John Fowler, the Motorola Professor of Supply Chain Management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, was recognized in October as a 2021 INFORMS Fellow, one of the highest honors in the operations research profession.
Fowler, who began his academic career at Arizona State University in 1995, was named an INFORMS Fellow for his significant contributions to the solution of operations problems in semiconductor manufacturing, supply chains and health care; sustained service to the profession; and dedicated mentoring of students, colleagues and collaborators.
“The selection committee is made up of a set of people that have won the award in the past, including many of the top contributors to the field,” said Fowler, who is a senior sustainability scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation at ASU. “I’m truly humbled to be recognized by such a distinguished group of scholars and practitioners.”
One of Fowler’s colleagues who nominated him is INFORMS Fellow Barry L. Nelson, the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University.
“I have known John for over 25 years,” Nelson said. “John has international impact that most of us should envy. He has been, and continues to be, the sort of unselfish and high achieving individual we want for an INFORMS Fellow.”
To date, Fowler’s body of scholarly works includes 132 journal publications, and he has achieved a Google Scholar h-index of 49, with 8,551 citations. He has been supported by 61 grants, including 11 from the National Science Foundation. One of his papers was a finalist for the 2014 Daniel H. Wagner Prize for excellence in the practice of advanced analytics and operations research.
Fowler was the chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management from 2011–16, a department ranked No. 2 and 3 for undergraduate and graduate studies, respectively, in supply chain and logistics programs by the U.S. News & World Report. During his tenure as chair, he led or co-led the development of three new degrees: a bachelor’s and master’s degree in global logistics, and a master’s degree in business analytics, which is ranked No. 10 by the U.S. News & World Report.
Before being chair, he was the Avnet Professor of Industrial Engineering at ASU. His research interests include discrete event simulation, deterministic scheduling and multi-criteria decision-making.
In 2018, Fowler received the Distinguished Service Award from the INFORMS Simulation Society (I-Sim), an award presented to one person a year. He served two terms on the I-Sim-sponsored Winter Simulation Conference Board of Directors, including being board chair. He was the president of Omega Rho from 2010–12, and in 2012 he convinced economics Nobel Prize laureate Edward Prescott to present the Omega Rho Distinguished Lecture at the 2012 INFORMS annual meeting. He is one of the co-editors-in-chief of the Journal of Simulation and was the founding editor-in-chief of IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering.
“John’s strength is in forming and mentoring research teams,” Nelson said. “When John and I were research collaborators, I observed how he worked with his PhD students and fellow faculty. His students were more knowledgeable about what they needed to do to succeed than any other students I have encountered; this is because John knows what it takes to succeed and spends the time to explain it to his students.”
Fowler has advised or co-advised 40 PhD, 31 graduate and eight undergraduate research students in his time at ASU. His students have gone on to successful careers in academia in the U.S., China, South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. His former students have worked for Amazon, Apple, Bayer/Monsanto, Google, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, NASA and Raytheon, among others. Michele Pfund, a clinical professor and associate dean for undergraduate programs at the W. P. Carey School, is one of the notable graduates.
“John also has high ethical standards and he passes them on to his students,” Nelson said. “I observed him mentor and encourage both junior and senior faculty, boosting their careers with timely advice, strategic funding and good research ideas that John shared freely.”