College of EngineeringDepartment of Industrial and Systems EngineeringAlumniISE Alumni Council

The ISE Alumni Council was formed in 2000 with the purpose to act as the primary source for both alumni and industry to provide input to the activities and plans of the ISE Department. Learn more about the structure and roles of the Alumni Council here.

 

Charles Mitchell Headshot

Charles Mitchell, ’04, ’06

Charles Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University in 2004, and a master’s degree in 2006.

Mitchell is a retired operations executive and lives in Melbourne, Fla. Throughout his career, Mitchell also held titles of director of operations, vice president of operations, and chief operating officer.

“My experience was 100 percent military and aerospace products - manufacturing, repairing and distribution,” explained Mitchell.

Mitchell added that his career highlight was being part of a leadership team that tripled a company’s top line performance in three years while improving customer satisfaction (i.e. product quality and on-time delivery). Mitchell said that he feels the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering prepared him well in his ability to effectively and pragmatically solve problems throughout his career.

Being a member of the Alumni Council offers Mitchell the opportunity to give back to his alma mater while sharing his knowledge of industry and leadership protocols.

Meeting his wife in his freshman year physics class is Mitchell’s favorite Auburn memory, as well as classes taught by Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Emeritus Saeed Maghsoodloo.

“He was a no B.S. type of person,” Mitchell shared. “I loved it.”

Mitchell has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2017.

 

 

Jack Ogutu Headshot

Jack Ogutu, ’13

Jack Ogutu earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nairobi in 2004 and a Doctor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University in 2013.

Ogutu currently lives in Lancaster, Pa., and is an associate professor and occupational safety & environmental health program coordinator in the Department of Applied Engineering Safety & Technology at Millersville University.

“Being appointed the program coordinator for the Occupational Safety & Environmental Health Program at Millersville was a major career highlight for me,” Ogutu shared. “I had only been with the department for about three years by the time of my appointment.”

Ogutu said the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Occupational Safety, Ergonomics, and Injury Prevention program were instrumental in his preparation for a faculty position.

“Having had the opportunity to work as both a teaching assistant and a research assistant helped prepare me as an instructor and a researcher,” Ogutu said. “I had the opportunity of working closely with or under the supervision of some of the best faculty the ISE department had.”

Ogutu decided to join the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council as a small way of giving back and sharing his time and expertise with the department.  

“I am sure my input, however small, will be valuable to the OSE program faculty and students in particular,” he said.

Ogutu has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2021.

 

 

Sarah Moore Headshot

Sarah Moore, ’18, ’20

Sarah Moore earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University in 2018, an Occupational Safety and Ergonomics Graduate Certificate in 2019, and a Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2020. 

Moore currently lives in Huntsville, Ala., and is a software systems engineer for Dynetics, Inc., supporting one of the company’s defense contracts for unmanned aerial vehicles. Her job duties include simulation, verification, testing and documentation.

“I have had, by far, one of the shorter career tenures to my peers on the council, but I have been lucky enough to work on several amazing projects in my short time including designing interfaces for the Lunar Gateway Habitat, ensuring usability on the International Space Station, and risk management for the Dynetics Human Landing System,” Moore said.

Moore added that she feels her degree in industrial and systems engineering prepared her well for her career.

“ISE is a versatile major that applies to so many fields; professional and personal,” she said. “For anyone searching for the ‘right major,’ if they enjoy math and problem-solving, I would encourage them to check out industrial and systems engineering. With an ISE degree you can move into any industry to follow your passions.”

Moore said she has many special memories from her time as a student at Auburn, her favorite being when her husband proposed to her on Samford Lawn. She decided to join the Alumni Council because her time at Auburn was so special.

“I wanted to be able to give back to the program that gave me so much, and not just in a monetary manner,” she said. “Being able to use my knowledge and skills to continuously improve the ISE department seemed like the right choice.”

Moore has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2021.

 

 

Vergenia Shelton Headshot

Vergenia Shelton, ’96

Vergenia Shelton earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University in 1996 and also holds a Master’s of Engineering Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Shelton currently lives in Scottsboro, Ala., and is the president of Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation ( INTUITIVE).

