The Michigan Lean Consortium is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors that believes lean principles and tools can help organizations of all kinds thrive and turn around the state of Michigan's economy.

Dennis Sergent

MLC Chair 

President, Senior Consultant at Sergent Results Group

Term expires in 2017

Dennis focuses on customers, communication and teamwork. In 2000, he founded Sergent Results Group to help people and organizations become better at quality, performance, cost improvement and organizational transformation. Over his career, Dennis has delivered more than $8 Billion in results for clients across multiple sectors. He also enjoys working with community and service organizations, customer advocacy and economic development teams. An engaging speaker, Dennis brings real-world experience and topical insight to the subjects of leadership, customer service, value, teamwork, quality, innovation, integration, organization and systems thinking.

Dan Vermeesch

MLC Membership Liaison 

Plant Manager and Lean Champion at Micron Manufacturing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Term expires in 2018

As Plant Manager and Lean Champion, Dan led Micron, a family-owned precision machined products company since 1952, through an 8-year transformation resulting in the Shingo Silver Medallion for Operational Excellence in 2008. Since that time he has conducted many tours of an ever changing Micron to over a thousand people from across the nation and beyond. Dan is also a frequent presenter focusing on cultural transformation.

Dan has a BSEE from Michigan Tech University and a Lean Champion Certification through Grand Rapids Community College. His lean foundation and business acumen, however, were acquired in the potato fields of the family farm in Pinconning, Michigan.

Sara Miller

Term expires in 2017

Sara is currently a continuous improvement specialist at Emergent Biosolutions in Lansing MI. She has previously worked in manufacturing and process development before finding her passion for Lean and continuous improvement. Through her past experience as an operator on the floor, Sara keeps a very people-focused approach during improvement activities and strives to find the simple, approachable solutions. As a small business owner, Sara reached out to other small businesses to help optimize processes and support Michigan’s local entrepreneurs. She is currently working on her Bronze certification through the SME/AME/Shingo Prize/ASQ Partnership and holds a BS in Biology from Grand Valley State University.

Theresa A. Coleman-Kaiser

MLC Secretary 

Associate Vice President for Administration

Term expires in 2018

Theresa A. Coleman-Kaiser became Associate Vice President for Administration in 2015 after serving as Assistant Vice President for Administration since 2011.  Coleman-Kaiser held several administrative and operations positions since 1999.  Coleman-Kaiser currently oversees Public Safety and Police Services, the Office of Continuous Improvement, Human Resources, and campus Auxiliary Services comprised of Dining, Merchandising, Ticketing, Memorial Union, Mont Ripley Ski Hill, Portage Lake Golf Course, and the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Prior to Michigan Tech, Coleman-Kaiser worked at Grinnell College, St. Norbert College, and the University of Oregon in auxiliary services and student union roles.  Coleman-Kaiser is a Lean practitioner, a campus Lean facilitator, and a volunteer Lean Greenbelt Coach for State of Michigan employees through the Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC).  She serves on the campus Incident Command Team as Logistics Section Chief, and has been trained at the FEMA ICS-300 level.  Coleman-Kaiser holds the Certified Auxiliary Services Professional (CASP) certification from the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) and serves the association as a subject matter expert in developing and editing the CASP certification exam.

Betsy Williams

Training Services at Northwestern Michigan College

Term expires in 2017

Betsy works in the Training Services Division of Northwestern Michigan College as a Sales and Training Specialist, specializing in human resource management. Betsy is a former travel executive and consultant, with over 30 years of statewide operational development and management experience.

Her current professional affiliations include:
• Traverse City Chamber Healthcare Committee Member
• SHRM Human Resource Specialist
• Traverse City Area Human Resource Board Member
• Michigan Lean Consortium Event and Annual Conference Committee Member
• Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center Annual Conference Committee Member
• Certified DISC Trainer

Rob Pease

MLC Vice Chair

Term Expires in 2019

Continuous Improvement Manager and Lean Champion – Tyson Foods, Inc. in Zeeland, MI.

With over 20 years of leadership experience, Rob has been influential in the military, government, and corporate environments. Currently, working for an organization with over 120,000 team members, he is leading transformative efforts, lean deployment, and delivering results. He has led various organizations striving to become learning organizations, while amassing over $1 Billion in results. Rob has traveled the nation focusing on his passion for training, speaking, and coaching in a myriad of organizations.

