University of Arkansas Professors Recognized by the Institute of Industrial Engineers

 The Institute of Industrial Engineers honored two University of Arkansas professors at their annual conference on May 21-25. Russell Meller, Hefley Professor of Logistics and Entrepreneurship, received the David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award. This award is given to a researcher whose work has made broad contributions to the field of industrial engineering. Kim Needy, department head and Twenty-first Century Professor in Engineering, was named an IIE Fellow, which is the highest classification of IIE membership.

Meller is the director of the National Science Foundation Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution, and the focus of much of his research is on facility logistics. One of Meller’s recent accomplishments is the development two aisle designs that help workers in warehouses move through the space more efficiently, increasing productivity by up to 20 percent. He is also the first U.S. researcher to be funded in a new logistics paradigm called the Physical Internet.

“It is clear that in less than two decades, Meller has compiled a record of research accomplishments that numbers him among the world’s leading researchers in his field,” said John White, Distinguished Professor of industrial engineering and chancellor emeritus of the University of Arkansas, who prepared Meller’s nomination. “I believe he is the leading academic authority in facility layout and warehouse design.”

Needy’s research interests include engineering management, sustainability and supply chain optimization. One of her current research projects focuses on product design with the supply chain in mind. “We’re looking at how to design a product while simultaneously considering impacts on the supply chain,” she explained. Through this research, Needy and her students are helping companies consider the bigger picture when they design products and choose suppliers.

White also prepared Needy's nomination. “Needy has compiled a record of technical accomplishments, significant results and service that numbers her among the nation’s leading contributors to industrial engineering—particularly in the areas of engineering management and engineering sustainability,” he said.

In addition, industrial engineering doctoral student Hector Vergara was awarded the Sierleja Memorial Fellowship and received third place in the Doctoral Colloquium Poster Competition. Associate professor Heather Nachtmann and doctoral student Jing Jing Tong received the Best Paper Award for the Homeland Security Track, and assistant professor Ashlea Bennett served as the Healthcare Systems Engineering Track chair.

Release date: 6/9/2011