Expert Speed Chat 
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Increasing employees' continuous improvement IQ equals gold

How can you sustain continuous improvement's 'shine?'


Speed Chat with Experts
Tuesday, Oct. 10 Location Code
9:45am-12:00pm Hynes Center, Level 3, Room 304 TS/05

Learn why the senior leaders at Ace Metal Crafts, FedEx Office, Lantech Corporation, Menlo Innovations, and the State of Washington continue to invest in their employees’ ongoing development. Hear how increasing every employee’s skill set is good business whether: manufacturing stretch wrapping equipment; delivering commercial printing services; fabricating custom stainless steel products; working with users and clients to design software solutions; or providing statewide government services. Take part in discussing with each of these leaders how they’re motivating their employees to take on the daily responsibility of improving their work while increasing the value each provides customers.


The ability to develop your employees so each can create value for your customers is critical to maintaining a continuous improvement culture. Those organizations that can develop all team members to become problem solvers adaptive to change will perform best in an uncertain future. Join Larry Anderson, a gold-certified lean senior coach with One System One Voice, as he moderates a panel discussion with leaders from five highly successful, award-winning organizations, each with a highly engaged, continuously developing workforce. During this two-hour session, time will be split between a moderator-led panel and individual small group discussions. This will allow attendees time to engage in longer, more personal conversations with each panelist and the moderator as each rotates from table to table.

Presenters: Larry Anderson / Deb Benning / James Goebel / Hollie Jensen / Jim Lancaster / Jamie Parker

With over 40 years of experience as a gold-certified (SME/AME/ASQ/Shingo) lean senior management and training professional, Larry Anderson has worked in a variety of manufacturing and service organizations, including Capital One.  With a unique perspective on evoking behavioral change to create invested employees, he is a senior examiner/team lead for both the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence and the AME Excellence Award; past chair of the SME/AME/ASQ/Shingo Lean Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee; and currently serves as president of the Southwest Region of AME. Anderson has a BSc degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University, is a registered PE in Texas and Kentucky, and pursued a masters degree in engineering management from University of Louisville. 

As the chief relationship officer (CRO) at Ace Metal Crafts Company (ACE) for the past two years, Deb Benning has responsibility for nurturing ACE’s human elements to strengthen and grow relationships in sales and marketing, and human resources. Benning and ACE began focusing more energy toward developing and nurturing a culture of trust based on emotional intelligence and mutual respect. Lean is no longer a specific person or team’s job, it is now the responsibility of every ACE team member, regardless of function or level. The result has been a dramatic increase in revenue and customer satisfaction. Benning continues to focus on building ACE’s culture of engaging, coaching and providing personal development for all team members and customers. Benning has a BS degree from Illinois State University, is the previous president of the Association of Women in the Metal Industries (AWMI), former board member of Genesis House, and taught empowerment classes for both the Genesis House and Gilda’s Club. 

James Goebel is a founding partner of Menlo Innovations, a software development company that uses highly collaborative project teams to design and build innovative software products for clients who place a high value on user adoption. As a coach and change agent, Goebel has created a culture that develops widely adopted custom software enjoyed by its intended end users through a unique set of practices, including High-Tech Anthropology®, paired programming, and working in an open and collaborative environment. Menlo’s acclaim in publications such as Inc. and Fortune, and frequent requests from Fortune500 organizations to study Menlo’s Software Factory environment have led Menlo to open its doors. Regularly scheduled tours bring thousands of representatives from organizations of all sizes and sectors to watch and learn about Menlo’s implementation of Agile. Goebel is a certified project management professional (PMP), a certified scrum master, has an MBA degree from Eastern Michigan University, and has practiced software product development for more than 20 years, including the last 16 years building and managing Agile software teams. 

Since joining the State of Washington in 2013, Hollie Jensen developed and now leads Washington’s Lean Fellowship program, which is a year-long developmental job assignment for state leaders. She is also the internal lean leader and coach for the governor’s statewide priority goal areas. Prior to the State of Washington, she spent 17 years in the private sector with Starbucks where she held many field and corporate management positions, leading to her role as its lean practice strategy manager. She taught lean principals, designed the corporation’s leadership coaching program and designed the Starbuck store system of work. Jansen continues to share her passion for lean through: her ongoing work as a faculty member of the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), blogs, podcasts and taking part in article and book interviews. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. 

Jim Lancaster’s 15 years of experience driving lean throughout the family-run business that invented automated shrink-wrapping has served, LLC well. As CEO and co-owner since 1995, he continues ensuring Lantech follows Toyota’s lean principals while manufacturing its patented stretch wrapping systems. Used in organizations throughout the world, Lantech employs over 500 employees in multiple cities, with its sales and manufacturing headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. Lancaster’s people development experiences are documented in his newly published book, “The Real Work of Management: How Lean Practice Creates Daily Leadership for Stability, Improvement, and Growth.”  Lancaster graduated from Southern Methodist University earning degrees in both finance and marketing, and initially worked in New York’s financial industry. 

Jamie Parker is currently a region manager for FedEx Office with direct responsibility for 200 operators in six cities. She is also responsible for facilitating the continuous improvement journey for 600 operators in 19 plants located across the U.S. and Canada. Over the past four years, she has worked to bring to life FedEx Office’s purpose of connecting people and possibilities around the world for the 600 team members, including not only customer products and services, but also each team members’ ability to awaken their individual possibilities through continuous improvement. Parker's work has led to creating plant environments that respect the individual and provide each operator the tools, capabilities and confidence to directly improve their work processes, thereby creating greater ongoing value for their customers. This cultural transformation has led to the operators feeling more fulfilled and valued at work, which in turn has helped them be better spouses, neighbors, and parents—Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle in practice.