Rob has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, a certificate as a Lean Champion, a certificate as a Six Sigma Black Belt, and is a recent graduate from Dr. W. Edwards Deming based Capital Quality and Innovation Academy.

Brian DeVries

MLC Marketing & Technology Liaison

Term Expires in 2019

Continuous improvement Manager, Great Lakes Division at Dean Foods Inc.  

Brian has global experience in the development and execution of continuous improvement/lean strategy and assessment within manufacturing facilities in various locations within the U.S., as well as facilities in India, China, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, France.  Before joining Dean Foods, Brian was a Global Continuous Improvement Champion at Haworth Inc., and also had worked as a Production Supervisor where he was introduced to Lean, and began building his formal lean skills by self-studying Toyota Kata and working as part of the Lean/Quality team at Steelcase. Prior to his lean journey, Brian was a Golf Course Superintendent in various areas of the country including Southampton, NY, Williamsburg, VA, and Las Vegas, NV.

Brian has a Masters of Global Business Administration from Cornerstone University and is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Holly Plaga, LSSBB

Term Expires in 2019

Operational Excellence Leader at Dart Container

Holly has a background in industrial engineering and has spent over 20 years fostering organizational change and strategically deploying methods of process improvement in both the manufacturing and transactional environments. She has been invited to work in government, non-profit, pharmaceutical, healthcare, energy, aerospace, defense, finance, fabrication and tier 1 and tier 2 automotive manufacturing. She enjoys working together with organizations to develop a positive team atmosphere, while implementing effective and efficient systems to facilitate process excellence; creating the linkage needed to sustain positive change.

Born and raised in Michigan, Holly graduate of Michigan State University in Interior Design and began her journey at Dart Corporation December 27th, 2014.

She has been an active member of the Michigan Lean Consortium since 2010 and currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Outside of work Holly and her husband, Ken enjoys raising their two highly energetic teenagers and two dogs. She looks forward to any activity out of doors, especially gardening and running. She samples as much chocolate as possible and loves singing in the local chorale.

Favorite color is Green, with purple as a close second

  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certified
  • Lean Leader Certified
  • Change Pro Simulation Certified

Jeff Bankowski

Term expires in 2018

In his role as OPT Chief Performance Officer, Bankowski actively works to foster an innovative and efficient government in Michigan where employee input is valued, efforts are recognized

and teams are always striving for continuous improvement. Within OPT, he oversees the lean process initiatives and helps state departments establish a more effective system of customer service, performance measurement and regulatory and business practices.

Bankowski brings a fresh perspective to government work, removing barriers to make the State of Michigan an employer of choice. He has extensive experience in administration, risk management and cost management, including operational improvement and business transformation.

Prior to being appointed OPT Director in April 2016, Bankowski served as the State’s Chief Internal Auditor for 16 months. He led the transformation of the group and their approach to risk management to be recognized as trusted advisors to the executive branch.

Bankowski came to state government from Capital for Merchants, LLC in Troy, a subsidiary of North American Bancard, where he was president and established a customer-centered business model focusing on enhanced service and more efficient operations.

He also worked for six years at Asset Acceptance Capital Corp. in Warren as Director of Internal Audit and then vice president. He successfully transformed business units by aligning strategic direction in recognition of fundamental industry changes through data analytics, process optimization, and performance management.

From 2004 to 2007, he worked for Teskid Aluminum, LTD in Southfield as Director of Worldwide Accounting Operations and Chief Accounting Officer. He moved back to his home state in 2003 after working as Senior Audit Manager at Chicago Mercantile Exchange CME Group, where he managed financial, operational and compliance audits.

Bankowski earned his Master’s degree from DePaul University and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. He returned to Michigan to make a difference in his home state. He currently lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Laura and their two children.

Gerry Clarke 
MLC President
Senior Partner, Clarke Consulting, LLC

Gerry Clarke (Clarke) has 25 years of experience as an international management consultant specializing in organizational issues such as quality systems, leadership development, productivity improvement, and organizational culture change. A long-time user and proponent of Human Synergistics assessment materials, Clarke has worked with start-ups to Fortune 500 companies on issues impacting performance, productivity, and effectiveness.  Previously he served as President/CEO of Metric Machining Inc. and  President/CEO of Human Synergistics International. He is a frequent speaker and presenter and holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering with aerospace options from the University of Arkansas.

Read more about past MLC Board members.
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