Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sustainability and Operations Research: A Trek Down Memory Lane from Transportation to Supply Chains

Given the interest my blogpost on Professor Joe Sarkis' talk on greening supply chains generated I thought that I would write this piece on sustainability and operations research from the perspective of how we got interested in the subject and where it has taken us.

Professor Sarkis also mentioned in his presentation that he, like I and my research group, have been working on sustainability for a while - actually two decades and since we are hearing that "sustainability" is some fields, including operations management, is being perceived as being relatively new, I thought it deserved some commentary.

I have always been one who loves nature and I get some of my best ideas on hikes. Clean air, clean water, fresh food, and a healthy, peaceful environment we all deserve and they are essential to our well-being  and that of future generations.
As a research topic, I became interested in sustainability while working with two doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management: Kanwalroop "Kathy" Dhanda and Padma Ramanujam in the 1990s.

Together we wrote the Environmental Networks book, which was published in 1999, and the year after, my Sustainable Transportation Networks book was published.

Vice President Al Gore wrote me a nice letter on the publication of my Sustainable Transportation Networks book, which now hangs in my office at the Isenberg School.

Prior to the publication of these books, I had co-authored several papers, which also provided the seeds for our sustainability work. These included a 1996 paper in Operations Research, written with Sten Thore and one of my first PhD students, Jie Pan, who tragically died of an autoimmune disease shortly after having receiving tenure. With Padma, that same year, we had also published a paper in Transportation Science.

Padma's dissertation,  Transportation Network Policy Modeling for Congestion and Pollution Control: A Variational Inequality Approach, was awarded a Transportation Science & Logistics dissertation prize from INFORMS in 1999, a great honor.

Some other early papers on various sustainability of ours included: "A Multimodal Traffic Network Equilibrium Model with Emission Pollution Permits: Compliance versus Noncompliance," published in Transportation Research D in 1998 and "Marketable Pollution Permits in Oligopolistic Markets with Transaction Costs," which appeared in Operations Research in 2000. I also wrote several papers on emission paradoxes, one with another doctoral student of mine, now Professor June Dong.

Hence, we were proposing tradeable pollution permits even for transportation networks in the 1990s. Padma is now working at SAS, a fabulous analytics firm, and is based in Cary, North Carolina, whereas Kathy has had several tenured professorships at different universities and continues to work on sustainability issues.

Interestingly, the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, which I founded in 2001 and continue to serve as Director of, was initiated because of three NSF grants that I had received at that time plus two AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellowship grants, which envisioned such a center. Hence, the sustainability theme has been central to our research.

In 2005, with a doctoral student from Japan, Fuminori Toyasaki, who is now a professor at York University in Toronto, I published a paper that is highly cited: "Reverse Supply Chain Management and Electronic Waste Recycling: A Multitiered Network Equilibrium Framework for E-cycling." This paper was recognized by Transportation Research E as a most cited paper.

In 2002, I had co-authored the paper, "A Supply Chain Network Equilibrium Model," with June Dong and Ding Zhang and this paper, which introduced multiple tiers of interacting decision-makers, who compete across a tier but cooperate between tiers, generated new frameworks for work on sustainability and supply chains as well. We also conducted research on energy supply chains and I have a series of papers in this area, some of which also include carbon taxes. An example is the paper, "Modeling Generator Power Plant Portfolios and Pollution Taxes in Electric Power Supply Chain Networks: A Transportation Network Equilibrium Transformation," co-authored with Kai Wu, Zugang Liu (another former PhD student of mine who is now a tenured professor), and John Stranlund, a faculty member at UMass in Resource Economics.

Another former very successful doctoral student of mine, Trisha Anderson Woolley, now a tenured professor,  also published several papers with me on sustainability, energy, and supply chains, as well as policy interventions. 

