Mexico. The team took second place in the competition, winning cash prizes for the team and for the IIE student chapter club at Lehigh this week.

“It was an honor to be selected as a finalist in the competition with other teams from around the world,” said Greg Capece.

Mike Pankey, Greg Capece and Ben Thomas

(From left to right) Mike Pankey ’10, Greg Capece ’10 and Ben Thomas ’10


The team, advised by Dr. Bob Storer, had to figure out how to maximize the efficiency of the Masters Molding Inc. One of the plants had its machine count increase to 33 from 8 and its workforce increase to 10 workers from 3. Their main solution involved reallocating the workforce into different job responsibilities and eliminating the size of the workforce. The solution saved the company money down the road and allowed the company to have the same outcome.

“This competition was a good experience using a technical solution to solve a problem in a business context. It was a very extensive project and learning how to simplify our complicated solution was good practice for potential consulting projects down the road,” says Greg. “Taking IE 305 (Simulation) and learning Arena Simulation was beneficial for the technical aspect of this competition. In addition, we had given many presentations in our IE careers here at Lehigh, which also helped us greatly.”

For more information about the competition, please visit their web site.

Posted Thursday, June 10, 2010


Dr. Mikell Groover and students featured in Alliance for American Manufacturing Film

Joe Manganelli ’10, Megan Kelleher ’10 and Dr. Mikell Groover were all featured in an Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) titled “Manufacturing the Future of America.”

This promotional video focuses on the importance of a revitalized manufacturing base to the American economy. AAM interviewed a wide range of individuals from professionals in the field, students, professors, think tank scholars, etc. The video is geared to a variety of audiences including but not limited to student groups, faith-based groups, environmentalists, policy makers, retirees, and general interest groups.

Joe, Megan and Dr. Groover discussed the manufacturing sector, the advanced technology used in manufacturing today as well as the importance of manufacturing in the future of the American economy.

Press play to watch “Manufacturing the Future of America.” Video courtesy of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Posted Thursday, June 3, 2010


Nick Kastango ’10 discusses Industrial Engineering in Hospitals

The May 2010 issue of Industrial Engineer magazine, the monthly publication of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, has an article titled, "Collaboration makes the process better," about the implementation of manufacturing practices in hospitals' operating rooms co-authored by Nick Kastango ’10. Nick is a strategic analyst at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, after being an intern at the Lehigh Valley Health Network. (The other author, Steven Jagiela, is a lean coach with the Lehigh Valley Health Network.)

The article states examples of the "System for Partners in Performance Improvement" (SPPI) developed by the Lehigh Valley Health Network on its website. The Industrial Engineer article explains that "Throughout the network, SPPI lean coaches facilitate improvement efforts, including value stream analysis, projects, point kaizen and process kaizen events." Kaizen is a philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, supporting business processes, and management.

The article also describes the use of Production Preparation Process (3P), which the Environmental Protection Agency (for some reason the highest search result on Google when you look up these terms) characterizes as "one of the most powerful and transformative advanced manufacturing tools... [which] focuses on eliminating waste through product and process design." There, the Lehigh Valley Health Network enlisted the help of B. Braun Medical, a medical supply company with expertise in lean techniques, which is headquartered in the Bethlehem area. The article then gives examples of changes made following the 3P event, based on B. Braun's advice, in particular with respect to the "picking" of instruments and supplies in preparation for a procedure.

Kastango and Jagiela provided a captivating overview of how industrial engineering techniques can be applied in non-traditional settings such as hospitals. They also draw welcome attention to one of the success stories in the Lehigh Valley, "the largest employer in the region... the largest Level 1 trauma center in Pennsylvania... recognized as one of the US News and World Report's America's Best Hospitals and... one of Fortune magazine's 100 best companies to work for."

For more information about the IE Magazine, please visit their Web page.

Contributing Writer: Aurélie C. Thiele

Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Lehigh receives $10 million gift to reward innovation

Daniel E. Smith, Jr. ’71 establishes the Smith Funds for Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering

A gift of $10 million will establish the Smith Funds for Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering at Lehigh University. Daniel E. Smith, Jr. ’71, president and CEO of Sycamore Networks, Inc., and chairman of Lehigh University’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Elizabeth Riley, have established the endowment that will expand Lehigh’s research capabilities and position the university to compete on a new level.

