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SAVING MICHAEL TENNENBAIMS PLAN TO DO IT .ALSO INSIDE:

A Funny Thing Happened ... ISyl.: Celebrating SO Years of 'rogress Tech and Textiles

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WINTER 1995

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Volume 71 Number 3 WINTER 1995

A L U M N I U M AG AZ I N E Page 22 Ii

A Tale of Two Cities Georgia Tech alumnus Michael Tennenbaum offers plans to save l.os Angeles , . , and perhaps reinvent city government. Written byjohn Dunn A Funny Thing Happened... A survival rule of the business jungle: Where the jungle is darkest, use humor as the light.

Written byjohn /'. Imlayjr.

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Competitive Edge As part of a research effort funded by the National Textile Centra. Tech is weaving a more competitive, better future for U.S. textiles. it ritten byjohn Toon Follow the Bouncin' Nerf Ball Alumnus David Laughridge recognized the potential of, and named, the world's first indoor ball, but then, he's made a career out of play. u ritten by Lisa Crowe

Fifty Years of Progress World War II provided the impetus for a new kind of engineering. Tech's Si liool of Industrial and Systems Engineering now sets national Standards. U ritten l» /antes /,'. Kloeppel

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Departments

Technotes Cruisers on the information superhighway; Disarming plutonium; Meet the press; Population control; Admission via modem; l iigh-tech tree.

57

Research Tracking technology; Log detectors; Sounding off.

62

Profde Rao R. Tummala: Think Small (and Cheap)

Cover Photo: GEORGIA TECH ALUMNI MAGA/.INI; lech graduate Michael is published quarterly for Knit Call contributors by the Can-gin tat) 'tennenbaum at his desk Alumni. Issue iation. Send correspondence and changes of address to: in Ins Los Angeles qffh e. GEORGIA TE< M An MM MAGAZINE, Alumni Faculty House, 223 North I lis /'/tins amid reinvent Asenue \ \ \ . Atlanta, GA 30332-0173 • Editorial: I 104)853 0760 076] • ity government—//' Advertising: (404)894 9270 • Fax: I 104)894-5113 /loliti, s don't get in the tray © 1995 Georgia Tech Alumni Association • ISSN: 1061 9747

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GEORGIA TECH • Contents 3

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Thank you tto the official sponsors of the John C. Dunn, editor Gary Meek, Stanley Leary photography Everett Hullum, design Robb Stanek, advertising Contributing writers: Lisa Crowe John P. Imlayjr. James Kloeppel Lea McLees John Toon

Publications Committee Chairman Louis Gordon Sawyer Sr., NS '46 Chairman, Sawyer-RileyCompton, Atlanta Members William "Guy" Arledge, IM 71 Director of Communications, CARE, Atlanta McKinley "Mac" Conway Jr., GE '40 President, Conway Data Inc., Norcross, Ga. Hubert L. Harris Jr., IM '65 President, Investco Services Inc., Atlanta McAllister "Mac" Isaacs III, TEX '60 Executive Editor, Textile World, Atlanta George A. Stewart Jr., AE '69 President, Stewart Consulting Group, Dunwoody, Ga. James M. Langley Vice President External Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta John B. Carter Jr., IE '69 Vice President and Executive Directof,, Georgia Tech Alumni Association, Atlanta

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GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

GEORGIA TECH ALIJMNI MAGAZINE • Acme Business Products • Atlanta Marriott Northwest • Atlanta Renaissance Hotel • Avis Rent-A-Car • Bank South • The Coca-Cola Company • Delta Air Lines • Diamond Brostrom • Doubletree Hotel

• Georgia's Stone Mountain Park • Georgia Tech Center for the Arts • Jasper Jeep-Eagle/ American Cherokee Leasing • LDDS Communications • Lockheed Georgia Employees' Federal Credit Union * NationsBank •Piedmont Hospital

• Prudential Home Mortgage • Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta • Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead • Six Flags Over Georgia . Technology Park/ Atlanta . Trust Company Bank . Wyndham Midtown Hotel

Georgia Tech Alumni Association Board of Trustees Officers Frank H. Maierjr. IM '60 president G. William Knight IE '62, MS IM '68 past president H. Milton Stewart IE '61 president-elect/treasurer Hubert L. Harris Jr. IM '65 vice president/activities Francis N. Spears CE 7 3 , MS CE '80 vice president/communications Jay M. McDonald IM '68 vice president/Roll Call J o h n B. Carter Jr. IE '69 vice president/executive director James M. Langley vice president, external affairs

Trustees Charles G. Betty CHE 7 9 G. Niles Bolton ARCH '69 James W. Bowyer CE '64, MS SANE '66 Richard H. Bradfield ARCH '60 Lucius G. Branch GMGT 7 1 Carey H. Brown IE '69 Fred L. Cook TCH 7 1 , PhD 7 5 Albert W.'Culbreth Jr. IM '68

Charles F. Easley Jr. IM '86 Dwight H. Evans CE 7 0 , MS SAN 74 Marion B. Glover IM '65 Robert L. Hall IM '64 L. Andrew Hearn Jr. EE '57 Gabriel C. Hill III TEXT '57 Douglas R. Hooker ME 7 8 , MS TASP '85 J. Scott Howell ISYE 7 5 Calvin D. Johnson MSCI 7 3 Douglas W. Johnson IM '65 Robert H. Ledbetter Sr. IM '58 David M. McKenney PHYS '60, IE '64 Francis B. Mewborn II CLS '56 Jean A. Mori ME '58 Charles D. Moseley Jr. IE '65 G. David Peake IE '61 Thomas J. Pierce Jr. CHE '6l Linda Podger-Williams CE '81 J. Lamar Reese Jr. IM '55 B. Jane Skelton IM 7 7 Haywood F. Solomon Sr. IM 7 0 W. Pierre Sovey IE '55 Emily H. Tilden IE 7 8 , MS IE 7 9 Rene L. Turner IE '83 Philip S. Vincent IE '66 Warren O. Wheeler EE '63 Vincent T. Zarzaca IE '55, MS IM '66 Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. IM '69


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T( hMes Cruisers on the Information Superhighway

A

Georgia Tech surrey provides a proÂť file of travelers on the "Information Superhighway." Tech researchers Jim Pitkow and Mimi Recker, using the World-Wide Web and technology developed at Georgia Tech, found that the typical user is a 30-year-old U.S. male who is educated and wa >rks with a computer. "Contrary to the belief that the average Web user is young and without much discretionary income, the survey indicates that 43 percent of

respondents report their income between $35,000 and $75,000," says Pitkow, a researcher at Tech's Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center and originator of the survey. The results enable businesses to target their services. In addition to general background questions and browser usage, the researchers added an experimental category asking users about their attitudes toward commercial use of the Web and the Internet. "In just over a month,

we received over 18,0i9X) total responses to the combined surveys," Pitkow explains. "To the best of our knowledge, the number of respondents and range of questions make this survey the most reliable and comprehensive characterization of the Web users. It will be interesting to see how these trends change as the Web gains in global access and popularity," Pitkow says. The survey revealed that 53 percent of the users are professional and university students, with 40 percent tapping into the Web one to four times

a day. The most widely used platform is X/UNIX (43 percent), followed by personal computers (29 percent) and Macintosh computers (19 percent). Seventy-one percent of the respondents are in North America, with California accounting for oneseventh of the respondents. Eighty-two percent are concerned with security of sensitive information, but the most salient issues are vendor reliability, 89 percent, and information quality, 84 percent. The World-Wide Web is the fastest-growing Internet Information Resource.

Disarming Plutonium

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Meet the Press

G

eoige O'l.eary. who succeeded Bill Lewis as interim head football coach eight games into the season, meets with the news media after being named Lech's 10th head coach. In rebuilding the program, O'l.eary. who served as defensive coordi nator, will bring aboard six new coaches and name new offensive and defensive coordinators.

o combat the threat of plutonium from Soviet nuclear w e a p o n s winding u p in the hands of terrorist groups or some governments, a student team at Georgia Tech has designed a facility to c h a n g e w e a p o n s plutonium into a form unsuitable for nuclear w e a p o n s , but still suitable for a nuclear p o w e r plant. Weapons plutonium is a highly enriched form containing almost p u r e Pu-239. The Tech design converts s o m e Pu-239 into a mixture of Pu-240 a n d other isotopes. W h e n the mixture contains about 10 percent Pu-240,

the increased radioactivity makes it unsuitable for nuclear w e a p o n s production by any g r o u p or government lacking very sophisticated technology. It w o u l d take 15-20 years to process all the enriched plutonium estimated to b e in the former Soviet and U.S. nuclear arsenals. Nuclear engineering professor Weston Stacey, the team's advisor, suggests that the United States, its allies a n d Russia acquire plutonium from the former Soviet Union immediately to secure it until such a facility could b e built.

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ TecbNotes 7


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Population Control

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hen the United Nations Conference on Population and Development was held in Cairo, Egypt last fall, public awareness had been heightened by a series of public service announcements (PSAs) produced by Georgia Tech and the Carter Center that were broadcast two months in advance in more than 160 countries. The purpose of the PSAs, some of which were carried on CNN and Headline News, was to educate the world about important policies and sustainable technologies. Former President Jimmy Carter and other world

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leaders the conO O O O O Q O Q O Q were ference. featured Georgia in the 60 Tech's role O O O Q O O O Q second and in the 15-second project was .9 9 9 PSAs that adthree-fold: to dressed issues use global comrelating to munications techwomen's educanology—much of tion, environmental which Tech helped consumption and sus create—to educate tainable technology. the world about critiPatrick O'Heffernan, cal issues, to research the adjunct professor in Geor- effectiveness of global gia Tech's School of Inter- communications technolnational Affairs, attended ogy as a tool for global

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Tech television producer Phil Walker reviews public service announcements, featuring world leaders, broadcast around the world to promote the population conference in Cairo, Egypt.

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GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

education, and to provide service to the global community. Georgia Tech also worked in partnership with the Carter Center for the Earth Summit in 1992, and has been asked to participate in the fourth United Nations Conference on Women to be held in Beijing this year, both as a television producer and to bring women in engineering, science and technology to the world stage.

Admission via Modem

G

eorgia Tech, which claims the distinction of being the first t( > allow students to apply via modem in 1989, was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of several major universities capitalizing on technology to advance its admissions program. "It started out s< >rt of as a gimmick," Deborah Smith, Tech's admissions director, told the paper. "We wanted to push Georgia Tech as a hightech university." But, the article notes, what started out as a novel idea to attract technically minded students has turned out to be good business sense. What began with only a handful of responses for the "Apply by Computer"


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(ABC) service has become increasingly popular. In the past two years, the number who used the computerized application increased markedly—24 percent of last year's 7,950 applications came through the computer system. More than 1,000 colleges now accept computerized applications, Wayne Becraft, executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers told the Chronicle.

Egleston Children's Hospital at Emory University in Atlanta—and it was definitely something to buzz about. Members of Georgia

Tech's external affairs office prepared a Technology Tree—featuring circuit boards and a frying buzz at the top. The Festival of Trees

was held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Proceeds from the sale of the trees went to benefit the children's hospital. •

High-Tech Tree

O

ne Christmas tree was distinctly different from the others at the annual festival of Trees for

Directory Assistance

T

he (leorgia lech Alumni Association Directory will be released in January. If you would still like to (irtler, or if you have not receiv ed your copy l>\ Jan. .50. contact the printer: Customer Service Dept., Harris Publishing Co., Elizabeth Building, 16 Roger Center. Suite 103, Norfolk, VA 23502. (800)877-656 t

GEORGIA TECH • TechNotes 9


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IN FULL BY CHECK. Enclosed please find my check or money order for the full amount due, made payable to "Official Georgia Tech Ring."

