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Cover of the Winter 2009 issue


VOL. 35, NO. 2







Dennis G. Fryback

Dennis G. Fryback (large image)

A methodologist who builds analytical tools and methods to analyze the cost-effectiveness of health­care technology, drugs and treatments, Population Health Sciences and Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Dennis G. Fryback retired in March 2008 after more than 30 years at UW-Madison.

Fryback earned an MA in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1973 and a PhD in psychology from Michigan in 1974. He joined the UW-Madison Department of Industrial Engineering (now Industrial and Systems Engineering) that same year as an assistant scientist. In 1975, he became an assistant professor of industrial engineering, eventually holding appointments in both industrial engineering and population health sciences (then preventive medicine). In 1990, population health sciences became Fryback’s home department; however, he continues to maintain an affiliation with the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

In addition to analytical tools and methods, Fryback’s research program also includes simulation to study aspects of cancer that researchers can study only indirectly. Overall, his findings have helped standardize the way in which scientists measure health-related quality of life. “This is important to measuring the benefits of healthcare, which is not just about making life longer, but about improving quality of life, too,” he says.

He is among a group of researchers who are part of a U.S. government initiative to assemble a national health account. This group will measure the U.S. health output, much like economists compute the gross domestic product to measure the country’s output of goods and services. Eventually this account will be used with a sister national health expenditures account to guide health policy in the United States. “It is not all my work alone,” says Fryback. “This will be the work of many, many people. But it feels good to have contributed in a small way.”

He is a founding member of the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) and has remained continuously active in its activities since 1978. Among many honors, he is a fellow of the Association of Health Services Research, a 1994 recipient of the SMDM E.L. Saenger Service Award, and 1999 recipient of the SMDM Award for Career Achievement. In 2000, he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine.

Currently, he is working part-time on a research grant and divides his time between Madison and a home in Huntington Beach, California, that he and his wife are remodeling. When the grant concludes in June, Fryback’s professional plans include consulting work and participation on National Academies committees. In addition, he is hoping to enjoy more time with his wife and extended family. “I’d like to get back to my hobby of astrophotography, too,” he adds.

Edward G. Lovell

Edward G. Lovell (large image)

After four decades in the College of Engineering, Professor Edward Lovell has retired from the mechanical engineering department. Structural mechanics has been Lovell’s principal research focus, with applications such as nonlinear vibrations of aerospace shells, design of inertial confinement fusion reactor chambers, and nanoscale mechanics issues for the semiconductor industry. He was one of four co-principal investigators on research that successfully produced the first micron-size metal MEMS components—such as springs, gears and motors—using synchrotron radiation and electroplating, along with the late Professor Henry Guckel, the late Professor Denice Denton, and Professor Emeritus Thomas Chapman.

His more recent work with nanoscale mechanics includes collaboration at UW-Madison and with international colleagues to identify the advantages and disadvantages of so-called next-generation lithographies, including X-ray lithography, electron beam projection lithography, nanoimprint lithography and extreme ultraviolet lithography, among others.

Lovell earned his PhD in engineering mechanics from the University of Michigan in 1967. After graduation, he was awarded a National Academy of Sciences postdoctoral fellowship, held in the Structural Dynamics Division of the NASA Langley Research Center. He was also a NATO senior fellow at the University of Manchester, working on experimental shock, fracture, and wave propagation in solids. Lovell had industrial affiliations with the Boeing Co., Pratt and Whitney, and the Ford Motor Co.

He has produced more than 230 research publications and has taught more than a dozen different courses, including aerospace structural mechanics, vibrations, plates, shells, pressure vessels, mechanical instability and variational methods.

Since joining the college, Lovell has served as the chair of the Department of Engineering Mechanics and spent the past nine years as associate chair of the ME department. He has been affiliated with several college centers, including the Computational Mechanics Center, Fusion Technology Institute, the Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics, and the Wisconsin Institute of Nuclear Systems.

Beyond department and college committee work, his service to UW-Madison has included the Campus Planning Committee, chair­ship of the Recreational Sports Board, and faculty advisor to the UW Racquetball Club (a sport in which he earned a Wisconsin state title). In his retirement, Lovell hopes to play more racquetball, finish building a new home, and work with the family’s golden retrievers as therapy dogs.

Stephen M. Robinson

Stephen M. Robinson (large image)

A pioneer of decision science and stochastic optimiza­tion, Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Steve Robinson received his BA in mathematics (’62) and his PhD in computer sciences (’71) from UW-Madison. He joined the faculty full time in 1972; however, he taught his first course, a summer class in numerical analysis, in the College of Engineering as an undergraduate in 1958.