As the news about climate change resonated and its negative impacts, we continued to explore modeling of supply chains and an example of a paper reflecting this is: "Environmental Impact Assessment of Transportation Networks with Degradable Links in an Era of Climate Change, " which was published in 2010 and written with Patrick Qiang, my co-author of the Fragile Networks book (and whose dissertation received the Charles Wootan Award from the CUTC), and the "other" Professor Nagurney - Ladimer S. The paper, "Sustainable Supply Chain Network Design: A Multicriteria Perspective," written by the two Nagurneys, which was also published in 2010, remains one of the most highly cited articles in the International Journal of Sustainable Engineering.

Our more recent research on sustainability and supply chains has focused on numerous different applications, and these are quite fascinating. Much of the impetus has come from outside - such as our work on fashion and sustainability - but some of it has also been internal - as in the case of our blood supply chain sustainability research and driven by common interests and passion that I share with both students and collaborators. Examples of such papers are: Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management Under Oligopolistic Competition and Brand Differentiation, Anna Nagurney and Min Yu, International Journal of Production Economics, Special Section on Green Manufacturing and Distribution in the Fashion and Apparel Industries 135: (2012) pp 532-540 and Supply Chain Network Design of a Sustainable Blood Banking System, Anna Nagurney and Amir H. Masoumi, in Sustainable Supply Chains: Models, Methods and Public Policy Implications, T. Boone, V. Jayaraman, and R. Ganeshan, Editors, Springer, London, England (2012) pp 49-72.

In 2014, I was delighted to co-author a paper with two of my former PhD students, Toyasaki, already mentioned, and Professor Tina Wakolbinger, and her first PhD student, Thomas Nowak, who has since received his PhD: When and for Whom Would E-waste be a Treasure Trove? Insights from a Network Equilibrium Model of E-waste Flows, Tina Wakolbinger, Fuminori Toyasaki, Thomas Nowak, and Anna Nagurney, International Journal of Production Economics 154: (2014) pp 263–273.


Some of our other recent research has included my collaborator in Sweden, Professor Jonas Floden, since I had a fabulous Visiting Professorship at the University of Gothenburg over a 4 year period. Examples are the papers: Supply Chain Network Sustainability Under Competition and Frequencies of Activities from Production to Distribution, Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Jonas Floden, Computational Management Science 10(4): (2013) pp 397-422 and Fashion Supply Chain Network Competition with Ecolabelling, Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Jonas Floden, in Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management: From Sourcing to Retailing, T.-M. Choi and T.C.E. Cheng, Editors, Springer (2015) pp 61-84.

Another paper that I am quite proud of in which I move from transportation to supply chains to sustainable cities is, "Design of Sustainable Supply Chains for Sustainable Cities," invited paper for the Complex-City Workshop, December 5-6, 2011, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Environment & Planning B 42(1): (2015) pp 40-57.

Our research on food supply chains, conducted with Professor Min Yu (yes, another former terrific Isenberg UMass PhD alumna in Management Science), and published in the European Journal of Operational Research, also has components of sustainability since we consider waste. The same holds for our work on pharmaceutical supply chains.

And, for those of you interested in perishable product supply chains, including food and medical nuclear ones, in which waste is a big issue, our Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products, is recommended.
And the research continues into its third decade!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Greening the Supply Chain: Insights From One of the World's Leading Scientific Minds - Professor Joe Sarkis

Today we were honored and delighted to have Professor Joe Sarkis, the head of the Department of Management within Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Foisie School of Business, deliver the lecture, "Supplier Collaboration and Development for Greening Supply Chains," as part of our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series. The series is organized by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter so a special thanks to the chapter President, Pritha Dutta, a doctoral student in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management, for handling the logistics and for designing the nice poster below.
The talk was even announced on the UMass Amherst homepage today.