“As president of INTUITIVE, I am responsible for the daily operation and improvement of all areas within the company,” Shelton said. “I lead the company’s efforts in formulating and implementing the strategic plan. It is my role as president to lead the organization by creating, communicating and implementing the company’s vision, mission and overall direction. This includes working closely with executives to new hires and everyone in-between.”

Under Shelton’s leadership, INTUITIVE has been continuously named a “Great Place to Work” at the national level. Shelton’s additional career highlights include assisting with opening the INTUITIVE Planetarium at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville in 2019, and she was one of 25 women to be selected for the 2020 Class of Women Who Shape the State conducted by This is Alabama.

Shelton said the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering provided her with a strong engineering foundation.

“Throughout my career, I have worked in many different areas including manufacturing, product design and development, analysis, and all aspects of business,” she said. “I believe the ISE program provides future engineers with the engineering fundamentals needed to expand and grow their careers across many different industries.”

Shelton chose to join the Alumni Council because she believes staying in touch with one’s alma mater is important and she wanted to give back to ISE and help students.

“Whether through scholarship fundraising, activity support or mentorship, the Alumni Council has allowed me to help shape the future for our incoming students,” explained Shelton. “Through the Alumni Council, I have been able to develop connections and stay up to date on changes and activities within the Auburn University system. As an alumni member, I have been able to expand my professional network, which can be advantageous when looking to partner with other companies or recruit new talent for our company. Lastly, I joined the Alumni Council because I am proud of the education I received at Auburn University. It’s important to keep the pride alive.”

Shelton added that one of her favorite Auburn memories was when the Auburn Tigers went 11-0 in the 1993 football season. She has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2021.

 

 

Dan Traynor Headshot

Dan Traynor, ’78

Alumni Council Chair

Dan Traynor earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, with the computer science option, from Auburn University in 1978.

Traynor retired as vice president and chief information officer from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 2015. Highlights of his career as CIO included an organizational transformation aimed at improving the operational performance, asset condition, and business alignment of the information technology function.

Driven primarily by the success of the transformation, Traynor was recognized by Computerworld Magazine as a Premier 100 IT Leader for 2012 and was also named the 2012 Outstanding Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumnus by Auburn University.

Upon retiring from TVA, Traynor and his wife, Mical, sold their home in Chattanooga and bought homes in Auburn and Panama City Beach, Fla. They enjoy the beach as often as they can, while primarily residing in Auburn’s Grove Hill Subdivision.

When Traynor came to Auburn in 2012 to accept the Outstanding ISE Alumnus award, he spent time with engineering and ISE department officials. He said during this time he realized that his personal success was due in large part to the foundation built while at Auburn University.

“I resolved to give back, and late in 2013 my wife and I established the Traynor Family Endowed Scholarship, which was awarded for the first time in 2014,” Traynor said. “In 2015, I was invited by Jorge Valenzuela to become a member of the ISE Alumni Council. Seeing it as another opportunity to give back to Auburn, I enthusiastically accepted and have been serving on the council since.”

One of the reasons Traynor remembers his time at Auburn so fondly is that it is the place where he met his wife.

“During my senior year at Auburn, I worked part-time in the L-Building computer center, where struggling students would often ask me to help debug their coursework programs,” Traynor explained. “Mical would sometimes drop by to chat and pass the time. The L-Building was demolished a few years ago to make way for the Brown-Koppel Engineering Student Achievement Center. One casualty of that project was a little park bench where I first told Mical I loved her. The bench may be gone, but the memory of that special moment endures.”

 Traynor has been a memmber of the Industrial and Systems Alumni Council since 2015.

 

 

Nancy Bissinger Headshot

Nancy Bissinger, ’73, ’10, ’15

Nancy Bissinger earned a bachelor’s degree in math from Auburn University in 1973. When she made the decision to begin graduate school, Bissinger chose to pursue a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering.

Throughout the next four years, Bissinger experienced some life changes and left Auburn. When she left the graduate program, she had completed all of her graduate studies except her thesis.

“In 2009 I decided to fulfill a lifetime goal to finish the degree,” explained Bissinger. “It meant a lot to me that the industrial engineering department and the graduate school were willing to work with me to reach that goal.”

