‘Captain Class’ author, comedy troupe on 2019 summit keynote line-up

The past line-up of keynote speakers at The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s annual summit has included a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, bestselling authors, renowned researchers, and accomplished business leaders.

This year, the bar stays high.

The kickoff keynote for COE’s seventh-annual Leading Through Excellence summit, April 9-11, is Sam Walker (pictured, right), an editor at the Wall Street Journal and author of the bestselling business book The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams. A former reporter, sports columnist, and sports editor, Walker founded the Journal’s prize-winning daily sports coverage a decade ago.

In The Captain Class, the focus of Walker’s kickoff keynote the morning of April 10, he takes an up-close look at the 17 most dominant teams in sports history to extract a bold new theory of leadership. Walker contends that all these team had one thing in common: They employed the same type of captain, a singular leader with an unconventional set of skills and tendencies. Upon its release, Captain Class was named one of the best business books of the year by CNBC, The New York Times, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, and more.

Closing out the summit on the following day is Libby Gill, a corporate executive-turned-executive coach who released The Hope-Driven Leader last year. Gill rose through the ranks of the entertainment industry to eventually become VP of publicity for Sony’s global television division and went on to lead communications for companies such as Universal and Turner Broadcasting. Today, she works with clients including Disney, Honda, Kellogg Co., Microsoft, and more, helping them lead their teams through change, challenges, and chaos.

While the keynotes bookending the second and third days of the summit are set to provide critical insights to drive new leadership and team-building behaviors, the closing act before the summit’s big day-two networking reception is intended to take a step away from the serious stuff. New York City-based workplace musical/comedy troupe The Water Coolers will take the stage Wednesday afternoon, skewering the world of deadlines, KPIs, and countermeasures.

These three keynotes are just a few of the nearly 50 sessions available across the three days of the summit, which include workshops, tours, and breakout sessions from a mix of industry leaders and top Ohio State researchers. Check out COE’s summit website for more details on the summit, which is open for early bird registration – and discounts of up to 15% – through Feb. 11.

COE welcomes Kelly Reo as executive director

A new executive director is joining the COE team Dec. 3 and will be formally introduced at the center’s members-only quarterly seminar on Dec. 7.

kelly reo coe
Kelly Reo joins COE as executive director Dec. 3.

Kelly Reo (pictured, right) brings more than 20 years of management experience to the role. Most recently, she served as vice president of Columbus-based Navigator Management Partners. Reo succeeds Peg Pennington, who departed the role this summer after a decade of leadership to serve as president of Powell, Ohio-based online lean/Six Sigma training provider MoreSteam.com LLC.

At Navigator, Reo was responsible for the firm’s operations, marketing, sales operations, and technology/enterprise data business functions. In her 14 years at Navigator, Reo also served as account owner and project manager on consulting engagements with organizations including Ohio State, NiSource, LBrands, and BMW Financial Services.

Prior to joining Navigator, Reo ran her own independent consulting firm. She also served in project management and analyst roles at Chase, Bath & Body Works, and Advanced Drainage Systems. She has a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Ohio State and recently completed Harvard Extension School’s Marketing Management Certification program.

Academic Director Peter Ward

“Kelly brings a strong track record of collaborative problem solving with a variety of companies, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to our team,” said Peter Ward, Richard M. Ross Chair in Management at Fisher College of Business and longtime COE academic director. “We look forward to introducing her to the many partners in our operational excellence community.”

When COE’s final event of the year kicks off at 10:30 a.m. next Friday, Reo will be formally introduced before Central Ohio Transit Authority CEO Joanna Pinkerton takes the stage for her keynote. This event remains open to members for in-person attendance and via livestream.

Reo’s university e-mail will not be active until Dec. 3 at the earliest, but starting that week she can be reached at reo.4@osu.edu.

MBA resume books now available for center members’ recruiting needs

The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence has rolled out the second round of its resume books of Fisher College of Business MBA students, available exclusively to center members.

This edition, which follows last year’s inaugural round, includes resumes from 31 first-year MBAs, 18 second-year MBAs, and 12 MBA students in the college’s working professionals program. All three resume books, organized by student year, are now available on COE’s Members Only website (just click the “Download MBA resume books” button and, if you haven’t already, log in and/or create a COE username).

How does it work? We recommend considering first-year MBA students for project and/or internship opportunities. Second-year and WP MBA students are candidates for full-time employment. If you find a candidate you’re interested in from either resume book, feel free to reach out to him or her directly.

Have any questions and/or needs regarding hiring/recruitment? Contact Mandy Williams in Fisher’s Office of Career Management at Williams.6057@osu.edu.

