Thursday, November 10, 2011

World Quality Month

November was recently designated as World Quality Month by ASQ. In his blog, in A View From The Q, ASQ CEO Paul Borawski shared his thoughts on WQM plus he asked the simple question, 'what are you doing to Raise the Voice of Quality'.

First off, let me say that Quality cannot have just one month. Every year, every month, every day in fact every second must reflect on Quality as a way of life. The way we treat others, the way we approach our vocations and advocations, the way we present ourselves to the world must be with one sole meaning...that meaning is that we exude quality in all we do.

That said, what am I doing in November 2011 to Raise my Voice. To start I am writing this blog post. Other actions I've taken include:

  • I've invited at least 3 people I know to accept a 6 month free membership to ASQ. This includes the new Quality Manager at one of my company's facilities and both of my nephews. One is a recent college graduate in hospitality management and the other is a civil engineering student.

  • I am still seeking out people I know that I think should consider looking at ASQ membership through the 6 month free offer...if you are interested, let me know...

  • I attended an ASQ section Conference on Risk Management

  • I continue to update my ASQ section's web site

  • I am working diligently with the production team to improve upon our processes to achieve improved satisfaction from our customer

  • Whenever I speak with people about what I do I make sure to include in the discussion ASQs commitment to and involvement with the practices of Quality

  • I practice what I preach.

I live the professsion and practice of Quality Management, Quality Engineering and Quality Improvement everyday of the year both at work and in my personal life. What more can I do? Invite others to learn and become active with the practices after all, this is the 21st Century - the Century of Quality

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cathartic message of 9/11/2001

As stated in my blog entitled '9/11 Ten Years Later' I said I would post my cathartic it is in its entirety - you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll rejoice in life!:

Recently, a friend asked how I was doing in light of the events of 9/11.

Here is what I told her:

I am working for as a Quality Assurance Engineering Consultant for Siemens Transportation
System. We are designing and installing a Fiber Optic Telecommunications Network for New York City Transit (The Subway). I was scheduled to fly to Israel on August 15, 2001 on a business trip for one week to audit 2 of our suppliers. For several weeks prior to the trip my wife, my mom, my sister and brother-in-law, my in-laws and a multitude of friends compelled me not to go. They felt that the political / social climate in the Holy Land was not safe. My rebuttal to all of their compelling argument was "I think I will be safer in Israel than in my own
office!". Well, I went anyway.

I arrived on Thursday, Aug 16 at about noon with my boss, Raja, a Lebanese native who is a
naturalized citizen of the USA. Raja and I are very similar people, with only one major difference in personal belief, he is Christian and I am Jewish. We decided that in our free time we would travel throughout the country, contrary to both of our families' requests not to leave the hotel.

On Friday we set out for the Dead Sea...a place I like to call the most innocuous place on Earth. Not even the Palestinians want that territory.

After our 'float' in this ancient, body of water with an excessively high level of potassium salts, we began our trek back to Tel Aviv and our hotel.

I was navigating and had an incredible urge to see Jerusalem again (I was there back in 1985), so I took a route that would take us into the heart of the Holy City. I did not tell Raja until we were well over an hour into our trip so he would not decide to turn around. Turns out Raja wanted to go as much as I. So, about two hours before sunset on Shabbath (Friday night - the Jewish Sabbath) we entered the walls of the Old City and parked the car. We arrived at
the Western (Wailing) Wall within an hour of the beginning of the Sabbath. It was quite a sight, watching hundreds of Chassidic Jews marching to the wall to welcome the Sabbath...a weekly, holy event. I, too, partook in saying my prayers at the Wall. Raja observed with detached curiosity but found himself looking on in awe.

That night when we returned to the hotel, I spoke with Sharon, my wife. I told her of the
trip to the Dead Sea. She became quite angry so I intentionally neglected to tell her of the visit to Jerusalem. After we got off the phone I began to get ready for bed when the phone rang. It was Sharon. She asked me to hold for a second and the next thing I knew, my mom was reprimanding at me as if I were a 10 year old again. I intentionally lied to my wife and mom, telling them that I would not travel from the hotel, except to visit our business associates on Sunday through Wednesday. This lie was perpetuated to protect them...I did not want
them to worry.

Of course, this did not deter us from traveling throughout the country. We visited many
places over the next 5 days including Caesarea, Haifa, Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Jaffa and Jerusalem twice more.

When I returned home I told Sharon, mom and others of my travels. They were angry but
loved the gifts I brought back from Jerusalem and Jaffa.

Do you remember what I said earlier about where I feel safer in Israel?

The reason for that statement is I worked, at that time, in a building complex that had been bombed by terrorists about 8 years ago (I did not work there at the time) and statistically, there was less of a chance of being hurt in Israel than in the World Trade Center. Sometimes I had
being right!

The above information was intended as a preface to my experiences of September 11, 2001.

I arrived at work that morning at 7:55 for a training session at 8:30 am.

