The 2015 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for IIE (Institute of Industrial Engineers) was based out of the Conference Center & Inn on Clemson University’s campus this past February. The regional conference attracted nearly 300 students from nine southeastern colleges and universities with industrial engineering programs. It may not be surprising to learn that Clemson University’s IIE student chapter served as gracious ambassadors by successfully hosting the conference, but what may surprise you, and make you proud as a Clemson IE alumni or industrial engineer, is how they went about the planning and execution of the event.
Clemson IE students took a decidedly non-traditional event-planning approach to preparing for the conference. Leave it to the conference committee, consisting predominantly of IE undergraduates, to make the planning and logistics for the conference better by applying concepts learned in their industrial engineering training. “This was a perfect, real-life exercise to apply what we have been taught in the classroom,” said conference co-president David Parker, who is a master’s IE student at Clemson. “As industrial engineering students, we have the perfect skill set and tools to effectively manage everything from the registration and event supplies to the mobilizing of volunteers and resources in the days and hours leading up to the event,” said Parker. The conference team began work on the planning last February and meticulously developed the schedule, recruited sponsors, and coordinated the countless details necessary to host this event. Parker went on to say, “With the help of our sponsors and our dedicated volunteers, Clemson IE has set the bar high for future IIE regional conferences and events.”
The conference kicked off at Tillman Hall on Friday evening with an opportunity for conference attendees to meet and network with one another. The informal networking event was then followed by a keynote presentation given by Mr. Walter Garvin, Vice President of Jabil, Inc, and proud graduate of Clemson University.
On Saturday the conference moved to the Madren Center and featured a packed agenda. The morning session started off with breakout sessions led by TaylorMade, Norfolk Southern, Ochsner Health Systems, and Walmart. These breakouts gave attendees a chance to hear, first-hand, how industrial engineering is important to the operations of these highly regarded businesses. The session also afforded the opportunity to ask questions and interact with industry representatives.
The morning session transitioned into the early afternoon session, which allowed attendees to choose between a team competition, young alumni panel, and an undergraduate technical paper competition. After the session, participants moved on to an industrial engineering career fair with representatives from local industries, including Bosch, BMW, Glen Raven, Parallon, Greenville Health Systems, TaylorMade, BorgWarner, Tindall, AFL, and Itron. The career fair aspect was very enlightening for undergraduates, since it helped them learn more about specific industrial engineering related careers and how to better prepare for the future. The afternoon quickly transitioned to evening after Clemson graduate Khadijah Franklin, Fulfillment Center Manager for Amazon.com, presented her keynote address. Following Franklin’s address and a banquet-style dinner, the conference broke for the evening and attendees continued to network and enjoy Clemson’s college town atmosphere.
Although the conference was winding down, Sunday morning offered attendees an opportunity to visit one of several local manufacturing facilities that opened their doors to this group of visitors. Tours conducted at St. Jude Medical and TaylorMade showcased some of the tremendous manufacturing opportunities that industrial engineers have in the upstate of South Carolina.
Clemson’s IE department extends its appreciation to all of the volunteers and sponsors for their time and contributions to this event.