Iowa Lean Champion Award - Past Winners

2016 Lean Champion

David Fierke

The Iowa Lean Consortium is proud to name David Fierke, City Manager for the City of Fort Dodge, as the 2016 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. The award was presented at the ILC’s annual fall conference on October 12th.David_Fierke_RS.jpg

“David has been a strong Lean leader in government. 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.

As the City Manager, David Fierke inherited a tough situation when he arrived in 2006. Like other Midwestern “blue collar” towns, Fort Dodge had endured the loss of major employers resulting in a declining population, downtown vacancies and aging infrastructure. Tax and fee receipts were not matching expenses with projections showing the gap widening. But David had a vision and a strategy for realizing that vision. He had done his homework on Lean, realizing that it was not simply a toolset but rather a means for transforming culture. And he understood that it started with him.

David is a member of the Fort Dodge Rotary. He is also the Past President of the Iowa City/County Management Association.

In January, 2016 BusinessWire recognized Fort Dodge as one of the 15 semi-finalists in their America’s Best Communities $10M Competition.

The results are also evident in the top level metrics tracked as part of the Fort Dodge 2010 strategic plan which contained seven top level goals to be realized by 2015:

• Reduce the crime rate by 8% (FBI Category 1 UCR); Actual reduction 11%

• Increase sewer revenue by 20%; Actual increase 56%

• Increase water revenue by 20%; Actual increase 90%

• Increase hotel/motel tax by 20%; Actual increase 51%

• Increase average wage by 15%; Actual increase 20%

• Increase property tax base by 10%; Actual increase 11%

Fierke is the fifth Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC.


2015 LEAN CHAMPION

Karen Kiel Rosser

The Iowa Lean Consortium has named Karen Kiel Rosser, Vice President & Quality Improvement Officer for Mary Greeley Medical Center, as the 2015 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 ormore years. The award was presented at the ILC’s annual fall conference on October 28th.

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

As the Vice President & Quality Improvement Officer for Mary Greeley Medical Center, Karen has spearheaded the development and implementation of a system-wide framework for performance excellence at Mary Greeley, utilizing the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program criteria as well as the tools of lean and six sigma. Before joining Mary Greeley, Karen served as the Vice President of Performance Excellence and Managed Care at Agnesian HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery system in Wisconsin as well as the Network Development Director at Humana Health Plans, also in Wisconsin. She holds a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Business from the University of Wisconsin. Kiel Rosser is a certified lean six sigma green belt and serves on the board of examiners for the National Baldrige Quality Program. She serves as a coach and judge for the Iowa Recognition for Performance Excellence Program and is a member of the Ames Morning Rotary Club, a board member for United Way of Story County, and a participant in Leadership Ames (class XXIV) program.

Kiel-Rosser is the fourth Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC. Recipients are selected based multiple criteria

MGMC is regularly cited by respected third parties for awards focused on patient care and employee engagement. Recent examples include:

  • Gold Level Recognition in the 2014 Iowa Recognition for Performance Excellence (IRPE) program
  • The 2015 Patient Safety Award by the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative for staffing pharmacists on the Oncology unit (an improvement which was initiated in a Value Stream Mapping Event).
  • Top 100 Workplaces in Iowa by The Des Moines Register for 2013 & 2014 (No. 5 and 7, respectively in the large-size business category)


2014 Lean Champion

Karin Peterson

The Iowa Lean Consortium has named Karin Peterson, vice president of human resources at Pella Corporation, as the 2014 Iowa Lean Champion. The

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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.

“Karin has been a strong Lean leader for many years. She was instrumental in introducing Lean to state government and we honor her work and achievements in process improvement,” Jeff Dahm, ILC board president and factory advisor at Deere & Company.

For more than a decade Peterson has been an ardent supporter of making government more effective and efficient in order to benefit not just businesses but all of the citizens of Iowa. Her advocacy and consistent support of state agencies has been critical to establishing Lean in state government. Peterson continues to serve on the Iowa Lean Government Collaborative, a joint public-private partnership.

In 2002, Peterson assumed leadership of the Business Process Hot Team for the Iowa Coalition for Innovation and Growth—a coalition of businesses who were members of the Iowa Business Council—to improve the economy and business environment in Iowa. Under Peterson’s leadership, the Business Process Hot Team successfully introduced Lean in state government in 2003.

Peterson and the Hot Team communicated the value of Lean to legislators and helped to ensure that Lean continued to be supported through multiple changes of governor. In 2008 the governor signed an executive order declaring October 2 as Lean Government Day, and in 2009, statutory language was adopted that made Lean a permanent responsibility of the Iowa Department of Management. In 2010, the first ever Iowa Partners in Efficiency award was made to recognize Lean improvements at all levels of government. From a single agency to an enterprise-wide Office of Lean Enterprise, Lean has spread and been sustained in Iowa state government.

2013 Lean Champion

Mary Andringa

During the first Annual Membership meeting on October 30th, the ILC recognized its second annual Iowa Lean Champion Award recipient - Mary Andringa

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, President and CEO of Vermeer Corporation.

More than 2,300 Lean events have taken place during Mary’s leadership at Vermeer. She has been instrumental in bringing Lean ideas and tools such as Policy Deployment, New Product Development Processes, Visual Management and the creation of a model line. A model line that has, in fact, gone from a lead time of 52 days down to a lead time of less than three days. A model line which used to average 80 hours of labor in each unit, and now averages less than 24 hours per unit. All of this, while adding models, complexity and options.

Mary’s Lean leadership is an example for all of us who aspire to build and sustain a culture of continuous improvement.

2012 Lean Champion

Ellen Gaucher

On Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012, the Iowa Lean Consortium recognized its first annual Iowa Lean Champion Award recipient – Ellen Gaucher, Executive Vice President at Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. The award was created to honor a leader who has made significant contributions to Lean practices and/or

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led a Lean journey for 10 or more years.

The award was presented by ILC Board President Teresa Hay McMahon at a two-day ILC event at Vermeer in Pella. Of recipient Ellen Gaucher, McMahon said, "Ellen has been a strong Lean leader for many years. She has led the Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield continuous improvement effort for 15 years and we honor her work and achievements in process improvement."

Ellen, an active member of the Iowa Lean Consortium, has an extensive background in health care and quality improvement. Under Ellen's leadership, Wellmark has achieved significant administrative cost and medical benefit savings since 2000. Congratulations Ellen!

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Return to the Iowa Lean Champion Award Page.