Student applies IE to charitable work

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) is one of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations dedicated to combating and eliminating issues in global suffering such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, availability of education, emergency crises and other situations. Started in 1945 to help World War II survivors around the world, the organization is now positioned in nearly 70 nations.

CARE USA, based in Atlanta, has worked with Tech faculty and students for their humanitarian relief efforts. Specifically, Ph.D. student Marco A. Gutierrez worked with Dr. John Vande Vate, ISyE Professor and Director of Tech’s Executive Master’s in International Logistics, in his Transportation and Supply Chain Systems class.

Gutierrez contacted Dr. Vande Vate with interest, and the professor soon referred him to CARE USA’s Emergency Unit.

Gutierrez moved from Mexico to the U.S. to attend college at Arizona State University for undergraduate education and Tech for his Ph.D. in ISyE. His dissertation topic is based on humanitarian logistics and works with several others in his endeavors. CARE needs ISyEs like Gutierrez to improve and establish systems by which to respond to international crises.

Barbara Christopher, Director of ISyE Communications, explains the work of ISyEs and how they provide humanitarian relief.

“How do you know what to get where?“ asks Christopher, explaining that some of the long-term decisions are based off immediate responses to critical situations. Continuing in the ISyE thought process, Christopher outlines the fundamental challenge in any system.

“How do you bring everything in to optimize the system?“ Christopher said. Several challenges are prevalent in humanitarian relief, from both a technical and organizational perspective.

Primary issues include economic input and output, reliability of information and the unpredictable nature of circumstances, accurate control of resources and difficulties in general coordination of people in the organizational system.

Some of Gutierrez’s specific work includes optimal design and supply of shelters in the event of emergency crises. By airdropping these shelters, Gutierrez faces the decision to provide more rigid prefabs to less rigid tents, with the opportunity cost being the amount of people catered in the given event due to economic constraints and efficiency of setting up these shelters.

Gutierrez helped a team in Dr. Vande Vate’s Transportation and Supply Chain Systems class, expanding his comprehension of the difficulty in undertaking the responsibilities of humanitarian relief. Gutierrez has gone to locations in Central America to gain hands-on experience and to learn and aid in handling the situations. He set up warehouses, worked on inventory, analyzed and seized relief items and more.

Gutierrez continued his work with CARE in ISyE Professor Pinar Keskinocak’s humanitarian research graduate-level class. Along with students Adaora Okwo and Serhan Duran, Gutierrez worked on CARE for a class project involving pre-positioning of supplies. The logistics of the systems concerning warehousing these supplies is an immense responsibility and essential to quality and effective control of critical situations.

One of the specific tools that Gutierrez and CARE are trying to implement is the emergency preparedness planning (EPP) methodology, which provides effective and efficient management in emergency situations.

Because of its difficult nature, Gutierrez was trained onsite for EPP methodology. For two years Gutierrez has dedicated time and his work towards CARE’s work and humanitarian relief, using his skills and education in ISyE for betterment globally.

Gutierrez plans on continuing his work after graduation as either a consultant or a researcher.

To learn more about CARE, visit and look for updates at the ISyE news page at