Iris V. Rivero, Ph.D., Set to Bring Decades of ISE Experience as New Department Chair

The Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE) at the University of Florida welcomes its new department chair, Iris V. Rivero, Ph.D., the Paul and Heidi Brown Preeminent Chair in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She is the first Hispanic woman to chair the department. 

“Dr. Rivero brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our institution,” said Forrest Masters, Ph.D., interim dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. “Her dedication to interdisciplinary research, advanced manufacturing techniques, and commitment to excellence in education makes her an invaluable addition to our community.” 

Dr. Rivero comes to UF after serving five years as the Kate Gleason Professor and Department Head of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her experience in higher education also includes her various faculty positions at Iowa State University and Texas Tech University. Dr. Rivero earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees from Pennsylvania State University, all in industrial and manufacturing engineering. 

Throughout her career, Dr. Rivero has successfully spearheaded numerous research projects funded by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and NASA. Her accomplishments are further highlighted by numerous awards for research, service, and teaching, with notable mentions including the Society of Manufacturing Engineers John G. Bollinger Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award and the Woman of the Year in Education by the Hispanic Association of Women. Additionally, she is a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, serving as the first Hispanic woman to be selected. 

Dr. Rivero replaces David Kaber, Ph.D., the Dean’s Leadership Professor, who has served as chair of ISE since 2018. Dr. Kaber will depart from his role after helping transform ISE into one of the top departments in the country during his tenure. In his span as the department chair, ISE has peaked with the 11th-best graduate program and 12th-best undergraduate program among public universities nationwide by the U.S. News & World Report. ISE also experienced significant growth in enrollment numbers in both programs during the Fall 2023 semester. 

“The ISE department has undergone a major transformational change over the past five years and has an advancing trend in rankings due to excellent faculty research and student academics,” Dr. Kaber said. “Dr. Rivero is an experienced and recognized scholar and academician in industrial and systems engineering, and I am confident that she will take ISE to the next level through excellence in ISE science and practice.” 

Dr. Rivero’s research group, the iMED laboratory, has made significant strides in designing scalable manufacturing techniques incorporating additive manufacturing for diverse material systems, ranging from biopolymers to metal alloys and concrete. At UF she will be expanding her research to industrialized construction in collaboration with her colleagues in ISE, the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment, and the College of Design, Construction and Planning as part of a $2.5 million project using strategic funding from the office of UF President Ben Sasse. For this purpose, the iMED lab will be moving into Weil Hall Structures and Materials Laboratory with a large-scale 3D printer capable of printing warehouses and buildings, among other structures.  

Dr. Rivero also has extensive industry experience in advanced manufacturing systems and materials, having worked with Detroit Diesel Corp., Honeywell Engines & Systems, Pratt & Whitney, and John Deere. Her contributions extend to collaborations with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where she served as a faculty fellow. In her role as department chair, she will seek to strengthen ties with industry. 

“We are confident that under Dr. Rivero’s leadership, ISE will reach new heights of innovation, collaboration, and achievement,” Dr. Masters said. “Given her combination of professional and educational experience, we know she will make an excellent addition to our Gator engineering team.”

Brady Budke
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering