Dr. Laird Burns

Associate Professor, College of Business


301 Sparkman Drive
Business Administration Building
Room 361
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map



Laird Burns is an Associate Professor of Management Science in the Management, Marketing and Information Systems Department at UAH, where he joined UAH in 2009 as the first group hire between the College of Business and College of Engineering.

His research interests focus on various aspects of supply chain design, and include related work in risk and resilience in supply networks, dynamics of integrated supply networks, supply chain management, systems engineering, agent based modeling, production/operations management, and complex systems. Dr. Burns’ research includes funded research through the U.S. Army Material Command and subordinate commands. Dr. Burns is also involved in a NASA funded research project for space launch systems affordability.

His executive management and consulting experience spans more than 80 companies in over 30 industries in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and South America. Dr. Burns’ background includes experience in growth, mature market, start-up and turnaround companies. Dr. Burns has been co-owner and Chief Executive Officer of a design engineering and manufacturing firm, Chief Operating Officer of a start-up division in the material handling industry, and Chief Operating Officer of an automotive equipment supplier in a turnaround situation. He has over 15 years of consulting experience, specializing in the areas of strategy, supply chain management, business process reengineering, operations, engineering, new product development, total quality management, executive coaching and executive education.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Operations and Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University, 2010
  • Graduate School, Complex Systems, University of Michigan Center for the Study of Complex Systems, 2008
  • M.B.A, Finance and Economics, University of Michigan, 1987
  • B.B.A., Management and Personnel and Labor Relations, Grand Valley State University, 1983

Honors & Awards

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty Award, UAH College of Business 2018-2019
  • Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award, UAH College of Business 2016-2017 (year?)
  • College of Business SGA Faculty Appreciation Award, awarded by UAH Student Government Association (University level award), 2014
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, College of Business, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2012- 2013 (also nominated in 2010 and 2011).
  • My dissertation research was supported by the 2007 Institute for Supply Management Doctoral Dissertation Grant in Supply Management, the Michigan State University Graduate School, and the Department of Marketing & Supply Chain Management at the Broad Graduate School of Business at Michigan State University.
  • Best Academic Paper Award, Performance Measurement Association 2004 Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, co-author with Steven Melnyk, Roger Calantone, Joan Luft, George Zsidisin, and Douglas Stewart.
  • Responsible Conduct of Research training, UAHuntsville, 2012-2017
  • Responsible Conduct of Research Certificate, 2005, Michigan State University Graduate School. This is NIH compliant research training in advocacy in research, ethical challenges, objectivity, fairness, human subjects research, and integrity in research.


  • Supply Chain Design
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Risk & Resilience in Supply Networks
  • Dynamics of Integrated Supply Networks
  • Systems Engineering
  • Agent Based Modeling
  • Production/operations Management
  • Complex Systems

Recent Publications

  • Graham, Gary, Burns, Laird & Hennelly, Patrick (2019) Digital Transformation in the Automotive Supply Chain, 23rd Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium. Cambridge, UK: Center for International Manufacturing, Institute for Manufacturing.

  • Burns, Laird (2017) An extended framework for supply chain risk management: Incorporating the complexities of emerging industries and large scale systems. International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management (Special Issue on Emerging Industries), 31(1/2/3), 217-254

  • Hennelly, Patrick, Graham, Gary, Burns, Laird & Oberg, Christina (2017) How will big data and the internet of things transform distributed product - service systems in the automotive sector?, 21st Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium. Cambridge, UK, 28-29 September 2017. University of Cambridge Institute for International Manufacturing

  • Burns, Laird & Tseng, Fan (2016) Structural demand patterns in the computer industry: Increased costs beyond random demand patterns, POMS 2016. Orlando, FL, May 6-9, 2016. POMS.

  • Burns, Laird, Mok, Wai Yin & Colley, Wes N. (2014b) Workflow re-engineering through introduction of concurrency, IEEE Technically Co-Sponsored Science and Information Conference 2014. London, United Kingdom, July 28-30, 2015.

  • Laird Burns, Wai Mok and Wes Colley (2014). "Introducing Concurrency to Workflows: Theory and A Real-World Case Study." International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, Special Issue on Extended Papers from Science and Information Conference 2014, (2014).

  • Burns, Laird, Colley, Wes & Morgan, Derald (2014) Configuring large scale electrical energy supply chains to improve sustainability: Implications for supply chain design, 2014 Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium. Cambridge, England, 11-12 September 2014.

  • Burns, Laird, Mok, Wai Yin & Colley, Wes N. (2014a) Introducing Concurrency to Workflows: Theory and A Real-World Case Study. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications (IJACSA), Special Issue on Extended Papers from Science and Information Conference 2014, 4(3), 52-64

  • Burns, Laird (2013) NASA Chief Engineer interviews: Expert insights on elegant design in systems engineering.UAH

  • Allen Wilhite, Laird Burns, Ravi Patnayakuni, Fan Tseng, “Military supply chains and closed-loop weapon systems” in International Journal of Production Research, Special Issue on Supply Chain Design, (2014).