To read about Dan's gift, please visit the Lehigh news Web page.

Posted Monday, May 10, 2010


Tastykake Goes Green

Autumn Bayles ’92 talks about the grand opening of Tastykake's new building

To watch Autumn's interview, please visit the NBC10 Philadelphia Web page.

To read about the ribbon cutting of the new Tastykake facility, please visit the Market Watch Web page

Posted Wednesday, May 5, 2010


2010 ISE Banquet honors students, faculty, Iacocca ’45 and Torgersen ’53

The 2010 ISE Banquet, held on Thursday, April 29 honored the department’s students, faculty and awarding the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Students that were honored at the banquet were:

  • Alpha Pi Mu Award - Michael Colucci ’12
  • IE Sophomore of the Year - Michael Arak ’12
  • ISE Sophomore of the Year - David Gritz ’12
  • IE Junior of the Year - Ramiro Alfaro ’11
  • ISE Junior of the Year - Rob Rappa ’11
  • IE Senior of the Year - Ben Thomas ’10
  • ISE Senior of the Year - Ana Alexandrescu ’10
  • Master's Student of the Year - Kelly Rapolas ’09, ’10G
  • Ph.D. Student of the Year - Julio Goez


  • The following student groups were recognized for their accomplishments and work throughout the course of the year:

  • ISE Council
  • Alpha Pi Mu
  • IIE
  • INFORMS
  • Rossin Jr. Fellows
  • Rossin Doctoral Fellows


  • Greg Capece ’10, Mike Pankey ’10 and Ben Thomas ’10 will be representing the department and Lehigh in June at the IIE Student Simulation Competition sponsored by Rockwell Automation. The students are advised by Dr. Bob Storer.

    ISE Faculty of the Year Award went to Dr. Mikell Groover. Mike entered Lehigh as a student and received the first Ph.D. from the department back in 1969. This will be Dr. Groover’s last semester teaching here at Lehigh and will be retiring at the end of 2010 after 44 years as a faculty member.

    “For those of you who voted for me, thank you,” said Groover. “For those of you who voted for another faculty member, you voted for an amazing professor.”

    Iacocca Receives Award

    The Distinguished Alumni Award for Industry went to legendary auto executive Lee Iacocca ’45, while the Distinguished Alumni Award for Academia went to former Virginia Tech President Paul E. Torgersen ’53.

    Lee Iacocca ’45, the visionary auto executive widely considered one of the most influential business and philanthropic leaders of the past century, and Paul E. Torgersen ’53, whose esteemed academic career includes serving as the 14th president of Virginia Tech were chosen to receive this award by a committee from the department.


    Iacocca, whose years at the helm of Ford Motor Company and then Chrysler Corporation were marked by innovation and success, received the ISE Distinguished Alumni Award in Industry. Although he was unable to attend the awards banquet held in Iacocca Hall, Iacocca did appear on a pre-recorded video accepting his award from Tamás Terlaky, the George N. and Soteria Kledaras ’87 Endowed Professor and Chair of ISE.

    “You know, there’s something about South Mountain that attracts the best from around the world,” Iacocca told Terlaky in the video. “Lehigh University has always held a special place in my heart.”


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    Watch the special video of Lee Iacocca '45 accepting the ISE Distinguished Alumni Award in Industry from Tamás Terlaky.


    Iacocca, who as a member of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees chaired the fundraising campaign to purchase the Mountaintop Campus from Bethlehem Steel and jointly started the Iacocca Institute in 1988, said he accepted the award “in honor of current and future Lehigh students who have continued to lead and shape the world.”

    At the awards ceremony, Iacocca’s sister, Delma Kelechava, was presented with the plaque by Terlaky following the video screening.

    Torgersen, who attended Lehigh on a tennis scholarship and went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University, received the ISE Distinguished Alumni Award in Academia.

    He started his career at Virginia Tech in 1967 as head of the Industrial Systems Department and became Dean of Engineering three years later. In 1990, he was named president of Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center and, in 1993, began a seven-year term as the 14th president of Virginia Tech. Torgersen, who retired in January 2000, has served as chairman of the ASEE Engineering Dean’s Council, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and has authored or co-authored five books.

