David S. Hirshfeld

August 16, 1935

Brief Biography

Hirshfeld Presidential Gallery Portrait

David S. Hirshfeld was the twenty-sixth president of The Institute of Management Science (TIMS). Hirshfeld received degrees in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Delaware in 1957 and 1959, respectively. He went on to receive an MS in applied mathematics from Stevens Institute of Technology five years later.

Starting his professional career with Esso Research and Engineering, Hirshfeld joined Orchard-Hays and Company and worked pioneering developments of mathematical programming with William Orchard-Hays. While there, Hirshfeld and his associates co-founded Management Science Systems (MSS), a mathematical programming software development and consulting firm. With MSS, he formulated and implemented profit-enhancing optimization models for operations and investing planning for numerous industries including chemical and petroleum, food and beverage, and container products. Hirshfeld has since held positions at the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation and the Washington consulting firm Sokotka & Company, where he ran the petroleum industry consulting practice for nine years.

Hirshfeld’s research specializes in the analysis of interactions between the regulation of clean fuels, developments in refining technology, the economics of oil refining, and the economics of alternative fuels. In his work, he has analyzed the economies of oil refineries in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, and Japan. Hirshfeld has also dealt with the analysis of the economic implications of renewable fuels production and policies aimed towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This work has included extensive use of linear programming modeling and profit-enhancing optimization models. In 1990 he established MathPro, Inc., a consulting firm in Bethesda, Maryland that specializes in analyzing petroleum refining operations.

As an author, Hirshfeld has published a number of articles on a variety of subjects. His column for Interfaces, “From the Shadows”, was aimed towards OR/MS practitioners and was focused on the practical application of linear programming in real world problems. Hirshfeld wrote an influential article on the state of mathematical programming in the 1990s and discussed novel ideas that would likely affect the discipline, ranging from changing demographics to new computing environments. In 2000, he, Saul Gass, and Edward A. Wasil published an article on the use of spreadsheets in OR/MS.

Prior to becoming TIMS President in 1979, Hirshfeld was a member of the TIMS Council. During his tenure, his efforts were largely focused on increasing the visibility and role of the TIMS practitioner community. Hirshfeld was the founding Vice Chairman and second Chairman of the College on the Practice of Management Science and a co-founder of the Edelman Prize for achievement in management science practice. In 2002 he named him an inaugural Fellow of TIMS’ successor, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).  

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: David S. Hirshfeld. Accessed April 28, 2015. (link

MathPro, Inc. MathPro Team: Dave Hirshfeld. Accessed April 28, 2015. (link


Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute, BChE 1957

University of Delaware, MChE 1959

Stevens Institute of Technology, MS 1964


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations
  • Esso Research and Engineering Co. 
  • Orchard-Hays and Co.
  • Management Science Systems
  • Sobotka & Co. 
  • U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Awards and Honors

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellows 2002

Professional Service

The Institute of Management Science (TIMS), President 1979-1980 

Selected Publications

Hirshfeld D. S. (1980) Management science and the two cultures. OR/MS Today, 7(2): 10.

Hirshfeld D. S. (1990) Some thoughts on math programming practice in the '90s. Interfaces, 20(4): 158-165. 

Gass S. I., Hirshfeld D. S., & Wasil E. A. (2000) Model world: the spreadsheeting of OR/MS. Interfaces, 30(5): 72-81.

Hirshfeld D. S. & Kolb J. A. (2012) Analysis of energy use and CO2 emissions in the US refining sector, with projections for 2025. Environmental Science & Technology, 46(7): 3697-3704.