Resumes currently on the website will remain there through the summer of 2019, with a new round posted each fall.

The resume books are one of a number of features on COE’s members-only website. There, you have access to dozens of past event recordings, COE summit breakout session slides, and the portal that offers livestreaming of upcoming events.

COE accepting proposals for 2019 summit breakout sessions

At The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s annual Leading Through Excellence summit, attendees get the chance to hear transformation stories and research insights from among 25 breakout presentations.

Want to lead one?

Through Jan. 15, 2019, COE is now accepting proposals for breakout sessions at its 2019 summit, set for April 9-11 at the Fawcett Center on Ohio State’s campus. For attendees, the 25 breakout sessions to be offered at the event – spread across April 10 and 11 in five 60-minute blocks of five concurrent sessions – allow them to customize their summit experience to choose the topics that fit their interests and best align with their personal and organizational goals. For presenters, the sessions offer the chance to share best practices and make connections with hundreds of business leaders.

As with past summits, COE is building its breakout session offerings to represent a mix of “case studies” taking place inside member and non-member companies; actionable insights from researchers; and best practices from thought leaders in the world of operational excellence. Topics are to be broadly focused on one or more of the following subject matter areas:

  • Industry disruption (technology, trends)
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Lean deployment best practices (tools, techniques, behaviors)
  • Organizational behavior (team-building, communication, decision making)
  • Supply chain management

While COE will still be recruiting a number of breakout presenters outside this process, up to 10 sessions will be drawn from submitted proposals. Each accepted breakout presentation comes with complimentary admission to the summit.

Think you’re ready to submit a proposal? Have the following information ready about yourself and your presentation:

  • a) Contact information
  • b) Proposed title
  • c) Key challenge/trend the presentation addresses
  • d) A few sentences on the content you plan to cover;
  • e) Key “takeaways” attendees will receive at your session.

We’re also interested in past presentation experience, with video links welcome and encouraged.

Presentation proposals will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, and all those who submit proposals will be notified of their status by Feb. 1.

To view the proposal form and begin the submission process, click here.

Summer event explores workforce digitalization, ‘mid-tech’ opportunity

Digital technology has revolutionized the way we exist as consumers. It’s no longer necessary to leave the house to get groceries, grab a new pair of shoes, or buy a new house.

This same trend has had sweeping implications for the other end of the transaction, too, but this wave of digital innovation isn’t limited to business-to-consumer trades. These days, no industry has been left untouched, and the digitalization of the American workforce has emerged as a formidable challenge, with plenty of opportunity along the way.

The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence joined three other Ohio State and Fisher College of Business centers this month to tackle this topic in the second of a two-part summer session on the so-called digital economy. At the session, co-hosted with the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, National Center for the Middle Market, and Risk Institute, Brookings Institution researcher Mark Muro (pictured above, left) presented findings from an illuminating report the think tank released last year tracking how technology is becoming a bigger part of the jobs we do.

“Digitalization is the fundamental source of value in our period in history,” Muro told a crowd of nearly 150 business leaders.

The data from Brookings bear that out. The organization classified hundreds of jobs in to low-, medium-, and high-digital skill levels on a scale of 1 to 100, based on how much knowledge of and interaction with computers and electronics is required. Your average software developer these days is a 94, while a personal healthcare aide would score below 20. In tracking changes from 2002 to 2016, Brookings researchers found that while about half of the jobs in Columbus that it rated required little digital skill at the beginning of the decade, that share has dropped below one-third in recent years. And while only one in 20 jobs required strong digital skills in 2002, that’s up to one in four.

“It’s getting much harder to find a job if you don’t know your way around basic computer equipment,” said Muro, a senior fellow in Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program.

Indeed, one in six working-age Americans can’t use e-mail, web search, or other basic online tools. Couple that with the fact that nearly half of all jobs in the Columbus area require a medium level of digital skill, and an imbalance emerges.

Breaking it down

Muro dissected his findings with a multi-industry panel at the session, which included representatives from COE members Honda of America Manufacturing and Mount Carmel Health System, as well as leaders from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Columbia Gas of Ohio owner NiSource. At all of these organizations, this workforce digitization wave is intersecting with a mix of demographic factors and broader industry trends. At Honda, for example, a sizeable crop of Baby Boomers is poised to retire, while the vehicles rolling off the line get more tech-heavy with each new model.

“As production changes and there’s more digital technology in our products, it challenges our engineers’ IT skills,” said panelist Scot McLemore, Honda North America’s manager of talent acquisition and development.