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A Tale of Two Cities Georgia Tech alumnus Michael Tennenbaum fled New York City's "false paradise" and now works to help save Los Angeles from fiscal irresponsibility.

Written by John Dunn Photographs by Robert Durell

Los Angeles is a city facing enormous financial problems. To help find solutions, Michael Tennenbaum (in his office at right) chaired a committee of hard-nosed business leaders that examined city financesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and recommended that the city change its ways of doing business.

A fter graduating from Georgia Tech j ^ A and earning his MBA from Harvard J L A L Business School, Michael Tennenbaum began a successful career on Wall Street. But he fled New York for Los Angeles after witnessing the Big Apple's infrastructure deteriorate and taxes spiral. Los Angeles is grappling with some of the problems that have dulled New York's luster. But this time Tennenbaum, as chair of the mayor's blueribbon committee to study city fiscal operations, has been able to exert influence that he hopes will save the City of Angels from suffering the liabilities that plague New York. 12

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Winter 1995


to

GEORGIA TECH • A Tale of Two Cities

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If a city were run like a business, would it make a difference? Michael E. Tennenbaum thinks so—and Los Angeles could be the city to prove it. Shortly after Richard Riordan, a Republican millionaire, venture-capitalist and lawyer, was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1993, he asked Tennenbaum to study the city's debt financing and leasing activities.

"I got a look at the politics of New York City and it was discouraging. It was very short-sighted, and focused on being re-elected."

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GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

Tennenbaum, a 1958 industrial engineering graduate of Georgia Tech and senior managing director of the brokerage firm Bear, Stearns & Co.—whose friendship with Riordan goes back some 15 years—had volunteered his services. He accepted the task, but quickly determined that what was really needed was a study of all the city's finances.


"I suggested to the mayor that I form a committee of some hard-nosed business leaders who would examine just about everything concerning the financial management of the city," Tennenbaum says. He also asked to choose the business leaders who would serve on the committee. Riordan agreed. He was the city's first new mayor in two decades. Jesuit-trained,

Tennenbaum in Profile Influenced by Tech, he continues to influence Georgia Tech's future.

M

il h a d E. T e n n e n b a u m . senior m a n a g i n g director <>l Bear, Stearns & Co. in Los Angeles, is a m e m b e r o f the Georgia Tech Foundat i o n . I le is a f o r m e r m e m b e r o f the National Advisory b o a r d , now the Georgia Tech Advisory Board, and the School o f Industrial a n i l Systems Engineering Vdvisory b o a r d .

T h e T e n n e n b a u m A u d i t o r i u m in the School o f Industrial a n d Systems Engin e e r i n g is n a m e d for h i m . and he has endow ud the T e n n e n b a u m Lecture Series, w h i c h brings p r o m i n e n t e c o n o mists to campus. A co o p student, T e n n e n b a u m was a m e m b e r o f the Executive b o u n d Table. H e was o n the staffs o f the Rambler(as m a n a g i n g e d i t o r ) . Technique scud Engineer, and participated lor five years in Drama l e c h . H e is a m e m b e r o f (he national board o f b o \ s N Girls Clubs o f America, serv ing as \ n e c h a i r m a n o f c h a l l e n g e r s Boys & Gab, i tub, and is a past director o f United Way Western Region. He is chairman <il the Arizona City D e v e l o p m e n t C o r p o r a t i o n a n d a former i l u i r m a n o f T e c h n o l o g y bark Atlanta. He is a m e m ber oi the b o a r d o f associates o f H a r v a r d Business School. I le is a m e m b e r o f the California 11igh Speed G r o u n d Transportation C o m m i s s i o n . He is listed in Who's Who in. [metica. T e n n e n b a u m has t w o g r o w n sons and t w o grandsons; he a n d his w i f e . Suzanne, live in w . t l i b u , Calif., and Vail, Colo.

Riordan had come into office promising, among other things, fiscal reforms that would curb the city's growing deficit. The idea of business leaders examining the city's finances and administration as though the city were a business appealed to him. As an investment banker, Tennenbaum has been associated with some high-profile business deals, including arranging financing for the MGM Grand Hotel, the merger of Pacific Southwest Airlines into* USAir, and the sale of Simmons Companies. He is currently advising the state of California on the conversion of Blue Cross of California to for-profit status—a pioneering, approximately $3 billion transaction that would be the largest of its kind. His work on the committee was without staff and without remuneration. But if Los Angeles was to avoid the pitfalls of New York, Tennenbaum believed it had to change its way of doing business.

T

ennenbaum began his career on Wall Street. "I was fortunate in a few years to have done well enough to become a partner in a securities firm. I got a look at the politics of the city and it was discouraging. It was very short-sighted, and focused on being re-elected. You could see that a lot of the issues were not faced up to. They were deferred. The quote easy way was to charge more taxes. "I saw New York neglecting its infrastructure—accumulating all that deferred maintenance and huge contingent liabilities in the form of unfunded pension funds so that these enormous retirement demands, as they start to hit, are going to consume the budget in the future. They were living in a false paradise. They thought their deficit was 'X,' but it was quite a bit more than 'X,' and you could see the deterioration around you. It got to the point where it wasn't at all comfortable." For the past several years, Los Angeles has been struggling with the types of problems Tennenbaum recognized in New York. "When a company moves out of New York to Houston, it's not necessarily because they like humidity," Tennenbaum says wryly. "It becomes very, very expensive to have your headquarters in New York. I thought if Los Angeles could be saved, it is a nice place to be." Tennenbaum recruited "six of the tough-

>J

"New York was neglecting its infrastructure. They were living in a false paradise. They thought their deficit was 'X,' but it was quite a bit more, and you could see the deterioration. It got to the point where it wasn't at all comfortable."

GEORGIA TECH • A Tale of Two Cities

15


est business leaders in Los Angeles" and in October 1993, they were appointed to the Mayor's Special Advisory Committee on Fiscal Administration. It was a diverse group politically, comprised of staunch Republicans and liberal Democrats. Tennenbaum identifies himself as an independent. "It was my committee," Tennenbaum says, "but believe me, these people weren't used to working for anybody, and they didn't."

The committee was "really pleased. After all was said and done, no one successfully attacked our work product."

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he committee members divided into subcommittees. In addition to serving as chair, Tennenbaum's subcommittee was long-term financial planning; Dick Poladian, managing partner of Arthur Andersen & Co. in Los Angeles, and Richard J. Welch, managing partner of Riodan & McKensie, investigated asset management; Eli Broad, chairman of SunAmerica and founder of Kaufman Broad, studied new revenues; Linda Griego, president of the nonprofit rebuilding agency RLA, probed contingent liabilities; Edward M. Carson, chairman of First Interstate Bank, the largest in Los Angeles, and Gilbert T. Ray, a senior partner of O'Melveny & Myers, studied cash management, debt administration and accounts receivable. "One of the most important issues that we all agreed on was that Los Angeles was losing economic activity because of its tax structure," states Tennenbaum. "If anything, taxes should have been reduced, but certainly not increased. It's a competitive world. "California generally has been viewed as being inhospitable to business. Not only because of the cost of living, but because of the regulatory problems. These are starting to be modified. They are losing less business." In February, the panel reported more than a dozen headline-grabbing findings and proposals that struck the Los Angeles status que* like an earthquake. The mayor's panel studied the city as though it were a company up for sale. Instead of operating in the red, the committee determined, the city should be operating in the black. "I thought we should view the city as a business because, in large part, it is," Tennenbaum says. "It should be accountable and held tq those kinds of standards." The committee, came up with some con-

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

clusions that stunned everyone. In their report, the committee said the city's $200million a year deficit was understated because it did not take into account the failure to maintain such services as paving streets, replacing vehicles and acquiring modern data processing systems. The real deficit figure, the committee said, was $500 million a year. But, Tennenbaum says, the biggest shocker was the conclusion of the business leaders that if operated properly, Los Angeles could realize almost $1 billion in new revenues and cost savings over the next five years. "No one believed that," Tennenbaum says. "We took a lot of heat as being naive." The Los Angeles City Council couldn't believe the committee's estimate that the Department of Water and Power could generate an annual net profit increase of $118 million. So it ordered a diagnostic audit of the department by BarringtonWellesley Group. "The independent experts came back and said our figures were low," Tennenbaum laughs. The potential annual savings on capital, operation and maintenance costs were estimated in the audit to range from $177 million to $223.5 million. "We were really pleased," Tennenbaum says. "After all was said and done, no one successfully attacked our work product."

L

os Angeles, the study concluded, is "a very wealthy city. It owns a lot of things—things that perhaps governments shouldn't be in, but if run properly, are quite profitable, like the Department of Water and Power. "When you add up all of these things that Los Angeles has in the way of independent businesses, plus its own activities, it is about the 200th-largest business in the United States. It has 44,000 employees and a multi-billion-dollar revenue stream." Other major revenue-generating aspects of the committee's report included: • Reducing by millions of dollars city contributions to some employee pension funds.

The committee recommends that the city should require the Port of Los Angeles to pay for the city services it uses—services currently paid for out of the city's general fund. The revenue savings would amount to an estimated $20 to $40 million.


TheLos Angeles Times praised the committee's proposals as tantamount to reinventing city government.

• Long-term private leasing of Los Angeles International Airport. • Pressing for changes in federal and state laws to bring in millions of dollars in airport and harbor revenues. • Adopting a five-year financial plan which eventually becomes five-year capital and operating budgets. The recommendations of the task force won editorial accolades from the Los Angeles Times. "If you can't reduce government services or raise taxes, what do you do?" an editorial asked. "Just what the panel appointed four months ago by Riordan did: work up a multi-year fiscal plan that is, in effect, a program for reinventing city government."

R

iordan's first budget message and economic agenda was based on the .panel's report. "When he did that, he said he'd like to, keep the committee around to see what actually passed in the

18

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

budget," Tennenbaum says. But when the budget was adopted last July, it failed to contain some of the committee's key reforms. Tennenbaum and members of the panel were on hand with a wrap-up statement that was critical that some important reforms were not included. "My favorite recommendation concerning five-year financial projections was not implemented," Tennenbaum states. "It was very political, because if you are borrowing from the future—you're unmasked by the plan. One of the difficulties has been that political horizons have been shorter than financial horizons. People get re-elected and they keep passing the deficit on to somebody else. I wanted to stop that. I wanted to set the responsibility with the people making the decisions. "I was the hard-liner on the committee. I guess part of my Georgia Tech training as an industrial engineer was to try to be efficient, and it rankles me to see inefficiency."


