Thirtieth Annual Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering Induction and Awards

Back row: Ben Dye, Donald Garrett, Eddie Collins, Ken Christian, Trey Shofner, Nancy Sloan Front: Rita Willcoxon, Kim Needy, Jean Fite, Lisa Thomas, Kathy Malstrom.
Photo by Rick Green

Back row: Ben Dye, Donald Garrett, Eddie Collins, Ken Christian, Trey Shofner, Nancy Sloan Front: Rita Willcoxon, Kim Needy, Jean Fite, Lisa Thomas, Kathy Malstrom.

The Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering (AAIE) held its 30th annual Induction and Awards Banquet on Friday, April 8, kicking off the annual Academy Weekend. On Saturday, April 9, the academy held its spring business meeting in the Bell Engineering Center, which was followed by an old-time catfish picnic.

At the banquet, the academy inducted 11 new members. Each new member is nominated by a current member and elected by membership vote. This year's inductees are from a diverse group of fields, including philanthropy, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, aerospace and retail.

Inductees this year include:

  • Ken Christian, B.S.I.E. 1982, managing principal, Stellar Management LLC
  • Eddie Collins, B.S.I.E. 1982, president of We The People, and CEO of Journeyman Advancement
  • Ben Dye, B.S.I.E. 2001, vice president of sales, Farmlink Inc.
  • Jean Fite, B.S.I.E. 2001, logistics analytics, The Container Store
  • Donald Garrett, B.S.I.E. 1985, field operations engineer, United States Postal Service
  • Trey Shofner, B.S.I.E. 2000, manager of manufacturing engineering, Marshalltown Company
  • Nancy Sloan, M.S.O.R. 1999, University of Arkansas, retired
  • Lisa Thomas, M.S.I.E. 1993, Ph.D. 2013, research associate, Fortna Inc.
  • Rita Willcoxon, B.S.I.E. 1982, General Electric, retired

The academy also welcomed two honorary inductees: Kathy Malstrom, a retired staff member from the U of A, and Kim Needy, dean of the Graduate School and International Education at the University of Arkansas.

During the banquet, AAIE recognized members whose scholarship donations have met milestones. New scholarships added this year included the AAIE Andrea and Ralph Sandage Scholarship, AAIE Steve and Bobbe Schulte Scholarship, and the AAIE Taha Family Scholarship. A one-time scholarship will be awarded this year from Mike and Bonnie Limbird who are providing the AAIE Frank and Katy Limbird Scholarship. In addition, donors classified as Imhoff Fellows included James and Bea Alexander, Justin Chimka and Heather Nachtmann, Mark and Stephanie Edmisten, Ed and Tish Pohl, and Steve and Bobbe Schulte.

In addition to these new scholarships, a Memorial Scholarship was recognized for John Robert Stovall, alumnus of the industrial engineering program. Retired from IBM, Stovall was part of the team responsible for the Apollo International Space Station and Shuttle missions.

Student scholars are invited to attend the banquet to be recognized and to meet personally with their donor.  For the coming academic year AY16-17, the academy provided AAIE and related scholarships to thirty-eight students totaling near $91,500

This year AAIE presented an award to Ashlea Bennett Milburn, assistant professor of industrial engineering, as AAIE Faculty Member of the Year. In addition, staff award recipients were Carrie Pennington and Emily Nichols. Pennington was named the Support Staff Member of the Year, and Nichols received the award for Administrative Staff Member of the Year.

About the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering: Since 1986, the AAIE has been recognizing the achievements of University of Arkansas industrial engineering graduates and to provide continuing guidance and support to the Department of Industrial Engineering. The academy also provides assistance in areas of equipment acquisition, faculty recruiting, student placement, and curriculum review. AAIE members are accomplished industrial engineering alumni who support the department in many ways such as providing scholarships and global experiences, facilitating mock interviews, offering student mentorship and serving as guest lecturers.

Next year's AAIE events are tentatively scheduled for April 28-29, 2017.


Tamara O. Ellenbecker, media specialist
Industrial Engineering

Camilla Shumaker, director of communications
College of Engineering


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