Board of Director's Bios

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.

Vanita DeJesus
Co-Chair

Vanita is a transformational Leader with 20 years of Lean experience, working in Manufacturing and the Energy industry. Vanita’s career span includes training, workshop/Kaizen facilitation, strategic planning and coaching leadership teams through a Lean transformation. As a Director for Consumers Energy, Vanita has the great opportunity to lead a high performing team that is responsible for the design, development and deployment of a Lean Operating System. In addition, she leads the Governance Council for Operational Excellence. She specializes in partnering with organizations and functional areas throughout the company to drive overall operational maturity.

Vanita has a Greenbelt and has successfully completed the Lean Office Certification Program at University of Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in Organizational Change and Leadership from Central Michigan University. In her free time, she likes to travel with her family but is not opposed to curling up with a good book in the comfort of her home.

Joshua Foster
Treasurer 
Co-Liaison Healthcare Community of Practice and Co-Lead Healthcare Symposium

Josh has 11 years of experience in healthcare operations with five of those years being process improvement related. In his current role, Josh leads strategic continuous improvement teams who focus on reducing waste and improving the patient experience through continuous improvement.

Josh graduated from Central Michigan University with a BS in Healthcare Administration, a MS in Healthcare Administration, and a MS in Adult Education and Training.

Additionally, Josh also holds a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification and a Lean Gold certification.

Pam Burgress

Secretary

Pam is a lifelong resident of Michigan and is married with two daughters. She is a Lean Process Improvement Analyst who works for the State of Michigan to help agencies realize process efficiencies. 

Pamela has over five years of experience working in State Government, serving in several capacities. She has served in her current role in Michigan's statewide process improvement office for the past two and a half years, and before working for the State of Michigan, Pamela spent 15 years in the financial industry holding various roles.

Pamela is a certified Lean Process Improvement Facilitator and holds a Black Belt certification in Government, also having formal training in the tools and strategies of Lean Six Sigma, Project Management, Change Management, Contract Management and Emergency Management. Pamela holds a Master of Management and a Bachelor of Business Administration, both from Davenport University. 

Kevin Olds
Events Lead

Originally from Northern Michigan, Kevin “boomeranged” back to join the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) in Traverse City as a Senior Business Advisor in January of 2019. He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge of continuous improvement with others and is a certified Lean Champion instructor. He has facilitated numerous Lean and Six Sigma projects for his Northern Michigan clients. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Grand Traverse Area Manufacturing Council and hosts benchmarking events with the Lean Learning Consortium.

Prior to his role at MMTC, he worked as the Process Improvement Manager for Embraer Executive Aircraft in Melbourne, Fla. for 7 years and as the Continuous Improvement/Production Manager for DRS Training and Control Systems in Fort Walton Beach, Fla for 4 years. At both companies he was accountable for all Lean, Six Sigma and Theory of Constraints initiatives. He established Quality Clinics, Lean Manufacturing Maturity Models and facilitated more than 200 Kaizen projects in the US, as well as internationally in Brazil.

Kevin was a member of the United States Navy for 10 years. His job in the military was performing aircraft maintenance as an Aviation Electronics Technician. He was a Lean Six Sigma pioneer in the Navy and eventually went on to become Naval Air Station Oceana’s (Virginia Beach, VA) Leading Petty Officer for the AIRSpeed Core Team, which is the Navy’s program for Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints. He holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Florida Institute of Technology and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt by the Naval Air Forces Command (NAVAIR).

Becky Andree
Ad hoc/Events Support

Becky Andree spent 25+ years in Fortune 500 companies, experiencing first hand the pressures facing leaders today. Her disruptive and visionary talent approaches have resulted in millions of dollars to organizations’ bottom line. She led a global team to develop a Lean Leadership Program to develop skills and behaviors to ensure sustainability of Lean philosophy, processes, and tools. That program is still in use today at two Fortune 500 companies and has been translated into 13 languages and delivered to 9,000+ leaders in 20+ countries.

