2017 Fall Conference Breakout Sessions

Attendees will not pre-register for breakouts. Breakouts will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.

Attendees will not pre-register for breakouts. Breakouts will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.

Day 1 Session I (1:15 – 2:30)

A. Lean Transformation Models – Practical tips and methods to get you going

Location: Salon 2

Are you embarking on a Lean transformation and not sure where to start? Have you begun to 'go Lean' and are struggling to find traction? This interactive workshop will provide a practical methodology for implementing Lean - a strategy backed up with some tools and templates to help you get started - or help you build momentum. Yes, there is some theory and a change management model to be discussed, and we know that real learning and power of transformation is through DOING. Let's talk about how to 'do it' - and give you some good tools to use after the workshop.

Attendees will learn

  • To understand how and when to apply Lean tools in transformation efforts
  • Two mental models that can help guide your Lean implementation plans

Presenter: Jesse DePriest

Jesse is the Director of Continuous Improvement at Airlite Plastics. Prior to Airlite, Jesse was the General Manager of Nebraska Engineering Company (NECO), a division of Global Industries, Inc., which is an industrial manufacturer of specialized grain conditioning equipment. Jesse has held various leadership positions in manufacturing serving global markets. He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, a Master of Science in Operations Management, an MBA, and served in the US Army for eight years as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot. Jesse was raised on a dairy farm in Palmer, Alaska and has lived in Oregon, Alabama, Germany, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Jesse is actively involved in Workforce Development / Work-Ready Community efforts and industry advisory committees.

B. Sustainment and Management of Progressive Lean Six Sigma Operations

Location: Grandquist

In this session we will walk through the process we developed over 20 years that can help keep your Lean Six Sigma adventure moving forward. We will present tools to help manage your business and sustain the gains you are making and the culture you are building

Attendees of this breakout will:

Attendees of this breakout will:

  • Learn how to define metrics to track improvement processes
  • Learn to develop processes to audit and track long term sustainment

Presenter: Jeff Ruiter

Jeff has been driving Lean for 20+ years. He has experience using L6S in over 19 plant division turnarounds. Jeff has been in operations management for more than 30 years and is currently SVP of Operations and Supply Chain for Myndshft.

C. Do you have the leadership and skills to make a transformation in your organization?

Location: Salon 1

Organizations have been working diligently over the last decade to make a difference in the quality of services provided and improving efficiency. Organizations have attempted to implement tools, programs, and theories of improvement to make changes. A recent PhD study was conducted to determine why some organizations are more effective and efficient. One of the purposes of this study was to determine the relationship between quality improvement efforts, leadership characteristics, and the outcomes for participating institutions. This breakout will cover the revealing results of the relationship between leadership actions and payment systems to quality improvement or outcome measures. This session is intended for professionals looking to formulate and assess their leadership abilities as well as guide their organization to better outcomes.

Attendees of this breakout will:

  • Evaluate their own leadership style and assess their own leadership abilities to guide your organization to better outcomes
  • Learn to practically use leadership theory in transforming your organization, implement actions that make a difference, and focus on the impact of those actions to outcomes and goals

Presenter: Sarah Pavelka

Sarah Pavelka, PhD, MHA, OTR/L, CPHQ, FNAHQ has over 19 years of experience teaching and coaching in organizational performance and continuous improvement in business, industry, education, and healthcare. Sarah, the owner of Pavelka's Point Consulting, LLC, is an Improvement Faculty for the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, Des Moines, Iowa, and serves as an Assistant Professor for the Master of Healthcare Administration at Des Moines University. She served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Healthcare Quality as Director at Large. Sarah holds degrees in Biology and Psychology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa; an Occupational Therapy degree from Concordia University Wisconsin, MHA from Des Moines University, and a Ph.D. from Walden University. She is a Fellow for the National Association for Healthcare Quality (FNAHQ), a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) and has credentials in Occupational Therapy, Ergonomics, Lean and Six Sigma Black Belt.

D. Understanding and Infusing Innovation in your business - An introduction to innovation

Location: Salon 3

Thinking about implementing more innovative practices in your organization but don’t know where to start? It’s easy to talk about innovation but hard to actually implement. If you are ready to make it more than just a goal for your organization, start here!


