IMSE Hall of Fame spotlight: IMSE alumni who engineer systems

August 20, 2021

Three Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering alumni have been inducted into the IMSE Hall of Fame for their significant career contributions to the field of systems engineering. Charles McElroy is the most recent inductees, having been honored in 2020. Other alumni recognized for successes are Michael Smith and Patrick Heisinger.

Established in 2008, the IMSE Hall of Fame honors distinguished industrial engineering graduates who have made an impact within their field and recognizes those who have supported the IMSE Department.

IMSE Alumnus Chuck McElroy

Charles “Chuck” McElroy, BS IE ’78

Charles “Chuck” McElroy, BS IE ’78, Inducted in 2020

After growing up in Chesterfield, Missouri, McElroy pursued industrial engineering at Mizzou with the ultimate goal of becoming a CEO of a larger company. After graduating, he began working in an entry-level management role for Southwestern Bell (SBC) – now AT&T – and pursued his MBA from Washington University.

He advanced at SBC to guide the company through strategic entry into the media business. He then worked at Cox Communications, where he pioneered the cable company’s entry into two-way communications services, launched high-speed data, voice-over-cable and interactive digital video services. After Cox, he led the largest operating division of Charter Communications.

In 2007, he became CEO of China Network Systems, the largest cable operating company in Taiwan. After leading the company to double-digit growth, he returned to the US to become the CEO of Deep Fiber Solutions, a non-traditional network construction company in Atlanta, Georgia.

McElroy says Mizzou Engineering prepared him for the challenges he faced in his career, and his degree was an asset in his pursuit of leadership roles.

IMSE Alumnus Michael C. Smith

Michael C. Smith, PhD IE ’77

Michael C. Smith, PhD IE ’77, Inducted in 2017

Early in his career, Smith was a member of the Industrial Engineering faculties at Mizzou and Oregon State University and served as a hospital industrial engineer at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Knoxville.

He then worked as a senior scientist at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) – now Leidos – where he led and participated in numerous studies and analyses in national security, advanced manufacturing, border security, transportation operations and critical infrastructure protection.

Following his work at SAIC, Smith served as Executive Director of the Accelerated Master’s Program in Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia (UVA). He continues to serve on the UVA Systems Engineering faculty and as a consultant to Leidos.

Smith has served on numerous Transportation Research Board panels and committees, published multiple journal articles and technical reports and presented papers at national and international conferences.

IMSE Alumnus Patrick Heisinger

Patrick Heisinger, BS IE ’78, MS IE ’81

Patrick Heisinger, BS IE ’78, MS IE ’81, Inducted in 2015

Heisinger chose industrial engineering his freshman year when he developed an interest in the work of his roommate, a junior in the IE program. After graduation, he began his career as a civilian industrial engineer with the US Navy, performing reliability and maintainability studies on radar systems. He returned to Mizzou to pursue his MSIE and work in the Business and Industry Productivity Center.

Upon completion of his MS, he worked at McDonnell Douglas Automation, developing and maintaining systems to manage telephone operators. He also worked at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Information systems before working for BJC Healthcare building networks and working on their Information Security team.

Heisinger currently lives in Florida and is the Information Security Manager for a large law firm. He believes the IMSE program at Mizzou gave him and continues to give students a unique background in many aspects of engineering and problem-solving that they can adapt to any situation.