CICMHE Member Spotlight: Interview with CICMHE President David Porter

The College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) – pronounced kik-MEE,  is an independent organization that prepares and provides information, teaching materials and various events in support of material handling education and research. Founded in 1952, the main body of the Council is composed of fifteen college and university educators along with four industry members from the MHI Membership.

Through its various programs and diverse representation of membership, CICMHE facilitates the interchange of information among concerned individuals in industry, academia and in the user community to aid in improving and implementing material handling education.

This month we spotlight David Porter, President of CICMHE.  David is a Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and Associate Head for Graduate Programs at Oregon State in Corvallis OR.

MHI:  What is the focus of your role at the University, teaching, or research?

I enjoy both research and teaching. On the research side, my area of interest is the design, modeling, and performance evaluation of data collection systems in application domains such as manufacturing, supply chain, and transportation. In particular, my research places a strong emphasis on the development of quantitative methodologies to assess the impact that the implementation and use of information technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID), radio frequency data communications (RFDC), and Bluetooth have on the performance of complex systems. I am currently co-advising a graduate student with a colleague at Oregon State on a research project whose objective is to investigate the effect that severe disruptions (e.g., hurricane Katrina and COVID-19) create in multi-echelon supply chains, particularly regarding the measurement of supply chain performance and operational planning decisions. Our goal is to use discrete-event simulation to analyze different mitigation strategies to help supply chain managers respond appropriately to these disruptions.

On the teaching side, I have taught many courses at Oregon State including facilities design, computer programming, database design, telecommunication concepts, wireless networks, and basic machine learning. I do not get to teach as much as I used to due to an administrative position I have with my school, but I still thoroughly enjoy it when I get to do it. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I will be teaching remotely for the first time in my career so I have been learning as much as I can about how to enhance student learning in virtual environments.

MHI:  Tell us about your involvement with CICMHE?

I am currently serving as the President of the College Industry Council of Material Handling Education (CICMHE). I will transition out of this role in December of 2021. It has been a challenge to serve in my role in these times of increased uncertainty because a lot of what we do relies on personal interaction and close collaboration. However, our academic and industry members have been very flexible in accommodated several virtual meetings in their schedules since April (despite the time differences) so that we can continue to make progress on this year’s work plan.

MHI: What are your thoughts on how CICMHE and MHI Members could develop more connections?

As an organization that works very closely with MHI, CICHME’s goal is to facilitate and improve material handling and supply chain education and we consider MHI members as key stakeholders in this process. CICMHE works on several projects and events on a yearly basis and all these activities would benefit tremendously from more synergy across our organizations.

We would like MHI members to attend our meetings so that we can take advantage of their expertise and knowledge of the industry when we develop our work plans. Also, they can help by contributing to our bank of case studies, which are used in several of our academic members’ institutions to expose students in regular courses as well as in capstone courses to real scenarios related to material handling. Since most academic institutions are currently resorting heavily to remote course delivery due to COVID-19, we also envision opportunities to host MIH members as guest speakers in relevant courses.

CICMHE members are experts in several disciplines relevant to MHI. We welcome suggestions from MHI members about interesting topics that can be developed into white papers or articles in the Solutions Magazine. We also welcome the opportunity to assist member companies with challenges that could turn into research opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students either as funded projects, theses, or internships.

The bottom line is that CICMHE wants to continue being a valuable resource for MHI and its members. We welcome any and all ideas since we are always on the lookout for opportunities to engage in new ventures.

To learn more about CICMHE read the latest articles on the MHI Blog.