Gheresus assumes leadership of Reiss Chair

Nov 1, 2012

Dr. Petros “Pete” Gheresus will focus on teaching, recruiting and service in his new Industrial Engineering role.

Dr. Petros “Pete” Gheresus was appointed to the Robert and Claire Reiss Chair of Industrial Engineering in September 2012.

The chair was established by Robert E. Reiss and his wife Claire to support an outstanding faculty member who teaches and conducts research within an area of concentration relating to Industrial Engineering.

For more than 30 years, Gheresus has been committed to serving Kettering University both in and out of the classroom, making outstanding contributions to research and pedagogy. He is a two-time recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award and the Faculty Distinguished Citizenship Award.

A conversation with Dr. Petros Gheresus –

Dr. Petros "Pete" GheresusWhat does the Robert and Claire Reiss Chair mean to you?

“First and foremost, I am truly honored and privileged to be awarded the Robert and Claire Reiss Chair of Industrial Engineering. An endowed chair is the highest honor that an academic institution bestows on its faculty. More importantly, this award has a deeper meaning to me for I knew and communicated with Bob Reiss on several occasions during his tenure as a member of Kettering University’s Board of Trustees and throughout his engagement with the Industrial Engineering (IE) program.   Bob worked with Professor Tony Lin to teach the principles of learning curves to our students as well as to engineers and managers at their employment sites.

“The last time I met Bob was when he came to Kettering shortly after he made a generous financial contribution to Kettering University. At that time, I met with him, along with the entire IE faculty, to thank him and talk with him about his vision for his contributions. From our discussion at the time, it was clear to me that Bob was passionate about educating young people and promoting the IE discipline.

“While I was talking with him, I mentioned in passing that we were planning to establish an IE library for our students and faculty to use, which was to be named after the late Professor John J. Mariotti. Bob simply took out his checkbook and wrote me a check for $10,000 to get it started.  I was totally surprised and was grateful for his generosity, which continues to be an inspiration to me. Six months later, without solicitation, he sent me another check to insure the project would be completed.

“Because of his generosity, the department established the Robert E. Reiss and John J. Mariotti Library and Conference Room that is used by faculty, staff, and students for important meetings and special presentations.

“This award means a great deal to me because of my association with Bob Reiss and his passion for education and helping others. Knowing Bob Reiss as a friend, visionary, educator, and successful entrepreneur will add fuel to my tank, energizing me to excel in fulfilling his and my vision for Kettering University and, in particular, the IE program.”

What are your plans for the position?

Dr. Petros "Pete" Gheresus“My plan is to make positive impacts in three areas: teaching, recruiting and service. First and foremost, I exist because of the students. Therefore, I would like to continue to teach and inspire our students and support and nourish the IE program by recruiting qualified students and faculty.

“Second, I plan to promote the IE profession by inviting scholars in the field from academia as well as from industrial and service industries to keep abreast of developing topics and technologies. Additionally, I would like to attend seminars and workshops related to the IE field and share the lessons I learn with my IE colleagues and students.

“Third, I would like to continue to make a difference in our immediate community and beyond. Currently, I have developed a Lego Robot Assembly and Programming Workshop that is being offered to elementary and middle school teachers, coaches, mentors, and students that have or are in the process of establishing FIRST Lego League teams. In the future, I would like to develop and offer similar workshops that support teams competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge and the FIRST Robotics Competition. These programs impact students from elementary to high school grades. On the international level, I am supporting a college in East Africa by collecting and donating books and teaching there during my non-teaching terms at Kettering. This year alone, I have collected and shipped more than 8,000 books, and I plan to continue supporting the college to the extent of my abilities and resources. Ultimately, I want to make sure what I do in this position is in line with Bob’s vision and is supported by his family.

“This honor could not have been achieved without the support of Kettering University’s faculty, staff, administration and students.”

About Robert E. Reiss (Industrial Engineering, 1960)

The late Robert E. Reiss ‘60 is considered the country's first bio-engineer and was a pioneer in the medical device industry. During his career, he received a dozen patents as a biomedical engineer.  His specialty was stent devices for the heart.  He helped found, build and manage a number of companies, as well as introduce some of the century's most important new healthcare advances. He was president and CEO of IMED Corp., ACS and IVT. In his 40 years as a leader in the medical device industry, he solved complex manufacturing problems that helped make angioplasty a common procedure today and launched the interventional cardiology revolution. In 2001 he received a lifetime achievement award at Phoenix 2001: The Medical Device and Diagnostic Conference for Chief Executive Officers.  He died in California in 2005.  He was 66.