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Problem Solved: The IISE Podcast
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Problem Solved: The IISE Podcast

Author: Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers

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Conversations with industrial and systems engineers about their work, ideas and solutions. This podcast will feature both IISE members and non-members who come from diverse backgrounds in both academia and industry to discuss a wide range of topics as it relates to their work as well as some off-beat topics that we think you, our audience, will find fascinating.
48 Episodes
The Power of Agile

The Power of Agile


IISE's digital strategist David Brandt talks about agile methodology for ISEs with Caitlin Kenney, P.E., systems engineer and agile coach at International Systems Management Corp, and Joan Tafoya, director at Sandia National Labs. This episode includes insight on agile principles and practices – how to lead an agile project, the challenges of adapting to agile in a virtual workspace and how to sprint plan, among other agile concepts useful in engineering management.
This episode of "Problem Solved" is the second part of the "IISE Career Path" series of shows about continuous improvement in education, work and life. IISE's James Swisher talks with IISE Training Center with Adrienne Dickerson and virtual training student Elizabeth Ehlman, an industrial engineer with The Kroger Co. The trio discusses the importance of training and development in one's career journey, the future of healthcare and IEs, and balancing work and home in these challenging times.
This episode of "Problem Solved" launches the "IISE Career Path" series of shows about continuous improvement in education, work and life. IISE's James Swisher talks with two instructors from the IISE Training Center - Beth Cudney, an IISE Fellow from Maryville University, and Larry Aft, the recently retired Director of Continuing Education for IISE - about career moves, family legacies in ISE and Aft's long career of contribution to the profession and the training of ISE professionals.
The Masked Engineers

The Masked Engineers


In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Harriss & Covington Hosiery Mills in High Point, North Carolina, partnered with occupational health service EHOP Health to create the brand of Easy Masks. The new company has now sold more than 250,000 masks. NC State ISE students Katie Lawson and Eric Swanson joined Easy Masks as intern consultants to work on safe packaging as well as maximizing quality and quantity. The duo talk about their experience with IISE's Frank Reddy in this first episode of 2021 for "Problem Solved."
In this episode of "Problem Solved," we talk to three previous guests of the podcast – Bobbie Watts, Gretchen Macht and Ali Hobbs – about the "good, bad and ugly" lessons of 2020. The three professionals discuss the struggles and successes discovered in their careers and industries over the past year as well as their optimism for the heightened role and need for industrial and systems engineers in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This episode of "Problem Solved" focuses on the state of the Society for Health Systems, also known as SHS, one of the most active wings of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. President Mary Ellen Skeens and President-elect Lauren Todd discuss the mission and strategic goals for SHS as well as the overall value of SHS membership. And as a bonus, 2021 conference chair Ben Schleich and Ali Hobbs share information about virtual changes ahead for the next Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference, taking place Feb. 24-26, 2021. You can learn more about the conference at:
In this episode of "Problem Solved," Angie Jackman, an industrial engineer with NASA and project manager for the Mars Ascent Vehicle mission at the Marshall Space Flight Center, discusses her career and the role of industrial and systems engineers at the space agency with IISE member and Purdue University professor Barrett Caldwell.
In this episode of "Problem Solved," we highlight research by IISE members and academic leaders Laura Albert* of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Gretchen Macht at the University of Rhode Island on efforts to streamline procedures for in-person voting on Election Day. *Albert will be named a new IISE Fellow on Nov. 2 during the virtual IISE Annual Conference & Expo. More details on registration for the event can be found at:
Industrial engineering professor Shaul Ladany reflects on his life of research and teaching, his athletic career as a world-record race walker who competed in two Olympics, and growing up amid the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust. This episode is sponsored by the University of Louisville Online Learning.
In this episode of "Problem Solved," IISE's David Brandt chats with Elizabeth Gentry, Ph.D. from the University of Louisville and James Swisher of Hawkeye Business Solutions about technical communications. They discuss the many ways in which engineers need to practice their communications skills in working with both fellow engineers and non-engineers. Our guests have both highs and (sort of funny) lows to share with our audience as well as best practices to apply throughout a career. This episode is sponsored by the University of Louisville Online Learning.
Stefan Enjem explains how ISE and Toyota tools – along with discriminating taste buds that desire delicious, gluten-free and low-sugar refreshment, have built a house of cider in Long Beach, California, one that has been able to withstand a pandemic that struck a month and a half after opening. This episode is sponsored by University of Louisville Online Learning.
ISE faculty members Kim LaScola Needy and Manuel D. Rossetti from the University of Arkansas and Eileen Van Aken from Virginia Tech discuss how instructors and students adjusted to remote learning challenges during the pandemic shutdown last spring, along with the innovative lessons they are applying to the start of the fall semester. This episode is sponsored by the University of Louisville Online Learning.
IE Michael Washington of the CDC discusses his team’s statistical models that help health systems monitor resources for dealing with – and tracing the explosion of – COVID cases, and how his team’s eerily accurate models of the 2014 Ebola epidemic informed their current work. IISE member Washington also details his passion for encouraging IEs to apply their tools to healthcare systems and developing countries.
News reports have shared images and stories of the hardships endured by healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, many working long hours to serve seriously ill patients amid shortages of equipment and protective gear. In this bonus episode of Problem Solved, we discuss these challenges with Lynda Enos, a certified ergonomics and human factors consultant with HumanFit who specializes in safe patient-handling programs for hospitals and outpatient facilities. She discusses some of the unique ergonomic challenges that caregivers have faced during the crisis, along with valuable lessons that can be learned and applied for similar events in the future.
In this bonus episode of "Problem Solved," we play interviews with healthcare engineers from May 2020 who have insight about how health systems are managing and operating through the COVID-19 crisis. We first chat with Amanda Mewborn, vice president of facility planning and development at Navicent Health in Macon, Georgia, about her experience on the frontlines of patient care during the pandemic. We also speak with Ali Hobbs, a healthcare consultant with Catalyst, a Haskell Company and Aaron Kanne, executive director of implementation services at Care Logistics in Atlanta, about the Think Tank sessions sponsored by the Society for Health Systems throughout the spring. Listeners, you can also share your own experiences from within your industry about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Crisis Resource Community on IISE Connect at:
Sponsored by the University of Louisville: Cybersecurity is an ongoing challenge across all industries and sectors, public and private. In an era of expanding technology, how can data be safeguarded? In an election year, in particular, secure voting is a key concern. Natalie Scala, an associate professor at Towson University, has conducted research in decision analysis in areas that include election offices in Maryland, the energy industry and the U.S. military. In this episode of "Problem Solved," Scala talks with IISE's Keith Albertson about the principles that apply to teach and the human factors involved, along with her new book on military challenges and defense operations research.
Sponsored by the University of Louisville: A more diverse workforce can and should include people with cognitive disabilities who have the skills and desire to contribute in many fields. Georgia Tech graduates Conner Reinhardt and Jhillika Kumar approached this problem by founding a startup company called Mentra ( They are designing an app to help autistic individuals find it easier to connect with jobs and mentors. The effort was inspired by Kumar’s older brother and her desire to create more opportunities for people like him. IISE members can read the Case Study article in the March issue of ISE magazine to learn more:
Sponsored by the University of Louisville: Remember when a call from jail sparked an ISE project assigning inmates to various facilities in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections? And how that led to a startup company? Probably not, but Professor Tamás Terlaky of Lehigh University does. He and two of his former students, Dr. Mohammad Shahabsafa and Anshul Sharma, talk about how considering all inmate needs upfront reduces violence in the system, speeds up inmate treatment and counseling, trims transportation costs and pares down the manpower needed to make assignments – which could save the corrections department nearly $20 million in five years.
Sponsored by the University of Louisville: There's a little engineer inside all of us, according to Tina Agustiady. But as it turns out, her son - a first-grader - is already an engineer himself. It must run in the genes. As part of a career day event for her son's elementary school class, Agustiady gave a presentation that left the entire class wanting to become engineers, too. Inspired to become one herself because of her father's career, Agustiady, a certified Lean Six Sigma master black belt and lean consultant with MetLife, explains to IISE's David Brandt for "Problem Solved" just how much we all have learned about Lean in the earliest years of schooling, from boarding the school bus to desk organization and even just following in a line. She also explains how similar the teaching of Lean can be between young children and adults. You can download Agustiady's presentation at:
"Problem Solved" is live at the Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah in Savannah, Georgia, sponsored by the Society for Health Systems. We're talking to attendees, speakers and other participants about their conference experience using three simple questions: Who are you? Why are you attending this conference? And what will be the focus of healthcare in the future? Listen to this brief interview from Feb. 26 with Mary Ellen Skeens from Philips Healthcare in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Comments (2)

Billy D.

I may be in the minority, but I think the Chick-FIL-A drive thru is a cluster. The wrap around line, iPad ordering and outside cashier seem to be bottlenecks at my local store. When I heard that they actually have IEs, I was in shock. I tell my wife everytime we go that they should've consulted with some IEs

Aug 3rd


really interesting conversation!!

Jul 19th
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