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Video version About the podcast In this edition of “State of Readiness”, I welcome Manuel Ugarte, Director and Strategic Accounts Manager of the United States Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC).  The US Army’s CCDC mission is to provide the research, engineering, and analytical expertise to deliver capabilities that enable the Army to deter and, when necessary, decisively defeat any adversary now and in the future.  And the CCDC’s vision is to be the scientific and technological foundation of the Army Modernization Enterprise through world-leading research, development, engineering and analysis. Manny and I start by talking about his current role at the CCDC and the confluence of research, data, data analytics, and converting that research and data into a basis for making decisions about the future operations and capabilities of the US Army.  Of particular interest is that the nature of what the CCDC and he are doing goes contraire to a lot of his past experience and training.  After all, research begets innovation, and innovation requires the ability to think and act outside the box – to question everything even down to the core of how the US Army operates. But the real great story is about Manny’s life journey; Manny was born in Puerto Rico, the son of Cuban exiles escaping from the Castro regime.  After escaping Cuba, his father earned his BSc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Mayaquez afterwards “earning his salt” and providing for his family.  From this experience his father instilled in Manny his life’s values and the notion of serving their adopted country as a way of giving back.  There was no tradition of military service in the family (except for his great grandfather serving in the Spanish Navy way back when).  After University, he found himself assigned in Panama.  And this is where the story really gets interesting; it includes all the elements of a great story.  There is a warehouse full of surplus vending machines and Manny decides to moonlight as an entrepreneur while serving as an officer in the Army (or is it the other way around?).  There is his finding the love of his life (with whom he took forever to actually court) and who happens to be a lawyer who helps him with his business dealings (which is the excuse he found for keeping her close).  And there is the vicious competition of the old ladies selling empanada’s and coke on the corner – culture kills strategy. This is a really great story.  In a very real way, it is the story of America, the American Dream, and everything that is great, and can be great, about the American experience.  Give a listen.  I am sure you will find it as funny, enjoyable, and inspirational as I did.  And I am certain you will end-up with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step. Guest: Manuel "Manny" Ugarte Manuel "Manny" Ugarte Manuel Ugarte is the Director & Strategic Accounts Manager to oversee the Science and Technology strategic planning, program, budget & execution of experimental and state-of-the-art capabilities of the US Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command – the subordinate organization of the nascent Army’s Futures Command.  His leadership and military experiences have focused on strategic planning, process improvement, operations, and complex problem solving. As an executive leader, he embraces operational excellence methods, directing high performance teams on problem-solving techniques informed by business intelligence. Manny has served the United States in its operations around the world as a US Army Officer and Executive for over 25 years.  Throughout his career, Manny has held many positions, including stints as Director of Analytics at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Chief Operating Officer at the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and Senior Operations Research Analyst at the Army Futures Command.  He earned his BASc of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering as an ROTC Cadet from Norwich University, his MBA from Tarleton State University, his MSc in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School, and his MEng in Engineering and Industrial Management from Penn State University.  He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt practitioner and Master Black Belt candidate from the US Army.  Manuel recently completed an Executive Program certification in Management and Leadership from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Organization:  US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Website; Year founded; February 2019 Headquarters; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland Company type; Defense / Military Industry Company size; ~ 26,200 civilian employees, military, and contractor workforce with a combined annual direct and reimbursable budget in excess of $6B Specialties; Engineering, Research & Development for US Army science & technology HireMilitary utilizes the Department of Defense (DoD) Skillbridge program to promote civilian job training for transitioning service members. Any eligible service member within 180 days of leaving the military can seek a full-time (40-hours per week), unpaid internship with an employer up to 6 month period anywhere in the country—even remote. The requirements are that the internship must include an interview and offer a high-probability of continued employment.
Video version About the Podcast Today I invite Ofra Kalechstain, CEO of Matics, to “State of Readiness”.  Ofra started off her career as a computer programmer at SciTex where she helped develop applications for aiding in oil and gas exploration.  Afterwards, she worked for over 26 years at Paradigm where she moved-up through the ranks until becoming the Executive Vice President of Product Development until 2014.  She then turned her attention to being an active investor in start-ups.  She took a particular interest in one of her investments, Matics, taking an active role; first as the Chief Technology Officer and then as CEO. We start the conversation with Ofra discussing the impact of Industry 4.0 on manufacturing.  And while many applications have been developed for the largest companies in the world, there is a void for affordable and easy to use applications for the middle-market; and it is here where the opportunities abound.  And it is to address the needs of the middle-market that Matics has been specifically developed; a Management Execution System (MES) for the SME’s. I ask what some of the symptoms, the tell-tails, of a company that might benefit from the digitalization component of an Industry 4.0 strategy and the answer was as simple as it was to make a determination at one’s business; if you are capturing and tracking information using pen and paper, there is probably an opportunity for digitalization with the need being especially acute if the information being captured should be captured and acted upon in real-time. Ofra then shares a brief tour of how Matics works and how the solutions can help you to collect, analyze and collaborate in real time to gain production efficiency in your operations and offer the ability to remotely manage of the health of your operations. A very interesting conversation with a very interesting person from a company whose value is as needed as it is timely.  Give a listen. About Ofra Kalechstain Ofra Kalechstain has been the CEO of Matics since 2019, previously serving as the company’s CTO. Prior to Matics, Kalechstain was the Vice President of Product Development at Paradigm, a globally distributed organization where for over 26 years she led the product development business unit, overseeing an annual budget of $45M. Kalechstain has been instrumental in growing Matics and instilling a culture of competitive excellence throughout the organization. She has helped build a durable organization which has and can continue to withstand change. Kalechstain holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion). Since 2015 she’s also been an active investor in tech startups, leading several companies to financial growth and successful product delivery. Company: Matics Website: Headquarters: Haifa, Israel Year Founded:  2017 Company Type: Software Publisher specializing in apps that manage production Specialties:  Matics develops software that is used by factories to digitize the production process.  Their software combines pervasive technology and manufacturing know-how to monitor and capture the complete digital production journey for full auditability, repeatability and knowledge capture; a smart digital manufacturing platform that provides unprecedented visibility and control of your manufacturing process – anytime, anywhere.  Designed for SMEs, Matics’ secure cloud-based RTOI solution enables fast, non-disruptive, modular and scalable deployment. Matics’ digital manufacturing systems are installed in hundreds of production floors worldwide, connecting thousands of machines, in highly demanding production environments. From planning & scheduling, through all production stages and work procedures, all the way to the warehouse, we provide a comprehensive production management solution.
