The Marquardt Program

The Marquardt Memorial Industrial Speakers Program was instituted by ASA’s Section on Physical and Engineering Sciences (SPES) in 1998 to foster communications between industrial statisticians and academic statistics programs. The Speakers Program’s objective is to familiarize students with the role of statisticians in industry, an application area to which students often are not exposed. The program seeks to fill this gap by bringing experienced industrial statisticians to campus to talk directly with students about their work and industrial experiences. Speakers make a presentation (or two) and then often spend the rest of the day meeting one-on-one with faculty and students to further discuss research or common interests. The program is mutually beneficial to all – students gain valuable insight into industrial practice and speakers learn about current research and meet future colleagues. In order to facilitate such interactions, the Program subsidizes the cost of a seminar.  In addition to the program for that day, as part of our outreach initiatives, SPES would also be happy to sponsor a student mixer jointly with the host Department where the benefits of being a statistician, ASA member and SPES member can be discussed in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Marquardt Memorial Industrial Speakers Program is made possible through a generous donation by Mrs. Margaret Marquardt in memory of her late husband, Donald W. Marquardt (an ASA Fellow and former ASA President).  Mrs. Marquardt chose the SPES Industrial Speakers Program because of her husband’s long career in industry, and his strong interest in enhancing communication and interaction between industrial/applied statisticians and academic statisticians and students.

Arranging a seminar is easy. The procedure is described in the following paragraphs. All pertinent information is located here within the SPES website – so please read on!

How to Arrange for a Seminar

If you would like to have a speaker visit your campus you first need to contact the Industrial Speakers Program Chair. The Chair will inform you on the status of the funding for the year and if speaker visits are still being organized. Historically, SPES has been able to fund from 6 to 8 speaker visits a year. If funding is available, the host institution and the chair will talk about what type of statistician would best fit the needs of the students and the host school. The host can then select a speaker from the list or, if so desired, the SPES Marquardt Memorial Industrial Speakers Program Chair may assist with selection of a suitable speaker. Once an agreement has been made with the Program Chair, the host institution then contacts the SPES speaker directly to make arrangements, including the seminar format and subject matter. Once arrangements are made, the host institution contacts the Program Chair to pass on the details of the arrangement and request SPES approval. Immediately after the seminar, the host fills out a host evaluation form and the speaker fills out a speaker evaluation form. These forms elicit comments regarding the effectiveness of the seminar. Feedback about seminars is very important and helps SPES improve the program. The host institution or the speaker is also asked to provide a list of expenses, receipts (original receipts if possible), and a contact name and address to which the reimbursement check should be sent. Once the evaluation forms, expense list, receipts, and contact information are returned to the Program Chair, a reimbursement check from the ASA will be forwarded to the host institution shortly thereafter.

Please note that the opinions and affiliations of SPES Industrial Speakers Program speakers do not necessarily reflect and are not necessarily representative of the ASA, SPES, or its members.

How to become a SPES Speaker

If you are an experienced industrial statistician and would like to tell the world about life as an industrial statistician, the SPES Industrial Speakers Program welcomes your participation. Speakers often give talks about an application or problem with which they have personally been involved. In addition, since the audience is made up of young, inexperienced students with little or no prior work experience, speakers are encouraged to address practical aspects of their work. For instance, a discussion of skills necessary for success in industry or what it is like to work with non-statisticians is beneficial. These points serve only as general guidelines; the speaker and host institution should agree on the seminar topic and format. Individuals interested in becoming a SPES speaker should contact the Program Chair.


Feedback from recent seminars has been very positive. SPES Speaker James Kenyon, following his day at University of Connecticut, commented:

“Overall, I found the day not only enjoyable, but successful in creating an exchange that I perceived as useful for all who attended. For me, additional value came from prearranged activities. I made sure to schedule time with faculty to discuss issues and their current research interests. I also met with some of the students over lunch. I commend the department for thinking of this and arranging a situation where more interaction could easily occur.”

Similarly, Arthur Yeh from host institution Bowling Green State University, said the seminar by speaker Chris Breen was “interesting and constructive for students” and went on to note that “we had two presentations: one for masters-level applied statistics graduate students and the other for undergraduate business students. In both presentations, Chris pretty much grabbed the attention of both groups of students.”

Another host, Derek Bingham, Simon Fraser University, had this to say regarding a visit by William Brenneman:

“William was a terrific speaker and has many valuable experiences to share. He met with groups of students on three occasions, including PhD students working in our Industrial Statistics Lab where he posed some unsolved problems of interest to his company. He was very generous with his knowledge.”

Reimbursement Policy

The host institution will be reimbursed for travel expenses up to a maximum of $500. This usually will include SPES speaker traveling expenses and costs of meals for the speaker on the day of the seminar. The SPES contribution is not to be used as an honorarium. A ceiling of $500 has been established in order to sustain the Program endowment. Original receipts (if possible), a breakdown of expenses, and host contact information (name, mailing address) must be sent to the Program Chair along with evaluation forms after the seminar. The host institution will then be reimbursed by check.

Additional Link

SPAIG (Statistical Partnerships among Academe, Industry, and Government) has a similar initiative promoting interaction between industry, government, and academic statisticians. A list of speakers and possible seminar topics can be found at the SPAIG website. Subject to SPES Speaker Program Chair approval, seminars given by speakers on the SPAIG list may be funded by SPES as well.

Contact Information

Academic departments interested in arranging a seminar with a SPES speaker or experienced industrial statisticians interested in participating in the Program are encouraged to contact the Industrial Speakers Program Chair for details.