The IEiest Place on Earth

30 ISE students and faculty helped turn Disneyland into the center of the industrial engineering universe this summer

In 1965, Disney developed its famous Four Keys to a Great Guest Experience: safety, courtesy, show and efficiency. All Disneyland cast members master these powerful assets and use them as a litmus test for excellence. That said, it’s not surprising a place that puts such a high value on efficiency would be the site of the 2016 Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineering (IISE) Annual Conference, the largest industrial and systems engineering event of the year.

Each May the conference is a place where thought leaders, trailblazers and students showcase their cutting-edge research and discuss how to solve the industry’s most challenging issues.

Students return to campus with fresh ideas and new ways to improve efficiency, productivity, quality and competitiveness. It’s no wonder our industrial engineers are in high demand. In fact, there were more companies coming to NC State looking for IEs than there are students to fill those jobs.

During the four-day conference in Anaheim, ISE’s team of researchers presented their findings at more than 30 sessions. They spoke on a wide range of topics including improving healthcare methods, refining biomedical manufacturing techniques and developing the next generation of 3D printing processes. The team included 18-year-old freshman, Nishant Singh who presented the research he performed under ISE professor Dr. Julie Ivy while still in high school. See Teen Researcher.


On the first morning of the conference, ISE alumnus Brian Betts (Class of ‘96) delivered the keynote presentation. Betts is Vice President of Operations Planning and Insights with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He leads a team of industrial engineers and power leaders responsible for the planning and development of new experiences.

He shared how industrial engineers at Disney in particular, help plan and create magical experiences at its theme parks and resorts around the world. Betts highlighted some new developments, including the new Shanghai Disneyland Resort which opened earlier this year. See 5 Questions with Brian Betts


On the third day of the conference, undergraduate students from around the country competed in the Operations Research Student Research Dissemination Competition. ISE senior, Benjamin Rackunok, took first place for his work using medical drones to deliver life-saving defibrillation to patients faster than a traditional ambulance. Dr. Maria Mayorga, Rackonuk’s supervisor, presented him with the award.

At an early morning breakfast hosted by the ISE Department, Tim McGlothlin, Executive Director of the Ergonomics Center of NC, received IISE Fellow Status. A fellow is the highest classification of IISE membership and recognizes outstanding leaders in the profession for their nationally-recognized contributions.

View the IISE Conference Photos