5 Questions with Joe Pleasant

ISE alumnus Joe Pleasant (Class of 72) shares the wisdom and experience he gained from a 42 year career in engineering

Joe Pleasant recently retired from Premier, Inc. where he was the chief information officer and senior vice president. He received his B.S.I.E. degree from NC State in 1972 and completed his MBA degree from the UNC – Charlotte in 1977.

What’s the single most important experience or understanding you gained in the ISE department?
The ability to analyze a problem utilizing a systematic approach and then communicating the results and recommendations for improvement to all levels of an organization.

What’s the most pressing issue facing human society that engineers should be working harder to solve?
Engineers have the ability and tools to analyze and measure all types of real life operations. They can make a real difference in society. I have spent my entire career in the healthcare industry. Engineers can improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare to our communities.

What would you like to achieve in your career? What are you most proud of so far?
Having recently retired after 42 years in the healthcare industry, I am proud of the engineering improvements that have been made in the delivery of healthcare. Many of these improvements have come from other industries. These include developing staffing requirements tools, improving work flow and automating processes. All of which have resulted in higher quality and lower cost for the patient.

What’s the best book you ever read?
There are many excellent management books, but one that I especially found useful is X-Engineering the Corporation by James Champy.

What advice do you have for current ISE students?
I would encourage students to serve in an internship program as early as possible in order to better understand how to apply the course principles in real life situations. Getting involved in your professional engineering society as a student member is another way to learn how engineering is being utilized in real life situations. Third and maybe most important, learn to communicate effectively through written and oral courses and practice.