J. Rene Villalobos is an associate professor in the Industrial Engineering Department of Arizona State University. He holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Tecnologico de Chihuahua, a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University.
He is currently the director of ASU site of the Industrial Assessment Center (https://iac.engineering.asu.edu/), sponsored by the Department of Energy of the United States, whose aim is to increase energy efficiency in low to mid-size US manufacturers. His research interests include the areas of food logistics, energy efficiency, applied operations research, automated quality and manufacturing systems.
He is also the director of the International Logistics and Productivity Improvement Laboratory (ILPIL, http://ilpil.asu.edu). At ILPIL he has successfully applied tools such as discrete event simulation, statistical inference, data mining, mathematical optimization, and supply chain/logistics methods to a wide variety of projects in industry, including labor productivity improvement, capacity planning and logistics. Furthermore, he has translated industrial engineering knowledge into new applications related to agricultural planning, logistics and policymaking, bringing a fresh point of view and novel solutions to commonly observed problems in agriculture. Through his work, he has gained an increased understanding of the challenges posed by agricultural supply chains and identified several engineering tools that are used to solve important and widespread problems. For instance, he is active in the areas of agricultural and food logistics; areas in which he has worked directly with farmers and decision makers to find practical solutions to complex logistics and distribution problems. He has worked with fresh produce growers of Arizona to develop innovative approaches to the farm-labor scarcity problem. He has also worked with fresh produce growers from Mexico to find better marketing alternatives for their products. Currently he is working in the development of a planning platform for rapid-response supply chains for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Sponsors of Dr. Villalobos’ research include the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, Texas Advanced Technology Program, the Arizona Dept. of Transportation, US Army, the US Department of Homeland Security, Howard G. Buffett Foundation. He was the recipient of the 1993 IIE Doctoral Dissertation Award and a 1995 NSF Career Grant. In 2016 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct educational and research activities in Chile.
He has published in journals such as the European Journal of Operational Research, the Journal of Agricultural Systems, IIE Transactions, the International Journal of Production Research, IEEE Transactions, and the International Journal of Production Economics. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Texas (inactive).