Category Archives: Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens Startup Weekend

Eric May

Eric May,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 16 March 2015

This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in Athens Startup Weekend at the Ohio University Innovation Center. For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where students and local community members get together to come up with ideas, create marketable products, and validate their business model. During the weekend you receive feedback from coaches and mentors who have started businesses to help you as well. Oh, and it was free for us Russ College students. :)

The team I was on consisted of 3 students from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology as well as another Ohio University student from outside the College. We came up with an idea for a job searching site that would focus on a particular market segment that we believe other job searching sites are missing or don’t do well. We spent the entire weekend validating our business model, identifying our revenue streams, analyzing our competitors, and pitching our ideas.

Startup Weekend

At Ohio University, and the Russ College, we look to do more than just be engineers and I think that is one of our key competitive advantages. Engineering students come to the Russ College to learn how to be engineers, of course, but we also help students combine their engineering skills with their other passions so that they can hopefully Create for Good in new and innovative ways. It’s hard to find that anywhere else.

Also… I’m really looking forward to the warm weather.

Institute of Industrial Engineers Regional Conference

Casey Davis

Casey Davis,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 25 February 2015

This past weekend there was a very exciting event going on at Purdue University. Every year, IIE puts on regional conferences across the country; ours is appropriately named the Great Lakes region. Schools with IIE chapters in this region include Ohio State, Purdue, Western Michigan, Wayne State, and many others.

This conference was a great opportunity to network and meet others from the same field in order to see what is occurring in academia and in the real world relating to industrial engineering. The theme of the conference was “rethink IE”, in reference to our ever-expanding and changing major. There was a push for the students and faculty to reflect upon how our major has developed from simple work design and time studies, to complicated genetic algorithms and neural networks. There was much optimism for the Ohio University students as we attended lectures and sessions pertaining to everything in the IE professional world such as Health Care to Supply Chain Management to consulting IE.

In addition to the professional development we also attended a career fair with big companies such as Whirlpool, Halliburton, Disney, GE, and many others. Purdue also set up a plant tour for the visiting schools at the Subaru manufacturing plant near campus. This plant consisted of over 4000 employees, a massive assembly line, and well-designed material handling system. This plant had yearly output of about 310,000 cars just to give you some idea of the sheer size of this facility.

These events and opportunities are a huge leg up in the professional and personal world as you can discuss things with potential employers, faculty, and peers. In addition to the professional side we also had a few socials with the schools that attended, which allowed people to bond on a more personal level with students from other schools that attended. (OU’s students were the best dancers…).

One of the greatest aspects of this trip is that the Russ College essentially paid for everything–a nearly all-expense paid professional trip before you are in the working world definitely shows OU’s commitment to its students and their development.

OU Students at the IIE Conference

I am extremely happy I attended this conference and due to the fact I will be here next year for graduate school next year I will be at the next conference for sure and for prospective and current students, I advise them to the same.

Online Job Searching

Casey Davis

Casey Davis,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 03 February 2015

These days everything you want to find out about or are interested has information online. As a university student how can you use this to benefit you? Should you just use Google and look up engineering jobs? Is there a possibility to narrow down your search to specific areas of interest?

Here at Ohio University there are many different avenues for those of you that don’t exactly know where you are going to work and apply your education. These tools are effective in gaining access to areas of the world that before the internet would have been much more difficult.

For example, there’s the CLDC (Career and Leadership Development Center) and Bobcat CareerLink. For those of you that have never created a resume before college (or a good one at least) the CLDC will go over your resume give you helpful hints and give you the tools to highlight your quality talents and accomplishments. When your resume is improved and looking good you can post it on Bobcat CareerLink. This is a job web site that students and employers can find jobs and candidates that they believe will fit their needs.

I myself have been contacted by Epic (a healthcare software developer) and Honda without applying–employers contacted me, not the other way around. Trust me there is no better feeling than hearing from an employer they want you to interview. This makes job searches/getting an initial job much easier.

There is also a LinkedIn group that consists of Bobcat alums. You can see where they live, who they work for, and the category in which they work (education, consulting, engineering…). This allows for you to contact specific alumni and at the very least find out helpful hints about certain jobs/interview processes. All of these avenues give you a leg up from the competition and will allow you to make yourself stand out from the rest.

The Intimacy of Athens

Eric May

Eric May,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 29 January 2015

Athens is truly a college town. What I mean by that is you can thrive here using your own two legs. When prospective students are looking at where to go to college, I think that they often don’t consider whether or not they need a car or how close together the campus is. Coming from Columbus, Ohio, I drove everywhere. In Athens, I drive maybe once per week to get groceries. I love this because I get to exercise and I’m constantly running into my classmates and friends on Court Street and around campus. Not a single day goes by where I don’t run into somebody. This kind of intimacy allows for a very relaxed, inviting, fun, and creative atmosphere. Working on a project at a coffee shop, and perhaps somebody walks by and has a great insight or can help you at a point where you’re stuck–those kind of interactions that are common here.