And, interestingly, and coincidentally, if you look closely at the above homepage snapshot you will also see on the left under "News" the article on Seven UMass Amherst Researchers Named among 'World's Leading Scientific Minds.' In this 2016 Thomson Reuters survey of highly cited scientists is also our speaker today, Professor Joe Sarkis, and he is listed in the Engineering category so do check it out. He is renowned for his work on sustainability and supply chains and today he attracted an audience from the Isenberg School of Management, the College of Engineering, the Department of Environmental Conservation, among others. Just look at his Google Scholar citations.
He motivated his presentation by noting a 2016 McKinsey report on Supply Chain Management and emphasizing the importance of greening the supply chain to industry with the "leading edge of thought" should also be the "leading edge of practice." "We should be doing good," he said, and emphasized the gold mine of research in this area and that showed throughout his presentation as did his passion and energy. He has collaborated with researchers from China, from Egypt, and other countries and, I do admit I am now also working on a paper with him and with two of my former doctoral students, Dr. Sara Saberi who just started as an Assistant Professor at the Foisie Schoo of Business, and Dr. Jose Cruz, from the School of Business at the University of Connecticut, whose work was also mentioned in Sarkis' presentation.

He emphasized levels of problems and different methodologies and theories to tackle them - from global problems, such as global warming, to regional problems of deforestation and acid rain, to more local problems of pesticides and waste.

Of course, he had to mention that there are many different definitions of environmental sustainability (and he even authored a paper on this) and recognized the importance of ISO 14000, life cycle analysis (LCA), and carbon and water footprints. When it comes to supply chains it is essential to "close the loop" and deal not only with forward and reverse supply chains separately. He remarked that energy research is also important for supply chain management and stated that teaching informs his research and vice versa. I so agree with the latter statement and continue to be inspired by questions that my students raise.

It was wonderful to have my Isenberg School colleague, Professor Marta Calas, in the audience since she is working with a doctoral student on sustainability and the fashion brand Eileen Fisher. We have published several papers on fashion and sustainability with my former doctoral student, and now Assistant Professor at the University of Portland, Dr. Min Yu.

The relevance of theory, methodologies, and applications were emphasized and he also discussed whether carrots or sticks should be using for green supply chain management.

I very much liked what he said about different boundaries, including temporal ones, and associated decision-making. He also discussed the different types of flows that are relevant and since we work on networks, optimization, game theory, as well as sustainability I liked the flows of material, service, information, and financial ones noted very much. Also, I appreciated him mentioning different industries from food to the textile industry. On the latter, he is working with a collaborator in Egypt. Afterwards, a doctoral student and UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter officer, Ekin Koker,  brought up the automotive industry and sustainability.

Professor Sarkis spoke on his work on "supplier development" and the sharing of knowledge to help suppliers become greener and also about investment in greener technologies.

The theme of different "levels" also resonated, from the individual, to the organizational, the enterprise level, all the way to the circular economy. Also, how leadership in greening the supply chain affects motivation and employees.

When I asked him which paper he was most proud of, he mentioned his paper in Science, with co-authors from China and Italy, "Measuring China's Circular Economy." He also noted his paper with Zhu in the Journal of Operations Management, since it contains theory, methodology, and application and such papers tend to be highly cited. The history behind his Science paper was also fascinating, but you should ask him this.

The audience clearly had a great experience and benefited a lot from the presentation.
After the energizing and very inspiring talk, I took Professor Sarkis, two of his doctoral students from WPI that had joined us, and three doctoral students from UMass Amherst, Pritha Dutta, Deniz Besik, and Rodrgo Mercado,  to lunch at the University Club and the wonderful conversations continued. As Professor Sarkis said at lunch, there is no better life than being a Full Professor at a university!
The food was great and the conversation even better - amazing how some universities are incentivizing researchers to publish in good journals especially those outside the United States. Of course, we also exchanged notes on recent academic hires, the job market, etc. Interestingly, both the Dean of the Foisie School of Business and the Dean of the Isenberg School, Dr. Mark A. Fuller  (I admit I served on the search committee for the latter), are in the Information Systems field.

