Category Archives: Student Achievements

Students Honored

It’s fun to work with talented and curious individuals.  A number of current and former lab members have been recently recognized and I wanted to share the good news.

First, please join me in congratulating Seyed Shahab Mofidi, who recently won two nationally-competitive scholarships.  He is this year’s recipient of:

  • The Institute of Industrial and System Engineer (IISE) E. J. Sierleja Memorial Fellowship for the next academic year; and
  • The Tompkins International Honor Scholarship for the 2016/2017 academic year from the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc.

Jen Pazour, Shahab Mofidi, and Debjit Roy after Shahab’s research presentation at INFORMS.  We are jointly working on research on two-stage decisions with multiple products – applications include omni-channel fulfillment and military logistics.

Seyed Shahab Mofidi is a second year Ph.D student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Shahab’s research is on applying operations research modeling techniques in innovative ways to practical problems related to supply chain systems. Currently, he is conducting research under the supervision of Professor Jennifer A. Pazour on developing solution approaches that determine optimal multi-product inventory policies for systems with two-stage procurement decisions with cost fluctuations. His work advocates that a combination of proactive and reactive processes are warranted in omni-channel supply chains that need to respond to both in-store and online shoppers from a brick-and-mortar store. He was honored to win several awards during his PhD program including a 2015 University of Central Florida LEARN Graduate Research Mentor scholarship and a Lee Wood Scholarship for the 2015/2016 academic year from the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. Shahab holds two degrees in Industrial Engineering (a B.S. from Mazandaran University of Science and Technology, and a M.S. from Sharif University of Technology) and has four years of experience working as an industrial engineering in industry.

Next, Mohamed Awwad, who graduated in Fall 2015 and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Innovation and Technology, Florida Polytechnic University was awarded the 2016 Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award from UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.  He was nominated by the Industrial Engineering and Management Systems department.

Finally, Patrick Reilly, who finished his MS thesis in Spring 2015 was featured in the Orlando Sentinel for his work in the Engineering Science Technology magnet program at Edgewater High School.  Quotes and pictures from the article show that Patrick is doing a great job encouraging the next generation of diverse problem solvers.

“A car race in Patrick Reilly’s class at Edgewater High School doesn’t call for motors, gasoline or checkered flags. Mousetraps, rubber bands, and weight and pulley systems do the trick.”

Edgewater’s engineering program often includes hands-on activities that help students better grasp concepts they’ve learned in class, Reilly said. Junior Jocivan Cabrera, an aspiring structural engineer, said he likes that variety.  “You’re not stuck doing one thing,” he said. “There is so much you can do.”

Successful Defenses



Congrats to Dr. Faraz Ramtin, who successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation thesis entitled, “Modeling and Analysis of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems with Multiple in-the-aisle Pick Positions,” and to Patrick Reilly, who successfully defended his M.S. thesis entitle, “Propagation of Unit Location Uncertainty in Dense Storage Environments.”

I am super proud of both students, who are excellent researchers and human beings.



Faraz’s dissertation consists of three contributions all focusing on a special type of case-level order fulfillment technology – an “Automated Storage and Retrieval System with Multiple in-the-aisle pick positions.” These semi-automated systems are common in temperature-controlled warehouses.  Our first contribution includes the first study to analyze AS/RS with multiple in-the-aisle outputs. We develop expected travel time models for random storage policies and provide design insights into these systems.  In our second contribution, we considered the use of MIAPP-AS/RS to fulfill orders for non-identical items’ demand, which relaxed some of the assumptions we made in the first contribution. Specifically, we focused on an important practical design decision, the optimal SKU assignment problem. We studied the impact of different pick position assignments on system throughput, as well as system design trade-offs that occur when the system is running under different operating policies and different demand profiles. We developed optimization models to find the optimal assignment that minimizes the expected travel time.  Finally, we developed optimization models for the SKU-to-pick position assignment problem for dedicated and class-based storage policy for MIAPP-AS/RS.  By exploiting the structure of these optimization models, we decomposes the problem using Benders decomposition.


