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.

Rob Pease

MLC Chair

Term Expires in 2019

Kata/Improvement Manager at N U C R A F T

Rob has over 20 years of leadership and coaching experience. He has been influential for change and culture with accolades from the military, government, and corporate environments. Currently working within the furniture industry he is coaching an organization through a cultural transformation to achieve substantial growth (of 300%). Rob has traveled the nation focusing on his passion for training, speaking, and coaching in a myriad of organizations and venues. Rob has been married for 18 years, the father of two teenage boys, currently a basketball coach, pursuing his graduate degree at Western Michigan University in Organizational Change Leadership, as well as being the chair of the Michigan Lead Consortium board.

Mike Wiersma

Vice Chair

Mike is married with 4 girls. He enjoys beaches, golf, travel and family time! Mike has worked 2 years at whirlpool and am now currently the global CI leader and coach for our legal team.

Mike has over 14 years of experience in leading cultural transformations in both manufacturing and service organizations across the globe. Proven track record in engineering, operations management and continuous improvement. Drives results with practical hands-on experience and effective leadership coaching. Passionate about helping people and organizations build systems and structure that achieve best in class performance.

Brian DeVries


Term Expires in 2019

Director, Lean & Industrial Engineering at SpartanNash 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, and France.  Before joining Spartannash,  Brian was a CI Manager with, Zeeland Farm Services, Dean Foods, and a Global Continuous Improvement Champion at Haworth Inc.  Brian 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, is a Lean & Six Sigma Project of the Year Award Recipient, a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and is Google Analytics Certified.

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.

    Anthony DeCaria

    MLC Membership Liaison 

    Term expires in 2020

    As an improvement strategist, hack psychologist and fun enthusiast, Tony is always looking for unique ways to inspire lean thinking.  He's helped DTE Energy and other organizations work toward creating a flourishing culture of seeing and solving problems by working with all employees, from front lines to founders. He has advised Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and non-profits in the food, finance, and energy sectors on developing lean strategy, building operating systems, and sparking entrepreneurial behavior.  Anthony lives with his wife, two kids, massive cat, and secret punk-rocker status in Milford, Michigan.  He's released four albums and won an international songwriting competition.

    Lucy Young

    Events Team Liaison

    Term expires in 2020

    Lucy Young has thirty-seven years of experience in healthcare leadership, project management and process & quality improvement. She has led and been involved with several types improvement initiatives related to quality improvement, cost reduction, re-engineering, benchmarking, information systems implementation, mergers, and opening new hospitals and facilities. Currently, Ms. Young is the Director of the Corporate Performance Excellence Department where she leads a team to support System transformation initiatives, including population management strategies and system-wide transformation initiatives.

    Her previous role was Director of Quality and Performance Excellence at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. In that role, she was responsible for key operational improvement initiatives, risk management, infection control and Regulatory compliance. While in that role, she was also the project manager for the EMR go-live for the Hospital and campus clinics.

    Additional past roles at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) included the Director of Henry Ford’s Corporate Management Services department, where she supervised a team of 14 and staffed HFHS’s Performance Council, the System’s most senior level leadership team responsible for strategy development and deployment.

    Previously, Ms. Young was a Senior Consultant for Premier, Inc. where she was assigned as the Director of Performance Engineering at McLaren Health Care Corporation in Flint, Michigan. Lucy also worked for the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) for fourteen years, finishing her tenure there as their Director of Corporate Operations Analysis.

    Lucy served on the Society for Health System’s (SHS) Board from 2006 to 2008 and was SHS President from 2011-2012.

    Lucy has a BS in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Oakland University, in Rochester, Michigan. She is married and stays plenty busy with six children and a new puppy, Porter! Lucy loves Michigan lakes and water, and enjoys water-skiing, kayaking and paddle-boarding in the summer, bike rides among the beautiful Michigan spring blooms and fall colors, and ice-skating or cross-country skiing in the winter.

    Melissa Castro

    Volunteer Coordinator Liaison & Conference Team Liaison 

    Melissa is the Division Director of the Reinventing Performance in Michigan (RPM) Lean Projects and Training Division in the State of Michigan’s Office of Performance and Transformation. The division includes a team of professional process improvement facilitators that work on lean projects for all State agencies. Under Melissa’s leadership, the division is highly focused on leveraging state employee’s knowledge and expertise to improve the services provided to taxpayers.

    The division is also responsible for training and mentoring all state employees on lean tools and methods. The division has trained over 1600 State employees and

    has a goal to increase that number by 50% in Fiscal Year 2019.

    Melissa has 15 years of leadership experience in state government. She led the first dedicated process improvement division in the Department of Treasury before

    joining the RPM team. Melissa also served for more than 10 years as a leader in the State’s central procurement office, where she first encountered lean concepts and began her lean journey.

    Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Master’s degree from Central Michigan University.

    Betsy Williams

    Conference Team Liaison 

    Training Services at Northwestern Michigan College

    Term expires in 2020

    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

    Ruth Archer

    Technology & Social Media Lead

    Ruth Archer is the Director of Continuous Improvement at Michigan Technological University, where she manages the continuous improvement activities for the university. Ruth is responsible for advising, encouraging, and supporting Lean culture and principles in Michigan Tech students and the Leaders in Continuous Improvement (LCI) student organization; providing consultation and education on Lean thinking to academic and administrative units; and creating Lean capability in Michigan Tech's workforce, students, and the community. She also teaches courses on Lean principles, teamwork, and communication.

    Before working at Michigan Tech, Ruth was in the United States Air Force. She held multiple positions, including aircraft mechanic master technician, test equipment designer, aircraft electromagnetic signature collector, radar modeler, current and future radar engineer, and AFROTC instructor.

    Ruth has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech, an MBA from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Northcentral University. She is a Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner, Michigan Performance Excellence (MIPEx) Examiner, and also serves on the Lean Higher Education global steering group representing the continental Americas.

    Alan Woodliff 

    MLC President

    Dr. Woodliff is President of the Michigan Lean Consortium, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming Michigan’s organizations and economy by developing and supporting lean system thinkers. Previously, he was the Director of Industry Relations for MForesight - Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, an NSF sponsored think-and-do tank focusing on the next generation technologies that will strengthen U.S. manufacturing.

    Dr. Woodliff was the Tauber Institute for Global Operations Industry Co-Director and Adjunct Professor (2008-2016), where he led the Institute’s growth in industry involvement to support the 100% expansion in student enrollment. Prior to that, he was a Visiting Professor at Wayne State University.

    Dr. Woodliff's corporate experience spans 34 years with a variety of global experiences, including engineering and manufacturing, sales, product planning, strategy, program management, and quality. Dr. Woodliff's career began as a product engineer in 1970 with General Electric's Aircraft Engine Group in Ohio. From 1971-1973, he served on active duty in the U.S. Navy, after which he was hired by Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. Dr. Woodliff worked for Ford until 2000, holding a series of management positions. While at Visteon until 2006, Dr. Woodliff held the positions of Director of Climate Sales, the Lincoln Customer Business Unit, and finally Advanced Business Development.

    Born in Wyandotte, Michigan, Dr. Woodliff holds a Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering, a Master's Degree and a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, and an MBA, all from the University of Michigan. He is Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Children's Hospital of Michigan, a member of the Detroit Medical Center’s Board of Trustees, and serves on the External Advisory Board of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. He Is an Emeritus Member of the Industry Advisory Board of the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan. Dr. Woodliff lives with his wife in Dearborn, Michigan.

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