Member Spotlight - David Harry
Where do you live?
Greeneville, TN (East TN)
What’s the highest academic degree you’ve obtained? From where?
Masters (MSc) degree in Safety and Systems Management from University of Southern CA, Los Angeles CA
I have a second Masters (MSc) degree in Management from Troy University, Montgomery AL
I have a third Masters (MSc) degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Chennai (Madras) India
I began a fourth Master’s Degree in Advanced Project Management from Keller Graduate School but did not complete the full curricula.
Is there a teacher who influenced you more than others? Why?
In pursuing four Master’s level degrees, I was influenced my many excellent professors in management related fields. In my Advanced Project Management degree program Keller Graduate School of Management in Arlington VA, I was especially influenced by my professor who challenged each small online team to plan a project to build a building in an urban city. Since this was over 20 years ago and virtual project management and team collaboration was not as easy as it is today, this was a real challenge. For six weeks, I worked with a team I had never met scattered across the U.S. to address advanced project management concepts such as design, materials , marketing, risk, schedule, cost, and permits, for a virtual building and report out as a team. Knowing what I know today and advanced online collaborative tools at hand, this might be a little easier.
What did you consider your introduction to quality? This might be your first job in quality, or it might be a class, or something else altogether.
As a U.S. Navy pilot, quality was a literally a life and death issue on a daily basis. As a maintenance test pilot and instructor pilot, quality was vital. I spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy and was exposed to “Total Quality Management” (TQM), “Zero Defects” and later learned of W. Edwards Deming efforts and successes with Japan following World War II.
Did/do you have a mentor who has made/makes a difference in your career?
While working as a Software Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Engineer, I met Dr Hung Le, a Master Black Belt for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. Dr. Le was an ASQ member and had a PhD in Statistics from Wharton and I credit him with sparking my lifelong interest in Quality and Six Sigma. I learned a lot from Dr. Le and we are still in touch today.
What’s the best career advice you ever receive?
My best career advice received would to “understand the system”. That is why I am involved in so many quality and process excellence organizations like ASQ, PMI, SME, AME and IISE. As such, I am able to witness so many good practices and strengths each organization brings to the quality arena. Each organization has different levels of maturity in supporting student members, teams, professional members, training and soft skills. It is a balance and good for the “system” of the quality profession.
What is your current job?
I am “The Process Whisperer®” currently lead Process Whisperer® Consultants as CEO and a Black Belt Trainer. My company is a niche consulting company focusing on business process improvement coaching and training. I was granted the world-wide trademark for the name “Process Whisperer®” over 10 years ago. My company “Listens to the Voice of Your Business Processes”. The company is small and depends on strong partnerships with other companies specializing in human resources and quality-related fields to teach six sigma, lean, and Toyota Kata methodologies worldwide, including current clients in South Asia.
Have you had any previous jobs you consider noteworthy?
As far as jobs go, it is hard to top a career as s U.S. Naval aviator. I really enjoyed my previous jobs at Northrop Grumman which started my pursuit of Lean Six Sigma and culminated in being a Six Sigma Champion and Expert Trainer teaching six sigma classes all over the U.S. My job as a Black Belt at Rolls-Royce Energy was also special in that I worked with some fantastic international experts in a world-class company which epitomizes the very essence of quality.
What ASQ activities are you involved in?
I am most passionate at my involvement as a final round Team Judge for ASQE’s International Team Excellence Award (ITEA) process. ITEA is certainly one of my favorite ASQ activities as the ITEA the world’s premier team recognition program. Being a “Lean” disciple and practitioner, I love reviewing world-class companies showcasing their best projects. The global family of current and former ITEA Final Round Judges is a very tight family and I have met many great friends through nearly seven years as an ITEA Judge. Geetha Balagopal, ITEA Program Manager is superb and a good friend.
As a 10-year volunteer Member Leader in the ASQ Lean Enterprise Division (LED), I have had a ring-side seat on one of the fastest growing ASQ Divisions and made many new friends. As a volunteer, I have been Marketing Chair, Technology Chair, Networking Chair and am currently serve as Communications Chair for the Division. As such, I help support the other LED value streams to focus the communications, including myASQ. I also attend TCC meetings and plan conferences and division events.