Robinson’s main research focus has been optimization, the branch of applied mathematics devoted to maximizing systems performance, especially when there are constraints, barriers or uncertainties. He is a leader in developing decision-making tools for complex situations, including military-planning applications.

Military applications are near and dear to Robinson, who served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1969. He spent nearly two years as a member of the elite Special Forces in Vietnam and remained in the U.S. Army Reserve until retiring from the military in 1993 as a colonel.

“My time as a professional soldier gave me an appreciation for complex operations and some of the difficulties people face when they have to do things in a hurry and without much preparation,” he says.

Robinson is a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. He also has received top awards from the Mathematical Programming Society, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Military Operations Research Society, among other honors and awards. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, marking him as one of the most distinguished engineers in the nation.

Robinson retired in spring 2008, but has retained a presence on campus, continuing to teach, write and pursue research. “My basic goal was to have very little change in what I’m doing, and so far that has worked,” he says.

“My average work week of 50 to 55 hours hasn’t changed. As I get older, that will presumably decrease—but I’d like to keep at it as long as I can.”

Harold J. Steudel

Harold J. Steudel (large image)

After 26 years as a faculty member, Emerson Electric Professor in Total Quality Harold Steudel retired from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Steudel is a recognized leader in the fields of quality engineering and quality management. A member of the American Society of Quality, he pursues several aspects of quality in manufacturing, including planning and design of group technology-based flexible manufacturing cell systems, the effects of different settings on product or process performance and variability, and quality inspection processes, all with the goal of reducing defective products and increasing production efficiency and customer satisfaction. He has authored 36 publications and conducted 15 sponsored industrial research projects.

A Wisconsin native, Steudel received his BS and PhD degrees (’68 and ’74, respectively) in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison. He spent eight years as a faculty member at the Marquette University School of Business before joining the UW-Madison College of Engineering in 1982.

Steudel chaired the industrial engineering department from 1998 to 2007, and recently served as a guiding force through the Mechanical Engineering Building planning and construction phases. He also has served as director of the Quality Assurance Systems Research Consortium and associate director of the University-Industry Research Program.

However, he considers the greatest highlights and joys of his career to be his time spent teaching more than 10,000 students, providing them with knowledge and skills useful to improve their lives and the world in which they live. He developed four popular quality-related engineering courses, including a web-based course offered through the Master of Engineering in Professional Practice (MEPP) program.

“I feel very fortunate to have been part of the vibrant learning community at UW-Madison, rich with opportunities to work with students of all ages in research and the exploration of ideas and methodologies, both traditional and emerging,” Steudel says.

In retirement, Steudel plans to stay connected to the ISyE department and the College of Engineering through teaching, service, development and other opportunities that might arise. “I also plan to travel more with my lovely wife Carol, and hopefully lower my golf handicap,” he adds.

Rajan Suri

Rajan Suri (large image)

With degrees from Cambridge and Harvard Universities and a faculty position at Harvard, Rajan Suri was surprised to receive a phone call from UW-Madison and with it, an invitation to interview in what now is the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “One visit to Madison was all it took to convince me that it would be the right place for someone who really wanted to make an impact on manufacturing education, research and practice,” he says.

Since joining the College of Engineering in 1985, Suri has established himself as a revolutionary in manufacturing practices. He has directed the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program since 1992, and in 1994 he founded the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing. In developing the QRM philosophy, Suri combined management methods, engineering techniques, and behavioral insights to create a comprehensive theory for reducing lead times throughout a manufacturing enterprise, and put that theory into practice through the CQRM. “While everyone knows that ‘time is money,’ I was able to demonstrate that time is a lot more money than most managers realize,” he says.

More than 250 companies have partnered with the CQRM to revolutionize their manufac­turing practices. Part of Suri’s vision was to have industry pay for relevant work, and for the past decade, all of the CQRM funding has come from industry sources. In 2006, he received the Albert M. Sargent Progress Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for the creation and implementation of the QRM philosophy.

QRM also has provided students with ample hands-on experience, both through the CQRM and Suri’s ISyE 415 and ISyE 641 courses, among the highest rated large-enrollment classes in the department. The ISyE student body selected him Alpha Pi Mu Professor of the Year in 2001 and again in 2005.

Since retiring in January 2008, Suri has spent significant time with family in India, the home he left at the age of 16. He also is writing a second book on QRM targeted to executives, explaining QRM in management language. He continues to be involved in the CQRM through workshops and industry projects. “I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best colleagues, students and industry partners that you could find anywhere,” says Suri. “I don’t think I could have accomplished what I did at any other university in the world!”

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