Video Version About the Podcast Hello, and welcome to another edition of state of readiness. I'm your host, Joseph Paris. My guest today is Alan Cruce, pilot and adventurer. I met Alan while I was on assignment in Denver. He and his team from NASA were also on assignment in Denver, separate assignments, of course. And we met as people who are on assignments, far away from home or app to meet in the hotel bar. They started sharing with me what their program was at NASA, which was SOFIA. I became completely infatuated. You see, when I was younger, I wanted to be a pilot, I wanted to be an astronaut. And I was fascinated with NASA. This was the time of the Apollo program and the Skylab program. I wrote to NASA and IBM Federal Systems many times and each time I was gifted a package of goodies; pictures, pamphlets, mission patches, the works. We all got along wonderfully. And as the night went on, they asked me if I wanted to join them to the next day for simulator training in a classic 747 (the model that was all analog). Of course, I said, Yes, and messaged my client that I was going to be late. Alan's story is a great one; earning his pilot's license before most people earn their driver's license. From then his life was one confluence of circumstances and events after another - which he shares some (but not all) - until he got his chance to fly missions for NASA as a pilot in the SOFIA program, a fascinating program that was recently terminated. About Alan Cruce Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse id nisl non tellus varius dapibus. Cras vitae ex mattis enim blandit finibus. Integer convallis pretium elit ut euismod. Fusce suscipit quis nulla cursus bibendum. Nunc eros libero, ornare a lobortis a, dictum id libero. Proin felis diam, volutpat ut augue id, pellentesque semper dolor. Vestibulum auctor ipsum eget erat auctor egestas. Nulla in convallis leo. Phasellus vel vestibulum tellus. Suspendisse non varius risus, id feugiat tortor. Suspendisse cursus, tortor eget commodo varius, arcu nunc vulputate sapien, et semper lorem mauris non mauris. In cursus pharetra purus eu blandit. Phasellus non ante ultricies, venenatis elit mollis, vulputate enim. Maecenas finibus dui sapien, sed egestas elit semper eget. Curabitur id aliquet tortor, sit amet pretium nisi. In gravida, odio sit amet egestas vulputate, erat lacus aliquam tellus, in dapibus eros lectus id velit. Nunc pulvinar lacus vel nisl molestie egestas. Quisque pulvinar eros a pharetra eleifend. Etiam id sapien ut odio commodo vestibulum. Duis blandit dapibus tortor, mollis blandit quam auctor ut. In ornare nulla eros, quis tristique erat posuere ac. Vivamus vel tristique odio, nec gravida ante. Praesent porta id sapien sit amet pellentesque. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Proin eleifend faucibus magna, ac posuere libero dictum nec. Aliquam semper ligula convallis, suscipit enim non, lacinia dui. LinkedIn Profile: Company: SOFIA Science Center Title: Research Pilot Website: Headquarters:  Year Founded: Company Type: Company Size: Industry Experience: Practice Areas:
Video Version About the Podcast Hello and welcome to another edition of State of Readiness with your host, Joseph Paris.  My guest today is Norbert Majerus; Author of “Lean-Driven Innovation” and “Winning Innovation” and a Lean Champion (Ret) from the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. He confesses that he went into engineering because he didn’t like to working with people and felt that a career in engineering would find him in the corner of a room with a computer and being left alone to do his work.  It did not quite work out that way. Norbert spent most of his career at Goodyear’s Innovation Centers.  Having first been introduced to Six Sigma, his natural gravitation was more towards Lean and the “people” side and skills associated with creating a problem-solving and leadership culture. We then talk about culture change; a topic which appears to be on many people’s minds.  But people rarely speak of what they would like to change from what, to what.  They share the phrase “culture change” and just leave it hang there in the air like a cartoon bubble and leave it to others to figure out what was meant; a grand assumption on everyone’s part. But Norbert does take the time to explain his ideas with respect to culture change; including the from what, to what.  Fun fact; “Luxembourgish” is a language… About Norbert Majerus Norbert Majerus Norbert was born in Luxembourg and has a Master’s Degree in chemistry from the University of Saarlandes, Saarbrucken Germany in 1978.  After graduation and for the next almost 40 years, Norbert works for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, starting as a rubber chemist.  Over the course of his career with Goodyear, he held several roles in the Goodyear Innovation Centers in Luxembourg and in Akron, Ohio and holds over 60 patents and trade secrets in the United States alone.  The role he held the longest and for the final 15 years with the company was that of Lean Champion and is a Master Black Belt. Norbert has taught workshops and given keynotes at many conferences around the world.  Since retiring from Goodyear in 2017, Norbert continues to share with others the wisdom he has gained through his consultancy, his speaking opportunities, and his writings, which include two books; “Lean-Driven Innovation” and “Winning Innovation”. Norbert is also a Shingo Academy Fellow, an Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Assessor, and serves on the board of the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange (LPPDE). LinkedIn Profile: Company: Norbert Majerus Consulting LLC Title: Owner/Member Website: Headquarters:  Akron, Ohio Year Founded: 2018 Company Type: Privately held Company Size: Independent Consultancy Industry Experience: Retired in 2017 with almost 40 years at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, holding the role of Lean Champion Innovation for the last almost 15 years. Practice Areas: Assist companies with; Lean Product Development and Innovation, Change Management, Lean Project Management, Managing People in a Lean Environment
Video Version About the Podcast My guest today is Ben Cook, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Spreetail, a next-generation 3PL company headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.  We start the conversation with Ben sharing his early years.  His father was an Army Officer who resigned soon after Ben was born to have a more stable family life.  But that didn’t mean they set roots and became grounded, quite the opposite, as his father became a high-school football coach who moved through several high-schools in the Southeastern United States; and also did some time in Spain and in Africa on volunteer work.  So Ben struggles with where “home” is, except that it’s the United States. Ben then shares some details of his military career.  Being in the Special Forces, the assignments were not the most comfortable (including stints above the arctic circle).  But it was pre-9/11, so the assignments were (perhaps) a bit easier than afterwards. After the military, he became interested in Supply Chain.  Perhaps recognizing the importance of supply chains during his military career somehow influenced his gravitation to the discipline which, in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, was in its infancy. We walk though the various roles he had; including one in China soon after China’s assentation to being a member of the World Trade Organization.  And Ben shares some of the lessons learned along the way, some by design, some by accident, including a lesson-learned about culture eating strategy for breakfast. These experiences led him to develop his personal approach to leadership which he calls “One Team”, and I am sure you will find his thoughts on this quite interesting; perhaps even adoptable. About Ben Cook Ben Cook With over 20 years of leadership experience with a focus on leading startups, driving turnaround efforts, scaling revenue, invest to grow and global expansion, Ben Cook is a hands-on, people-focused, leader and board member.  He has had senior leadership roles at six Fortune 150 companies including; Apple, The Home Depot, Kimberly-Clark and two startup ventures and is currently the Chief Supply Chain Officer for Spreetail.  His passion is on people and helping to shape strong values-based cultures where high-performing teams master change and execute the vision for the next phase of the company’s life. Ben has served on the Board of Advisors for several startup companies, the Auburn University College of Business and the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute. He is also a US Army Special Operations veteran and is an avid outdoorsman and adventurer who can be frequently found hiking and camping the in Colorado wilderness. Ben is an lifelong learner who holds a BS in International Business from Auburn University, an MBA with a focus on Supply Chain Management from the University of Tennessee and multiple leadership and coaching certifications from The Wharton School, Harvard Business School, and the Center for Creative Leadership. LinkedIn Profile: Company: Spreetail, LLC Title: Chief Supply Chain Officer Website: Headquarters:  Lincoln, Nebraska Year Founded: 2006 Company Type: Privately held Company Size: Approximately $500 Million Annual Sales Industry: Spreetail is a next-generation third-party logistics (3PL) company.  In addition to traditional 3PL services, Spreetail also offers sales channel management, internet marketing services, eCommerce, end-user customer service, and software applications to support all your business fulfillment needs.
