Vice President- Membership and Professional Recognition


Pelin Pekgün

Associate Professor, Management Science, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina.

Vision Statement

I am honored to be nominated for the position of INFORMS VP of Membership and Professional Recognition. I became an INFORMS member in 2004 when I was a Ph.D. student, and since then, it has been my professional home both as a practitioner and as an academic. I have always seen this organization to assume a critical role to disseminate the knowledge and awareness of operations research and analytics, and provide networking and professional development opportunities. During my career as a practitioner and a professor, I have enthusiastically served as a volunteer in various roles, in committees and award competitions, and organizing conference sessions and tracks. If elected as the VP of Membership and Professional Recognition, I will bring my experience and perspective that I have built over the years with this active involvement to work toward increasing and retaining INFORMS membership and ensuring that our awards exemplify the best characteristics of operations research and analytics.

My industry experience gave me an invaluable perspective on real-life problems. My main motivation since coming back to academia has been to interconnect my research, teaching and service toward closing the gap between industry and academia and increasing the applicability of academic research in practice. Therefore, I am particularly passionate about leading efforts to help INFORMS strengthen the connection between academia and industry with broadening its membership base and professional recognition of our members for their contributions to the science and practice of operations research and analytics.

Regarding professional recognition, I served on the INFORMS Professional Recognition Committee from 2010 to 2015, chairing the committee in 2012-2014. This committee’s responsibility is to consider and recommend improvements in all aspects of the organization’s formal recognitions of outstanding contributions of its members. During my involvement in the committee, we conducted a comprehensive review of all awards to ensure consistency in policies and procedures, and evaluated proposed changes to various awards. In addition, my active involvement in award committees, for the Franz Edelman Award since 2013 in the finalist selection committee as a verifier, team coach and judge, and the Daniel H. Wagner Prize as a judge, gave me invaluable perspectives to support my vision to strengthen the ties between academia and industry. If elected as the VP of Membership and Professional Recognition, I will utilize my experience toward identifying, recognizing, and promoting the outstanding work of our members to show the value their science and practice brings to the profession and society in line with the strategic goals of INFORMS. I would also like to promote diversity and inclusion in all aspects of awards, in award committees as well as the pool of applicants and recipients.

Regarding membership and member services, I have been serving as the chair of the INFORMS Membership and Member Services Committee since 2018. Our committee has been analyzing the membership metrics over time to identify what drives membership and which topics/themes might be attracting new members or losing existing members. In addition, we have been exploring initiatives to reach more practitioners and identify what member benefits might be top priorities for practitioners. One such benefit we have identified is creating an easy-to-navigate toolbox, oriented toward practitioners, with a knowledge hub that would enable decision-makers to have access to innovative technologies and methodologies supporting the strategic goals of INFORMS. We have also observed a significant increase in student membership, which is encouraging to see; however, how to retain students as future members is an open question. I also hope to utilize my active involvement in other committees such as the INFORMS Practice Section Board and the INFORMS Practice Strategy Committee. I believe that there are many synergies in the activities of various committees that I have served in, all in support of the strategic goals of INFORMS to benefit our community and promote the practice of our profession. If elected as the VP of Membership and Professional Recognition, I will utilize my experience toward broadening the membership base, identifying key benefits that we can offer to attract and retain members, finding opportunities for students to get and remain involved with our profession and community, and promoting diversity and inclusion in our membership base.

I am honored to be nominated for the position of VP of Membership and Professional Recognition of INFORMS. If elected, I look forward to leveraging my existing relationships with colleagues and wonderful INFORMS staff, and continue to build new ones to better serve our community.

Biographical Profile


  • M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2007) in Industrial Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
  • B.S. (2000) and M.S. (2001) in Industrial Engineering, Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey

Professional Experience

  • University of South Carolina (Associate Professor 2018-present; Assistant Professor 2012-2018)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Visiting Assistant Professor 2011-2012)
  • JDA Software Group (Manager, Analytical Services 2009-2011; Solution Architect/OR Consultant 2006- 2009; Intern 2005-2006)


  • Chair (2018-2019), INFORMS Membership and Member Services Committee
  • Chair (2012-2014), Member (2010, 2011, 2015), INFORMS Professional Recognition Committee,
  • Member, INFORMS Practice Section Board (2017-present)
  • Member, INFORMS Practice Strategy Committee (2018-present)
  • Judge (2019), Finalist Team Coach (2014-2016, 2018), Member (2013-2015, 2017-2019), INFORMS Franz Edelman Award
  • Judge, INFORMS Daniel H. Wagner Prize (2018)
  • Member, INFORMS Nicholson Prize Committee (2016-2017)
  • Judge, INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Practice Prize (2014, 2016, 2017)
  • Judge, INFORMS Interactive Session at the Annual Meeting (2009-2012)
  • Cluster/Track Chair for INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics (2015-2019) and for INFORMS Annual Meeting (2013, 2016)
  • Chair, INFORMS Practitioner Colloquium (2010)


Author of over 10 journal articles and book chapters that have appeared/are to appear in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, Journal of Operations Management, Decision Sciences, IIE Transactions, INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics and others.

Honors and Awards

  • Journal of Operations Management Best Paper Award Finalist (2018)
  • INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Practice Prize Finalist (2013) INFORMS Franz Edelman Award Finalist (2012)
  • IIE Transactions Best Paper Award (2009)
  • INFORMS George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award Honorable Mention (2008)

Other Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics (2017-present)
  • Associate Editor, Decision Sciences (2017-present)
  • Topical Editor, Wiley EORMS (2012-present)
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management (2013-2015)