The committee recommends that LA. press the federal government to allow the city to manage the operations and finances of its airports, srdfting millions of dollars of revenue into the general operating budget. When the media asked the outspoken Tennenbaum for his comment about the adopted budget, he gave the elected officials a grade-. C-plus. Bill Ouchi, Riordan's chief of staff and a professor of business management at UCLA, responded, "I have been in the business of assigning grades much longer than Mr. Tennenbaum. That's the grade of a rookie professor trying to show how tough he is." "I would do anything within reason to help get the committee's proposals implemented in next year's budget," Tennenbaum states. "There were people on the committee whose view was that there was just so much that one could do at a given moment politically, and I was wrong to ask for all of it. My view was—and is—that the best chance for passage is during the crisis. "Democracy seems not to go for the big changes unless it absolutely has to. Dramatic action is needed to keep our worldclass city from becoming second class." •

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A Funny Thing Happened... Rules of the business jungle, No. 1: Where the jungle is darkest, use humor as the light. By John P. Imlay Jr. Illxistrations by Mac Evans

H

umor. One of the great management tools of the twentieth century. In MSA's race to succeed in the years after bankruptcy, I don't know if anything was more important for us than cultivating an ability to laugh in both good times and bad. The primary reason I use humor is to make a point. That's the essential thing about humor—its value as a teaching device. People tend to remember stories that are couched in a joke. Everyone recalls Clara Peller's "Where's the beef?" for Wendy's. But who remem bers what other fast food outlets were doing in their ads 10 years ago? Humor endures. Humor also is a great device to sell, ^ to communicate and to lessen ten sions. It can be used to market products and to liberate creativity. It can help develop relationships with employees, customers, and just about everything else. It improves interaction among its practitioners. And according to some studies, it even increases wellness and prolongs life. Humor should be indispensable in the corporate culture. Which is why it's a mystery that it's so often overlooked—and often discouraged. "But wait," you say, "I'm no comic. I hate making speeches, much less trying to be funny." Well, relax. I'm not a comic either. You don't have to be a comic to enjoy the benefits of humor. You don't even have to be funny. You just have to have a "sense" pf humor—you need only to enjoy it, understand it, appreciate it and cultivate it. If you do that, whatever points you make to people— and business persons make a lot of them—will have much longer lives. Humor leaves people talking 22

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995


o about the lesson, repeating the lesson, reliving the lesson, and thus better learning the lesson. And they remember the source. Having said that, I'll also say that I don't advise humor for everybody. Some individuals just can't bring it off. Others are fine in private, but freeze up in public. Still others, perhaps intimidated, haven't tested the water. (Robin Williams was a late bloomer; he says he never said anything funny in his life until he tried to pick up girls in college.) Don't try to be something besides yourself. Amplify and project your own personality. The point I want to make is that if â&#x20AC;&#x17E; humor is there for you, use it. The benefits are awesome. The payoff on humor is that you, your message and your company get remembered. And those are the goals of all business communication. You get ready access to minds because people are eager to hear good stories. Your advertising is rarely overlooked. Salespersons are seldom ignored. Conferences are enthusiastically attended. People love a show. If they can learn something in the process, mission accomplished.

If You Can Talk, You Can Speak When I first began public speaking, I wasn't funny. I mumbled. I was self-conscious. I was nervous. I stuttered. I did a lot wrong. I got criticized so much for making poor presentations that, in order to be a professional in this business, I just consciously began to work at it. My personality was always outgoing (a gift from my mother, who never forgets a name or a story). I loved to laugh. I picked up on stories easily and could tell them GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Humor in Business

23


pretty well in conversation. Meanwhile, as I experimented, trying to emulate others I'd heard speak, I realized I wasn't doing what was easy for me to do. To be at ease speaking, I learned, you just do what you do in a conversation— except you have the conversation with 100 or 200 or 10,000 people. I never hide behind a podium. I always use a lavalier microphone and walk around, make eye contact with lots of people, and converse. Along the way, I use humor to make my points. If you use humor, you've got to be willing to try things. You don't really need the courage of a tiger, but sometimes you need the hide of one. You have to live down the murmurs after a bombed joke—and not panic in the eerie silence of a tough audience. Once, Dick Cavett, after going through his entire stand-up routine at a night club early in his career, had not heard a solitary laugh from his audience. When he closed, he said, "I'd like to thank , you for coming out tonight. And I'd like to congratulate you all on looking remarkably lifelike." Well, the bartender laughed. If I get one of Cavett's audiences—and it has happened—I possess a luxury he didn't: I can deliver my talk straight. So can you. But the prospect of an occasional tough audience shouldn't intimidate you from using humor to communiaate. There are four types of people, and three of them doh/t use humor: (1) people who can use it and do; (2) people who can't use it and don't; (3) people who can use it and don't, and (4) people who can't use it and do anyway. Most people who fall into (3) are tljiere because they have agonized through \ speeches by (4). They shouldn't let the -. 24

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

experience turn them off to humor as a corporate resource. More people can use humor than believe they can, so test yourself. And even if you're not one of them, you can sti breed humor as part of your corporate culture by encouraging others to use it. Among many other things, the reward is more acute imagination in the company. Humor allows people the freedom of fantasy. It allows them to approach the extremes, even the absurd. The most exciting creativity is found on the fringes. Humor might be the most liberating of all Jungle Rule themes. As for reaching people, humor is one of the most common of human denominators, just behind hunger and ust ahead of sex. To build that culture, you have to be able to laugh at <f^

Rules of the business jungle, No. 2: Humor is a wondrous teaching device in both good times and bad.

yourself—in public. Level the playing field. Remove the pretensions and pomp and circumstance that people hang around your neck. I've probably given about 2,000 speeches in my career, most of them as CEO. Often the person introducing a CEO will want to build up the person to solemn sainthood. I always jump off that pedestal with a joke. One of my favorites is "Fatty the Chairman." It has gotten a lot of audiences on my side over the years—even resistant ones. The world has some notoriously tough audiences for humor. For Americans, any English audience can be intimidating. The English are wonderful people, but they have a reputation for laughing only at Anglo-centric humor—Englishmen and English jokes about English events and English culture.


I once spoke in London and was intro duced as "a great technologist," one of the many things I'm not. So I did my schtick and all the technical people in the audience were looking at each other, asking, "Who is this guy?" Nobody laughed. I tried things in the middle of the speech. Nothing worked. I'd lost them. Their expectations had been fixed on hearing from "a great technologist" and I'd let them down. Next time, I would rearrange expectations. Some time later, I had the great honor of speaking at Royal Albert Hall in London to about 4,000 managing directors from throughout Britain. I was among many luminaries, including business leaders, British lords and ladies, ministers of parliament, as well as Prince Charles. The fellow who introduced me laid on the good stuff. "John Imlay has been called 'One of the Fifteen People Most Likely to Influence Computing in the Next Five Years.'" He even mentioned my selection as "America's Best-Dressed Businessman." I wanted to get the audience to identify with me as just a businessman, a regular fellow, so I started off with a story that has done that for me many times: The other day I came into our office here [in London] and my car was missing and sputtering. I pulled into the carpark, forgetting how big our company had gotten. I was fuming and fussing the way you do when your car is broken down. So I picked up the phone and called old Harry down in administration. I said, "Harry, my car is broken. I need to borrow the estate wagon." He said, "John, I am now a senior vice president. I don't handle that anymore." "But what do I do?" I asked. He said, "Dial 3198." So, dutifully, I dial 3198. A very enthusiastic young voice answers. "Motor Pool." "Motor Pool?" I said. "What have you got down there?" He says, "We've got Lorries for going back and forth to the factory. We've got estate wagons to pick up folks at the airport. We've got Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs for the vice presidents. We've got a big, old Cadillac for our big, old president. And we've got a Mercedes for Fatty, our chairman." I said, "Do you know who this is?" He said. "No." I said, "This is John Imlay—your

Rules of the business jungle, No. 3: Humor can revitalize people even during traumas.

chairman." Long pause. Finally he said, "Do you know who this is?" I said, "No." He said, "So long, Fatty." The point of recounting the joke for you is to demonstrate that humor doesn't have to be a series of snalppy one-liners. I use { humor simply to make my 1 points. Those points usually can't / even be made with one-liners. / They are better served with anecy dotes. It's the sometimes-crazy metaphor within the anecdote, the I dramatic or bizarre imagery, that helps people understand the point you're trying to convey. And it is the humor that makes the anecdote memorable—and repeatable. In the case of "Fatty the Chairman," I have taught the audience that I am not all wrapped up in self-image, that I laugh at myself and they can laugh, too, and that they can relax while they listen. It instantly changes the mood of the audience. The corporate personality is something that is largely reflected in advertising and other public images. If a CEO leads the way to humor, it will show up in the media messages people create about the company—and in the way people remember the company.

"Ha! I Laugh in the Face of Danger!" Remember the old swashbuckler movies when the valiant swordsman would be facing almost certain death at the hands of the evil horde, then would smile cannily and utter those words? It might have seemed corny, but it was great management theory. While working our way through bankruptcy, we found that humor lightened the depressing blackness of the situation. It got people's attention when they might have been thinking about writing resumes or taking up yoga. That was important because, now that we were racing ahead with the company, we had a lot of optimistic beliefs to pass on. But we needed to get through that crust of doubt and fear. We needed all of their attention. Humor delivered it. GEORGIA TECH • Humor in Business

25


*to>

It went beyond employees. I once gave a speech in Denver before ADAPSO, the software industry trade association. I was trying, in the speech, to illustrate how software companies and the industry in general were changing, were moving from services to products, were troubled but had a robust future. At the time, I was a young nonentity trying to make a serious impression on the industry's movers and leave them with a positive image of MSA. I could have taken the serious, pedantic route inasmuch as I was talking about a serious subject (bankruptcy and rebirth). But I took a chance and used the nine lives of the "Bankruptcy Ain't So Bad" presentation and Gone With the Wind visuals I had given to employees. I wanted to get away from the talking head, so I used the visuals to add color and drama to the speech. The humor had gotten them to look and to listen, and the visuals made the message easy to understand. There were probably three dozen visual metaphors in that classic movie that I tied to MSA's growth, collapse, tribulations and resurrection. The presentation went over so well that I showed it to user-group meetings. I didn't want to deceive anyone that we were in bankruptcy, but I found I could greatly alleviate their fears by laying out our plans in interesting and funny ways. Even amid all of the change* the company has seen, the humor in the MSA culture has remained' intact throughout its lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and, in doing so, kept other things intact. Once it has a life of its own, it will help you through trauma or change or darkness. It is one corporate asset that never depreciates. Humor gives strength as well as laughs. It can lighten and enlighten you. And it can unite you. An amazing thing, a laugh. 26

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Winter 1995

If You Juggle Sacred Cows, Eventually One Will Land on You

Rules of the business jungle, No. 4: The rewards of using humor far outweigh the fallout from the unintended offense.

