February 12, 2009

LSU hosted the 2009 Industrial Engineering (IE) Southeast Region Conference on February 12-14. Eleven Universities attended the conference, featuring 150 IE students converging to share and expand their knowledge of industrial engineering. The conference is hosted at LSU every seven or eight years and the LSU planning conference committee executed an exceptional and successful event.

The three-day conference began with a welcome mixer. Day two began with a plant tour of Tony’s Seafood that led into other events including a career fair, technical paper competition, workshops, and banquet. The final day consisted of teambuilding activities, meetings, and farewell barbecue and crawfish boil. All conference attendees were invited on a Social Tour of downtown Baton Rouge consisting of a Mardi Gras party and the Krewe of Mystique and Krewe of Orion parades to close out the conference.

Two distinguished speakers shared their knowledge and brought encouragement to the students. Mr. Joseph E. Chenette spoke during Friday’s lunch. Chenette, a graduate of IE from the University of Florida, is a Life member of IIE and an officer in the Central Florida chapter. Chenette received his MS in Industrial/Systems Engineering from Southern Methodist University and is currently a Supplier and Quality Engineer for Lockheed Martin.

The conference’s keynote speaker, Dr. Munna Kachhal, of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Vice President for Student Development for the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), was presented during the banquet. Kachhal said of the conference, “Students learn how to present their ideas. They gain recognition for their work. Also, the work directly benefits industry.” He continued to explain that industrial engineers create and improve processes, products, and systems. Unlike many other engineering disciplines where work results in a product, industrial engineers design, install and improve integrated systems of people, materials, information, equipment, and energy.

Six student entries in the technical paper competition were judged by a panel of three judges. Brandon Pitts of LSU, in conjunction of the University of Iowa, received first place in the competition for his paper and presentation on “The Relative Contributions of Cognitive and Visual/Manual Distractions to Driving Performance.” Pitts received a $500 award and will present his paper in the international competition at the IIE Annual Conference and Expo in Miami. Second place and $300 was awarded to David W. Aniello and Kevin J. Lowry, from the University of Central Florida, for their paper on “Streamlining the Dialysis of Accessioning Process DaVita Lab.” Carl Morris of Mississippi State University, captured third place and $200 for his entry, “Semi-Markov Decision Process for Determining Transshipment of Slow-Moving Medical Goods.”

When asked ’What are the benefits of attending this conference?’ a group of students volunteered many ideas such as: networking, learning more about available options—all the things you can do as an industrial engineer, and the ability to see new perspectives. Josh Gatesman, of University of Central Florida exclaimed, “It gets you re-energized to be an IE.” Valeria Sobalvarro, president of the LSU chapter of IIE and organizer of the conference said, “My experience was far beyond anything I had expected. Activities like this are what give you the advantage in so many aspects of life--whether it is professional, social, academic, or just personal. These are activities that build so much of a person’s character and where one really has room to grow and improve.” Visiting students were able to take home not only their experience and knowledge gained from the conference as an IE student but an excitement for and fondness of LSU and the Baton Rouge area. Students remarked that they truly enjoyed the environment of LSU, especially seeing our beloved Mike the Tiger, and trying the greatest Louisiana cuisine: crawfish.

 

Participating Schools:

 

  • Auburn University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Louisiana State University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Mercer University
  • Mississippi State University
  • SPSU
  • University of Alabama - Huntsville
  • University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida

Article by Mary Englehardt for the College of Engineering, 225-578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu

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