Many thanks to Professor Joe Sarkis for coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst today. You are welcome back any time! Thanks to Pritha Dutta for capturing the "Bon Voyage"in the photo below.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Logistics and Joy of Baking Holiday Cookies and Delivering Them the Academic Way

All academics have to be very patient - it takes time to get a PhD, time to get promotion and tenure, and one has to wait referees' reports on journal articles that we submit, which we then revise, and, hopefully, the articles that we have labored so hard on, do get accepted and then published, which also takes time!

It is, hence, advisable to also have activities that one can engage in that one gets more or less instant gratification from and focuses a different part of the brain, although, as an academic, one brings one's analytical and critical thinking skills to almost any endeavor.

This time of the year, when the weather gets colder, and the days shorter, and one has recovered from the Thanksgiving travel and celebrations, I always enjoy baking holiday cookies. But even more so, I enjoy delivering them to friends and neighbors.

The logistics of cookie baking involves identifying the types of cookies to be baked and finding the recipes, procuring the necessary ingredients, scheduling the baking of the cookie varieties (some, serendipitously, might not even require baking, such as our famous chocolate rum walnut balls), waiting for them to cool, decorating them, if necessary, putting them on plates for delivery and packaging them nicely. Then I usually insert a nice holiday card and figure out the optimal routing for delivery, always taking into consideration the day and time of departure to try and find the recipients at home.

This year, the first batches of cookies that I baked took parts of two different days and a big tip is using parchment paper since there is no cleaning of baking pans before putting on the next batch and into the oven.

Below are some photos from this baking project and my family members are the taste testers and approvers.

The ingredients in the cookie recipes this year included lots of almond paste, candied cherries, coconut, pecans, walnuts, chocolate,  the usual butter, sugar, and vanilla, plus raspberry jam, to make butter cookies that our wonderful staff member at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Wivvian Hall, once made for me when I was a Visiting Professor there and then gave me the recipe!

Now, since our friends and neighbors range from very young children to those in the mid80s, and many children like the less fancy cookies, I also make some cookies (see above) with reindeer faces and Christmas trees on them. These are ready to bake.

This past Sunday, we did one of the biggest deliveries, and to see the joy on the neighbors' faces was very special. Even two little boys wrote us a beautiful thank you card and delivered it to our door. It is important, especially in this day and age, to support your immediate community and neighbors and to show that they matter. Baking is a labor of love and a way of saying, in a small way, that someone matters. We will continue to be making deliveries and baking as well, which provide a warm and welcoming break from end of the semester projects, exams, and all sorts of committee meetings.

Of course, I also plan to bake more cookies for various events and parties including our end of the semester UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter party at the Isenberg School of Management. This semester I am teaching a class on Transportation and Logistics and am practicing what I preach.

Happy holidays!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Our Dynamics of Disasters Book is Published!

The good news arrived Thanksgiving Day in the evening.

The book that I had co-edited with Professor Ilias S. Kotsireas of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and Professor Panos M. Pardalos of the University of Florida had been published and was available already also in electronic format.
The book, Dynamics of Disasters: Key Insights, Models, Algorithms, and Insights, published by Springer International Publishing Switzerland, is an outgrowth of a conference that we had co-organized in the summer of 2015, which had been held in Kalamata, Greece. The book contains 18 refereed book chapters as well as a preface written by the co-editors and the Table of Contents, Preface, and all contributors can be downloaded in pdf format. 

In addition, to submissions from conference participants and speakers a call also went out for paper submissions. Since we have been working in this area for a while and since I also each spring teach a course on Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare at the Isenberg School of Management excellent contributions were received, including several from practitioners, and contributors from the United Nations.
 
Working on this book was a true labor of love and I could not have asked for more generous and wonderful co-editors, and the same goes to all of the reviewers, who will remain anonymous, but whose careful reading of the submitted papers and constructive suggestions were very much appreciated.