Humor has its payoff, but it also has its price. That price is apt to go up a little in this edgy world of political correctness where it sometimes seems that no one is allowed to laugh. Even innocent humor can s< >metimes slay a sacred cow you never would suspect was in the audience. In the speech at Royal Albert Hall, I used a slide with the initials "IBM" on it to talk about the future of computing. IBM. a company I respect a lot, had always pushed huge mainframe computers as businesses' solution to computing problems, but there was evidence the world wanted smaller computers. The next slide I put up said IBM stood for "I've Been Misled." The crowd loved it. The next day John Akers, the chairman of IBM back then, sent four guys down to tell me to take the slide out because it injured IBM. They didn't like the decibel level of the laugh I got. I told them, "Look at this video of my presentation and see if it 'injures' IBM." They watched and said, no, it didn't, and went back to tell Akers. Still, the head of IBM England, who had heard the speech, went away unhappy. I once told a story about the ultimate computer that would be built on the moon in the year 2000. It would have all the answers and would connect with every machine in the world. At the designated moment, the president throws the switch and


every computer worldwide blinks. The first question put to the machine is: Is there a God? The answer comes back: There is now. For this indiscretion, I received a weighty, single-spaced letter that began, "You are a blasphemer!" That was followed by 16 pages of parables. 1 wrote back a letter of apology. liven if you believe you're the most customer-oriented person ever—as I d o — h u m o r can put you at sword's point with some astute fencers. I o n c e was speaking at a conference of chief information officers at Laguna Beach, California. I w a s doing a "What's In—What's Out" list. "Democracy is in, Noriega is out!" O n the list I had, "Ninja Turtles are in, Ken a n d Barbie are out!" This did not go over well with J o h n Phippen, the CIO of Mattel—which manufactures Ken and Barbie—who was an extremely important client sitting smack in the middle of the audience. He left fuming, then later shot us through the heart with a letter saying Barbie sales alone w e r e greater than the entire value of my company, accounting for $1.1 billion of Mattel's

Rules of the business jungle, No. 5: You don't have to be a goldenthroated orator to communicate, or a comedian to use humor.

$-2 billion in revenue. \fhe reality of h u m o r is that you get so close to boundaries a n d images and metaphors that you will inevitably cross the line. There are risks. You are going to offend somebody, sometimes completely innocently, a n d they will tell you about it in u n a m b i g u o u s ways. An angry environmentalist might kill three twees to get the p a p e r to c o n d e m n the joke about tree killing. But it is all part of the business of humor. My advice is simple: Don't d o anything blue or blatant or mean-spirited that is likely to offend your audience or your customers. But don't curtail your creativity because of the fear of isolated outbursts. T w o t h o u s a n d speeches a n d 50,000 jokes later, I can tell y o u the rewards of h u m o r are worth indulging the occasional tirade. And sometimes you can even get a joke out of those. • From Jungle Rules: How to be a Tiger in Business by John P. Imlayjr. with Dennis Hamilton. Copyright ©John P. Imlayjr., 1994. Reprinted by arrangement with Dutton Signet, a division of Penguin Books USA, Inc. To order call (800) 253-6476.

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Competitive Edge Georgia Tech is involved in a major research effort funded by the National Textile Center. Its goal is to weave a more competitive, better future for the textile industry.

Written by John Toon Photographs by Stanley Leary

he textile industry, threatened by lower-cost foreign competition during the past two decades, has responded with innovative, technological advances to stay competitive. In Georgia, the industry—composed of textile, apparel, carpet and fiber companies—provides nearly a third of the state's manufacturing employment, more than 168,000 jobs. The city of Dalton remains the undisputed carpet capital of the world, and each year one-half of the world's carpet supply flows from mills that dot the North Georgia countryside. Georgia Tech is one of four universities involved in a National Textile Centerfunded research effort to help the industry improve its global competitiveness. During the past three years, the U.S. Department of Commerce-sponsored textile center has supported $24 million in research that joins Georgia Tech, North Carolina State University, Auburn University and Clefhson University in a drive to develop new materials, new knowledge and new technologies. In its fourth year, research funding will push the total to $33 million. The program is paying dividends in reduced costs, improved manufacturing operations and jobs. For example, Tech researchers are working to solve problems created by carpet waste. The process of carpet tufting to\meet consumer standards requires that excess" 30

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

carpet be trimmed from both sides of the rolls. These "trims" create an estimated 60 million pounds of waste annually, a mountain of nylon and polypropylene fiber, latex rubber backing and calcium carbonate filler. Nearly all of this waste now goes into area landfills. Researchers believe there is a potential demand for this waste carpet.

Carpet for Concrete ^ ^ ^ ^ n a table in the office of Youjiang Wang sit numerous samples of damaged concrete, some broken and some intact. Closer examination reveals millions of fibers enmeshed in the cracked, yet unbroken samples. Wang, assistant professor of textile and fiber engineering at Tech, believes carpet waste fiber could improve the properties of concrete. It would make bridges more resistant to earthquake shocks, highways less likely to fracture into potholes and floors less susceptible to cracking—good news to a nation that will spend billions of dollars to repair its disintegrating highways and other infrastructure. "We have demonstrated that you can improve the performance, durability and reliability of concrete structures through carpet waste fiber," Wang explains. "This


1

i ( *

Youjiang Wang holds a sample of unreinforced concrete that has shattered under a compressive load. Fiber-reinforced concrete, however, exhibits "pseudo ductile failure" hut does not shatter.


Professor Malcolm Polk leads an effort to develop an economical process for turning waste-nyloncarpet fiber into new carpet. would solve a waste disposal problem for the industry and help improve the durability of the highway system." More than 20 years of construction and evaluation have shown the value of fiberreinforced concrete, but it is not widely used today because commercially produced reinforcement fiber makes the cost too high for many applications. Wang believes the availability of inexpensive carpet waste fiber could allow more widespread use of fiber-reinforced concrete. "Putting a small amount of carpet fiber into concrete converts it into a ductile material, and that's very important to a highway engineer or architect," he adds. Wang has worked with Shaw Industries, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, to successfully use about 40,000 pounds of carpet waste to reinforce concrete in the company's new 117,000-square-foot research and development center.

use a portion of the estimated one billion pounds of used carpet discarded each year.

hri Ultimate Solution

ÂŤ f l L he ultimate solution to the carpet waste problem, however, may be closed-loop recycling: converting waste materials back to their original components and using these raw materials to manufacture new carpet. Professor Malcolm Polk leads an effort to develop what may become an economically viable process for turning one type of waste nylon carpet fiber into new carpet. "We can convert nylon back to the starting materials with about an 80-percent yield using hydrochloric acid solution and a phase transfer agent," he explains. "The objective of this depolymerizing process would be to take waste carpet produced in the manufacturing process and even postconsumer waste and convert it back to the original materials." Major manufacturers of nylon fiber have J k i JKkm ssociate Professor developed recycling procedures for a major Satish Kumar sees carpet waste as the raw variant of nylon, but these processes rematerial for a new type of inexpensive plas- quire high temperatures and high concentic. Based on a reactive extrusion process, trations of hydrochloric acid. By using a the new material would be suitable for low- phase transfer agent, Polk's technique accost items like children's toys and automocomplishes the same goal at more hospibile fenderwells. table processing conditions requiring less But nylon and polypropylene are incom- energy and weaker acidic solutions. He believes this may make carpet recycling patible materials. To help the two materials economically viable. get along, Kumar adds a copolymer which chemically links the nylon and polypropyMany fiber manufacturers anticipate that lene providing properties at least as good Congress may one day require closed-loop as polypropylene. recycling, which would make processes like "If you could get the waste material free those developed by Polk attractive to U.S. and process it economically, you could fiber and carpet companies. probably get the value of the polypropylene out of it," says Kumar. "Right now the carpet companies are paying the landfills to throw this away, so the material would be available for free if you could do something with it." ÂŤ4HL o deal with everIn addition to the trims left over from changing consumer tastes in apparel and carpet manufacturing, Kumar hopes to reother products, many manufacturers adopt

Cheap Plastic

T

Quick Response

32

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Winter 1995

Malcolm Polk studies the result of a chemical reaction that is part of nylon depolymerization. The work could lead to a commercially viable nylon recycling process.


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"A few hundred dollars to replace a motor may result in a large production benefit. Simple changes can enhance a system significantly." "quick response" manufacturing techniques that replace traditional high-volume production with short runs geared to meet established product demand. However, since textile weaving processes were designed to economically produce large quantities of fabric in long production runs, frequent product changes to accommodate short runs can be inefficient. "As you make shorter and shorter pieces, the amount of setup time gets to be a larger and larger portion of the time required to produce the fabric," says Assistant Professor Maty Lynn Realff. Realff and her graduate students have been visiting factories to collect real data on the time and work required for each step of the manufacturing process. The information goes into a complex computer model that allows consideration of many alternate approaches for changing equipment, speeding up certain steps, or just fine-tuning the production process.

The findings will ultimately help companies make better decisions about those capital investments that produce the largest efficiency gains. In one production step, Realffs computer simulation found that a faster winding speed could open a production bottleneck, reducing the amount of work-in-progress. Getting that faster speed required nothing more than a larger motor. "Spending a few hundred dollars to replace a motor may result in a large production benefit," she notes. "Our modeling shows that simple changes can enhance a system significantly." A better understanding of the production process can also help companies schedule the. mix of long and short production runs to minimize costs and determine the real value of each job in deciding what price to charge. To validate the computer model, Realff is constructing an experimental short-run production line in the School of Textile and GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Tech and Textiles

33


"The ultimate driving force will be how well we can produce what the customer wants at a lower cost." Fiber Engineering. The line will allow researchers to test production changes. The work will eventually become part of a larger North Carolina State University project to model the entire textile production process. Computer modeling also offers big potential payoffs to apparel manufacturers, who must minimize fabric waste and production time while cutting the fabric pieces for multiple sizes of garments. Manufacturers must develop a plan for spreading the fabric on the cutting table, overlapping several layers of fabric to increase cutting efficiency, and arranging the patterns on the cutting table in what is called a marker. To help apparel manufacturers get the most out of each yard of fabric, Charlotte Jacobs-Blecha, formerly with the Information Technology and Telecommunications Lab of the Georgia Tech Research Institute and now in the School of Civil Engineering, developed a computer algorithm for Windows-based computers that uses information on apparel size combinations, length of fabric and other factors to produce the most efficient means of spreading and cutting the fabric. The work was done in collaboration with Associate Professor Jane Ammons from Georgia Tech's School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Pollution Reduction s environmental regulations require cleaner effluent from textile plants, companies are turning away from traditional waste-treatment processes toward efforts that reduce the use of polluting chemicals. One'such technique involves re-using the dyebaths that color carpets and other items. While cutting pollution, these "source reduction" steps can also pay big dividends by reducing the amount of chemicals used. "We have shown in some of our studies of dyebath reuse that you can cut auxiliary chemical costs by as much as 75 percent," 34

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Winter 1995

says Professor Wayne Tincher, who is also site director for Georgia Tech's NTC participation. "In re-using dyebaths, you also cut energy costs and water costs, so there are substantial cost benefits in what we are doing." The ability to re-use dyebaths and recycle chemicals benefits not only manufacturing companies and the environment, but also consumers. Without source reduction, Tincher warns, some dyes will have to be withdrawn from use, limiting the colors available to consumers. "The ultimate driving force will be how well we can produce what the customer wants at a lower cost," he adds. "That's why source reduction is such a valuable approach as opposed to building something at the end of the pipe to take the color out." In other research, Tincher leads efforts to remove colors from dyebaths by using electrochemical techniques, a process that is attractive because no chemicals are added and no new pollutants created. Many other chemicals are applied by carpet and apparel companies during processing. Each step offers an opportunity to reduce chemical and water use, cut energy costs and reduce wastewater production. Research done for a rural Georgia hosiery manufacturer will lead to fundamental changes in the plant's manufacturing operationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and a dramatic reduction in the amount of treatment needed for its effluent. For many years, the Chipman-Union Company has been bleaching socks with sodium hypochlorite. Because the chemical contains chlorine, however, its use is being eliminated throughout the industry. Working with company engineers, Georgia Tech researchers developed an alternative process that uses hydrogen peroxide, a more environmentally friendly chemical. Largescale plant trials will begin this winter, but pilot-plant trials suggest the new process will produce the necessary bleaching while leaving effluent that can be pre-treated by the company and then used to irrigate pine trees in a "land application" process. That

Tech researchers Mary Lynn Realff and Tim Goddard discuss possible design changes to decrease the set-up time required for a weaving loom.