I had a several emails to send including the announcement for my annual ski trip. At 8:30 I headed to the conference room...a room on the 30th floor of 2 WTC (Tower 2) that looks out over the World Financial Center and in the distance the Jersey City waterfront. With the blinds up we could see the southern side of 1 WTC (Tower 1). Of course we had the blinds closed and the projection screen down for the presentation. At 8:48 am, as we were making our introductions to the trainer, there was a distressing sound outside the sounded like the window washers rig was sliding down the building at an unusually fast pace. Within seconds there was the smell of burning Kerosene. Just then an office mate, not in the session stormed into the room to announce that Tower 1 was on fire and we were evacuating immediately. I picked up everything in front of me and walked out. I had my cell phone, a note pad and a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. I left my briefcase, computer, suit jacket and many other personal effects too
numerous to list in my cubicle.

Well, we began a trek down 30 stories. It was a very orderly descent.

Many things happened over the next 15 minutes. One person on the stair was able to get a cell phone line out. We learned that a plane hit Tower 1.

We assumed it was a commuter plane that got off course or something. I commented to my
associate that all those fire drills during our school years paid off. We stopped a couple of times to assist an older woman who was becoming breathless. This was the most orderly descent in the face of a potential disaster I could imagine. Nevertheless, we reached the second floor, which on the north side exits to street level but on the south side is still one floor above the street. We exited to the south side of the tower and looked upon a war zone. There were papers flying everywhere, all kinds of 'trash' in the streets, cars burning and the sky was as dark as during a thunderstorm. What was missing was people and moving vehicles.

It looked as if downtown Manhattan had been bombed then deserted.

Out of curiosity I walked, with a colleague, to the north side of the building (inside, of course) to see what was going on. As I approached the windows overlooking the center court fountain of the World Trade Center I looked up into a Towering Inferno (just like in the movie) only to watch a body falling from somewhere above. The body (I think it was a man) landed on the other side
of the tent peak over the stage which abutted 1 WTC. At that point I turned to my associate, Hans, standing next to me and told him it was time to "get the hell out of here" so we went to re-join our teammates. We rushed back to the south end of the lobby only to find our team moving around to the south side in the opposite direction from which we were coming. We continued around to where we had just been to begin our descent to the first floor by escalator.
I began walking down the escalator, it was not moving, with Hans and 2 security people behind me...we were the last ones on the second floor as far as I can recall.

About two thirds of the way down the building shook and there was the sound of an explosion, then smoke started to pour out the elevators...I later learned this was at 9:03 am. The second airplane had just struck Tower 2.

I began to 'loudly' urge the people in front of me to move forward and away from the glass. We had to go through the revolving doors into 'The Mall' area. I continued to encourage people to move away from the glass.

As I were walking through the mall, I noticed one of my work associates wandering aimlessly. I approached and said to him, "Brad, lets get out of here!" I noticed many firefighters, police officers and rescue workers (EMS) swarming into the mall heading toward Tower 1. Brad and I walked through the mall, up another escalator toward Boarders Bookstore and out onto the east side of the complex at Church Street. There were already many police and fire personnel directing us to head down Fulton Street and away from the World Trade Center. As we proceeded down Fulton Street to Broadway we kept looking back to see two Towering Infernos now. It was devastating to see.

Our project team's primary office is at 195 Broadway, back to back with the Millenium Hilton Hotel which faces the World Trade Center complex. We arrived in front of that building to meet up with other team members. The Project Director, Peter, gave us instructions. He simply said to us, "whomever you see, tell them to go home and all of you GO HOME!" Prior to Peter's instructions I was debating going back to see if I could help anyone. His statement was a wake-up call to me. I realized that my job at this point was to get home to be with my wife, Sharon and my children, Danielle (almost 7) and Alex (who turned 5 just 6 days earlier).

I headed north, up Broadway continuously trying to reach my wife on my cell phone. I could not get a line out so I decided to head over to my prior place of employment. Argo International Corporation is located at 140 Franklin Street on the corner of Franklin and Varick in the heart of the Tribeca section of downtown New York City. I worked my way toward Argo continuously looking back at the burning towers. I saw something that no photograph could depict. Looking southward toward the north side of Tower 1 I could see the tail of a jumbo jet sitting inside the hole in the side of the building approximately 80 floors up. Tower 2 looked as if it were bombed, not struck by an airplane. I thought this due to the fact that the corner of the building about 65 floors up looked as if it had exploded outward, unlike the imploded appearance of Tower 1.

I stormed into Argo at about 9:30 am. I was not in a regular state of mind (I believe I was in shock) and basically pushed everyone out of my way. I recall being rude to friends but they seemed to understand. I attempted several times to get a phone line out. Finally, I connected with my wife's office. Getting her voicemail I left a message, in an incredibly shaky voice telling her, "I am alive, I am alright, I am at Argo and coming up to her." I must have repeated this over and over for 2 minutes. About 5 minutes later I called again and connected with her. I told her to stay put, I'm coming to her! I turned around a walked out heading north again.

