Meet the Team
C. BRANDON BROWN, P.E.
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.
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), 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 9 years of hands-on experience developing 93 Kata boards and applying Kata in five different industries, including Healthcare, Automotive, Logistics, Legal & Financial Services. His experience began in 2009 at Modine Manufacturing Co., Mike Rother’s first US company to apply Kata, continuously evolving his competency, currently master coaching four hospitals and the corporate functions of the Baptist Memorial Healthcare Group.
Currently, Panos is completing his MBA in Healthcare at the Jack Welch Management Institute, while carrying a Bachelors in Business Administration from Broadview University, along with executive certifications from Stanford University, and MIT Sloan School of Management.
Learn more about Panos Efsta’s experience in applying Improvement/Coaching Kata here.
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).
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.
Dennis Cutright Kata deployment experience 2013 – present
Led Kata deployments across 4 plants as lead Coach; And a support Coach for 2 others Developing performance-based leaders that understand and embrace employee engagement, and that embrace Kaizen & Kata patterns of scientific thinking for improvement. Dennis has extensive experience training teams to adopt the organization’s vision and values while achieving operational benchmarks. Driving Operational Excellence to improve safety, quality, productivity and deliver solutions that optimize Performance.
Dennis has extensive leadership experience in manufacturing operations of high volume forging, machining and product assemblies. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a passion for driving performance through organizational alignment, leadership development, quality, employee engagement, effective team communications, continuous improvement and customer service. Dennis’ success as a leader and communicator can be attributed to his approachable demeanor and enthusiasm for developing others. He is passionate about implementing the right combination of structure and processes to develop people at all levels and challenge diverse teams, so they achieve extraordinary results. Creating cultures that engage leaders and employees in process ownership, measurement and improvement with an eye on generating results follows Dennis wherever he goes. Dennis’ success as a leader and communicator can be attributed to his approachable demeanor and enthusiasm for developing others. He has led several hundred Kaizen events and Improvement Kata /Coaching Kata storyboards as well as implemented quality systems in over 50 domestic and global manufacturing locations and led million-dollar strategic cost saving programs. He has also mentored over 100 leaders to embrace and manifest operational excellence, standardize best practices and accelerate personal leadership growth. In the past 5 years, he has focused on transforming organizational cultures and performance through the Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata mindset and thinking patterns. Some examples of these team based efforts that generated performance improvements are:
- Increased Productivity by 80% on strategic product lines
- Improved Safety performance “Days Without a Lost Time Accident” by 300%
- Improved overall operational Productivity by 40%
- Increased Throughput in press operations by 125%
- Reduce Quality Defects to the customer and PPM levels by 75%
- Increased Sales/Employee by 36%
- Reduced Inventory in a product value stream by $12M
- Reduced Change Over times in machining operations by 50%
- Increased EBITDA performance by 175%
He is passionate about using the Kata deliberate thinking patterns for implementing the right combination of structure and processes to develop people at all levels to achieve their challenge conditions. Dennis has attained many certifications from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) including: Six Sigma Black Belt, Quality Engineer, Reliability Engineer, Quality Systems Auditor and Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence. He also possesses two certificates from the University of Michigan. Rounding out his robust knowledge base and credentials is his membership as a coach, trainer and speaker with John C. Maxwell’s Leadership Team. Currently he is the co-leader for the Michigan Lean Consortium. Dennis and his wife live in Saline, Michigan and enjoy spending time with their children and pets.
Lean Six Sigma ASQ Black Belt #4615
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.
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.