COE Professional Development Meeting


Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 | The Blackwell | 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Keynote: David Ciesinski, President/CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp.


In this "warm-up" for COE's annual April summit, we're mixing up the format of our Feb. 9 session, starting out with a block of group learning sessions, then gathering all attendees for lunch and an afternoon keynote ...  

Group Learning Sessions - 10:30 a.m. - noon (choose one)

  • Decision Making: Considering the ‘Hidden’ Factors

    Host: John Gray, associate director, COE; associate professor of operations, Fisher College of Business

    When making decisions under risk and uncertainty, not every consequential factor can be easily quantified, even considered. In this session, sourcing decision-making expert John Gray takes participants through an interactive session focused on decision making under risk and uncertainty. Though the insights may be applicable to other strategic decision-making contexts, this session focuses on strategic sourcing decisions, which include make-vs.-buy, supplier and vendor selection, and location decision (e.g., onshore vs. offshore).

    After a group discussion on attendees’ current approaches to decision making, Gray will guide them through a new framework developed with Susan Helper, former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

  • Driving Change from the Middle

    Host: Peg Pennington, executive director, COE

    Peg PenningtonMore operational excellence rollouts fail than succeed, but it’s tough to point the finger at a single cause or person. In this session, COE Executive Director engages attendees in a group case discussion adapted from a Harvard Business School case about a corporate change initiative gone awry – and the middle manager left wondering what went wrong. After reading the case, small groups will work to identify key warning signs during the months-long rollout, pinpoint what the manager did right and wrong, and discuss what could have been done differently to improve the outcome.

    Attendees will leave with new “do”s and “don’t”s when managing change up and down the ladder.

  • Data Analysis: Voice of the Customer

    Host: Ralph Greco, Director, Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights

    ralph greco summitGetting a clear voice of the customer — whether it’s another business unit or an end user – is a critical step in ensuring the success of a project or improvement initiative. When working with qualitative feedback, though, it can be difficult to isolate the signal from the noise: What separates the outliers from the consensus? Luckily, some simple data tools and techniques can bring new clarity to this common challenge.

    In this session, Greco offers a crash course on qualitative data analytics with a real-world case involving a local organization. In this interactive session, Greco will demonstrate a number of simple tools and strategies for converting qualitative feedback into actionable insights.

    Ultimately, attendees will …

    • Better understand how qualitative data can distort a problem without the proper analysis
    • Experience new tools for interpreting these data; and
    • Be better prepared to transform them into the true voice of the customer.

1 - 2:30 p.m.: Better on the Road to Best - Inside Lancaster Colony's Transformation
Speaker: David Ciesinski, President/CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp.

dave ciesinski lancaster colonyA Center for Operational Excellence member with deep Columbus roots is moving forward with a new CEO – and a renewed commitment to building a culture of continuous improvement. For this afternoon keynote, join David Ciesinski (pictured, right), who took the reins of Marzetti owner Lancaster Colony Corp. last year after joining the company in 2016 as its COO. Ciesinski, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with years of leadership experience in the packaged food industry, will share how he’s making continuous improvement a central focus of the company’s forward momentum, leveraging a multimillion-dollar project portfolio and growing staff of Black Belts to cut expenses in products’ journey to the shelf and eliminate waste along the way. More importantly, the company’s reenergized focus on continuous improvement is creating a culture in which employees are driven by purpose and data-centric decision making.


Time Session(s) host/speaker
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Check-in / Networking time / Continental breakfast n/a
10:30 a.m. - noon

Group learning sessions (choose one)

  • 1. Decision Making: Considering the 'Hidden' Factors
  • 2. Driving Change from the Middle
  • 3. Data Analysis: Voice of the Customer


1. John Gray

2. Peg Pennington

3. Ralph Greco

Noon - 1 p.m. Networking lunch n/a
1 - 2:30 Afternoon keynote David Ciesinski, President/CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp.

Cost: Free to employees of COE member companies | Not open to non-members


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COE member companies are listed above. Select "Invited Guest of COE" and enter your company name in the box that appears if you've received permission to register.
Detailed descriptions for each session are available in the expander tab near the top of this page. The listing below shows ONLY sessions for which capacity is still available. The "Driving Change from the Middle" session is currently at full capacity.