Hi, my name is Jason Powell, and I will be serving as the section’s Vice Chair of Education this year. This is my second year working for this committee and it has been quite a learning experience, no pun intended, thus far for me. Working as a volunteer for our Section has really opened my eyes to the time, effort and selflessness board and committee members pour into this Section on behalf of its members. We consistently enjoy outstanding monthly Section meetings, thanks to our Programs Committee.
The BenchmarQ and Section’s website, services of the Communications Committee, provides valuable information about current Quality topics, events, and job opportunities. The Conference Committee coordinates and administers the several regional MN ASQ-sponsored conferences. In addition to the committees that have visible exposure to members, there are also a number of functions that operate behind the scenes to ensure that the Section operates smoothly. Our section is staffed by a group of great people. I have made many new professional friends, and consider myself fortunate to contributor to this fine organization.
Before I tell you how I ended up in this position, I should probably tell you a little about my professional background and interests. I started my career in Quality during the 1980’s as a Quality Engineer for an electronics firm that provided flex circuits to the automotive industry. This was perhaps a golden age for Quality professionals. We were all learning from gurus like Deming, Juran, Crosby and Drucker, and preached the gospel of TQM and some principles of this thing called the “Toyota Production System” to anyone in our organizations that were willing to listen.
A lot has changed since then in the world of Quality, and in my own career. TQM and TPS have gradually morphed into a new incarnation as Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing. I have moved into areas of supplier quality, quality department management, helped start up a company, and even served a stint as an IT director. I now head up the Lean and Six Sigma activities for Katun Corporation, headquartered in Bloomington. In this capacity, I am actively training and integrating these quality disciplines into our corporate operations, our supply chain, and am even beginning to provide services to some of our key customers. I am passionate about the improvements that Lean and Six Sigma can bring to an organization’s operation, competitiveness, and profitability. Much of my time is now devoted to training the next generation of business professionals so that they can carry the torch of Quality forward. This brings me to the present, and how I got involved in the Education Committee for our section.
Two years ago, I walked up to the ASQ booth at the Minnesota Quality Conference and told Mavonne Prokop that I would be interested in volunteering for any activity that the Section might need help. A few months later, Annette Borrelli invited me to join the Education Committee. I was excited about the opportunity to help with this Section committee. It serves an important role for the Section, and for individual members of ASQ. The workshops, seminars, and certification prep classes are all managed through the volunteers on the Education Committee. It also manages the setup and administration of the certification testing, and recertifications for ASQ members. Last year the committee devoted a significant amount of time to examining its role in the organization, and how it could best serve the members of this Section and the community that we live and work in. This year Annette advanced to the Chair-Elect for the Section, and I was asked to take over leadership of education. I will continue to carry out the plans that Annette initiated. Look for exciting new courses, seminars and workshops to be offered by our Section this year.
As a closing note, I would like to encourage you to take the same plunge that I did. This Section runs on the efforts of individuals who are passionate about the advancement of the Quality profession. If you have enjoyed the benefits of being a member of ASQ, and this Section, consider making a contribution of your time and expertise to this fine organization. I guarantee that you will find the experience rewarding, and will make a lot of new friends and professional contacts.