Team member bios:
Bill Artzberger has over twenty-five years of experience in real-world senior management, including CIO, VP, President and CEO. He has worked with thousands of individuals from the boardroom to the shop floor, in virtually all sectors of industry.
Bill is a partner at the Lean Learning Center. He specializes in Lean Training, Consulting in Lean Manufacturing, Project Management, Kaizen Implementations, Shop Floor Management, Information Systems, and Supply Chain Management.
Bill earned his Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with a major in management and a minor in marketing. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BA) from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan with a major in Information Systems and a minor in finance. He also holds an Associate of Applied Science degree (AS) from Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan with a major in systems analysis. Bill is ITIL Certified, a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a PMI certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Bill brings extensive strategic, project management, lean manufacturing, and information technology experience to The Lean Learning Center. He is also co-author of the top selling Lean book Driving Operational Excellence.
- Clients have included: DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, DTE Energy, Ford Motor Company, Spirit Aero Systems, GE, American Airlines, and BlueCross BlueShield
- Provides information systems analysis, project management, portfolio management, organizational assessments, and due diligence for the private equity investment community
- Holds of two patents and has been published dozens of times
- Regular speaker on college campuses and corporate events around the country
- Enjoys a reputation as a consultant with a unique combination of a broad business background, strong manufacturing experience, and deep technical knowledge
Tom Bechtel has more than thirty years of industrial and consulting experience in all aspects of manufacturing operations and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). In his work as a consultant, he has provided lean training, leadership coaching, kaizen workshops, project management and ERP implementation to a variety of industries.
Tom graduated with degrees in both math and physics and electrical engineering from Penn State University. Tom is also a certified “Fellow” in Production and Inventory Control (CFPIM) by APICS.
He began his career as a shop floor supervisor and trainer for GE subsequently working in senior operations management positions with Nortel and Mitel and ultimately Vice President of Operations for Kaval Wireless Technologies before joining the ranks of the consulting community.
Tom is an accomplished trainer, mentor, facilitator and consultant for both Lean Manufacturing and ERP strategies and practices.
Tom’s wide range of experience in electronics, healthcare, food processing, automotive and gas/electric utilities has afforded him the advantage of being able to help companies with the blending of shop floor process improvement with business implementation enhancement. Many of his projects include:
- Project management to implement LeanERP, concurrent engineering, synchronous flow lines, new practices for design & build of complex products
- Implementation of production work cells and kanban systems for GE Canada and GE Puerto Rico
- Earlier implementation of ERP systems for a variety of companies in a variety of industries
- Forensic analysis and resolution of material production control systems
- Facilitation of Lean Learning Laboratories in food processing and auto manufacturing
- Lean materials development and training for gas/electric public utilities, food processing and healthcare
- Facilitation of over 100 kaizen workshops in a variety of industries from repetitive manufacturing to patient delivery in healthcare
- Featured speaker and trainer for APICS
Melissa Curtis-Hendley is the Instructional Design Director for the Lean Learning Center. Her diverse background includes designing training initiatives for and consulting with numerous manufacturing and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the Lean Learning Center in 2006, she served as a human resource generalist for a county community bank.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree as well as a Master of Training and Development degree, from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She also earned a professional certification in human resources from the Human Resource Certification Institute in Alexandria, VA. Melissa currently lectures on instructional design methods and program evaluation in the Human Resource Development department at Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services.
Melissa’s responsibilities with the Lean Learning Center include designing customized curriculum content and delivery methods for client and public courses, planning and evaluating design, delivery and instructional flow of training and instructional products and conducting needs analysis to identify learning audiences. She designed the Lean Learning Center’s Single Point Lesson package as well as the Center’s Lean Quad and Beer Game simulations and is currently developing the Lean Learning Laboratory package. Additionally, Melissa has assisted in facilitating lean workshops for Burger Boat Company and Agilent Technologies and provides support for Lean Experience® classes held at Simmons Foods in the U.S. and Intel Corporation worldwide.