When I reached Canal Street I decided to try the subway. As I headed east on Canal Street I noticed a woman with a subway map trying to find a route home. I stopped and helped her find an alternate route to Brooklyn, away from downtown. I did not remember this part of my story until two days later. I proceeded to the Lexington Avenue line and found the 6 train was still running north, so I got on the next train to arrive. Everyone on the train seemed to be in shock, including me. There was one young woman sitting alongside where I was standing who was crying. She composed herself and told us that her fiancee was on the 102 floor of Tower 1
and she had been trying to reach him for almost an hour but couldn't. When the train stopped at Grand Central Station I walked her off the train. She was much more composed and assured me she would be alright to get to her office. I walked the opposite way to exit onto Lexington
. Sharon's office is in the Chrysler Building directly across from Grand Central. I saw her and walked across the street (there was practically no traffic) and took her in my arms. We held each other for a few minutes of relief, then turned to go back to Grand Central in hopes of getting on a train home.

Shortly after we walked into Grand Central there was an announcement to evacuate the station.
So we turned and walked out heading north again. It was now 10 am.

I noticed that my cell phone battery was nearly drained. I called my mom as we walked, to
let her know I was alive. Then my phone battery ran out of juice. We walked to my cousin Grant's apartment to find he wasn't there, so we continued to walk north. I had enough composure to realize that I needed a new phone charger...mine was in my office and I had no idea when I would get back to the office again (we had no idea that the building was no longer standing) we stopped and bought a new one. That was when I realized that I didn't have my was in my briefcase, in my office, on the 30th floor of Tower 2.

As we walked we stopped and talked to a multitude of people about what was happening here in
New York. We tried to figure how this could actually happen in New York. Whenever we mentioned that I had been in the World Trade Center during the attack people just reached out and touched me. It took me about a week to understand that this was validation for them. This contact assured them that people had actually survived the attack.

We did have one negative incident with a pompous, arrogant, jerk that will not be embellished here. Otherwise all the people we encountered throughout the day were great. In a word, they were all New Yorkers!!!

At noon we arrived at my Aunt Jo Anne and Uncle Martin's apartment on Park Avenue at 86th Street. Thank goodness my aunt was home. We got on the elevator and proceeded to her 9th floor apartment. We spent the next 3 hours watching CNN, calming down, charging the cell phone and returning all the calls I'd received to this point. At about 1:20 pm I saw my first video of the airplane hitting Tower 2...I got a bit shaky again at that point. Finally, at 3 pm, we decided it was time to head home. We left and walked north again. We decided to go to Mount Sinai Hospital to give blood but, upon arrival, we were turned away.

I was finally feeling hungry, so we stopped for a slice of pizza around 4 pm...this was the first thing I had eaten all day (I'd skipped breakfast that morning). The we began to walk north again. I live in Northern Westchester, approximately 60 miles north of midtown. Sharon and I agreed that if we had to walk all the way home we would. We were actually heading to the Metro North Railroad Station at 125th Street in Harlem. We waited at the station for about 1 hour for a northbound train. At 5:30 we finally squeezed into a Hudson Line train that would take us to Croton-On-Hudson, our station. We arrive in Croton at about 6:45. We had to leave my car at the station. You should, by now be able to guess keys were in my briefcase, 30th floor, Tower 2.

When we got home 15 minutes later, we hugged and kissed the kids like there would be no

Next day we took the kids to school. My son, 5 years old, and a kindergartener, in his second week of school looked at the mural in the cafeteria asking me if the plane in the mural was going to crash into the school in the mural. I thought I'd lost my mind, but I had to assure him he was safe. Then I went to the school nurse and principal to verify that they were going to 'take care' of the kids and counsel them if they needed to talk or showed signs of distress.

Over the next few days, I went through all the stages of grief regularly discussed by Psychologists. I knew what was happening to me but could not control myself. When I finally broke down and cried over the weekend, I started to climb out of my grief. I'm much better now, but periodically, I have a bad day, like last Friday when I realized that had I stood at the northern window of the south tower for 2 more minutes, I would have seen the second airplane as it crashed into our building.

I learned on Sep 12, 2001 that one of our teammates, Randy Drake, was on the street in front
of 195 Broadway when the second airplane struck. He turned to run and was struck in the back of the head with what was believed to be an aircraft part. It crushed his skull. After two surgeries and 2 weeks, he was airlifted home to Kansas City, MO. His family brought him home and chose to take him off life support. He passed away 2 weeks after the attack. While over
5000 people were lost in this attack, Randy is the only person I knew who was physically injured and eventually perished from the attack.

One thing I've become proficient at in the past month is being evacuated.

I've already discussed the evacuations from 2WTC and Grand Central Station.