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will reduce the burden on municipal wastewater treatment facilities while saving money for the company. As a bonus, the Tech researchers learned that the new process would permit reuse of the bleaching bath at least 10 times, reducing chemical, water, energy and watertreatment costs. The researchers also found that the company could re-use the finish bath that applies fabric softener to the finished socks. "We think this will be a real winner and a very good case study of how fundamental research can lead to profound changes in a sector of the industry," says Fred Cook, director of the School of Textile and Fiber Engineering and a collaborator on the project. "This will affect an entire; industry sector because there are other companies using the same bleaching and finishing processes. They will also be able to eliminate chlorine and re-use the baths."

Closer to Consumers J*» « A » nother National Textile Center project aims at developing novel processes for getting color onto apparel and other textile items. By dyeing sewn garments instead of fabric and using modified xerography and color ink-jet equipment, Tincher and other researchers hope to reduce the inventory supply problems that require so much lead time to manufacture textile items. They will work to move the final processing steps closer to consumer demand—perhaps even into retail stores. "One of the problems we have in textiles is carrying out coloration processes with very short runs and in very short time frames," explains Tincher. "That is not easy with existing processes." Stores place orders far in advance for the quantities of garments they believe consumers will want. If they underestimate de-( mand, they lose sales because the factories can't produce small quantities of the top-. 36

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

Satish Kumar guides recycled carpetfiberinto equipment that will extrude it into an inexpensive plastic material that can be used for a variety of products.


Tech researchers hope "chitin" one day will be the foundation for optical fibers used to carry the Information Age around the world. selling items quickly enough to meet the demand. If they overestimate demand, they will be stuck with unwanted merchandise. Computerized capture of consumer purchasing information now allows manufacturers to quickly learn what is selling. Quick-response coloration processes could allow manufacturers to replace sold inventory in a matter of days. Modified ink-jet or xerographic printers could even allow retailers to stock generic items such as white sheets or T-shirts, and consumers could scan a computer display of colored patterns that the retailer would apply to the items. "You might be able to offer shirts in 50 colors and every size because you would not actually be stocking that many—you are simply dyeing the color the customer wants," Tincher adds.

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Optical Fibers from the Sea jtton, polyester, nylon, and wool are well-known fibers widely used in the modern textile industry. Robert Samuels and Malcolm Polk are developing a specialized fiber that may one day become widely-used—but probably never added to this particular list. The material they are using is chitosan, derived from chitin, the second-most-abundant natural polymer. Most people know chitin as the shells of marine animals such as lobster and shrimp. These shells pose a major waste-disposal problem for the nation's shrimp-processing industry. Samuels and Polk hope consumers will one day know chitin as the foundation for optical fibers used to carry the Information Age into homes and businesses around the world. "Natural materials have some very interesting characteristics," explains Samuels, a professor in Tech's School of Chemical Engineering. "We are using some novel approaches to making nonlinear optical materials in the hope that we can change

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the materials in a very active form and at the same time use a system that is more environmentally friendly." With the>chitosan forming a strong backbone, the researchers will attach molecules of a nonlinear optical carrier material that will carry the optical signals. The two materials, now under development in Polk's lab, will be chemically linked as a copolymer. Making the materials work together requires a knowledge of the intrinsic optical, mechanical and molecular properties of each. Gaining that information occupies hours of testing chitosan films prepared by researchers both at Georgia Tech and at North Carolina State University. Samuels believes the data will help efforts to optimize the combination of materials and serve as a model for developing other nonlinear optical systems. An organic liquid crystal, chitosan may offer advantages over existing synthetic materials, explains Polk. Because its structure is different from conventional materials, it may retain the second-order nonlinear properties required for optical lowpower high-speed switching. If so, chitosan would open the door for new types of optical devices, replacing conventional lithium niobate in some applications. "These devices should be less expensive to manufacture because polymeric devices are amenable to automated production," he says. "The driving force is perhaps to construct an optical computer, or for applications that involve optical switching. It's a very hot field right now."

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"Fuzzy" Lo;

»n most areas of science and technology, being "fuzzy" isn't good. But in complex textile processes, fuzzy may provide the key to improving control systems and boosting product quality by allowing complex systems to be modeled without the need for higher-level mathematical algorithms. GEORGIA TECH • Tech and Textiles

37


Slashing is the process of applying a protective coating to textile yarn prior to weaving. The system of applying sizing material and then drying it works well at normal speed, but the production line often must be slowed. When that happens, the yarn can be weakened by over-drying. In a cooperative project with Springs Industries and West Point Foundry, Associate Professor J. Lewis Dorrity, in textile and fiber engineering, and Professor George Vachtsevanos, electrical and computer engineering, are studying slashing to develop a model based on a word description. "When you don't precisely know the mathematics of a process, you can take the information you have and develop a model linguistically," Dorrity explains. "You don't need a precise mathematical model. In many processes, you cannot describe the relationships precisely." Conventional logic is either off or on, yes or no, true or false. Fuzzy logic allows shades of gray. A process could be set to call for a specific fan speed if the humidity is "low" and the temperature is "high," for example. For many processes, fuzzy logicprovides better control than conventional logic and can be more adaptable to changing conditions. Besides controlling the complex factors involved in the slashing operation, the researchers hope to develop links to processes on either side of it. Eventually, that could form the basis for an integrated control system that would optimize the entire manufacturing process. "Using data from weaving, we will be able to optimize the system over a period of time by changing the machine, settings and measuring the response," he adds. Strong and lightweight, composites are widely used today in the aerospace industry and other areas that demand high performance. Existing production techniques, however, limit the applications. To expand the range of composite parts that can be manufactured, the National Textile Center-sponsored researchers from all four universities are developing tech38

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Winter 1995

niques for making three-dimensional parts through weaving, braiding and other processes. Before they can be widely used, however, components manufactured through these new techniques must be evaluated for strength, durability and other attributes. Using test equipment in the School of Textile and Fiber Engineering, Kumar and Wang are manufacturing composites and evaluating their physical and mechanical properties to determine which techniques produce the best strength, impact resistance and other qualities. "We have to work on determining the right temperatures, right pressures, right viscosities and right design of the mold we use with these components," he explains. "The information we get from our testing will help the people who are making these materials." Kumar and postdoctoral fellow Victor Kozey are evaluating different structures made from glass fiber. They ultimately plan to repeat the testing for other types of fiber and other composite resins to produce a database that would help users of composite parts select the best material and fabrication technique for each application.

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The Bottom mline Ah he goal of the National Textile Center is to boost the efficiency of textile manufacturing and improve the ability of textile companies to compete in world markets. The center has re-established a base for university research applied to the textile industry, says Cook. "We can now do fundamental research in dyeing, weaving, spinning, finishing, new-fiber formation and environmental areas that we couldn't do before." Over the past several years, textile employment in the Southeast has largely stabilized, though some losses continue in the apparel industry because of its vulnerability

"We feel we'll not only be able to hold onto jobs in the textile sector, but also grow them," Cook adds. "I wouldn't have been able to say that if these research thrusts hadn't been made. Without these investments, decline would have continued."


to imports. Cook believes significant credit for that stabilization should go to the textile center program. "We feel we'll not only be able to hold onto jobs in the textile sector, but also grow them." Cook adds. "I wouldn't have been able to say that if these research thrusts hadn't been made. Without these investments, decline would have continued." The approximately $2 million a year in textile center funding received by Tech has helped boost enrollment in the school to record levels, ensuring a steady stream of textile graduates who will move innovations into the industry and develop new solutions in the future, Cook says. It has also brought academia, industry and g( >vernment together in ways that haven't always been possible before. "In each of the projects we are working on, we have companies who have shown an interest and who meet with us on a

regular basis," adds Tincher. "This helps us understand the problems from their perspective and keeps them informed on the kinds of things that are going on jaere." Fundamental research developed through the textile center sponsorship has led to the formation of additional efforts to move that knowledge into industry. In Georgia, the Consortium on Competitiveness for the Apparel, Carpet & Textile Industries (CACTI) will allow faculty from several colleges and universities to visit industry for direct technical and technology-transfer assistance. The textile center's role in turning around the industry has made it a model for America, Cook says. Textile, apparel, carpet and fiber workers throughout the Southeast will reap the benefits for years. • This article is excerpted from Research Horizons, a magazine published by the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

GeorgiaM Engineers and Managers of Technology Do you want to update your knowledge in your field? Do you want to learn about other related technologies?

Executives and Managers Do you want to keep your employees' skills current? Do you want to enhance your competitiveness? Do you want to become a learning organization? Georgia Tech can help you. Georgia Tech delivers graduate programs, advanced courses and sequences of short courses throughout the state. • • • •

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Follow the Bouncin' Nerf Ball Alumnus David Laughridge recognized the potential of—and named—the world's first indoor ball; but then, he has made a career out ofplay.

By Lisa Crowe Photographs by Billy Howard Illustration by Karen Ku

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avid Laughridge's work has been everyone else's play. It was Laughridge who developed the name and proprietary concept for the world famous Nerf ball. A member of the class of 1958, Laughridge was manager of research and development at Parker Brothers in Salem, Mass., when he was shown a foam-like ball on a stick. The idea was to present it as some kind of game, and his boss, Ed Parker, asked him to evaluate it. "I realized that it wasn't a game, it was a toy," says Laughridge. "And I saw that it could be marketed as the world's first indoor ball." Then came the search for a name. "Surfing was on the minds of kids and so were Smurfs and snurfing (skateboard surfing) and then I thought about the name of the bar on the back of a dragster, the nerf, and that was it—the Nerf ball. It was a perfect name for a ball you pushed and flipped around." Laughridge went on to develop the package that contains the toy. On first glance, it looks like a bright, perky box that displays the foam ball. Nerf is spelled out in chubby letters that are perched on top of a transparent half-circle. On second glance, the letters and half-circle seem to form a subtle smiling face. "There were subliminal aspects of this happy package" says Laughridge. "It had a 'take me home' look. It was fun looking—it seemed to say it was good for y©u and it would make you happy." It only took a couple of work

weeks, but that simple foam ball has spawned a product line of ever-popular Nerf products that consistently make the list of best-selling toys for the holidays.

