2017 IISE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, welcomed students from nine universities around the region for the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers (IISE) Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference February 24-26, 2017. The event was hosted by UT’s IISE chapter at the Holiday Inn Knoxville. “The IISE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference is a weekend full of networking events, team building activities, a job fair catering specifically to industrial engineering students, as well as successful keynote speakers from the local Knoxville area,” said Hannah Jarrett, one of the conference’s three co-chairs.
Kylie White, a conference co-chair and senior in ISE, believes this was a great opportunity for the department and its students. “One of the benefits of hosting the conference is having students from other universities visit Knoxville and be exposed to our growing ISE undergraduate and graduate programs,” said White. “Also, hosting the conference at UT makes it exceedingly cheaper and easier for UT ISE students to attend.”
The weekend began with an opening banquet at the Foundry in Knoxville on Friday. Ken Pittman, Plant Manager at Fresenius Medical Care, served as the keynote speaker for the dinner. Following dinner, students played “Minute to Win It” games as icebreakers to get to know one another better. Friday also offered students the chance to tour Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, CVS Pharmacy’s Distribution Center, and the Southern Impact Research Center.
Conference speakers included Wayne Davis, dean of the Tickle College of Engineering, John Kobza, head of the ISE department, Jordan Spradling, Director of Transportation and Logistics at Flying J, and Eric Zeanah, President of American Accessories International, LLC. The speakers and plant tours featured a wide range of industries—a calculated move by the conference co-chairs. “The co-chairs strategically chose speakers and plant tours that represent a variety of industries: research laboratories, e-commerce industries, production and manufacturing, health-care systems, entrepreneurship techniques, and logistics engineering,” Frech said. “With the diversity of the sessions, I hope that we catered to each student’s personal interests at some point throughout the weekend.”
This IISE conference, the first UT has hosted in six years, attracted students from Clemson University, East Carolina University, Francis Marion University, Methodist University, North Carolina A & T, North Carolina State University, West Virginia University, and Virginia Tech. “The conference had an excellent turn out! There were almost 180 students and 25 company representatives in attendance, and the students actively interacted and networked with the professionals at the career fair and in the breakout sessions,” Frech said. “It was a rare opportunity to bring our region’s greatest leaders and aspiring young professionals together, so it is an honor that we could accommodate them here in Knoxville.”