How to have a fun and professional event – IIE @ MSOE

When our executive team at the Milwaukee School of Engineering starts planning for an event, we always have two goals. We want our events to be fun and provide value. IIE events can give students the best of both worlds. To make sure we have both parts of this, the MSOE team addresses two main issues: how to get people to the event and how to add value.  Although these two goals can sometimes clash, the best events come when both are obtained in harmony.

The first problem our team faces when planning an event is how to get people to show up! This can be as easy as offering free food or as difficult as getting a major company in the area to send a representative.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to set a goal: who do you want coming to the event and why do you want them to come? If the who and why don’t match, you can end up with some awkward situations. You may not want 50+ people showing up for a small gathering to explain graduate options, and it would be horrible if you only had 3 people to play a soccer game! Matching the incentive to the scope of your event is key to ensure you have the correct people at your event.


The other biggest issue when organizing an event is adding value to make an event worthwhile. By focusing on developing a scope and a goal early on in the process, you make it easier to define what success is and how to get there. I’m sure everyone has been to that meeting at work or at school where nobody really knew why they were there and nothing significant got accomplished. To avoid this, plan your event so that you and your members both know what the takeaway will be. When you are going on a plant tour, make sure the unique nature of the facilities is showed off. When you are hosting a networking dinner, make sure to tell members that this is an opportunity to get to know industry professionals. Even when you are just hosting a “Stress RelIIEver,” ensure that members know that you are there to have a good time. By making expectations known, everyone can work towards the same goal.


After our event, the MSOE executive team reflects on what went well and what didn’t work. The importance of feedback cannot be overstated; it is the underlying theme of continuous improvement. Through trial and error, we have learned that when you schedule your meetings is important, that professors can help convince even freshmen to come to meetings, and that free food is the best food!

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Update

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be hosting the 2016 North Central Regional IIE Student Conference. The chapter is excited to have 200-250 students from the region join them, especially because they are only starting their second year of being a nationally recognized chapter.  The conference will be held February 25-27, 2016, however planning has been going on from August of 2014.  All IIE chapters within the North Central Region are invited to attend this conference and information will be sent to chapter presidents in the fall.  There currently are 16 members of the IIE chapter at Illinois working in committees to make this an unforgettable experience for all who attend.  These committees include social media and marketing, plant tours and workshops, meals and banquet halls, transportation and social events.  During this three day conference, the UIUC chapter is hoping that attendees are able to learn more about Industrial Engineering and the different options they have following graduation, network with executives from a variety of different fields and companies, and maybe even meet a new friend or two from another school in our region. If you are looking to attend this conference, registration will open in the fall.  In the meantime, any questions or concerns regarding conference can be directed to the planning committee at

More information on how you can help support the conference is available here.

University of Iowa Update

The University of Iowa IIE Chapter has had a very active and prosperous year. With over 20 new members this year and a record 30 members attending the regional conference, our chapter has expanded and flourished. We finished the year out strong participating in 4 unique plant tours, sadly sent off our 8 graduating seniors, and filled weekly community volunteering positions. For 3 months our chapter found 4 individuals each week from IIE to work a day-long shift at the Iowa City Kickers youth soccer league concession stand. We filled orders for hungry parents, kids, and even dogs. Our process precision and quality maintenance were tested in a very busy and chaotic setting. Needless to say giving back to the community was a great highlight for our chapter!

University of Wisconsin Engineering Expo

This past weekend, April 16th to April 18th, the Institute of Industrial Engineers UW – Madison Chapter took part in Engineering EXPO. Engineering EXPO is a three-day event held every two years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Engineering. EXPO is run entirely by students and brings over 10,000 visitors to campus biennially. This is a great opportunity for IIE to give back to the community. Members of IIE volunteer their time during their busy schedules to teach visitors of all ages and demonstrate what industrial engineers do.