The first two contributions of Faraz’s dissertation work has been accepted for publication:

  • Ramtin F., Pazour J. A. “Analytical Models for an Automated Storage and Retrieval System with Multiple in-the-Aisle Pick Positions”. IIE Transactions, 46(9), 968-986.
  • Ramtin F., Pazour J. A. “Product Allocation Problem for an AS/RS with Multiple in-the-Aisle Pick Positions”. IIE Transactions, Accepted Manuscript.

He is working on the manuscript of his third contribution, which explores a dedicated storage policy in these systems.

Patrick’s work focuses on dense storage environments and adds an additional dimension to the warehousing literature in that area, specifically item location uncertainty.  Effective space utilization is an important consideration in logistics systems and is especially important in dense storage environments. Dense storage systems provide high-space utilization; however, because not all items are immediately accessible, storage and retrieval operations often require shifting of other stored items in order to access the desired item, which results in item location uncertainty when asset tracking is insufficient. Given an initial certainty in item location, we use Markovian principles to quantify the growth of uncertainty as a function of retrieval requests and discover that the steady state probability distribution for any communicating class of storage locations approaches uniform. Using this result, an expected search time model is developed and applied to the systems analyzed. We also develop metrics that quantify and characterize uncertainty in item location to aid in understanding the nature of that uncertainty. By incorporating uncertainty into our logistics model and conducting numerical experiments, we gain valuable insights into the uncertainty problem such as the benefit of multiple item copies in reducing expected search time and the varied response to different retrieval policies in otherwise identical systems.IMG_1745

Material Handling Education Foundation Scholarships


I’m honored to be featured in the Where are they now? article in the MHI Solutions Magazine.  [PDF] You have to read through to the bottom to find my favorite quote from the article, which is

“I find the work extremely rewarding,” Pazour said.  “One of the aspects that I really like about my job is that I get paid to learn.  I’m both creating knowledge and disseminating knowledge to my students, and that’s very rewarding.”

I’m even more excited to announce that two of the students in my research group are recipients of a 2015/2016 Material Handling Education Foundation Scholarship.  The Material Handling Education Foundation provides scholarships and educational opportunities to students studying in the field of material handling, logistics and supply chain.

  •  Shahab Mofidi was awarded the Lee Wood Scholarship for the 2015/2016 academic year from the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc.
  • Catherine Ninah was awarded the Crane Manufacturers Association of America Honor Scholarship for the 2015/2016 academic year from the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc.

Shahab Mofidi is a Ph.D. student in the IEMS department, and his research focuses on logistical decision making in environments that exhibit item location uncertainty.  Some examples include sea-based logistics, as well as ship-from-store fulfillment operations for e-commerce orders.  Catherine Ninah is an undergraduate student in the IEMS department, who has conducted research on sea-based logistics and healthcare logistics.  In addition, Catherine will participate in an REU (research experience for undergraduates) this summer at Duke University.  She’ll be working with The Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) on Risk Assessment and Modeling.



Catherine Research Poster

Awesome students win a bunch of awards

Based on their intellectual curiosity and mad modeling skills, I knew I had some pretty great students working in my research lab.  As validation, they also received a bunch of external recognition in the form of awards, scholarships, and career opportunities.

Graduate Student Researchers

Faraz Ramtin and I

Faraz Ramtin received a Graduate Fellowship and is interning at Hertz Rental Company’s OR department.

Faraz Ramtin was awarded a Graduate Research Excellence Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year.  He is also gaining great experiences as an Operations Research Intern at Hertz Rental Company this summer.  Faraz, who proposed his dissertation on analytic models for  a case-level order fulfillment technology, will graduate Spring 2014.  He and I arrived at UCF at the same time and was the first student involved in my research team.  It has been fun to watch him grow in his ability for independent research and analysis.

