Saturday, February 22, 2020

Brilliant Lecture on Resilience by a Great Dane - Dr. Rasmus Dahlberg

Yesterday, we had the honor and pleasure of hosting Professor Rasmus Dahlberg of Denmark in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series. His talk on "Resilience - the Danish Version" was brilliant. It is not often that one has the opportunity to hear from someone who is not only a disaster research scholar and a practitioner, with many fascinating experiences in a spectrum of emergency management exercises and events, including ones in the Arctic, but is also a novelist and media personality!
I had had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Dahlberg previously and met him when he presented a paper in the first Dynamics of Disasters conference that I co-organized in Kalamata, Greece. The paper that he delivered at this conference appears in the refereed conference proceedings.

Coincidentally, Dr. Dahberg delivered his talk yesterday in Isenberg's new Business Innovation Hub, which was designed by the award-winning Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. Last April, Ingels came and spoke at the unveiling of the hub and accompanying celebrations.

I gave some opening remarks and then Mojtaba Salarpour, the President of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, welcomed the speaker and the audience. It was great to have faculty and students from the Isenberg School, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering, and the College of Computer and Information Sciences in attendance, as well as faculty from other universities, and even several journalism students who were excited about covering the event!

Dr. Dahlberg is a faculty member at the Royal Danish Defence College and considers himself a "disaster historian." He has worked for the Danish Emergency Management Agency in the Department of Crisis Management.
He emphasized that there are no natural hazards in Denmark and that "all disasters are man-made." What is especially challenging now is that there are more risks from climate change and advanced technology. And many disasters have been the result of human error, due to complexities of advanced technology.  He also emphasized that Denmark is one of the most peaceful countries but is being faced with sea level rise, along with expansions of maritime routes, which can lead to more maritime accidents and disasters.
He noted that emergency management in Denmark has evolved from "civil protection" and that Denmark in the Anthropocene is seeing more and more extreme weather events with extreme rainfall.

He brought up numerous interesting points, including the need for  "zero responders," who are volunteers rising up to assist. He mentioned an incident of extreme rainfall and flooding in Denmark in 2013, for which multiple shelters were identified but very few citizens actually used them. The Danes, through social media, had informed the community that they had opened up their own residences to those needing shelter and, in effect, solved the disaster response effectively. People, for the first time, in Denmark, used one another and social media in this way. The peer to peer coordination and communication was very successful!

Dr. Dahlberg, on February 7, 2014, contributed to a Danish Emergency Management Association Workshop which he called "Resilience 101," in which he spoke about resilience as being the ability "to bounce forward" after a disturbance that disrupts normal operations. He noted the work of Dr. Tierney, who was also on his PhD dissertation committee, who defines "resilience as the obverse of risk" and the work of Dr. Alexander Augustine, who notes that "We need to build resilience to the uncertainties that lie ahead."

A more resilient Denmark is needed to tackle climate change. He also emphasized that "we cannot build our way out of everything" and mentioned the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities program.

Dahlberg believes that one must stress the system for resiliency.
He also emphasized that it is expensive to invest in emergency management and singled out the "Arctic Response Force." He singled out the possibility of a cruise ship disaster in Arctic waters. He has even written up disaster scenarios, which were then used in Denmark for disaster preparedness and response exercises!

After his presentation, there was a terrific Q&A; we took a group photo of those who were still in attendance, followed by a delicious lunch at the University Club at UMass Amherst, at which the stimulating conversations continued.

And, at lunch, he told us how to escape from a car sinking in the water and provided us with advice to always wear hiking boots while flying (helps in climbing out should you need to evacuate while taking off or landing).

We thank Dr. Rasmus Dahlberg for his brilliant lecture on resilience and wish him much continuing professional and personal success! His work and energy inspired all of us.
We ended the perfect intellectual and social day with dinner at Judie's in Amherst, complete with their iconic item - popovers!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Outstanding Inaugural INFORMS Security Conference in Beautiful Monterey, California

I arrived back in Amherst at 1AM this morning, having flown from Monterey, California to Denver, Colorado and then to my "local" airport - Bradley.

I had been in beautiful Monterey to take part in INFORMS' inaugural Conference on Security and it was outstanding.  The official dates of the conference were February 9-11, 2020.  Luckily, I am on sabbatical this semester, so this was manageable for me and I was very much looking forward to presenting at this conference. It was also quite nostalgic, since the first talk I ever gave at a conference was at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey (which was also heavily involved in this conference) at an MIT/ONR conference organized by Professor Michael Athans of MIT. I was then working in the defense sector, focusing on the navy, in Newport, Rhode Island, while pursuing my Master's at Brown University. I was the only female presenter at that conference.

