Meet the Leadership of the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE)

Meet the Leadership of the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE). The incoming President is Dr. David Porter, newly appointed Vice President, Dr. Shanthi Muthuswamy, Past President, Dr. Michael Kay, and Roundtable Liaison, Dr. Bill Ferrell.

Dr. David Porter
School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University.

What is your vision for CICMHE over the next two years?

It is an honor to serve as President of CICMHE, an organization that has been in existence since 1952. In this role, my focus will be to work with the MHI leadership to increase the visibility of our organization and to identify collaboration opportunities where we can increase MHI member value. I also intend to ensure that CICMHE’s mission to “increase awareness, understanding, exploration, and development of material handling and logistics through fostering and nurturing high-value projects and events” continues.

What do you want the MHI membership to know about CICMHE’s contributions to the industry?

I want MHI members to think of CICHME as a valuable resource. Our academic members are experts in supply chain management, facilities planning, and material handling research and have worked closely with industry in several projects for many years. We are eager to find opportunities where this expertise can be leveraged to maximize MHI member value. 


Dr. Shanthi Muthuswamy
Department of Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University

As the newly appointed VP of CICMHE, what are your aspirations for the Council?  

CICMHE brings together a dynamic group of bright intellectuals who are passionate about giving back to the community. Our focus has always been on (i) working on high impact research projects and (ii) nurturing high-value education in the area of logistics and material handling. As we move forward, we would also like to increase our research collaboration footprints with the MHI members to help solve some of their daily challenges.

Where do you see as the best opportunity for CICMHE to connect with members? 

CICMHE members bring a diverse range of expertise in the area of logistics and material handling. As academicians, we are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with industry partners to solve applied research problems which could have an immediate impact on their productivity and bottom line. We envision many venues of collaborations with our MHI members: (i) white papers, (ii) faculty consultations, (iii) engineers-in-residence program, where graduate students and CICMHE faculty could work on a challenging member problem either at their site or virtually, (iv) broadcasting internship and co-op opportunities within member companies to our student population, (v) senior design projects where undergraduate students can work on a semester-long project at the member company, etc. We look forward to a symbiotic relationship with the MHI members which would in turn increase member value!


Dr. Michael Kay
Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University served as President and Vice President over the past 4 years

What have been the highlights of your time in leadership? In what ways has CICMHE and the MHI Membership collaborated under your leadership?

For me, the highlight of my time as President was when we were exploring options for redesigning the Student Design Competition, which MHI had sponsored for several years and was one of the most significant things that CICMHE does to promote the study of material handling at universities and colleges. At the general CICMHE meeting in 2018, we sought to make changes to the competition. The outcome, after some roadblocks and much discussion, was a wonderful suggestion for changing the format of the competition to one where students would submit their senior design projects for consideration. Although I always have been impressed with everyone in CICMHE, this collaboration hit home what a great group of creative folks who were willing to volunteer their time and energy is to promote material handling.

Regarding collaboration with MHI Membership, my most fond recollection is the work we have done with different product sections to help them develop a presence in Wikipedia. For most members, this is been a new means of reaching a broad audience. I have learned a lot about different types of material handling equipment by working with members to help them develop material suitable for a Wikipedia page.


Dr. Bill Ferrell
Department of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University has been a long-time member and leader of CICMHE. A past president and vice president, Dr. Ferrell currently serves as the Council’s liaison with the MHI Roundtable.

 As you reflect on your years with CICMHE, how has the partnership with MHI members evolved and grown?  

When I joined CICMHE almost a decade ago, most interactions were “one-off.” We worked together to make Classroom Day, known today as Student Day, successful. Collaboration at the time, involved a CICMHE member working with an industry group or MHI on a specific project.

While I was vice president, our president at the time, Andres Carrano, had been advocating for us to better communicate what we did to MHI members and for CICMHE members to become active in the industry groups.

Fast forward six years and I see a more vibrant, engaged, and transparent relationship. CICMHE is and continues to be focused on advocacy within academia, maintaining the pipeline of students, and fostering cutting edge research.

The new and exciting part of our partnership lies in the expanded opportunity to directly collaborate with MHI members.

For example, CICMHE and the Solutions Community have become very engaged. CICMHE members are regularly writing white papers in collaboration with input from subject matter experts from the Community. We are also writing articles for MHI publications and are frequently invited to speak and participate in panels at MHI events including ProMat and MODEX. Some Industry Groups are following the lead of EASE and engaging with CICMHE members repeatedly for white papers and research projects. This is all exciting. It appears MHI members are benefiting from our expertise gained from research and teaching, and we learn from members real-world experience.

CICMHE is a group of volunteers just like MHI industry members. I think we are just scratching the surface of uncovering mutually beneficial opportunities for collaboration. It has taken a while to turn the ship, but I think our new course is exciting!

Tell us about your role as the MHI Liaison? 

I attend the annual Roundtable as the CICMHE representative. The purpose of the Roundtable is to provide the Board of Governors input for strategic planning. This past January, I select breakouts that involve education and try to be a bit more active in group discussions when it seems that a university-based perspective is needed. I also serve on the Knowledge Workgroup to provide input to MHI leadership.

To contact these or other members of CICMHE or to learn more the Council, visit