Cynthia Hardin Milligan Chair of Business and Professor of Supply Chain Management and Analytics
The first to hold the new Cynthia Hardin Milligan Chair of Business, Esma Gel serves as a professor of supply chain management and analytics. Initiated through a matching gift from Jim and Georgia Thompson of Minnetonka, Minnesota; the endowed chair was named and established through Milligan’s match.
“The endowed chairs fulfill the critical need to remain competitive in the higher education space through our teaching, research and outreach at the college. We’re grateful to all of our contributors who invested in business education in Nebraska through an investment in our faculty. We’re excited to welcome Esma into our suite of renowned faculty and look forward to the impactful work she’ll accomplish here,” Farrell said. Additional endowed chairs made possible through the Thompson’s matching gift include the Steve and Jennifer David Chair in Business, Alice M. Dittman Chair of Banking and Finance; Amy and J.E. Van Horne Jr. Chair and Van Horne Chair.
Earning her Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Northwestern University, Gel’s research interests include stochastic modeling and control of manufacturing and service systems, health care delivery systems, supply chain management and multiple criteria decision making. Her work uses prescriptive analytics techniques that address important decisions that organizations face to be competitive in today’s marketplace.
“I truly believe that the next generation of business leaders will have to possess a solid understanding of various analytics techniques, ranging from descriptive to predictive to prescriptive analytics. While companies are getting increasingly mature in using descriptive and predictive analytics tools, they have increasing needs in prescriptive analytics techniques that go beyond assessing current performance to improving performance through optimized decision making,” Gel said.
Gel’s work focuses on collaborations between industries and the public sector, including practitioners from health care, manufacturing, agriculture and airlines. With her work published in several academic journals, including Decision Sciences, European Journal of Operational Research and Operations Research, she has more than 20 years of experience researching and teaching in relevant topics in supply chain management.
“Gel has a world-class reputation for conducting rigorous, interdisciplinary, collaborative and impactful research in two areas of critical importance in today’s world – logistics systems and health care delivery systems. Her research seeks to find innovative and relevant solutions to important practical problems, particularly those related to the negative impact of uncertainty on system performance,” said Jennifer Ryan, Ron and Carol Cope Professor and chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics. “Gel’s research record and publication output will enhance the reputation and contribution of the department and college in areas of high practical relevance and societal impact, and Gel will serve as an excellent role model, mentor and potential collaborator for the SCMA faculty and Ph.D. students.”
Utilizing her resources to promote research programs and various educational initiatives, she also plans to expand her research in health care working with her university colleagues, as well as with local and state-wide businesses facing supply chain management issues.
“I am truly honored to be named the Cynthia Hardin Milligan Chair of Business. Dean Milligan made tremendous contributions to the college and the University of Nebraska, and I find it particularly meaningful and inspiring to be coming to the University of Nebraska with this distinction. I will try to live up to her and her family’s legacy in supporting the college and university’s mission and growth,” she said.