On Thursday, Sep 13, 2001 I traveled back to Manhattan to spend some time with my mom while she was receiving one of her last chemotherapy treatments. On the way south the train was held at a Bronx Station for about 1 hour due to a bomb scare in Grand Central. We were asked to wait on the station platform...this was evacuation #3. Friday, Sep 14, 2001 our work team met in Jersey City, NJ for our first of many counseling sessions.

On the same day the FBI was all over Jersey City searching the residences of people
believed to be responsible for the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC (this was not an evacuation but I was starting believe someone was after me). The following Monday, Sep 17, 2001 we returned to work, primarily to continue the counseling sessions. We were given office space at a Siemens facility in Iselin, NJ. Late in the afternoon, there was a fire in the facility, the first in the facilities long history. We evacuated one more time - evacuation #4. Finally, one week after we returned to our offices in midtown Manhattan, the building management decided that our floor, and ours alone, needed to have a fire drill. We were evacuated once again. This was the fifth and last evacuation.

After all that I've been through I must state that I am very lucky.

Friends, family, colleagues and especially my wife and kids have given me the strength and fortitude to go on. I am now back at work in midtown Manhattan, trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild what was lost and move our project forward. Thank goodness for my family and my work. Each give me something to look forward to and a reason to wake up each morning.

David B. Levy

October 24,

9/11 Ten Years Later

In September 2001 I got an email from my high school friend, Flo, asking how I was doing following the events of 9/11. From that note I wrote a cathartic message which I shared with countless people since (I will post in a separate blog post shortly). In addition to sending that note I also renewed a friendship which dated back to junior high school as a result. For those that do not know, I survived the attack on the WTC. My office was in Tower 2 and I was in the office on Sep 11, 2001.

A couple of days ago I sent an email to my friends Mark, Barbara and Rona, kid-hood friends from Oceanside. The email simply said "I don't know how I should feel about Sunday's rememberance". Barbara said that writing helped me 10 years ago and maybe it can help again. So, here goes...

Two weeks before my 40th birthday the world as we knew it changed, forever. Sep 11, 2001 is a day that will live on, like Pearl Harbor Day, as a day of infamy. Now, two weeks before my 50th birthday it seems everywhere I turn the media is looking back on 9/11. Is it a day of rememberance, a day of mourning or a day to celebrate the polarization of the US population? To me it seems like Politics as usual in that every political leader is using the rememberance as his / her personal podium to campaign for something. First reponders (fire & police) and survivors are not being
included in the ceremonies at Ground Zero but every political leader will be that appropriate, fair and equitable? I say no way!

As I reflect on the past 10 years I am concerned about the overall state of the world and most specifically here in the US:

  • the terrorist leaders / designers of the 2001 attacks on the US no longer walk in this world, however, their legacy lives on and their purpose continues;

  • the US is still at war (or are these police actions) on at least 2 fronts;

  • the US economy is probably more fragile than its ever been;

  • the US patriotism exhibited for a short period post 9/11 has faded;

On a positive note, I've had the opportunity to drive by Ground Zero recently and I am thrilled by the progress of the rebuilding. I've stated emphatically that if I had the chance to return to the WTC to work I would...I still mean it!

Continuing on the positive, having had the sense to walk away on 9/11 I've:

  • seen 10 more birthdays for each of my children, Danielle who will soon be 17 and Alex who just turned 15;

  • help shape the lives of these 2 young adults;

  • had 10 more years of being happily married to my life love, Sharon;

  • 10 years of life experiences with my family and friends;

  • lived, loved, laughed and cried with loved ones;

  • continued to hone my Quality skills and be a part of the continual improvement for several organizations;

  • experienced 6 years as a Regional Director for ASQ which included 6 years on the Society's Board of Directors;

  • had the opportunity to become a pretty good poker player and the chance to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event;

  • ...and the list can go on...

Am I a different person because of my experiences associated with 9/11. I know that I did suffer some minor effects of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for several weeks immediately following the attack, however, I worked my way through the issues with the support of family and friends. Maybe my temper is shorter than it used to be but I think that is a result of getting older and life with my teenaged kids. I am still Quality-minded. I am still young at heart. I still love to tell a good story or joke whenever I can. Okay, some are not so good but I still tell them with
pleasure. That has not changed.

On a final note, a couple of those friends mentioned earlier have written to me about how they are feeling today and I want to share their thoughts too...

Mark wrote:

Obviously, we’ve been all thinking a lot about those tragic events 10 years ago today. A friend wrote to me on Friday about her remembering me telling her about the first plane hitting the first tower. I wrote back about my remembrances, of which there were several. Of course, perhaps the sharpest is my realization that you were down there and sheer panic until I found out you were OK. It was a difficult day in history but I’m so glad there was no personal tragedy for me associated with it. You asked what you should be feeling come today. As Barbara said, you should feel as you feel, but I know that I’m glad I can look back and know that there were so many things that you had a chance to see, do and experience and I’m glad that you were able to do just that and share them with me.