She also engages with clients to facilitate content development reviews, and defines project tasks, identifies resources required, assigns responsibilities and monitors progress against established timelines. Her instructional design projects for the Lean Learning Center include:
- A leadership course for United Technologies
- A lean human resources course for Fidelity Investments
- Learning activities and participant guide for the Lean Learning Center’s, Tactics of Lean Innovation public workshop
- Facilitator, participant guides and game materials for the Lean Learning Center’s Mouse Trap game
- Materials and participant guides for the Lean Learning Center’s Leading Lean workshop
- Facilitator guides and reference materials for Amazon.com Aces lean course curriculum including Kaizen Essentials, Leading Lean Events and ACES for Leaders
- Participant guides for LM Glasfiber, AGCO, Network Rail and Irish Rail lean workshops
- Learning activities and participant takeaway materials for Timken’s supervisor training series
- Learning activities, facilitator guides and participant takeaway materials for Oshkosh’s Operating System workshops
Marcos Fabris is a lean manufacturing professional with solid production management and quality management experience in industries including shoes, metal mechanics and manufacturing. He has been introducing lean manufacturing tools and developing projects since 2000.
Marcos holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from PUCRS and a postgraduate degree in Production Management from UFRGS. He has completed additional seminars and course work including the Lean Experience from the Lean Learning Center, Six Sigma – Green Belt from Werkema, Trading from Paulo Pizarro, and Endomarketing from Unisinos.
Previous to joining the Lean Learning Center, Marcos was a director and consultant at Deploy Management Consulting where he developed and coordinated lean transformation projects for metal mechanics, footwear, textile and drinks industries in Northeast and South Brazil. At GS Consulting Service, LTD., Marcos trained more than 60 clients of GS Brazil and was in charge of the administrative, commercial and technical areas of Northeast Regional. An Industrial Director at MR Footwear Industry and Trade LTD, Marcos managed the whole process with three production lines with a capacity of 3,000 pairs a day, and supervised a staff of 400 employees.
Marcos’s experiences in lean management include:
- Consulting in the areas of production management and quality management, focusing on improvement and rationalization of processes, ISO 09001-2008 and development of Lean Manufacturing
- Planning and analyzing production flow, cost/estimation control, supplying, manufacturing procedures and time measurements
- Referencing planning and analysis of production flow, cost /estimation control, supplying, working out of manufacturing procedures and time measurements
- Developing strategic planning with the use of BSC and methodology used in big and medium enterprises
Chris McKellen is a Senior Consultant with the Lean Learning Center, based in the UK. He started his career in the machine tool industry and was then involved in setting up a new factory to manufacture air compressors, before taking up a group role in manufacturing engineering. At a specialist diesel engine manufacturer he gained an insight in to the benefits and pitfalls of the early flexible manufacturing systems and the need to increase productivity on such systems.
After joining the automotive division of a major US based group, he learned that some of the traditional planning tools and measures used throughout manufacturing industries could sometimes create major problems within the business. This realization, coupled with the need to improve productivity in a highly unionized environment, led to his keen interest in Lean Manufacturing, the empowerment of employees and the constant drive to become World Class.
He moved to the People’s Republic of China to take total responsibility for setting up and the start-up of a new World Class manufacturing plant for automotive components. This plant is now recognized as the benchmark plant for quality and productivity in the turbocharger business. Following his return to the UK, he coordinated the six-sigma / operational excellence program across a number of European plants before carrying out consultancy assignments in the area of Lean Manufacturing.
He completed a long term assignment with another major US based automotive component manufacturing company where he trained employees in modern manufacturing techniques, managed major projects and introduced the Lean Manufacturing concepts and philosophies to traditional purchasing and materials departments and the supply chain.
Since 2001, Chris has developed long-term relationships with many organizations, in the UK, Europe and Asia, both large and small to help them implement service and business improvement techniques. He passionately believes that service improvements need to be implemented by teams of ‘real’ people in their workplace – not by individuals sitting in offices.
Susan Pleasant is a partner of the Lean Learning Center specializing in lean systems, procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, quality, and customer service. Formerly senior vice president of manufacturing and supply chain for Wise Foods, a $400 million manufacturer of snack foods, she was responsible for procurement, manufacturing, contract manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, quality, and engineering. While at Wise she reduced COGS 4.5% net of escalating commodities pricing by reducing manufacturing wastes, redesigning manufacturing assets and supply chain, transforming scheduling processes, and implementing restructured carton and packaging configurations.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. She is a graduate of Lean Leadership (Lean Learning Center), Leading Product Development (Harvard University), Principle Centered Leadership (Covey Leadership Center) and Leadership Development Program (Center for Creative Leadership).
