Author Archives: dalemasel

About dalemasel

Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Ohio University

Construction Estimating

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 29 November 2015

The air is becoming cooler and crisper and the days are much shorter. I cannot believe that we are done with November and moving in to the last month of the year. The semester is coming to a close and the project deadlines are approaching. There is nothing more that terrifies me than project deadlines and finals. Even though I am terrified to think of what is in the near future, I am still ready to tackle them head-on. I have found that I work and learn best when I am under a little pressure.

One of my favorite classes of the semester is CE 4160, Construction Estimating & Equipment. In this class, I have been working on roadway construction projects all semester. In this class we are divided up into groups and we are given a set of plan drawings to which we need to make an estimate of how much the project will cost to build. I like this class the most because it is most applicable to what I want to do once I graduate.

Another benefit of this class is that is directly related to one of the organizations that I’m in. The Civil Engineering Estimating Team does exactly what my class is teaching me. We get a set of plan drawings and we need to bid the project during a competition.

I find that I tend to like classes more that I can directly relate to outside of the class room. I am what they call a “hands on” kind of person.

Project in Industrial Computer Simulation

Melinda Nelson

Melinda Nelson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 19 November 2015

The semester is quickly winding down, and for a lot of courses, that means projects are quickly coming due as well. Some classes and projects are definitely more enjoyable than others, but one class that has pleasantly surprised me is ISE 4130, Industrial Computer Simulation.

As ISE’s we study processes and how people and parts interact with them in different situations. The great thing about this is that it is super interactive. The downside to studying processes is that you cannot always be on location somewhere watching and recording what’s going on. This is where simulation comes in.

Simulation is a tool that can be used to model processes of all kinds on the computer. It can model anything from construction sites to package delivery centers to hospitals. The usefulness of simulation does not just exist in the fact that we are able to model processes and events on the computer; the real key is that we can predict outcomes based on changing events like unexpected order arrivals, patient emergencies and changes in demand.

There are several simulation software packages that model things with different capabilities. In my class we use Arena and Simio. Arena is a 2-D simulator while Simio has 3-D animation and 360 degree viewing capabilities. It’s cool how customizable it can be. Below is the animation of a transporter simulation I modeled; as you can see, you can have a lot of fun with the animations!

Transporter Simulation

Most models we have simulated thus far have introduced us to modeling operators, manufacturers, parts and different types of services like restaurants and banks. Most recently, we learned how to model transporters (operators or vehicles that actually carry parts or products).

Our final project for the class is in Simio and for that assignment we are modeling a real-life assembly process of an automobile headlight manufacturer and experimenting with operator job assignments. Though it can be challenging at times, I said before that simulation surprised me; the surprise is that I really enjoy it a lot!

Katie Logue

Katie Logue,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 17 November 2015

As enjoyable as my time here at the Russ College has been, I would be lying if I said there were no days (or endless nights) crammed with homework, meetings, studying, and projects. Engineering school can be stressful, especially when you’re taking on extracurricular activities, group projects, and leadership positions at the same time, so it’s important to take time to step away from the stress and get your mind off of things.

One of my favorite ways to do that is by spending time taking walks with a very special furry friend, Carmen, my nearly two year old miniature goldendoodle. Sometimes just a short jog on the bike path to get out of our apartment does us both a world of good. Even though the weather is getting colder as winter approaches, we try to take advantage of the last few warm days any chance we get. I’ve always loved getting out on the bike path, but it’s even better when I have someone to tag along who enjoys it as much as I do.

I’m so thankful to have Carmen, who never seems to mind when I complain about studying. She’ll stay right by my side, no matter how late I have to stay up to get my homework done. She’s always waiting for me with a smile on her face when I get home from class. She even plays along on Halloween weekend, getting dressed up in costume with me and the rest of my friends.


Getting a dog has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I was a little worried about the added responsibility of having an animal to take care of during college, but I like to think of her as a friend and not a responsibility. It has been so worth it, and I can’t imagine living in Athens without her.

Enjoying a Day Off

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 13 November 2015

It’s a rare occasion that students have a day off in the middle of the week. It’s even more rare that a day off will be adjacent to the day of a big exam. But I was lucky this semester, Veteran’s Day happened to fall on the Wednesday before my second Structural Theory exam. As a result, I woke up even earlier than I usually do for classes (no sleeping in for me!) and went to Donkey Coffee to spend the day studying.

As usual, my plans didn’t exactly…go to plan.

From 8:30 to 12, I was on fire, flying through problem after problem. Beams, trusses, and influence line diagrams flying past my head as I delved deeper and deeper into my studies.

