New Chair of Industrial Engineering Brings Energy, Expertise to Role

Aug. 28, 2020

headshot photo of Pratik Parikh

Dr. Pratik J. Parikh enjoys being around students and making a difference in their lives. Now he will be doing that, and even more, as the newly-appointed Chair of Industrial Engineering in Speed School. His previous position as a Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, included the typical trifecta of research, teaching, and service. After receiving his PhD from Virginia Tech in 2006, Parikh spent a few years in corporate America before the faculty opportunity at Wright State came along.

“I always enjoyed math and science more than anything else, and wanted to come up with solutions to solve problems for society,” said Parikh. His research in supply chain, retail, and healthcare have been supported by the National Science Foundation, Veterans Affairs, the state of Ohio, and industry. His current research in trauma care delivery is supported by the NSF and state of Ohio grants, with additional collaboration with the state of Indiana. This ongoing research seeks to answer questions such as, ‘How and where do we place trauma centers to improve patient safety?’

“When somebody calls 911 to report an injury, how can we help paramedics and other EMS providers assess a victim’s injury promptly and accurately, and then decide the optimal hospital to transport the patient?” said Parikh. “Definitive care in a timely manner is of essence during traumatic injuries,” he said.

Parikh is a recipient of several awards from IISE (Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers), INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), and in the Dayton region. Recently, he was recognized with the Global Outstanding Advisor award from IISE, Division Teaching Award by the Logistics and Supply Chain Division at IISE, Volunteer Service Award by INFORMS, and Dayton Forty Under 40. He has also been a guest speaker at universities in the US, India, and China, and at various healthcare organizations and professional conferences.

“I believe there is always room for improvement in everything we do,” said Parikh. “I wanted to discover how I could use my IE skills in improving the academic and professional environment around me, so I started taking leadership roles in my department at Wright State and other roles in IISE.” He is a Senior Member of IISE, Associate Editor of IISE Transactions,  was recently the President of the Logistics and Supply Chain Division (2019-20), and is also active in the INFORMS professional society. Parikh said taking on these responsibilities led to his consideration of pursuing a leadership position like a department chair.

As for the vision and philosophy he will bring to Speed School and the IE Department, Parikh said what brings an organization together are the people. “It is important to foster an environment where people can pursue their passion,” he said. “It is critical that faculty, staff, and students are well-connected and everyone complements each other.”

What drew Parikh to this particular position at Speed School was the feeling that the department has “fantastic faculty who bring key sets of experiences and credentials, and a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs,” he said. I would like to work with the faculty, students and staff to showcase the strength of this department, and bring it visibility and recognition.”

Parikh said he believes Speed School students are our most important stakeholders, and while it is critical to provide a quality education for Speed School students, it really goes beyond those basics. “This is where they get built as an engineer, and gain life-long learning skills,” he said. “It’s building relationships with them so that they feel connected to this institution where they are investing four to five critical years of their lives. We should make every effort to help them reach their academic and career goals; they should feel that this is their second home, a true alma mater.”