And Barbara wrote (slightly edited):

Good morning guys. It seems weird but had it not been for 9/11, I would not be writing that this morning or any of the many mornings I've written to all of you in the past years.

I just saw the first tower come tumbling down yet again on the TV and I got chills all over again.

So glad you made it though that day, David. It was a miracle and a gift to your family and

On this very sad day, that makes me happy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Quality's Past and Future

This month in A View From The Q, ASQ CEO Paul Borawski reflects on the past and future of Quality. His message has gotten me thinking. I turn 50 at the end of the month which also has me reflecting on my life both past and future, how the concepts, tools and sciences of Quality have shaped my life, my career and what they hold for my future.

I've been a Quality professional since the mid 1980's. I've witnessed countless changes in the approaches to Quality, Quality Management, Business Excellence, etc. Most of my career has revolved around a series of Standards which began with MIL-I-45208, passed through MIL-Q-9858 and evolved into ISO 9000 (all versions - 1987, 1994, 2000, 2008). I've built a career and a consulting practice around this family of documents and they've treated me as well as I've treated them. The implementations and usage of these standards all stem from the earlier works of the Quality Guru's including Deming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum, Taguchi, Ishikawa, etc. I fear, however, that their work has gone by the wayside, that they are out of sight, out of mind. Paul's comment about young professional not knowing our guru's has me concerned. The future must be built upon the past lest we reinvent the wheel, yet again.

With the upcoming anniversary I've noticed an abundance of bumper stickers stating 'Never Forget'. I implore our young Quality professionals and practitioners to heed that call with regard to the tremendous historical works of Quality's past. We cannot forget from whence we came. Embrace the past to build a better future.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Videos on Keynotes from WCQI

I was purusing the ASQ web site and found video clips from the WCQI 2011 keynote speakers on the home page...check em out!

Wednesday at WCQI

Today is the final day of the conference. I only had limited time before I had to hit the road so, before I go I want to share some parting thoughts.

I attended one of the best sessions I've ever seen at WCQI. This was Ben Marguglio's talk on Human Error Causal Factors. I've known Ben for many years and have been anxious to attend one of his seminars on the same topic. Unfortunately timing has never aligned to allow for my attendance. Now that I've got the flavor it's time to get to one of his seminars!

I leave Pittsburgh today with some ache in my heart and head. I lost my glasses on Monday afternoon. I believe I dropped them, in their case, in the main ballroom of the convention center following the afternoon keynote. If anyone found a pair of wireless Silouette eyeglasses, please contact me at I also caught a computer virus and my laptop is currently nothing more than a door-stop. Hopefully the IT group at work will be able to disinfect for a full recovery. Much of that ache comes from the fact that I will not see many of my ASQ friends for a whole year.

It is not my intention to leave WCQI on a negative note. I ended my visit to the convention center chatting with a whole host of members, member leaders and staff. I wish everyone a safe jouney home and look forward to seeing you all in Anaheim, CA for WCQI2012.

Thanks for checking in this week...



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday at WCQI

Today was all about learning.

Unfortunately it began with me learning that I lost my eyeglasses. Not to worry, my sight is sufficient that the loss has not yet inhibited my ability.

On to the sessions...

First up was my ASQ buddy Marc Macot on Firefighting and Lean, What's the link?

Marc showed, very effectively, that firefighters have practice Lean longer than Lean has existed. He's involvement with his local, rural Canadian community volunteer fire department. His journey to becoming a volunteer fire fighter brought many connections between the methods used in firefighting and those used by Lean practitioners. Excellent job Marc!

I moderated three sessions for Chris Hayes. She took us through 3 parts of Lean Management:

  1. Standar Work for Leaders (SW4L)

  2. Visual Controls

  3. Daily Accountability

Chris delivered, as promised, guidance on how important these 3 elements are to implementing and maintaining a successful Lean jouney.

I also spent midday thoroughly engaged in Barbara Corcoran's keynote address. Read some of my comments on Twitter.

On a somewhat personal note, while eating my 'delicious' boxed lunch in the Exhibit hall I had a long chat with both Kristin Case and former ASQ President Ken Case. Both inquired if I had an extra banquet ticket for mom/wife. I did not receive a banquet ticket with my registration however I asked them to give me a few minutes to see if I could work my magic. A big thank you goes out from me to Bill Wortman from the Indiana Council for Quality. Bill's group at his booth and one spare ticket remaining and happily donated it to Ken for the lovely Mrs. Case.

Monday at WCQI

My day yesterday (Monday, May 16) was a great day.
As is typical at any conference, especially at WCQI I had plenty of networking time with old friends and making many new friends...

As for the learning opportunites they were numerous.
Most importantly to me was attending Tony Manos' session on the X-Matrix.
After hearing many colleagues talk about this Lean Tool, Tony finally enlightened me on how it is used, how to create an X-Matrix and a bit about it's history. On a side note, we discussed the tool outside of the session and he confirmed my belief that it is truly the second generation of the 'House of Quality' QFD tool. Thanks Tony!!!