  • Develop a common language around innovation
  • Understand the different types of innovation
  • Learn the four competencies of innovation
  • Review case studies
  • Be guided through an interactive exercise to assess your company’s innovation landscape

Presenter: Amanda Webber

Mandy Webber has over 12 years of experience in Marketing, Business Development, and Corporate Innovation. She has worked from smaller Chicago construction companies to a large global corporation, Transamerica. Mandy enjoys training, facilitating and injecting passion in all things innovation, employee engagement, customer centricity, and work-place culture. Mandy joined NewBoCo in March and has built and launched a Corporate Innovation program to help accelerate businesses and put Iowa on the map as leaders in Innovation. Mandy is a certified Edward DeBono instructor and Innovation Games Black Belt. She graduated the University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business with a Bachelors in Marketing.

DAY 1 Session II – (3:00 – 4:30)

E. Our Journey to Creating a Lean Culture

Location: Salon 3

In this session, we will discuss the approach we took to implementing Lean in our company. Our Lean Journey started when we were discussing building a new building and working with Weitz Construction. They are big believers in Lean Manufacturing. We worked with their consultant who helped us redesign our production area lines into L shape or U shape cells. We added 3 additional lines in 10% less space and redeployed five people. This provided a more streamlined and efficient way to provide our customers their produce “When they want it, Where they want it, How they want it.”

Attendees will learn:

  • How we selected continuous improvement projects, selected Lean tools, and our implementation plan to roll out our improvements along with our ongoing challenges

Presenter: Ashley Mears & DMACC Business Resources Team

Ashley is a Production Scheduler and Co-Chair of the Lean Committee at Capital City Fruit. Ashley is responsible for training employees throughout the production area, scheduling the production areas day to day tasks to meet customer demand and for leading Lean initiative throughout the company. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Human Resource Management form Minnesota State Mankato (MNSU).


Location: Salon 1

The goal of the session is to help continuous improvement influencers (non-management assigned to lead process improvement teams) understand that they cannot directly change the culture. I share how influencers should focus energy on working with leadership to indirectly change the culture. I keep hearing from very experienced, intelligent continuous improvement professionals that they believe they are responsible for changing the culture. Some have even been hired to change the culture with no resources and no teams of people to help them. I then hear the frustrations these professionals are experiencing because the cultural aspects of continuous improvement are not advancing


  • To think deeply about your personal process improvement approach and style
  • That process Improvement Professionals (non-management) share the responsibility for producing results with leadership, but are not directly accountable for advancing the continuous improvement culture
  • Methods for working with Executive and Sr. Leaders to create a continuous improvement culture and program
  • Change Management techniques to use when leaders are not engaged.

Presenter: Nick Novotny

Nick is the Director of Process Improvement at the Hubbell Realty Company since 2015. Nick Novotny is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Certified Master Black Belt through the American Society for Quality. He is one of less than 110 in the world who has achieved the Master Black Belt Certification through ASQ. Prior to Hubbell, Nick was the Director of Operations at Rockwell Collins in Dallas, TX and spent time with the process improvement organization in Heidelberg, Germany, and Cedar Rapids, IA. Nick has been practicing process improvement for 15 years both as a manager with his teams and also as an influencer with executive leadership. Nick strongly believes that Quality and the Customer must always come first. He bases his personal process improvement approach on Management by Fact where decisions are largely based on data.

G. Your Brain is Broken and you Suck at Making Decisions -Why Agile Thinking is Important to your Work

Location: Salon 2

The human brain is really good at a lot of things, but living and making decisions in our modern world typically isn't one of them. Learn about some of the ways our brain works less than optimally in decision making scenarios and how to stack the deck in favor of not totally messing things up. After exploring some of these concepts (they're features, not bugs, am I right?) we'll talk about why thinking in increments and iterations, and using empirical decision making can help us be more awesome.

Attendees will learn:

  • Recognize some of the common cognitive biases that affect how we make decisions
  • Why agile thought processes can stack the deck in our favor for making good decisions
  • Some weird and wonderful facts about how our brains work (and sometimes don’t).

Presenter: Nate Adams

Nate has worked professionally in the IT industry for nearly 20 years developing software and mentoring and leading teams in a wide range of environments from small companies with dozens of employees to large global enterprises with over 20,000 employees. Nate brings this range of experiences with him to NewBoCo. As a software developer, Nate has written code and developed architecture for all aspects of systems from the UI through the middleware and to the back-end. Nate has also given many talks for user groups in the Midwest on a broad range of technology topics. As an agile enthusiast and coach, Nate has developed and coached agile teams using a broad array of methodologies. Nate has taught the Intro to Agile course at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business as well as an agile certificate through Kirkwood Community College. Nate is especially passionate about helping teams continuously improve how they write software; both for themselves as well as their users. To this end, acts as an advocate for developers; trying to make their work less stressful by pushing for a sustainable development pace and enabling development methodologies that emphasize quality.

