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Buckner Selected as New Heath IBEP Director

The Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program (IBEP) at UT began in 2017 as a way to have a combined educational experience for students in both the Haslam College of Business and in the Tickle College of Engineering.

Bob Buckner

Having someone who understands and recognizes the importance of both is critical to its leadership, a trend that will continue as Bob Buckner has been chosen for the role.

“I feel honored and privileged to be trusted with the task of helping shape the leaders of tomorrow as they journey through their educational path,” said Buckner. “As someone with experiences in business and with science and engineering, I know the value and the benefits of understanding aspects of both.”

Buckner earned his bachelor’s in computer science in 1988 and earned his MBA in marketing and management in 1994, both from UT. He has built a career in software development and management, including being with The Vanguard Group since 2001, where he most recently was a technical program manager.

“We’re happy to have Bob taking on this role, and are looking forward to his plans and ideas for the program,” said Tickle College of Engineering Dean Matthew Mench, the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair in the college. “Being able to draw upon his own experiences in the technical and business worlds will serve him well as he prepares our students to be leaders of tomorrow.”

Buckner was selected following a search chaired by Russell Zaretzki from the Haslam College of Business and Rupy Sawhney from the Tickle College of Engineering, both of whom are Heath Faculty Fellows.

Those positions, like Heath IBEP itself, are supported by Ralph Heath, a UT graduate of electrical engineering in 1970 and with an MBA in 1975 who saw the possibilities that came with learning from both the business and engineering side of things during his long career with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

“The Heath IBEP program provides unique opportunities for engineering and business students to interact with one another, learn from faculty and executives with experience in both fields, and acquire the ability to analyze complex problems through the lens of both disciplines,” said Stephen L. Mangum, Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair and dean of the Haslam College of Business. “This hire keeps with the vision that Ralph Heath has for the program and will continue its legacy of preparing our students for future success.”

Buckner will begin in the role January 1.

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