INFORMS NEWS: Position statement - Les Servi

We must continue to respond to the game-changing analytics opportunities around us while tending to our precious world-class core which took us over 60 years to create.

Les Servi

INFORMS is an energetic, adaptive, growing organization with international reach and a focus on increasingly central domains. The best of our members are giants on the world stage, and we have a pipeline of growing stars who will eventually join them. Our publications have exceptional impact and visibility. We regularly launch successful new publications, new subdivisions and new meetings in response to the changing world. Our volunteers are highly engaged guardians of our society’s excellence. Our professional staff is simply extraordinary.

There is an opportunity to focus on larger issues since INFORMS’ fundamentals are doing so well. If elected president of INFORMS I will use my experience and ties to many parts of INFORMS to strive to:

  • Maintain balance: We must continue to respond to the game-changing analytics opportunities around us while tending to our precious world-class core which took us over 60 years to create. Doing so will be eased by the blurring boundaries caused by radical changes in computational power and data access but will also require thoughtful deliberations and a strong strategic will.
  • Promote excellence: Our future excellence demands we make decisions that encourage the best of the next generation to choose to join us, help our new and seasoned members to thrive, and set the stage for our members to be invited to the table when important decisions are being examined. We need to promote the diversity of our membership, our leaders and our Fellows, because great organizations such as ours cannot afford any missed opportunities of talent and excellence.
  • Facilitate learning: As our members’ differing interests and needs evolve we must respond with targeted offerings. We must continually enhance learning for those currently in our field, those working toward or maintaining their CAP certification, those just joining us, and those wishing to alter the direction of their work. This entails generating new content, making our current content easier to access, and helping match our members with people, activities and organizations that can help them grow.
  • Engage organizations: We must not only seek to benefit our members but we must also engage organizations. Their needs can drive opportunities by encouraging INFORMS membership and conference attendance, by reaching out to members who can help them, and by informing us of their most important technical challenges. Targeted engagement will be different for industry, academia and government organizations but each has great synergetic potential.

I have personally touched many diverse aspects of INFORMS: My first engagement with INFORMS was many years ago when I co-authored a talk as a student (and MITRE summer intern). Since then I gave countless talks, organized many invited sessions and clusters, led three subdivisions and one chapter, helped edit three journals, co-organized a regional meeting and was elected three times to serve on the INFORMS Board.

While on the Board I discussed and help voted in: (i) the initiation of the “Practice” INFORMS Spring meeting, (ii) a major INFORMS reorganization which made INFORMS more subdivision-centric, (iii) the institution of the Fellow Award, (iv) the Health Application Subdivision, and (v) the Decision Analysis journal. As treasurer, I helped stabilize INFORMS’ finances and processes. Such diversity of experience will guide my effectiveness if elected president.

INFORMS is a complex organization. The operational business of INFORMS now has many millions of dollars of income, expenses and endowment. Leading INFORMS is a solemn responsibility that I pledge to take seriously. I will do so by drawing on my experiences complemented by listening carefully to the INFORMS Board, staff and most importantly the members. My years working in both industry and non-profit organizations complemented by my sabbatical in two universities and my foray serving on a high-level government task force have helped prepare me to again serve INFORMS.

I feel honored to be nominated to run for INFORMS’ presidency. I ask for your vote.

Les Servi currently leads the Decision Analytics Group at The MITRE Corporation. Previously, he served on a Defense Science Board task force, worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Verizon Laboratories, Bell Laboratories and took a sabbatical at Harvard University and MIT. His corporate awards include one from Verizon’s CEO and one from MITRE’s president.

He is an INFORMS Fellow, helped start the Telecommunication Society, helped rejuvenate and currently leads the Boston Chapter, chaired the Applied Probability Society, started and currently leads the Social Media Analytics Section, currently serves as the chair of the Fellows Selection Committee, served on INFORMS editorial boards of Operations Research, Management Science and INFORMS Journal on Computing, elected to three Board terms including one as treasurer and chaired the Subdivision Council.

He received a Ph.D. in engineering from Harvard University. His papers and patents are in applied probability, telecommunications and social media analytics. Much of his work has both strong theory and practice components, which is where he believes the most interesting, valuable and satisfying work is to be found.