In the photo below, taken in Kalamata, Greece, I am standing with from left to right Dr. Fuad Aleskerov, Dr. Panos M. Pardalos, Dr. Ilias S. Kotsireas, and Dr. Burcu Balcik.
Aleskerov, Pardalos, Kotsireas, and I are co-organizing the next Dynamics of Disasters conference, which will be held July 5-9, 2017, also in Kalamata, Greece.  The program committee consists of outstanding scientists from around the globe.

The chapters in our Dynamics of Disasters book and the names of the contributors are below.



Chapters
Authors
Preface, Contents, Authors Illias S. Kotsireas, Anna Nagurney, and Panos M. Pardalos, Editors
1 An Assessment of the Impact of Natural and Technological Disasters Using a DEA Approach Fuad Aleskerov, Sergey Demin
2 Selective Routing for Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Burcu Balcik
3 Bridging the Gap: Preparing for Long-Term Infrastructure Disruptions Rasmus Dahlberg
4 Multi-Hazard Scenarios and Impact Mapping for a Protected Built Area in Bucharest, as a Base for Emergency Planning Emil-Sever Georgescu, Cristian Iosif Moscu, Claudiu Sorin Dragomir, Daniela Dobre
5 Lean Thinking and UN Field Operations: A Successful Co-existence? Sulejman Halilagic, Dimitris Folinas
6 Collaborative Incident Planning and the Common Operational Picture Georgios Marios Karagiannis, Costas E. Synolakis
7 Metaheuristic Optimization for Logistics in Natural Disasters Thomai Korkou, Dimitris Souravlias, Konstantinos Parsopoulos, Konstantina Skouri
8 Tsunami of the Meteoric Origin Andrey Kozelkov, Efim Pelinovsky
9 The Donation Collections Routing Problem Emmett J. Lodree, Derek Carter, Emily Barbee
10 Network Criticality and Network Complexity Indicators for the Assessment of Critical Infrastructures During Disasters Evangelos Mitsakis, Josep Maria Salanova, Iraklis Stamos, Emmanouil Chaniotakis
11 Freight Service Provision for Disaster Relief: A Competitive Network Model with Computations Anna Nagurney
12 A Mean-Variance Disaster Relief Supply Chain Network Model for Risk Reduction with Stochastic Link Costs, Time Targets, and Demand Uncertainty Anna Nagurney, Ladimer S. Nagurney
13 A Review of Current Earthquake and Fire Preparedness Campaigns: What Works? Gabriela Perez-Fuentes, Enrica Verrucci, Helene Joffe
14 The Impact of the Syria Crisis on Lebanon Denise Sumpf, Vladimir Isaila, Kristine Najjar
15 Absenteeism Impact on Local Economy During a Pandemic via Hybrid SIR Dynamics E. W. Thommes, M. G. Cojocaru, Safia Athar
16 Tornado Detection with Kernel-Based Classifiers from WSR-88D Radar Data Theodore B. Trafalis, Budi Santosa, Michael B. Richman
17 Evacuation Modeling and Betweenness Centrality Chrysafis Vogiatzis, Panos M. Pardalos
18 Ode to the Humanitarian Logistician: Humanistic Logistics Through a Nurse’s Eye Deborah Wilson






The network that we are building in humanitarian logistics, emergency preparedness, and disaster relief is truly special.

For example, just a few days ago, it was special to be able to introduce my doctoral student, Deniz Besik, to Professor Burcu Balcik, at, appropriately, the WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences) Awards lunch at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Last year, I had the pleasure of co-hosting, along with the Transportation Center, Dr. George Karagiannis' visit and talk at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which I also blogged about. He has conducted several risk assessments of nations including one for Malta, a country I have always wanted to visit.
Also, Rasmus Dahlberg, a speaker at our conference and a contributor to our book, gave two talks last spring at the Isenberg School of Management, and I sponsored his visit, in part. He is an amazing emergency expert, with a focus on the arctic, as well as a novelist and a radio TV personality in Denmark. The students in my Humanitarian Logistic and Healthcare class and I wished that he could have stayed longer!
In the Spring 2015, I had hosted Debbie Wilson, who spoke in my class, and she is one of the bravest women I have ever had the privilege of meeting. She spoke to my students about her work battling Ebola in Liberia with Doctors Without Borders during the immense healthcare crisis in the Fall of 2014 and, suitably, our Dynamics of Disasters volume ends with her terrific contribution.
Also, in our book is a chapter by Dr. Denise Sumpf and colleagues from the United Nations, on the Syrian crisis and ramifications for Lebanon. We hosted Dr. Sumpf in Spring 2008,  as part of our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series, which the great UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter helps me to organize. What an amazing list of speakers we had that spring, including INFORMS Fellow and National Academy of Engineering member, Dr. John Birge!