First, I would like to congratulate the organizers of the INFORMS Security Conference: Mr. Harrison Schramm, Captain Brian Morgan, and Dr. Paul Nicholson, on its success! The format was excellent - 50 minute presentations (8 or so parallel sessions), with lunch and coffee provided, and ample time for discussion. Everyone was very gracious and friendly.  One "marker of the success" of this conference was the number of INFORMS Fellows in attendance, including: Gerry Brown, Stephen Robinson, Vicki Bier, Michael Fu, Sheldon Jacobson, and me :) If I missed someone, do let me know! Attendance was about 100 (I was told) and consisted of faculty, military, practitioners from various companies, government, and even some students that I met.

The plenary talks were great as well as a risk analysis panel conducted by Gerry Brown and Sam Savage. 

It was thrilling to even see Stefan Pickl, who traveled all the way from Germany for the conference. He had been a participant in the latest Dynamics of Disasters conference that I co-organized with Panos M. Pardalos and Ilias S. Kotsireas, and which took place last summer in Kalamata, Greece. We are now co-editing a new volume, to be published by Springer.
In the above photo I am standing with Stefan Pickl, Rob Dell, who gave one of the plenary talks, and Conference Chair Harrison Schramm.

I had the pleasure of presenting Monday morning on Game Theory Network Models for Disaster Relief. Special thanks to Nathaniel Bastian for being an outstanding stream chair of our stream: Interdisciplinary Applications - Frontiers. He had all of our presentations ready for projecting on his laptop.
Below are some photos from the delivered talks and of one of the great lunches! Many thanks for the wonderful presenters. Special to also hear from Jun Zhang and James Minas.

The venue was extraordinary - the hotel is located in downtown Monterey with hiking/biking trails in proximity and views of the Pacific.

And, at its best, a conference generates new research ideas, new collaborations, reconnecting with colleagues, and growing your network. The INFORMS Conference on Security delivered on all counts and at a location that would be hard to improve upon.  I was even presented with a book by Booz Allen Hamilton consultants. Interestingly, I had had an offer from this company when I was finishing up my PhD.
Below I have posted a few photos of the beauty of the natural environment of Monterey.
I am looking forward to the next INFORMS Conference on Security but, in the mean time, there is a lot of important research to be done by our community!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Beginning of My Sabbatical and My Twelfth Year of Blogging

It is hard to believe that this month I am celebrating 11 years of writing on this blog. My first post  was on the New Year - New Administration - New Blog. In that post I also noted a Letter to the Editor that I had had published in The New York Times on the students in my Transportation and Logistics class that I teach at the Isenberg School.  It is quite interesting to look back at the posts. Many provide timely advice. Interestingly, my third post was on my interview with Linda Baker on the Braess Paradox, for an article that she wrote for the Scientific American. And, coincidentally, my most recent article is on The Braess Paradox, an invited chapter for The International Encyclopedia of Transportation.

My blog has over 1,600 posts that I have written!

I am about to start my sabbatical, which means that I will not be teaching this Spring 2020 semester. I must admit that I will miss not teaching Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare and also my PhD Seminar but there are many projects to start and others to finish up and also numerous very exciting speaking engagements and visits. Some service activities to the Isenberg School (and beyond, of course), will still be on my plate.

I am very excited about the INFORMS Security Conference, which takes place next month in Monterey, California. The website is live and the speakers and talks look fabulous - I am especially delighted that all speakers get a 50 minute time slot, so one can really share insights and also gain some!

At this conference, I will be speaking on: Game Theory Network Models for Disaster Relief. Coincidentally, the first conference presentation that I ever gave was when I worked in the high tech sector for the Naval Underwater Systems Center in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island, and it was at an MIT/ONR Conference at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey! I was the only female presenter. In addition to working, I was also pursuing a Master's at Brown University at that time. It will be very special to be back there.

Some other highlights of my sabbatical, in terms of conferences and visits are the following:

In March, I will have the honor of giving a plenary talk at the Netgcoop Conference in Corsica, France, while my PhD student, Deniz Besik, presents on our work on tariffs, quotas, and trade at the INFORMS Optimization Society Conference in Greenville, South Carolina.

In April, I will have the pleasure of being an invited speaker at an International Workshop at the University of Brescia in Italy on Variational Analysis and Applications for Modelling of Energy Exchange. There I will see many wonderful Italian colleagues!

