INFORMS NEWS: Schneur, Wolman, Cryan receive Kimball Medals

Committee Chair Robin Keller (left) and INFORMS President Anne Robinson (right) congratulate Kimball Medal recipient Rina Schneur.

Committee Chair Robin Keller (left) and INFORMS President Anne Robinson (right) congratulate Kimball Medal recipient Rina Schneur.

Former INFORMS President Rina Schneur, long-time INFORMS member and volunteer Eric Wolman and retiring INFORMS Director of Meetings Terry Cryan received the George E. Kimball Medal for distinguished service to INFORMS and the O.R. profession at the 2013 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. Committee chairperson Robin Keller made the presentations.

Schneur, director of the Business Analytics Group at Verizon, served as president of INFORMS in 2011 and was a member of the team from Emptoris Inc. (a company she co-founded) that won the 2004 Edelman Award in conjunction with Motorola.

Wolman, an affiliate professor in Systems Engineering & Operations Research at George Mason University following a 30-year career at AT&T Bell Labs, has been active in ORSA and its successor INFORMS since 1977, serving on numerous committees. He is a Fellow of INFORMS.

Committee Chair Robin Keller (left) and INFORMS President Anne Robinson (right) congratulate Kimball Medal recipient Eric Wolman.

Committee Chair Robin Keller (left) and INFORMS President Anne Robinson (right) congratulate Kimball Medal recipient Eric Wolman.

Cryan was hired by INFORMS in 2000 to develop the new spring practice conference (now known as the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research). Her efforts in successfully launching the reformatted spring conference led INFORMS to name her Director of Meetings later that same year. Since then, both the spring Analytics & O.R. Conference and the fall INFORMS Annual Meeting have enjoyed phenomenal growth under Terry’s leadership. In 2010, in addition to her duties as Director of Meetings, she served as interim executive director of INFORMS until a new executive director could be recruited.
Excerpts from the citations:

Rina Schneur has been a member of INFORMS and its predecessor ORSA since her graduate school days. She began active volunteer service in 2000 when the first council for developing the then new INFORMS spring practice conference (now the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research) was formed. She served on the advisory council for the first four years of the conference and chaired it in 2004. She joined the Meetings Committee in 2001 and after serving for four years was elected vice president of Meetings, a role she held from 2005 through 2008. During that time the annual meeting attendance grew to more than 4,000 per year. Rina was elected to be INFORMS’ 17th president for 2011.

As president of INFORMS, Rina focused on establishing a strategic planning process coordinated with a revised budget process, [which] helped transform INFORMS into a forward-thinking organization. She led the board in its commitment to pursue involvement in analytics and to explore and develop a plan for INFORMS to become a prominent player in the field. She specifically reached out to government and non-profit organizations to explore ways to work jointly on embedding more analytics in their agencies. In the past year Rina has played a key role in building INFORMS’ Continuing Education program.
Eric Wolman served on the ORSA Council, on its Executive Committee and on the Nominating Committee. He spoke at four of the Doctoral Colloquia, helping students to decide between academic and industrial careers. He served on the council of the Health Applications Section, and later chaired its Bonder Scholarship committee. Eric chaired the ORSA and INFORMS Professional Recognition Committees for a decade, recruiting chairs for prize-committees and resolving policy issues arising within individual committees. His Committee launched the Expository Writing Award and the Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice.

Kimball Medal recipient Terry Cryan.

Kimball Medal recipient Terry Cryan.

Later he was treasurer or co-treasurer of Women in OR & MS for a decade, making it possible for WORMS officers to know their membership and budget situation in close to real time; he received the Moving Spirit Award for these efforts.

Teresa V. (Terry) Cryan joined INFORMS on Feb. 21, 2000, at a critical juncture for INFORMS meetings. Terry’s assignment was to develop [a new spring meeting focused on operations research practice]. The atmosphere [at the first practice meeting] was electric, with professionals engaged in applying the tools and principles of operations research and enjoying a meeting focused on their needs. The conference … continues to thrive. Over just the past three years paid attendance has more than doubled.

The Annual Meeting in the fall of 2001 in Miami Beach had 46 tracks and 1,974 abstracts. Under Terry’s leadership over the last 12 years this meeting has grown to 72 tracks and 3,970 abstracts for 2013. Annual Meeting attendance now routinely exceeds 4,400.

Terry has been instrumental in developing two additional series of meetings One series is international … The other consists of topical meetings in a biennial pattern, of which the first was the 2011 Healthcare Conference. Big Data will join the topical series next.

[As interim executive director, Terry] did an outstanding job, maintaining a steady hand on the reins of the organization so that operations continued with no ill effects.