April grad named top industrial engineering student in nation

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of Kyle Croes.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—An April graduate of Western Michigan University is traveling to Montreal, Quebec, this week to be honored as this nation's top industrial engineering student.

Kyle E. Croes, originally from New Baltimore, is the 2014 first-place winner of the Institute of Industrial Engineers' James W. Barany Student Award for Excellence. The top award is made to just one undergraduate in the nation who has provided distinguished service to industrial engineering through excellence in scholarship and campus leadership. The award will be presented at IIE's annual national conference, scheduled for May 31-June 3 in Montreal.

Kyle E. Croes

Croes earned his bachelor's degree from WMU this spring and works in supply chain management at Eaton Corp. He plans, down the road, to continue his education and eventually teach engineering.

"Kyle is an outstanding young man and one of the best students we have had here at Western Michigan University," says Dr. Bob White, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering and a senior member of IIE. "He is a leader both inside and outside the classroom."

Croes, a talented high school musician who was a member of the Detroit Symphony Youth Ensemble, came to WMU undecided about a major. He discovered WMU's industrial and entrepreneurial engineering major and was sold.

"It is just a great blend of both business and engineering," says Croes, who notes he was initially unsure about the idea of becoming an engineer.

The 2009 graduate of Anchor Bay High School went on to use his musical background to inspire some of his entrepreneurial work, including his invention of a guitar-stringing tool. His engineering innovations as a student also have included simulation and development of a new production line for Stryker Inc., redesigning the layout of a grain mill to enhance logistics, improving facility layout for a distillery, and cost and process improvements for an area manufacturer.

 Croes' service to his profession has included his role as co-chair of the 2014 IIE Great Lakes Region Student Conference. The event was held at WMU in February and was attended by engineering students from four states—Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. In addition to serving as co-chair and managing schedules and accommodations, Croes directed a team of fundraisers who garnered more than $35,000 to support the 2014 conference, and he managed the conference career fair.

Croes is a member of engineering honorary Tau Beta Pi and a three-year member of Alpha Pi Mu, the national industrial engineering honor society. He served the latter organization for the past two years as president of its WMU chapter.