Milne named to assistant professorship at Clarkson
Monday, November 15, 2010 - 11:58 am

POTSDAM – R. John Milne has been named the Neil '64 and Karen Bonke (BONK-ee) Assistant Professor in Engineering Management at Clarkson University.

Recently established through a generous gift from alumnus Neil Bonke and his wife, Karen, of Los Altos, Calif., the Bonke Professorship in Engineering Management is a tenure-track position.

"My Clarkson education prepared me for a successful career and the multi-disciplinary study approach served me well in the fast-moving, entrepreneurial, high-tech world," says Neil Bonke. "This endowed professorship gives me an opportunity to thank Clarkson, but even more so to help the university pursue even greater excellence."

Neil Bonke is a private investor and director at Novellus Systems Inc. and Sanmina-SCI Corporation. He previously retired as chairman/CEO of Electroglas Inc., where he led a successful IPO in 1993.

Electroglas is a manufacturer of semiconductor testing equipment. He graduated from Clarkson in 1964 with a major in industrial distribution (now engineering & management).

Karen Bonke graduated from SUNY Potsdam in 1964 and formerly taught school in the Rochester area. She now devotes her time to grandchildren and various service organizations.

Before coming to Clarkson, Milne spent 26 years at IBM, rising to become one of the company's most celebrated engineer-inventors by applying the mathematical techniques of operations research to complex problems in supply chain management.

"We are excited to have John in this role," said School of Business Dean Timothy F. Sugrue. "We are grooming future leaders at Clarkson, and John's knowledge and experience from being a technical leader at IBM will transfer well to our students."

"As a technically oriented, practically focused university and a small, friendly one, Clarkson is a great fit for me," said Milne. "In contrast to other strong programs whose primary goal for students is to turn them into academic theoreticians, at Clarkson the focus is on developing students into future leaders in business."

Milne has more than 40 patents granted and pending. In 2005, he was designated a Master Inventor by IBM, where he has most recently worked as a senior engineer. That year he won the prestigious Daniel H. Wagner Prize from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) for co-developing efficient methods for solving a mixed integer program for semiconductor supply chain optimization.

In 2001, he received INFORM's Franz Edelman Finalist Award for another supply chain management application at IBM Microelectronics, an effort that reduced inventory by $80 million in 1999 alone while improving customer service.

Milne joined IBM after graduating from Cornell University with B.S. and M. Eng. degrees in operations research and industrial engineering. Subsequently, he earned a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in decision sciences and engineering systems, where his dissertation won the department's top prize.

After beginning with IBM at East Fishkill in 1984, he has been based in Essex Junction, Vt., since 1994, where he has focused on creating and deploying operations research models, methods and related software for supply chain management in the semiconductor and hard disk drive industries.

As well, he has held adjunct faculty positions at Marist College and Dartmouth College, and has published seven refereed articles, including one designated best paper by Production Planning and Control.