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Faculty Profile: John McClain
John McClain
John McClain

When John McClain was on the Dyson Atrium platform celebrating his retirement, his family was right there with him—as they have been throughout his career. He is glad that his children grew up in Ithaca, and that he could spend lots of time with them.

Reflecting on his 40 years with us, McClain says, "Being a faculty member at Cornell is one of the best jobs in the world, largely because of great colleagues and the fantastic flexibility you have to do a job you like and get paid for it!" Although the demands for teaching and research are great, "you have a great opportunity to show what you can do, but set a good portion of your schedule."

For McClain, who held the Emerson Electric Chair in Manufacturing Management and is now a professor emeritus, teaching has been a great pleasure. "It's fun to try to enlighten students with stuff you know that they don't know. But even better is learning something new from students, or having them ask questions you don't know the answer to. That's just another chance to learn something."

McClain's professional interests lie in operations management for both manufacturing and health care systems. His research has included work in production control, forecasting systems, supply systems, quality improvement, and facility capacity. He is the author of six books and has published numerous articles in 14 different refereed journals. McClain earned many awards for his work, including fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and Ford Foundation. He was also chosen as a Mobil Scholar and a Whitcomb Fellow.

He has also been an active and valued consultant for organizations as diverse as New York State Electric and Gas Company, IBM System Products Division, P. T. Sango Ceramics in Indonesia, Blue Cross of Central New York, the Donald Guthrie Foundation for Medical Research, and the University of California (Irvine) Medical Center.

Now, as he enters a new phase of life, he says three words describe his plans: "hobbies," "travel," and of course, "family."