    Torgersen receives award

    “During his term as president, he continued to teach at least one class per semester,” Lehigh Provost Pat Farrell said in introducing Torgersen. “And I understand from talking to Paul just now that he is still teaching at least one class per semester and he has to get on a flight back because he has a class tomorrow morning.”

    Torgersen, in accepting the award, recounted the humorous tale of how he started out studying electrical engineering at Lehigh, “which didn’t fit.” So he switched to industrial and systems engineering and, with each step as he graduated, earned his master’s and doctorate degrees, and started teaching at the university level, “My father was pleased, but it’s too bad it wasn’t electrical engineering.”

    Finally, Torgersen said, he called his father to tell him he had been named Dean of Engineering. When his father asked what the dean did, Torgersen replied: “Dad, the electrical engineering department reports to the dean.”


    Photographs from the evening can be found on the Lehigh ISE photobucket web page.

    Contributing writer: Jack Croft

    Photography by Theo Anderson


    Posted Monday, May 3, 2010


    What does a rocket scientist really do?

    John T. Betts of Boeing gives 2010 Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture

    When describing something dreadfully simple or blatantly obvious, people often proclaim "it isn’t rocket science." Yet while we may all readily agree that rocket science is not a synonym for simple, it sheds no light on what a rocket scientist really does.

    Dr. John T. Betts

    During the April 16 Industrial and Systems Engineering Department's 2010 Spencer C. Schantz Lecture, Dr. John T. Betts reflected on the many subjects encountered during a career in the aerospace industry. During his lecture he gave a better understanding on what rocket scientists are all about, and not just geeks with beanie hats.

    “I always wanted to be a rocket scientist growing up,” says Dr. Betts. “Neil Armstrong was one of my classmates at Purdue. Once I found it was a little dangerous going into space, I moved toward the scientific part.”

    Dr. Betts joined The Boeing Company in 1987 and formally retired in 2009. During his time at Boeing, Dr. Betts had the opportunity to work on numerous projects including the Interim Upper Stage (IUS), which is the rocket inside the space shuttle and recently worked on the 787 Airplane.

    “It’s a passenger plane that is made of composite material, which is what kayaks are made out of,” says Dr. Betts. “It’s lighter and quieter for passengers in the plane. It’s scheduled for its first delivery at the end of the year.”

    Dr. Betts gave a technical talk to the department students on Thursday, April 15 entitled, “Algorithmic Choices When Solving an Optimal Control Problem.” His talk reviewed many of the choices needed to construct an effective method for solving an optimal control problem. “I hope I conveyed to the students that solving a hard problem, not all methods work. Some of them work, and some of them don’t.” The research that Dr. Betts has done over the years on satellites and space ships can be applied to the health field and weather predictions. He hoped that during his talk, he shed some light on what rocket scientists really do.

    “When people say to me ‘it’s not rocket science,’ I try to give them an honest answer. Some people just don’t know what it means. I hopefully can convey to them a sense of what rocket science is all about!”

    Students at Spencer Schantz Lecture

    This lecture series is endowed in the name of the late Spencer C. Schantz, who graduated from Lehigh in 1955 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Following progressive responsibilities with several electrical manufacturing companies, in 1969 he founded U.S. Controls Corporation and became its first CEO and President. The Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series was established by his wife Jerelyn as a valuable educational experience for faculty, students and friends of Lehigh’s Industrial and Systems Engineering department.

    Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2010


    The Crossover of Optimization

    Dr. Margaret Wright sheds light on optimization during INFORMS talk

    “In many important real-world problems, you can’t do experiments and you need to be able to visualize different options and their effects,” says Silver Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University Dr. Margaret Wright, Ph.D. “Every area of science, engineering, business, and health has complicated problems to solve. Modeling them mathematically and solving them computationally may lead to an improved answer.”

    During Dr. Wright’s talk on April 9, organized by the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department’s INFORMS student chapter “Optimization Without Derivatives: Consensus and Controversies,” she presented a broad view of the area of derivative-free optimization, where critical applications lead to numerous open questions, both mathematical and computational.

    “I hope that students would find that these intertwined issues illustrate how research in optimization can be a fascinating and rewarding blend of theory and practice.”

    Dr. Wright with ISE Dept Grad Students

    Before coming to NYU, Dr. Wright was a researcher at Bell Laboratories (part of AT&T until 1995, then of Lucent Technologies), where her work combined research on theoretical and computational optimization with experience on real-world applications.

