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Paul Cohen ’76

Once-in-a-lifetime Opportunity

In the world of consumer products, it’s common to find packaging labeled “new and improved.” Everything from detergent to shampoo is enhanced in some way—or so marketers tell us.

Yet this concept of improvement is not limited to staple goods. Manufacturers aim to advance production processes, and distributors look for more efficient ways to deliver products to market.

It is within this environment that industrial engineering graduate Paul Cohen is a renowned expert. His areas of interest include the transformation of raw industrial materials into finished goods (materials processing) and the science of how friction, lubrication, and wear affect product quality (tribology).

During his distinguished career, Cohen spent more then two decades at Pennsylvania State University where he earned numerous awards and authored more than 80 publications. Now he has moved on to North Carolina State University where he is the first Edgar S. Woolard Distinguished Professor and head of the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Cohen describes his appointment as “the opportunity to be a part of something special. North Carolina State’s outstanding faculty, coupled with an infusion of resources from an accomplished alumnus and proximity to industry in Research Triangle Park, makes this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Cohen plans to propel his department’s reputation to great heights: “Our goal is to be among the elite programs in industrial and systems engineering. We will be working across traditional disciplinary boundaries on problems of major technical and societal significance.”

Given Cohen’s accomplishments, there is a strong probability that he will achieve this objective. However, he derives equal professional fulfillment from his impact on his students’ lives.

“I’ve been fortunate to receive awards from different organizations, but the highlights of my career are awards from students who have recognized my teaching and advising. The ability to contribute to the success of students you’ve taught and mentored is very satisfying on a personal level.”

—Maria V. Caliri ’86, M.B.A. ’92

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