Pawley Lean Institute

Pawley Hall, Room 460K
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-4542

Faculty Team Members

Dennis L. Wade

Director, Pawley Lean Institute
(248) 370-4542  |

Dennis L. Wade joined Oakland University as the Director of the Pawley Lean Institute in May 2014 following his retirement from AT&T and its predecessor companies (Michigan Bell Telephone, Ameritech, and SBC).  Dennis was a Director at AT&T, contributing to both the sales and service organizations.  Dennis also is adjunct faculty at Oakland University teaching in the Human Resource Development program.  A graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (including journalism as a double major).  He was corporately sponsored as a candidate for the Michigan State University, Advanced Management Program, for which he received his MBA as the youngest graduate in the class of 1989.


David Strubler

435B Pawley Hall
(248) 370-4628  |

A former business dean at Champlain College and AVP of Graduate & Corporate Education at Kettering University. He taught graduate courses in lean manufacturing operations for sixteen years at Kettering University from a human resource perspective. Most recently, he co-published "Effect of Sample Size and Process Capability on Variance Control in a Multiple Fill-Head Process" with Associate Professor of Management, Atul Agarwal, from the University of Illinois at Springfield in the Academy of Information and Management Sciences Journal. He was also a continuous improvement consultant for both Oakland University and Avondale School District in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Shannon Flumerfelt

Pawley Professor in Lean Studies
475C Pawley Hall
(248) 370-3036  |

Shannon Flumerfelt, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Organizational Leadership at Oakland University and is honored as an Endowed Pawley Professor of Lean Studies. She holds a PhD. in Educational Leadership. Previously, she worked in public school administration, which included designing and leading educational reform initiatives that pioneered 21st Century pedagogy and instructional technology. Dr. Flumerfelt is the recipient of over $1 million in educational grants.

Her scholarly interests include lean knowledge and practice in which she has published four books and multiple articles and presented internationally. She is the leading authority on the application of lean to educational settings. As the former editor of the e-Journal of Organizational Leadership and Learning, she has taught, coached and mentored many educational leaders. She also coordinates the online graduate Education Specialist degree program, educational leadership degree program and was recognized by the Michigan Senate as the OU Educator for Innovative Programming by showing measurable results in raising student subject enthusiasm and achievement. She is active in professional associations related to lean engineering education and competency-based learning, including, ASME, AIAA & CASE.

woman in a grey sweater and purple shirt, smiling at the cameraCaryn Wells

Associate Professor and Ed.S. Co-Coordinator
480H Pawley Hall
(248) 370-3072  |

Caryn Wells, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership at Oakland University. She teaches Education Leadership courses in the Education Specialist program and Leadership courses in the Teacher Leadership Masters level program. She researches, publishes, and presents to professional audiences about mindfulness, mindful self-compassion, stress reduction, occupational burnout, and resilience. She teaches mindfulness to graduate students in her classes, and has presented introductions on mindfulness to doctoral and medical students at OU. She is the author of Mindfulness: How School Leaders Can Reduce Stress and Thrive on the Job.  Professor Wells is currently working on a joint research project with Oakland University professor, Eugene Fliedner evaluating, Mindfulness: An Emerging Lean Leadership Skill and Practice. Her website is

Jennifer Wenson

Pawley Professor in Lean Studies and Visiting Professor in Human Resource Development

Jennifer Wenson is a Visiting Associate Professor in the department of Organizational Leadership. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Human Resource Development as well as the Masters of Training and Development focusing on instruction/facilitation in team building, leadership, organizational development and behavior. Jennifer has taught at OU since 2008 and has been a practicing HRD consultant specializing in “Lean” leadership competencies for over twenty years. She specializes in developing supervisors and team leads at eight to ten different manufacturing facilities strengthening how they communicate and motivate to aid in continuous improvements throughout their organizations. 

Her professional interests involve leadership competencies specializing in the Lean Philosophy as well as instruction in leadership courses in conjunction with Lean programs. Jennifer serves OU as a Mentor in the Honors College and for the HRD Honors Society. She also is also a frequent speaker at HRD Society graduate/undergraduate events as well as in the corporate events.


Sankar Sengupta, Ph.D.

Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering
502D Engineering Center
(248) 370-2218  |

Sankar Sengupta currently is a faculty member in the Electrical and Systems Engineering Department at Oakland University. He earned a B.S degree in mechanical engineering from I.I.T. Kharagpur in India, an M.S degree in industrial engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.

