Educate our Youth about Industrial Engineering!

By Amy Martens, P.E.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity during national Engineer’s Week this past February to educate our youth about Industrial Engineering. I was asked by the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka, KS to participate in an Engineering Expo to provide our youth with exciting and interactive engineering experiments. This was the first time the recently opened facility has held this event and they have the desire to make it an annual occurrence.

Several organizations and engineering disciplines were represented at the event:

  • Westar Energy: Electrical Engineering
  • Kansas Department of Transportation: Civil Engineering
  • Kansas State University: Civil Engineering
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas: Industrial Engineering

The engineering displays were enjoyable to the both the children and adults who participated in the event. The civil engineering displays shared knowledge about water quality,  treatment and buoyancy; the electrical engineering display showed the energy savings tied to using LED technology; and the industrial engineering display provided a demonstration of unit production as compared to assembly line production using Legos.

It was exciting to me to share the passion I have for engineering with our youth. This type of volunteerism is something that I highly recommend to any engineer. If you have any interest in assisting with this event next year, please contact me at The representatives at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center would like to grow this event next year, so it would be great if I could interest volunteers who could represent Industrial Engineering from other organizations.

More info on the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center –


Membership Update & News

Membership as of 4/1/12 – 91 (down 3 from last month)

Member News

IIE member since 2009, Matthew Kafka is a process improvement project manager by day at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinic. Matthew has recently entered a new business venture, The Local Pig.

During Matt’s formative years (high school and college) he grew up on a farm and worked as a line cook in steakhouses. This background led to many experiences ranging from hunting to cost analysis and set the base for his constant yearning for continuous improvement and high standards of always looking for ways to improve products or processes. Matt’s first job out of college as a process engineer allowed him to travel the country (75% on the road) and experience regional and rural/urban cultures especially related to his interests pertaining
to food and healthcare!

This brief history sets the stage for his desire to be an entrepreneur. An opportunity via craigslist occurred to open a butcher shop. Matt and Alex Pope, his business partner, met over a few beers and struck a business relationship. Due diligence, his background, and his conservative nature with resources and money all pointed to signs of success for the butcher shop business opportunity.

The Local Pig has been and will continue to be a huge learning experience. Matt has learned and can see now why many folks don’t take the plunge into forming a small business! Since opening the doors on February 27th, Matt and Alex have learned one valuable lesson in particular: we were naïve! Engineer and business skills can only take you so far with planning and interacting with customers!! You can have much planning and there will still be items that were forgotten or not even thought about, one in particular being that the customer
reception has been larger than expected! The original business plan has already been exceeded and larger visions are now being formulated!

The Local Pig opened its doors at 2618 Guinotte Avenue in Kansas City, MO on February 27. A grand opening party was held on March 3. The Local Pig is open daily from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm.

To find out more, below are links to The Local Pig’s website and recent press releases on the business:
The Local Pig –
The Local Pig on Twitter –!/thelocalpigkc

Ink Magazine –‐chef‐alex‐popeopens‐local‐pig‐a‐butcher‐shop‐in‐the‐east‐bottoms/

Pitch Weekly –‐popes‐local‐pig‐opens‐on‐monday-february‐27