Friday, April 12, 2019

Celebrations Marking the Opening of the Business Innovation Hub at the Isenberg School of Management

The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst marked the official opening of its new $62 million Business Innovation Hub (BIH) with style!

This magnificent structure had been years in the planning as well as in the construction (and I know since I taught classes when the construction was going on outside my classroom and my office). The structure marks a wonderful collaboration between two renowned architectural firms, Boston-based Goody Clancy and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) of New York and Denmark.

Last evening, the gala dinner at the BIH took place, which were extraordinary, as were the atmosphere, speeches, and conversations. The meal was the best I have ever had during my time at UMass Amherst and I have been to many awards banquets, graduation celebrations, and other events.
The program is posted above and the menu below.
It was very special to see so many donors, alums, faculty, and administrators at this event. The dress code was black tie (optional).
It was extra special to hear from Bjarke Ingels, who traveled from Copenhagen, Denmark, and regaled us with his unique vision of great architecture and even shared with us that just the day before he had met with the Queen of Denmark, since he had designed the enclosure for its two very special immigrants, two pandas! And, today, an article on this exact topic appears in The New York Times.
The Isenberg School's Business Innovation Hub is the first project in higher ed in the US for this firm, which makes it unique and quite meaningful.

I am still enjoying the warm afterglow from the dinner last night.
I am not a big meat eater but the beef was so tender it just melted in our mouths and the mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and asparagus were all superb. The dessert, featured above, was also heavenly.

At our table, were: the Dean of the College of Computer and Information Sciences, Dr. Laura Haas, and her husband, Dr. Peter Haas, who is a great colleague and also an INFORMS member; Gordon Oakes and his wife, and  the Chair of our Hospitality & Tourism Management Department, Dr. "Muzzo" Uysal.

The evening was simply perfect. Special kudos to our former Dean, Dr. Mark A. Fuller, our Interim Dean, Dr. Tom Moliterno, and our great Chancellor - Dr. Kumble Subbaswamy for their hard work and vision in making the BIH a reality.

And today, after a great Operations and Information Management Department meeting, the official ribbon cutting ceremony took place with additional luminaries in attendance, wonderful speeches, and even students in the audience and Amherst town officials!
The reception afterwards included sushi, fresh fruit, cheeses, and many pastries.

A big shoutout to Professor Cathy Lowry for being a great Master of Ceremonies today as well as to the administrators and Associate Dean Nefertiti Walker, who beautifully captured what this stunning new space means to all of those who care so much about the Isenberg School and UMass Amherst.

And, last night, if you have not heard, the UMass Amherst hockey team, played against the University of Denver in the Frozen Four NCAA semifinal in Buffalo; won the game in overtime, and tomorrow night will be playing against the University of Minnesota Duluth for the national championship.

We also managed to submit a proposal to NSF yesterday.

The past 24 hours have been incredible and our Chancellor hopes to be wearing a very special cap, come Sunday!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Fabulous Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the PhD Program at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst

This past Friday, 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.

This event was months in the planning and was the first gala event to take place in our $62 million Business Innovation Hub (BIH) at the Isenberg School. In fact, next Friday we are having the official unveiling of the BIH. Thanks to the PhD Director, Dr. George Milne, and to Mike Korza and Sophia Love for a day that brought 220 of us from as far as such countries as Austria and Canada, and states of California, Oregon, and Idaho back for the celebration.

The full program can be viewed here.

The day began with registration and many greetings and hugs and at the lunch Dr. Milne and Interim Dean Tom Moliterno had opening remarks.

There have been 437 PhD graduates of our program, to-date, and we expect another 13 graduates this May! It was thrilling to see that the first PhD recipient was in Management Science. I have had the honor of being the PhD Area Coordinator in Management Science for many years and am back to doing that service role again, which I enjoy very much. 