He has more than 12 years of work experience in the process industry. His research interest includes modeling and analysis of manufacturing/service systems, quality control, application of Lean principles in a manufacturing/service system, production planning and control, and modeling and analysis of a supply chain.

He has published technical papers in refereed journals and presented technical papers in international conferences. He is actively involved with the industry to establish a strong tie between OU and local partners. He is a member of IIE, ASQ and SME. 

Robert Van Til, Ph.D.

Pawley Professor of Lean Studies, Professor/Chair Industrial and Systems Engineering
502 Engineering Center
(248) 370-2211  |

Dr. Van Til earned his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University. His academic interests focus on the modeling and control of manufacturing systems as well as digital control theory. He has been involved in joint research and educational projects with companies such as DaimlerChrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Fanuc Robotics Inc.

In addition, he received funding for several projects from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Van Til has served in visiting positions at universities in the Netherlands and Australia.

William Edwards

Pawley Lean Institute Coordinator, Special Instructor, Industrial and Systems Engineering
512 Engineering Center
(248) 370-2211  |

Mr. Edwards graduated from Oakland University with a BSME and BSEE degree. He also holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and is completing his Ph.D. at OU. He joined OU as an instructor following a career in the automotive industry at both Ford Motor Company Chrysler Corporation. His academic interests include a background in Lean Manufacturing. In addition, he joined the Pawley Lean Institute as a coordinator primarily focused on projects and support in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.


Vijayan Sugumaran

442 Elliott Hall 
(248) 370-2831  |

Vijayan Sugumaran is Professor of Management Information Systems and Chair of the Department of Decision and Information Sciences at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA. He was WCU Visiting Professor at Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea from 2010 to 2012. He received his Ph.D in Information Technology from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA. His research interests are in the areas of Agile and Lean Software Development Practices, Service Systems, Ontologies and Semantic Web, Intelligent Agent and Multi-Agent Systems, and Component Based Software Development. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in Journals, Conferences, and Books. He has edited twelve books and serves on the Editorial Board of eight journals.

His research primarily utilizes the design science paradigm which focuses on designing and developing artifacts and demonstrating their usefulness through empirical or qualitative evaluation. He has published in top-tier journals such as Information Systems Research, ACM Transactions on Database Systems, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Transactions on Education, IEEE Software and Healthcare Management Science. Dr. Sugumaran is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Intelligent Information Technologies. He is the Chair of the Intelligent Agent and Multi-Agent Systems mini-track for Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS 1999 - 2015). Dr. Sugumaran served as Chair of the Information Technology committee for the Decision Sciences Institute. He has served as the program co-chair for the International Conference on Applications of Natural Language to Information Systems (NLDB 2008 and NLDB 2013). He also regularly serves as a program committee member for numerous national and international conferences.

Gene Fliedner

Associate Professor, Operations Management, Decision and Information Sciences Department 
416 Elliott Hall
(248) 370-4281  |

Gene Fliedner earned his D.B.A. in Operations Management from Indiana University in 1989. His academic interests focus on the interdependent elements of Lean systems, Project Management, Quality Management, and Supply Chain Management. He has published in numerous top-tier academic and practitioner journals. His book, Leading and Managing the Lean Management Process won the 2013 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award.

Dr. Fliedner is also a member of several professional societies. As a member of the international Decision Sciences Institute, he has served in various capacities, including Vice President. As a member of the Midwest Decision Sciences Institute, he has served in various capacities, including President, Secretary, Program Chair and others. In 2010, he received the distinguished Fellows lifetime service award from the Midwest Decision Sciences Institute. As a member of the American Production and Inventory Control Society he served on the board of Directors of the Houston, TX Chapter and he was awarded certification at the Fellows level in 1995.

The Pawley Lean Institute Advisory Council assists in enhancing programs, as well as ensuring their relevance, and in particular as it applies to the student experience. 

Members of the Advisory Council:
  • Bill Artzberger, Partner, Lean Learning Center
  • Robert Bury, President and CEO, Henry Ford Estate
  • Greg Clark, Executive Director, AT&T
  • Kevin LaComb, President, Fitzpatrick Manufacturing
  • Julia Swanson, Vice President, System Clinical Operations, Henry Ford Health Systems