Vance R. Wanner Memorial Award

A Reflective Journey

MORS Prizes and Awards Committee Chair Nick Ulmer, me, and MORS President Les Servy

Winning a significant accolade in one’s field is a monumental achievement. This June, in 2023, I had the privilege of receiving the distinguished MORS Vance R. Wanner Memorial Award. Looking at the list of prior recipients is like reading a hall of fame roster in the field of military operations research. Being informed that I was this year’s recipient, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of humility as I added my name to such an illustrious list.

I then found myself pondering the personal significance of this honor. Of course, it was gratifying to know that my actions throughout my career were recognized as substantial contributions to my profession. Yet, I realized that awards like this should never become an end goal. Rather, they might best be seen as milestones or signs that one is progressing well on the path of life—a path that doesn’t end with the award but extends far into the future.

Reflecting further on the journey that brought me here, I came to appreciate the collaborative nature of such personal achievements. It’s not just about me; a constellation of people contributed to this success. Family members, teachers, colleagues, mentors, friends, and even the team that prepared the nomination package played vital roles over the years. In the grand scheme of things, individual awards like this one truly represent the efforts of a collective.

So, what have I learned from this profound experience? I’ve realized the importance of surrounding myself with fascinating individuals and engaging projects. While awards might or might not be in your destiny, if fortune smiles upon you with such recognition, seize the opportunity to look back at what guided you to that pinnacle. Then, leverage that understanding to launch you into your future endeavors.

In the end, it’s not the accolade itself but the ongoing journey, the continuous learning, and the connections we make along the way that truly enrich our lives. The MORS Wanner Award was not just a victory for me, but a symbol of a collaborative effort, a beacon guiding my ongoing journey, and a chance to reflect and grow.

CANA Senior Director of Analytics

An analytics professional that enjoys learning, teaching, and using analytical techniques and tools to answer challenging questions.