Spring Conference ’23: About The Speakers

Gad Allon, Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions; Director of the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, The Wharton School

Gad Allon is the Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, and the director of the Management and Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in Management Science from Columbia Business School in New York and holds a Bachelor and Master degree from the Israeli Institute of Technology. His research interests include operations management in general, and service operations and operations strategy in particular.

Professor Allon has been studying models of information sharing among firms and customers both in service and retail settings, as well as competition models in the service industry. His articles have appeared in leading journals, including Management Science, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management and Operations Research. Professor Allon won the 2011 “Wickham Skinner Early-Career Research Award” of the Production and Operations Management Society. He is the Operations Management Department Editor of Management Science and serves on the editorial board of several journals.

Kevin Austin, Group VP for Demand and Supply Management and Supply Chain Transformation. Toyota North America

Kevin Austin is group vice president of Demand & Supply Management (DSM) for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). In this role, he is responsible for demand and supply planning, as well as transformation leadership for Toyota’s North American supply chain innovation efforts in coordination with both the Toyota and Lexus brands, and manufacturing facilities.

Austin began his career at Toyota in 1999 as an analyst within the Production Control division at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA). In this role, he was responsible for production planning efforts and helping lead Toyota’s supply chain coordination to ensure appropriate production capacity and output to meet customer needs and demand. Following Production Control, Austin worked in the Human Resources department supporting company-wide initiatives focused on team member engagement and development.

In 2012, Austin took an international assignment in Japan where he worked for two years in the Toyota Motors America Japan (TMA-J) division for Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC). Upon completion of the TMC assignment, Austin rotated to Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) in California where he worked in the Distributions Operations department until his transition to the TMNA headquarters in Plano, Texas in 2015.

Austin has held several roles since then, including a rotational assignment within TMS in the Denver Region office, supporting and engaging the regional team and dealers in achieving mutual sales and fixed operations goals and objectives, general manager within the Toyota Sales team, and most recently, serving as vice president for DSM – a position he has held since 2020.

Austin is originally from Montgomery, West Virginia and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.

    James Bonini, President, Toyota Production System Support Center, Inc.

    James “Jamie” Bonini is president of Toyota Production System Support Center, Inc. (TSSC), a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with Toyota Motor North America (TMNA), headquartered in Plano, Texas. In his role, Bonini provides Toyota Production System (TPS) expertise to North American organizations, including nonprofits and businesses, with the goal of building high-engagement, high-performing cultures that improve quality, productivity, and reduce lead time.

    Bonini previously served as vice president of TSSC.

    Bonini began his career with Toyota in 2002, as assistant general manager for TSSC, responsible for planning and leading shop floor improvement activities. He later joined Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky’s powertrain group as assistant general manager responsible for V6 and four-cylinder engines as well as axle production, quality and safety.

    From 2004-10, he served as general manager for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America’s (TEMA) supplier commodity engineering (SCE) division which leads new model projects and mass production supplier development projects in North America. His duties included managing supplier parts for new model preparations as well as mass production models.

    Prior to joining Toyota, Bonini worked at DaimlerChrysler where he held a variety of roles including the company’s cost management group and new model projects at three assembly plants in North America. He also held key positions with Tritec Motors and the Pilette Road Truck Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario.

    He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and two Master of Science degrees in Management and Material Science Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

      Morris A. Cohen, Panasonic Professor Emeritus of Manufacturing & Logistics; Co-Director, Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management; Professor Emeritus of Operations, Information and Decisions

      Morris A. Cohen is the Panasonic Professor of Manufacturing and Logistics in the Operations, Information and Decisions Department, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Co-Director of Wharton’s Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management. He is currently the department editor for services in the Journal of Manufacturing and Service Operations Management and is a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science, and a Senior Fellow of the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society.

      Until recently, Dr. Cohen was founder and chair of the board of MCA Solutions, a software company specializing in after-sales logistics planning systems, which recently merged with PTC, a leading provider of product design and service life cycle management decision support systems. He recently founded a startup (AD3 Analytics), that is applying concepts of machine learning and big data to a new paradigm for supply chain planning and control. He has also been a policy analyst for the planning branch of the Treasury Board Secretariat of the Government of Canada.

      Dr. Cohen holds a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Sciences from the University of Toronto, as well as an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Northwestern University.

        Rakesh Gandhi, Vice President Digital Supply Chain – Industry 4.0, SAP

        Servant Leader, innovation enthusiast, and Digital practitioner with 25+ Years of Supply Chain experience. Currently leading supply chain innovation and Industry 4.0 customer success at SAP. Past and present experience includes working with Siemens, Millennium Chemicals, Several Consulting roles, and now with SAP since 2003 driving innovation in Business AI, Advanced Analytics, IOT and most currently driving customer success for their  Digital Supply Chain and Industry 4.0 innovation journey.

