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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

PANOS EFSTA


Everything Panos does, he believes in challenging the status quo; He believes in thinking differently. To do so, he employs three fundamental principles: direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path. Harmoniously utilizing ten years of experience applying Strategy Deployment (X-Matrix & A3), Improvement/Coaching Kata, TWI methods, and Lean Six Sigma tools to a variety of industries. The key to his success is leadership, humility, appreciative inquiry, and several failed experiments which turned into great lessons learned.

Panos Efsta has over 12 years of hands-on experience developing over 115 innovation teams – 250 employees, applying Strategy Deployment, Kata, TWI, and Lean Six Sigma in five different industries, including Healthcare, Automotive, Logistics, Legal & Financial Services.

Panos is a Doctor of Business Administration candidate in Finance from Liberty University, has an MBA in Healthcare Management from the Jack Welch Management Institute, along with executive certifications in Advanced Project Management from Stanford University, Advanced Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt from Villanova University, andTechnology, Operations, & Value Chain Management from MIT Sloan School of Management. Also, Panos is a Strategy, KATA, TWI JI/JR/JM coach and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Learn more about Panos Efsta’s experience in applying Improvement/Coaching Kata here.

Steve Medland

Steve Medland has spent over 25 years leading, advising, teaching, and learning operations, lean, and supply chain and operations related practices. As a professional, Steve was a director, manager, and analyst of production, warehouse and distribution, and inventory management in industries including grocery retail, metal fabrication and machining, and office supplies and furniture.

As a business coach, Steve has worked with organizations in aerospace, automotive, banking services, distribution, healthcare, medical devices, pharmaceutical, and software. Steve has also taught public and private seminars globally on lean systems, inventory management, and Toyota Kata. A common theme in Steve’s consulting work has been lean culture and learning, from the shop floor to the executive level.

In addition to his work in manufacturing, Steve enjoys applying lean principles and other best practices to non-manufacturing processes in the supply chain such as the customer interface, supply management, inventory management, and distribution. In addition to his industry and management experience, Steve spent ten years teaching Operations and Supply Chain courses to graduates, undergraduates, and executives in business and engineering colleges at the University of Oregon, the University of Colorado-Boulder, Colorado State University, and the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Steve received an MBA in Supply Chain and Operations Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 BRIAN KARP

Kata Coach and, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – ASQ Cert #16441

Brian Karp has been involved continuous improvement initiatives for over 20 years. He is driven to help people see the process waste that consumes so much of their valuable time. Brian is a hands-on leader who strives to do change with people and not to people. This allows teams to identify and implement sustainable ideas that deliver break-through improvements in customer satisfaction.

Brian earned a BS of Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University and received Lean Six Sigma training from Pentair and Black&Decker. Brian is an ASQ certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, holds two US Patents, and has received the Nugent Innovation Award from Pentair, Inc.

Over the years, Brian has served in a variety of roles including Engineering Manager, Project Manager, Automation Design Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Value Improvement Manager, and Product manager. This experience provided Brian the opportunity to extensively practice his process improvement skills in many industries including automotive components, medical products, and consumer products, Clinical & Non-Clinical Healthcare.

During the last three years, Brian has served as Lean Six Sigma project facilitator and Toyota Kata Coach for clients in industries such as food, industrial, healthcare, and service industries. His project areas extend from the process floor to the corporate office.

Sample project results:

• Hospital Emergency Department
o Reduced Arrival-to-Doc time by 63%
o Reduced high acuity patient LOS by 59%
o Reduced LWBS from 6/shift to Zero
• Hospital Admissions Department – Reduce Claim Denials by 16%
• Machine Shop Stamping Department – Reduced Staffing by 1 & increased production 7%
• Machine Shop – Reduced Lathe Setup time by 31%
• Spring Production – Increased Small Spring production capacity by 21 times

In addition to being a seasoned project facilitator, Brian is also a passionate teacher of process improvement. He has served as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt instructor for NW Arkansas Community College (NWACC) and Green/Black Belt instructor for American Society for Quality (ASQ).