H. Lean Benefit Quantification

Location: Grandquist

This presentation will be co-facilitated by 4-5 different members of our team in a part lecture, part interactive presentation. In 2015, we began researching ways that we could capture the financial benefit of Lean activities in a meaningful way for the business units we support at Nationwide. We'd like to share our explorative journey through the process of creating a unique benefit quantification tool. This tool is utilized by our Lean Sustainability specialists to capture risk assumptions, clarity into what the process was before and after the change is implemented, as well as dollar growth or efficiency gains within a call center or Lean office environment.

Attendees will learn:

  • Inspiration and insight into creating a similar tool for capturing your Lean office benefits
  • Understanding the struggle of substantiating Lean benefits in a non-manufacturing environment
  • Clear vision of how to measure the output of a Lean Management System to tie benefits back to budget and strategic goals

Presenter: Melissa Lutgen-Scoonover and other Nationwide Team Members

Melissa is a Lean Specialist with Nationwide Insurance. She is also Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter and has just completed her Six Sigma Green Belt. She’s been with Nationwide for 8 years, and before that, had over 24 years of retail leadership, training, and big box experience.

Day 2 - Tools TuesdAY (8:30 - 9:45)

Choose from three different interactive sessions focused on Tools:

1. Strategy Deployment and Alignment Through Hoshin

Location: Salon 1

Hoshin planning is a management system that aligns – vertically and horizontally – an organization's functions and activities with its strategic objectives. It also ideally releases creativity in each team member as goals develop in a dynamic process where each management level communicates on high-level objectives, promoting the organization’s capability to manage based on purpose.

Still, many organizations struggle to connect the company’s people to the organization’s purpose. But how do you do that effectively? How can managers build the culture of an organization where management is purposeful in its approach? Reich, also a former Toyota GM, discusses in this session how Toyota went through its own hoshin transformation and how other companies are learning the benefits of this structured methodology.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to effectively align functions and activities with strategic objectives.
  • How managers can build a culture where management is purposeful in its approach.
  • Learn the benefits of Hoshin.

Presenter: Mark Reich

Mark oversees day-to-day operations at LEI, including marketing, finance, strategy, publishing, conferences, and training. He also supports new product development and leads the Co-Learning Partners program, assisting companies engaged in lean transformation. Before coming to LEI, he spent 23 years at Toyota in Japan and North America, most recently as general manager of the Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC). As a hands-on GM, Mark directly implemented the Toyota Production System (TPS) or managed its implementation in a variety of industries, including automotive, food, furniture, and healthcare, among others. Mark doubled the number of companies supported by TSSC from 20 to 40. He transitioned it from for-profit to nonprofit status so it could better support its original mission to strengthen North American manufacturing and help any organization interested in implementing TPS. He expanded the client base beyond manufacturing to hospitals, schools, low-income food distribution, and nationally prominent nonprofits

Previously, he was assistant general manager of the corporate strategy division where he managed and implemented Toyota's North American strategic (hoshin) process, designed jointly with Toyota’s Japan headquarters. He launched efforts to strengthen Toyota Way principles in administrative areas in North America, and facilitated the integration of its design and manufacturing organizations. Reich has a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and specialized in Japanese studies at Nanzan University. He is fluent in written and spoken Japanese.

2. Value Stream Mapping

Location: Salon 2

Value Stream Mapping is one of the key tools in the Lean toolbox. It gives us the ability to see the unseen and detect improvement opportunities. It is also a component of the overall Lean philosophy of continuous improvement. In this session we will discuss the mechanics of Value Stream Mapping (and other mapping techniques) and how the maps provide direction to improvement. We'll also discuss how mapping fits in to project management, change management, employee involvement, and other aspects of the Lean philosophy.


Dean Bliss is a Lead Process Engineer for Transamerica in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He conducts continuous improvement activities and Lean training as a member of the Transamerica team. He is one of the founding members of the Iowa Lean Consortium and served on the Board of Directors for several years. Dean joined Transamerica in October, 2014, after 10 years working in healthcare in various Lean consultant roles and 25 years at Rockwell Collins, an aerospace and communications electronics company.

In addition to his Lean and healthcare knowledge, Dean has gained experience in areas including Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Facilities management. Dean has a BS degree in Business Administration from Iowa State University. He has spoken at numerous Lean conferences and seminars throughout the country.