There was also a fascinating slide show posted on screens throughout the Isenberg School providing highlights of our program and it was fun to see photos of colleagues from decades ago (some faculty, honestly, do not change much).
Dr. Milne even had a slide highlighting the list of those who had chaired the highest number of dissertations, and I was so honored to be on the list - even more so, since 10 of  those PhD students of mine  came back for the celebration! I have also chaired dissertations in Engineering and co-chaired one in Math/Stats. Interestingly, the Management Science, Finance, and Organization Behavior tracks of our doctoral program have graduated the highest percentage of PhDs, tied for 19% each! The list of my graduated PhD students is here.

The day was one of community, recognizing what has made our doctoral program unique, and celebrating the past, present, and future. It was also about reconnecting face to face and sharing experiences and even wisdom. For some, it was the first time back to their alma mater since they received their PhD (and now they are tenured Professors).

After the lunch, we broke out into different tracks and I thoroughly enjoyed giving my presentation, which was then followed by a panel of Management Science PhD alums that I had organized. Attendance was fabulous at both and we had photo ops as well.
My full presentation can be downloaded here. It involved a lot of research and was very enjoyable to prepare and deliver.
The Management Science PhD panel  included panelists from both industry and academia and you can read more about these stellar alums here.  The panelists were: Professor Jose M. Cruz of the University of Connecticut, Professor Davit Khachatryan of Babson College, Professor Patrick Qiang of Penn State, Dr. Padma Ramanujam of SAS, and Professor Shenghan Xu of the University of Idaho.
I had provided the panelists with two questions prior to their arrival but time was too short to cover everything! What clearly stood out is how much our Management Science PhD alums gained through close mentorship in scholarship, experiences teaching, and also various enriching service activities through the award-winning UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter! And, Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, who, as a PD student, helped me to establish this student chapter back in 2004 (and I have served as its Faculty Advisor since) was not only in the audience but she was also one of the two keynote speakers at the dinner banquet Friday evening. Dr. Wakolbinger had arrived with her family a few days earlier from the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria, where she was appointed a Full Professor only 4 years after her PhD. (If you know of anyone making this rank in academia faster, do let me know.) She gave a guest lecture in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class on Thursday morning.

The photo below is of those that took part in the Management Science sessions on Friday afternoon, along with Dr. George Milne.
The atmosphere was one of warmth, excitement, and pure happiness. The journeys that we all have been on have been quite exceptional, I must say. To have a student traveling far to study and to receive a doctorate takes courage and involves risk and it was clear that the hard work has yielded payoffs and great returns.

At the banquet dinner, we had the pleasure of listening to Professor Tina Wakolbinger and to Dr. Dennis Hanno, President of Wheaton College, speak.
It was extra special to be seated with them and their families and also with our great former Isenberg School Dean Dr. Tom O'Brien!

Also, at the dinner, Professor Emeritus Dr. Tony Butterfield was recognized with the inaugural Isenberg PhD Service Award named after him!

After the delicious dinner we took more photos and it was clear to me that we did not want the day to end.
Thanks to all that came back to their alma mater for the 50th anniversary of the Isenberg PhD Program.  And, in the past day or so, I have continued to receive wonderful messages as to how much everyone enjoyed Friday. A truly special message from one of my first PhD students that I received is below.

Your talk was inspiring and very interesting! The event was so well put together. 

Words can't express my feelings, nor my thanks to you! You taught us not only how to do research, but also in every aspect of life. 

On my way back, I can't help recall so many stories happened during my fours years at UMASS. My first paper, first trip to Canada, first conference, first computer (your 386), first class.....

Thank you , Professor!!!

Being a Professor is the best job in the world!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Delightful Surprises During My Visit to Speak at RPI on Disaster Relief

This past Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking at RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) in Troy, New York, at 10AM, so the day began quite early with a two hour drive from Amherst, MA. I was hosted by two Engineering departments and had been invited to give a talk there a year ago but my schedule did not permit a visit until now.
I had given my host, Professor David Mendonca, a list of topics that I could speak on and the one selected was: Game Theory Network Models for Disaster Relief.
My talk is available for download and it was exciting to polish it since, in just the past three weeks, three of our papers on the topic have been published in journals, including: 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.

