INFORMS NEWS: Spring Roundtable Meeting in Orlando

By Dave Hunter

The spring 2016 Roundtable Meeting was held on April 9-10 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla.

The meeting theme was “Roundtable Companies” and featured four talks by Roundtable member organizations describing their groups and projects. The meeting also featured a two-hour discussion session titled “What does the Roundtable think,” which included breakout sessions to discuss several questions relevant to our industries.

An outing was held on Saturday afternoon to Escapology in Orlando, which provided an excellent networking opportunity. The participating Roundtable members and guests split into four teams and each team entered a different themed room. Two of the four groups were able to successfully solve all the puzzles and escape in time! Much cheering could be heard from the triumphant Roundtable members as they exited the room. The other two groups were not as fortunate and did not make it out before time expired.

Following Roundtable introductions, the main program began on Sunday morning with a presentation by Jennifer Rausch. Rausch leads the Operations Research and Analysis team at Jeppesen, which is a Boeing subsidiary. She showed an interesting video on the history of Jeppesen and then provided examples of some current analytics being developed by her team.

The next speakers were Larry Stone (chief scientist) and Van Gurley (senior vice president) from Metron. Stone spoke first and discussed the development of probability maps and showed how they were used to locate the S.S. Central America, which sank in 1857 taking millions of dollars of gold to the bottom of the ocean. Gurley followed by discussing several of Metron’s current projects. He also provided an overview of his 26-year Navy career – including pictures!

Following lunch, the third speaker was Tim Merkle, who leads the Global Advanced Analytics team at Steelcase. Merkle is also a veteran, having served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining Steelcase. He shared his perspectives on the analytics journey to develop and execute successful advanced analytics initiatives across the Steelcase enterprise.

The final speaker of the meeting was Margery Connor from Chevron. Connor has enjoyed a 28+ career at Chevron, and she currently leads the new Modeling and Analytics Center of Excellence in IT. Connor noted that while Chevron has a long history of applying operations research and advanced analytics in pockets of the company, she is now very focused on the enterprise value of applying advanced analytics. She shared the journey to date, some lessons learned and the next steps during these turbulent times for the energy industry.

Following the member presentations, Roundtable President William Browning conducted the annual Roundtable business meeting. He provided a status update on the Roundtable membership and finances and answered questions from the Roundtable. Jeff Winters, Roundtable VP meetings, followed and spoke about planning for future Roundtable meetings.

The spring meeting concluded with a farewell networking dinner at Hemmingway’s restaurant.