SUN LUISE OBISPO – While industrial and manufacturing engineering students prepare for a career that may be influenced by COWID-19, Cal Poly’s recently sponsored laboratory will help them adapt the workforce to the unique challenges of the pandemic.

The Viasat Advanced IME Lab will receive $125,000 to fund hardware and software and execute projects over the next five years. This donation will also support the professional development and research of the teaching staff. The laboratory, located in Room 240 of Building 192, is sponsored by Viasat Inc, a global communications company based in northern San Diego County.

Given the technical and economic challenges posed by the pandemic, EMI President Dan Waldorf said this donation comes at a time when students need to be trained to deal with the changing environment and professional demands.

During VIDOC and in the future, the ability to collect, analyze and make data-intensive decisions will be crucial in a wide range of areas, including healthcare, production and distribution logistics and the development of new technology products, Waldorf said. Industrial engineers face the business challenges of improving performance in these areas through data analysis methods and the integration of intelligent data acquisition equipment. The funding of the Viasat laboratory enables us to keep abreast of the latest developments in these areas and enables our students and professors to carry out relevant projects – including graduation projects, course projects, research projects and master’s projects.

The laboratory specialises in industrial engineering, with the aim of optimising processes.

We design supply chains here, says Waldorf. We design objects for the company. We take care of the analysis and apply it to make better decisions in the operating systems. We are also working with the Industrial Internet of Things and Automation, and with a new generation of devices and equipment that will need to be optimised and used efficiently in the future.

Viasat has long been a supporter of Cal Poly, which currently employs more than 120 Cal Poly graduates, making the university an important talent pool for the Karlovy Vary-based satellite broadband internet company.

By continuing to support the education of Cal Poly students, we are preparing them for success in the industry, including here in Viasat, says Riley Elliott, the company’s Director of Industrial Engineering, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cal Poly and is a member of the University’s Industry Advisory Board.

Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing approach is particularly useful for Viasat’s career, says Brandon Lobb, the company’s university recruitment specialist.

Part of Viasat’s culture is that we are intellectually curious, we tolerate ambiguity and always strive to do the best, Lobb said. We are confronted with problems that do not always have a clear process or a clear answer. Cal Paulie students are also often encouraged to take on new challenges and look for new ways to solve them.

Dylan Moreland, Senior Industrial Engineer, is working on a senior project sponsored by Viasat with clear real-world applications, creating a site tracking system to help the company manage its inventory.

They asked us to build a user-friendly dashboard – a visual representation of the factory floor – so they could see at a glance where all the product is located, he said.

Moreland will develop a laboratory simulation production process to test the dashboard so we can test our solutions and make sure they work in San Diego.

Dr. Mohamed Awwad, an associate professor in the department, said the support will help him and his students explore the full spectrum of research, from exploring new technologies to developing answers to the challenges of COVID-19 in global supply chains and in people’s daily lives.

Many of these students have been able to present their work at international conferences, Avwad said. And some will continue to publish their research in the coming months.

In the past, Viasat has also supported the IT and software development department. She has worked with student organizations for events and guidance, and last summer she organized and sponsored a networking event for San Diego alumni with the Cal Diego Polytechnic University Alumni Association. Viasat is also a member of the Corporate Dean’s Club of Engineering College.

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