Speed Chat with Experts 
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Business tranformation in a people-centric, production-driven organization

How NNS embraced its lean journey focusing on people first


Speed Chat with Experts
Wednesday, Nov. 6 Location Code
9:30am-12:00pm Toronto, West Tower, Ballroom Level WS/22



Learn how a major shipbuilding company was able to initiate business transformation. Understand and learn from their experience including problem identification, strategic partnership and finally exploration and effective solutions. At the forefront of this work was a focus on people and culture--two factors which have contributed to employee engagement and the transformation’s success.


This case study example will demonstrate how a collaborative effort between leadership, a consultancy, and front-line operations created a foundation for success. Explore the nature of the challenge, the key enablers to success, and the 'learn by doing' approach which included struggle, exploration and eventually traction.
Join this panel discussion with key members of the NNS Business Transformation Team to discover how to:

  • Effectively align leadership around current challenges and opportunities
  • Illicit unfiltered understanding of current state (strengths and weaknesses)
  • Leverage outside parties who have 'been there, done that' experience and expertise
  • Ensure key enablers for systematic process improvement (culture, alignment, data, and results)
  • Lead with a people first approach
  • Build momentum through kaizen and front line engagement.

During this two-hour “Speed Chat with Experts” session, time will be split between hearing from the panelists during a moderator-led panel and then individually as each takes place in small group discussions. This will allow you time to engage in longer, more personal conversations with each panelist and the moderator as each rotates from group to group.


Newport News Shipbuilding is the builder of the most complex ships in the world for 133 years - the sole builder of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, the world’s largest warships, and one of two builders constructing nuclear-powered submarines. They are the largest industrial employer in Virginia, with more than 24,300 employees. As they embraced lean, they incorporated their values (integrity, safety , honesty, engagement, responsibility and performance) into practice creating long-term benefits for shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers and the communities they serve. https://nns.huntingtoningalls.com/

FTE Performance is a management consulting firm helping clients achieve optimal business performance through a strong and reliable integrated business approach that breathes new life into organizations. As specialists in lean manufacturing and business culture transformations, as well as industry leaders in business systems development and implementation, FTE is committed to exceeding standards and raising the competitive bar across every industry. https://fteperformance.com/

Presenters: Dannon Butts / John Lucci / Jason Sutton

Dannon Butts is director of industrial engineering at Newport News Shipbuilding, with18 years of shipbuilding experience working in various areas of industrial engineering and process excellence. He currently leads time standard development, field deployed IE’s, value stream teams, lean strategy, and modeling and simulation. Butts was previously manager of industrial engineering at Ingalls Shipbuilding at Pascagoula, MS, where he led the industrial and production engineers, modeling and simulation team, and the employee suggestion program. He holds bachelor and master degrees in industrial engineering from Mississippi State University, and ASQ certifications in quality engineering, quality audits and six sigma black belt. 

John Lucci is a managing partner and president of FTE Performance's Global Consulting Practice responsible for P&L, business development, and operational strategy. He has advised clients in the manufacturing and transportation sector specializing in general management challenges, strategic planning, due diligence, process redesign, lean manufacturing strategy and organizational design. Lucci spent 5 years as director of launch management and process engineering for a growing automotive supplier and 15 years with a leading automotive OEM in various engineering, operations and lean manufacturing leadership roles. He led the start-up of multiple JIT assembly and material sequencing facilities, led corporate-wide lean transformation programs; spearheaded a multi-facility MIS infrastructure project; and implemented flexible assembly strategies. Lucci holds an MSc degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University, a BSc degree in robotics systems engineering from Lake Superior State University, and a certification in lean manufacturing from the University of Michigan. He also holds three US Patents. 

Jason Sutton is the director of structural fabrication and assembly at Huntington Ingalls, Newport News Shipbuilding. Prior to NNS, he served in the United States Air Force as a cyberspace and information technology leader, including four commands at a variety of levels and culminating as the chief information officer of Air Combat Command. Designated the lead for lean deployment in NNS produced a conversion into a true lean believer. Now a practitioner teaming with industrial engineering, consultants and fabrication professionals improving operations, he is driving a culture change by embracing lean in a new work force of 1,600. Sutton holds a BSc degree from the United States Air Force Academy and three master's degrees in engineering management, strategic studies and organizational leadership.