In May, it will be time to fly to Iowa, a state that I have never been to. Many thanks to Professor Ann Campbell for inviting me to give a plenary talk at a very exciting 2-day workshop - Future BA (Business Analytics) Prof! This workshop will take place at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa and all expenses for accepted applicants will be covered. The workshop is for advanced PhD students and post-docs —especially women and individuals from underrepresented groups — who are interested in academic careers in Business Analytics.

A huge highlight of my sabbatical will be the CORS Conference in Toronto in June. Also at this conference I will have the immense honor of delivering the Harold Larnder Prize plenary talk. The list of previous recipients of this prize can be found here. I am absolutely thrilled by this recognition and am the only the second female to receive this prize, which dates to 1986. The title of my Larnder lecture is: Trade Wars: OR in the Economic Battlefields.

I spoke at the CORS Conference in Halifax and had a tremendous time. Having been born in Canada, and having lived for a few years in Toronto, it will be great to be back. 
I will also be giving a seminar at the University of Toronto in March.

There will be other conferences in June and I will be busy also co-editing a new Dynamics of Disasters volume with Panos M. Pardalos and Ilias S. Kotsireas. We have received a contract from Springer and work has already begin with refereeing some of  the contributions, etc.

And, in late August, as my sabbatical is coming to a close, it will be time for the CLAIO 2020 Conference in Madrid, Spain. In 2019, I had the pleasure of speaking in Chile,  Colombia, and Mexico, and am so honored to have been selected the IFORS Distinguished Lecturer (IDL) at CLAIO. I will give my IDL plenary at this conference with the title: NetwORks: Changing Our WORld for the Better. This will be my first visit to Spain.

Of course, as my schedule and time permit, I will still be supporting the great UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and its Speaker Series and also directing the Virtual Center for Supernetworks and working with my PhD students! Updates on my sabbatical will certainly be posted on this blog.

Many thanks to everyone for 11 great years of support of this blog!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Congratulations and Kudos to the Supernetwork Team at the Isenberg School of Management for a Great 2019 Year!

Every year, at this time, as the Center Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, I prepare a Congratulations and Kudos piece to the Supernetwork Team. 2019 was another extraordinary year for the Supernetwork Team, one in which we continued to make global impact through fundamental network research with a wide range of applications and activities! It is an honor to highlight some of the accomplishments and achievements of the Center Associates of the Virtual Center for Supernetwork in the past year.
The year began with a marvelous event. I had the great honor and pleasure of speaking at the extraordinary 2019 Congreso Futuro, which took place in Chile from January 14-20. I was invited to speak at this truly unique Congress last April via a formal letter from Senator (Senador) Guido Girardi Lavín, President, Future Challenges, Science, Technology and Innovation Commission, who was writing on behalf of the Chilean Congress, the Government of the Republic of Chile, and the Chilean Academy of Sciences. This year's Congress was the eight annual one and the Congress has become the most important free and open-access scientific forum in Latin America. The Futuro Congreso is unique in the region for providing Nobel laureates, scientists, researchers, artists, opinion leaders and citizens alike the opportunity to experience some of the world’s most cutting-edge research, participate in the understanding of emerging trends and actively engage in the innovation of ideas and debates that directly influence the globe. I had the pleasure of speaking in both Santiago and Valparaiso, and we were even hosted by the President of Chile for a dinner at the palace in Santiago.

On April 5, 2019, we marked an extraordinary milestone - the 50th anniversary of the PhD Program at the Isenberg School of Management, with alums, family members, present doctoral students, faculty, and guests convening for a special celebration. Center Associate Professor Tina Wakolbinger of the Vienna University of Economics and Business was one of the two keynoters at the banquet and Center Associates Professors Jose M. Cruz of UConn and Patrick Qiang of Penn State, and Dr. Padma Ramanujam of SAS, were panelists on the Management Science PhD panel that I had the pleasure of organizing. Center Associates: Professors Min Yu of the University of Portland, June Dong of SUNY Oswego, Michelle Li of Babson College, and Amir H. Masoumi of Manhattan College came back for this big event. Also, Doctoral Student Center Associates: Deniz Besik, Pritha Dutta, and Mojtaba Salarpour very much enjoyed this truly celebratory event. Pritha Dutta successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, graduated in May from UMass Amherst, and is now an Assistant Professor at Pace University in NYC.

