Joel Nachlas, Scholar
Fred interviews Joel Nachlas an author and the editor of the Reliability and Maintainability Symposium proceedings. He was also an associate professor emeritus of industrial and systems engineering at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Joel A. Nachlas, who retired from his Associate Professor position in March 2016, was conferred the title of “Associate Professor Emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in April. He joined the department’s emeritus faculty which has more than 15 members.
Dr. Nachlas was a VT ISE faculty member for the past 41 years. After earning his undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Nachlas earned his MS and PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. He was briefly an instructor there and joined the ISE department (then called IEOR) at Virginia Tech in 1974.
During his tenure in ISE, he established a strong reputation in the Reliability and Quality Control research community. He has written three books and has produced many high-quality publications in his field. He served as Associate Editor for IIE Transactions on Quality and Reliability, and for many years served as Editor for the proceedings of the annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS). He has won numerous awards based on the quality of his contributions, and he is a Fellow of two societies: the Society of Reliability Engineers (SRE) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Dr. Nachlas has also been a strong advocate for international programs within the College of Engineering. He completed three different sabbatical leaves in France; first at the University of Angers and then twice more at the University of Nice. He has been a leader in developing and maintaining the relationship between ISE and Ecole des Mines de Nantes.
In addition, Dr. Nachlas is an accomplished athlete and coach. At Johns Hopkins, he played as a mid-fielder on a National Championship Lacrosse team. After joining Virginia Tech, he served as coach of the men’s lacrosse team for more than 30 years. He was as dedicated to his student athletes as he was to his students in the classroom, and he led his team to many victories. He won a number of coaching awards, including the prestigious U.S. Lacrosse National Coach of the Year Award in 2001.
For more information about Dr. Nachlas’s accomplishments, please go to the full story “Joel A. Nachlas honored with emeritus status” on the Virginia Tech News.
In this episode, Fred and Joel discuss:
- His role as the editor of the proceedings for RAMS
- His book and intent to make products and systems safer by being reliable
- How he got started in reliability engineering – right from his college days
Recorded January 2017.
David Coit says
This was an excellent interview from one of the most intelligent and insightful professors working in reliability. Prof. Nachlas is one of the few guys that when we disagree on a technical issue, His definition and interpretation of condition-based maintenance was very good, and two times, he used the word adaptive. Completely right ! We have the ability to collect data (environment, usage, failure, observed degradation) very often or even continually, and update and re-solve our models, either specific for each unit or for the fleet.
Prof. Nachlas mentioned Rutgers as one of the centers of excellence in reliability, in addition to Maryland, Arkansas, Eindhoven, others. I should add that BIT, Tsinghua, UESTC, Beihang in China as well. Also, don’t blink or the professors and chair at North Dakota State will have that department respected very highly as well.
I have one request. Don’t tell Prof. Nachlas I said such flattering things. They are all true, but he is a humble guy and let’s keep him that way 🙂
Fred Schenkelberg says
I won’t tell Joel about your comments, if you don’t. It was an honor to sit down and chat with him. Truly an accomplished professional that have given so much to the reliability profession.
Larry George says
Good interview. Nice to learn about Ralph Evan’s successor at IEEE Trans. on Reliability. I was on the RAMS Publications Committee back when I had funding.