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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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Liaison Committee

The Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering (AAIE) jointly with the Department Head organizes a liaison committee that serves in the capacity of an advisory board to the department. The committee is comprised of accomplished professionals from business, industry and academia who bring both an applied perspective and an independent assessment to the industrial engineering program at the University of Arkansas.

The members of the 2015 Liaison Committee are:

G. Kent Burnett

Mr. Burnett is the Senior Vice President of IT at Dillard's. He has been with the company for more than 30 years. Prior to Dillard's, Mr. Burnett was employed with IBM. In addition to his professional activities he is also involved in many civic activities including serving on the University of Arizona Business School Board of Advisors and he is the current President of the Blue Key Leadership Society. Mr. Burnett is a 1968 BSIE graduate of the University of Arkansas and is an avid golfer.
Mike Gross

Mr. Gross, FACHE, is the Administrator at Mt. Carmel Community in Rogers, Arkansas. Mike is a lifelong resident of Arkansas and has worked in healthcare since 1985. Mike serves on the board of the local Senior Adult Center and Rotary Club, is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, and is active in his Church and Community. He earned his Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1984. He was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering in 2007 and is currently serving as President-Elect.
Sunderesh S. Heragu

Dr. Heragu is Professor and Head of the School of Industrial Engineering and Management at Oklahoma State University where he holds the Donald and Cathey Humphreys Chair. Previously, he was the Mary Lee and George F. Duthie Chair in Engineering Logistics in the Industrial Engineering department and Director of the Logistics and Distribution Institute (LoDI) at the University of Louisville. He has also served as Professor of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Assistant Professor in State University of New York, Plattsburgh and held visiting appointments at State University of New York, Buffalo, Technical University of Eindhoven and University of Twente, in the Netherlands, and IBM's Thomas J Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY.


He is author of a book titled Facilities Design (currently in its third edition) and has authored or co-authored over two hundred articles many of which have appeared in journals, magazines, books and conference proceedings. He has served as Principal investigator or co-investigator on research projects totaling over $20 million funded by federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, National Science Foundation, Defense Logistics Agency and private companies such as General Electric. Dr. Heragu is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). He has received IIE's David F Baker Distinguished Research award, Award for Technical Innovation in Industrial Engineering the IIE Transactions on Design and Manufacturing Award and IIE Transactions Award for Best Paper published in "Feature Applications" for a paper co-authored with his student, and the Gold Award of Excellence for leadership in Facilities Planning and Design.
David Humphrey

Mr. Humphrey is the Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for ArcBest Corporation in Fort Smith, AR. ArcBest Corporation is a freight transportation services and solutions provider whose largest subsidiary is ABF Freight System, Inc. David has worked at Arkansas Best for 29 years and in the Investor Relations Department for 14 years. He was appointed to his current position in January 2010. Mr. Humphrey holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arkansas.
J. Cole Smith

Dr. J. Cole Smith is Professor and Chair of the Industrial Engineering department at Clemson University.  He served as a tenured faculty member in the Industrial and Systems Engineering department at the University of Florida (UF) from 2005-2014, serving as a Full Professor from 2010-2014 and as Interim Department Chair in the 2013-2014 year.  While at UF, he also served as the founding Interim Director of the UF Informatics Institute, a university-wide initiative that oversaw interdisciplinary endeavors in hiring and joint internal funding opportunities.  His research has been supported by the NSF, DARPA, AFOSR, DTRA, and the ONR, and he has spent one summer as a distinguished visiting professor in the National Security Agency¹s summer program in operations research technology.  His research regards mathematical optimization models and algorithms, especially those arising in combinatorial optimization.  Dr. Smith has had the pleasure of collaborating with colleagues across many different disciplines, including Mathematics, Ecology, Psychology, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering.   His awards include the Young Investigator Award from the ONR, the Hamid K. Elden Outstanding Young Industrial Engineer in Education award, the Operations Research Division Teaching Award, and the best paper award from IIE Transactions in 2007.
Dr. J. Cole Smith
Tarek Taha

Mr. Taha began his career in 1993 with ABF Freight System, working in engineering and economic analysis roles. He transitioned to J.B. Hunt Transport in 2004 as an Engineering Manager, providing leadership for a corporate-wide initiative to improve the quote to cash process. In 2008, he was promoted to Director of Rail Carrier Relations where he managed commercial relationships with the Norfolk Southern and Kansas City Southern railroads. In December 2012, he accepted the position of Director of Intermodal Engineering to provide leadership for process and systems changes within the Intermodal division. Tarek is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with bachelor's and master's degrees in Industrial Engineering. He is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering and is currently serving as President.
Gary Whicker

Mr. Whicker is the Senior Vice President of Engineering and Enterprise Services at J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. The engineering team is focused in three major areas: process improvement, management science and sales engineering. He also leads the corporate information technology functions for project management, enterprise architecture, data modeling, business intelligence and quality assurance. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Industrial Engineering and holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Mr. Whicker has worked most of his career in the information technology and the transportation and logistics fields with several companies but has been with J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. for more than 20 years.
Rick Wilkinson

Mr. Wilkinson is Senior Director of Logistics Engineering for Walmart. In this role, he sets direction and vision for the Logistics Engineering team. Prior to Walmart, Mr. Wilkinson worked with the Neiman Marcus Group, most recently as Vice President – Fulfillment Operations / Supply Chain Engineering. Additionally, in the role of internal consultant, he implemented operational and systems solutions to current and emerging Supply Chain challenges across all channels. He has also worked as a Senior Supply Chain Management Consultant with Cleveland Consulting Associates, managing process reengineering, operations improvement and network optimization projects in retail and manufacturing industries. Mr. Wilkinson has a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.