The POMS conference took place in Washington DC, May 2-6, 2019. Doctoral Student Center Associate Deniz Besik presented some of her latest work, joint with Center Associate Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford and me, on tariff rate quotas and agricultural products. Pritha Dutta presented on research, also conducted with me, on competition for blood donations, a paper, which was recently published in the journal Omega. Dr. Dutta also had a paper published in Operations Research for Health Care in 2020. Center Associates had numerous journal article publications and it is important to recognize that Professor Dmytro Matsypura received the INFORMS ENRE (energy, natural resources and the environment) Best Publication Award in Environment and Sustainability for his paper on wildfires, Wildfire Fuel Management: Network-based Models and Optimization of Prescribed Burning, co-authored with Professor Oleg Prokopyev of the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Matsypura's student, Aizat Zahar, and published in the European Journal of Operational Research in 2018. Dr. Matsypura presented the paper and received the award certificate at the INFORMS conference in Seattle in October 2019.

I had the pleasure of being elected a Fellow of the Network Science Society. The award ceremony took place at a banquet during the International Conference on Network Science in Burlington, Vermont, May 29-31, 2019. The citation on my Fellow plaque reads: For sustained contributions to network science, including the formulation, analysis, and computation of solutions to engineered network systems, from congested urban transportation to supply chains, under varied decision-making behaviors.

Center Associate Professor Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania in Italy served as a Member of the Program Committee of EURO 2019 in Dublin, Ireland, which took place June 23-26, 2019. Several Center Associates, in addition to Professor Patrizia Daniele; notably, Professor Sara Saberi of WPI and Professor Dmytro Matsypura of the University of Sydney in Australia, spoke at this conference. I had the honor of giving a tutorial on: Game Theory and Variational Inequalities: From Transportation and Supply Chains to Financial Networks and the Internet and was a panelist on two panels: Women in OR and Making an Impact. It was a pleasure to present a paper on global trade and tariffs and quotas co-authored with Doctoral Student Center Associate Deniz Besik and Center Associate Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford.

I had the pleasure of being a keynote speaker at the CIIO 2019 logistics conference and also delivering a guest lecture. Both of these took place at the Naval Academy located on an island in Cartagena, Colombia. I also had the great honor of being a keynote speaker at the VIII Congreso de la Sociedad Mexicana de Investigacion de Operaciones (CSMIO 2019), ITAM Santa Teresa, Mexico, October 16-18, 2019.

The INFORMS Annual Conference had great representation by the Center Associates with Professors Dmytro Matsypura, Jose Cruz, Sara Saberi, Ke Ke of Central Washington University, Michelle Li, Shivani Shukla of the University of San Francisco, and Min Yu taking part, as well as Doctoral Student Center Associates Deniz Besik and Mojtaba Salarpour. Deniz Besik had the honor of being accepted and taking part in 3 Doctoral Colloquia this year: at POMS in Washington DC, INFORMS, and DSI in New Orleans. Also, congrats to Dr. Cruz on being appointed an Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at the School of Business at UConn!

It was also a fabulous year for the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, which I have had the pleasure of serving as the Faculty Advisor of for an incredible 15 years. We hosted outstanding speakers from industry and academia in our Speaker Series. The speakers spoke on topics from smart cities to disaster management in the Arctic, and the optimization of refugee settlement placements, as well as energy, among other topics. On November 13, 2019, we were delighted that Center Associate Dr. Stavros Siokos, traveled from London, England, and spoke in the series. Dr. Siokos is Managing Partner of Astarte Capital Partners LLP, a private equity asset management firm based in London. His presentation title was:  “Investing in Private Markets: Social and Environmental Benefits.”

And, on December 5, 2019, I had the distinct honor of presenting to the Isenberg School's Senior Leadership Team on 18 (plus) years of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks and its activities. The presentation slides can be downloaded here.

Thanks for the support! We wish everyone a Fabulous New 2020 Year!
Anna Nagurney
Below are links to examples of some of our recent publications.

