(June 1, 2018) Dr. Don Taylor, The Charles O. Gordon Professor in the ISE department, is the recipient of the 2018 Albert G. Holzman Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) for significant contributions to the industrial engineering profession by an outstanding educator. The Holzman award is one of the highest honors given to a member of IISE who has contributed significantly to the profession through research, publication, extension, administration and teaching innovation in the academic environment. He has excelled in those areas of the profession. In additions, he has exhibited a rare trait of superbly leading not only his research and scholarly work, but also a department, a college, a professional organization, and now, a university in intellectual and educational pursuits.
Dr. Taylor is currently Virginia Tech’s first Vice Provost for Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness (VPLSIE). Among others, he supervises the development and implementation of the Virginia Tech President’s “Beyond Boundaries” mission via Virginia Tech’s “Destination Areas,” which constitutes one of Virginia Tech’s most significant strategic initiatives. A position of such a strategic importance was designed in part to take advantage of Dr. Taylor’s unique strengths in this area.
Before this, Dr. Taylor served with distinction as the Interim Dean of Engineering for a span of fourteen months. He left an indelible mark by maintaining high rankings for both the undergraduate and graduate programs. He increased the use of ‘hands on minds on’ activities for students. He also shepherded creation of a new B.S. degree program in Biomedical Engineering. He raised record levels of philanthropic giving and endowment. He strategically managed off-campus and international partnerships, and under his leadership, the College of Engineering held the first ever HBCU Research Summit on Virginia Tech campus.
Dr. Taylor’s tenure of over ten years as the ISE Department Head at Virginia Tech has been remarkable. Under his leadership, the department was twice named a Virginia Tech Exemplary Department. He maintained and improved the department’s rankings to their highest levels ever. The department consistently ranked in the top 10 (both graduate and undergraduate) in U.S. News and World Report, with occasional top five rankings. Above all, he enjoyed phenomenal approval ratings in the department, and had earned highest esteem from all the College of Engineering Department Heads by the time he moved to the Dean’s position.
Dr. Taylor has also served another very distinguished role in the profession, that of being President of the IISE, the flagship organization of industrial engineering. This is a very prestigious and demanding position that he served with aplomb. Dr. Thomas Landers, Dean of Engineering, Oklahoma State University, has summarized Dr. Taylor’s impact to education in this role in his letter of support when he says, “…he strengthened the Institute in ways that have benefitted every industrial engineering program in the country, particularly in terms of systems engineering and sciences focus.”
Dr. Taylor is an outstanding teacher, and his students love all the courses that he teaches. His love for teaching never diminished as he continued to teach one course every year despite holding demanding administrative positions.
As a Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Science and a Fellow of IISE, Dr. Taylor’s research is focused on the use of operations research techniques for the scheduling and logistics problems that are critical for the transportation sector of the economy. He has had administrative oversight for more than $250 million in research funding, and has served as PI and Co-PI on 79 funded projects with a total expenditure of approximately $6 million. He has published 53 articles in archival journals and 191 other publications (edited books, book chapters, conference papers, and technical reports). He has graduated eight Ph.D. students and 31 M.S. students.
Dr. Taylor received his doctoral degree from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and M.S. and B.S. degrees for University of Texas at Arlington, all in industrial engineering. He is a recipient of Outstanding Senior Alumni Award from the College of Engineering at UMass Amherst. Before joining Virginia Tech, Dr. Taylor held Mary Lee and George F. Duthie Endowed Chair in Engineering Logistics at University of Louisville. Louisville, KY.