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Department of Industrial Engineering 
4207 Bell Engineering Center
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701 
Phone: (479) 575-3156 
Fax: (479) 575-8431

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Dr. Kim Needy

Kim Needy was drawn to industrial engineering because she liked the idea of working with people and helping businesses improve their processes. “I selected it and never looked back,” says Dr. Needy, the head of the industrial engineering department and Twenty-First Century Professor in Engineering.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Needy worked in the field of information technology at PPG Industries and Boeing, earning a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and then a Ph.D. from Wichita State in the evenings after work.

While she was at Boeing, Dr. Needy had an opportunity to train other professionals, and she discovered a love for teaching. So when a faculty position opened at her alma mater, she applied for the job. After spending 15 years at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Needy accepted a position as department head for the University of Arkansas industrial engineering department.

Dr. Needy explains that her industry experience is a big advantage when it comes to teaching. “One of the things I feel I can bring to the classroom is a lot of motivation for the subject matter and practical experience,” she says. “Students say, ‘does anybody really do this stuff?’ and I like to bring in examples of how these things are really used.”

Dr. Needy’s research interests include engineering management, sustainability and supply chain optimization. One of her current research projects focuses on product design with the supply chain in mind. “We’re looking at how to design a product while simultaneously considering impacts on the supply chain,” she explains. Through this research, Dr. Needy and her students are helping companies consider the bigger picture when they design products and choose suppliers.

While Dr. Needy’s research has led to 95 refereed publications and recognition by societies such as the Institute of Industrial Engineers, which has named her a Fellow, Dr. Needy explains that her first love is still teaching. “Teaching is the reason I came into academia,” she says. “I love working with students.”