Saturday, October 22, 2022

Congratulations to Niels Agatz on His Receipt of the Inaugural Stella Dafermos Award of the Transportation Science and Logistics Society of INFORMS!!

I returned a few days ago from the INFORMS Annual Meeting, which took place in face to face format in Indianapolis. The conference attracted over 6,000 delegates from around the globe. It was an extraordinary conference with numerous highlights including the awarding of the inaugural Stella Dafermos Mid-Career Award from the Transportation Science and Logistics (TSL) Society of INFORMS!

As the Chair of the Award Selection Committee, it was an honor to serve and to recognize the recipient of this award as well as to recognize the great legacy of my PhD dissertation advisor at Brown University, Stella  Dafermos, who passed away at age 49 in April 1990. I was Stella's first PhD student. She was the only female professor, at that time, with appointments in the Division of Applied Mathematics and in the Division of Engineering.

I am very grateful to Professors Richard Hartl, Hani S. Mahmassani, Amedeo Odoni, and Grazia Speranza for serving on this committee.

We had kept the recipient of this award under wraps until the TSL Business Meeting this past Monday evening at the INFORMS conference. I am grateful to the past President of the TSL Society, Mike Hewitt, and to the present President, Jan Ehmke (who traveled all the way from Vienna, Austria to the conference), as well as to the TSL Board for making this award possible. It includes a plaque and also a monetary award. Information on this award as well as others given by the TSL Society can be found here.

The TSL Business Meeting was jam-packed and it was fabulous to see so many colleagues! Jan Ehmke officiated and other awards were announced and business matters attended to. The TSL Society is flourishing and that is wonderful!

The recipient of the inaugural Stella Dafermos Award is Niels Agatz! Niels Agatz is a Professor of Last-mile Supply Chain Analytics at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and also serves as the Scientific Director for TKI Dinalog.

The following morning, Niels Agatz gave his award presentation in a special award session at the conference at which also the most recent Robert Herman Lifetime Achievement Award recipient spoke - Warren B. Powell. The presentation by Niels was very engaging and demonstrated the impact of his work in practice. He spoke on his work on time slot management for attended delivery in The Netherlands. The problem is very complex but fascinating. Many, beginning in the pandemic, made use of e-commerce and deliveries of food, including perishable products, to homes, and continue to do so.

I might add that Niels Agatz was promoted to Full Professor just a few days before the official award announcement so additional congratulations are in order!

Agatz has many collaborators and, in his presentation, he had a photo of them, with thanks!

I introduced Niels at the awards session and have posted the slide deck of my presentation, which acknowledges the legacy of Stella Dafermos and details some of the notable accomplishments of Niels', as outlined in the nomination letter for the award, which include multiple publications in such top journals as Transportation Science and Transportation Research B, significant service to the TSL Society, broad impact, and support of diversity.

I had spoken with Stella Dafermos' husband, Constantine Dafermos, who is Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics at Brown University, and to her son, Mihalis Dafermos, who is a Chaired Professor at Princeton University and at the University of Cambridge. They are delighted by this significant award in honor of Stella and by the inaugural award recipient.

It was also very special to have Tom Magnanti, the former Dean of Engineering at MIT, who was a great friend of Stella's present both at the TSL Society Business Meeting and at the awards session.

I close this blogpost with a slide from my slide deck that includes many photos of transportation science luminaries over the years, including of several Robert Herman Lifetime Achievement ward recipients.

Stella Dafermos may have passed away but she left many of us with working towards the highest standards that she always set supported by the great community of the TSL Society (which was in the early days the Transportation Science Section of ORSA)!