The University of Texas, Austin
The University of St. Thomas
Larry Seiford’s roles as co-director of the Tauber Institute, EGL advisor and professor make him a key player in the academic pursuits of many young engineers. They also enable him to interact with students at various points during their time at the College. “It’s incredible the growth that occurs,” says Larry. “Typically, members of the faculty don’t get those data points. They don’t interact with them at multiple different points in time.” But Larry has that opportunity, and he is fascinated with the progression of skill and expertise that he witnesses yearly.
“I’m really always so impressed with what they can do,” Larry affirms. “These students have accomplished so much at this point in their lives. It is really amazing how talented they are.”
Larry has had quite an expansive career in operations engineering. In addition to his years of experience as a professor, he has served as Chair of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering and acted as Program Director of the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. But his favorite job—indeed, the “best job ever”—is working with the innovative minds at the College of Engineering.
His approach to mentoring reflects the caliber of those students: “I just try to facilitate what they’d like to do and stay out of their way,” he admits. That’s all they need “to go off and accomplish their miracles.”
Certainly, Larry’s numerous assignments keep him occupied. But when he’s not teaching or mentoring, he does find a few moments to indulge his love of “dark liquids.” He roasts his own coffee beans and, while on sabbatical, he even learned how to brew beer. “I decided that I ought to expand to a little chemical engineering,” Larry jokes, flashing a smile. An avid beer-enthusiast—”snob,” he corrects—Larry’s particularly fond of a good microbrew, the darker the better. “You know, the kind you can’t see light through!”
While being a beer connoisseur might be one Larry’s favorite hobbies, his main focus is making sure the students at the College have access to the best resources out there. He also encourages them to step outside of their comfort zones and recognize that failure is a motivator rather than a deterrent. “They all have leadership skills—they just need to push a little beyond to really get out there.”
For a full list of publications, see Professor Seiford’s CV.