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UTSI Inviting Public to Luncheon Seminar; ‘Why the Earth is Flat’ Planned

“Why the Earth is Flat” – the first of a series of monthly “luncheon seminars” planned for the public at The University of Tennessee Space Institute – will be presented by Gregory Sedrick, at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 5.

“We’re calling these hour-long seminars ‘Lessons From the Lake,’” said Becky Stines, director of Continuing Education at UTSI. “This is part of the Institute’s continuing out-reach into surrounding communities.”

The sessions will be held under the balcony in the UTSI dining hall beside Woods Reservoir.

Other than the price of lunch, there is no charge, Stines said, but reservations are requested “so we can know how many to expect.” She may be reached by calling (931) 393-7276 or by emailing her at

Donald C. Daniel, UT associate vice president and chief operating officer of the Institute, stressed UTSI’s desire to have individuals from Arnold Engineering Development Center, Chambers of Commerce, industries, and other groups to lead some of the brief seminars in the future.

Sedrick is program chair for UTSI’s graduate program in Industrial Engineering with an Engineering Management concentration. In this capacity, he works closely with the Chair of the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering at UT Knoxville and others in planning the teaching of graduate courses and recruitment of students for the program. He also supervises the staff involved in logistics of distance education.

“Thomas Friedman’s recent book, ‘The World Is Flat,’ cautions us that the democratization and integration of technology has made the competitive world flat,” Sedrick said in explaining the title of his seminar. “The global competitive playing field has been leveled. The world has been flattened. We know as managers in a technical environment that change is hardest for those caught by surprise. The great challenge for our time will be to absorb these changes in ways that do not overwhelm people but also do not leave them behind.”

Sedrick is eager for the public to “join us at the luncheons as we explore and collaborate on a host of new ‘flattening tools.’”

An avid advocate for “bridging the gap between management and technology,” Sedrick visualizes future topics on work flow software, out-sourcing, off-shoring, supply chaining, in-sourcing, search engines, and digital mobile tools for global collaboration.

He sees a “national technical work force crisis” and often insists that “We must work smarter as we face job loss, career technicians being laid off because their jobs have gone overseas, and too few young people going into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”