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A Message from Q&P Chair, Theresa Utlaut

1 December 2013 203 views No Comment

It’s been an exciting and busy year for the Quality and Productivity Section. I would like to thank all the Q&P officers for their hard work and dedication to the section. They have made this year productive and a lot of fun. Here are some of my highlights for the year.

Celebrating Statistics

This year, the section set a goal of visiting at least 100 grade-school, high-school, or university classrooms to help promote the goals of Statistics 2013. Great progress is being made, and we predict we will be near the goal by the time this article is published.

There have been many people involved in this effort. A special thank you to the Q&P members who participated and those who offered to cover areas of the country if a request was made near them: to Allan Rossman and Mia Stephens (publications-designate), who worked to make this effort known to AP Statistics teachers; to Di Michelson (chair-elect) and Scott Wise (secretary), who served on the subcommittee that determined how Q&P would celebrate Statistics 2013; and to Bill Notz, the members of the Statistical Education Section, and others for helping with the classroom visits when the requests could not be filled by Q&P alone.

If you are interested in seeing the progress to the goal or posting your own classroom visit, visit the Q&P activities website.


At the Fall Technical Conference this year, it was announced that Q&P has established a new award that will recognize an individual who has significantly contributed to the quality and productivity of his/her organization over an extended period of time. It is called the Gerald J. Hahn Q&P Achievement Award, named after the first ASA Quality & Productivity chair, who exemplified these traits throughout his long and successful career. This new Q&P award would not have happened without the work of J.D. Williams (2011 chair), who diligently pioneered the establishment of this award. The requirements and details can be found on the Gerald J. Hahn Award website. The deadline for nominations is February 28.

As highlighted in the August issue of Amstat News, the section awarded two Mary G. and Joseph Natrella Scholarships during the 2013 Quality and Productivity Research Conference. Congratulations to Salah Haridy, a PhD candidate in the division of systems and engineering management at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and Matthew Plumlee, a PhD candidate in the department of industrial and systems engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The section awarded three $400 travel scholarships to help students enrolled in a graduate program with a concentration in applied statistics and/or quality management attend JSM. Congratulations to Caleb King of Virginia Tech, Arman Sabbaghi of Harvard University, and Wei Wang of Penn State. They were recognized at the joint Q&P/SPES mixer during JSM.


The Q&P/SPES webinar series had another successful year. There were three webinars this year:

  • Roger Hoerl, Ron Snee, and Dick De Veaux presented “Effective Data Mining: Applying Statistical Engineering to Big Data”
  • Bill Meeker presented “The Cautious Use of Bayesian Methods in Reliability Data Analyses”
  • Christine Anderson-Cook presented “Multiple Criteria Optimization Using Pareto Fronts”

Thank you to our speakers and to Ananda Jayawardhana, our webinar coordinator, for making these events so popular and valuable. We plan to have more webinars in 2014, so watch for announcements if you are looking for ways to improve your skills. If you have ideas for future offerings, please contact Jayawardhana at ananda@pittstate.edu.

Conferences in 2013

Willis Jensen (program chair) was busy this year planning the Q&P portions of the Joint Statistical Meetings and Fall Technical Conference programs.

This year, Q&P was the main sponsor of seven sessions at JSM, where topics included statistical process control, statistical engineering, measurement systems, and design of experiments.

One of my favorite conferences each year is the Fall Technical Conference. It is a much smaller conference than JSM and focused on applied problems. This year, there were three days of invited and contributed sessions, as well as four short courses. If you have never had the opportunity to attend, you should consider the 2014 conference that will be held in Richmond, Virginia.

In June, the Quality and Productivity Conference (QPRC) was hosted by GE Global Research and RPI with the theme “Extracting Knowledge from a Sea of Data.” This was well attended, and we received a lot of positive feedback from attendees. Thanks to Martha Gardner (Council of Sections representative) for all her work in organizing the conference.

New Website

Be sure to visit our new website! Jason Gilliken, Q&P webmaster, did an excellent job on the conversion. You can see the latest news and blogs and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. We would love all members to contribute to the site, so please don’t be shy.

Call for Papers: Joint Research Conference

The Joint Research Conference, which is a shared endeavor between the sponsors of QPRC and the Spring Research Conference, will take place in 2014. It will be held in Seattle, Washington, from June 24–26, 2014, on the University of Washington campus. The goal of the conference is to stimulate interdisciplinary research among statisticians, scientists, and engineers in quality and productivity, industrial needs, and the physical and engineering sciences. Statistical issues and research approaches drawn from collaborative research will be highlighted. The honored guest will be Douglas Hawkins from the University of Minnesota. Additionally, a short course on Bayesian statistical process control by Panagiotis Tsiamyrtzis will be offered before the conference.

If interested in presenting at the conference, submit title, authors, and a short abstract to Christina Mastrangelo at mastr@u.washington.edu. The deadline for abstract submission is March 1, 2014.

Call for Papers: Fall Technical Conference

We invite you to submit papers for presentation at the 58th Fall Technical Conference from October 2–3, 2014, in Richmond, Virginia. The Fall Technical Conference is a forum for both statistics and quality and is co-sponsored by the American Society for Quality (Chemical and Process Industries Division and Statistics Division) and the American Statistical Association (Section on Physical and Engineering Sciences and Section on Quality and Productivity). The goal of this conference is to engage researchers and practitioners in a dialogue that leads to more effective use of statistics to improve quality and foster innovation.

If you are interested in presenting an applied or expository paper in any of three parallel sessions (statistics, quality control, or tutorial/case studies), contact Flor Castillo at fcastillo@americas.sabic.com, Eduardo Santiago at ESantiago@minitab.com, Zhen Wang at Zhen.Wang@lubrizol.com, or Ming Li at mli@alumni.iastate.edu. Work should be strongly justified by application to a problem in engineering, manufacturing, Big Data, process/chemical industry, physical sciences, or a service industry. The mathematical level of the papers may range from basic to that of the Journal of Quality Technology or Technometrics. Please note which level of audience is targeted (introductory, intermediate, or advanced) so the committee can assign papers appropriately and plan a balanced program.

The program committee welcomes any suggestions for special session topics or speakers. If you have ideas, contact one of the program committee members. The abstract submission deadline is February 26, 2014.

Special Thanks

There were many who helped make 2013 a great year for Q&P. I would like to recognize the Q&P officers for their hard work and dedication to the section:

  • Don McCormack, Past Chair
  • Di Michelson, Chair-Elect
  • Willis Jensen, Program Chair
  • Ming Li, Program Chair-Elect
  • Sharad Prabhu, Treasurer
  • Scott Wise, Secretary
  • Martha Gardner, COS Representative
  • Sarah Kalicin, Publications
  • Jason Gilliken, Webmaster
  • Ananda Jayawardhana, Webinars
  • Phil Ramsey, Senior Newsletter Editor
  • Harold Dyck, Associate Newsletter Editor
  • Rachel Silvestrini, Continuing Education
  • Paul Tobias, Fellow Coordinator
  • Jeff Hooper, QPRC Steering Committee
  • Will Guthrie, Natrella Scholarship
  • Marcus Perry, FTC Steering Committee
  • Barbara Wendelberger, FTC Publicity Chair

I would like to welcome the incoming officers and wish them luck:

  • David Edwards, Chair-Elect
  • Alix Robertson, Program Chair-Elect
  • Kurt Johnson, Treasurer
  • Mia Stephens, Publications

If you are interested in getting involved in the Q&P Section, contact Di Michelson at Di.Michelson@sas.com.

Thank you for a great 2013. I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2014!

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