Friday, February 15, 2013

Networks Against Time -- Our New Book is Published!

Yesterday was not only Valentine's Day, but it was also the day that the first shipment of our new book, "Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products," published by Springer, arrived.

The book had already been posted online, in chapter format by the publisher, but the feeling, filled with expectation, of opening the box and then unwrapping the packaging to see the finished product, over which we had  labored hard and long, was very special.

Writing a book is like giving birth (I guess that only females can use this analogy). You hope that, when the time comes, the "child" is healthy and will be with you for a long time. It also takes teamwork -- my co-authors: Min Yu, Amir H. Masoumi, and Ladimer S. Nagurney, made this multidisciplinary approach to supply chains ranging from food to pharma to fast fashion to medical nuclear supply chains and even blood supply chains possible.

The journey of this book, in terms of production, was filled with suspense, since it was emailed in electronic format to the publisher in NYC and then Superstorm Sandy struck, and the Springer offices were without power. I did not even dare to ask about the flooding (the address is on Spring Street). After a few days, I received an acknowledgment that the offices would reopen.

Then, after copyediting, which required some transcontinental communications, and  the correction of the galleys, it was time for production, both virtual (website-based) and physical.

Those of you in the Northeast know that we are still digging out from Blizzard Nemo, so, clearly, there were delays in deliveries because of the road and travel conditions.

This is my 10th book and whether it is your very first or n-th, the feeling of accomplishment is satisfying.

The Supernetworks book that I wrote with June Dong and was published by Edward Elgar in 2002, was sent to our publisher in the United Kingdom just before 9/11. In those days, we did camera-ready copies on special paper, and the parcel that I had mailed was at the JFK airport until flights were allowed to resume.

The Networks Against Time  book I dedicate, posthumously, to my amazing uncle, Mr. Stanley E. Jarosz, who at age 92, was still working for a bridge engineering firm in Manhattan, living on 57th Street, and regularly going to concerts and operas at Lincoln Center. He was a refugee from Ukraine and fled during WWII to Vienna and made his way to the US. He died on February 13, 2013. Several of the bridges that he designed in the US received major awards. He had also been a licensed pilot -- the love of transportation and logistics must be in our family's genes.

In the last conversation that I had had with him -- he was not even ailing and, just over the past several days, required hospice care -- he asked me when I was going to write another book. I told him that my 10th would be out soon. He died  in Colorado, with his son looking over him. He had moved from Manhattan seven months ago after retiring and missed work tremendously.

That night, I could not sleep for several hours -- unknowingly -- and coinciding with his passing. We had spoken with his son (my cousin)  only hours before and I thought that my uncle would still be with us for a week or so.

Uncle Stanley (or Stacho as we called him in Ukrainian), this book is for you!

Today, I will be speaking in the Computational Social Science Seminar Series at UMass Amherst and I had a deja vu. When my dissertation advisor, Professor Stella Dafermos, who was the first female professor at Brown University in the School of Engineering and the Division of Applied Math (and for the historians of science out there -- also the second female to receive a PhD in Operations Research in the world) passed away, I was a Visiting Scholar at the Sloan School at MIT. I received the news of her passing in a phone call from her husband and that very afternoon I gave a talk in the Operations Research Center seminar series at MIT.

Not easy, but such mentors as Stella and my uncle Stanley, who demonstrated remarkable resilience, and true intellect, taught us well.

And I did receive the lovely bouquet of flowers pictured below yesterday as well.