The drive on the Mass Pike was smooth, despite the rain, and my husband was the designated driver. He had not been to RPI since he had been accepted there for Grad School, but ended up matriculating at Brown University, so he was eager to go back. I had to check my cv to see when was the last time I had spoken at RPI and found that I had given a seminar at RPI at the Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Department,  December 5, 2001! I recall a lavish holiday party with white roses and shrimp that I viewed in passing.

Once the technology for my presentation was set up, I heard some footsteps behind me and was absolutely thrilled to see one of my Operations and Information Management students from the Isenberg School of Management - Emily Agoglia! She had been a student in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class at Isenberg, is from Philadelphia, and is a world traveler, having most recently taken part in an academic program in Cuba! And she presented me with the lovely memento from Cuba below.
She had been in Cuba, when I was speaking and taking part in the amazing Congreso Futuro in Chile, so when we get together, we cannot stop comparing experiences. Her father is Professor Chris Agoglia, a renowned Accounting faculty member at Isenberg.

And, there was another delightful surprise - Professor William "Al" Wallace, who is now the Chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at RPI, came to my talk. He was the doctoral dissertation advisor of the incoming Isenberg School Dean - Dr. Anne P. Massey! Dr. Massey will be the first female Dean of the Isenberg School and it has an illustrious history of over 70 years. In fact, this coming Friday, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of our PhD program! I am very excited since many of my former PhD students will be coming back to campus. I am preparing a talk and have organized the Management Science PhD alumni panel for that day.

The photo below is of me with Professor Wallace and Emily.
After my talk, I had the pleasure of meeting with Professors Sergio Pequito, Thomas Sharkey, and Kristin Bennett. Sergio and I talked about our love of interdisciplinary work. With Thomas "Tom" we discussed his thrilling NSF project on the Arctic and he recently returned from Alaska, so I had to take the photo below. We also chatted about colleagues Dr. Renata Konrad of WPI (a fellow Ukrainian, whom we hosted in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series) and Dr. Kayse Maas of Northeastern (and, of course, we then talked about the NSF workshop on human trafficking). Professor Bennett remembers me from way back when when she was in Amherst and from one of her first INFORMS conferences and thanked be for being an inspiration (that and many other surprises  made that rainy day a very bright one)! She received her PhD from University of Wisconsin Madison and Dr. Olvi Mangasarian was her PhD advisor.
The lunch was at the RPI Faculty Club where I enjoyed great conversations with Professors David Mendonca, Kristen Schell, and Cara Wang,  and ate a spicy lunch with purple rice!
Dr. Cara Wang is a Professor of transportation and her advisor was Professor Kara Kockelman of UT Austin. I know Kara from the regional science community. Interestingly, Cara had been at Bucknell University and then moved to RPI. Coincidentally, we recently hosted Dr. Thiago Serra in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series and he is off to Bucknell University as an Assistant Professor in the Fall. Also, Dr. Kristen Schell is a relatively new faculty member of ISE at RPI and received her PhD from CMU in engineering policy. Our IE/OR doctoral student, Destenie Nock at UMass Amherst, defended her dissertation recently and will be joining that program as an Assistant Professor in the Fall.

And I would be remiss to forget to mention that Professor David Mendonca is an undergrad alumnus of UMass Amherst, and my Management colleague, Professor Emeritus Art Elkins, had convinced him to go to CMU since the Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences Herbert Simon was there (I had had dinner with Dr. Simon in Amherst at the Lord Jeffery Inn a while ago.) Dr. Mendonca collaborates with a cognitive psychologist, Dr. Wayne Gray at RPI, who is a Lafayette College alumnus, from the same class as my husband, so he kindly kept my husband busy and very entertained while I was speaking and meeting with colleagues!