Prior to joining the Lean Learning Center, Susan developed and implemented training and lean systems for a global provider of wind turbine components. She was also responsible for the complete organization realignment of a major auto transport company to combat the impact of reduced volume and higher costs.
As senior vice president of Consolidated Container Company, an $850 million manufacturer of plastic bottles, Susan improved EBITDA 5.6% at 10 targeted lean system plants with changeover reduction, waste elimination processing, workstation organization, and operating metrics. She led the design and implementation of new products commercialization process at three other companies resulting in 100% of products being launched on time and under budget while delivering planned inventories.
In addition, Susan served as senior vice president of Brach and Brock Confections, vice president of operations Lifesaver Company for Nabisco Holdings Corp. and director of operations for Frito-Lay.
As partner and senior consultant with the Lean Learning Center, Susan’s experience includes:
- Developing and launching of lean leadership training materials for Amazon.com
- Developing and implementing of A3 performance and systems improvement processes for leadership at Intel Corporation delivering instrumental improvements in ’09 results
- Coaching business leaders on lean systems at Intel, United Technologies and General Dynamics
- Facilitating the complete organization realignment of Allied System Holding to combat the impact of reduced volume and higher costs
- Fostering improvement of cycle times 46% in LM Glasfiber’s wind turbine component plant in India during lean production system implementation
- Facilitating a Kaizen workshop to increase speed and reduce wastes in commercialization processes for Ocean Spray
- Conducting Kaizen workshop training for Continuous Improvement and Blackbelt leaders at TAMKO.
Al Pond is a senior consultant for the Lean Learning Center and has collected nearly 50 years of experience, between Ford, his consulting practice, as founder of ALX Consulting and teaching at the University of Michigan Dearborn. Al developed his lean skills during thirty-eight years with Ford focused on operations, engineering and strategic planning. He retired in 2002 as the executive founding member of the Ford Production System. In his second career as a consultant and teacher, his focus has been on executive leadership and implementation of lean systems based on his experiences with the Ford Production Systems and expertise in the Toyota Production System.
Al graduated with a BS in Management and an MBA from the Eastern Michigan University. He attended Executive Development classes at the University of Michigan and Lean Enterprise Systems at the University of Tennessee. He is a lifetime Certified Manufacturing Engineer by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).
Al holds the distinction of being one of an elite group of manufacturing executives that actually started as a union represented hourly worker on the shop floor. He progressed through the skilled trades via the apprenticeship program and then on to engineering and management. This wide variety of experience, starting as a production worker and progressing to a senior manager, gives him a most unique perspective and background as a lean change agent.
Al’s extensive experience from plant floor to executive suite include: Manufacturing Operations and Engineering, Product Development, Strategic Planning and Employee Development. In 1993 he was recognized by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) for outstanding program achievement in the automotive industry as the author of Ford’s New Employee Orientation Program.
Al’s experience and accomplishments are wide and varied including:
- TPM prize award by Japanese Institute of Preventive Maintenance at the Charleville Climate Operations in France
- Ford’s senior coach and mentor for lean implementation in South America, Asia-Pacific, component operations (Visteon) and major new vehicle programs.
- Responsible for developing the lean curriculum and training for the staff of Oakland University, one of the early attempts to institute lean into academic operations
- Lean trainer and workshop facilitator for a semi-conductor provider in Japan, Malaysia and China
- Lean trainer and management coach for a leading worldwide snack food manufacturer
- Trainer and executive coach for LM Glassfiber’s North American Windmill operations
- Kaizen facilitator, Coach and trainer for the Detroit Medical Center and Sinai Grace Hospital
- Clients have included, AGCO, AlphaUSA, Dana Corp, Detroit Medical Center, Fidelity, Freescale Semiconductor, Genzyme Pharmaceutical, M&M Mars, J.D. Power, Limited Brands, Oakland University, Oshkosh Corp, Sinai Grace Hospital, Seneca Foods, and Timken Corp.
Kevin Bradley brings nearly 30 years of Lean manufacturing, supply chain and service experience to his clients. Kevin has guided and/or supported strategic and tactical solutions for a variety of customers spanning from Assembly to Service to High Technology facilities. Primarily in the Consumer products industry, Kevin has held roles and implemented Lean principles/systems/tools at every level of the organization from shop floor to the Board Room.
