2018 IOWA LEAN CHAMPION AWARD WINNER
Sarah Pavelka has been an ongoing champion of continuous improvement efforts for more than a decade. She serves as a teacher, coach, and facilitator for leaders to front-line employees.
Sarah is a leader on the Iowa and national healthcare quality stages. She is president of the Iowa Association for Healthcare Quality Board, a task force member for the Iowa Hospital Association and the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, and a member of the Des Moines University Alumni Board. She also has served on the board of national associations, including the National Association for Healthcare Quality.
Sarah has an extensive background in health care and quality improvement. She holds degrees in biology and psychology, an occupational therapy degree, a master’s degree in healthcare administration, and a doctorate in health sciences leadership. She is the co-author of Lean Tool Time.
Pavelka is the seventh Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC.
2017 IOWA LEAN CHAMPION AWARD WINNER
The Iowa Lean Consortium has named Richard (Dick) See, manager (Ret), UI Business Process Improvement, Organizational
Effectiveness, University Human Resources, as the 2017 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.
“Dick has been a strong Lean leader at the University of Iowa. 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.
The University of Iowa implemented a process improvement program in 2006. Dick was responsible for promoting, organizing and facilitating Lean process improvement activities along with other organizational development efforts on campus. He was an ongoing champion for the continuous improvement efforts at the University of Iowa. Dick facilitated many Lean improvement events, developed promotional content, and provided Lean training to staff at various levels.
Dick also was instrumental in creating a campus network of quality improvement engineers and other Lean enthusiasts who collaborate and support the efforts of one another. Dick originated and facilitated quarterly “Lean Lunches” that were open to staff from the University of Iowa, the University of Iowa Foundation, UI Healthcare, the State Hygienics Lab, and UI Information Technology. The resulting sharing of ideas and tools resulted in an improved culture of Lean philosophies in the UI family of organizations.
“I’m both honored and humbled to be receiving this award,” Dick said.
Dick also was a leader in developing recognition programs for staff process improvement efforts. The “See-It, Solve-It” award program is based on staff using A3 methodologies to identify problems (See-It) and work towards solutions (Solve-It).
In addition to the ILC, Dick engaged in several other outreach efforts to bring the concept of Lean to higher education. He served as a resource for several universities and colleges interested in understanding and implementing the Lean process methodology. He served as a Lean consultant to McCloud State, helping them to develop a Lean culture and train staff to be able to conduct Lean events for themselves. He also consulted with officials at Michigan Tech University as they implemented Lean on their campus.
He also provided experiential information that was included in William Balzer’s book Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes (2010; Productivity Press).
Last June, Dick was privileged to serve as a key note speaker for the International Conference on Lean Six Sigma for Higher Education held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Finally, Dick was a regular guest lecturer in the Tippie College of Business MBA program on Lean in academia and the advance business staff courses related to Lean.
See is the sixth Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC.
2016 LEAN CHAMPION
The Iowa Lean Consortium in 2016 named 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 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,” said 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, and the gap was projected to widen. 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 also is 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 $10 million Competition.
Fierke is the fifth Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC.
2015 LEAN CHAMPION
The Iowa Lean Consortium named Karen Kiel Rosser, vice president and quality improvement officer for Mary Greeley Medical Center, as its 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 or more years. The award was presented at the ILC’s annual fall conference on October 28th.
“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 vice president and 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 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.
Karen 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.
Karen is the fourth Lean Champion to be recognized by the ILC.
2014 LEAN CHAMPION
The Iowa Lean Consortium has named Karin Peterson, vice president of human resources at Pella Corporation, as the 2014 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.
“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, Karin has been an ardent supporter of making government more effective and efficient in order to benefit not just businesses but all of Iowa. Her advocacy and consistent support of state agencies has been critical to establishing Lean in state government. Karin continues to serve on the Iowa Lean Government Collaborative, a joint public-private partnership.
In 2002, Karin 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 her leadership, the Business Process Hot Team successfully introduced Lean in state government in 2003.
Karin and the Hot Team communicated the value of Lean to legislators and helped ensure that Lean continued to be supported through multiple governors. 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
During its first Annual Membership meeting on October 30th, the ILC recognized its second annual Iowa Lean Champion Award recipient – Mary Andringa, 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. The model line used to average 80 hours of labor in each unit and now averages less than 24. All of this occurred while the company added 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
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 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.