On our journey back, we turned on the radio, only to hear UMass Amherst hockey score its first goal in its game against Harvard University and they won 4-0; they repeated their amazing performance yesterday evening against Notre Dame University, also with a score of 4-0, and are now off to the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time in the history of UMass Amherst hockey! The first game in the final will be on April 11, right when we are having a special banquet at the Isenberg School for the $62 million Business Innovation Hub celebration with the official unveiling (although we have been using it already a lot since late January) on April 12.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Fabulous Guest Lecture by a MEMA Expert on the Boston Marathon - Public Safety and Security Experience

Having expert practitioners speak to students in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class provides outstanding educational experiences that stay with students even after they graduate. The logistics of scheduling experts can, in itself, be challenging, but the risks reap great rewards.

This past Tuesday, we had the honor of hosting Ms. Sara Zalieckas, who is an All Hazards Planner with MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) and is based in Framingham, Massachusetts (about a two hour drive to UMass Amherst). She arrived in time for the early morning class, which meets from 8:30AM-9:45AM and, although I was waiting for her in the original atrium to escort her to the classroom, and she was in the new $62million addition to the Isenberg School,  we connected in time!

Ms Zalieckas is a Canadian, which made me extra excited since I was also born in Canada, and, in fact, had been to Halifax last summer to present at the CORS (Canadian Operations Research Society) conference, where she is from! She has worked for MEMA since 2012 and, hence, was employed by MEMA, when the bombing at the Boston Marathon took place on April 15, 2013.
The title of her guest lecture was: The Boston Marathon - Public Safety and Security Experience.

This year's Boston Marathon is taking place on April 15, 2019.

Ms. Zalieckas informed us of the extensive planning involved among multiple organizations to ensure the safety and security of runners, volunteers, supporters, and spectators alike in this major sports event, which covers over 26 miles (I have run several Ocean State marathons in RI, so I understand the energy and athleticism involved). It is considered the most challenging sports event to secure in the country. The Super Bowl is in one location, in contrast, for example. In 2013, there were 27,000 registered runners and the weather was ideal. In 2019, 60,000 runners are expected.

Rather than detailing the horrific attacks at the 2013 Boston Marathon, I will refer you to a blogpost I wrote following the guest lecture of Dr. Pierre Rouzier, who is a sports medicine physician, based at UMass Amherst, and who was working in a triage tent at that Marathon.

Post 2013, the focus  has been on lessons learned, and on assessing vulnerabilities and threats. Ms. Zalieckas brought to our attention, the 2013 Boston Marathon after action report, which can be accessed here.

Previously, jurisdictions had been working in silos, which was understandable since the marathon course covers a distance of over 26 miles.  Now there is a Unified Coordination Plan, with plans for evacuations, should the need arise, along the course in multiple locations, with even alternative routes to shelters along the Boston Marathon route identified, along with transportation options, such as buses staged. This I found truly fascinating. Now there is a joint information center and system, so that rumors, which are unsubstantiated, do not propagate, along with misinformation. There are also station "blocking" vehicles along the course.

The level of detail and the organizations involved to ensure public safety and security is extraordinary. More intense planning has been taking place since January 2019 to test out communications, to run tabletop exercises and training, to conduct intelligence and investigations (with appropriate federal partners), and to also address how to respond to mass casualty events. I also found it very impressive that MEMA, along with partners, has structured coordination of decision making and there is now a Unified Coordination Center. You may know that the MEMA headquarters in Framingham is actually an underground bunker built during the Cold War and our President at that time, John F. Kennedy, was to inaugurate its opening, but he was assassinated.

It is also so impressive that there is!a drone response plan is in place for the Boston Marathon and, of course, GIS is also utilized to monitor congestion along the route.

Ms. Sara Zaieckas' guest lecture was mesmerizing. I also was very pleased that we had a female speaker this term (and will be having another one next month).

We took a group photo after her guest lecture.

In appreciation, we presented Ms. Zalieckas with a gift from the Isenberg School of Management, and I followed up with several photos and a formal thank you letter, which I also copied to the new Director of MEMA, Ms. Samantha Phillips, which was recently appointed to this important most by Governor Charlie Baker. Quite exciting to have a female at the helm of MEMA!

I wish all the runners, the volunteers, supporters, and spectators, as well as the emergency management folks and their liaisons, a wonderful and safe 2019 Boston Marathon! We will be watching and cheering from near and far!