INFORMS NEWS: Levis, Robinson receive Kimball Medals

Kimball Medal winners Anne Robinson and Jack Levis with INFORMS President Robin Keller (l-r).

Kimball Medal winners Anne Robinson and Jack Levis with INFORMS President Robin Keller (l-r).

Jack Levis, senior director of process management for UPS, and Anne Robinson, executive director of Supply Chain Strategy and Forward Operations for Verizon Wireless and a former president of INFORMS, received the George E. Kimball Medal for distinguished service to INFORMS and the O.R. profession. Susan Albin, chair of the Kimball Medal Committee, made the presentation at the 2015 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
The citations read in part:
Jack Levis joined (UPS) in 1976 as a package loader while getting his degree in psychology. Levis held many front-line management positions in both operations and engineering and in each was able to make significant, measurable improvement.

In 1987, he was promoted to the position of engineer responsible for the West Coast Transportation network. He led a reengineering effort that resulted in an annual savings of $30 million. Innovation has been a focal point of his career, and in 1990 he was asked to join the corporate engineering staff responsible for an operations technology vision.

Levis worked to help UPS become a data-driven company and in 1995 won a Computerworld Smithsonian Award for UPS’ first information/data warehouse. He was then given the added responsibility of managing UPS’ Operations Research divisions. This responsibility opened Levis’ eyes to the power and value of analytics, operations research and INFORMS.

His new assignment put him in a unique position of being responsible for both operations vision and operations research. This allowed him to ensure that O.R. was built into processes from the beginning, and his team designed an award-winning suite of tools that included predictive and prescriptive models.  

These tools transformed UPS’ delivery operations, ultimately reducing delivery driver miles by 185 million miles per year. The spectacular results garnered significant industry attention and won over a dozen prestigious awards, including the Gartner Business Intelligence Excellence Award, Computerworld technology awards and CIO top 100 Awards.

Levis has been a very active INFORMS member. He served on many committees including Meetings, Strategic Planning, Certified Analytics Professional and Edelman Gala. In addition, he served four years as vice president of Practice and was the emcee for the 2015 Edelman Gala. Along with CPMS and the INFORMS Board, he helped create the prestigious UPS George D. Smith Prize to strengthen ties between academia and practice.
Anne G. Robinson has been an active advocate for the field of operations research ever since discovering the profession as an undergraduate mathematics student. Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Robinson received her BSc.H in mathematics from Acadia University, her MASc. in management sciences from University of Waterloo, and her MSc. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Stanford University.

Throughout her career, Robinson has been dedicated to the application of analytics and operations research to solve problems. Following her time at Stanford, Robinson spent several years at Cisco Systems, a high-tech networking company, where her responsibilities included managing advanced analytics, business intelligence and performance management teams across the supply chain. As the driving force for many foundational and cross-functional process innovations, she helped establish Cisco’s presence and recognition as a leader in business intelligence and analytics, including being inducted into the Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame.

Currently, Robinson is the executive director of Supply Chain Strategy and Forward Operations for Verizon Wireless. Her team’s responsibilities include applying operations research and advanced analytics across the supply chain leading to improved product lifecycle management, working capital optimization and cost reduction.

Robinson has been a member of INFORMS since her graduate school days, where she was president of the Stanford INFORMS student chapter as well as an editor for OR/MS Tomorrow. Her service to the society has only expanded. She has served multiple times on the Franz Edelman Competition as a verifier and judge, chaired several committees (including the Membership Committee and Professional Recognition Committee) and served for seven years on the INFORMS Board. As INFORMS vice president for Marketing, Communications and Outreach, Robinson was a powerful force in shaping the strategic plan for INFORMS’ pioneering decision to grow from operations research and management science to the related field of analytics.

When she became president, she combined careful preparation on INFORMS Board with public advocacy, becoming one of the top INFORMS spokespeople on analytics. She traveled not only to INFORMS meetings but to diverse business, analytics and data science conferences, granting numerous interviews in different media to explain INFORMS’ unique contribution to the exciting field of analytics.

During Robinson’s term, INFORMS unfolded Analytics magazine, INFORMS certification, continuing education, enhanced information technology and several new outreach programs. Following her service on the INFORMS Board, she became the founding editor of INFORMS Editor’s Cut, a comprehensive online multimedia collection examining important research areas in operation research and analytics.