The Axia Institute helps firms address some of industry’s greatest challenges by providing high-impact solutions. The institute expands on Michigan State University’s #1 ranked Supply Chain Management program. We are strategically positioned as the premier value chain innovation center, poised to deliver revolutionary advances in the functional areas of procurement, manufacturing, data analytics, materials management, packaging, logistics and customer service to companies globally.
In addition to our staff, we are supported by our Executive and Technical Advisory boards, which advise and help guide the activities of the Institute.
Research Associate Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor – School of Packaging
Dr. Aliakbarian received her Ph.D. in Chemical, Material and Process Engineering from University of Genoa (Italy). Her multidisciplinary research experiences focus on the integration of innovative engineering technologies which has led to the formulation of new products with food and biomedical applications. This research focuses on environmentally-friendly strategies to develop value-added products from the scrap generated in the processing plants and along the food supply chain.
Dr. Aliakbarian’s work has broadened to the development of active and smart packaging for food and pharmaceutical applications. She is particularly interested in the use of smart technologies to track and monitor food and pharmaceuticals along the supply chain.
She has more than 70 peer-reviewed articles in refereed journals and more than 40 peer-reviewed conference proceedings. She has a strong international scientific network collaboration. She had prestigious postdoctoral fellowships and worked in MIT-Harvard Medical School, The University of Sydney (Australia), Université de Lorraine (France), and University of Genoa (Italy). Her research in waste valorization has recently been published in PharmaNutrition and LWT Food Science and Technology.
Business Development Director
Donald L. Buchalski is the Business Development Director at the Axia Institute. In this role, he is responsible for work with industry partners identify major value chain problems requiring high impact solutions to improve business performance. He also will champion the Institute’s research project portfolio and processes.
Buchalski joined Axia after 30 years of global leadership in marketing, business development, supply chain, and engineering roles at Dow Corning Corporation. He has a proven track record of creating value through understanding the voice of the customer, business model innovation, and data analytics.
He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan – Flint and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.
Katherine A. Franz is the executive director of the Axia Institute. She is a proven industry executive with extensive global experience in operations, engineering, quality and multi-operational assignments. She has, in her prior work at various Fortune 10 companies, including GM, Ford and GE, led billion dollar global operations through start-up, turnaround and growth modes to achieve world-class levels of performance.
She has lived in many locations and traveled extensively throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, and North and South America. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University and an MSA in business administration from Central Michigan University.
Director of Marketing and Communications
John D. Hatfield is the director of Marketing and Communications at the Axia Institute, where he is responsible for developing marketing and communications strategies for the Axia Institute, a premier research and education facility dedicated to developing effective and sustainable solutions to improve public and private value chains.
Mr. Hatfield has extensive marketing and branding experience in the financial and professional services industries, and joined Axia from Chemical Bank, where he was senior vice president and director of Marketing. In addition to his brand building experience, he has extensive web and direct marketing expertise.
Hatfield earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and a master of business administration degree from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Karol E. Miller is the administrative assistant at the Axia Institute, where she is responsible for managing the day to day activities for the Axia Institute, a premier research and education facility dedicated to developing effective and sustainable solutions to improve public and private value chains.
Ms. Miller brings 20+ years of administrative experience in financial and higher-education professional industries. She joined Axia from Chemical Bank.
Miller earned a bachelor of business degree from Northwood University in Midland, MI.