UF Outreach Engineering Management Program Celebrates 25 Years

The University of Florida’s Outreach Engineering Management (OEM) master’s program celebrates 25 years since its inception in 1996.  Housed in the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE), OEM is geared towards working professionals who wish to receive a master’s degree in ISE with a concentration in Engineering Management.  

Beginning each August, the 20-month program is held in Orlando, FL, and features live instruction one weekend a month, allowing students with full-time jobs to have a flexible schedule. In addition to receiving a master’s in ISE, students also have the option to receive an MBA from UF’s Warrington College of Business by adding another year of classes. In 2020, 71% of OEM students enrolled in the concurrent MBA program.  

The OEM Program has had a number of leaders, beginning with Dr. Jack Elzinga, who co-founded the program in 1996, together with Dr. Donald Hearn.  Dr. Elzinga served as Program Director until he retired in 2006, at which time Dr. Joe Geunes took over the role, continuing in that capacity until 2016.  Dr. Elif Akcali led the program next (Interim Director from 2016-2018, and Director from 2018-2019), followed by Dr. David Kaber, ISE Department Chair (Interim Director, 2020-2021).  The current Program Director is Dr. Mengyu Li.

The class meeting site has moved over the years in response to industry demand and other factors.  Classes were originally offered in South Florida, with the inaugural cohort meeting in Miramar, FL, and then Davie, FL (1998).  The next two cohorts convened in West Palm Beach (2000-2001), and then the program was moved to Gainesville for three offerings (2002-2004).  Three cohorts met in Cape Canaveral (2005-2007), after which the program relocated to Orlando, where students have met since that time (2008-present).

Since 1996, the program has flourished in terms of industry partnerships and attending students. Specifically, the program has established strong relationships with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the Walt Disney Company for attracting new students to the program. To date, the OEM Program has had 870 graduates, many of whom have gone on to establish successful careers as leaders of multinational corporations. In addition, four OEM alumni serve on the ISE Advisory Board.  

“It has been very gratifying to have witnessed so many positive outcomes of the program over the years.  Our alumni often share stories about projects they have managed or implemented, and how their careers have thrived because of the training and degree they received from OEM, or about how they have developed lifelong relationships with their classmates.  We are proud that we have played a part in all of those successes,” said Patsy Messinger, OEM Associate Director.

In November, the OEM Program will be holding an anniversary celebration to commemorate the last 25 years of progress. On behalf of the UF ISE Department, we invite you to join us to celebrate this successful milestone. 

UF OEM Program 25th Anniversary Celebration
“Transforming the World Through Our Alumni”
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
11 am-1 pm EST | Zoom
Detailed Schedule Available Here
Register in advance for the event.