Video Version About the Podcast My guest today is Sanjeev Khot; Director of Global Product Quality, Cummins, Incorporated and is responsible for overall Global Quality Strategy, Supplier Quality, Reliability, APQP, and Logistics Quality Transformation to support growth and drive long-term business value. Sanjeev is a highly accomplished senior executive with global experience in manufacturing, quality, project management, and quality systems and and operations management. He is especially capable of building highly motivated teams focused on achieving results, customer satisfaction and business growth; and we explore his journey and lessons learned. What is unmistakable in our conversation is the passion and conviction Sanjeev has for his profession and for living a life worth living in general. As is plain to see, Sanjeev believes that it is important to do what you love doing, and then the success will come. What form that success might be needs to be in harmony with where your passions lie, of course. Sanjeev was born, raised, and educated in India and it is also where he joined Cummins as an operations leader in 2005. He grew his role and corresponding responsibilities at Cummins in India until and opportunity to join the Cummins team in the States became available in 2017; to which he applied and was hired. Not just a quality and process improvement professional, Sanjeev is also a systems thinker and considers the end-to-end value chain in his deliberations and deciion-making. About Sanjeev Khot Sanjeev Khot Sanjeev Khot currently serves as the Global Products Quality Director for Cummins Filtration Business. He has a demonstrated track record in; business turnarounds, global footprint execution, creating profitable and cost effective organization. With more than twenty-four years of experience, he drived long-term vision, tactical planning, and organizational growth to optimize quality, productivity and the overall customer experience. He has lead and still leads, numerous initiatives to enhance KPI management, developing business and quality strategy programs, global launch systems and other programs that foster significant cost of quality reduction and maximize satisfaction among business partners. Given his responsiblities, he leads multiple cross-functional teams globally to standardize and improve business processes and continuously identifies opportunities to elevate supply chain operations (plants, logistics and suppliers) to ensure all customer quality goals are consistently met. Sanjeev is an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE), Cummins certified Six Sigma Black Belt with 22+years of progressive leadership experience in Manufacturing Operations, Process and Product Quality improvements, Quality Systems (ISO/IATF 16949 & ISO 9001), Manufacturing Engineering, Lean and Six sigma, Quality Functional Excellence, Operations Excellence, TPM (Total Preventive Maintenance), Supplier Quality, Projects Management & Plant and facilities maintenance in national and international organizations. LinkedIn Profile: Company: Cummins Filtration, a division of Cummins, Incorporated Title: Website: , Headquarters:  Columbus, Indiana (USA) Year Founded: 1919 Company Type: Publicly Traded (CMI:NYSE) Company Size: $26-Billion, 60,000 employees worldwide Industry: Cummins Filtration is a global power leader that designs, manufactures and sells air, fuel, hydraulic and lube filtration, as well as chemical technology products for diesel and gas-powered equipment around the world. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories. Cummins Incorporated is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and distributes engines, filtration, and power generation products. Cummins also services engines and related equipment, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission control, electrical power generation systems, and trucks.
Video Version About the Podcast Hello and welcome to another edition of State of Readiness with your host, Joseph Paris. Chaos And Oceans Ltd. Today I am happy to have Mark McGrath, Founder of Chaos and Oceans Ltd, a consultancy specializing in helping individuals and teams thrive in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) environments. He does this by sharing his cross-functional experience and education in the areas of strategic planning, decision-making, process improvement, capital markets, economics, training, and coaching. We start where every journey starts, at the beginning, where Mark shares his early life experiences including being an "Army Brat" of a career officer and how the original Top-Gun changed his trajectory from land to sea; becoming a Marine. And Mark shares the experiences and wisdom gained from his attending university and the instructors who were impactful in his personal and professional development. But it is in the Marines where Mark was exposed to, and became fascinated with, operating in VUCA environments and the Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (OODA) Loop as a counter-measure. In the podcast, Mark goes on to explain why chaos and VUCA are nothing to fear and shares his “three immutable points”. He also shares why he emphasizes Orientation over observe and why he teaches OODA, and not “OODA Loop”. Everyone operates in chaos and the chaos is only increasing in amplitude and velocity over time. We need to learn, think, and decide in less time and with more orientation. Mark's sharing of his thoughts and experiences may prove invaluable. Mark also shared an article with the Operational Excellence Society entitled, "The Adaptive Entrepreneurial Method". It's worth a read. About Mark McGrath Mark McGrath Mark is the son of a West Point career officer, but he became obsessed with the sea; a convert thanks to Top Gun – the original. He attended Marquette University on a Marine Option NROTC scholarship and earned a BA in History with an emphasis on social and intellectual history in United States and Europe. After graduation, Mark served six-years active duty as a field artillery officer and another two years in the Reserves. After his time in the Marines, he held several leadership roles over the course of almost twenty years in private sector; mostly in finance and asset management industries. He also furthered his academic career and attended the University of Detroit Mercy where he earned a Masters Degree in Economics; with an emphasis on theory based on the Austrian School of Economics. Feeling he had much more to give and create and believing he could not achieve that in the corporate world, he started his consultancy. Mark is a book addict (as is evidenced by the book-shelf in the video), speaks Spanish and is a distance swimmer and surfer. LinkedIn Profile: Company: Chaos and Oceans Ltd Title: Website: Headquarters: Columbus, OH Year Founded: 2022 Company Type: Consultancy Company Size: Sole Practitioner Industry Experience: Finance, Asset Management, Practice Areas:  Team Building · Thought Leadership · Process Improvement · New Business Development · Public Speaking · Conference Speaking · Spanish · Dynamic Speaker · Experienced Speaker · Impromptu Speaking · Employee Training · Training & Development · Team Leadership · Cross-functional Team Leadership · Leadership Development · Leadership · Training · Sales · Time Management
Video Version About the Podcast Hello and welcome to another edition of State of Readiness with your host, Joseph Paris. Today I am happy to have Billy Ray Taylor, CEO of LinkedXL and author of "The Winning Link" on my podcast. Billy previously worked at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for 30 years; starting off on the plant floor and retiring as Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion and Executive Director of Commercial, Off Highway, and Support Manufacturing North America. The Winning Link We start the conversation taking a stroll down memory lane. Soon after graduating from Prairie View A&M University with a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering, Billy joined Goodyear starting where every recent graduate does; on the floor of the night shift. A life-long learner, Billy recognized early on as he steadily climbed the ranks at Goodyear that he had to "earn the right" to be appointed to the various roles and to retain the right to remain there. This meant that he had to have both the technical skills and also the leadership skills necessary to succeed in the various roles. The conversation comes to diversity and inclusion; with Joseph sharing that, having walked the Earth and worked with many companies located around the world, that the completive advantage of companies based in the States (along with those in Canada and the