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Upcoming Volunteering Event

TABLE OF CONTENTS Meeting Announcements


Alumni Feature


President’s Message


Chapter Activity Report


Student Corner


Member Activity Report


Professional Development Article


Membership Activity Report



YFS Volunteer 11:45-4pm

10 Apr

Tentatively scheduled IIE Meeting Guest Speaker: Nick Case

11 Apr

Tentatively scheduled Game Night 6pm-9pm Potluck style!

IIE is volunteering at Kids Fair on Sunday, April 6! If you’re interested in volunteering, please let us know as soon as possible! Our shift will be from 1145-4pm. Contact us at to volunteer!

Alumni Feature: Justin Tomac Hi, my name is Justin Tomac. I obtained my BSIE and passed my EIT while at Tech in 1993. As some of you history buffs may be aware, this was in the early years of the IE department’s existence. Being a life-long learner, I obtained a MS Engineering Management from Wichita State University in 1998 while working for Bombardier-Learjet and attending night school. Of special note here is that I have degrees from two schools in the Top Ten of most unique mascots (i.e. Hardrockers & WuShockers). Over the past 20 years, I have worked for seven different companies, mainly within individual contributor roles related to engineering and specifically Lean. A few years back I began to wonder what I should be when I grew up, so I applied PDCA Problem Solving to my Career. I considered using the Six Sigma methodologies learned along the way (btw, I am a General Electric CSSGB (DMADV) & CSSBB (DMAIC)) and determined it would not be a good fit for this type of problem.




Continuation, Alumni Corner: Justin Tomac The countermeasures I developed led me to experiment with a Line Manager role, after successfully advocating within Hallmark Cards, which I have been with for over the last 6 years, my experiment was approved. The experiment has been a success, so much of a success that within the first year I was promoted to my current position at another facility where we make the Giftwrap and Party Supplies (i.e. cups, plates & napkins). The current role has all of the technical staff of the facility reporting to me, i.e. all the engineers, EHS, Quality, Maintenance & Facility teams. The best part of the last two roles I have had is that I am Elevating Business Performance through Developing People. This was the outcome of my Career Kaizen. A key tip I learned was to build off of my natural passions and strengths to make myself indispensable at the companies I have worked for. This would be my advice for aspiring and experienced engineers….find things you are passionate about and recognize the strengths that come naturally to you, figure out how to build off of the two of these and incorporate them into your life as well as career. Feel free to check out my LinkedIn profile at

President’s Message Hello Industrial Engineers and Friends, I hope everyone had an awesome time at the 2014 Regional Conference! I’d like to firstly give a big shout-out to the Senior Design Conference Committee for organizing this event, as well as to everybody else from our SDSMT chapter who helped out. None of this could have been possible without all of our dedicated students and volunteers – you guys are the reason why our organization continues to strive and grow! As we enter the month of April, our IIE chapter is beginning to prepare for the transition into the 2014-2015 academic year. Our members have spoken, and we have a new slate of officers ready to lead this organization forward. Congratulations to returning officers Jeff Wientjes and Abby Salkowski, as well as to our new officers: Kelsey Barth, Laura Case, Becca Dressler, Blaze Galles, and Anna Hanson. It’s an exciting time to be an IIE member with such a strong core of members ready to push this organization toward its goals of professional development and fellowship! In the meantime, we have some exciting events coming up this month. A group of students will be representing the School of Mines at the Kids Fair on April 6 through a joint community service event with several other clubs on campus. Additionally, plans for another Game Night are currently in development, as well as an outdoor activity such as disc golf or volleyball. Let us know what types of events you’d like to do this month, or if you have any suggestions about other activities in general, by emailing us at Thanks again to everyone who’s been active within our organization this semester! Our officers have worked long and hard to revitalize our chapter, and it has been very rewarding to watch all of you take part in our efforts. It’s been a pleasure serving as your president, and I look forward to all of the events coming up in the final half of the term! Benjamin Johnson, IIE President




Chapter Activity Regional Report Conference Chapter Activity Report—IIE Welcome back from spring break everyone! Before spring break commenced, we hosted the IIE Regional Conference at the Hotel Alex Johnson, and concluded the event at Mount Rushmore! Over 40 SDSMT students participated in the IIE Regional conference, as well as students from Iowa State University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Montana State University, North Dakota State University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana, University of Iowa, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, University of Wisconsin Madison, & University of Wisconsin Platteville, totaling to about 200 collegiates! For those that missed it, the conference hosted events such as plants tours through the local concrete plants, RPM, Nasch Finch, and the Rapid City Regional Hospital. At the hospital, they had recently conducted a big Kaizen event on their Inventory Control in their ER rooms, as well as scheduling concerns for all of their ER rooms. It was a great learning experience, especially to see first hand local examples of Industrial Engineers perform in an nonmanufacturing environment! Breakout sessions included speakers from within our organization to include Dan Thurry, as well as a brother and sister duo, Anna Boyd and Ben Molloman, both IE graduates from SDSMT. They both spoke about how to be well rounded in the work place and in your personal life for overall success. The tractor competition was a big highlight of the conference, with the first event of this nature being held at a collegiate level IIE conference. It involved learning kaizen and manufacturing, and inspired teamwork, as it was essential for success. The challengers were also given ADA disabilities to get the students to think about designing work for all people with a variety of abilities.