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ack when David Laughridge was growing up near Palm Beach, Fla., wealthy families set up lavish model train layouts near their Christmas trees during the holidays. The trains whistled and belched real smoke as they clattered over mountains, through tunnels and past pristine villages. Laughridge was just a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, but he made $20 a day designing and installing these train layouts—a pretty good wage for the 1940s. "I didn't go to school in December," recalls Laughridge. "I would get picked up by a limousine, and when I was setting up the layout, a servant would be holding a tray with my screwdriver, pliers, soldering iron and wire cutters all laid out on it. "I was the first in my class to have my own motor scooter, and by the time I was 13, I had bought my first car, a 1939 Ford Hudson. I was too young to drive it, but I can remember sitting in the grass with my legs crossed and just looking at it." Laughridge is 6l years old and he's still playing with toy trains for money. As the owner of Dr. Tinker's Antique Toy Trains Parts and Service in Lexington, Mass., he fixes Lionel trains and stocks hundreds of parts for model train enthusiasts. You need a brass worm wheel or a ballast tamper antenna? Call Dr. Tinker. Laughridge also writes an ad


A â&#x20AC;˘>-. vice column for O Gauge Railroading magazine, addressing such issues as what to do when your Lionel die-cast whistle won't whistle, or how to best lubricate nylon gears. "I love it," Laughridge says. "It's like play to me." Laughridge has made a long career of combining work and play. Before he opened his toy-train business, he worked as a toy designer for a number of companies where he did everything from packaging play cosmetics for little girls to designing board games. Laughridge didn't plan to devote his life to toys. His father, an independent insurance agent who had never been to college, decided that his only child was going to be a highly paid professional. So Laughridge went to Emory University in 1952 to become a dentist. During his freshman year, he found himself drifting over to Tech for parties and socializing, and he transferred to Tech the next year, leaving dentistry far behind. As soon as he saw Tech's industrial design shop, he knew that he had found his major. "Tech had the most beautiful model shop you have ever seen. That's when I got the idea that everything that's manufactured had to have a model made of it." For Laughridge, the idea of being a professional model maker was almost too good to be true. This was a kid who had been tinkering with toy trains from the time he was six and making elaborate models of Luckily for David Laughridge, you can't get hurt by a Nerf ball. Actually, he planned it that wa kiÂťrt-r

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Laughridge's career in toy-making was "a happy fluke. Making toys gives real satisfaction: you are creating something out of your imagination that makes people happy."

almost everything that had an engine. He and his buddies would spend whole summers making army bases out of cardboard and balsa wood that included airplanes, jeeps, tanks and soldiers. "We all tried to camouflage our bases, but when an enemy base was found, we got to blow it up with lighter fluid and firecrackers and we'd start all over again." Laughridge attended Tech until his senior year and finished up at the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in industrial design. By chance, his first job was with a toy companyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Merry Manufacturing in Cincinnatiâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as head of product design, and he soon realized he had found a niche in the toy industry. "It was a fluke, but a happy fluke," he says. "Making toys gives real satisfaction: you are creating something out of your imagination and you are making the vehicle that makes people happy." In 1978, Laughridge moved away from

toys reluctantly when much toy manufacturing and design moved overseas, and he joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology as head of their in-house graphics department. He continued to consult in the toy industry and in 1990 retired to become a professional toy-train tinkerer. Working out of his sprawling basement in the leafblown New England village of Lexington, he makes a "comfortable retirement income. I won't say how much, but it's enough. My riches are paid in other ways. I have made the right choices for myself."

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aughridge's four children seem to have inherited their father's ability to play on the job. One of his sons is the skipper of a 140-foot sailing yacht in San Diego and his daughter works on an 80foot sailing yacht in the Caribbean and is married to its captain. The couple just had a baby, and the three of them are back at work on the boat.

Laughridge has turned his lifetime hobby into a retirement income: "I have made the right choices."


When asked what part of his train tinkering is for fun and what is work, Laughridge seems genuinely confused. "I'm very lucky—I really don't know. For me, my work has always been a chance to

do something that makes me feel good. I have had a full life and had fun living it." • Lisa Crowe, an Atlanta writer, is a frequent contributor to the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine.

Do Everything, Own It All

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here are no interstate

highways, ugly stripshopping plazas or traffic jams in this part of the world. The quaint New England village is surrounded by pastoral farm land, and its meandering downtown streets are lined With trees glowing with autumn leaves. A beaming bride .\nd groom have just emerged from a white clapboard church while a train passes by, its plaintive whistle evoking thoughts of unknown adventure. If it sounds too good to be true—you're right. It's all make believe, only a picture of a model train layout in a model railroad magazine. But with patience, imagination and skill, anyone can create a world that is just the way they think it should be, and that's a big part of what model railroading is all about. "You get to live in your own little train world," says Scott Griggs, owner of The Train Works and Southeastern Hobby Depot, two Atlanta hobby stores that cater to model train enthusiasts. "Whatever the pies sures of the day, you can

always escape back into it when you get home." building a train layout gives the hobbyist a feeling of control that can't be found in real life. The train designer calls all the shots. "it's appealing to some folks who are into control or power," admits David Laughridge, owner of Dr. Tinker's Antique Toy Trains Parts and Service in Lexington, Mass. "They can devise the most elaborate layout, and they own the railroad, the town and everything in it." Model train layouts are not always rural and pristine. Some enthusiasts design urban settings that are complete with billboards and traffic signals; others develop gritty-looking industrial settings. Hut no matter how intricate and complicated the layout, a lot of model railroading is just plain, kid-type fun. "Anyone who buys a train—they are projecting themselves into the engine and they are the ones driving it," says Laughridge. "Kids understand this. They load a Tonka truck with dirt and drive it around all day,

but they're not just moving dirt—they are in charge of a construction site." There are about 300,000 serious model railroad fans in the United States, many of whom invest substantial amounts of money in trains, according to Myron J. Biggar, publisher of o Gauge Railroading magazine. "You can spend millions of dollars, but the average person probably has about $10,000 to $15,000 invested in his hobby," says Biggar. "A lot of train layouts start small and get larger as lime progresses." Because of the expense, most adults delve into toy trains when they are at least in their forties and typically old enough to have some

discretionary income. When a hobbyist starts tinkering with model trains, watch out—it's addictive. "Once you get bitten by the train bug, it's hard to quit," says Laughridge. "You can get lost in the excitement of building a miniature world. It's a little like playing with doll houses. but with electronics involved."—Lisa Crowe.

For David Laughridge and a lot of other folks, there's a world of fun—and power—in "training."


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Fifty Years of Progress... And the Legacy Continues

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ecil Johnson's first taste of indus-

trial engineering came not in a classroom, but in the cockpit of a B-24 bomber. Johnson, a pilot

with the U.S. Air Force during

World War II, was flying bombing missions over Europe. Early in the war, he recalls, the Allies were doing poorly. So poorly, in fact, many feared we would lose the war. "Enemy fighters and anti-aircraft guns

were knocking our planes from the air, and enemy submarines were sinking our ships one after another," explains Johnson. "We had plenty of men and fighting machines, but no one in the military really knew how to effectively utilize them." Allied military leaders looked to the universities for help. The result was a new and powerful problem-solving approach called operations research. The novel approach brought together scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and military leaders from diverse fields to seek simple solutions to complex problems. "The most spectacular result was the development of the atomic bomb," says World War n provided the cauldron which brewed the concept for a school of industrial and systems engineering. Cecil Johnson returned home from Europe to earn his degree and join Tech's ISyE program, now the nation's top-rated.

By James E. Kloeppel


(koma Techs School ot1 dm

Frank Groseclose, the director who brought Tech's School of Industrial Engineering to national prominence, talks to Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth, an authority on technical problems in management.

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Johnson, "but there were many other useful applications as well. For example, operations research solved our critical problem of crossing the Atlantic Ocean by determining how many ships to put in a convoy to minimize our loss at sea. Operations research also significantly reduced the number of casualties we were experiencing during saturation bombing runs." To avoid being shot down by enemy fighters, pilots grouped their bombers into huge formations, says Johnson. "When the fighters attacked us, they were met with a ball of defensive machine-gun fire from our tightly packed formation. As we approached our target, however, the fighters would drop back and the enemy's anti-aircraft guns would open up. Because of our densely packed formation, we became easy targets and our casualties ran very high. "The operations research folks looked at this problem and came up with an effective solution. 'Since the fighters are no longer the threat, and the anti-aircraft guns are now the threat, why don't we change formations?' they asked. So, we ended up

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shifting out of our 'echelon' formation and into an T formation in order to fly over the target in a line. Not only were the individual planes now much harder to hit, but after repeated firing the enemy's anti-aircraft guns would overheat and become less accurate. My group flew the first bombing mission that implemented this solution." The applications derived from operations research aided the Allies in winning the war. Afterwards, the new approach was taken back to the universities. From out of this successful problem-solving technique came the "systems concept" so important to today's industrial engineer.

Struggling for Identity

W

hen the war ended in 1945, Johnson returned stateside and, with an interest in technology kindled by the war, enrolled in a new general engineering program at Georgia Tech. As part of his curriculum, Johnson took basic courses in all engineering disciplines. "At the time, other students thought I was crazy," he says. "I took thermodynamics with the mechanical engineers, fluid mechanics with the civil engineers, and analytical chemistry with the chemical engineers and circuits with the electrical engineers. I took all the general courses in the specialized fields. When I graduated, nobody knew what I could do. The logical thing would have been to go into research. But I wanted to go into industry. So, I came back and got an industrial engineering degree so I could get a job." After a six-year stint working with industry—during which time he completed his master's degree and started on his doctorate—Johnson accepted a professorship at

mmmnmr48

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995


Wu ndSymtTwrnerim "As veterans, we simply didn't want a lot of foolishness. Groseclose had a military background and an academic viewpoint. He could relate to us, and we to liim."

Tech in 1955. He's remained here ever since. Now Professor Emeritus, Johnson fondly recalls the early days when Tech's new School of Industrial and Systems Engineering was struggling for an identity and a future. He is well aware of the many roles played by both faculty and students that ultimately made the school number one in the nation. These roles, he says, built upon and became part of the unique heritage and tradition of Georgia Tech. Much of the school's early success, says Johnson, is attributable to one man, Col. Frank Groseclose. In 1945, Groseclose was hired to head the new school. His personality and temperament, and his emphasis upon broad-based engineering, suited the task nicely. "Groseclose was very popular with the students at a time when the students were very pressed," says Johnson. "When all the servicemen returned after the war, colleges and universities were inundated with experienced veterans who wanted a college education under the G.I. Bill. Georgia Tech, for example, jumped from approximately 2,500 students to nearly 6,500 in less than a year. The professors were hard-pressed to keep up with the sheer numbers of highly qualified students, and the competition among them was very stiff. "As veterans, we were about three years older than the typical college student, and much more serious. We simply didn't want a lot of foolishness. Groseclose had a military background and an academic viewpoint. Therefore, he could relate to us, and we could relate to him. "Groseclose knew how to take this school, with all its new recruits, and truly make something out of it."

Educating Body and Mind

G

roseclose also had a great appeal to the athletic community, and.very successfully built upon/the fine tradition laid down by football Coach W. A. Alexander and D. M?- "Doc" Smith. "Doc Smith was a very talented mathematician and professor," says Johnson. "He was able to bring his classes alive ... it was like walking into a good night club. "Doc Smith used to say, 'If we don't have math, we don't have much.' Coach Alexander agreed with him. Consequently, all of Alexander's athletes were required to enroll in Smith's calculus class. "Alexander and Smith had excellent rapport with one another. If a football player was having problems in math, Coach Alexander would tell Doc Smith, and Smith would then coach the student in math. Alexander gave academic credibility to athletics at Georgia Tech. "That's one of our great traditions ... that academics and athletics go together. We educate not only the mind, but the body as well." Early on, Col. Groseclose identified with the best of the athletes. In fact, the school's first graduating class had only four students in it, and two of those students were outstanding All-America football playersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Bob Davis and Paul Duke. "This tradition, too, has continued," says Johnson. "It has not been uncommon for the school to have excellent athletes who were also outstanding students. These young men would make their A's in the front row of their class, then go down and make their A's on Grant Field. Through both athletics and academics, students and faculty have worked together for the good of the school."