    “One of my favorite projects involved trying to find an optimal design for an indoor wireless system,” said Dr. Wright. “Each team member contributed his or her expertise, and we all learned from each other.”

    Dr. Wright’s current research includes computational optimization methods with and without derivatives. She remains very interested in practical applications of optimization, for example devising optimal chemotherapy regimens for cancer patients.

    “Optimization methods can help to suggest improvements to standard treatment plans,” commented Dr. Wright, noting that there are many promising areas in medicine where optimization has proved to be useful.

    Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2010


    John E. McGlade ’76, ’80G receives SkillsUSA CEO Champion of the Year Award

    To read more about John receiving his award, please visit the United Busniess Media Web page.

    Posted Thursday, April 15, 2010


    John T. Betts (Boeing) the 2010 guest lecturer for the Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series

    Boeing Fellow to give public lecture on Friday, April 16

    John T. Betts

    When describing something dreadfully simple or blatantly obvious, people often proclaim "it isn’t rocket science." Yet while we may all readily agree that rocket science is not a synonym for simple, it sheds no light on what a rocket scientist really does.

    During the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department's 2010 Spencer C. Schantz Lecture, Dr. John T. Betts will reflect on the many subjects encountered during a career in the aerospace industry. His public lecture, “What Does a Rocket Scientist Really Do?” will take place on Friday, April 16 at 2:30 p.m. in Perella Auditorium of the Rauch Business Center.

    “John Betts is an amazing industry research professional who has contributed to numerous critical projects at Boeing, the author of popular books and the SOCS optimal control software package (software for solving optimal control problems),” says Tamás Terlaky department chair of the ISE Department and the George N. and Soteria Kledaras ’87 Endowed Chair Professor. “He has lectured in industry and major scientific events, and has influenced both the practice of optimization in industry and academic research. Faculty and students are looking forward to learn from Dr. Betts’ invaluable experiences and about the issues facing the optimization practitioner in today’s industrial setting.”

    Dr. Betts will also be giving a Technical Talk to the ISE department students on Thursday, April 15 at 2:30 p.m. in Mohler Lab room 451 titled, “Algorithmic Choices When Solving an Optimal Control Problem.”

    John T. Betts received a B.A. degree from Grinnell College in 1965 with a major in physics and minor in mathematics. He attended graduate school at Purdue University and in 1967 received an M.S. in Astronautics with a major in orbit mechanics. He received a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from Purdue in 1970, specializing in optimal control theory. He joined The Aerospace Corporation in 1970 as a Member of the Technical Staff, and from 1977-1987 was manager of the Optimization Techniques Section of the Performance Analysis Department. Dr. Betts joined the The Boeing Company, serving as manager of the Operations Research Group of Boeing Computer Services from 1987-1989. He served as a Technical Fellow in the Mathematics and Computing Technology Division, until his retirement in 2009, during which time he provided technical support to all areas of the Boeing Co. Dr. Betts is a member of AIAA and SIAM with active research in nonlinear programming and optimal control theory. In 2004, he was granted an "outstanding aerospace engineer award" by Purdue University. He has over 50 technical publications, and is the author of two books on optimal control methods.

    The lecture series is endowed in the name of the late Spencer C. Schantz, who graduated from Lehigh in 1955 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Following progressive responsibilities with several electrical manufacturing companies, in 1969 he founded U.S. Controls Corporation and became its first CEO and President. The Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series was established by his wife Jerelyn as a valuable educational experience for faculty, students and friends of Lehigh’s Industrial and Systems Engineering department. Past speakers in this series have included John Mulvey (Princeton University), William R. Pulleybank (IBM), Thomas L. Magnanti (MIT), Cynthia Barnhart (MIT) and John E. McGlade ’76, ’80G (Air Products and Chemicals).

    For more about the Spencer C. Schantz Lecture, please visit the Spencer C. Schantz Web page.

    Posted Friday, April 2, 2010


    Jim Flanagan ’80 Keynote Speaker for Altitude Student Leadership Conference

    For the past several years, Lehigh’s Office of Student Leadership Development has sent students to the University of Arizona’s three-day national student leadership development conference.

