Ohio State IISE promotes innovation, sustainability and empowerment at Great Lakes Regional Conference

Posted: June 2, 2023

For the first time since the pandemic, the Ohio State student chapter of Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) was able to present its first regional conference and organizers say they were feeling the pressure. 

Man in front of a podium presenting to a group
Drew Paroz of Honda, an Ohio State Fisher College of Business graduate, gave a presentation on data analytics at the Great Lakes Region IISE conference hosted by Ohio State.

More than 150 students and professionals attended the IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference, “Innovate Sustain Empower,” held Feb. 17 and 18 at the Fawcett Center. The region includes Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio with the conference rotating among member colleges and universities. 

Student Conference Co-chair Sammy Malone, ISE ’23, says all the hard work that went into planning the event was realized when she saw “the rooms full of people during the talks. People were excited to meet other ISEs. People were excited to network.” 

The event featured a keynote presentation by Mark Schwabero, former CEO of Brunswick Corporation, a tour of the Center for Design & Manufacturing Excellence, an ISE competition, a technical paper competition, employer showcases, and breakout sessions featuring presentations by officials from Honda, Procter & Gamble, Align AI and FlexSim. 

A 12-member Planning Committee, composed of Ohio State’s IISE members, took the lead on lining up the speakers, sponsors, activities, finances and marketing, as well as securing the venue and hotel rooms, and determining the programming.  

“I was incredibly stressed leading up to this event, which caused me to spend a large chunk of time double-checking everything and really pushing for attendance,” says IISE President Jackson Goodall, ISE ’24. “At the end of the day, people will come, and things will go as planned for the most part. You just have to check all the boxes.”  

Company showcase
The company showcase at the IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference, held Feb. 17-18 at Ohio State, featured a career fair, where Honda was represented by Susan Dulik, Ryan Gaerke and Katie Calvert – all Ohio State ISE graduates.  

Shubho Bhattacharya, co-director of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership and senior manager at Honda, the lead sponsor of the conference, says the event provided an excellent way to engage with the next generation of employees. 

“Industrial and systems engineers play an important role in many facets of Honda’s manufacturing operations, and the opportunity to interact with ISE students from Ohio State, Ohio University, Purdue University and other schools at this conference was valuable for our talent pipeline development and recruitment objectives,” he says. 

Malone, who has been hired as an engineering consultant for Accenture, says being part of the planning committee was a great opportunity to take a leadership role and is something she shared while interviewing for employment. “It was an absolutely fantastic experience,” she says. “I was able to really get to know other people I was working with. It was people across all years in our organization.” 

She says she also appreciated the opportunity to meet with IISE leaders at the national level and to talk to representatives from all over the world, during the planning process, sharing best practice ideas for hosting a conference. 

In the company showcase, two associates from Honda’s East Liberty Automobile Plant demonstrated an interactive touch-screen vehicle assembly training system to the students.  

“As an Ohio State ISE alumna, it is an honor to represent Honda when attending a career fair on campus,” says Katie Calvert, a new model assembly project lead at Honda, who also attended the conference. “I have the opportunity to engage with the students one on one. It brings me great joy to listen to the students, and work with them to initiate a career path that aligns with their passions, goals and dreams.” 

Group photo of planning committee
Conference planning committee

For Goodall, all the time and effort put into organizing the conference was realized nearly as soon as the conference started. “When our keynote speaker first got up on the stand and began his speech, it honestly felt unreal,” he recalls. “Bright and early on a Saturday morning, I was looking around the room at all the students attending from other schools and from Ohio State, and I was struck by the thought of, ‘This is it.’ Of course, I was proud.” 

In addition to Honda, sponsors included: Amend; DHL; Eaton; FlexSim; The Ohio State University Battelle Center for Science, Engineering and Public Policy; and The Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government. 


Story by Nancy Richison

Category: Student