Location: Salon 3

No discussion on the tools of Lean would be complete without a segment on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach to problem solving. Many world-class companies use the PDCA problem solving process for relentless pursuit of continuous improvement. When combined with the basic quality tools, this methodical approach identifies problems, analyzes root causes and generates solutions. In this session, participants will gain an understanding of the basics of solving problems with this tool.

Aims and Objectives:

  • To understand the origins of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach to problem solving
  • Define the 12 steps of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach
  • Understand when to apply the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach
  • Know how to apply the PDCA approach to real world problems

Presenter: Steven Wilson

At the end of day, the majority of Steven’s time has been spent helping companies increase sales, improve quality and the systems that drive that improvement, developing both front line and management level employees, and working with senior leadership to develop and carry out strategic plans. Doing this both as an external consultant and as an internal resource. He began working collaboratively with the Iowa Community Colleges in 2004, providing them with the majority of their Lean Six Sigma training, coaching and project support and to this day has a very strong relationship with them. In addition to his work at Zoned Strategies, he currently serves as a resource for CIRAS (Iowa States Center for Industrial Research and Service), providing continuous improvement, lean, six sigma training, coaching and support to their clients across the state.

The skills and experience he brings to help improve businesses include: Process Management, Customer Focused Lean Six Sigma, Supply Chain & Logistics, Employee Development, Innovative Problem Solving, Team Leadership, Business Analytics, Metrics & Dashboards, and Customer Satisfaction. Whether it's helping an organization take its people and itself to the next level, developing a group of new managers in a variety of soft and technical disciplines, or training, coaching, mentoring over 1000 Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belts, developing others and helping their businesses improve is one of the highlights of the work that he does and does well. One client's said it this way..."Steve is one of the best that I've ever known. He is able to convey complex subjects into simple and easy to digest pieces for maximum benefit. His fun, respectful and congenial style makes him an instant favorite among clients and peers. He consistently receives the highest marks and earns repeat business. He works hard and never misses".

Day 2 Session III (1:15 – 2:30)


Location: Grandquist

Organizations have spent significant time and resources implementing Lean principles. However, the focus on process and Lean tools has left some organizations struggling to see long-term sustained results. Leading the Lean journey requires Lean leaders who see and focus on the power of PEOPLE! Join Chris Luery, Director of Consulting Solutions at LeanCor, as he discusses the most important part of any Lean initiative -- the importance of having Lean leaders who understand and focus on the power of people and culture. Chris will discuss the key differences between Lean leadership and traditional leadership. Hear her stories “from the road” about companies all over North America that are sustaining results by creating cultures where people are engaged in problem-solving to continuously improve processes across the entire value stream.


  • The driving force, techniques, and behaviors of Lean leaders vs. traditional leaders.
  • How to engage the entire workforce in problem-solving to achieve sustained results for the organization.

Presenter: Chris Luery

Chris has over thirty years of experience in Lean implementation, Lean training, supply chain, and logistics, with a primary focus on the end-to-end Lean supply chain. By focusing on key components such as PFEP (Plan for Every Part), transportation, and plant logistics, Chris works directly with customers to ensure a controlled network, pipeline visibility, inventory reduction, and increased visibility and efficiency.

His specific experience includes multiple Lean supply chain implementations supporting organizations such as Bombardier Recreational Products and Toyota Motor Manufacturing. Within the last five years, Chris has led the successful startup and stabilization of operations including a Lean Logistics Center (LLC) for Whirlpool Corporation, Repack Operations Center for Polaris Industries building the Indian Motorcycle, as well as a second Repack Operations Center supporting the Polaris ATV line. While at LeanCor, Chris has also worked with organizations such as SCI Group, Cervelo Cycles, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Rogers Communications.

Chris complements his professional experience with a Business Administration Diploma from the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Professional Logistician designation from The Logistics Institute.

J. Why Hoshin Kanri (Policy Deployment) is Critical in Deploying a True Company-Wide Strategy of Excellence

Location: Salon 2

Transforming an organization into one that is operationally excellent requires a long-term customer-focused, company-wide strategy. Management committees must define and continuously refine the strategic drivers of the organization and deploy them to ensure everyone is aligned and working toward the same goal. Doing so requires the establishment of a framework known as a Lean Management System.

