Kevin Taaffe is the new interim chair of Clemson University’s Department of Industrial Engineering.

Taaffe, the Harriet and Jerry Dempsey Professor of Industrial Engineering, takes the place of Jeffrey Kharoufeh, who will be supporting the development of a strategic hiring plan in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. 

Kevin Taaffe is serving as interim chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering.

Kevin Taaffe is serving as interim chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering.

“I look forward to working with faculty, staff and the department’s partners and friends to advance state-of-the art industrial engineering research and degree programs,” Taaffe said. “We will build on innovative and challenging curricula that are designed to meet the increasing demand for industrial engineering graduates worldwide.”

Taaffe brings three decades of industry and academic experience to his new position. His research interests include the application of simulation and optimization in healthcare, production and transportation logistics.

Taaffe’s healthcare studies range from patient flow to operating room scheduling. As the Harriet and Jerry Dempsey Professor of Industrial Engineering, Taaffe has helped foster research collaborations with Prisma Health.

He and Lawrence Fredendall, professor of management in the College of Business, won the college’s 2018 Collaboration Award. Much of their work together has been aimed at improving operating room procedures.

Taaffe was the industrial engineering department’s Professor of the Year in 2009. 

He currently serves as the senior vice president of North American operations for the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE). Taaffe worked as a senior consultant for American Airlines and senior manager for Sabre Holdings in the 1990s before returning to academia for his Ph.D.

He holds a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in industrial systems and engineering from the University of Florida.

Anand Gramopadhye, the college’s dean, welcomed Taaffe to his new role.

“With his wealth of experience in research, education and collaboration, Kevin is well positioned to serve as interim chair,” Gramopadhye said. “I also want to take this opportunity to thank Jeff for his stewardship of the program over the past two years. I look forward to working with him in his new position with the college.”