Thom J. Hodgson

March 6, 1938

Brief Biography

Hodgson Speaker Portrait

Thom J. Hodgson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an inaugural Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) who has made important contributions to the advancement of industrial and manufacturing systems in industry, academia, and government. Hodgson studied engineering at the University of Michigan prior to serving as an officer in the United States Army. He returned to his alma mater in 1963 and received an MBA in quantitative methods two years later. In the late 1960s, he worked at the Ford Motor Company as an operations research analyst while working towards a PhD in industrial engineering at Michigan. Hodgson received his PhD in 1970 and joined the faculty of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida.

In a 1982 article published in the Transactions of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Hodgson considered a two-dimension pallet loading problem using a combination of heuristics and dynamic programming. In it, he showed that any item may be placed on the periphery of the pallet for easy access and some control may be retained over the center of gravity of the pallet. The following year, Hodgson left Florida to become Head of the Department of Industrial Engineering at North Carolina State University. As Department Head, he began to formulate what would eventually become the university’s Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute (IMSEI).

With IIE, Hodgson has held a number of editorial positions. He served as editor-in-chief of IIE Transactions for four years in the 1980s. Hodgon’s tenure as chief was framed by stints as a Department Editor from 1981 to 1984 and 1988 to 1991. He was elected a Fellow of that organization in 1986.

Hodgson left North Carolina State for two years to work at the National Science Foundation as Director of the Division of Design and Manufacturing Systems. He is back at IMSEI as the James T. Ryan Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Institute. As a member of the INFORMS Speakers Program, Hodgson gives talks on a variety of important OR topics including modeling production, military deployment, and the history of operations research. 

Other Biographies

INFORMS Connect with People. Speakers Program: Hogdson, Thom J. (North Carolina State University). Accessed May 15, 2015. (link

NCSU Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute. Dr. Thom J. Hodgson. Accessed MAy 18, 2015. (link)


University of Michigan, BSE 1961

University of Michigan, MBA 1965

University of Michigan, PhD 1970


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations
  • U. S. Army
  • Ford Motor Company
  • National Science Foundation

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Awards and Honors

Institute of Industrial Engineers Fellow 1986

National Academy of Engineering 2001

Institute for Operation Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Selected Publications

Hodgson T. J. (1982) A combined approach to the pallet loading problem. IIE Transactions, 14(3): 175-182.

Hodgson T. J., King R. E., Monteith S. K., & Schultz S. R. (1985) Developing control rules for an AGV using Markov decision processes. Proceedings of the 24th IEEE Conference of Decision and Control, 1817-1821. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Piscataway, NJ.

Deleersnyder J., Hodgson T. J., Muller-Malek H., & O'Grady P. J. (1989) Kanban controlled pull system: An analytic approach. Management Science, 35(9): 1079-1091.

Hodgson T. J. & Wang D. (1991) Optimal hybrid push/pull control strategies for a parallel multistage system: part I. International Journal of Production Research, 29(6): 1279-1287.

Deleersnyder J. L., Hodgson T. J., King R. E., O'Grady P. J., & Savva A. (1992). Integrating Kanban type pull systems and MRP type push systems: Insights from a Markovian model. IIE Transactions, 24(3): 43-56.