Member Spotlight – Jim Nelson

Jim NelsonHello, my name is Jim Nelson and I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a new member of ASQ and the MN Section. I recently became a member of ASQ due to my interest in obtaining the CMQ/OE certification. After becoming a member and getting certified, I began to learn more about the benefits, features and opportunities within ASQ. I look forward to volunteering on one of the MN Section committees so I can immerse myself in the organization, provide mutual benefit and accelerate my learning curve of the quality profession.

I believe I bring a unique perspective to the quality profession since I don’t have a direct quality professional background, except Six Sigma Black Belt. I have always been closely linked to quality professionals and seek their input and insight on many different projects, initiatives and strategies. My education is a mix of Engineering and Business. I received my BS EET at MN State University, Mankato and returned to school after approximately 6 years of engineering work to obtain my MBA from Cardinal Stritch University. I started my career at McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing, Inc. in Dodge Center, MN as a Chief Electrical Engineer. After a few years, I took a position at Caterpillar Paving Products, Inc. where I had the great opportunity to learn about how quality and a customer focus can significantly improve an organization’s success. I progressed from design engineer to engineering project leader to Six Sigma Black Belt within an organization that believes quality is everyone’s responsibility. This is where I started to evolve my passion for continuous improvement and a quality focus. I decided to take on a different challenge after over 8 years at Cat and became an Engineering Manager at Nilfisk-Advance, Inc. (floor care cleaning equipment manufacturer). I was brought into the organization for my Six Sigma background and Continuous Improvement focus. I worked with cross-functional teams to improve processes and create organizational efficiencies.

My interest in quality and continuous improvement led me to a new adventure recently. I partnered with a business acquaintance and started a new consulting business, Clarosys, LLC, after my transition from Nilfisk-Advance. Clarosys is focused on helping manufacturing organizations improve Product Development and Business Processes. My membership in ASQ and the MN Section has been a great asset for keeping abreast of the latest quality information and initiatives. I appreciate the articles in Quality Progress and the BenchmarQ to gain a deeper understanding of quality principles and tools.

Recent articles question the viability of Six Sigma and other quality oriented initiatives. I feel there is an all-or-nothing misconception of implementing initiatives that undermines the effectiveness of using the tools and processes in strategic areas. There are areas in business processes where other tools and processes are better for success than shoehorning a standard approach. One thing I have learned over my 15 years of working with manufacturing companies is that every company is unique. Customizing systems and processes for organizations with cross-functional input is the most successful way of ensuring engagement and sustainability. Using the financial language of leaders and managers is the best way to ensure the continuity of quality systems and tools in appropriate areas.

I look forward to working with the ASQ MN Section in many ways:

  • Volunteering with a committee
  • Offering an outside perspective to the quality profession
  • Forwarding quality initiatives through awareness and networking
  • Attending events and presentations for continuous learning
  • Networking with members and non-members attending events
  • Continuous improvement, continuous improvement, continuous improvement,…

Please take a moment to introduce yourself when you see me at a meeting or event. I am interested in hearing about other’s experiences and perspective with the ASQ MN Section and in industry in general. I feel it is important to learn from others and gain a diverse perspective.