Iowa Lean Champion Award

The Iowa Lean Champion Award honors a leader who has made significant contributions to Lean practices and/or lead a Lean journey and meets the following criteria set forth by the ILC Board of Directors:

  • Leadership – Recognized Leader in Lean and Continuous Improvement

  • Sustainability – 10 years practicing in a Leadership or Change Agent role

  • Impact – Demonstrated and quantifiable business improvements

  • Principle-Based – Demonstrated key Lean Principles of Respect and Continuous Improvement

  • Influential – Has been a Role Model & Mentor to Others

  • Outreach – Leader in the Community as well as in Business

2017 Iowa Lean Champion Award Winner

The Iowa Lean Consortium has named Richard (Dick) See, Manager (Ret), UI Business Process Improvement, Organizational Effectiveness, University Human Resources, as the 2017 Iowa Lean Champion. The award was created to honor a leader who has


made significant contributions to Lean practices and/or led a Lean journey for 10 or more years.

“Dick has been a strong Lean leader at the University of Iowa. His belief in the transformative power of Lean is evident through his actions and we are pleased to honor his work and achievements,” Jeff Dahm, ILC board president and factory advisor at Deere & Company.

The University of Iowa implemented a process improvement program in 2006. Dick was responsible for promoting, organizing and facilitating Lean process improvement activities along with other organizational development efforts on campus. He was an ongoing champion for the continuous improvement efforts at the University of Iowa. Dick facilitated many Lean improvement events, developed promotional content, and provided Lean training to staff at various levels.

Dick was also instrumental in creating a campus network of quality improvement engineers and other lean enthusiasts who collaborate and support the efforts of one another. Dick originated and facilitated quarterly “Lean Lunches” that were open to staff from the University of Iowa, The University of Iowa Foundation, UI Healthcare, the State Hygienics Lab, and UI Information Technology. The resulting sharing of ideas and tools resulted in an improved culture of Lean philosophies in the UI family of organizations.

“I’m both honored and humbled to be receiving this award,” said See.

Dick was also a leader in developing recognition programs for staff process improvement efforts. The “See-It, Solve-It” award program is currently being rolled out and is based on staff using A3 methodologies to identify problems (See-It) and work towards solutions (Solve-It).

In addition to the ILC, Dick engaged in several other outreach efforts to bring the concept of Lean to higher education. He served as a resource to several universities and colleges interested in understanding and implementing the lean process methodology. He served as a Lean consultant to McCloud State, helping them to develop a Lean culture and train staff to be able to conduct Lean events for themselves. He also consulted with Michigan Tech University as they implemented Lean on their campus.

He also provided experiential information that was included in William Balzer’s book ‘Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes’ (2010; Productivity Press).

Last June, he was privileged to serve as a key note speaker for the International Conference on Lean Six Sigma for Higher Education held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Finally, Dick was a regular guest lecturer in the Tippie College of Business MBA program on Lean in academia and the Advance Business staff courses related to Lean.

See is the sixth Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC.

CLICK HERE to view our past award winners.

We are now accepting nominations for the 2018 Lean Champion Award. To nominate someone for this award complete this online form by July 31, 2018. The award will be presented at the 2018 Fall Conference in Des Moines.