2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement

Introducing the New Cohort of 2020 Task Force Members

The 2020 Vision team is growing!  We would like to introduce our newest team members.  After the introduction and training seminars, they are ready to join our quarterly meetings and dig into the number of continuous improvement projects.  Each member will bring unique attributes from numerous departments within the Opus College of Business.  Join us in welcoming them to the team!

team 2 puzzle

Tanisha Andrews                                           Evening MBA Administration

Tiffany Cork                                                    Evening and Full Time Recruit & Admissions

Susan Eckstein                                               Evening MBA Recruit & Admissions

Clark Gregor                                                   OCB Marketing Activities

Hannah Hedegard                                        Full-Time MBA Recruit & Admissions

DeAnn Kautzmann                                       OCB Grad Record & Data Management

Jessica Kluntz                                                MS Degree in Real Estate

Alexandra Lapides                                        Evening MBA Student Life

Keith Pille                                                       OCB Technology and Web

Susan Thoma                                                 Full-Time MBA Recruit & Admissions

Continuous Improvement, Project Nominations

2020 Project Ideas

There’s always room for improvement. Do you have an idea for a 2020 Vision Project?  If so, here is how you can submit your project ideas. 

We ask that you complete the nomination form found on Sharepoint by clicking this link: Continuous Improvement Project Nomination Form. It can be found under OCB Favorite Links on the Opus College of Business Intranet (Sharepoint site). The nomination form will be reviewed and then passed on to John McCall and John Olson for approval.  Once approved, the nominator will be notified.  At that point, I will put together a team and nominate a team leader.  Teams and leaders will be chosen with the assistance of the project nominator, John McCall, and other department supervisors who might be impacted.  Once a team is formed, we will hold a kick off meeting and the project will begin. 

 Depending on resource availability, not all approved projects will begin right away.  Approved projects will be waitlisted and prioritized.  Prioritization of projects will depend on complexity, sustainability, and relationship to strategic goals. Don’t worry; nominating a project does not mean that you will be asked to lead the project team. If you have questions or concerns with the nomination process; feel free to contact me directly aeklein@stthomas.edu; 651-962-4611. Below is the Project Nomination Process.


2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement

Cindy Lorah: 2020 Team Member

Lorah 2020 Photo

“The 2020 Vision project kicked-off some much needed process discussions within the Health Care UST MBA team and played a part in supporting our current pilot project introducing Salesforce to the Health Care team within the Opus College of Business.  It has been helpful to take a close look at our current processes and to explore how things can be done better–both more efficiently and resulting in better outcomes.”

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2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement

Lisa Burke: 2020 Team Member

 Livingston quoteThe work that has been done to date has made a huge difference to the way that we approach projects in the Opus College of Business. We are more thoughtful about making decisions, and more thorough, when we look at those projects through a process lens. I’ve been really pleased with the way our 2020 Vision project in support of improving the way we manage faculty profile pages on our web site has gone; it’s been collaborative, thoughtful, and thorough. We’ve managed to separate the process problems from the technology needs and will have a more effective publishing process as the result, which will require less time to manage, and will better showcase our faculty.

 Also, I’m finding that having a set of people with a similar understanding of how to break down a problem or challenge within the college has had a subtle but significant impact on day-to-day work that we do. It’s been a great experience to be part of the OCB 2020 Vision effort; while I’ve done work with project and process management for some time, I always learn something new from Dr. John Olson in our ongoing workshops; he has great examples from his consulting and teaching that help me to look at what I’m doing from a fresh perspective.

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2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma

Suzanne Krzmarzick: 2020 Team Member

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Six Sigma Green Belt training and continuous improvement is a journey. When I began that journey, I had no idea where it would take me. The multiple benefits from what started as a week of Six Sigma Green Belt training were unexpected.

The training lets you see things around you in a different way. Room for improvement almost always exists. It is gratifying and rewarding to see where a project can lead. It’s a bit like a mystery tour; the end result can be somewhat surprising and turn out to be completely different than what you expected.