Eric Uppiano

Eric passionately believes all leadership and processes can be improved. This comes from over 38 years in industry leadership positions such as Parts Manufacturing, Assembly Operations, Engineering leadership, Product Development, Brand Management, Marketing, Sales and Human Resources. These roles were in numerous industry types from vertically integrated American manufacturers to Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, 15 years of exposure to many Asian electro-optical suppliers provided him valuable insights into the manufacturing methods, cost structures, cultures and attitudes of America’s competitors offshore.

Eric developed an enterprise wide resume since graduating from the College of Idaho with a degree in Business in 1980. Eric progressed from retail store management, manufacturing management and finally marketing at a regional paint manufacturer in Boise, Idaho. He served as Territory Manager for a large Fortune 500 company and an HR consultant at IEC Management Resource Group.  At IEC, he enjoyed 5 years gaining insights from intimate access to management and operations of more than 650 companies across the Northwest supporting them with management training, compensation program development, organizational restructuring, employee opinion surveys and individual leadership development.

Working for Blount, Inc. in the Sporting Equipment Division as the Optics Brand Manager, Eric and his team grew the category from a single optics brand of $9 million to three brands and $50 million annual sales.

Most recently, he spent 19 years with Leupold & Stevens, in director level positions for this manufacturing company. As a senior leader he spent 6 years directing all aspects of the parts manufacturing area, 7 years in brand management, marketing and product development and 6 years leading Assembly Operations. In those roles he also was responsible for engineering teams, customer service, product services and other support functions.

Eric is married with three grown daughters. His passions are spending time traveling with his wife internationally and sailing.

Jeff Fuchs

Since 2008, Jeff has served as the Executive Director of the Maryland World Class Consortia (MWCC), a non-profit organization that helps public and private sector organizations build cultures of continuous improvement.  He delivers training on lean improvement methods, facilitates improvement activities, coaches leaders, and develops strategic improvement plans.  He has served a variety of roles with the MWCC, including a term on the Consortia’s founding member Advisory Board in 1996.

In 2000, Jeff founded Neovista Consulting to focus on operational excellence, Lean Thinking, leadership development, change management, and culture change.

Jeff’s passion for Lean Thinking began in 1993, as the plant manager of a small aerospace firm where lean manufacturing provided the cornerstone of a dramatic multi-year business turnaround. He has served in other industries including automotive, machining, defense, and solar power, in roles including quality manager, engineering director, and lean champion.

Jeff was deeply involved in the creation and expansion of a nationally-recognized system of Lean Certification that is today jointly supported by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, and the Shingo Institute.  He holds Lean Bronze and Silver Certifications, and is working toward Lean Gold.  He has served on the Lean Certification Oversight Committee and is Past Chair.

Jeff has a deep interest in Lean for the public sector.  He is an instructor for the University of Baltimore’s Certified Public Manager Program. He has designed training curricula for Virginia Tech’s Lean Academy and Harrisburg University’s Agile Lean Academy.  He has designed lean training and coaching programs that have together graduated over 1,500 lean leaders across a range of government agencies and private sector companies.

Jeff’s major clients have included Raytheon, GlaxoSmithKline, OrbitalATK, Halliburton, U.S. Air Force, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the City of Baltimore, and the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Jeff’s current specializations include lean leadership, lean government, lean for personal and administrative processes, and a scientific method of learning, adaptation and skill development known as Toyota Kata.

Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from West Point.  He is a lifelong student of team leadership, a combat veteran of the first Gulf War, and was awarded multiple Bronze Star Medals.  He is an examiner for both the Shingo Institute’s Shingo Prize and the AME Excellence Award.  He is the past Chairman of the Maryland Advisory Commission for Manufacturing Competitiveness and serves on the Board of Directors of Open Works, a Baltimore community maker space and small business incubator.

 BROOKS DAVIS

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Kata Coach and ASQ Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

Brooks Davis brings a service based mission to help companies take the “next step” in their continuous improvement journey.

Brooks has taught Lean Six Sigma principles at Harding University as an adjunct professor and has participated in quality management programs in three different banking groups, including Arvest, First Commercial, and Simmons First banks.