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ ISyE: Fifty Years of Progress

49


Geoma Tech's School oflliM student pursues a rigorous program of study that includes coursework in operations research, probability and statistics, production and distribution, human-machine systems, economics, computer simulation and case methodology. "We try to give our students problemsolving skills that come through an engineering experience," he says. "Our students graduate with a good technical background, rounded out with good managerial skills. The result is a well-educated, broad-based engineer."

Michael Thomas, now executive vice president at Tech, followed Bob Lehrer as ISyE's third director. "Each director built upon the work of his predecessor. Each moved us to the next level. That's the Tech tradition."

GM of Industrial Engineering All Thumbs, Same Purposes

T

he early years were exciting years, full of daring initiative and bold accomplishment with Tech at the forefront of the new university movement in industrial engineering. In 1949, the Georgia Tech chapter of Alpha Pi Mu—a national Industrial Engineering honorary society—was officially formed. Later that same year, the prestigious Journal of Industrial Engineering was begun on campus. Groseclose served as the journal's first editor, followed by Bob Lehrer and Johnson. "Industrial engineering at Tech is a body of knowledge, philosophy and technology based on the fundamentals of science, mathematics and humanities," Groseclose editorialized in the early 1960s. "Thumbprints are different, but all thumbs serve the same purposes. That is, courses are required that are general and basic ... under as many different professors as possible, to make a well-rounded engineer capable of developing in any area." That sa-Sie philosophy holds true today, says Johnson. A '90s industrial engineering

VI

50

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

I

n the early days, it was Groseclose who shaped Tech's Industrial Engineering program, says Johnson. That legacy has carried up to the present, through successive directors Bob Lehrer, Michael Thomas and John J. Jarvis. The progression has been steady and consistent. "Each director built upon the work of his predecessor," says Johnson. "They didn't tear down what had been done before. Instead, each man picked up on where we were, and moved us to the next level. That, too, is a Tech tradition." Johnson is proud of the school's phenomenal growth and success over the past 50 years. "We've sort of been the General Motors of industrial engineering," he says. "We've made a helluva lot of Industrial Engineers, and we've made very good ones. "But, we can not pause," he cautions. "Tomorrow is fast approaching, and the industrial engineering model must keep the basics while adapting to the needs of eontemporary life and moving technology." •

James E. Kloeppel is an Atlanta-based freelance ivriter.


p i r and Systems Engimering Meeting the Challenges Of Tomorrow ->-•.

Tech has built the nation's top-ranked ISyE program. But to keep its rating, the school needs to apply the lessons of systems engineering to its own life.

F

ollowing the frenetic years of World War II, the United States shifted from an agricultural nation to an industrial nation. With this shift came the need for a new body of engineering that could deal more effectively with the complex man, machine and money issues of modern manufacturing. Like other universities, Georgia Tech met this challenge by creating a separate school that specialized in industrial engineering. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Tech's School of Industrial and Systems Engineering has become the largest and most successful industrial engineering program in the world. For the third consecutive year, the school has been ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. School director Dr. John J. Jarvis credits this phenomenal success to the school's outstanding faculty, highly motivated students, and dedicated alumni and staff. "All are essential to providing a comprehensive, relevant, world-class education," he says. But to remain number one in the face of growing competition, the school has some tough obstacles to overcome.

More Personal Interaction nfortunately, resources have not kept pace with our tremendous growth," says Jarvis. "We currently have ap-

U

proximately 1,000 undergraduates and more than 300 graduate students in our program, but only 50 faculty members. With such a large student-to-faculty ratio, there is little opportunity to share experiences and develop personal relationships. "In our undergraduate program, for example, our average class size is 50, and it's not uncommon to have classes with 60 to 70 students. There simply isn't enough time for faculty to devote to individual students. We are very concerned that to receive the best possible education, our students need more of the individual attention that they received in the 1950s and 1960s." Jarvis says that although the school is providing the knowledge and learning experiences essential to a good education, today's students miss out on much of the personal interaction with faculty that helps set a part of their lives: interaction that classroom instruction just doesn't give. "When alumni come back and tell me about their experiences here, they don't talk about the times when they sat in a lecture with 100 other people," says Jarvis. "They talk about the time a faculty member spent with them, guiding and directing them. They talk about the personal experiences—the individual attention—that helped mold their lives. This is the tradition that made Georgia Tech the wonderful institution that it is today."

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wr, iyiximQ GEORGIA TECH • ISyE: Fifty Years of Progress

51


Geoma

School oft

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pares such an arrangement with that of a modern surgical team. "A surgeon has many tremendous skills, but also has other doctors who assist with certain aspects of an operation," says Jarvis. "The doctors, in turn, are assisted by nurses, who are assisted by attendants. So, you have a team for surgery that functions very precisely and efficiently. Perhaps we need a similar structure for education. "We can be clever in how we deal with the problem, but it all gets back to giving students the necessary individual attention. If we don't do that, there is a loss that may not be perceived in the short term, but will certainly become apparent in the long term."

A New Role for the IE k-

JolinJ. Jarvis, current ISyE director, believes the key to the school's continued success "all gets back to giving students the necessary individual attention. If we don't do that, there is a loss that may not be perceived in the short term, but will certainly become apparent later."

Although Jarvis would like to ease the burden by hiring more faculty, he says that just isn't possible given current financial restraints. "As a result, we have to find new ways to be innovative and creative in our teaching," he says. "We need to look for better ways to teach students, and we need to find ways to make technology work for us. After all, we teach the application of technology to problem solving, so let's apply it to the education process itself." For example, there are good teachers, and there are fabulous teachers, says Jarvis. One possible solution might be for the truly exceptional teachers to give lectures on a "one-to-one" basis via multi-media or interactive video. Other instructors and graduate and undergraduate student assistants would be available to cover specific topics, conduct recitations, check homework assignments and grade test papers. Jarvis com-

N

ot only is the manner in which students are being taught destined to change, but also the very material they are being taught. With the advent of Total Quality Management (also known as Continuous Quality Improvement), employers are taking a new look at their employees. "This whole notion of how you deal with workers in the workplace is impacting the field of industrial engineering," says Jarvis, "and it's causing a big change in the kinds of things we teach our students." Over 100 years ago, Frederick Taylor, a mechanical engineer, pioneered in the scientific measurement of work. "Taylor viewed the human worker as a machine, as a mere mechanical robot," says Jarvis. "His approach was to direct the motions (>l a human the same way you would direct the motions of a robot." Under the Taylor system, each worker was given a definite task to perform in a definite time by a definite method. It was

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nwHimmn sg 52

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Winter 1995


Wir ndSystetti \n2ineerin2 The big change for industrial engineers is that today's students, rather than becoming specifiers of jobs, tasks and functions, will serve more in the roles of facilitators.

the responsibility of the Industrial Engineer to specify what those tasks were, and then to find ways to perform them better and faster. The human worker was indeed treated as little more than a mindless machine. "That philosophy prevailed for more than 100 years," says Jarvis. "Then TQM, promoted by Edwards Deming, created a totally different view of the worker. The essence of it is, 'Hey, you've got a mind. Let's hear what you have to say about this.' Under TQM, there is a great emphasis placed on the worker being able to provide as much opportunity for improvement as anybody else; and in many cases, even more so. Because the worker knows his/her job so well, he/she may see potential improvements that others may not see, including the industrial engineer." The Total Quality Management concept has shattered Taylor's precepts of industrial engineering, says Jarvis. "In retrospect, it was bound to happen. People cannot be treated like robots. They have needs that robots don't have, and they have emotions that robots don't have. Essentially, trying to depersonalize workers in the workplace was doomed to failure." The big change for industrial engineers, says Jarvis, is that today's students, rather than becoming specifiers of jobs, tasks and functions, will serve more in the roles of facilitators. They will facilitate organizations, large and small, to assess their own functions and develop the necessary improvements in their processes. "As a result, we have to think more about how workers deal with information," says Jarvis. "Specifically, what information do they need—and what should they do with it—in order to perform their jobs properly? This doesn't have anything to do

with how far they have to reach, grasp, or bend over. It has to do with the cognitive processes—the ability of humans to relate to their workplace, to assimilate information, to process information, then to act on that information in an appropriate manner." The focus for the industrial engineer has changed from performing individual timeand-motion studies to dealing with the system as a whole. "The modern Industrial Engineer will be working with employers and employees alike to set up a fully functioning system, and to provide them with the necessary tools so they can interact with the system in a positive, productive fashion," says Jarvis. "In order to do that, we must also shift our focus and educate our students accordingly."

Alumni Involvement Essential

M

eeting the challenges of tomorrow will require a renewed commitment from faculty, staff, students and alumni, says Jarvis. "We have worked hard to build a topquality school here, and we have been fairly successful. Our alumni inherit the benefits of what we have been able to do. The number-one-status of our school has significantly increased the worth of their diplomas. "In order to remain the best school, however, we need the continued support of our alumni. We need their help in identifying the best students; in recommending our program to them; and by interacting with, and by providing financial support to, the school. Their support enriches the educational experience of our faculty and students, and that's a very important part of our continued growth and success." —James E. Kloeppel

m rtmmmmm GEORGIA TECH • ISyE: Fifty Yean of Progress

53


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GLOBAL POPULATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: How

WILL IT AFFECT YOU?

I

n September 1994 delegates from more than 160 countries met in Cairo at the U.N. sponsored International Conference on Population and Development. Their objective was to address the many questions and challenges posed by population growth and sustainable development. Georgia Tech's Center for Sustainable Technology and the Carter Center produced a series of television "spots" on CNN and other networks explaining the issues addressed at the Conference. This "FAX back" survey uses new FAX technology to sample the impact of that campaign. You can help the Center evaluate the impact of its campaign by taking a few moments to answer the following questions. When you are through, please cut out the questionnaire and FAX it to the number listed below: How much coverage of the conference do you recall seeing in the press or on TV? •

Great deal

• Fair amount

• Not very much

• Don't remember

Do you recall seeing any commercials on TV featuring comments by world leaders about the conference? •

Yes

No

• For each statement below, please rank (on a scale of 1 - 10) the importance of the role you believe each issue should play in the development of global population policies. Please place your ranking in the first column provided (Issue Importance). In the second column provided, (Conference Success...also using a scale from 1 - 10), please rank how well you believe the Conference dealt with each of the issues described below. Issue Conference (Ifyou don't know or are not sure, please place an X in the appropriate column.) Importance Success (1 - 10) (1 - 10) 1. In general, how important will the issue of population growth be over the next 50 years? 2. Encouraging men to take greater responsibility for their sexual and reproductive behavior and the well being of their children 3. Enhancing the status of girls and young women by closing the gender gap in education and skill development 4. Disproportionate consumption and use of available resources by developed countries 5- Use of sustainable technologies 6. Development of policies and technologies to promote responsible and non-wasteful consumption 7. Alleviation of poverty and improvement in the standard of living in developing countries .<•• 8. Equality of economic opportunity and political participation for women 9- Increasing women's access to careers in science, engineering, and technology 10. Encouraging people everywhere to have only the number of children they can afford to care for and nourish 11. Inclusion of sustainability in development programs

Please FAX this ad to (404) 853-0559 in t h e U.S.A. This survey was paid for by the International Conference on Population and Development Media Project: a non-profit consortium, Atlanta, GA U.S.A.