As is typical of my conference experience, Monday is more of a social day and not to be disappointed I partook in several social events in the evening including the Awards reception followed by the joint FD&C and Biomed Divisions dinner cruise. This event was a blast. Good dinner, stimulating conversation, lots of laughs and beautiful views of the city of Pittsburgh at sunset.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Opening Reception of WCQI

This is where the fun really begins! Time to play.
I walked the floor of the Exhibits hall and met with some old friend while making new friends.

If you've never been to a World Conference and plan to attend in the future a couple of pieces of advice:

  • Bring lots of business cards

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes

  • Don't skip a booth in the exhibits hall - you never know what you might pick up / learn or who you might meet

  • ASQ books are at special discounted prices so bring your credit card

  • Be prepared to lose your voice from gabbing!!!

  • And finally, be sure to seek out the game of the night, whatever it might be...they are usually fun and come with some great prizes

A special event has been going on for the past couple of years during the Reception. It's called Excite! at Night. When you come next year check it out. These quick presentations (5 minutes each) are exciting, interesting and fun (and this night is supposed to be about fun!).

Business Meeting

Some items of note to report from the Business meeting:

  1. Membership is holding steady at about 79,000; there were approximately 20,000 new members joining ASQ in the past year and member retention is up to 72% (up from 70.5% in the prior year).

  2. Financially, the organization is healthy with $29M in cash and investments and net assets of $21M.

  3. The amendment to change the By-laws of the society passed by a vote of 3214 for, 107 against, 137 abstained and 25 ballots disqualified.

Jim Rooney, President Elect will assume the position of Chairman commented that he worked diligently through his ASQ life to achieve the President's position and by way of a vote to amend the by-laws, he will never be President, however, he holds the distinction of being ASQ's first Chairman. A few notes from Jim's address:

  • ASQ needs to change (as change is inevitable and necessary for the vital health of any organization)

  • ASQ needs to innovate

  • Change is all that there is in the world (so make it effective)

  • In our personal lives we adapt to change - ASQ must also adapt to change

  • David Spong, outgoing President, launched EMV21 - Enhancing Member Value in the 21st Century; innovation from EMV21 will reach fruition during Jim's term in office.

Bill Sellrey and Amy Kohler, ASQ's Washington presences discussed the Baldrige Grassroots effort to preserve the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. If you go to the ASQ Avocacy page and send letters to your Member of Congress and Secretary Locke you too can support this effort.

Fellows Luncheon

One of the highlights of the events surrounding WCQI for me is the Fellows Luncheon.

This event is an opportunity for the current Fellows of ASQ get together to rejoice in our overall accomlishments while inducting the new, freshman class into our numbers.

This year the Fabulous 15 as they've come to be know were inducted following a delicious lunch.

During the luncheon, I had a discussion with one of the newest Fellows about the concept of this event. We agreed that we should consider promoting a similar event for our new members that come to WCQI in their first year or 2 of membership or even include them in this event. We felt that this might enhance their member value, provide them with an opportunity to meet a mentor and improve the chances of retaining these members. What do you think?

Section Affairs Council (SAC) meeting and US TAG to TC176

The SAC meeting (which began as DAC-SAC - Division and Section Affairs Councils) was a lively event with plenty of open discussion on a multitude of topics.
Primary topics included:

  • SACs elections

  • An update from the Quality Management Process (QMP) committee's work

  • Member Leader Training Committee

  • Membership committee

  • A presentation from representatives of the US TAG for TC176

  • Q-BOK (the Quality body of knowledge)

  • Report-out of the key take-away's from Saturday's Ideas to Actions Gathering (ITAG)

  • Voice of the Customer (VOC) committee

  • Regional Director's business plans

Minutes from this meeting will be available in the not too distant future so I will not go into details on each topice. I do, however, want to address just one item of note.

In 2013 the United States and specifically the US TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to TC176, the technical committee that oversees the writing and updating of ISO 9000 family of standards, will host a plenary event. The TAG has no financial support other than what it gets through donations and corporate support. In an effort to make this event a reality the TAG is seeking donations to cover the cost for this event. Denise Robitaille and Tracie Clifford made a 'pitch' to SAC to seek support from the Sections via any form of donation possible. The currently have about $11,000 (actually $11020 after I kicked in $20 bucks on the spot) and need about thrice that. The questions is "Are you willing to support the effort to host this event" through a personal donation, an organizational donation or through a member unit donation? If you want to donate, just call 800-248-1946 ext 7800.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Community Leadership Institute - CLI

I attended 4 sessions at this years CLI

  • Why member experiences matter: the experienntial economy presented by Jen Czajka

  • Using community to grow presented by Jeanine Becker

  • ASQ's social responsibility initiatives presented by Michelle Mason and Rick Perlman

  • Panel Discusion: member unit application of social media tools - panel included Aimee Siegler and Lori Derringer

My take aways from these sessions include:

Steps to begin creating a great member experience are:

  1. Identify experiences that amtter

  2. Harmonize the positive cues

  3. Eliminate the negative cues

  4. Mix in memorabilia

  5. Engage the five senses

The Gartner Study discusses behaviors in Social Networking.