But it’s not just work. Recently I was at the Cider House with a great friend. Some of the bars have board games and puzzles and things like that. What better way to spend an evening than sitting on a couch, not at home, and playing games and having fun and building friendships?

Jenga Tower

Of course you can do this anywhere, but in Athens you can do this casually, which I think is incredibly important. If I wanted to do this in a city like Columbus, it becomes an ordeal. I have to get in my car, drive somewhere, park, worry about driving, etc. In Athens, it’s just “Oh, hey, let’s go watch the Bobcat basketball game” or “Hey, let’s meet for breakfast at Casa Nueva.” These things don’t need to be planned well in advance. It feeds a student’s creativity and creates a much better atmosphere than I’ve seen in many other places.

Starting ISE Senior Design

Eric May

Eric May,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 25 November 2014

Each year, the seniors in industrial and systems engineering are assigned a senior design project to complete before they graduate in May. The senior design projects are real-life problems or areas that need improvement from companies. It’s great because we get to help them, learn, and apply industrial engineering practices, and the companies get to have a problem solved.

When seniors enter senior design, they have the opportunity to select projects from real companies that interest them. They serve as industrial engineering student consultants and the companies are their real clients. There is accountability for both the students as consultants and the companies as clients. The students are given a problem, and are responsible for analyzing that problem and applying industrial engineering principles following the Six Sigma methodology to come up with a solution to the company’s problem.

My group’s senior design project is with a distribution company. The company has a lot of machines across many locations which, naturally, require maintenance. Our project is to analyze the requirements of their facilities, interview maintenance staff, talk with senior leaders, and then research maintenance management software to implement. One of their key goals is to get oversight over how each of their locations is performing so that they can better understand their business and potential areas where they can save money. By keeping their machines running, and downtime at a minimum, they can ship products faster and more reliably, which means customers can benefit too! We’ll be looking at the pros and cons of different packages, how it affects their company, and then presenting our final recommendation.

Having the opportunity to work on hands-on projects is one of the great things about the Russ College of Engineering and Technology that is going to really help me. It’s one thing to talk about a theory or concept in class, but the real learning comes from interacting with real people, doing presentations, and solving problems. Engineering at Ohio University isn’t just about doing math and science, it’s about learning to work with other people as a team toward a goal, and developing your personal and leadership skills. Once you develop these skills, you’re unstoppable, and I think our college truly understands that.

Road Trip with Theta Tau

Casey Davis

Casey Davis,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 17 November 2014

For those of you who have not read my bio (which would be about everyone except my mom), I am a member of Theta Tau, the professional engineering fraternity on campus. This past weekend my fraternity took a road trip to visit the chapter at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. While a six-hour drive is not always the most fun thing to do on the weekend, this was a worthwhile trip. Meeting engineers from other places and from different cultures is always an exciting event.

While many things about the campus in Baltimore and Athens vary, the kids are very much the same. They enjoy hanging out with friends as well as touring the surrounding areas and finding those hole-in-the-wall spots to eat and drink. The trip included a tour of the inner harbor of Baltimore which has many fine restaurants/stores in addition to some interesting street entertainers as every big city does. We had a potluck dinner put on by the members of the JHU chapter and really got to know some of the people that went to school there what they liked/disliked about school and things of that nature.

Meeting engineering students from across the country you find out about some great up and coming things people plan on doing for example the “Hackathon” that my host was a part of. This consists of teams of students/companies that have 36 hours to write an application to perform a specific function. He had told me of many recruiters and companies that hire directly from this type of competition.

Overall the theme of Johns Hopkins was just the same as life here at Ohio University: get a great education and make a bunch of friends while doing it. I can honestly say that engineering has led me to make the friends I always envisioned having and I can even validate this by all the friends I met from a school I visited across the country.

Finally It’s Fall!

Eric May

Eric May,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 19 October 2014

My favorite season of the year seems to finally be here. Fall at Ohio University is a pretty special time. Not only are classes well underway, but also so is college football season.

The last couple of weekends I’ve been able to take a break from my coursework to enjoy some of my favorite fall activities. Last weekend I was able to participate in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology homecoming tailgate. It was a great opportunity to talk with engineering alumni and really get excited for the game. It also doesn’t hurt that students get into the home games for free.

Aside from the beautiful scenery in Southeast Ohio, fall also brings about my favorite holiday of the year: Halloween! Ohio University students really get in the spirit, and every year we have a great celebration with some really unique costumes. Last year I went as Han Solo from Star Wars and met some very interesting people.

I also enjoy carving pumpkins, so this weekend I went to a nearby pumpkin patch with a friend to pick a pumpkin.

Engineer in a Pumpkin Patch

We found an amazing place not too far from Athens, and I think this year I’m going to have an Ohio University or engineering themed carving. I’ve come to find that there are a lot of great places to visit off campus, and as I head into my last year of college I’m really coming to appreciate not just the university, but also what the surrounding area has to offer.