July Member Spotlight: Steve Czarniak
Highest academic degree
MS Statistics, University of Wisconsin - Madison
What is your current occupation?
Project Manager, Boston Scientific
Is there a teacher or mentor who influenced you more than others?
There were two individuals: Dr. William (Bill) Hunter and Dr. George E.P. Box. I had the opportunity to study with both while attending the UW. Dr. Hunter was an amazing man: he was always interested in helping learn and grow, in learning new things for himself and finding ways to make the world a better place. Dr. Box shared many of the same qualities as Dr. Hunter. During the school year he opened his home for regular informal seminars enabling us to expand our knowledge and thinking through the application of sound statistical thinking.
How were you introduced to the quality field?
Two individuals shaped much about what I think about quality. The first was my father. His dedication to ensuring the customer was always satisfied made a profound impression on me. And secondly, Dr. Deming. I was first introduced by Dr. Hunter to the teachings of Dr. Deming. Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge helped me identify how I could connect my studies in a way to assist people and organizations continually improve, with the aim for everybody to win.
What is the best career advice you have received?
Be open to possibilities.
Have you had any previous jobs you consider noteworthy?
While in college I worked for a summer travelling around MN, WI and IA crafting and selling corn dogs and onion rings at county carnivals. This experience really brought home for me the connection between quality and customer satisfaction. We had a delectable product and it was no surprise people kept coming back to our tent again and again to satisfy their craving for our luscious carnival fare. Now I work for a company Boston Scientific, and the connection between quality and satisfaction is on a different plane. As a medical device company, it’s more than just satisfying someone’s hunger – it’s about providing someone a better quality of life and potentially even saving their life. It’s all about quality.
What ASQ activities are you involved in?
When I first started my career, I worked for Eastman Kodak Company in upstate NY. At that time, I was very active with the Rochester Section ASQ supporting the local conference committee as well as overall Section leadership. When we moved to MN, I became involved with the MN section supporting program meetings. I have also been on the Editorial Review Board of the Lean and Six Sigma Review since its inception.
How has being a MNASQ member been valuable in your career?
I knew very few people here when we first moved to MN. MNASQ enabled me to connect and network with many like-minded quality people.
What brought you to or keeps you in the Minnesota region?
The job with Boston Scientific first brought me to MN. The community here and having an opportunity to make a difference for people through medical device keeps me here.
What activities or achievements outside of ASQ do you think are noteworthy?
I co-taught a class in the St. Cloud State Medical Technology Quality Program on statistical quality control. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with others seeking to further their careers in med device.
Do you have any recent publications or awards you would like to highlight?
I recently made a career shift within Boston Scientific into project management. I just past the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification exam from the Project Management Institute.
What are your favorite ways to relax?
Bicycling on the many trails around the Twin Cities provides a great way to get out, enjoy nature while getting in some exercise.