Bissinger went on to earn a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering in 2015.

Following graduation, Bissinger held a part-time post-doc position in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) until 2018. She prepared proposal documentation for the Master of Engineering Management degree program, produced the annual newsletter, and chaperoned a summer abroad trip.

Bissinger has retired from several different careers related to the field of technology since earning her first Auburn degree in 1973. She currently owns the company Electrical Sales Corporation. Her son, Brandon (’07), runs the day-to-day operations. The family business operates in the New Orleans area and specializes in telecommunications.

Bissinger is also the owner of a timber farm, with educational help from the forestry department at Auburn. She spends her time between Poplarville, Miss., and New Orleans, La.

During her time working with ISE through her post-doc position, Bissinger became more familiar with the department, met faculty, and learned about the role of the Alumni Council. This experience encouraged her to join the council.

“Watching them in action that spring was an inspiration to me,” she said. “I am always looking for a way to stay involved with Auburn and help to make the department more successful.”

A favorite Auburn memory for Bissinger is meeting her future husband on campus in 1974.

“I met my late husband in 1974 walking to class between Dunstan Hall and the shop buildings, where I taught Fortran,” she said.

Bissinger joined the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council in 2021.

 

 

Beth DeMaioribus Monroe Headshot

Beth DeMaioribus Monroe, ’04

Beth Monroe earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University in 2004.

Monroe spent 15 years of her career as an industrial and systems engineer for Disney Parks & Resorts, which included contributions to the design of Shanghai Disneyland. Additional highlights of her career include contributions to the September 11th Memorial Museum in New York and capital investment decision support across the international portfolio.

Monroe has been the owner/operator of Chick-fil-A in Huntsville, Ala., since March 2019. She was named “Rookie of the Year” for 2020, is a member of the Pricing Committee Operator Panel, and was the recent sales contest winner for biggest increase in mobile sales.

She said that her education through the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering has served her well throughout both of her careers.

“In both of my careers, I've used the ISE principles applied in a service environment,” Monroe said. “The way we were taught to think, and problem solve, has helped me to stand out and be successful.”

Some of her favorite memories from her time as a student at Auburn include being a member of War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen for two years, as well as late-night study groups with Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Saeed Maghsoodloo.

“Dr. Maghsoodloo would buy us mocha shakes from Arby’s to give us a caffeine kick,” remembered Monroe. “It was like his way of saying, keep going!”

Monroe joined an Alumni Council meeting as a student representative while at Auburn and the experience encouraged her to join the council as an alumna.

“I was grateful to have an outlet to express ideas and frustrations and get real world guidance,” she shared. “I wanted to be part of that for the next generation.”

Monroe has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni council since 2015.

 

 

Mason Gaston Headshot

Mason Gaston, ’95

Mason Gaston earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, along with a minor in business, from Auburn University in 1995. He later went on to earn a Master of Science in Government Information Leadership from National Defense University in 2011.

Gaston has had a varied career in both industry and government.  He has  worked in various roles for Lockheed Martin's Pike County Operations ultimately leading their continuous improvement efforts serving as the Lean/Six Sigma Manager.  Gaston worked as an engineer for the United States Air Force for 15 years. Throughout that time, Gaston served as the chief architect for the Electronic Systems Center and as course director for Air University’s Eaker Center for Professional Development located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. As course director, Gaston led the planning, curriculum development, faculty development, and instruction of the Air Force’s Continuous Process Improvement Blackbelt and Senior Leader Courses. These courses provided students with the knowledge required to implement an overarching Air Force-wide methodology of continuous process improvement.

Gaston currently lives in Auburn and works as a senior model based systems engineer supporting digital engineering initiatives on a variety of Air Force, Army and Navy programs. He joined the Alumni Council as a way to give back to the university.

Gaston looks back fondly on his time as a student at Auburn, especially the 1993 football season, and said he is appreciative of his education through the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“ISE provided me with the foundation and problem-solving skills to be successful in multiple career paths,” he said. “I look forward to working with the council.”

Gaston joined the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council in 2021.