Finally, we are delighted that Dr. Emmett Lodree, also has a co-authored paper in our book. Lodree was one of the speakers in the Humanitarian Logistics: Networks for Africa conference that I organized at the Rockefeller Foundations' Bellagio Center on Lake Como in Italy in May 2008. Dr.  Panos M. Pardalos was also one of the speakers and the full program and speaker presentation slides can be accessed from the Supernetwork Center website.

Thanks to all those who made our Dynamics of Disasters: Key Insights, Models, Algorithms, and Insights, possible and let the discussions and research with implementation in practice continue!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Great Seeing One's Book on Exhibit at a Conference

I enjoy writing books and all the books that I have written have an underlying theme of networks, whether the book is on supply chains, sustainable transportation, finance, or on methodologies, ranging from variational inequalities to projected dynamical systems.

Professor Dimitri Bertsekas of MIT gave me some great advice a while ago and he told me that if I have 5 to 10 papers on a theme then it makes sense to write a book.

I enjoy developing the outline, figuring out the organization of the chapters, and, of course, selecting a title is also always important. Writing a book takes a lot of time and extreme focus but having a book published and seeing it in print and, also, increasingly, nowadays, online as well, is always a very joyous occasion.

Last week, while at the INFORMS conference in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the highlights was visiting the exhibits in a great hall where you could view displays by various publishers as well as software companies and even of several organizations. It was also a good place to network and have some refreshments.

My book, Competing on Supply Chain Quality:  Network Economics Perspective, that I co-authored with my former PhD student and Isenberg School of Management alumna, Dr. Dong "Michelle" Li, and that was recently published by Springer, was on display at its booth at the INFORMS conference.

My co-author and I were delighted to see it there and also enjoyed viewing other recently published books.

Also, on display, in a preprint version was the book that I co-edited with Professor Ilias Kotsireas and Professor Panos M. Pardalos, Dynamics of Disasters: Key Concepts, Models, Algorithms, and Insights, which we have been told by Springer will be available online by the end of the month and in hardcopy format by mid December. The book consists of a preface and 18 refereed book chapters from both academics and practitioners. The photo below is of me with Matt Amboy of Springer, who has always been really responsive to any questions that I may have and for which I am very grateful.
Although I did not get a chance to take a photo with Pardalos and our book now in production I did dine with him at the INFORMS Fellow lunch and took the photo below prior to us being seated. We are with Dr. Suvrajeet Sen and Dr. Mauricio Resende of Amazon, whom I had nominated for the Fellows Award and he was inducted that day.
Also, it was so nice to have Professor Chris Tang of UCLA, who is the Editor of the new Springer Series on Supply Chain Management, in which our Competing on Supply Chain Quality book appears, be at our table at the INFORMS Fellows lunch!

Last year, at the INFORMS Conference in Philadelphia,  the book, Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products, that I co-authored with Professors Min Yu, Amir H. Masoumi, and Ladimer S. Nagurney (the "other Professor Nagurney), was on display at the Springer book, so we took the photo below of 3 of the co-authors.
The week prior to the INFORMS conference in Nashville, I gave a plenary talk at the Game Theory and Security conference at NYU, which I also blogged about. There I was delighted to see on display a book that I did not author but in which I had a chapter written with my doctoral student, Shivani Shukla, and Ladimer S. Nagurney.
Best to everyone with their Operations Research and Management Science and Analytics research and keep on writing and publishing!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Building Student Leaders in Operations Research and Analytics Through INFORMS Student Chapters

Being a successful graduate student, especially a doctoral student, requires a lot of hard work and skill, but also a sense of community and enhancing one's professional development. Sooner or later, one will be on the job market and, whether you choose to be an academic and enjoy the amazing life of being a professor, or enter into a business or government career, having  a spectrum of skills is always advantageous.

