I was struggling to come up with something write about this month and surprisingly inspiration struck in my truck. As I drive around my part of town, it occurs to me that I may have missed my true calling as an industrial engineer. If you live in Lenexa or Olathe you probably know what I’m talking about – road construction. (Of course, this time of year everyone likely feels this pain.)
For 10+ years I’ve driven my wife nuts almost every time we getting the car. I’m always looking for the fastest route, shortest route, least stoplights, fewest left turns – some kind of optimized route. No doubt I’m not alone there. My other mental exercise that annoys her is constantly analyzing traffic flow patterns. There are at least a half dozen intersections that I can’t sit at without complaining about the lack of a right turn lane.
I’ve occasionally thought about going back to school to get a Master’s degree in civil engineering with some kind of focus on traffic management. Seems like an IE would more effective at analyzing city road networks using operations research. If I remember correctly, the OR3 course offered right before I took it focused on traffic. Of course, I’d have to find a city to hire me and let me spend their money to really make it worth the time and effort. One can dream…
Even if going back to school isn’t in the cards for you, continuing education is always an option. Think of it in a lean way; continuing ed is like the small, incremental change of continuous improvement. We all know about the IIE opportunities, but don’t forget about local and online options as well – several options for MBA, KU and K-State both offer an MEM, etc. Maybe if I go one class at a time I can finish a degree before my kids graduate from high school!