Becky is currently CEO of Vertical Leadership Consulting engaging with organizations around the globe to:

  • identify leadership gaps (behavior & thinking)
  • embed learning into the curriculum of work to increase skills and thinking development individually and organizationally
  • implement programs to develop individual, team, and collective potential

Becky earned her MA in Human & Organizational Systems from the Fielding Graduate Institute, and a BA in Accounting from Carthage College. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Human & Organizational Development at Fielding Graduate University researching the impact of leader’s cognitive complexity on high-quality connections.

She lives in Norton Shores, Michigan with her teenage son, Carson, and dog, Rudy. She enjoys traveling, yoga, reading, philosophizing, and gardening.

Lauren Wisniewski 
Marketing Liaison Lead

Lauren is a mother to a four-year-old son and the founder of Rise Consulting Company, empowering nonprofits to maximize their impact through Lean principles. Lauren is passionate about the power of philanthropy as a tool for change and works to integrate Continuous Improvement with social impact.

Lauren attended the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, receiving her BA in Public Policy. She received her MA in Philanthropic Studies and Nonprofit Management from Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy as well as a Masters Certificate in Collaborative Governance from the University of Arizona.

Lauren has experience working with a range of nonprofit organizations and three large higher education institutions. In the Ann Arbor, Michigan and Tucson, Arizona communities she worked with smaller community nonprofit organizations, including a youth athletic program, a food bank, a secondary education institution, and a child and family service organization. Lauren has worked for a consulting firm coaching Lean Innovation and founded Rise Consulting Company six years ago to support nonprofits as they approach challenges in a powerful way.

Robert Sturza
Communities of Practice Lead
Co-Lead Healthcare Community of Practice and Co-Lead Healthcare Symposium

Performance Improvement Professional at Covenant Healthcare in Saginaw, MI.

Bob has over 25 years experience in plant, field service operations, government and healthcare (inpatient and outpatient). He is proficient in quality engineering techniques including internal and external auditing, Six Sigma, Lean and supplier development. Bob has served as the President for The Michigan Association for Healthcare Quality and a subject matter volunteer for the Michigan Lean Consortium. He is a graduate of Cleary University, a current student at the University of St. Francis and holds numerous professional certifications. In his spare time Bob enjoys referring soccer and spending time with his three grand-kids.

Neil Wilson
Events Co-Lead
Neil is a professional business leader with over 20 years of experience implementing Lean across a wide variety of industries and cultures.

His career began in Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK where he learned his appreciation for Lean as well as the methods and behavior’s associated to successfully practice. He has three degrees including a masters in business and a bachelors in automotive and maintenance engineering. Neil progressed through various roles within Nissan, becoming a Senior Manager of engineering responsible for new vehicle launches and plant improvement activities. From there Neil took a new role with Bosch responsible for South East Asia manufacturing and greenfield developments. For the last 8 years Neil has been running a management consulting company specifically focused to coaching Lean, where he acts as a trusted advisor to many major companies across a range of industries such as automotive, manufacturing, pharma, metals/mining, banking and construction.

Neil has two young children and enjoys trips away camping, playing sports and motor racing. When he is not engaged in any of the above, he can often be found relaxing with a cup of tea. 

Joe Pesz
Membership Co-Liaison Lead
Joe came to Lean in 2005, as a result of some problems his company was having with safety issues specifically related to gaps in training. Learning and implementing 5S, Standard work and Value Streams mapping were his introduction, and those core tenets helped him transition over the last 16 years, from a Construction industry background into Manufacturing and Distribution, Supply Chain and most recently Healthcare.

Currently working as a Lean Coach/Consultant for his company JMPesz Design. Part time musician. Married with two kids, and five granddaughters.

Daniel Blake
Marketing Lead
Daniel is an experienced category manager with accounts in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. Daniel graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a B.S. in Supply Chain Management. He has an extensive background working with global leaders in manufacturing and operating world of the aerospace and automotive industries. Daniel has rich knowledge of Lean, process improvement, and 5s practices. He has been on the cutting edge for improvements in a variety of Fortune 500 companies and as well as current industry leaders. Daniel has traveled across the world, using his experience as an internal culture change leader, to teach transformational principles and practices.

Daniel was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana before moving to Michigan in 2007. This widespread experience in working with people from all over and from all different walks of life, equips him with the ability to work with a diverse group of people.

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