Brian Denton

Professor, Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan

What would your life be like without INFORMS? Answers to this question will vary a lot, depending on your particular background. From my perspective, it would leave a void in my professional career. I have been a member since I was a graduate student in the 1990’s. When I started my career as a practitioner at IBM, INFORMS became my professional home, providing important opportunities to develop professional contacts, and stay on top of cutting edge research and practice. During my career as a practitioner and a professor, the Annual Meeting has been a regular event that I attend every fall, and I would certainly miss the opportunity to participate in this event and to catch up with my friends and collaborators. I would also miss our smaller and more intimate meetings like MSOM, the Optimization and Computing Society meetings, the Healthcare meeting, and others I have participated in over the years, often receiving valuable feedback on my research. I would miss our publications as a reader and as an author. Finally, I would not have had as many opportunities to develop my leadership skills through conference organizing, committee service, serving as a subdivision officer, and most recently serving as a board member and executive officer of INFORMS.

The above question encourages reflection on what INFORMS does for you as a member. Another, perhaps equally important question, is what does INFORMS do for the public? The recent Analytics movement has created many new opportunities to define, and in some cases expand, our role in society as management scientists, operations researchers, decision scientists, and the many other names we call ourselves. We may lack the perfect definition of what Analytics is, but there are many benefits that come with the increased exposure we are getting. At universities, this means new opportunities to increase student enrollment and hire new colleagues. In industry, this means a heightened awareness of the critical role we can play in organizations. For consultants, this can mean more business opportunities and greater success at customer engagement.

Fortunately, INFORMS is in an excellent position to focus on the future. We set a new record for membership last year and our funding reserve is at an all time high. We have incredible staff members led by our Executive Director, Melissa Moore. Many new endeavors are already underway including plans for new journals, new educational offerings, special topics conferences, Analytics Certification, and others.

INFORMS and the home for many of our members; 2) the importance of fostering an environment where academics and practitioners can learn from each other; 3) strengthening support and bringing new ideas to our core functions, including our publications and meetings; and 4) building our reputation and our engagement with the public.

I am honored to be the President of INFORMS.