 

 

Ashley Pearce Headshot

Ashley Pearce, ’11

Ashley Pearce graduated from Auburn University with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and political science in 2009 and went on to earn a Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering, with a focus in occupational safety, ergonomics and human factors, in 2011.

Pearce is currently the Safety & Health Assistant Manager at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing in Madison, Ala. Through her role, Pearce manages a team of five safety specialists and one medical specialist.

“We lead our company’s safety management system, which covers OSHA requirements, safety training, engagement, and program implementation, incident investigation and countermeasures, and proactive risk reduction activities,” Pearce said. “We also manage the on-site health & wellness center, a third-party medical provider that team members can see for both personal and work-related care, and a team of early intervention specialists, many of which are athletic trainers or degrees in biology or physiology and provide ergonomic assessments, posture coaching, work conditioning, and other musculoskeletal care for manufacturing team members.”

Prior to Mazda Toyota, Pearce worked for the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina at North Carolina State University and at Yamaha in Newnan, Ga. Through both experiences she developed a love of manufacturing.

“The manufacturing environment built on teamwork, problem solving, and employee empowerment and development, all towards a common goal creates opportunities for people to truly be the best that they can be.,” Pearce said. “I have been blessed to work in such environments, and now to be a part of building it at a brand-new company.”

Pearce said her education through the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering opened doors she didn’t know existed.

“I always knew I would be an industrial engineer when I grew up, but before I started in Auburn’s ISE program, I didn’t know what that really meant,” she said. “My ISE program took that general idea and gave me a better understanding of what it meant, introduced me to the field of occupational safety and ergonomics, then turned it into a goal I could work toward.”

Pearce remembers her time at Auburn fondly, from the excitement of running through the Jordan-Hare Stadium tunnel onto the field for pre-game as part of the Auburn University Marching Band, to her first ISE graduate class.

“After leaving that first class, I knew that this is what I am supposed to be doing and is where I needed to be to find my career,” she remembered. “There’s not much that compares to knowing that you’re in the right place, at the right time, and doing the right thing.” 

Pearce decided to be involved with the Alumni Council as a wait to maintain involvement with Auburn University and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“I’m grateful to be able to return to Auburn and continue to be a part of the Auburn University story,” she said. During my career, I’ve been in the position to hire three engineers/specialists, I’ve also worked with about six to eight co-op students. I hope to be able to share any insight I can as a hiring manager and also as a practitioner to help develop programs that will give Auburn engineers the best opportunities and advantages after graduation.” 

Pearce has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2021.

 

 

Debbie Flint Headshot

Debbie Flint, ’85

Chair Elect

Deborah Flint graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree in 1985.

Flint, a resident of Hoover, Ala., spent 25 years of her career in various engineering roles at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Hospital. She also spent time working as the business manager in the radiology department before retiring in 2010. Soon after retirement, Flint took a position in the ambulatory side of UAB Medicine.

“In 2012 we created the Performance Engineering Department at The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital,” Flint explained. “Services since then have grown to provide industrial and systems engineering services for UAB Medicine ambulatory clinics and departments throughout the state of Alabama.”

Flint is the senior director of performance engineering for UAB Medicine Ambulatory Services. Her duties include leading a team of industrial and systems engineers to improve efficiency, throughput and resource utilization for ambulatory clinics and departments of UAB Medicine.

Her team has been an important resource to the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our performance engineering team assisted leadership with multiple COVID related projects,” Flint said. “Some of the projects included performing computer simulations to design multiple mass vaccination sites on-site and in the neighboring communities, and projects aimed at streamlining workflow to maximize capacity for monoclonal antibody infusion sites.”

Flint said her education through the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering provided her with the skills and knowledge that she has applied in the healthcare industry for 35 years.

“In addition, ISE helped me develop invaluable life skills such as perseverance, teamwork, camaraderie, flexibility and time management,” she added. “I learned the value of relationships and have been fortunate to maintain long lasting friendships that began at Auburn!”

In 2020, Flint was awarded the Auburn University Industrial and Systems Engineering Outstanding Alumni Award. She decided to be a member of the Alumni Council because Auburn provided her with not only a wonderful education, but an incredible college experience. Some of those experiences include attending sorority functions and football games with the man that is now her husband and meeting Bo Jackson and Lionel “Little Train” James at a fraternity party.