Central to a Lean Management system is Hoshin Kanri. Hoshin Kanri (Policy Deployment) is a method for ensuring an organization’s strategic goals drive progress and action at every level of the organization. The fundamental purposes of Hoshin Kanri in a Lean enterprise is to focus a company’s improvement efforts on very well defined initiatives to align and mobilize SBU’s, plants, departments, and all supporting personnel in the transformation process.

In this session, we’ll present this proven business renewal planning and deployment process which allows you to incorporate your strategic priorities into daily work at every level in your organization. We will detail the need for enterprise-wide waste elimination and review and discuss the key performance indicators, targets to improve, and countermeasures that will ensure you remain on course and that your improvement projects are meeting your strategic objectives.

Attendees will learn:

  • The cornerstones of a Lean Management System
  • A systematic approach to the implementation of Lean
  • The 5 steps of policy deployment and how to use the X-Matrix
  • The 4-level performance review system ensuring success

Presenter: Catherine Converset

Catherine Converset is the President, Productivity Innovation and the Executive Partner of Productivity Inc. After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ECSP), Ms. Converset successfully held several positions within the PECHINEY group in Italy and France, becoming worldwide export manager of aluminum rolled products for Pechiney Rhenalu and then director of packaging development for the Pechiney Group. After ten years at Pechiney, she then spent five years managing a plastic packaging activity in Italy.

Ms. Converset joined Productivity in 1994. Following extensive Lean and Six Sigma training in the USA, she became a partner of Productivity in France, then in Europe and the USA. She is now President of Productivity Innovation Europe and Executive Partner of Productivity Inc. She is fluent in French, English and Italian, and teaches Lean Management in Service Industry at the Center for Operational Excellence at the Ohio State University

K. Engaging Leaders in Lean Management: Lessons Learned

Location: Salon 3

After a number of Lean Management System deployments at Nationwide, with varying degrees of success, we have noticed a clear correlation between leadership involvement and the success of our deployments. Most of us have experienced project failures at one time or another and know that sponsorship is key to project success. But what kind of leadership is needed to make a Lean Management System deployment a success? In this presentation, we will share our journey of implementing Lean Management Systems through different departments and give examples of successes and challenges. We will further dive into a great example of Lean leadership in Personal Lines Underwriting to understand what leader actions helped make a shift in culture towards Lean thinking and adoption of Hoshin planning. We will also hear from the leader directly on what obstacles her organization faced before, during and after the transformation, and what actions helped the team stay the course to a mature Lean Management System

Attendees will learn:

  • How to define the role of a business leader in a successful Lean Management System engagement
  • The steps lean practitioners can take to engage business leaders
  • The steps business leaders can take to become more effective and ensure the success of their lean deployment

Presenter: Tom Reither & Jessica Zaugg

Tom Reither is the Associate Vice President, Operational Excellence at Nationwide.Tom is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with twelve years of experience deploying Lean and continuous improvement practices in Fortune 100 companies. He has a BA from Otterbein University and MBA from Capital University.

Olena Gilbert is the Lean Deployment Consultant, Operational Excellence, Nationwide.Olena is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt with over ten years of continuous improvement experience.She holds a BS in Management Information Systems from University of Northern Iowa, and MBA from Drake University.

Jessica Zaugg is the Associate Vice President, Personal Lines Underwriting, Nationwide.Jessica holds Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Management and Operations from Iowa State University.

L. Reorganizing to Deliver Lean Solutions to our Customers

Location: Salon 1

McGough is powered by a project-driven production system involving active collaboration with project owners, architects, engineers, and subcontractor partners that starts with a concept and ends with a fully furnished building. This presentation will summarize how McGough’s transformation led us to reorganizing the company around our primary market sectors and the challenges we face as we learn how our Market Sector Teams and Support Functions work together in a Matrix Organization. With Project Execution being led by a Value Stream Management Team we ensure a “One McGough” experience for our customers. To further engage our people in our transformation, we have begun to empower all levels of the organization in Daily Improvement, all climbing in unison toward our Companies Vision of; 100% Value Added Process, Zero Defects, Respect for People, and On-Demand Delivery. The Last Planner System is a highly collaborative pull based system that creates and maintains reliable work flow by developing a culture of promises and commitments by team members to complete planned work on time and foster continuous improvement. McGough’s Team of Last Planner Facilitators are supporting our projects from Award (including Preconstruction) through Owner Occupancy.

Attendees will learn:

  • Visual Management to allow managing to metrics
  • Last Planner System integration in Preconstruction

Presenter: Tim Reimann, Jeff Dzurik, Phil Zittel and Matt Wagner