James Apple Sr.- Educator and consultant.
DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, JIM APPLE, SR. was teaching at the General Motors Institute in Flint, MI. He, like many of his contemporaries, planted a victory garden in his yard. But unlike others, Apple also published a folder on developing the ideal victory garden, describing how long each row should be and how individual plants would best interact with others.
"It was the ultimate in plant layout," recalls his son, Jim Apple, Jr.
Though later involved in plant layouts of a different sort, this same attention to detail was found throughout the highly successful career of this educator and consultant. Apple was a pioneering contributor to a new understanding of materials handling as a separate discipline within the field of industrial engineering.
Jim Apple, Sr. received his industrial engineering degree from Penn State, then taught at GM from 1941-1947. In 1947 he moved to Michigan State, serving as a professor of industrial engineering for the next decade. He joined Clark Floor Machine Co. in 1959 as vice president of production, then returned to the classroom in 1961 as a highly respected professor of industrial engineering at Georgia Tech, where he remained until his death in 1978.
Apple published several well-known books, including "Plant Layout" and "Material Handling System Design." He developed a productivity improvement program to allow facilities to evaluate materials handling systems. He also was a founding member of the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education and winner of the Gilbreth Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers.
"His focus was on an analytical approach to materials handling problems," says Apple, Jr. "He worked to understand the complete flow cycle. The approach he used is the basis for many computerized layouts today, with regard to how each area of a facility affects another."
From 1953-1978 Apple was the director of the Material Handling Management Course held annually at Lake Placid, NY. The Reed-Apple Award, presented by the Material Handling Institute, is given in his honor, along with fellow Hall of Fame inductee Rudy Reed.
"He passed on his passion for materials handling to me and to my own son, who is also an industrial engineer," says Apple, Jr.