Member Spotlight – Mike Simmons

Mike SimmonsHello, I am Mike Simmons. This coming year I will be the Senior Director of the Minnesota Section of ASQ. As a Director I am also on the Long Range Planning Committee. This group sets the plans, goals and direction of the Section. Until recently I was also on the Biomedical Focus Task Group team.

According to my membership card I have been a member of ASQ for 20 years. In reality I have been a member much longer then that. What happened was many years ago I let my membership expire. I do not remember how long it was that I was not a member but one day I realized that I was missing a lot by not being a member and reapplied for membership. I was missing the people, publications, training and professional contacts that come along with being a member. The lesson is do not let your membership expire.

My professional career in Quality began at Medtronic many years ago. I won’t say how many years, let’s just say they were not a large company at the time and we had not yet landed on the moon. After leaving Medtronic I was able to work at some small companies and some start up companies. I have managed Quality, Reliability, Field Service and Regulatory Affairs. Often at small and start up companies the Quality person will find they are the Quality organization. You do the inspections, testing, document and system generation/implementation, supplier audits and so on. Often there is no one else to bounce your quality questions off. Having contacts within the industry and Quality profession often gave me the input I needed in developing a new system or solving a problem. Not everyone is a fan of benchmarking, Peters and Deming in particular, but I am. I do not suffer from NIH ( not invented here). Peters and Deming will tell you to be sure to benchmark the right companies and understand why they are doing something the way they are doing it. Make sure they are the best at what they are doing. I have found benchmarking (or is that networking) quite useful in developing systems or solving a problem. While I have never able to transfer anyone else’s system as they use it, I was able to get ideas as to what was working and not working at different companies. Being a member of ASQ gives me access to many contacts. If I have contacted you and requested some information that means that I believe you and your organization are very good at what they do.

Another thing I have learned through all my years is that in this profession we all have the same problems or issues. It does not make any difference if you are in a big, small or medium size company, medical device company, service company or a machine shop.

To help yourself maintain your membership in ASQ, attend the section events and volunteer. We are always looking for help and fresh ideas.