BOZEMAN – A Montana State University professor has received the highest honor given by the American Society for Engineering Management.
Bill Schell, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, was named an ASEM Fellow at the organization's annual international conference, which was held Oct. 18-21 in Huntsville, Alabama. The award recognizes professional accomplishments, distinguished service and longtime membership with ASEM.
"It is very exciting and fitting that Prof. Schell has been selected as a fellow," said Dan Miller, head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.
"Not only has he has established himself as the MSU expert in engineering management and leadership, he has developed a tremendous national reputation," Miller said. "This selection acknowledges his far-reaching contributions."
Schell, who serves as an associate director at MSU's Montana Engineering Education Research Center, is one of only 72 ASEM members to have received the award since 1988. He is one of four ASEM fellows named this year.
After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial and management engineering at MSU in 1997 and 1999, Schell led a successful career in engineering management with Wells Fargo, American Express and Livingston, Montana-based PrintingForLess.com. In 2010, he returned to MSU to teach and played a key role in restructuring the curriculum for the industrial and management systems engineering program and creating a new degree option: the engineering management minor. While at MSU he has published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and received roughly $500,000 in research funding.
In 2015, Schell helped establish the MSU student chapter of ASEM and has since served as the group's adviser. During that period, the number of student chapters around the country has roughly tripled under his leadership as ASEM's national student membership director.
According to ASEM Executive Director Paul Kauffmann, the fellow award is intended to recognize not only Schell's contributions to ASEM but also his positive impact within the field of engineering management.
"Bill is a real leader in thinking about leadership – how engineers can develop an understanding of what leadership is and why it's important in the workplace," said Kauffmann, who is an emeritus professor at East Carolina University and a visiting professor at MSU's College of Engineering.
"He has really moved the body of knowledge forward," Kauffmann said.
In 2014, Schell received ASEM's Eschenbach Award, which recognizes the best paper published in the organization's Engineering Management Journal. The study, which he co-authored with Sandra Kuntz, associate professor in MSU's College of Nursing, investigated how the leadership behaviors of nurses and engineers helped improve health care.
At the ASEM conference in October, Schell and collaborator Bryce Hughes, an assistant professor in the Department of Education in MSU's College of Education, Health and Human Development, received the Merritt Williamson Award, which recognized the best paper presented at the conference. Their study was titled "Are Engineers' Leadership Attitudes and Experiences Different than Other Students?"
Also at the conference, an engineering student Schell advises, Katie Kelly, won ASEM's graduate student scholarship. According to Schell, that's the second time an MSU student has won the scholarship out of the three times that it has been awarded.
"These awards highlight our strength in engineering management here at MSU," said Schell, who added that he is honored to have received the award so early in his career. "The potential to educate better engineers who will make a difference in the world – that's why I'm here."