The IIE exhibit consisted of two demonstrations. One was a Mario Kart race, where all participants had to play with some sort of handicap. The handicaps they were using were oven mitts, one hand, looking through a mirror, and an upside down controller. These different handicaps are supposed to resemble disabilities and show how engineers need to design for everyone.  After an exciting and often frustrating race, IIE engages in a discussion with the participants regarding the difficulties they experienced and possible design recommendations to the gaming system or controller that could have made their experience more enjoyable.  This introduction to human factors is a good exposure to the way industrial engineers need to think.wisconsin_expo


The second demonstration at the IIE exhibit was the aluminum foil boat float. The goal of this demonstration was to have visitors make a boat out of a piece of tin foil, then see how many pennies the boat can hold while floating on water. This demonstration shows how to design using less material, while still being effective. The record was 95 pennies, just short of a dollar. Great work everyone!


Engineering Expo is a great place for IIE to showcase what they do. This year we had a great turnout from both visitors and volunteers. Thanks to everyone for all the help!


-Daniel Grunsted

Education Chair

IIE Engineering EXPO Chair

Help Support the 2016 North Central Regional Conference

The North Central IIE Regional Conference is an annual event that brings together participants in both academia and industry of industrial engineering to socialize and exchange
ideas. Hundreds of students fromUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and other universities in the region will be attending the conference. Speakers from the sponsoring companies and professors from UIUC will give speeches to the student participants. Over the course of three days, students will interact and communicate with each other through a number of well-planned activities.

Please click on flyer below for more info:

IIE Conference Sponsorship Packet

If you have any questions please contact Brittany Foster at

IIE UW-Madison Student Chapter Expo

Join the IIE UW-Madison student chapter at the 2015 Engineering Campus taking place from April 16th – 18th on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Engineering Campus!

Engineering Expo is a three day event held every two years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Engineering. Expo is run entirely by students and brings over 10,000 visitors to campus biennially. Participants at Expo include Fortune 500 industry leaders, engineering student organizations on campus, individuals displaying their engineering projects and ideas, and thousands of students and members of the community. During the first two days of Expo, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools are invited to explore what engineering involves. Each day the event is open to the public and we encourage public engagement throughout the event.

As members of Engineering Expo 2015, our goal is to unite students, industry, and the community by inspiring innovation and ingenuity in the minds of future generations. Through the exploration of today’s achievements, we hope to encourage tomorrow’s scientific endeavors.

IIE UW-Madison is very excited to be hosting two exhibits to expose people of all ages to the importance of industrial engineering tools through a combination of fun and learning.  Participants will be taught about the importance of effective resource utilization through an aluminum foil boat competition, and exposed to different aspects of human factors engineering during a simulated Mario Kart racing activity.  We invite you to join IIE UW-Madison as well as the many other fantastic student organizations, research initiatives and industry representatives at the 2015 Engineering EXPO!

The most up-to-date information can be found at


-Aaron Strawman

President, IIE UW-Madison 2014-2015

Iowa State Updates

Iowa State University’s IIE chapter continually allures members and students to engage in activities and presentations relating to industrial engineering.  From on-site visits with companies to giving undergrads the chance to listen to professors talk about their research, the opportunities to learn about industrial engineering outside of the classroom are endless.

Every fall at Iowa State University, there is a freshman faculty dinner held for newly admitted industrial engineering students. This event incorporates networking with faculty and IIE members as well as applying/learning industrial engineering concepts through a collaborative game. Past games have been assembling pizzas, paper plane competition, and a marble race. Each of these games have been played with the help of a faculty member and an IIE member. The pizza and paper plane games outline the inefficiencies of a production line and the marble race encouraged creative thinking and designing. The best part about the dinner is how in to it the faculty get. They are competitive against each other and will do anything to win. It has been a great way to show the freshmen they can relate to their professors and when the time comes go to them for help.

A large part of Iowa State University’s IIE chapter’s focus is creating relationships with professors by inviting them to present at the monthly IIE meetings.  These events allow members to see what the professors do beyond the classroom, as well as what potential areas or projects they could get involved with in academia or industry. Throughout the semester, there have been presentations on the growing need for IE’s in sustainability as well as human factors relating to virtual reality, robots, and aviation.

Another focus is exposing members to opportunities within industry. A few companies that have visited throughout the year include P&G, Pepsi, Frito Lay, and UnityPoint Health. These networking events have not only helped students understand how industrial engineers would contribute to their companies, but have given members a better understanding of what professionals look for in students.

Being a member of Iowa State University’s IIE chapter is a commitment to continuous learning that often cannot be taught in the classroom.