During Brooks’ 13 years of service as President / CEO of Simmons First Bank of Searcy, he oversaw process improvements that improved the bank’s efficiency ratios by over 5%, or $200,000 annually through the utilization of Lean Six Sigma principles.  Brooks also has worked closely with every financial regulatory agency for banks during his career.

Brooks graduated with honors from Harding University’s College of Business in 1989 with a degree in Management.  While at Harding he was a 3 year starter for the Bison football team and served as chairman of the Student Association Spiritual Life Committee.

Brooks is certified as an ASQ Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and recently completed his MBA from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Brooks and his wife, Jill, have been married for 27 years.  They have four children, Jace (23) and his wife Carly, Trey (21), and Ally (19).   They are members of the Downtown Church of Christ.  A native of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, he has lived in Arkansas for 32 years now and is a dual fan of both states’ teams.

Paul Hamacher

Paul’s 29 years of managerial experience includes positions ranging from Supervisor to President and Board of Directors with full profit and loss responsibility. He has overseen all aspects of company operations including Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Manufacturing. Paul’s responsibilities have included multi-site and international experience including customers and suppliers in Asia, Europe and North America. As a member of executive teams, he has been responsible for the development of corporate strategy and global investments.  He has spearheaded company-wide initiatives to improve product development, process efficiency and productivity.

Paul has over two decades of continuous improvement expertise in Lean and Six Sigma. As Director of Lean Six Sigma at Honeywell he managed a portfolio of over 140 Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma projects across global manufacturing and research facilities. His client base spans multiple industries including aerospace, commercial and consumer goods, electronics, engineering, financial, food processing, government, healthcare, marketing, marine, mining, and warehousing and distribution.

Paul gained most of his practical business experience at Rockwell International, Boeing and Honeywell. He is a Master in Lean Manufacturing, experienced managerial and Toyota Kata coach, and holds a Retail Supply Chain certification.  In addition to his consulting activities, Paul has been an adjunct professor at Gonzaga University and has served on the Board of Directors of the International Trade Alliance.

CHAD SMITH

Lean Six Sigma ASQ Master Black Belt #8
Lean Six Sigma ASQ Black Belt #4615
LEED AP

Chad Smith applies continuous improvement methodologies to help organizations leverage their scarce human and material resources through breakthrough improvements.

Chad has 18 years of Continuous Improvement experience in retail, manufacturing, refining, high-tech and food. He has led and guided process and product improvements for Wal-Mart, Gates, ExxonMobil and Black and Decker. Chad’s leadership experience includes quality management for Black and Decker utilizing Continuous Improvement tools as the enabler for breakthrough improvements. This experience is underpinned with an in-depth application of strategy deployment and metrics to drive and measure progress. As a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, he created and rolled-out Wal-Mart’s Continuous Improvement curriculum and program. Through his business CI Solutions, Chad has assisted countless organizations in pursuit of perfection through both custom developed and delivered training (including all ranges of leadership, strategy deployment, Lean and LSS) as well as hands-on project leadership.

Chad continues to leverage his passion for helping people through adult facilitation and executive coaching through his business. Chad utilizes the adult learning model to effectively engage, transfer knowledge and give confidence to the participants he serves whether it be the most basic tool training or the most advance Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Curriculum. Chad works to maintain a fun and energetic classroom that keeps participants in the training moment, eliminating their potential to be distracted. In the same way, Chad makes project work with teams engaging and interesting.

Chad is a nationally American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (ASQ #8). He also maintains his ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (ASQ # 4615) as well as his L.E.E.D. Accredited Professional credentials. Chad is the chair of the Master Black Belt Exam Review Committee. Chad was recently recognized as a leader in the field of continuous improvement and is now part of ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum.

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RICHARD MACLIN

Master Black Belt
ASQ Black Belt

Richard Maclin has over 20 years of continuous improvement experience. He has served various industries in roles specializing in Quality Assurance, Supplier Development, Outsourcing, Lean, Kaizen, Product Realization, and Operations. Throughout his career he has helped companies grow their bottom line by identifying and eliminating variation and other non-value added activity. His success is the result of strategic process improvement techniques like VA/NVA, VSM, Lean Six Sigma, 5S and Kaizen.