The ASQ Lean Six Sigma Conference Advisory Committee plays an integral role in planning, organizing, reviewing and approving the program theme and speakers for the annual ASQ L&SS Conference in Phoenix each year. It has been an honor to be a L&SS Committee member for the past four years. Having attended and presented at 13 of the most recent L&SS conferences, I certainly appreciate all the hard work that goes into making that conference a premier ASQ event. Join me at the first all virtual ASQ L&SS Conference on 1-5 March 2021.
I have been a volunteer member of over a dozen ASQ Sections over the years and usually belong to and support about four Sections at a time.
What activities or achievements outside of ASQ do you think are noteworthy?
I am active in many volunteer quality and project management organizations outside of ASQ. Two noteworthy achievements come to mind. One was becoming a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) from the Project Management Institute nearly 20 years ago. The other more recent noteworthy achievement was earning, and recertifying, for my Lean Bronze Certification (LBC) from the Lean Certification Alliance. The alliance included the Shingo Institute, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), and at the time ASQ.
Toyota Kata is another passion. Being a “Kata Geek” is a badge of honor. I have attended all six previous Toyota Kata Conferences (KataCon) and was able to teach Kata in person and internationally. In fact, presenting Toyota Kata Introduction training and workshops to dozens of ASQ Sections and high school STEM classes has been most rewarding. I enjoy telling and teaching the Kata story.
I am also active in the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) as a Board member on the IISE Operational Excellence Division. I am currently the Secretary of the IISE Nashville Chapter and have serves on the IISE Engineering Lean Six Sigma Conference Committee for several years. I am also active with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the AME and SME. Being active in these ASQ “Sister” organizations gives me a systems view of the quality profession.
Have you published anything?
Other than websites, social media content, and training materials and case studies, I haven’t published anything recently under my own name. I have been a reviewer of several quality and lean six sigma books for colleagues and friends who are authors.
Any recent honors or awards?
I recently completed Lean Agile Scrum Master training and passed my Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) exam.
Are you married? Do you have any children?
I am married and have two grown sons and grandchildren. My sons are both successful. One is a System Architect for a large defense contractor and the other is a full professor in Computer Forensics at a university in Colorado.
What are your favorite ways to relax?
While it may not seem relaxing to many, I enjoy international travel. Before Covid-19 slowed my travel, I have made four business trips to Colombo, Sri Lanka in the previous 18 months. Yes, there are quite a few relaxing moments on a 33-hour flight to South Asia.
What books are you currently reading? Do you have any favorite authors?
I am currently reading “The Façade of Excellence” by John Dyer and “The State of Readiness” by Joseph Paris.
Two of my favorite authors are Skip Steward, Vice President and Chief Improvement Officer at Baptist Memorial Health Care and also Mark Graban, founder and contributor to Lean Blog.
Do you have a favorite blogger? Why?
I like Mark Graban, founder and contributor to “Lean Blog” because it is a mature site with a topic I am passionate about. Mark wrote “Lean Hospitals” and recently started a blog “My Favorite Mistake” which is gaining followers. For Lean Practitioners, since we learn from our mistakes, this is a good learning blog site.
What was the last movie you saw?
Downton Abbey (the movie). I loved the Downton Abbey mini-series and had to see the movie. Previously, I watched several in-air movies when on long flights but with travel restrictions, I haven’t been able to enjoy movie since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Are you active on social media? Is there anyone you follow that you would recommend to others? Why?
Social media is an integral and balancing part of my life. I am a manager for the myASQ Lean Enterprise Division Community site and encourage our LED member leaders and members to participate on myASQ. I am active in LinkedIn and help manage the ASQ LinkedIn “ASQ Lean Enterprise Division” LinkedIn Group, the “IISE OpEx Division” LinkedIn Group and the “IISE Nashville Chapter” LinkedIn Group. I maintain several Twitter accounts. I am also a manager on the internal “OpEx Division” on “IISE Connect” which is similar to myASQ.
I have several personal Facebook, Instagram and company websites.
What would you like to say as your original quality quote?
A personal mantra for me has always centered around the original five lean principles as put forth in James Womack and David Jones’ book “Lean Thinking”. “Respect for people” and “servant leadership” are important concepts. You cannot be a leader without followers and respect is earned. An original quality quote would combine the two in that “true servant leaders earn the respect of their followers”.
How has being an ASQ member been valuable in your career?
Being involved and an active ASQ member and volunteer has brought a wealth of new friends from around the world. While it may not have been valuable to my career from a business aspect, ASQ membership has broadened my understanding of that “best advice” to understand the system and view quality and process improvement from a higher perspective.