Terry P. Harrison, CAP

INFORMS President 2012


Terry P. Harrison was the 18th president of INFORMS. He has been the Earl P. Strong Executive Education Professor of Business at Penn State University since 2006. 

Both professionally and in his work with the association, Prof. Harrison has had strong, formative ties with INFORMS. His decision to pursue his PhD in operations research resulted from a serendipitous introduction to one of INFORMS strongest proponents, the late Rick Rosenthal, who met Harrison soon after receiving his BA and encouraged him to combine his previous career path in forestry with training in operations research, which is used extensively in the field.

Following in the path of Rosenthal, his mentor, Harrison became involved with INFORMS leadership. With a focus on putting operations research into practice, he became Editor-in-Chief of Interfaces, INFORMS’ journal for introducing research into industry. He went onto become INFORMS Vice President of Publications, giving direction to INFORMS’ leading source of revenue, its scholarly journals. During his tenure as VP Publications, he was famous for taking principled stands and holding firm, even when his was a minority view.

Prof. Harrison served with dozens of committees and subdivisions, bringing a breadth of INFORMS experience to his volunteer work.

Prof. Harrison was President Elect in 2011, the year that the association’s Board of Directors put together a vigorous new strategic plan with an eye on the burgeoning field of analytics, a cousin to O.R. During his term as president in 2012, he laid four cornerstones of the new plan, introducing certification, expanding outreach, improving the association’s IT backbone, and starting continuing education courses.

INFORMS recognized his contributions by presenting him the George E. Kimball Medal for distinguished service and naming him an INFORMS Fellow, as well as honoring him with additional awards.

Professionally, Prof. Harrison went from an interest in forestry to more expanded work in business, leading executive education programs at Penn State and focusing on supply chain management, a key area of operations research. His interests have ranged from 3-D printing to large-scale production systems to providing consulting services to both government and Fortune 500 companies. He served several years as principal and director of Insight, Inc., which provides supply chain modeling and services.

B.S. Forest Science, Penn State University, 1977; M.S. Management Science, University of Tennessee, 1981; Ph.D. Management Science, University of Tennessee, 1983.