Richard started his career as a Manufacturing Engineer for Toyoda Gosei, a Toyota subsidiary and key Tier 1 supplier to the Auto Industry. His role included implementing the Toyota Production System (TPS) in new cells and re-implementation for existing cells, leading Kaizen and 5S training and team activities, and Problem Solving (RC/CM) for Customer issues.

He served other Automotive companies like United Technologies and Arvin-Meritor in similar capacities adding responsibilities for Quality Assurance and Supplier Development. In both cases Richard developed training manuals / materials and delivered much of the training.

Richard joined Trelleborg Sealing Solutions as Quality Assurance Manager and quickly gained Operations responsibilities. Trelleborg served the Automotive, Nuclear Energy, Aerospace, Department of Defense, and General Industrial markets. During his time there, Richard’s scope of influence was greatly expanded when he became the Divisional Manager of Manufacturing Support Operations. In addition to leading Continuous Improvement activities in four plants across North America, Richard traveled extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia identifying suppliers to partner with in joint ventures and outsourcing. In his Divisional role, Richard visited each plant to review their operational performance and lead performance improvement activities. Over his 5 years with Trelleborg, Richard’s teams and project work saved more than $20 Million, Improved Customer Satisfaction, Reduced Scrap by ~30% in one plant, Right-sized international production capacity, and Implemented Product Realization systems that went from Concept to Prototype parts in less than 24 hours.

For the next 6 years, Richard served as the Quality Assurance Manager for the largest aluminum wheel supplier to the North American Automotive market, Superior Industries, and in 2009 he was given responsibility for the QA team at a second plant. Under Richard’s leadership, Superior trained 14 Green Belts and 3 Black Belts.

For the past 2 years, Richard has been the Quality Assurance and Technical Services Manager for Gates Corporation. In this role, he is responsible for Supplier management, internal process development and control, Customer relations, implementing LSS activities, and monitoring / mentoring the Green Belt candidates. Gates has trained more than 20 LSS Green Belt candidates and has 8-10 active projects at any given time.

Richard is an instructor and Master Black Belt for CI Solutions, LLP. He has demonstrated experience delivering Lean Six Sigma through CI Solutions. He is an active member of the local ASQ chapter and holds a BS Industrial Technology, Management degree from Southeast Missouri State University.

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C. BRANDON BROWN, P.E.
Brandon Brown is Owner and Master Kata Coach at Continuous Coaching Commitment, LLC, and also an Associate for the W3 Group, delivering tangible and sustainable continuous improvement results as a Toyota Kata Master Coach and Lean Instructor/Facilitator.

In 2016-2017, he has dedicated the majority of his time to daily coaching and teaching healthcare professionals how to reach Challenges at Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis TN. He recently returned from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July of 2017 teaching a 3-day hands on practical Toyota Kata course. He is currently working with a company in London recording Coaching Kata videos for an online course he created set for release in 2018 by The Leadership Network in the United Kingdom. He has taught Toyota Kata workshops both “in company” while in Stockholm and at University of Gent, Belgium, publicly in The Netherlands, as well as at Ansbach University for Applied Science in Germany.

In November of 2017, he will be the keynote speaker at the first annual Kata Summit in Prague, Czech Republic to help usher in and celebrate the translation of Toyota Kata to the Czech language. Since 2006, Brandon has been a Visiting Professor of Operations Management at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville teaching courses and instructional designing online courses in the Indus trial Engineering department such as Lean Production and Leadership Principles and Practices for the Master of Science in Operations Management degree program.

Brandon is a Regional Director and board member for the Southeast Region of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. He is also a Certified John Maxwell Coach, Teacher, and Speaker. Prior to his work with W3 Group, he advanced through management leadership at Central States Mfg., as Regional Operations Manager for three facilities in the Eastern Region, which served 17 states. He has a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, as well as a Professional Engineers license in Arkansas. He holds a certificate as a LeanSigma Kaizen Instructor from Time Based Management Consulting Group, to teach Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen instruction, and has led many continuous improvement events.

Brandon has 25 years of continuous improvement experience in various leadership roles for Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, Central States Manufacturing, Waterloo Industries, and Lincoln Automotive. He has focused the past four years practicing and deploying Toyota Kata with various companies.