Category: TapRooT® Instructor Profiles

Welcome Marcus Miller!

July 13th, 2018 by

TapRooT® is growing! We are pleased to welcome Marcus Miller, Vice President of Business Development.

Marcus has hit the ground running, and you may have already read some of his informative healthcare-focused posts on the Root Cause Analysis Blog:

  • Using TapRooT® to Prevent Medicare Payment Reduction (Read post.)
  • QAPI and TapRooT®: The Bridge to Operational Excellence and Quality Care in our Nursing Homes (Read post.)
  • Joint Commission Focuses Surveys to Assess Safety Culture (Read post.)
  • Winners and Losers in Healthcare’s Shift to Value-Based Payments (Read post.)
  • Bias and Blame in Healthcare’s Culture has to Change (Read post.)

We hope you will join us in welcoming him to the TapRooT® team. To learn more about Marcus, click here.





What You May Not Know About Mark Paradies, President of System Improvements

November 14th, 2016 by



As a TapRooT® User, you probably know that Mark is one of the co-creator’s of the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System and a co-author of the TapRooT® Book series. You have probably heard that he has all sorts of experience with root cause analysis and incident investigation. But did you know that …

Mark is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE).

He was the 85th person to be certified in ergonomics and human factors by the Board of Certified Professional Ergonomists. Mark has worked extensively on projects to improve human performance and reduce human errors. 

His Masters Degree research at the University of Illinois was focused on the proper roles of operators and automation for the next generation of nuclear power plants (human factors function allocation).

Before starting System Improvements, he worked on projects to improve aspects of human performance including procedures usability and usage, and operator, maintenance, and technical training.

He also developed systems for managing performance improvement in a resource limited environment.

He used his human factors knowledge and experience to build into the TapRooT® System the ability to analyze and fix human performance/human behavior issues.

Mark was in Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Navy (a High Reliability Organization).

Mark has studied high reliability organizations. But Mark has one major advantage over most of those who do academic research and speak about high reliability organizations … He has worked in a high reliability organization – the Nuclear Navy (the original high reliability organization). Therefore, he knows what works, why it works, and what doesn’t work BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN THERE. He understands Admiral Rickover’s management systems and practical methods to guard against normalization of deviation.

Mark has a unique understanding of process safety.

Marks has two engineering degrees (BSEE and MS Nuc E), human factors training, and experience working in Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Navy (where he achieved his Engineer Certification). This gives him a unique understanding of process/nuclear safety. He has written about this experience (see this LINK) and provided talks for companies interested in improving their process safety systems and senior management understanding of process safety. (See part of his Summit talk in 2012 HERE.)

Mark has developed trending techniques for infrequently occurring safety and quality data.

Mark used the work of statistical experts Dr. Donald Wheeler, Dr. Walter Shewhart, and W. Edwards Deming to develop techniques to find statistically valid trends of infrequently occurring accident data. Mark is working on a new book about performance measurement and trending that will be published in 2017. Watch for the next trending course based on his work being held prior to the 2018 Global TapRooT® Summit.

Mark has practical experience.

In his spare time between working for high reliability organizations (the Nuclear Navy and Du Pont) and leading System Improvements, Mark designed and built roads (driving a bulldozer, track loader, excavator, and dump trucks), produced hardwood lumber from trees, and helped design two houses. While working in college getting his  BS in Electrical Engineering, he was a field supervisor (in actual agricultural fields) and a cable TV installation and repair man. While still in high school, Mark worked in agricultural jobs, construction, retail, and ran his own lawn mowing and landscape business.

That’s a little more about the lessor known facts about Mark’s experience and expertise. If you have questions for Mark or would like him to consult with you about your improvement efforts, contact him at this LINK, or call 865-539-2139.

Kevin McManus receives distinguished Fellows Award

May 24th, 2016 by

Kevin McManus

All of us at TapRooT® would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Kevin McManus who received The Fellows Award among 250 leaders in education and business at the 2016 IISE Honors & Awards Dinner held at the Disneyland Resort.

The Fellows Award recognizes outstanding leaders of the profession (IISE – Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers) who have made significant nationally recognized contributions to Industrial engineering. A Fellow is the highest classification of IISE membership, and has been given to only 400 individuals globally.

Kevin was nominated and selected for his contributions to Industrial Engineering through his volunteer activities. He has been a supporter of IISE for more than 35 years.  He has written 200 articles for the IISE monthly publication; held workshops; spoke at their conferences; and taught as a guest professor at universities globally.  Kevin is an examiner for the National Baldrige Performance Excellence Award (previously the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award), a position he has held for 16 years.

Kevin will be co-teaching Advanced Trending Techniques during 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit week (August 1 & 2, San Antonio, Texas) with Mark Paradies, System Improvements’ President.  He will also be presenting “What’s Holding You Back – Common Barriers to Process Excellence” and “Who Really Owns a Quality Defect” at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit August 3-5, 2016.

Congratulations, Kevin, on your incredible contributions and hard-earned accomplishments!

Thank you for serving our country and protecting our freedom!

November 11th, 2015 by

At System Improvements, we are honored to work among those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Mark Paradies, Officer in Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Navy 

Ken Reed, United States Navy, Nuclear Operator


Chris Vallee, United States Air Force, Aircraft Mechanic

Thank you for your service!

Never a Dull Moment in the Life of a TapRooT® Instructor

February 19th, 2015 by
TapRooT® Instructor, Harry Thorburn

Harry Thorburn

Harry Thorburn delivered a 2-day TapRooT® course on February 14 and 15 on board a vessel in Rotterdam harbour.