Ali's Ph.D. Graduation

Ali’s Ph.D. Graduation

Ali Bozorgi graduated this May with his Ph.D.  His dissertation on inventory problems in the cold supply chain was co-advised by Dima Nazzal at Georgia tech and myself.  Ali is off to Clemson as a Post Doctoral Fellow, where I’m looking forward to hearing about his many future successes.




Mohamed did a great job presenting at ISERC

Mohamed did a great job presenting at ISERC

Mohamed Awwad presented his research at the Institute of Industrial Engineers Annual Conference in Montreal to a full house.  It was his first presentation at a research conference and he did a great job describing his work on search and retrieval operations in dense storage systems.  I enjoyed chairing the “family session” that also included other branches of my academic tree: Russ Meller, Tish Pohl, and Pratik Parikh.

Kaveh's send off party watching the Netherlands versus Argentina World Cup Match

Kaveh’s send off party watching the Netherlands versus Argentina World Cup Match. (from left to right: Patrick, Kaveh, Jen, Shahab, and Ali).

Kaveh Azadeh has been awarded an assistantship to pursue his Ph.D. under Rene de Koster in the Department of Technology and Operations Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.  Kaveh and I have worked together on research since we both arrived in Orlando in 2011 and he will definitely be missed in our group, especially for his statistics knowledge and movie recommendations.  As an impromptu send off party, our lab got together to watch the Netherlands vs Argentina game in the World Cup.    Although Kaveh was rooting for his soon-to-be new home country, Messi and Argentina were victorious.

Shahab Mofidi is the newest graduate student addition to our team.  He has been a great asset in solidifying and expanding ideas for my CAREER proposal due next week.  In addition to implementing an optimization and simulation model and getting interesting results with short deadlines, I knew he was a perfect fit for my team when he commented that the font for a figure was different than the main text.  This eye for detail is a must after Russ ruined my ability to look at a document and not see formatting and typo errors :).

 Undergraduate Researchers

I’ve enjoyed exposing undergraduate students to the joys and (maybe some perils) of research.  They have done a great job contributing to our research lab, which isn’t surprising given the awards they’ve racked up.

Huber CSCMP Central Florida Roundtable Scholarship 2014

Chris awarded a scholarship from the CSCMP Central Florida Round Table

Whitney awarded a scholarship from the CSCMP Central Florida Round Table








  • Patrick Reilly was awarded the Outstanding Graduating Senior award from UCF’s Industrial Engineering Department.  As an undergraduate researcher, Patrick did a great job modeling Operations Research problems found in sea-based logistics.  I am very happy that he will stay on as my graduate student and continue working on research that describes mathematically the propagation of uncertainty in dense storage environments.
  • Brandon Finley has been awarded the Institute of Caster & Wheel Manufacturers Honor Scholarship for the 2014/2015 academic term from the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc.  Brandon and I are working on research on modeling reshuffling policies in warehouses with multiple operators.
  • Whitney Anderson and Chris Huber were both awarded scholarships from the  Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Central Florida Round Table for the 2014/2015 academic term.  Through the Undergraduate Research Experience provided via EXCEL, both students conducted research in my lab in Spring 2014.  Whitney participated in research on selecting piece-level order-fulfillment technology and Chris participated in analyzing data for sea-based logistics policies.
  • Margot Tejera was awarded the 2014/2015 UPS Scholarship for Minority Students, which is a National IIE Scholarship awarded to one undergraduate IE student each year.  Margot was a former undergraduate researcher in my lab and she is the current student president of the IIE student chapter.
  • I have been fortunate to have Mohmoud Sbeih and Kristin Elias’s help in writing my CAREER proposal this summer.  Both undergraduate students have provided valuable insights to the research and educational objectives of the proposal.  I’m excited that both will continue research in my lab and are currently in the process of defining a project that they can individually take the lead on.