Cameron MacKenzie

MacKenzie medCameron MacKenzie joined the IMSE Department at Iowa State University (ISU) in fall 2015 as an assistant professor. His graduate courses in Decision Analysis and Engineering Risk Analysis satisfy requirements for the Industrial Engineering degree as well as the Systems Engineering and Engineering Management degrees. He currently teaches simulation as part of the undergraduate course Stochastic Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation, and he teaches Engineering Economic Analysis for undergraduate students, usually in the summer. In the past he has taught the graduate course Total Quality Management and the senior capstone design course.

Cameron’s research focuses on decision and risk analysis, with three main thrusts: (i) homeland security and emergency management, (ii) engineering design and manufacturing, and (iii) supply chain risk management. He has been actively involved in the hazard mitigation and community resilience research group headed by Professor Sri Sritharan, and the group has been focused on integrating engineering, the social sciences, and scientific machine learning within the area of community resilience. Cameron worked with Professor Eva Regnier on designing a web-based simulation tool to help the U.S. Marines Reserve Forces practice making decisions in advance of a hurricane. He has analyzed the economic impacts caused by the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and he has developed a resource allocation model to help an economic region recover from a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Before coming to Iowa State, he was an assistant professor in the Defense Resources Management Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School, and he previously consulted in the areas of defense and homeland security for former Defense Secretary William Cohen. He received his BS and BA from Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne (2001), an MA in International Affairs from The George Washington University (2003), an MS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University (2009), and a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Oklahoma (2012). 



  • Risk analysis
  • Engineering design and manufacturing
  • Supply chain risk management
  • Disruption planning and response

Recent news

A paper on supply chain risk and mitigation by Mike Sherwin (a professor at University of Pittsburgh), Hugh Medal (a professor at University Tennessee-Knoxville), Kennedy Brown, and me was selected as an honorable mention for the best paper in the 2020 IISE Transactions Focus Issue on Scheduling and Logistics. This award and the paper are principally due to the efforts of Mike who wrote it while he was a Ph.D. student with Hugh.

I taught IE 305 Engineering Economic Analysis during the first-ever Winter Session. You can read about intensive winter session here.

Two Iowa State teams from the IE 413 course that I teach received recognition for their simulation projects as part of Simio’s international student competition. Bethany Lippert and Cora Hicks received honorable mention (top 7 out of 631 teams). Trevor Gould, Joseph Kim, Daniel Swegle, and Macie VanNurden were semi-finalists (top 24 out of 631 teams). Congratulations Bethany, Cora, Trevor, Joseph, Daniel, and Macie!

A write-up of the simulation project for IE 413 to simulate a BBQ carryout restaurant in the time of COVID.

Ramin Giahi (pictured left) successfully defended his dissertation Sequential Decision Making and Simulation-Optimization for the Design of Complex Engineering Systems and graduated in 2020. Ramin is now a data and operations research scientist at Principal Financial Group. Congratulations Ramin! It has been a pleasure working with you as a student.

Several master’s students successfully defended their thesis or creative component in Fall 2020, including Steve Paul, Sourabh Choudhari, and Charchit Shukla. Congratulations to each of you! You can read more about their theses here.

Charchit Shuka, one of my master’s students, was awarded he best paper award from the Engineering Economy Division at the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) Annual Meeting in 2020. His paper was titled “Billion-Dollar Disasters: What Does the Future Look Like?” Congratulations Charchit!

Chris Zobel (a professor at Virginia Tech), Milad Baghersad (a professor at Florida Atlantic University), Yuhong Li (a professor at Old Dominion), and I published our paper on how to properly define measurements for resilience in Decision Support Systems.

I am part of team that received a grant from the North Central Sustainability Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) to develop an open-source cost estimation tool to accurately estimate transportation costs for farmers. Jason Grimm (interim Executive Director at Iowa Value Resource Conservation & Development), Anuj Mittal (an instructor at Dunwoody College), and Sarah Swan Ray (a supply chain development specialist at the University of Minnesota extension program) are my collaborators on this project.

Jo Min (an IMSE professor) and I received a grant from the Iowa Energy Center to model and provide decision insights on distributed solar and wind power generation planning in rural Iowa.

I became the President of the Engineering Economy Division for IISE in Summer 2020.

I taught IE 422 (one of the two senior capstone courses in IMSE) in Spring 2020, and we had several outstanding projects as you can see from their videos! Nice job everybody, especially considering they had to navigate a sudden pandemic and doing everything virtually for half of the semester.

Haley BevingJakob PyburnAlbert Samuel, and Robert Quiles-Feran were named as semi-finalists (top 12 out of 291 teams) in the Simio 2019 student competition. The project was to simulate the airport check-in and security process. Congratulations Haley, Jakob, Albert, and Robert!

A video of the simulation project in Simio–looking to improve check-in and security operations at an airport–for IE 413

Ramin Giahi (pictured right), one of my PhD students, was awarded the best paper award from the Engineering Economy Division at the IISE Annual Meeting in 2019. His paper was titled “A Multi-Stage Optimization Model for Flexibility in Engineering Design.” Congratulations Ramin!