News Releases

Mines students host nearly 200 for industrial engineering conference
Release Date Tuesday, March 4, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (March 4, 2014) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology will host the 2014 North Central Region 6 Student Conference for the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) this week, attracting nearly 200 people to the Black Hills.

Most of the 189 attendees are engineering students from universities in eight states. The conference hosted by Mines’ Department of Industrial Engineering will be Thursday, March 6, through Saturday, March 8.

In a unique kick-off event Thursday night, SDSM&T Industrial Engineering professor Carter Kerk, Ph.D., will lie between two beds of nails as a concrete block is crushed on his chest. The 9 p.m. demonstration will illustrate some of the scientific principles underlying safety engineering. The opening event will be held at the Alex Johnson Hotel in downtown Rapid City.

The agenda also includes a Friday afternoon community service-oriented competition in which student teams design workstations and assemble pedal tractors in a timed event. Teams from 10 universities will compete in the Kaizen/manufacturing efficiency competition, building tractors provided by Scale Models & Dyersville Die Cast. The competition finals will be held on Saturday evening, and all 10 tractors will be donated to Rapid City Youth and Family Services at the final banquet held at Mount Rushmore.

On Friday morning tours are scheduled at Rapid City Regional Hospital, RPM and Associates, GCC Dakotah cement plant and Nash Finch Distributing Center. In the afternoon 10 students will give project presentations for the IIE Region 6 Student Paper Competition, sponsored by John Deere. 

Saturday activities include breakout sessions with industry speakers Anna Boyd of 3-M, Ben Mollman of Polaris, Dennis Oates of FedEx SmartPost, Paul Elder of Strider Bikes, and Dan Thury of Andersen Corporation.

“Breakout sessions provide a chance for industry professionals to connect with each student and provide insight to making that transition from student to professional,” says Terry Nguyen, Mines senior industrial engineering major who is conference co-chair. 

Mines’ Roger Johnson, Ph.D., of the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, will speak about his statistical prediction models of NFL games at the noon luncheon. Johnson has developed a model used for many years, and this year predicted the Super Bowl winner.

Among those registered are representatives from the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northern Illinois University, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University, Montana State University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and both the Madison and Platteville campuses of the University of Wisconsin.

For details, click or contact Mines conference co-chair Terry Nguyen at (605) 858-9500; or Hardrocker Student Chapter co-advisors Dean Jensen, Ph.D., at (605) 394-1278, or Adam Piper, Ph.D., (605) 394-1930.



About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at