“They were kind enough to give out autographs to all that asked them,” she remembered. “Ironically, my sons later named our two orange tabby cats ‘Bo’ and ‘Little Train.’

Flint has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2017.

 

 

Lester Killebrew Headshot

Lester Killebrew, ’68

Lester Killebrew earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Auburn University in 1968. He currently lives in Abbeville, Ala., and is the chairman of SunSouth-Deere and CCS Technology Center and is on the board of directors for Federated Insurance.

Killebrew was also the CEO of Henry Farm Center, Inc. for 50 years and CEO of CCS Technology & ValCom Business Centers for 36 years. He lists career highlights as founding a John Deere dealership in 1969 and becoming chairman of SunSouth, LLC with 21 locations in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Killebrew said there is hardly a day that goes by that he doesn’t use a skill he learned in the Auburn University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE).

“ISE gave me a great background for problem-solving and handling both large and small projects,” he said. “There is so much that I continue to use that is helping our company become more productive and efficient.”

Favorite memories of his time as a student at Auburn University center around long nights working with fellow students, studying, and working on projects.

“We developed friendships that have lasted my entire life,” Killebrew said.

Killebrew joined the Alumni Council because he received so much from Auburn and ISE that he feels he wants to give something back.

“Hopefully I can play a small part in helping our current students learn things that will help them throughout their lives,” he said.

Killebrew has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Alumni Council since 2015.

 

 

Margaret Haack Headshot

Margaret Haack, ’83

Margaret Haack earned a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree from Auburn University in 1983. She earned a Master of Science in program management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., in 2002.

Haack began a career as a civilian engineer with the Department of Defense in Huntsville, Ala., soon after graduation and her 36-year career supported both the U.S. Army and the Missile Defense Agency.

“I attended Auburn before the ‘S’ was in the IE Department,” Haack said. “But even so, the beginnings of systems methodology were there, without the actual processes defined. My career took me on the path of systems engineering and program management. My Auburn education was very foundational for that career. Different teachings by various professors really pointed me to understanding the big picture of issues and what really matters.”

Prior to retirement from civil service, Haack served as the director of the Missile Defense Career Development Program (MDCDP). In this position, she was responsible for the recruitment, selection and training for a select group of new employees. Prior to this position, Haack served in various positions showcasing her ability as a systems engineer, test and evaluation engineer, project director, Pentagon action officer, engineering division lead, engineering supervisor, deputy product manager, and deputy chief engineer in various program management offices within the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Army Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.

Haack was a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps and held Level III Acquisition Certifications in systems engineering, test and evaluation, and program management. Recognition during her career included numerous letters of commendation, U.S. Army Board-selection to the Naval Postgraduate School, the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award and medal, and the Missile Defense Agency Exceptional Civilian Service Award and medal.

In addition to serving on the Alumni Council, Haack is a member of Alpha Pi Mu and 100+ Women Strong. She and her husband, Robert, a 1983 electrical engineering graduate, have been married for 38 years. They are avid Auburn supporters and members of the Ginn Society and Keystone Society, as well as the Auburn University 1856 and Foy Societies. They have two daughters, Allison, a 2009 ISE graduate, and Jessica Haack, a 2012 materials engineering graduate, and three grandchildren.

Haack said her last career assignment focusing on mentoring young employees inspired her to join the Alumni Council.

“I saw the opportunity to serve on the ISE Alumni Council as yet another chance to give back to Auburn and the department that got me and my oldest daughter started on our careers and hopefully provide some guidance to students as I could,” she said. “There is nothing better than being in that position to pass it forward.” 

Haack has been a member of the Industrial and Systems Alumni Council since 2015.

 

Danita Billing Headshot

Danita Billing, ’91

 

Greg Blanks Headshot

Greg Blanks, ’82

 

K.C. Hairston Headshot

K.C. Hairston, ’98

 

Sharon Hickman Headshot

Sharon Hickman, ’92

 

Carl Register Headshot

Carl Register, ’63

 

Ken Ringer Headshot

Ken Ringer, ’59

Amy Slovacek Headshot

Amy Slovacek, ’07