Networking Opportunities in Knoxville

15 Aug 2018 9:00 AM | Anonymous
By Patrick Kush, ASEM Membership Director

The Knoxville stop on the ASEM Summer Promotion Tour was initiated by an invitation from the local chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Mark Swietoniewski invited me to participate in a collaboration effort with ASEM over the next academic year. Trish Simo Kush (ASEM Communications and Associate Executive Director) and ASEM Fellow Dr. Harold Conner attended the August meeting open to an exciting exchange of ideas. The discussions were productive and many ideas were covered. One of the valuable aspects of ASEM is the network of professional and academic members. We left the meeting contemplating how we could grow all our visions; thank you for your invitation!

The next day Trish and I visited ASEM member Rod Grubb at the 4M headquarters Rod played a number of valuable roles with ASEM in the past and we wanted to drop in on him while we were in Knoxville. During the tour of the facilities, Rod was clearly proud in the success of his company and the fascinating developments in the future for carbon fiber. Afterwards, we were introduced to Rob Klawonn and Mike Agentis who were also excited about the advances. Each conversation circled back to engineering management and networking.

Over the two-day visit, Dr. Conner and Rita Gray coordinated visits for us on the beautiful campus of the University of Tennessee. We visited with Dr. Eric Boder, Dr. Gabriel Goenaga and Dr. John Kobza to discuss the value of ASEM to their students as they [the students] move into a future management role. With many students attending through distance courses, a conversation in developing a virtual student chapter was a focus. Dr. James Simonton also helped to develop a vision statement to guide the next steps. It will be exciting to see the University of Tennessee as part of the ASEM family.

Dr. Harold Conner was instrumental in putting all the parts together to make the trip a success. It was evident by our conversations that Dr. Conner has strong beliefs in engineering management and he appreciates the role that networking plays throughout the career of an engineering manager. This was demonstrated through his connections with multiple professional societies and with the University of Tennessee. ASEM thanks Dr. Conner for his support as a sponsor. It’s great to see Dr. Conner continue his support by bringing a student to the ASEM IAC to experience conferences and to build their network. This year, Dr. Conner is bringing Jake Beatty (bio below).

About Jake Beatty

Jake Beatty, from Clarksville, Tenn., is in his senior year as an industrial engineering major at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT). He is also working toward a minor in reliability and maintainability. He served a 2018 summer internship at URS | CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR) supporting UCOR’s LEAN program. That support included working to consolidate eight different waste software programs into one. Jake is a member of the Knoxville Chapter of Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and has participated in 20 hours of volunteer work each semester at UT.

This summer, ASEM took promoting the society to a new level. We welcome new members from the Minneapolis (ASCE-EWRI) and Evanston (IEEE-TEMS) conferences. We are looking to expand our presence at more conferences through the New Year. I’ll share more plans in upcoming eNews articles. I’m also looking for networking stories to share with our society. If you have a similar story to share about mentoring success or professional networking, please send it to

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