Don Taylor earns prestigious award for career contributions to industrial, systems engineering
G. Don Taylor, executive vice provost and Charles O. Gordon Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, has earned the Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Industrial Engineering Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), the world's largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the profession.
The award is the highest and most esteemed honor bestowed by IISE and recognizes those who have distinguished themselves through contributions to the welfare of humans in the field of industrial engineering. Honorees also have represented industrial engineering to the public and the profession in three of the following five areas: publications, public relations, interdisciplinary activity, humanitarian service, and service to IISE. The impacts of these contributions are deemed to be of the highest caliber and are nationally or internationally recognized.
Taylor received the Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Industrial Engineering Award during IISE’s Annual Conference and Expo in New Orleans in May.
“It is an honor just to be associated with the outstanding industrial and systems engineering community that is so well represented in IISE, and even more of an honor to be counted among the outstanding, innovative, and trailblazing women and men of my profession that have earned this award before me,” said Taylor.
A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2004, Taylor’s scholarship has focused on the simulation and optimization of complex systems and the logistics of material flow and freight transportation. While leading the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering from 2004-16, the department twice received a University Exemplary Department Award: in 2007 for the development and execution of innovative and effective approaches to advising its undergraduate and graduate students and again in 2012 for effectively linking assessment with instruction in order to improve student learning.
“Don is an outstanding academician, researcher, and leader whose contributions to the field of industrial and systems engineering are worthy of this prestigious award,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. “His dedication to engineering education and the success of Virginia Tech students and faculty has helped position our university to positively impact the lives of others and serve a global community. I congratulate Don on this achievement and the well-deserved recognition he has earned.”
From 2016-17, Taylor served as interim dean of the College of Engineering. He also served as vice provost for learning systems innovation and effectiveness from 2017-19, and interim vice president for research and innovation from 2019-20. Before coming to Virginia Tech, Taylor held the Mary Lee and George F. Duthie Endowed Chair in Engineering Logistics and was the director of the Center for Engineering Logistics and Distribution at the University of Louisville.
In addition to serving as a fellow and president emeritus of IISE, Taylor chairs the board of IISE Solutions Inc. and is also a fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Science. He received his bachelor's and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.
“I always had aspirations to lead to the best of my ability, and I certainly wanted to make a real difference with my life’s work,” Taylor said during a recent podcast with IISE. “But I think really this is an honor that goes well beyond my wildest expectations. And I think the fact that it was named for the founders of our profession, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, makes it even more memorable and more special.”