IOE Students Learn from Industry Guest Lecturers

Students in Debra Levantrosser’s IOE 421 and 425 classes are able to benefit from the experience of guest lecturers from industry. Below are student accounts of guest lectures from the 2015-2016 academic year.

Ronia Kruse

This account of Ronia Kruse’s visit was written by IOE News guest writers, David Taylor and Caroline Hawath.

David Taylor, an IOE senior at the time he took IOE 421, graduated this spring with his Bachelor’s in IOE. He is a Michigan native who enjoys spending time on the water, playing sports, and volunteering in the community. As a student, he was active in MECC consulting group, HFES, and Greek Life.

Caroline Hawath was also a senior when she took IOE 421 and graduated this spring. Caroline, an international student from France, served on the executive board for the Michigan International Student Society.

424 ronia

The Industrial and Operations Engineering 421 (Work Organizations Theory) class had the opportunity to hear from one of the most well-known and respected names in the business world Ronia Kruse; she visited the University of Michigan on November 18, 2015 as a guest speaker. Ronia is a long time friend and colleague of Debra Levantrosser, the instructor for the class, and was able to visit Ann Arbor to share some of her experiences and advice with up-and-coming Michigan engineers. The class has a diverse enrollment, with students being from as far away as France and some completing an undergraduate degree whereas others are masters students. Ronia’s perspectives and experiences gave all of us a unique and impactful perspective on our own lives.

424 ronia 2Ronia’s background is in finance, which was her area of study in school and the industry in which she worked upon graduation, but her experience to date has expanded far beyond the world of finance.After Ronia’s work in the financial sector, where she worked with companies and universities alike, she made the jump to become an entrepreneur. In 1999 Ronia and her brother started Optech, a talent management and professional services company. Today Optech is at the forefront of the industry and is regarded as one of the most attractive companies to work for by multiple benchmarks. Recently, Optech has received awards and recognition for their excellence in employee and customer satisfaction along with receiving an award for being one of the fastest growing companies in the private sector. Ronia’s decision to move into the entrepreneurship field was one that we, as students or professionals alike, can appreciate and learn from. Ronia’s commitment towards family and resolve towards improving the lives of not only the people around her but anyone she could affect on any scale should be a mentality that we should all maintain. One of the key pieces of advice that Ronia offered as she finished her presentation was simple, yet ground-breaking, “No business was ever started by one person”. This was a very impactful message in that it touches on teamwork, friendship, accountability, and success.

Though you could fill a novel with all of Ronia’s awards and recognitions, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners – Top 10 Women in Business, and the Kaleidoscope of Culture Foundation – Kaleidoscope of Culture Award, to name a few, it was her commitment towards friends, family, and the betterment of her community that was the most impressive part of her message.

Dan Vermeesch

This account of Dan Vermeesch’s visit was written by IOE News guest writers, Julia Irwin and Catherine West.

Julia Irwin was an IOE junior at the time she took 425. Her hometown is Grosse Ile, Michigan and she has worked as a student intern in the MEP group at DTE Energy and served as Scholarship Chair for Phi Sigma Rho Sorority, a sorority for women in engineering.

Catherine West, who hails from Dewitt, Michigan, was a senior in IOE at the time she took 425. She has worked at Faurecia as an injection molding intern and loves spending time with her pets while watching Netflix.

424 dave v (2)The Industrial and Operations and Engineering 425 Class, Lean Manufacturing Engineering, was honored to have Dan Vermeesch as a guest speak on February 1, 2016. Dan is a member of the Precision Machined Products Association’s Technical Programming Committee and the Management Update Committee. He’s given speeches across the United States and gives frequent tours of Micron Manufacturing where he is Plant Manager.

Dan’s career started at Michigan Tech University, where he pursued electrical engineering. From there he spent the next five years gaining experience in that field. However, Dan’s passion was not electronics. He spent the years after graduating trying to figure out where he would fit in and eventually found his place at Micron Manufacturing as a plant manager.

424 Dave VDan’s interest in lean manufacturing started from witnessing the birth of his first child. His wife spent hours in labor waiting for the baby to come, but after the doctors noticed a problem with the baby, they immediately rushed his wife to the ER for an emergency C-section. In just minutes, his baby girl was born. What struck him about this situation was how efficiently it was handled. As soon as the doctor said to prep the ER room, everyone knew exactly what to do. Everything was prepped and set in place so the operation would go as smoothly as possible.

Dan soon applied this same logic when Micron Manufacturing decided to start the lean process. The first step for them was to work with their employees, having them check their egos at the door and learning to think about what they can do for the company, rather than thinking about what the company can do for them. By changing the way the employees thought about the company and their coworkers, Micron was already on the road to change.

Micron now has many TOP 5 huddles, weekly team meetings, and monthly Key Performance Index meetings just to keep everyone up to date with current events and what’s happening within the company. In 2008, these changes lead to Micron Manufacturing getting the Shingo Silver Medallion for Operational Excellence, which was only awarded to 19 companies.

Micron Manufacturing continues to learn, teach, and grow on a daily basis. Although the company is thriving, there is always room to improve. As we learned in 425, continuously improving is a key principle of lean. There will always be problems in any process, but if we continue to identify problems and work to solve them we will always improve. When Dan first started at Micron, things were chaotic and weren’t functioning as efficiently as they could. Bringing lean culture into Micron created a whole new atmosphere and things were running better than ever. Lean culture can be implemented anywhere and with the right tools can help bring any company to a better place than they were before.