Becker: many of ASQ's Subject Matter Experts take their knowledge for granted. Everyone knows what they know. They need to mentor those New to Quality.

The Quality Triple Bottom Line includes linkages between ISO 9000, the standard for Quality System Management, ISO 14000, the standard for Environemental Health and Safety Management and ISO 26000, the guideline for Social Responsibility.

There are Seven Core Issues that make up ISO 26000

  • Organization governance

  • Community involvement and development

  • Environment

  • Consumer issues

  • Fair operating practices

  • Labor practices

  • Human rights

ASQ is involved with the first 3 above areas.

Wiki's are great tools for document collaboration within a team and can be highly effective for Member Units Leadership Committees. Wiki's can be used to build newsletters, email announcements (e-blasts), meeting flyers, education and seminar announcements, etc.

LinkedIn is a great tool for Business Networking while Facebook is more appropriately used for personal / social networking. As a group it was suggested that Facebook pages or groups not be used by member units so as to keep your personal and professional networking separate.

The day ended with the QMP awards ceremony which included:

  • 83 Total Quality Awards for Sections

  • 13 McDermond Total Quality Awards for Divisions

  • 13 Division Excellence Awards (3 Gold, 4 Silver, 6 Bronze)

  • 90 Section Excellence Awards (26 Gold, 33 Silver, 31 Bronze)

Dinner followed the awards ceremony which included lots of laughs with old and new friends.

ITAG at the Community Leadership Institute

ITAG is the Ideas to Action Gathering

For quite a few years now ASQ has provided Member Leaders to opportunities on the Saturday before WCQI. The first, ITAG, is time to address pressing issues that leads to improving our ability to deliver value to our members and customers alike, to engage member leaders in Strategic discussion.

This year's ITAG was centered around ASQ's pursuit of the Wisconsin Forward state Quality Award. The criteria is a Baldrige based. For the 2011 application ASQ is incorporating member units to make this an organization / society wide pursuit. The focus of today's discussion was around Category 5 - work force which shifts from HQ to 'The Society'.

Some take-aways and a-ha moments included:

  • Application and feedback reports are always available

  • We are all the customers

  • Sections should consider applying to their state Awards program

  • Have we outlived Quality? Are we more about Business Excellence?

  • If I know why people stay in then I can affect preventive action to retain members

  • Members set the conditions of engagement

  • Ego is a barrier

  • All team members need to support the team

On a personal note, I think it's high time to engage the general membership in these discussions. Asking the same group of people the same time of questions continually leads to the same results. How can we, as member leaders in collaboration with staff, presume to know what members want if we don't ask?

Friday, May 13, 2011

In Pittsburgh, PA for CLI and WCQI

I arrived in Pittsburgh after a long drive at about 6:30 pm tonight. Upon entering the Westin Convention Center Hotel I was immediately greeted by a handful of old friends. One thing I've learned over the years of attending ASQs conferences is no matter what city we are in, we are at home, with our ASQ family.

Dinner tonight was with Aimee Siegler, Herb and Lori Goldstein right here in the hotel at the Orignial Fish Market. The tuna was delicious and the company wonderful.

Tomorrow morning is the start of the Communities Leadership Institute (CLI)...stay tuned...more to come!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Future of Quality

In a video blog (vblog) on A View from the Q, Paul Borawski posed several questions related to the recently completed Futures Study which addresses the future of Quality from the perspective of business and organizational leaders world-wide. Two (2) questions were asked of me:

  1. How do I see the forces playing themselves out in my work and my organization?

  2. When I think about these forces, what are the most pressing questions for which I want answers?

The 8 forces as described in the 2011 study are:

  • Global responsibility

  • Consumer awareness

  • Globalization

  • The increasing rate of change

  • Work force of the future

  • Aging population

  • 21st century quality

  • Innovation

If you've ever been a part of ASQ's World Cafe pertaining to the Future's Studies you know that a review of all the forces in a short time is next to impossible. Hence, I would like to address only 2 of the forces and focus on Paul's first query. The forces I will address are Work force of the future and Aging population as I am currently relating closely to both of these issues.

First I want to state that I am approaching 50...yes, 2011 is a big milestone year for me.

I've been quite fortunate over the past 15 years in that (1) I am technically savvy and (2) I've worked with organizations that embrace technology as a means to do business. That said, I've been in a position to set up a home office and work from that office on a regular basis. Not being in the brick and mortar that represents the Organization has never inhibited the work from being completed effectively, efficiently and timely. The overall benefit to the organization is that time has no bearing on when and how I accomplish my tasks. Being a task oriented person, I've realized that being in a given location for a predetermined period of time does not guarantee efficient use of that time.