United Kingdom), is their diversity (regardless of what might be current assumptions). People bring forward what they have learned during their lives. And if everyone on a team has had the same life experiences and brought-up in a homogeneous culture, then everyone will look at a challenge with the same solution set. As the saying goes; "If everyone is thinking the same, then nobody is thinking". Diversity and Inclusion - What's the difference? But Billy also drove the point that there is a significant difference between "diversity" and "inclusion". Whereas diversity means there are a members on the team with a variety of backgrounds and expertise, inclusion means you use that talent. I guess I never gave the difference too much mind because, as an entrepreneur since 1985, I don't have resources that I would gain but not use. The thought would never occur to me. So it's not about quotas and making sure every race, creed, and sex is included in the picture (like marketing departments are apt to do). It's about understanding that the differences are strengths, but only if you use them. This was a really good, interesting, and valuable conversation. Give a listen... About Billy Ray Taylor Billy Ray Taylor Billy Taylor is an American business executive, dynamic speaker and leadership guru. He is the Founder and President of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm. Billy spent 30 years with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT), serving as Director of North America Operations and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. During his tenure at Goodyear, the company's earnings rose from a loss of 38M to +17.5B. As the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Goodyear, Billy formulated and led the diversity and inclusion strategies for 64,000 employees across the 22 countries where Goodyear operates. After retiring from Goodyear, Billy founded LinkedXL, a consultancy that specializes in helping companies architect their Business Operating Systems, and serves as its CEO. Billy is a dynamic speaker and leadership guru who is routinely called upon by universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Armed Forces to demonstrate how to drive and sustain effective results through creating a culture of leadership and enabling employee ownership. He is a disciple of continuous improvement and operational excellence. And as a trusted global industry leader, Taylor is a member of the executive advisory board for the Shingo Institute, Utah State University Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, and The Executive Board for the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME). He is also an independent Board Member of M-D Products. LinkedIn Profile: Company: CEO of LinkedXL, Retired from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Title: Website: Headquarters:  Independence, OH Year Founded: 2020 Company Type: LLC Company Size: 3 Employees Industry Experience: Across industries, but specializing in the Process Industry Practice Areas:  Business Operating System Architecting Firm. We’re a Premium Business Solutions Provider. We analyze your business needs and develop a custom operating and daily management system that aligns your enterprise -- Linking people, processes, and assets to deliver Customer & Company value.
Video Version About the Podcast My guest today is Stephan Meyer PhD, CEO of Almademey Ltd. I have known Stephan for some years now, he being one of the first professionals when I arrived in Germany over a decade ago. I have always found our conversations quite interesting. Like me, he knows you can't hit home-runs without the risk of breaking a few windows. The conversation starts where it always starts, at the beginning. Stephan shares that his father was an electrical engineer and he hoped that Stephan would also become an electrical engineer. But Stephan found himself rather bored with the complicated and gravitated towards the complex (listen or watch the intro for a really elegant explanation for the difference of the two). As such, Stephan gravitated towards psychology. Exterminating Sacred Cows Stephan shares many highlights of his professional journey, including the journey of researching the subject for his PhD, "Sacred Cows" and how they should be sought in an organization and eliminated. And he also makes the case for the necessity for businesses to face perils and even doom every now and then which would offer the opportunity for a radical change and cleansing purge; to be reborn again better. All in, a really great session and I believe you will enjoy it. I did… About Stephan Meyer, PhD Dr Stephan Meyer Stephan has orchestrated successful change initiatives in digital transformation for 25 years. During this time, he has held roles as CEO, Member of the Board, Program Manager, Mentor and Coach. At a rather mature age (you are never too old to learn), Stephan received his PhD in Business Administration and Management at the University of Gloucestershire in England for his research in radical change by finding and killing "sacred cows" in organizations. For his research, he interviewed interim managers, consultants, and line managers. Stephan is a forward-thinking advisor for avant-garde clients. Stephan is not for those who shrink from leading. There are bold choices and there are easy choices. And he stands for those in the front of the line – the bold and visionary, the entrepreneurs, and the risk-takers. Stephan clients are those who surprise the world by taking a leap into the future. LinkedIn Profile: Company: Almademey Ltd Title: CEO Website: Headquarters:  Paphos District, Cyprus Year Founded: 2022 Company Type: Privately Held, LLC Company Size: Himself Industry Experience: Service, Healthcare, Mobility, Automotive, Life Sciences, Finance, Infrastructure, Media and others Practice Areas:  Business Psychology, Business Wargaming, Change Management, Corporate Foresight, Crisis Management, Cultural Change, Digital Transformation, Innovation Management, Lean Management, Merger & Acquisition, Multi-Project Management, Operational Excellence, Organization Design, Performance Measurement, Private Equity, Program Management, Restructuring, Service Management, Strategic Management, Turnaround
Video Version About the Podcast My guest today is Larry Long Jr, CEO (Chief Energy Officer) of LLJR LLC and the author of the book "JOLT! Get Zapped into Intentionality: Rediscover and Believe in Your Inner Greatness". Buy the book here! Larry has a lot of energy and passion. But he is also approachable and does not shy away from sharing his own challenges and setbacks that he has faced and had to overcome. It is one of the most genuine conversations I have ever had. His parents worked for the Veteran's Administration serving those who had served. And as a result, he moved around quite a bit when he was younger. But it also instilled in him a duty to serve others. One of his core tenants is "you are what you consume", and he is not referring to just food, but media, books, even the people with which you surround yourself. If a person consumes negative, they will be negatively charged – and if they consume positive, they will be positively charged. This is not to say a person needs to become delusional by becoming falsely positive, but that they need to constantly assess that those who are perpetually negative and the professional victims need to be taken in small quantities. And similarly, not to become cynical or loose your empathy, but understand that there is only so much energy that can be devoted to helping others and a person needs to guard against over-investing in one person or cause and neglecting others – seek a balance. All in, a really great session and I believe you will enjoy it. I did... About Larry Long Jr. Larry Long Jr is the Founder and CEO of LLJR Enterprises, which focuses on sales motivation, inspiration, training & coaching. He is the host of the ‘Midweek Midday Motivational Minute’ and Author of JOLT! (*released May 19th). As a former college athlete (Go Terps! He played baseball for University of Maryland), Larry is extremely passionate about coaching, and helping professionals take their game to the 'next level'. As an experienced sales leader with a demonstrated history of success in SaaS sales, Larry brings a unique perspective to the table and understands many of the challenges faced by sales professionals. His areas of experience include Sales Training, Team Development, Leadership, & Motivation within organizations of all stages (start-up to publicly traded). Practicing what he preaches, Larry continuously seeks opportunities to learn & grow. Larry looks forward to assisting your organization. You can find Larry on his YouTube channel which includes his series entitled the Midweek Mid-Day Motivational Minute. LinkedIn Profile: Company: LLJR Enterprises Title: CEO (Chief Energy Officer) Website: LLJR LLC Headquarters:  Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill Year Founded: 2021 Company Type: Privately Held, LLC Company Size: Himself Practice Areas:  Motivational Speaking, Coaching, Consulting, Author