Prior to joining the Lean Learning Center, Kevin was the leader responsible for implementing the Simmons Production System at Simmons Companies. In this role, he was responsible for taking 18 plants and 3000+ associates forward from some pockets of excellence to a Toyota like system. Leading by example and personal involvement at the front lines helped Simmons achieve significant reductions in lead-times, inventories and operating costs.
Over time, rapid success led to his doing consulting work for suppliers and customers building some ultra-competitive supply chain solutions that are recognized throughout the industry. For Simmons lean also branched out into Product Development and Service areas to create a total system. Additionally machinery suppliers in the sewing industry became part of the SPS family delivering world class technology solutions to the home furnishings industry.
Mr. Bradley is also a member of the Shingo Board of Examiners. Through this process, Kevin has made contacts and contributions to a variety of other industries including: Automotive, Aerospace, Medical, and the Military by providing Kaizen facilitation support and assessments.
Mr. Bradley received his BS in Electrical Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Also, he possesses many professional accreditations in Lean, Six Sigma Black Belt, Project Management, Quality Engineering, Facilitation and Theory of Constraints. He remains an active member in ASQ, SME, and AME. He is an active Instrument rated Pilot, a father and grandfather who currently resides with his wife, Paula, in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Michael is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who brings over twenty years of experience to The Lean Learning Center, applying best practice improvement tools to drive performance in efficiency, value and customer satisfaction by improving manufacturing and transactional processes, safety, shop practices, product quality, testing and inspection methods, and production equipment reliability and maintenance.
Throughout his career, Michael has led more than 50 L6S Black Belt projects that focused on process improvement, strategic planning, technical problem resolution and implementation of company initiatives. He established and directed world class Lean and Six Sigma programs for four companies that produced an 87% improvement in product quality, while reducing operating costs by 23%. Michael’s proven track record has produced over $66 million dollars in savings for his clients. He also has extensive experience working directly with leadership to steer decision making in soling critical issues in quality, engineering, safety, executive management, customer satisfaction, corporate planning and personnel resourcing.
Michael holds a Master of Science in Industrial Optimization from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. In addition, Michael holds multiple certifications as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Project Manager, Experienced Change Agent, Kepner-Tregoe Situation, Decision and Problem Analysis and is also a Certified Incident Investigator. He specializes in DMAIC, Kaizen, DFLSS (DMEDI), R6S, CMMI, TPS, DOE, Regression, ANOVA, Chi-square Test, Median Testing, Hypothesis Testing, SPC, Gage R&R (MSA), FMEA/PFMEA, 5S, Pull Systems, VSM, Poka-yoke (error proofing), TPM, Takt Boards, C&E, Capability Analysis, Control Plans and Kanban. He also has expertise with Statistical Analysis and Problem Evaluation Software including Minitab, SigmaXL, REASON Root Cause Analysis and Simul8 Process Modeling.
Tom is a senior consultant at the Lean Learning Center with over 25 years’ experience in the process of implementing a lean culture in a global manufacturing company. In addition to leading implementation he has coached and mentored hundreds of individuals to implement lean tools and concepts on a global basis. With strong interpersonal skills, Tom has successfully developed and delivered a wide variety of lean training and educational programs. Tom has the diverse skill set essential to building the relationships necessary to successfully implement and sustain lean.
Prior to joining the Lean Learning Center, Tom played a leadership role at the Timken Company in Canton Ohio. Tom’s projects and major accomplishments include the following:
- Created and delivered Lean Leadership Training for all global leadership teams
- Created and delivered Lean Basic Training for operative associates
- Developed and implemented a Lean Production Management System, incorporating six foundational lean tools, throughout Timken Bearing plants globally
- Mentored and coached candidates globally to complete a Lean Leader Certification program
- Led the development and deployment of Front Line Leader Lean Training program globally
- Conducted plant lean assessments globally on an annual basis
- Coordinated and led Global Lean Conferences for all Timken Bearing plants
- Collaborated in the development of Timken Problem Solving Process with Quality Department
- Developed and delivered the Train the Trainer program to deploy the Timken Problem Solving Process
- Led the implementation of multiple lean tools and standards at Timken manufacturing plants globally
- Designed the material and information flow and connections for proposed eastern European Timken
- Bearing Plant
- Lead and conducted lean6sigma training globally
- Developed and implemented training to support TPM, 5S, and Set-up reduction efforts
- Coordinated the Canton District Apprenticeship program (150+ apprentices in multiple crafts)
- Managed a staff of 25 people responsible for eligibility and placement of unemployed workers