College students from multiple universities across the western U.S. gathered at Colorado State University-Pueblo to appreciate informative speeches, tour Pueblo and discuss the expansive intricacies and various applications of industrial engineering at the Institute of Industrial Engineering Western Regional Conference.
The conference was held on campus from March 3 to March 5 before culminating in a ski trip at Monarch Mountain on March 6.
The campus hosted students from distinguished universities such as Oregon State University, New Mexico State University and California University Polytechnic at Pomona.
The event put a heightened focus on sustainability in industry and business as well as teamwork, trust and innovation within the field.
The conference was organized by the CSU-Pueblo chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineering which includes faculty advisor and associate professor Leonardo Bedoya-Valencia, IIE member Justice Smith, IIE Vice President Gavin Reimer and IIE President Mariana Hosomi.
Hosomi said that she was excited for the event and pleased to see the turn out from other colleges and the varied speakers in attendance.
CSU-Pueblo engineering professor Ebisa Wollega commented that the event was impressive and transcended his expectations of it going in.
Psychology professor and speaker at the event Fred Stultz offered similar adulation for the conference, commenting on the effectiveness of the networking sessions and the nature of the event.
IIE member Emily Donaghy concurred, saying that the smaller scale of the event allowed for people to converse casually and really get involved.
The event got into full swing on March 4, as a multitude of speakers engaged those in attendance and the attendees were treated to plant tours of Pueblo’s various industrial businesses.
The speakers on Friday started with health care extraordinaire Marci Jackson who talked about her extensive experience in the field of health care, which included personal stories about how the field has affected her. The speech exhibited the strong convictions of all involved at the conference right off the bat.
Following Jackson was CSU-Pueblo’s own graduate student, Meral Sarper, who relayed her graduate research paper on economic and environmental sustainability in the community.
The paper, which also featured contributions by CSU-Pueblo’s Kelly Gehlhoff and Wollega, highlighted the problems facing the expansive Pueblo community and proposed possible vitalization solutions for said problems. Sarper’s speech also included some of CSU-Pueblo’s own efforts in improving sustainability.
The last to speak on the day were the two entrants in the IIE Undergraduate Technical Paper Competition, the team of Breanne De Anda and Kyle Smith from California Polytechnic and Mariel Vargas Haddad from New Mexico State.
The day finished up with a tour of Pueblo’s impressive industrial plants. Food production company TR Toppers, wind energy expert Vestas and Pueblo signature EVRAZ Steel Mill were all prominent destinations on the tour.
The next day provided the conference with more speakers, more networking and more important information.
The day featured a couple of United Technologies Corporation speakers in adjunct engineering professor John Linck and UTC manager Kendra Washington. The two talked about effectiveness in business and “applied knowledge.”
Washington, a “continuous improvement” manager, spoke extensively about Sigma-Six and the application of its ideals in a steady workplace. The talk highlighted the conference’s focus on teamwork and efficiency within industrial workplaces.
Also included in the event’s fun was Kevin Gilford who spoke at CSU-Pueblo back in January. Gilford, assistant sustainability director at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, gave an extensive speech about the history, importance and application of sustainability in cities as well as how his expertise fits into the engineering field.
Leland Lorentzen, the primary operating executive at Golden Aluminum, gave the audience a very detailed speech about his first-hand experience in the industrial field as well as personal anecdotes about learning how things work inside the industry.
A team workshop organized by Stultz brought a different speech to the table as well providing the assortment of students with an opportunity to understand what they look for in trust and communication.
Stultz did this by first showing a TED Talk video that highlighted his speech, then broke the room into teams to see what everyone thought about the concept of trust. This included each team making a list of what makes them trust a person.
The day finished off with an award banquet ceremony to announce the winner of the Technical Paper Competition who was Breanne De Anda and Kyle Smith from California Polytechnic.
While on paper the event may not have seemed to be entirely focused on engineering, the conference provided people from different parts of the country and opportunity to talk and learn about their experiences, opinions and their ideas for the future. Over its three day period, the conference exemplified the hard work, community and brilliant minds in the industrial engineering field.