Video Version About the Podcast My guest today is Tim Pettry, Program Director for Continuous Improvement at the Cleveland Clinic’s Akron General (CCAG) Hospital where he directs the implementation of a Culture of Improvement for over 5,500 caregivers, utilizing the Cleveland Clinic Improvement Model. One of the biggest “take-aways” of this conversation is the difference in syntax between manufacturing and healthcare that needs to be considered when attempting to deploy an Continuous Improvement program in a healthcare environment. But we start the conversation at the beginning (where else?) with Tim’s 18 years of experience at Ford Motor Company at their Cleveland Manufacturing Site. As a result of the continuous improvement efforts of Tim and his colleagues, Ford won the Shingo Prize with Tim himself being appointed to the Shingo Institute’s Board of Examiners in 1996. I am sure you will enjoy listening to the conversation as much as I did. Give a listen. About Tim Pettry Tim Pettry is the Program Director, Continuous Improvement at Cleveland Clinic Akron General (CCAG) where he directs the implementation of a Culture of Improvement for over 5,500 caregivers, utilizing the Cleveland Clinic Improvement Model. He has been a member of a Continuous Improvement team since 2008 that serves over 70,000 Cleveland Clinic caregivers worldwide. Prior to jumping into the Healthcare field, he spent 18 years with the Ford Motor Company at their Cleveland Manufacturing Site in several roles including Cost Analyst, Training Manager, and Ford Production System Coordinator. His final year at Ford he served as a Ford Production System Coach for Powertrain Operations. Tim’s career started in retailing as a Department Manager for the May Company (now part of Macy’s) where he learned to appreciate the concepts of customer service. Recognizing that a career in Retailing did not fit with his new role as a father, Tim joined Ernst & Whinney’s (now Ernst & Young) National Client Services department in Cleveland, where he led a team of 6 analysts and multiple students who were responsible for providing secondary research data and analysis in support of major request for proposals for Audit and Consulting services, and maintaining the firm’s Mailing and Alumni programs. Tim’s passion for continuous improvement work comes from participating in and leading several cultural transformation efforts while at Ford and the Cleveland Clinic. A highlight of his career was helping to save Ford’s Cleveland Engine Plant 1 from closing in 2002. The work there was recognized as one of the pivotal events in valuing work and delivering results in the book, “Inside the Ford-UAW Transformation” Tim was appointed to the Shingo Institute’s Board of Examiners in 1996 after leading the team responsible for writing Cleveland Engine Plant 2’s Achievement Report and coordinating the site visit that led to the plant being awarded the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing. He has served as a lead examiner for over 10 years. As an examiner, he has participated in a number of site visits to a variety of different manufacturing and healthcare organizations. Additionally, as an examiner, Tim has had the opportunity to review numerous books vying for the Shingo Prize for Publications. Tim served for 6 years as the Shingo Institute’s representative on the AME / Shingo Institute / SME Lean Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee, serving as Chairman of the committee in 2010. He earned his Master of Business Administration in Management and Labor Relations from Cleveland State University. He and his wife, Lisa, have 5 grown children and 7 grandchildren. LinkedIn Profile: Company: Cleveland Clinic Title: Program Director, Continuous Improvement Headquarters:  Cleveland, Ohio, USA Year Founded: 1921 Company Type: Not-for-profit Hospital Company Size: 72,500 Employees, $12.4 Billion in Revenue Practice Areas:  Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit American academic medical center based in Cleveland, Ohio with expertise in all healthcare practice areas and is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the United States. It is owned and operated by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, an Ohio not-for-profit corporation established in 1921. It runs a 170-acre (69 ha) campus in Cleveland, as well as 11 affiliated hospitals, 19 family health centers in Northeast Ohio, and hospitals in Florida and Nevada. International operations include the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi hospital in the United Arab Emirates and Cleveland Clinic Canada, which has two executive health and sports medicine clinics in Toronto. Another hospital campus in the United Kingdom, Cleveland Clinic London, opened to outpatients in 2021 and is scheduled to fully open in 2022
Video Version About the Podcast My guest today is Kevin Robinson, Managing Director of OPEX Performance Solutions Ltd and Toyota Alumni; having spent over 28 years at Toyota UK at the Deeside Engine Plant; starting as an Engineer in 1991 and working his way up the ranks until retiring as the General Manager of Manufacturing Operations. Rather than starting at the beginning of Kevin's journey, we start in the present with Kevin sharing that he had many mentors along his journey who proved invaluable to him on a professional and personal level. And to honor them, he devotes a considerable amount of time being a mentor to others. A lifelong learner, Kevin shares his passion for exploration and discovery. That he is humble and understands that what he knows is nothing compared to what is left still to learn is obvious throughout our conversation. Throughout the entire conversation, Kevin shares nugget of wisdom (knowledge with experience) on a wide variety of topics, which is not a surprise considering his journey within Toyota. I am sure you will enjoy listening to the conversation as much as I did. About Kevin Robinson Kevin Robinson Kevin Robinson has three decades of hands on leadership experience in manufacturing operations within Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK. Having enjoyed a diverse career working in all key functions before stepping into a general management position. Responsible for delivering on all performance measures he led power train manufacturing operations in the UK through a period of significant challenge, securing a 30% manufacturing capacity improvement with zero capital investment and becoming a benchmark for Toyota global best practice. With a deep knowledge of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and the Toyota Way, Kevin understands the key leadership behaviors, practical methodologies and skills that are essential for delivering operational excellence into any organization. As the founding senior manager for the Toyota Lean Management Centre (TLMC) he developed a program of educational materials and onsite coaching support for sharing Toyota best practice to external clients across a diverse range of sectors, including Government economic development initiatives in Wales and the Republic of Ireland. Kevin’s passion lies in creating the right environment to engage all employees, allowing them to contribute positively, grow as individuals and deliver on the key metrics that really matter. He continues to support organizations in their pursuit of operational excellence, providing both executive coaching and mentoring services. Additionally, he continues to share his knowledge as an adjunct lecturer with Trinity College, Dublin and as a Non-executive director with the Irish Centre for Business Excellence (ICBE). LinkedIn Profile: Company: OPEX Performance Solutions Ltd (retired Toyota-UK) Title: Managing director (GM Manufacturing Operations at Toyota-UK) Headquarters:  Greater Cheshire West and Chester Area Year Founded: OPEX Performance Solutions was founded in 2019 Company Type: Privately Held Practice Areas:   OPEX Performance Solutions exists to help organizations achieve their true potential. Through the provision of coaching, mentoring and consulting services we aim to add significant value to your current operations. We bring practical hands on experience, deep subject knowledge and a passionate desire to share and make peoples working lives richer and more rewarding.
