Member Spotlight – Gary Townsend

Gary TownsendHello all, again. I’m glad to have this opportunity to personally share with you.

I am Gary Townsend, Director and Former Chair of the ASQ – Minnesota Section 1203. These day’s I sometimes ask myself why I continue to be pulled into the operations of the Section and ASQ. It’s a commitment that consumes time, energy, and often more that I planned. I’ll tell you why. I was fortunate to be involved with organizaitons and good people who truly believed quality was key and the value associated with quality excellence was worthwhile. In today’s environment, nothing in this regard has changed. The value of ASQ today for those in and around the quality focus of business is that the knowledge and tools for success are readily available for all in every aspect of our environment. The society continues to share that information, be involved in forming it, and building on it.

I was invited to join the Society in 1976. I did join in 1988. Those of you who know me would understand I am quite patient and deliberate making decisions. I am fortunate to have gotten involved in the quality arena in the mid to late ’60’s. That is when the design of knowing, applying and being successful in quality required being knowledgeable and able to apply that knowledge in an orderly and sound fashion to meet the expectation of the customer. I grew up when apprenticeship was yet considered to have value. Today mentorship is as crucial. My background for knowing how to get the job done well was based in the knowledge of machine trades, later design, and later practical application of statistics, metallurgy, design, new technology applications, software development and control, long term capital planning, and organizing practical (early lean) methods for manufacturing and quality getting the right things done. I’ve held positions from the lowest quality function, to highly technical, to engineering and in many levels of leadership.

This year I am excited to remain involved and support all I can as this Section, a mature organization, looks to grow the knowledge and wisdom within its membership and leadership in the community. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and chat with leaders in quality and discuss quality with recognized and outstanding individuals in the field. I began my involvement with the Section volunteering in Conference leadership working with the City of Minneapolis and the Convention Center to hold our Annual Conference here in the Twin Cities, arranging for support services, and negotiating agreements to facilitate the same. In later years, I worked with our first electronic Section Management Process to support our National HQ initiative to electronically share information. Following that, there were years as Section Treasurer, Vice Chair of Conferences, Vice Chair of Outreach and Public Relations, and Chair Elect. What is most rewarding for me is to have had the opportunity to leave each of these having made improvements and giving the Section improved operations and means to engage its’ business.

Of all I have found in this journey, it is the people who are most important and memorable. I am most thankful for the people. The conviction of those who I most admire has been demonstrated in their willingness to be strong, but open to share and help. Those individuals were motivated to be contributors to the team, unintended with their own agenda and committed to sensible quality improvement.

On that note, I’ll refer to Mavonne’s two key words from last month. “Getting involved”, as I see it is the only way to create something good.