Multitiered Blood Supply Chain Network Competition: Linking Blood Service Organizations, Hospitals, and Payers
Pritha Dutta and Anna Nagurney, Operations Research for Health Care, 23: (2019), 100230.
In Memoriam: Martin Beckmann (1924-2017)
David Boyce and Anna Nagurney, Transportation Science.
Quantifying Supply Chain Network Synergy for Humanitarian Organizations
Anna Nagurney and Qiang Qiang, to appear in IBM Journal of Research and Development.
Strict Quotas or Tariffs? Implications for Product Quality and Consumer Welfare in Differentiated Product Supply Chains
Anna Nagurney, Deniz Besik, and Dong Li, Transportation Research E 29: (2019), pp 136-161.
Global Supply Chain Networks and Tariff Rate Quotas: Equilibrium Analysis with Application to Agricultural Products
Anna Nagurney, Deniz Besik, and Ladimer S. Nagurney, Journal of Global Optimization 75: (2019) pp 439–460.
Competition for Blood Donations
Anna Nagurney and Pritha Dutta, Omega 212: (2019), pp 103-114.
An Integrated Financial and Logistical Game Theory Model for Humanitarian Organizations with Purchasing Costs, Multiple Freight Service Providers, and Budget, Capacity, and Demand Constraints
Anna Nagurney, Mojtaba Salarpour, and Patrizia Daniele, International Journal of Production Economics 212: (2019), pp 212-226.
Supply Chain Network Competition Among Blood Service Organizations: A Generalized Nash Equilibrium Framework
Anna Nagurney and Pritha Dutta, Annals of Operations Research 275(2): (2019), pp 551-586.
Tariffs and Quotas in World Trade: A Unified Variational Inequality Framework
Anna Nagurney, Deniz Besik, and June Dong, European Journal of Operational Research 275(1): (2019), pp 347-360.
How to Increase the Impact of Disaster Relief: A Study of Transportation Rates, Framework Agreements and Product Distribution
Timo Gossler, Tina Wakolbinger, Anna Nagurney, and Patrizia Daniele, European Journal of Operational Research 274(1): (2019), pp 126-141.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Great Talk on Emergency Response in the Arctic by Professor Tom Sharkey of RPI

Recently, we had the great pleasure of hosting RPI Professor Tom Sharkey in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series.  His talk, based on an NSF-funded research project, was extremely timely and fascinating.
In fact, an article on this project, co-authored by Professor Sharkey with his project collaborators, including Professor Al Wallace of RPI,  was the cover story in the November issue of ISE Magazine and is definitely worthwhile to read.

His talk attracted an audience of faculty and students from multiple departments and schools at UMass Amherst, including the Isenberg School, the College of Engineering, and also the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

It was a pleasure to introduce Professor Sharkey - I had last seen him this past March when I gave a talk at RPI. Since then, a PhD alumna of RPI's ISE program, whose PhD advisor was Professor Wallace, Dr. Anne P. Massey, has become the first female Dean of the Isenberg School - very exciting!

Professor Sharkey emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the project in his presentation and noted that the team is working on constructing Operations Research (OR) models to help in emergency response (ER), while also helping communities. Collaborators, outside of RPI faculty, include a professor at NCState and one at the University of Alaska.

He noted the changes that are happening in the Arctic, including tourism and increasing commercial activity, as well as the possibility of broadened maritime shipping,  and the various associated challenges from uncertainty in sea conditions to shortcomings in infrastructure, including broadband. He stated that, even without oil exploration, there is still the possibility of spills. The shipping time from China to Rotterdam has now been decreased by 10-14 days. And, when it comes to ER, mobilization may be bottlenecked by the limited capacity of a community. Infrastructure investments take a while to build out. He discussed the need to determine the minimum budget required in order to achieve a certain response time in an emergency.

Also, he emphasized that there may be unintended consequences and it is important to identify who actually benefits from infrastructure investments.

Professor Sharkey described a mass rescue event, with accompanying network figure, in the case of the need to rescue cruise ship evacuees. His talk clearly resonated with me since we have done a lot of work on disaster relief and, to-date, I have co-edited two volumes on Dynamics of Disasters, with Professors Ilias S. Kotsireas and Panos M. Pardalos.

In 2016, I hosted the visit of Rasmus Dahlberg, who is a disaster researcher, based in Denmark (and also a novelist and TV and radio personality).  After Sharkey's visit to UMass Amherst, I connected the two of them, due to their very similar interests in Arctic emergency response research. Dahlberg is also a practitioner in this important domain. He also has a contributed chapter in the first Dynamics of Disasters (DOD) volume that I co-edited and spoke at the first DOD conference that I co-organized in Kalamata, Greece.

Professor Sharkey spoke abut identifying "dual-use" infrastructure planning, a concept I like very much. For example, improved "connectivity" for Arctic regions is an important goal, in transport (in terms of roads and ports) as well as in communications.  Fast and reliable Internet could then allow for telemedicine, as well as teleeducation in the Arctic. Of course, he also brought up the important question: "Who is going to pay?"