Video Version About the Podcast My guest today is Sam Smolik, SVP Americas Manufacturing (retired) for LyondellBasell and author of the book, "The Power of Goal Zero". After his retirement, Sam decided to share the lessons learned during his journey and years of experience - the best practices and techniques for achieving Operational Excellence - and that led him to authoring his book, "The Power of Goal ZERO" (published in June 2021). Through the telling of personal stories and sharing his experiences, "The Power of Goal ZERO" provides a proven roadmap for demonstrating strong leadership, creating a culture of excellence, implementing organizational change, developing effective management systems, and achieving superior performance. In today's competitive environment, individuals and organizations must be best in class to compete and win. The book is designed for leaders and aspiring leaders at all levels to improve personal effectiveness, organizational efficiency, and motivation of people; with the principles helping to enable rapid transformation in any organization. In my interview of Sam, you will gain insights that will undoubtedly help you and your organization become best in class. About Sam Smolik Before retiring from LyondellBasell Industries in 2017, Sam served as Global Vice President for Environment, Health, and Safety for LyondellBasell, Royal Dutch Shell, and The Dow Chemical Company (where he started his career). Sam earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and currently serves on the Engineering Advisory Board there. In addition, Sam currently serves on several Boards of Directors including; Axalta Coating Systems, Evergreen Industrial Services, and Ducks Unlimited. LinkedIn Profile: Company: LyondellBasell Title: SVP Americas Manufacturing (retired) Website: Headquarters:  Houston, Texas (for US) Year Founded: 2007 (as a result of the acquisition of Lyondell Chemical Company by Basell Polyolefins. Company Type: Publicly Traded (NYSE; LYB) Practice Areas:  LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world and produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through; lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road, and ensuring the safe and effective functionality in electronics and appliances. LyondellBasell sells products into more than 100 countries and is the world's largest producer of polypropylene compounds and the largest licensor of polyolefin technologies. In 2021, LyondellBasell was named to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” for the fourth consecutive year.
About the podcast I invite Andrew Chrostowski, Chairman of the Board and Acting CEO of RealWear to “State of Readiness”.  We start with discussing what RealWear is all about – and it is one of the coolest systems I have seen for employee-enablement.  RealWear had designed and developed ruggedized head-mounted wearable Android-class tablet computer that frees a worker’s hands for dangerous jobs.  Being hands-free, it is purpose-built for Connected Worker programs in the industrial enterprise and is safely controlled with just your voice, even in extremely noisy environments.  With a growing number of hands-free partner solutions, our customers are taking full advantage of the unlimited power of our systems for remote mentor, document navigation, industrial IoT visualization and digital workflow solutions.  Global leaders in energy, manufacturing and automotive industries trust RealWear to empower and connect their global workforce Being a young company, we talk about the entrepreneurial spirit that is pervasive throughout the company.  Andrew shares how opportunities are recognized and how exciting it is to work in an environment of a young company; the energy, nimbleness, innovation, and joy in solving problems nimbleness is pervasive.  And we talk about how COVID-19 has illuminated the power of telephony and how telephony in general will be leveraged much more in a post-COVID world. And Andrew shares  with us his journey.  Being originally trained as a physicist, when he is faced with a technical issue, he goes back to the fundamentals.  His graduate studies in Systems Management prepared him to manage and optimize complex interrelationships and has found these learnings to have instilled in him a great toolkit for managing quality, safety, operations, innovation, digital transformation and business systems in general. Come take a listen.  Fascinating person, fascinating company… Guest: Andrew E. Chrostowski Andrew E. Chrostowski Andrew Chrostowski is a senior executive with deep experience in developing teams and strategies that enable innovation, growth, and profitability improvements.  As an NACD Certified Director, Qualified Technology Executive and a founding executive member of the Digital Directors Network, he strives to improve board performance and digital governance excellence to shape and secure the digital future for everyone.  He currently serves as a board member on the Finance Committee for the Rogers Group, and as the Chairman of the Board and Acting CEO for RealWear. Before beginning his civilian career, Andrew served nine years as a physicist and program manager working on satellite and Command, Control, Communication, and Intelligence Systems (C3I) systems.  He has held positions of increasing responsibility with Hitachi, Warner-Lambert, Pfizer, Energizer, Goodrich Aerospace, UTC, Tyco and JCI.  He holds two undergraduate degrees in Engineering Physics from Oregon State University’s Honor Program where he was a distinguished graduate of Air Force ROTC. He has a Master’s Degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California’s Institute for Safety and Systems Management and later completed a certificate of professional development at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Company: RealWear Website: Headquarters: Vancouver, WA Year founded: 2016 Company type: Private Company size: ~ 90 employees Specialties: Hands-free Wearable Industrial Computers – Including the only Inherently Safe ATEX Z1 Div1 Class 1 Wearable in the world. Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute
About the podcast We welcome Philip Holt, Vice President of Operational Excellence at GKN Aerospace, for a conversation.  We start off the program discussing Philip’s two books, “Leading with Lean” and “The Simplicity of Lean”; the latter having won the Bronze Medal in the Axiom Book Awards.  We take a walk in Philip’s shoes for a spell and follow his journey.  It starts with Philip gaining his Undergraduate Degree in Polymer Engineering and afterwards working at a tier-1 automotive supplier.  He then moved on to Gillette where he helped to manufacture plastic componentry before moving on to Supply Chain and Procurement.  After almost five-years in Gillette, he landed a position at Philips where he started in Continuous Improvement before becoming Head of Operational Excellence.  After twelve years at Philips, being based in the Netherlands, he took his present position at GKN Aerospace as Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence. Come take a stroll along Philip’s journey… Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute Guest: Philip Holt Philip Holt is Senior Vice President, Operational Excellence, at GKN Aerospace and a Board Member of the Operational Excellence Society. He studied Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University and Management at the Wharton School of Pennsylvania and the University of Warwick, was an engineer at Gillette and led the Lean Deployment worldwide at Philips for over twelve years. He achieved Lean Master status and has summarized his 30+ years of experience and insights into Lean Leadership in his previous book Leading with Lean and his most recent book, The Simplicity of Lean. Books: Leading With Lean Leading with Lean; The Simplicity Of Lean The Simplicity of Lean;  
Video version About the podcast I welcome Pavle Sabic to my first-ever audio and video production of State of Readiness.  We talk about the human side of business; how to get more joy out of work, how to make it more joyous for others.  And we talk about a company’s workforce and how organizations are constructed needs to change.  Pavle invokes Peter Drucker with “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and agrees that culture is more important than strategy.  To achieve this, companies need to put people front and center – especially as the workforce becomes distributed.  And by that, Pavle means companies have to look to fairness, that the benefits of working together are shared together, empowerment and autonomy, empathy, and flexibility of work, autonomy. In the best organizations, success is fueled by openness, acceptance, compassion and above all cohesion across business units. Understanding the company brand and culture promotes a clear company vision, mission and ambition.  However some organizations are their own worst enemies. Their teams focus on complaining, waste valuable  resources, expel energy on negativity and stretch the already limited resources. Every single one of us has the potential to change the world and be the best version of ourselves. Pavle believes that change in a person's life is possible no matter the age. Through the acceptance of our individuality, pursuit of self-expression and social cohesion, we give ourselves the opportunity to grow and thrive. Understanding the development needs of the individual within their unique situation, Pavle provides a confidential and supportive feedback-rich environment where clients can gain valuable insights and develop positive new behaviors. Not implementing quality thought leadership is a major mistake that organization make in failing to maximize value throughout the sales process and commercial funnel. Moreover they are not able to create effective and emotive research to engage their existing clients to prevent attrition and churn. Presentations skills are an absolute necessity in today's noisy, data rich business world. Pavle has helped organizations create, produce and execute industry leading webinars, research report, videos, thought pieces and presentations to capture the market's attention and help their clients lead with conviction. Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute Guest: Pavle Sabic Pavle Sabic Pavle Sabic is a thought leader and a growth expert, working with individuals and corporations to build cohesion across their organizations. Founder of TM2 Ventures and a former business head at S&P Global based in New York, he is an expert in delivering strategic expansion objectives for Fortune 500 companies. He has lived and worked in UK, Europe, Africa and Asia, helping to grow businesses in developed and emerging markets. Previously, Pavle was a consultant at State Street, and an analyst at AEGON Asset Management.  Pavle has been published in the media (WSJ, Forbes, FT etc.), and is a broadcast contributor to CNBC and NYSE. He is also an official Associate Partner of University of Edinburgh Business School. He is also an, investor, actor/producer staring in Ari Taub’s 2019 film 79 parts, a professional ski coach and keen surfer.   Pavle graduated ‘summa cum laude’ BSc in Mathematics and Economics and holds an MSc in Finance and Investment from the University of Edinburgh. Studied Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. He holds the Financial Risk Manager designation by GARP and was the winner of the ‘40 Under 40’ for Research from The M&A Advisor Association based in New York.   Pavle was recently recognized as a "Top 100 in 100 Years" by the University of Edinburgh Business School where, in celebrating its 100 years since being founded, Pavle was selected among over 17,000 graduates as being recognized as being one of the standout global changemakers committed to making a difference in their industry. You can discover others who were recognized by clicking here. Company details: Company; Tell Me More Ventures Website; Headquarters; New York Year Founded; 2018 Company Type; Professional Services Company size: 5 people Specialties; Thought Leadership and Human Capital Consulting / Coaching
Daniel has spent his entire professional and personal career in the field of Industrial Engineers.  In this episode, we explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a “Black Swan” event, on the way businesses might operate post-pandemic.   We start by discussing how telephony in education and the corporate world will be embraced more readily to its becoming ubiquitous.  While both Dan and myself have been working virtually long before it was cool, institutions for learning, from grade-school through university, and a great many companies that are not tech-companies, are getting a crash-course.  Dan shares that the technology is not new – companies like Google, Facebook, and others have been using “vc” for “visual chat” a long time.  And the benefits for time, efficiency, and effectiveness which, while known by some, will be more readily embraced by all – mostly because they discover how it can be an accelerant for achieving objectives. One of the biggest transformations will come in the field of education.  For decades, traditional institutes of higher learning have looked down upon those that delivered education telephonically – only to embrace it enthusiastically when faced with a crisis.  The challenge is to maintain quality, as if the quality of education delivered telephonically is inherently inferior.  But what if the quality of delivering education telephonically is actually superior – once its learned how to make it superior.    This leads us to a discussion on the value of face-to-face.  Humans are social beings and we need that close interaction.  This is not only necessary to make the learning experience more enjoyable and “sticky”, but also the primary driver for why people go to conferences.  The sessions are (usually) very good, but it’s the interaction with peers in a casual setting where the real value of attending is gained. The conversation continues with deep dives into the various ways companies are discovering there is a “silver lining” during this pandemic cloud; the various ways they are realizing how they can improve the performance in their operations, increase health and safety, accelerate the achievement of strategic initiatives, reduce operating costs (such as the overhead of real estate and travel) and so on. Come take a listen, open your mind, and start using your imagination as to what can be, what good can come from all this bad. Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute Guest: Daniel P. Bumblauskas, Ph.D. Daniel P. Bumblauskas, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Management and the Hamilton / ESP International Fellow of Supply Chain and Logistics Management at the University of Northern Iowa; a visiting professor at the University of Washington; and holds a courtesy appointment at the University of Missouri where he previously held a faculty appointment.  Dan conducts research, teaches, and consults on various areas related to operational excellence and business development.  He has published over 45 peer reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings, including publications in journals such; as Expert Systems with Applications, IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications and Business Process Management.  He earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Economics from Iowa State University, a master of liberal arts in general management from Harvard University, and received both his M.S. and Ph.D in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University.  Prior to his faculty appointments, he was employed in industry by ABB Incorporated and Sears Holding Corporation.  He currently serves as a Vice President of PFC Services, Inc., a consulting firm based in Marietta, Georgia. Family: wife, Kendra, and four children (Addilyn, Taryn, Grayson and Weston; ages 11, 10, 7, and 5 respectively) Hobbies: golfing, ice hockey (Waterloo Youth Hockey Association – WYHA, USA Hockey 6U/8U Level 1 coach) LinkedIn: Company details: University of Northern Iowa   Headquarters; Cedar Falls, Iowa Founded in 1876 Company type; Higher Education Company size; ~ 639 academic staff PFC Services Headquarters; Marietta, Georgia Founded in 2000 Company type; Management Consulting Specialties; Industrial Engineering, Operations & Supply Chain Management, General Management
For 20+ years Joe has been empowering organizations, teams, and individuals to continuously improve processes and outcomes toward their goals and ultimately achieve Excellence in their chosen business, function, or discipline.  What makes Joe unique is that he has led successful transformation programs across several Fortune 100 companies – and he has experienced the deployment and sustainment phases both as a senior leader of large organizations, as well as an Operational Excellence practitioner. We explore Joe’s dual Bachelor’ Degrees in Economics and Psychology from St. Lawrence University and how those two disciplines interplayed during his career; where they intersected and where they diverged.  Joe found that hard facts drive decisions, but those decisions are made by people who are greatly influenced by the emotions they feel.  Joe shares many of his experiences throughout his career.  One subject in which we take a deep dive is comparing and contrasting collegiate engagement that is face-to-face versus that which is largely remote.  Joe relates how he was involved in a lean transformation and the daily huddles were invaluable for level-setting the team, sharing experiences, and creating alignment for what had to be done – but the actual work was performed semi-autonomously.  The huddles helped to build a level of trust so that when people did work remotely, they had confidence in their teammates because they knew them.  His take-away from the experience was that remote working will work, but it will work better if the team increases their understanding of one another and the trust that comes with it. Joe shares many more experiences and insights and I am sure you will enjoy the opportunity to learn from him. Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute Guest: Joe Vacca Joe Vacca About Joe Vacca Joe has 25 years of leadership experience in Operations and Finance with an emphasis on Continuous Improvement and Enterprise efficiency.  He has worked across Insurance, Financial Services, and Health Care industries at companies including General Electric, MassMutual, Aetna and CIGNA.  He has also invested considerable time assisting community-based organizations with achieving their goals. Joe has been a practicing Six Sigma Black Belt since 2004, with ASQ certifications for Black Belt (CSSBB) and Lean (LSC).  He has a bachelor’s degree in Economics & Psychology from St. Lawrence University (summa cum laude) and an MBA from Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management.  He is also a graduate of GE’s renowned Financial Management Program and CIGNA’s Financial Development Program, which he then directed upon graduation. Joe lives in Connecticut with his wife and two daughters and enjoys outdoor sports and wellness activities such as hiking, running and biking in his free time. About Cigna Website: Headquarters: Bloomfield, CT Year founded: INA was founded in 1792; CG was founded in 1912; merged to CIGNA in 1982 Company type: Publicly traded (Symbol CI NYSE) Company size: ~$150 Billion in annual revenue; 74,000 employees Specialties: Cigna's mission is to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those we serve by making health care simple, affordable, and predictable.
