Top Student in the Nation

Posted on Monday, June 2, 2014

Kyle E. Croes (BS ’14, Industrial Engineering) is the 2014 first-place winner of the Institute of Industrial Engineers' James W. Barany Student Award for Excellence. The top award is made to just one undergraduate in the nation who has provided distinguished service to industrial engineering through excellence in scholarship and campus leadership. The award was presented at IIE's annual national conference in early June in Montreal.

Croes works in supply chain management at Eaton Corp., and plans, down the road, to continue his education and eventually teach engineering.

"Kyle is an outstanding young man and one of the best students we have had here at Western Michigan University," says Dr. Bob White, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering and a senior member of IIE.  "He is a leader both inside and outside the classroom."

Croes, a talented high school musician who was a member of the Detroit Symphony Youth Ensemble, came to WMU undecided about a major. He discovered WMU's industrial and entrepreneurial engineering major and was sold.

"It is just a great blend of both business and engineering," says Croes, who notes he was initially unsure about the idea of becoming an engineer.

Croes went on to use his musical background to inspire some of his entrepreneurial work, including his invention of a guitar-stringing tool. His engineering innovations as a student also have included simulation and development of a new production line for Stryker Inc., redesigning the layout of a grain mill to enhance logistics, improving facility layout for a distillery, and cost and process improvements for an area manufacturer.

Croes is a member of engineering honorary Tau Beta Pi and a three-year member of Alpha Pi Mu, the national industrial engineering honor society. He served the latter organization for the past two years as president of its WMU chapter.

To learn more about his activities as a student, please visit April WMU grad named top industrial engineering student in nation.

To learn more about the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at WMU, please visit