The University of Florida chapter of Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers has the distinction of hosting the organization’s annual Southeast Regional Conference this year. The conference is March 3 to 5, 2017, with events taking place in the Reitz Union and around Gainesville.
“Everyone has been working super hard,” said SERC Planning Team Co-President Thanh-Uyen Pham. “It’s nice to see it’s happening– everything is coming together.”
The conference will feature four tracks of workshops: competitions, industry, professionalism and freestyle. Depending on which track they choose, attendees will take courses such as creativity, brand development or e-commerce. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour plants such as FedEx, Target, E-1 and local start-ups.
Three speakers will give talks during the week. Mike Cottmeyer, CEO of LeadingAgile, a consulting management company, will give the breakfast keynote. Bill Muir, COO of Jabil, a manufacturing services company, will give the Saturday banquet talk. Joseph Hartman, former UF ISE chairman and current president-elect of National IISE, will give a lunch talk.
“I’m really excited to hear Dr. Hartman speak,” Pham said.
IISE university chapters take turns organizing the regional conference based on a schedule. Pham said they have tried to distinguish theirs by expanding the program. While most years have a robust program on Saturday, with fewer sessions Sunday, Pham said their program features two full days of workshops Friday and Saturday. The competition track is another novel addition.
Participants who choose the competition track will compete in small exercises for which they can win raffle tickets. Tickets can be exchanged for prizes. The grand prize is a private networking training session.
In addition to the competition track, event sponsor Proctor & Gamble is sponsoring a case competition on the topic of “Winning in E-Commerce.” During the week leading up to the event, teams of three to four undergraduate students from various schools attending the conference will put together their proposals. They will present Friday afternoon. The winner will receive a $1,000 donation for their IISE chapter, while each team member will receive a $200 Amazon gift card.
The event also features a technical paper competition. The winner of the contest will have the opportunity to compete in the Undergraduate Technical Paper Competition Global Finals at the IISE annual Conference & Expo May 20-23, 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Entrants are judged on “depth, significance and originality of subject matter” as well as excellence of written and oral presentation. In addition to the opportunity to compete at an international level, regional winners also receive cash prizes.
With 14 chapters throughout the region, organizers expect about 250 attendees. Event sponsors include Proctor & Gamble, LeadingAgile, Nielsen, Pepsico, Voalte, City of Gainesville, Jabil, Optym, Disney, KPMG and UF OEM.