William C. Hanson, vice president of logistics for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), has been named industry co-director of MIT's Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM) Program, an appointment extending from August 15 over the next two years. A founding member of the LFM Governing Board in 1988, Mr. Hanson joins founding LFM management co-director Thomas L. Magnanti (operations research) and acting engineering co-director John Heywood (mechanical engineering) in a tripartite directorship.
As co-director, Mr. Hanson will represent LFM's thirteen corporate partners, enabling the program to further develop and strengthen its relations with industry. He is particularly enthusiastic about defining future program directions, emphasizing the need for high ambitions over the next five years.
In a letter of welcome from the Institute, Dean of Engineering Joel Moses observed that "this appointment affords [MIT] a rare opportunity to benefit over a relatively long term from the concentrated, sustained commitment of a trusted Institute friend through an official capacity."
"From our collaboration with Bill over the past four years in establishing the LFM Program, I know he will be an effective member of our management team," says Magnanti. "With Bill joining our co-directorship, we will be more fully equipped to realize the partnership goals LFM has been striving to achieve between MIT's engineering and management schools and industry. I am excited about working with him, both because of what he brings to our table as an individual and because of what his presence will mean to the program."
Hanson, who received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University, has devoted his professional life to improving all aspects of manufacturing and manufacturing systems. He has led the transformation of Digital's manufacturing capabilities by bringing on-line 25 new plants in 10 countries, increasing manufacturing revenues by 40 times, and leading the development of Digital's integrated enterprise model by redefining traditional manufacturing to include more than the production functions. By developing nonfinancial measures and methods and the principles for implementing them, Digital manufacturing systems have made dramatic performance improvements under his guidance.
"The Leaders for Manufacturing Program is clearly about significant research and how industry and the academic world more efficiently and effectively convert that research into real user applications," Mr. Hanson said. "I see MIT and my role as co-director serving as a very powerful force of information and knowledge that will help forge new educational strategies within industry and at DEC, where we are actively shaping our educational learning space."
As LFM industry co-director, Mr. Hanson will spend approximately 80 percent of his time at MIT while continuing his employment with Digital, where he has advocated industry and university collaboration, working closely with Stanford, Wharton, and Carnegie Mellon Universities as well as with MIT.
A version of this article appeared in the August 26, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 2).