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From Top to Bottom: Jessica Shull, Krista Showalter, Megan Rohrer and McKenzie Becker; photo from Hospital Kaizen Event; Anna Boyd and Ben Molloman.




Chapter Activity Report Continued Several other events were scheduled for the conference weekend to include bowling, human foosball, and painting in art alley! The Banquet, held at Mount Rushmore, was a great event! The final tractor competition was completed there with all four team members having a different ADA disability. All in all, the conference was a great experience, providing opportunities for comradeship, professional development, and fun. A special thanks to Senior Design team for contributing to the success of the conference: Terry Nguyen, Zach Boyd, Cassie Kulesa, Ryan Erhardt, Dylan McLellan, and Joel Niesche!

Student Corner: Zachary Boyd I’m Zachary Boyd, a senior in Industrial Engineering & Engineering Management, seeking Minor in Occupational Safety, Six Sigma Green Belt, and Certificate in Technology Innovation. I worked for Cloud Peak Energy Resources at the Antelope Mine about an hour South of Gillette, WY, as a Health & Safety Intern. It was a different experience from other internships that I had had; I had to fill in for the full time H&S Assistant and that meant that many safety issues went directly through me, including issuing work boot vouchers, accompanying the MSHA inspector, and ensuring that safety issues were fixed by the appropriate managers. Other than my daily duties as the H&S Assistant, my project was to locate and inspect every fire extinguisher onsite. Each extinguisher had to be hydrostatic tested had to be in a working condition. Every extinguisher I found that needed replacing, I would replace it. Keep in mind that every haul truck had two extinguishers on them and a shovel had about 6. There was at least 700 extinguishers onsite, and I had found about 72% needed repair by the time I left. I really enjoyed the small company feel the Cloud Peak offered. I knew just about everybody in the shop area and many who worked in the pit. I was able to work with a vast array of different personalities, which is a very good perk to being in H&S. My advice is to not be afraid to take an internship because you think you don’t know anything. That company knows that you are there to learn and will help you the best they can!




Member Activity Report It has been an exciting time for many junior and senior IIE members! A big congratulations are in order to the following IIE Members: Anne Christensen for entering into the Leadership Hall of fame, as well as being nominated as the Outstanding Student Organization Member for Circle-K; Benjamin Johnson for entering the Leadership Hall of Fame; Kristy Rennick for being nominated Outstanding Student Organization Member for IIE; and Laura Case for earning a $5000 L-3/Space Grant Scholarship! If you have an achievement you would like featured in the next newsletter, please forward the accomplishment to! From left to right, top to bottom: Anne Christensen, Benjamin Johnson, Kristy Rennick, and Laura Case.

Professional Development: Making the Most of a Career Fair My name is Cody Kopriva, and I am in my final semester as an Industrial Engineering student. I volunteered to write this professional development piece because I learned a valuable piece of information from my boss on my last Co-Op. At Polaris in Vermillion, I had the chance to work under a great Industrial Engineering graduate from SDSMT, and he gave me many pointers that I will remember for the rest of my career. In particular, I’d like to bring up the first piece of advice I was given on my internship... “Don’t be THAT guy.” Often times, I like to make jokes during meetings or when I first meet people. This can be a good thing, as well as a bad thing… especially when I was just starting out, it is hard to know how people will take the jokes, if they will be offended or even if they think you are just a snobby college kid… this means that in my career, I don’t want to be known as the person that jokes around about their work. Part of being a professional is being able to know your audience, and how to use that knowledge for your benefit. After working at Polaris for several months, I began to understand my co-workers, and the times that jokes are appropriate and also how to work more efficiently with each co-worker. This piece of advice affected me in other ways as well. From the clothes I wore to work, to taking notes at meetings, and even showing up early to work, people make opinions of you from the second they first meet you, and it is up to you to make sure your impression is what you want it to be. It is hard to achieve your ambitions as an engineer if you are only known as the guy that shows up late or the guy with a potty mouth; but by proactively taking charge of your own development, you can make sure your ambitions are achieved.





Membership Report The SDSM&T IIE Chapter would like to personally welcome the following 9 new IIE recruits, bringing us to 55 members for this year! We would like to thank you both for your interest and participation in the events of the chapter; it is a great opportunity to network with peers and develop your professional skills. Take some time to look into the chapter events and look for opportunities to help out your fellow students and organization, as it is a great chance for personal growth and to gain valuable leaderships skills! If there are any questions about where or how to sign up, contact Cody Kopriva at for further information.

Top row: Megan Rohrer, Kelsey Hibl, Kara Togel. Middle Row: Rebecca Dressler, Jesse Wilkins, Thomas Petree. Bottom Row: Ailia Krause. Not pictured: Drew Hanson, Jennifer Zeise



IIE April Newsletter  
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