Honda has been proactive with the digitalization trend, moving in 2014 to open a Technical Training Center with classrooms and robotics to help cultivate skills of emerging importance in employees. In a similar vein, NiSource has invested in training that’s tailored for a digital age, a selling point for younger employees and, sometimes, a harder sell for veteran workers.

“Adults still want to know why,” said panelist John Penziol, NiSource’s user experience strategy lead.

The “soft” side of digitalization, whether that’s communicating changes to workers or developing new problem-solving skills while working with technology, is a critical element to this new frontier, particularly in an industry like healthcare. At Mount Carmel, it’s a question of balancing high-quality, high-stakes personal touch with constant new digital innovations. As a result, the nationwide digital score for registered nurses moved from the low end of the middle digitalization level to the high end over that 14-year gap tracked in the Brookings research.

“As leaders influencing people, we need to grow into the technology aspect and the people aspect,” said Michelle Leedy, director of talent management for Mount Carmel. “We need to think differently about how we get work done.”

Mid-tech opportunity

Brookings’ key recommendations for meeting the challenge of workforce digitalization include expanding and widening the high-digital IT talent pipeline — for example, creating higher-education feeder programs and exposing K-12 students to computer science — and increasing basic digital literacy, especially among underrepresented groups. One area of opportunity specifically for the Columbus region, Muro said, is what he calls “opportunity jobs,” which require medium-level digital skill but don’t require a bachelor’s degree and pay better than the national mean annual wage; this includes executive assistants and industrial mechanics, for example.

“These opportunity jobs are an on-ramp to IT,” Muro said. “It’s very important that people in the workforce without a four-year degree get into these occupations.”

Regardless of the solutions at hand, said McLemore of Honda, they can’t happen in a vacuum.

“It’s important that industry, education, and the government come together to figure this out,” he said.

Click here to check out Brookings’ full report, or view slides from the August session here.

Management Sciences department welcomes new faculty member

A Fisher College of Business senior lecturer known for his knowledge of business statistics and analytics is formally joining the of the Department of Management Sciences.

John Draper

Dr. John Draper starts this fall as an assistant clinical professor in Management Sciences. He previously served as a senior lecturer for the department, for which he received a college-wide recognition award last year.

Before coming to Fisher, Dr. Draper served as a visiting Ohio State faculty member who taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in statistical theory and application in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Statistics. His teaching experience at Ohio State also includes statistics in business, engineering and sports, as well as biostatistics courses for graduate-level students in the colleges of Public Health and Dentistry. He has his PhD in statistics from Ohio State.

This past spring, Dr. Draper hosted a sold-out half-day workshop at COE’s annual Leading Through Excellence summit on sports analytics. This workshop will be offered again at the 2019 summit.

Across the college, Dr. Draper is one of 18 new faculty members who joined this fall. You can read more about other departments’ new hires on Fisher’s website.

COE member discounts available for Baldrige, lean innovation conferences

Membership in the Center for Operational Excellence opens doors at more than just the Fisher College of Business.

COE is pleased to offer employees of member companies discounted admission to the following partner events coming up this fall:

Quest for Success – Sept. 10-11 – Columbus, OH

Quest for Success is the annual conference hosted by The Partnership for Excellence, the Baldrige certification organization serving Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia. At Quest for Success, you can hear presentations from Baldrige recipients, along with insights from other performance excellence professionals.

Presentation on performance excellence transformations include speakers from the city of Fort Collins, Colo., Eli Lilly & Co., and more.

Employees of COE member companies are entitled to a $25 discount on registration in addition to any general discounts, which can be claimed by entering code “OSU COE” at checkout in the coupon code window. Read more about the event and register here.

LPPDE North America – Oct. 1-4 – Columbus, OH

The Lean Product & Process Development Exchange has long been the most impressive gathering of lean product and process development practitioners. This year’s conference is no different and draws upon the rich examples of innovation taking place in and around Columbus and Ohio State. To bring focus to this year’s theme, LPPDE has assembled an impressive lineup of keynote speakers and case study presentations.

Keynote speakers include Billy Taylor, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Michael Walton, Director, Industry Solutions Executive at Microsoft; Michael Kennedy, author of Ready, Set, Dominate: Implement Toyota’s Set-Based Learning for Developing Products and Nobody Can Catch You; and Karyn Ross, author of The Toyota Way to Service ExcellenceClick here to download a full brochure on the conference.

Employees of COE member companies are entitled to a 30% discount on admission to the conference by entering discount code “COE” at checkout.

Read more on the event and register here.