    Now, realizing that the Arizona conference lacks a counterpart on the East Coast, seniors in the Leadership Lehigh program are organizing the first annual Altitude Student Leadership Conference on Saturday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the University Center.

    The keynote speaker for the first annual Altitude Conference is Jim Flanagan ’80. Since earning his IE engineering degree, Flanagan has held leadership positions in the professional services and software industry.

    In his keynote address for Altitude, Jim will share what we encounter once we leave a college campus, and how our willingness to follow, actively engage and eventually lead creates huge opportunities for each of us. Jim will share his recollection of how the behavior patterns he learned as a student on South Mountain have served him well as he has progressed as a professional, a community leader, a parent and a husband. He remains an active participant in the University's programs. He is currently President of the Class of 1980, and will serve as President of the University's Alumni Board beginning in June.

    To read more about this conference, please visit the Lehigh articles web page.

    Posted Friday, April 2, 2010


    The professor who changed my life II

    Charles H. Mullen ’68 recalls Dr. Gary Whitehouse

    To read Charles's story, please visit the Lehigh articles web page.

    Posted Friday, April 2, 2010


    ISE Department Honors Lee Iacocca ’45 and Dr. Paul Torgersen ’53

    ISE to bestow its 2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards at April 29 banquet

    The Industrial and Systems Engineering Department will be awarding the 2010 ISE Distinguished Alumni Award for unparalleled contribution to industry and society to Lee Iacocca ’45, and to Dr. Paul Torgersen ’53 for his exceptional achievements in academia. They will be honored at the annual ISE Banquet on Thursday, April 29 at Iacocca Hall on Lehigh’s Mountain Top Campus.

    This award is presented to graduates of the department who have distinguished themselves professionally, made significant contributions to society and through their achievements have reflected credit on Lehigh University in academia or in industry. Recipients are selected by members of the ISE faculty and the department’s Advisory Board.

    Lee Iacocca

    Born and raised in Allentown, Lee Iacocca graduated from Lehigh in 1945. He began his professional career as an engineer at the Ford Motor company immediately following graduation. After working with Ford for over 30 years, he was hired to lead the Chrysler Corporation as President and CEO. Mr. Iacocca introduced Chrysler's K-car series and the 1984 T115 minivan and saved Chrysler. As a philanthropist, Mr. Iacocca has donated millions of dollars to various institutions and charitable foundations. As a member of the Lehigh Board of Trustees, he chaired the fundraising campaign to purchase the Mountaintop Campus from Bethlehem Steel and jointly started the Iacocca Institute. In June 2005, Mr. Iacocca was named by CNN as the fifth most influential business leader of the past 25 years, edged out by the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. In 2007, Conde Nast's Portfolio magazine named Iacocca the 18th greatest CEO of all time. According to Wharton Business School, he is among the top 25 most influential business leaders.


    Dr. Paul E Torgersen

    Paul E. Torgersen graduated from Lehigh in 1953. After studying at Lehigh, Torgersen went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Torgersen first arrived at Virginia Tech in 1967 as the Industrial Systems Department head. By 1970 he was Dean of Engineering. In 1990, Torgersen became president of Virginia Tech’s Corporate Research Center. Dr. Torgersen has served as chairman of the engineering Deans’ Council, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and has authored or co-authored five books - two translated into Japanese. In 1993, he began a seven year term as the fourteenth President of Virginia Tech. During his terms as dean and as president, 62,191 diplomas presented to Virginia Tech graduates were signed by Paul E. Torgersen. The new engineering building and bridge was named after Dr. Torgersen’s formal retirement from Virginia Tech in 2000. He has taught at least one class every semester since 1967 and continues to teach on a part-time basis.

    “The ISE department is honored to recognize our exceptional alumni who, with their Lehigh IE degrees, went out and impacted the world,” said Tamás Terlaky, Industrial and Systems Engineering department chair and George N. and Soteria Kledaras ’87 Endowed Chair Professor.

    “The Distinguished Alumni Award is a small token of our appreciation to our distinguished alumni for their exceptional leadership and achievements. The success of Lee Iacocca and Paul Torgersen reflects positively upon all Lehigh IEs, and serves to inspire countless current and future Lehigh students in our field.”

    Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2010


    ISE Council Networking Event - March 3, 2010

    To read more about this event, please visit the ISE Networking Event web page.

    Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010