After graduation, Alan moved to ASU as assistant professor of industrial engineering; he was also a consultant to the RAND Corporation. He remained at ASU until 1969, when he became a professor of industrial and systems engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In 1970, he moved to Purdue University, where he held professorships in the School of Industrial Engineering and the School of Aeronautical, Astronautical, and Engineering Science. He was also director of the Center for Large-Scale Systems (LSS), an interdisciplinary academic program involving eight departments. The goal of LSS was to reform engineering education to address societal needs directly; the role of engineering in service to society was a recurrent theme throughout the rest of Alan’s career.
In 1973, still a professor of industrial engineering at Purdue, Alan and two graduate students established Pritsker and Associates, Inc., a major focus of his energy for the rest of his life. Alan became adjunct professor in 1981 but continued to teach courses at Purdue until he retired in 1998. Over a period of three decades, Pritsker and Associates developed at least 10 well-known commercial software packages, such as GASP, Q-GERT, SLAM, TESS, FACTOR/AIM, and AweSim, which are legendary in the field of discrete and combined discrete-continuous simulation. An extensive discussion of significant applications of these simulation packages can be found in Alan’s professional autobiography, Papers, Experiences, Perspectives (Systems Publishing Corporation, 1990), and two excellent reviews of his work co-authored by James R. Wilson (one of Alan’s many former students) and David Goldsman (“Alan Pritsker’s Multifaceted Career: Theory, Practice, Education, Entrepreneurship, and Service,” IIE Transactions 33(3) 139–147; and “In Memoriam: A. Alan B. Pritsker (1933–2000)” OR/MS Today 27(5), available online at: http://www.lionhrtpub.com/orms/orms-10-00/pritsker.html).
Alan was president of Pritsker and Associates from 1973 to 1986 and chairman of the board and CEO from 1987 to 1989. Beginning in 1986, he was also chairman of the board of FACTROL, Inc. When the two companies merged in 1989 to form Pritsker Corporation, Alan was chair and CEO until his retirement in 1998.