Fisher profs win top award for ‘reshoring’ research

(Pictured, middle, is Prof. Gray, co-author Skowronski to his right. Image courtesy @ORMS_Elsevier)

Two professors in the home department of The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence have taken home a top academic award for their research.

Fisher College of Business Profs. John Gray and Johnny Rungtusanatham received the Jack Meredith Best Paper Award at the 2018 Academy of Management Conference in Chicago this summer. The paper, “Why in the World Did They Reshore? Examining Small to Medium-Sized Manufacturer Decisions,” appeared in the March 2017 edition of the Journal of Operations Management. Co-authors include former Fisher professor Gökçe Esenduran, who teaches at Purdue University, and Keith Skowronski, who earned his PhD at Fisher and is now at the University of South Carolina.

In their work, Prof. Gray and his co-authors explored the decision making of small and medium-sized businesses who were moving operations previously “offshored” to low-cost countries back to the United States. Increasing costs overseas couldn’t fully explain these moves.

Ultimately, the authors determined that reshoring decisions often served as corrections to earlier offshoring moves that overly relied on easily quantifiable measures such as piece price, transportation cost, and tax rate. Companies could find themselves better suited to make the right decision the first time around by using decision-making frameworks that factor in less-quantifiable considerations such as labor force skill, disruption risk, and cultural differences.

“Offshoring and reshoring decisions potentially affect many important and hard-to-measure factors,” said Prof Gray, who serves as an associate director for COE. “We hope our findings help shine the light on the need for better decision-making processes to be developed and widely adopted .”

Gray also received the Distinguished Service to the Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSCM) Division award, recognizing his exemplary performance in leadership roles for the OCSM Division during the past five years.

COE welcomes Fisher student intern for 2018-19 year

A third-year Fisher College of Business undergraduate student who spent time overseas this summer in nonprofit consulting has joined the Center for Operational Excellence as its intern for the academic year.

Tuhina Bhatt, a native of Clarendon Hills, Ill., will be assisting in administrative work and event management for the center through May 2019. In addition to her undergraduate work specializing in accounting, Bhatt participates in the college’s Business Analytics Industry Immersion Program and is vice president of membership for Ohio State’s Leadership and Service Academy.

This summer, Bhatt was part of a team that traveled to London, England, to work with Soles4Souls, a U.S.-based nonprofit, through the college’s Global Projects Program. In her work with the project consulting team, Bhatt and her colleagues helped the nonprofit with its operational expansion into the United Kingdom.

As part of its efforts to connect students to industry and support tomorrow’s leaders, COE employs a student intern each year. Past interns include Christopher Schmitt (2017-18), now a transaction advisory services staff consultant with Ernst + Young; Eric Schlabach (2016-17), now a senior analyst at center member Nationwide; and Savanna Coen (2015-16), now an assistant buyer with the corporate office of retailer Kohl’s.

Safelite CEO headlining fall center seminar

As Safelite CEO Tom Feeney hits local headlines while ringing in a decade leading the windshield glass repair and replacement giant, he’s also joining the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence for its fall kickoff event.

tom feeney safelite
Tom Feeney

Feeney will be serving as the featured keynote for COE’s fall seminar on Friday, Sept. 14, bringing insights from the cultural transformation he’s shepherded at the company since taking over as CEO in 2008. Feeney is a longtime Safelite employee who joined the company in 1988 and has served in a number of leadership roles since. Safelite has been a member of COE since last year.

In recent interviews with Smart Business and Columbus Business First, Feeney has spoken candidly about his restless drive to improve the customer and employee experience for a company that occupies a unique spot in its industry: It’s the market leader in the trade, and a household name at this point, but it also provides a service no one particularly wants. For Safelite, that’s meant getting even better at something it already does very well – digital transformation has been a key focus for the company during Feeney’s tenure – and creating a culture in which associates feel safe experimenting, sometimes failing, and learning from the experience.

The Feeney-led transformation has made an impact on Safelite’s top line and its headcount. Revenue today nears $2 billion, according to Smart Business, and it employs more than 14,000, about 2,000 of whom are in the Columbus area, according to Columbus Business First. On the cultural front, Safelite has been a regular honoree in that newspaper’s Best Places to Work ranking, while Feeney himself was named among the region’s most-admired CEOs.

Next month at the COE event, Feeney will share insights on how he’s championed the growth of a people-powered, customer-driven organization that fosters that “fail-fast” culture of innovation. His presentation will be preceded by a networking lunch and, before that, a presentation from Fisher College of Business faculty member and employee training and development expert Marc Ankerman.

Registration for this event, open exclusively to COE members at no cost, is open now.