        Susan Helper, Senior Advisor for Industrial Strategy, White House Office of Management and Budget; Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics, Case Western Reserve University

        Susan Helper is senior economist at White House Council of Economic Advisers and Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She served as the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2013-2015, and as senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors in 2012-2013. Her research focuses on the globalization of supply chains and on how U.S. manufacturing might be revitalized. Helper received her B.A. from Oberlin College in economics, government, and Spanish, and her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

        John Paul MacDuffie, Director, Mack Institute Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

        John Paul MacDuffie is Professor of Management at the Wharton School and Director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI) at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management. PVMI carries on the work of the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP), the research network founded at M.I.T. to study the challenges facing the global automotive industry, which Professor MacDuffie co-directed from 2001-2012. He received his B.A. degree from Harvard University and his PhD degree from the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. His global research on the determinants of high-performance manufacturing is featured centrally in the books The Machine That Changed the World and After Lean Production: Evolving Employment Practices in the World Auto Industry. He is a founding board member of the Industry Studies Association and a member of the Automotive Experts Group at the Federal Reserve Bank.

        Paul Sim, Senior Director, Supply Chain-Business Transformation, Boeing

        Paul Sim leads the Supply Chain Operations Council in delivering against the enterprise’s functional priorities related to Talent, Operational Excellence, Strategy (including Sustainability), Digital Transformation, and Risk Management.   

        Previously, Sim was the senior director for Supply Chain Contracts, Compliance, and Risk Management. Prior to moving into the supply chain function, Sim was senior counsel for Fleet Services (Fleet Care, Modifications, Conversions, AOG) within Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. During this time, he was responsible for managing legal activities as they pertained to customer contracting, subcontracting, compliance and policy, as well as the development and negotiation of long-term and strategic agreements.  Sim was also the responsible attorney for Boeing joint ventures in Washington State, Singapore and China.  

        Before joining Boeing in 2012, Sim practiced law at Eversheds LLP and spent time working in the firm’s London, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices.

        Harbir Singh, Co-director, Mack Institute; Mack Professor of Management, The Wharton School; Faculty Director, Huntsman Program

        Harbir Singh is committed to global business research and education, and he has served as vice dean for Global Initiatives at the Wharton School. He focuses on the development of world-class capabilities and of sustainable competitive advantage. His main interests in research and teaching lie in three areas: strategic leadership, growth and innovation via alliances and acquisitions, and the evolution of competitive strategy.

        Harbir has won multiple awards for outstanding research in strategic management at the Academy of Management in addition to awards for teaching. He received the Academy of International Business Decade Award for his co-authored work on determinants of modes of entry by multinational firms into new country markets. He was chair of the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management and is the former dean of the fellows of the Strategic Management Society. He is the author of several books on strategy and leadership in a global setting.

        Harbir received his PhD at the University of Michigan. He is the academic director for several of Wharton’s open enrollment executive programs, including Creating and Implementing Strategy for Competitive Advantage and Driving Growth through Strategic Partnerships, and is a lead faculty member in the Mergers and Acquisitions program. Additionally, he teaches and directs numerous customized programs for companies and associations around the world.

        Harbir has been a visiting faculty member at London Business School; Bocconi University in Milan; and the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, as well as a founding faculty member of the Indian School of Business. He has also conducted executive seminars on competitive advantage, globalization, acquisitions, and alliances for many companies including IBM Corporation, Pfizer, Verizon, AT&T, and Daimler.

        Simon Sølvsten, Head of Organizational Resilience Research, Willis Towers Watson

        Dr. Simon Sølvsten joined legacy Willis, Denmark, in 2013, and has before joining the WTW Research Network taken on various roles as Management Adviser, Practice Leader – Security Management and Practice Leader – Analytics. He is currently Head of Resilience research at WTW Research Network, and is commercially focused on supporting academia and bringing research to life at WTW.

        He holds several degrees, starting with a PhD in Economics from the University of Southern Denmark, MSc in Economics and Business Administration, Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, Certified Security Manager ®, CFPA, Degree in Leadership and Management, electrician and Certified Security installer. His broad theoretical background and practical experience make him a valuable partner within academia and in the industry. His main research focus is risk management, with a particular focus on organizational resilience.

        Valery Yakubovich, Executive Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management

        Dr. Valery Yakubovich is the Mack Institute’s Executive Director. Previously, he served as the founding Executive Director of Penn’s Computational Social Science Lab, where he oversaw the development of an innovative IT, data, and institutional infrastructure for large-scale open collaborative social sciences. He has diverse academic experience ranging from leading a national summer work program for university students in the former Soviet Union to conducting research, teaching, consulting, and fundraising at major academic and corporate institutions in the US and Europe. Dr. Yakubovich was on the Management Faculty of the Wharton School for several years, as well as the ESSEC Business School, where he was a full Professor of Management.

        Dr. Yakubovich holds an MS in mathematics from Moscow State University, an MA in sociology from the University of Warwick, and a PhD in sociology from Stanford University. His research on organizational innovations and social networks has appeared in top academic and practitioner journals, including American Sociological ReviewHuman RelationsOrganization ScienceHarvard Business ReviewCalifornia Management Review, and been featured in mass media, including the Financial Times and the New York Times.