R( wrch Tracking Technology By Lea McLees A n e w software develLM oped at Georgia JL ^L'l'ech tracks the latest trends in technology quickly and efficiently. The software—Technology O importunities Analysis Knowbot (TOAK)—piggybacks on existing information search routines to provide strategic insights into growing research areas and emerging applications. "Our searches take hours instead of months because the information is at our fingertips," says Alan Porter, director of Georgia Tech's Technology Policy and Assessment Center. "Constructing one's own data files is now often unnecessary, because others are doing it for us, except on a much larger scale, and making it available via computer. Some 8,000 such electronic databases are available. Our strategy is to tap into them and translate the data into interesting and useful patterns and contrasts." The TOAK software is an adaptation of the "knowbot" concept. Most knowbots (intelligent agents) scan a wide array of sources over electronic networks, such as the Internet. Georgia Tech's

Alan Porter of the Technology Policy and Assessment Center (left) and graduate student Michael De Tampel discuss pie graphs of searches TOAK software has completed. TOAK focuses on databases that concentrate information on given topics, particularly research, development and technology applications. This drastically cuts the time and expense of searching diffuse sources and provides orders of magnitude more information. TOAK can be adapted to analyze many databases, including engineering, computer, and business indexes, and INSPEC, the international electronics database. The software offers a window on research and commercial activity by profiling the publishing and/or patenting efforts in a given area and showing how much an emerg-

ing technology is linked with various applications. It also can map relationships among technologies by identifing component technologies that contribute to advances in a target area. Or, the software can be used to compare research and development activity by state or nation. Such an analysis recently showed that Japan and the United States are going head-to-head across most electronics assembly technologies. The software has been developed by the Technology Policy and Assessment Center with support from Georgia Tech's Center for International Business Education and Research.

Fog Detectors By John Toon A fully-automated fog ZA detection and warnJL J L ing system is being installed on a heavilytravelled portion of Interstate 75 in south Georgia, developed jointly by the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Tech Research Institute. The system could serve as a prototype for automated visibility monitoring programs in other states where fog, snow or dust pose hazards for drivers. Using a network of 19

GEORGIA TECH • Research

57


Research Using computers, distant officials can assess hazardous fog conditions. fog sensors, five sets of traffic speed-monitoring loops, several weather instruments and an onsite central computer, the system will monitor visibility in an area south of Adel where dense fog is known to develop, and control four variable message signs along a 12-mile section of highway. "The key issue here is safety," said Dr. Gary G. Gimmestad, principal research scientist in GTRI. When the system detects a visibility problem, it automatically notifies authorities by telephone and alerts motorists on variable message signs 36 feet wide and nine feet high built over the traffic lanes. The light-emitting diode (LED) signs warns motorists of the specific fog hazard, calls for reduced traffic speeds and provides detour information if conditions warrant closing the highway. A dial-up system provides law enforcement and highway officials with remote access to the visibility information gathered by the system. Using computer terminals, officials who r'V

are not at the site will be able to monitor visibility levels, traffic speeds and weather readings to help assess hazardous conditions. The Federal Highway Administration funded a 58

GEORGIA TECH â&#x20AC;˘ Winter 1995

A development group at Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center discusses changes to Mercator, a new system that promises to give blind people better access to computers. study for the system and the Georgia DOT funded a fully operational system, which is being built in three stages. Work on the system began last fall and initially includes the sensors, computer and one sign over the southbound lanes. The fog warning system uses commerciallyavailable optical fog sensors. Each sensor consists ofa'light source and a receiver aimed nearly at each other, but off of the line of sight at a small angle. Under conditions of good visibility, the beam of light produced by the source will miss the receiver. The presence of fog

particles, however, will scatter the beam, causing light to enter the receiver. "The receiver measures the amount of transmitted light which is scattered by the particles in the fog," Gimmestad explained. "The denser the fog, the more light will be scattered and measured by the receiver." The study phase of the project began last fall when traffic loops, weather instruments and two visibility sensors were installed near the center of the fog area, with a computer to record data continuously. The data is transferred to Georgia Tech daily by telephone line.

Sounding Off

F

or most computer users, graphical user interfaces (GUIs) make software programs easier to operate. But for blind or visuallyimpaired computer operators, the icons, buttons and other graphicelements create barriers that make the popular programs difficult or even impossible to use. A new auditory interface system developed at Georgia Tech could solve that problem for the- most widely-used UNIX graphical interface. The new system.


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Research

known as "Mercator," substitutes sounds for the visual cues that help sighted users navigate through such interface systems, says Elizabeth Mynatt, a research scientist in Georgia Tech's College of Computing. The goal of the Mercator project is to allow sighted and blind computer users to work side-by-side on UNIX workstations using the same applications software. The issue is important, she notes, because jobs in programming or other computer-related tasks have attracted many

Mercator could become the first auditory interface for visually impaired and blind UNIX users. disabled workers. These jobs could be threatened if disabled workers can't use new graphically-oriented software adopted by their employers. Mercator operates on UNIX-based systems with applications software using the X Windows interface. Because it works

with the underlying windowing system, Mercator gives all X Windows applications the same "hear and feel," helping users more easily move from one software package to another. Developed with support from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and Sun Microsystems, Inc., Mercator could become the first auditory interface available for visually-impaired and blind UNIX users. Auditory interface products have already been announced for Macintosh computers, the Microsoft

Windows system and IBM's OS/2 operating system, Mynatt said. To help translate Mercator's research prototype into a commercial product, Mynatt recently won a Faculty Commercialization Grant from Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). The grant will help transition Mercator to work with Motif, the most popular version of the X Windows interface, and support the development of commercial-grade documentation. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;John Toon

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Tliink Small (and Cheap) By John Dunn

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n his hand, Dr. Rao R. Tummala holds an electronic device that is only a little larger and heavier than some handheld calculators. It represents the future—the development of a product that will leapfrog over existing technology and revolutionize the industry, restoring the United States to its position as a world leader in electronics. Tummala repeats the

key words "leapfrog" and "revolution" so there is no misunderstanding. Tummala means business. Tummala is director of the new $40 million LowCost Electronics Packaging Research Center at Georgia Tech. He holds a Joseph M. Pettit Chair in the Schools of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, and is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. The desire to help the

The Tummala File Born -December 19 id in India. Education—BS in physics, chemistry and math ematics, MS in metallurgy, and PhD in ceramics In MII the I ni\ ersitj oi Illinois. Personal—lie and his wife, Anne, have three children, Dinesh, Vijay, and Suneel, a sopho mi ire al (leiirgia lech. Achievements—I le is a member of the Na tional Academy) of Engineering, and a fellov, ol IEEE and the American Ceramic Society. He was an IBM fellow ai IBM Corporation, where he invented a numbei ol major technologies. He holds 21 U.S. Patents and 16 other inventions, He received the David Sarnoff Award from ll'.Plc Engineering Materials Award from ASM International, John Wagnon's technical achieve nienl award from the International Society for Hybrid Microelectronics and Friedberg's Memo rial Award from the American Ceramic Society. He is the recipient of the Best Paper Award and Sustained Technical Achievement Award from IEEE. He is co edit) ir of widely used microelei tionu s packaging handbooks. Leisure interests Tennis, skiing and

landscaping.

62

GEORGIA TECH • Winter 1995

United States re-establish itself as a worldwide leader in the electronics industry is one of the reasons Tummala left industry to come to Georgia Tech—that and the fact his youngest son had decided to attend Tech. "I said, 'If you're going, I'll go with you!' " Tummala recalls with a laugh. A fellow at IBM, Tummala had been with the firm for 25 years and had the freedom to work on whatever research projects interested him. He has 21 U.S. Patents and 46 other inventions and was instrumental in developing the industry's first multichip module. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. At IBM, he began his research on developing low-cost, highperformance compact electronics. A native of India, Tummala came to the United States 30 years ago. He received his bachelor of science in physics, chemistry and mathematics, master's in metallury, and PhD in ceramics from the University of Illinois. Twenty-five years ago, the United States produced two-thirds of the world's electronics, Tummala observes. Now, it produces only one-third. "If we don't make some fundamental

changes, it is clear to me that we will produce less than 10 percent of the world's electronics in less than two decades.' Tummala says. "If things go on, we will have a small fraction of the work force involved in the most important technology of all." Tummala's objectives for the Electronics Packaging Research Center are to carry out research, development and prototype manufacturing in low-cost, high-performance and portable electronic packages consistent with industry needs; to transfer this knowledge to industry; and to train leaders by educating students and industry personnel into globally competitive packaging engineers. His wants the facility to become the largest and most comprehensive center for low-cost electronics in the country. "Low-cost integrated packaging will revolutionize electronics in the 21st century similar to what integrated circuits did for transistors four decades ago," Tummala says. "When we are done, the equipment will be 10 times smaller, provide 10 times more performance, be 10 times cheaper, and contain one-tenth of the components," he says. "With the new vision,


GABY MEEK PHOTO

Dr. Rao Tummala wants to pioneer low-cost, high-performance, compactly packaged electronics to revitalize U.S. electronics. U.S. companies will have a technological weapon to compete across all segments of electronics." Tummala believes new electronics technology could capture 40 percent of the electronics market by 200 i. This market today represents $668 billion. The U.S. market share of S220 billion employs two million people in manulacturing and four million people in support. "If we raise our market share from 33 percent to 40 pel cent, we would double those employment numbers." he says. The l.ow-Cost Electronic Packaging Center received a $22 million National Science Founda-

tion award—$2 million a year for 11 years. The state of Georgia is matching the award with funds to complete center facilities, equipment and staffing. Thirty-five corporations in the electronics industry are also supporting the project. "We are talking about everything from electrons to systems and everything in between," Tummala says. Activities will include research, development and prototype manufacturing to serve the needs in consumer, computer, telecom and automotive industries. A major goal is to develop a combination mainframe computer,

telephone, facsimile ancl cellular video product into a single palm-sized device at a low price. To translate the center's vision into a useful prototype will require about 300 people—50 faculty involved through interdisciplinary programs, 200 graduate and undergraduate students, and about 50 researchers from industry. The center will be housed in the new Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology under construction and the existing Manufacturing and Microelectronics Research Centers on campus. "We want to start

changing all the paradigms as we move toward the goal of revolutionizing electronics," says Tummala. Universities should be more closely attuned to the needs of industry. "I'm talking about a cultural change for universities," he says. "For the most part, universities are on the sideline, educating students. We could do a lot more than that. "We at Tech hope to be the role model for what a university should be," he adds. "A university should work in partnership with industry to bring about needed technologies to make the country competitive." •

GEORGIA TECH • Profile: Tummala

63


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IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEBODY BROKE THE MOLD. In afield dornifiated by rubber-stamp thinking, Bank South offers a refreshing change. We're easier to deal with for one simple reason. We start by asking ourselves what would make things work betterforyou. Not betterfor us. Sounds obvious enough. But it has a huge impact. When we applied that idea to retail banking, it resulted in seven-day banking until 9 o'clock at night. Georgia's largest cash machine network. And a host of innovative products no other bank has had the imagination to offer. Now our relationship managers are focusing original thinking on everything from treasury management to corporate trust to commercial loans. With one goal. To make it easier for you to do your corporate banking. Beyond that we won't make you any promises. Becaufi we don't know what your unique needs - ^CORPORATE BANKING are. Yet. Call 404-529-4202, and let us design something original for you.

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Š1995 Bank South Corporation. Member FDIC.


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Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine Vol. 71, No. 03 1995  
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