My vision of the Work force of the future is one that is fluid and can complete the required work regardless of location, time, etc. In many businesses this may mean being within the brick and mortar but that is not essential to all parts of the company. Telecommuting opportunities must increase, especially with the increased costs of commuting. Furthermore, we've seen over the past 20 years that the 'company man' or 'life employee' is a thing of the past. I believe that more and more, we will see an increase in outsourcing of service functions within and organization including Sales, Customer Service, Accounting, HR, and even the Quality function just to name a few. Why employ average employees when we can outsource such services to talent beyond our organizations means?

With regard to the aging population, I currently work for a company that is about 35 years old. The average tenure of our production force is about 28 years. These employees may not be chronologially old yet but they are getting there and a younger crew is not following behind. As the US becomes a service oriented nation who is going to move into the remaining production environments?

I work with a gentleman named Ed. He is 76 years old and has worked here for 18 years. This is his retirement job. He sold his own business and came to work here in his 50's. What keeps him going, working 30 hours a week. Shear joy of working. Does his age have any bearing on his ability to perform. I say no. He is still teaching me about this business (I've been here for a little over a year now).

As the average age of the US and the world population increases and the size of the younger population decreases how will organizations keep up with the demand for qualified work-force. Again, I believe that the outsourcing of many functions will be the wave of the future.

On the subject of out sourcing I caution that we must consider local / domestic out sourcing before going off shore, regardless of where we are located.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2011 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement

Once again I will blog from WCQI.
This year, however, my posts will be here on my own blog page and ASQ will link to me.
So, keep your links open and visit often between May 14 and May 18.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Are we Socially Responsible

In this month's A View from the Q Paul Borawski discusses Social Responsibility and its link to Quality.

I think Social Responsibility (SR), without a name, has been in our minds and behaviors for longer than we know. Let's look at some events I recall from over the past 30 years just to these fit under the SR umbrella? -
  • Unleaded gasoline
  • 'Give a hoot, don't pollute'; and who remembers that Native American with the tear in his eye and the trash at his feel
  • Newspaper recycling - in high school we used to raise money for school events through paper drives
  • Bottle recycling - hey I get money back if I collect my bottles and plastic containers then carry them back to the store!
  • Carpooling
  • New York State Clean Air Act (I'm sure there are others like this but I am a New Yorker)
  • McDonalds eliminates styrofoam containers and switches to paper
  • Hybrid and Electric cars
Quality professionals have worked toward continual improvement for many, many years. Like most quality and business initiatives over the years Social Responsibility was an initiative without a title. For instance how many organizations undertook scrap reduction, cycle time reduction or waste elimination (time and material) before Lean, Six Sigma or SR? More than I can count!

I've been an ASQ member for more than 20 years and have been aware of the ASQ Code of Ethics since my first days as a member. So, I ask, is Ethical Behavior a new element for Quality Professionals? I say no, we've lived under such a code for as long as I can remember.

Quality professionals have discussed responsibility and accountability for decades. This, too, is a principal of SR. Nothing new to us...

My belief is the Quality Professionals have lived under a code of Social Responsibility for many years. Now that the International Organization for Standardization had placed a number and name to a set of principles does not make our position any different. It is now just documented for others to see and read. Like the introduction of ISO 9000, Six Sigma, Lean, etc., ISO 26000 takes the practice off the production floor and puts it smack in the middle of the Board Room for greater attention at the highest levels within the organization.

Okay, I've read through what I wrote above and I hear a certain cynicism in my 'voice'. I don't mean to be cynical here. I truly believe that these initiatives must receive the highest level of attention within the organization and by placing the support of a Standard behind the initiative there is greater success at achieving the goals. Isn't that what we are all about?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Quality Goals

In this month's A View from the Q Paul Borawski asks us to state our Quality Goals for 2011. While this sounds like a New Years Resolution I know it is more. For one thing, Paul has asked us to write our goals. Most resolutions are stated and go awry within days of the calendar change. My belief is if you write your goals you have a better chance of achieving most if not all. So, here goes:
  1. Develop and implement an improved QMS for my division of the organization to achieve ISO 9001:2008 registration.

  2. Improve the process controls of our manufacturing operations. This can only happen after we transfer some of the inspection operations to our production personnel.

  3. Improve overall product quality to reduce customer complaints / credits by 10% from 2010.

  4. Attend appropriate training to improve my understanding of FDA regulations for our business.

  5. Pursue Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training and eventually ASQ SSBB certification.

  6. Re-establish my leadership role within ASQ as Regional Director for Region 3.

  7. Increase overall Quality time spent with my family (this I am currently doing with the kids via seasons passes to ski which we are doing every Saturday plus 6 days during the holiday week).

I have numerous other goals already established through our 'success factors' program at work which include measurable objectives for the fiscal year.