Then, a fateful text message. “What are you doing right now? –Mom”.

I actually grew up in Athens, so whenever I receive a message like this, 99% of the time it means that I’m going to be dragged into doing something that destroys my productive flow. This time, it was lunch with my mom and sister on our days off. Free food? How could I refuse!

Long story short…A one-hour lunch turned in to a four-hour excursion, including going on a trip to Kroger, going to Petland to play with puppies, and five laps around the endless aisles of the Athens Staples. Come about 8 pm, and I hadn’t been studying for a while, but was too exhausted to continue.

Surprisingly enough, I’m not too worried about how the exam went. I guess those four hours at the beginning of the day helped a lot more than I imagined!

Entrepreneurship Class

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Junior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 13 November 2015
Last semester, I decided to pursue an Entrepreneurship Certificate. This certificate is offered through the Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship.

Currently, in my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class (MGT 3700), we are doing a group project where we create our own start-up company or social enterprise. My group and I choose to do a social enterprise. Our company is called Paddle Home. Last summer, one of our group members started this company on his own and we are continuing to build onto his original idea.

Paddle Home

Paddle Home is a non-profit social enterprise that empowers young adults to raise money and awareness for affordable housing through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and participating in a cross-country kayaking adventure journey down the Mississippi River.


Since this is just a class project, we are starting small and not trying to overshoot with our idea. If we had more time and resources we would hope to expand Paddle Home to be more than just a summer trip down the Mississippi. We would do community outreach activities about outdoor education for all age levels. We also had an idea to install solar panel charging systems along the Mississippi at campgrounds to make camping and kayaking more accessible.

In this class we are taught about revenue models, markets, key partners, cost structure and other business model aspects.

As of right now I am not sure what I want to do with my certificate. I hope to pursue an MBA in the near future but I’m not entirely sure if I want to start my own company. Regardless of whether or not I want to be an entrepreneur, the certificate has taught me so much about the business side of a company, and it made me realize I really love the people aspect of it.

This has been a great experience and has opened my eyes to the many opportunities engineers have in the business world.

Fall and Halloween

Gavin Whitehead

Gavin Whitehead,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 7 November 2015

Just past that halfway point of the semester, it’s starting to get a little cooler and I’m going to be wearing a jacket not too long from now. The temperature got up to 78 degrees last week which I feel never happens after Halloween.

Speaking of Halloween, this past one was awesome. It stayed around 50 degrees throughout the night and it felt great. My last 2 Halloweens were in the low 40’s so I was pumped about the temperature this year.

My tip is always plan your costume for the weather. Let’s just say I was very prepared this year for low temps. I turned out being a banana along with my 3 roommates and people got a kick out of it. I saw some very creative costumes–seeing some people’s creativity makes me feel like I should have been more creative than just getting a banana costume. My favorite one I saw was Shia LaBeouf and he yelled at me saying, “Just Do It!”

My “Transition to Industry” class is still the most exciting class this semester. Yesterday, we went to Port Columbus International Airport to visit Lane Aviation and L-Brands. They were pretty awesome and both companies told us some cool inside things about how the company is run and how to get into similar businesses. We even had a chance to go in some of the private jets such as the Global 6000 which cost $60 million. The cabins of those planes are amazing and it was very cool to get that opportunity.

Another cool thing was the people that worked there. They told the story of how they got there and mentioned how they wish they had opportunities in college like we have here at OU to visit different corporate flight departments. Sometimes in the business world it comes down to who you know and we have a lot of alumni that are out there in the industry.

Aluminum Castings

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 4 November 2015

Ever since I took Metal Fabrication and Casting (ETM 2180) my sophomore year, I have been interested in castings. In the class, we were simply learning about the process. Now in my senior year, I’m delving deeper into the process.

One of the projects I have recently been working on is developing a casted aluminum OHIO badge using the sand casting process. My hopes behind this is to use the castings in my senior production run (capstone).


One thing that makes my development process different from traditional methods is that I have been developing and testing 3D printed patterns and runners which are traditionally machined or carved out. I started out with designing the badge using SolidWorks (a 3D drafting software). The part was then converted into a .STL file which could be read by the 3D printers owned by the ETM department.


Once the parts were printed, they were glued to the pattern board where sand could be packed around them. After the board is removed, a cavity is left for the molten aluminum to fill. As you can see, my first couple of patterns did not allow the sand to take.


After some massaging in the interior edges (larger fillets), larger draft angles and additional post print finishing I was able to create a workable pattern that was casted as seen in the picture at the top.

Now after creating a successful prototype and proving the concept, I have developed a (hopefully) ideal casting pattern that can be used in my capstone project next semester.