Unknown to Harry, during the morning of the second day, the ship had to take to the sea to conduct trials in the harbour basin.

When the course finished, Harry realized he was a little bit away from dry land, (and the taxi he arranged to wait for him to take him back to Amsterdam Airport!)

The ship was unable to berth at dock again, but went in close enough for the ever versatile Harry to be hoisted in a cage by a crane and swung onto the quayside!

All in a day’s work … the course must be delivered.






(Story and images submitted by Mhorvan Sherret, Matrix Risk Control)

Meet Our Instructors – Chris Vallee

June 18th, 2012 by

This week, meet Chris Vallee. In his 3-minute interview, discover his favorite aspects of the TapRooT® system and why some oil riggers are afraid of nurses:

Chris Vallee is a Senior Associate and TapRooT® Instructor with System Improvements, Inc. Chris has 18 years of experience in the aviation industry (from repairing to building aircraft cradle to first flight). A Six Sigma Black Belt with a Human Factors in Psychology Masters Degree, he often spends one-on-one time with many of our clients in process improvement and TapRooT® company implementation.

Meet our Instructors – Dave Janney

June 11th, 2012 by

We are pleased to introduce to you one of our US, Canada, and International TapRooT® Instructors, Dave Janney. In his 70-second video, you’ll learn why he enjoys traveling, teaching TapRooT®, and meeting new students.

Dave Janney is a Senior Associate for System Improvements, Inc. He is retired from Delta Air Lines where he was the Corporate Safety Manager/Quality Auditor, and was a former OSHA VPP Special Government Employee. Dave is a Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence, Quality Auditor, and Quality Improvement Associate (American Society for Quality), and is an authorized outreach trainer of OSHA 10/30 hour courses. He has a BS in Business Management, and an MBA in International Management.

Meet Our Instructors: Karen Migliaccio

June 4th, 2012 by

In this week’s 2-minute video, TapRooT® Instructor Karen Migliaccio tells us how she began teaching TapRooT®, what her favorite part of teaching is, and a little bit about Newfoundland’s “unique” cuisine!

Karen has 30 years of experience in Pharmaceutical Quality Systems, in both commercial and R&D organizations. She has expertise in GMP operations and regulatory inspections. Karen has investigated, analyzed, coached and reviewed hundreds of incident investigations and is a specialist in human error, audits, and SOP systems.

Karen is currently an independent consultant, working with clients including David Begg Associates, Vertex, Medimmune, Bend Research, Hovione, Patheon, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Shasun.

Her previous work experience involved 27 years with Pfizer in Laboratory Management and Quality Assurance.

Meet Our Instructors – Ken Reed

May 29th, 2012 by

This week, meet Ken Reed. Ken works in house and on the road, running the Equifactor® program and teaching TapRooT® around the world. Learn more about him in this 2 minute video:

Ken Reed brings 21 years of US Navy nuclear operator and supervisor experience to System Improvements, having served on numerous fast attack, ballistic missile, and research submarines. He is currently the Project Manager for the Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting module of the TapRooT® software, overseeing course and software updates and revisions. He holds a B.S. in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University. He was born and raised in Watertown, NY, and currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Meet Our Instructors: Sanjay Gandhi

May 22nd, 2012 by

Meet Sanjay Gandhi, our TapRooT® Instructor for Africa and Western Asia!

Sanjay Gandhi has 16 years of experience in corporate health, safety and environmental consulting, auditing and training. He has been a Certified TapRooT® Instructor since 2004. Sanjay has served as Chairman of the Kenya Occupational Safety and Health Association and the Kenya Petroleum Sector Environment Commitee. He has a BS in Civil/Structural/Environmental Engineering.

Meet Our Instructors: Ed Skompski

May 21st, 2012 by

Last week, we shared Ed Skompski’s video bio on our Courses post. This week, get to know him a little better.

This 90-second video will introduce you to Ed’s experience teaching TapRooT®.


Ed Skompski has been with System Improvements since 1996, and has taught and specialized in performance improvement through teaching the TapRooT® System for root cause analysis, performing and facilitating investigation, and helping companies implement performance improvement programs. He has taught hundreds of training courses around the world at both client sites and through public seminars.

Ed has been a Partner since 2000, and a VP since 2006. He is currently manager of software development, technical support, e-commerce, and network support. Additional responsibilities include client management, training, and product development. Ed has also spearheaded the projects focused on reducing medical errors in the healthcare industry through the implementation of root cause analysis techniques.

Prior to joining System Improvements Ed provided environmental evaluation, remediation consulting and project supervision for Radian Corporation and Law Engineering.

Click here to connect with Ed on LinkedIn.

Meet Our Instructors: Piedad Colmenares

May 14th, 2012 by

Meet Piedad Colmenares, our fabulous South and Central America instructor.

Enjoy Piedad’s bilingual 2-minute video bio:

Just a look at Piedad’s professional experience:

* Bacteriology Professional

* Postgraduate on Occupational Health

* Diploma on OHSAS 18001 – Internal Auditor on ISO 9001,14001, OHSAS 18001

* Colombian Navy Lieutenant Commander

* Manager of “HSEQ Integrated Solutions”

* Consultant for the Occupational Health Division of the Military Forces Health System

* Investigated numerous accidents in the Colombian Navy


Click Here to connect with Piedad on LinkedIn.

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