There were many questions during and after his very information talk. We took a group photo and then enjoyed a lunch at the University Club. We thank Professor Sharkey for his excellent, very inspiring  lecture in our Speaker Series!
Also, we celebrated, with cake, 15 years of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter (30 semesters of great speakers in its Speaker Series)!

Professor Sharkey was interviewed after the lunch for the chapter's youtube channel, and, when the approved video is posted, we will let everyone know via social media.

In the meantime, many thanks to the outstanding UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, and to its Officers, for their amazing work, that brings all those interested in Operations Research/Management Science throughout UMass Amherst (and beyond) closer together as a community, both professionally and socially.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Investing in Private Markets for Social and Environmental Benefits - Brilliant Lecture by UMass Amherst PhD Alum Dr. Stavros Siokos

A fabulous aspect of being an academic is not only the fascinating people one meets professionally but also in that one is always learning, growing, and challenging oneself. 

Some of that great professional and personal growth comes through hearing experts speak on their latest work!

This past week, I had the pleasure of welcoming back to the UMass Amherst campus, my 6th PhD student, Dr. Stavros Siokos, who is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Astarte Capital Partners, based in London, England. Dr. Siokos and I co-authored the Financial Networks book, which was published by Springer  in 1997, as well as multiple journal articles.
Stavros has had a meteoric career in the financial industry and it was wonderful to have him speak in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series. He has received major awards for his work, including the "CEO Today Europe Award 2018," "Game Changer of 2018" by the Finance Monthly, and "The Most Innovative Manager of 2017" by Fund Intelligence.
Dr. Siokos flew in from London to Boston and, Tuesday evening, on a very chilly day that broke records, we dined at Judie's in downtown Amherst. The food was delicious!
Stavros started his career at Salomon Brothers in London and later became Managing Director of Citigroup. I recall picking up a copy of the Wall Street Journal and seeing the announcement of his appointment as Managing Director! When I have a chance to be in London, I always try to make a point of seeing him. And, because he has offices in major cities around  the globe, I have even "run into" him in the middle of Manhattan, during the holiday season, no less.

His talk at the Isenberg School on investing in private markets for social and environmental benefits was truly inspirational.
As a PhD alumnus of UMass Amherst, it was very special and meaningful for the PhD students and, even undergraduates in the audience, to see what one can accomplish through hard work, dedication, focus, and also charisma, I might add. A favorite slide from his presentation was the one below quoting Charles Darwin, which Stavros paraphrased as: "If you aren't able to adapt to change, you die!"
Stavros began his talk by emphasizing UN sustainability goals, and the making of investments that "help" everyone. He asked the question: "What is the biggest impact that we can have?"

He also noted mega macro trends in his fabulous presentation, including the ageing of the population, food security, and climate change.
He emphasized that "if you do something good, you will make more." He discussed, also accompanied with outstanding videos, some of  his company's investments, from Project Cusco in Paraguay, where eucalyptus is being grown with areas between the growth reserved for farming; investments in India and East Africa, with the latter involving a female in Kenya, who is producing very successful soap products,  as well as the amazing Olympia project that he is involved in, in London!

It was clear that his Operations Research PhD background illuminates a lot of his work. He stated that "let's do mining, but make it better;"  "let's make container ships more efficient," and so on. It was clear from his presentation that, when it comes to supply chains and sustainability, that we need to include the full life cycle costs and impacts.

It was also very moving to hear about the investments into education, including that of children with disabilities.

Stavros has had the pleasure of meeting Nelson Mandela and former President Bill Clinton, among many other leaders, and has even been advising Warren Buffett. Buffett once asked Stavros his ideas on how to become successful, and, when Stavros told him that it is "Doing what you want, where you want to do it, and when," Buffet responded that that is the definition of success. But to achieve that, you have to hang in there until you become "lucky."

I always tell my students that one needs to take into consideration where an individual has started from to appropriately measure one's success. 

After his fabulous presentation, I took a photo of some of the students with Dr. Siokos.
Haris Sipetas, the incredible UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter webmaster, conducted an interview with Dr. Siokos in the Supernetworks Lab at the Isenberg School. The interview, once edited and approved, will be posted on the chapter's youtube channel, where you can access previous interviews with our speakers (and learn a lot)! And, for additional photos and highlights, please check out Haris' post on Dr. Siokos' talk. What serendipity and an incredible coincidence - both Sipetas and Siokos had received undergraduate degrees in engineering from the University of Patras in Greece!