Cindy is as self-made a person as anyone I have ever met.  After graduating high school and not having any particular skills that were as yet discovered nor the grades or money to get into University, she joined the United States Navy as an enlisted person.  Perhaps she knew, and it’s just as likely she did not, that this single decision to join the Navy set her on a professional trajectory that is nothing short of amazing. Once in the Navy, her MOS was that of a cryptologic technician maintenance servicing communication equipment.  As her initial planned time in the Navy was nearing the end, instead of leaving, she decided to remain and earn her Bachelor’s Degree (soon-after becoming an officer) and then her Master’s Degrees – eventually retiring from the Navy.  She earned her Doctorate degree after leaving the Navy when she was 46.  Her doctoral study, Knowledge Management and Innovation on Firm Performance of United States Ship Repair, provided her the opportunity to gain additional professional and academic expertise to facilitate improvements in organizational knowledge management. She had a daughter while stationed in Georgia which added yet another level of complexity; working hard to balance her professional career in the Navy with her studies and the new responsibilities of being a mother.  Her driving force – wanting to never fail at any of it and making sure her daughter was provided for and brought-up in a stable environment.  If all this was not enough, Cindy has found time to become a certified Project Management Professional, a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and as an ASQ-Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence – and has been a contributing author to several books including; Chapter 3: Using Leadership to Improve Firm Performance Through Knowledge Management from The Refractive Thinker: Volume XI: Women in Leadership and Chapter 4: Ensuring Prosperous Knowledge Flow from the Silent Generation Through Generation Z in a Global Workforce from The Refractive Thinker: Volume XVII: Managing a Cultural Workforce: The Impact of Global Employees. I am sure you will find Cindy’s life journey as fascinating and inspirational as I did. Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute Guest: Dr. Cynthia Young Dr. Cynthia Young About Dr. Cynthia J. Young Cindy resides in Chesapeake, Virginia.   She holds several accredited degrees; a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park; two Masters of Business Administration (MBA), one in e-commerce and one in advanced management studies, from Trident University International; and a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from Walden University. She is a retired Surface Warfare Officer with 23 years in the U.S. Navy having entered the Navy directly out of high school.  At Leidos, Cindy is a Theater Mission Planning Center Curriculum Developer and Instructor, a defense contracting company.   She is a past-Chair of American Society for Quality, Tidewater, Section 1128, and a member of the Project Management Institute, Golden Key International Honor Society, and Delta Mu Delta International Business Honor Society.  Outside of her professional career, she raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with Team in Training (TNT).  She has run (to date) two marathons (Marine Corps Marathon and the Chicago Marathon) and two half-marathons (Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon and the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon). About Leidos Website: Headquarters: Reston, VA Year founded: Leidos (from Kaleidoscope) was originally part of SAIC, which was founded in 1969, but split from SAIC in Sept 2013. Company type: Global science and technology leader Company size: 34,000 and growing; over $10B; #311 in the Fortune 500 Specialties: Defense, Civil, Health, and Intelligence markets with core competencies of: cyber, digital modernization, integrated systems, mission software systems, mission support, operations and logistics, and sensors, collection, and phenomenology.
With fifteen years of international work experience, Caroline Bondier joined with KONE Corporation in 2011 as a CRM Business Analyst and has moved up the ranks of leadership to her present position as the Director, Process Development and Program Management for KONE’s Modernization Business Line.  After some struggle to find work, Caroline started her career in document coordination at NOKIA as a subcontractor before moving on to the sales and marketing development for Finnish based Citec group.  She moved on to KONE in 2011, starting in IT and process development with a focus on CRM.  Caroline moved to the business operations side of KONE in 2014 driving business transformation in the tendering and ordering processes and in 2017 took on the newly create role of process development and program management for modernization business line. Caroline describes herself as an “excellence ideologist”.  She does not adhere to any one way or doctrine for achieving excellence, but rather looks at the opportunities to become better holistically.  We talk about the “KONE Way”; what it is and how it supports the pursuit of the company strategy.  The KONE WAY is actually a reference in the Nordics.  Maybe not as well-known as the “Toyota Way”, but the way we operate.  The point here is not to talk about KONE products, but to explain the importance of our operating model (which is fairly advanced according to benchmarks), how it supports achieving our results, how big the challenges have been, and what’s her role is in it.  And we talk about her general philosophies, experiences, and approaches she has had over her career. Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute Guest: Caroline Bondier Caroline Bondier About Caroline Bondier Caroline was born in France and moved to Finland when 20 years old where she fell in love with the country.  She earned her undergraduate business degrees at the Université Montesquieu Bordeaux 4 and the HAMK Häme University of Applied Sciences.  She went on to earn her MBA at the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences.   Caroline’s passion is to support organizations into achieving their vision for growth through operational excellence.  Her focus is on how improvement and performance happens and how teams succeed.  With her strong leadership skills and change managements capabilities, she has been able to systematically drive teams, solutions, and programs towards success.  Caroline loves to travel and volunteers at the Red Cross as fundraising manager. About KONE Corporation Website; Headquarters; Espoo, Finland Year Founded; 1910 Company Type; International engineering and service company Company Size; $10.7B (2019-est) with 55,000 employees across 60 countries worldwide Specialties; Designs, engineers, manufactures, installs, and services; autowalks, automatic doors and gates, escalators, and elevators.
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