This past week, many of us, over 5,700, in fact, had the pleasure of taking part in the INFORMS Annual Conference,  in Nashville, Tennessee, November 13-16, 2016. One of the highlights, even for me, a Chaired Professor at the Isenberg School of Management, was going to the Student Chapter Awards Ceremony and reception that followed last Monday evening. So many universities were represented and one can see from those students who came and were recognized and honored how these are leaders in all senses of the word - from their work ethic, their creativity, their abilities to build teams and to identify interesting activities, and how to disseminate their chapters' accomplishments, and to sustain them, grow and nurture them, and create lifelong ties that continue to support them throughout their careers.

I had written in an earlier blogpost that we were very excited that our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter was receiving its 11th award in as many years from INFORMS. And not only did several members, including present chapter officers as well as past chapter officers, come to celebrate that evening with us but even alums came - some of whom are now tenured professors at various universities!  Special thanks to our Isenberg School of Management PhD alums in Management Science who came, including: Professors Hen Chen of the University of Nebraska, Amir Masoumi of Manhattan College, Jose Cruz of the University of Connecticut, Patrick Qiang of Penn State Malvern, Michelle Li of Arkansas State University, Min Yu of the University of Portland, and Farbod Farhadi of Roger Williams University. Drs. Masoumi, Cruz, Qiang, Li, and Yu were my PhD students. Masoumi and Qiang were both recipients of the Judith Liebman Award from INFORMS for their great leadership roles in the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.

And, yes, it is not surprising that when on the job market, leadership roles as officers of an INFORMS Student Chapter, is always noticed and regularly brought up in interviews. Whether you are an academic or a practitioner in operations research and analytics, you may assume multiple tasks and roles and not only being knowledgeable matters but being able to deal with others, being good at organization (which our students certainly learn through hosting speakers in our Speakers Series), adept at scheduling, and logistics of activities, and even maintaining the chapter website are all very useful skills! We have sustained our chapter since 2004, as as its Faculty Advisor, I continue to marvel at the synergies associated with it. Students work together and thrive and the network grows and flourishes.

Below is a photo that we took which includes also a faculty member from UMass Amherst, Professor Ana Muriel, who joined us (and more PhD alums showed up even later). We are standing with our Cum Laude Award held by my doctoral student, Deniz Besik.

A highlight was seeing Professor Michael Johnson of UMass Boston give out the chapter awards as well as the Judith Liebman Awards. Our students so enjoyed networking with members of other student chapters and I personally was delighted to see such operations research dynamos and student leaders as Kayse Maass of the University of Michigan, one of last year's Judith Liebman award winners (with Michael Prokle of UMass Amherst, whom I had nominated), and Thiago Serra of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), one of this year's Liebman Award recipients (whom I had the pleasure of seeing at CMU when I spoke there last April).

Below are additional photos from that very special evening.


Also, the food at the reception was delicious. Below are some of the desserts.
Although many of us from UMass Amherst returned from the INFORMS conference late on Wednesday night, and had classes to teach or go to on Thursday, come yesterday, we were all excited to hear Dr. Chaitra Gopalappa, who had also been at INFORMS deliver a great talk. The students also made sure that there were refreshments before and, afterwards I took Deniz, and two of Dr. Gopalappa's doctoral students, one from Mongolia, and one from India, to lunch at our University Club.

Having such a community, which is building leaders in operations research and analytics, is energizing! Kudos to all the members of INFORMS Student Chapters!