Industrial engineering faculty receives a distinguished professorship


By Miranda Buckheit

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jose Ventura has been promoted to distinguished professor of industrial engineering at Penn State. His new appointment began Jan. 15.

Ventura received his doctoral degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Florida in 1986. He came to Penn State in 1989 after spending three years at the University of Missouri, Columbia as an assistant professor.

“I feel I have had a dream job since I was hired by Penn State for industrial engineering in 1989,” Ventura said. “Over the years, it has been a privilege working with my colleagues and former department heads, particularly Al Soyster and Ravi A. Ravindran, who motivated me to become a creative professor in my research and in the development of new courses and teaching materials for our outstanding students that would include not only the theoretical aspects of a subject, but also realistic examples and case studies to provide a solid foundation in model-building and problem-solving skills.”

He is currently a Dean’s Fellow and the chair of the operations research program at the University. Ventura oversees the program’s students and activities, such as the operations research colloquiums.

Ventura specializes in supply chain management, energy logistics and infrastructure development and traffic equilibrium in transportation networks. He has published 123 articles in professional journals such as Mathematical Programming, Management Science, Discrete Applied Mathematics and Energy Policy.

He received the David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) in 2018 and a Research Recognition Award from the Mexican Society of Operations Research in 2017. He is an IISE fellow and a former chair of the IISE Council of Fellows.

Ventura has advised 25 doctoral graduates. Many of his former students work in academia as tenure-track faculty members, the government as research staff or industry as operations research scientists for companies such as Amazon.

Ventura currently manages the Service Engineering and Applied Optimization Lab.

Ventura explained that working with top doctoral candidates, discussing research ideas with them and helping them reach their potential has been very rewarding and effective in improving the department’s research productivity.

In comparison, he noted that it’s not just about creating lesson plans for the undergraduate students.

“Concerning our undergraduate students, we must help them develop their skills and abilities, provide counseling, promote analytical thinking, assist them in their problem-solving abilities and ensure that they have a comfortable and positive learning environment,” he said.


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