 Since the Six Sigma training and the experience I gained from working on several projects, a new world has opened up for me professionally. If you have the training, the necessary tools, and a mentor, the transition from learner to leader is natural. 

Furthering our education through training and earning certifications is within our reach here at OCB. These opportunities can help us to grow and expand our goals. This is an awesome benefit of our employment.

I strongly encourage participating in the Six Sigma Green Belt Training and working with the Continuous Improvement group in the Opus College of Business. The training is interesting and fun; the support system for working on projects is very good; and the work is enjoyable and challenging; and you may be interested in learning more. That was my experience.

This past spring, I completed the Six Sigma Green Belt certification and I’m currently enrolled in a Project Management certification course in August. We have so many opportunities for professional growth here in the Opus College of Business. It is just a matter of becoming involved in a project that interests you and forging ahead. Who knows where it can take you!

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2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma, Uncategorized

20/20 Hindsight

We have embarked on a 20/20 Vision initiative.  Perhaps, a little hindsight might provide a useful perspective.  “Six sigma” is the term applied to the concept of reducing errors by improving processes.  It is the foundation of our 20/20 Vision initiative. 

sixsigma graphic

You may be familiar with six sigma’s predecessors such as:

  • MBO – Management By Objectives (Drucker 1954)
  • TQM – Total Quality Management (Juran et al.  1980’s)

Operationally, six sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.

Statistically the goal is to have all output within plus or minus six standard deviations on a normal bell curve.  In simple terms that is 3.4 defects per 1 million. The mathematical symbol for a standard deviation is the Greek letter sigma (Ϭ).  This is the origin of the term six sigma.  Ok, that is a bit technical. Just think of it as getting rid of wasted effort, time and material – i.e., no “fat” in the organization.  For this reason you may hear it referred to as “lean six sigma.”

The concept has its roots in post-World War II Japan.  With the United States emerging as the only industrialized nation with an intact manufacturing base, it was hard for progressive management thinkers like Edward Deming to sell the total quality concept of “if it ain’t broke, make it better” to U.S. manufacturers who had a corner on the international market using existing management theories. However, Deming and others found willing converts in Japan whose industrial base had been decimated by the war.  Through the efforts of Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo the Toyota production system emerged.  It was based on:

  • Flexible continuous production of small batches
  • Minimization of all waste
  • “Doing it right the first time”

This resulted in reduced setup times and inventory buffers.  In simple terms – more bang from the manufacturing buck.  One of the worldwide legacies is the use of Japanese terms in 20/20 vision six sigma based projects for some simple concepts.  But don’t let that dissuade you – we all want to do it right the first time with minimum effort and cost.


Thomas Jefferson said “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”  That is what we are doing with 20/20 vision.  As John McCall put it “Our goal was to start slowly, learn the discipline and tools of the continuous improvement process, take on some small projects to build confidence and prepare ourselves to handle any challenge that comes our way.” 

My next post will be on why visualizing (using pictures to support qualitative data) six sigma is a key to progress.

If you would like to discuss six sigma further…let me know.

2020 Team members, Continuous Improvement, Uncategorized

Brittney Wolf: 2020 Team Member


Learning with Legos: hands-on practice using a “pull” system

“What began as a few projects to improve our work environment has now grown into a new way of viewing our current processes: to seek improvement in every aspect of our office. In my department (OCB Faculty Support), I have seen how the projects we first worked on have improved the quality of my work as well as reducing the time and frustrations involved in previously convoluted tasks. While some of the projects we have tackled have come with challenges, seeing the outcome and the impact it has in improving our workflow has made all the work worthwhile.”


–Brittney Wolf
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Administrative, Uncategorized

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Vincent2 quote

In the spirit of continuous improvement, this post is:

1. Testing the Outlook email notification system.
2. Reminding you to sign up for an email notice when the 2020 blog has new posts.
    a.  Click in upper right hand corner of this post (2020 Vision by email).
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