Best Practice Presenters

Kim Aul
Director of Quality Assurance, Trojan Battery Company

Kim Aul

Lithonia, Georgia USA

Kim Aul is the Director of Quality Assurance for Trojan Battery Company with manufacturing and offices in Georgia and California, distribution centers throughout the southeast and master distributors world-wide. Mr. Aul is a Certified Lean/Six Sigma Master Black Belt with a degree in Business and almost 40 years’ experience in a variety of industries including chemicals, plating, stampings, machining, smelting, light and heavy assembly, injection molding and ordnance. Mr. Aul has worked for Trojan Battery Company for two years and was previously employed by General Dynamics Corporation for 15 years. Mr. Aul currently resides outside of Atlanta, Georgia with his bride of 40 years and 11 year old daughter.

Presenting:

Randy Bennett
Risk Management / Process Safety Engineer, Aera Energy LLC

Randy Bennett

Bakersfield, California USA

Peter Berkholz
Engineering Manager, Director, Capability Resources

Singleton, AUSTRALIA

Peter Berkholz is teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit CourseHazard Recognition.

Heinz Bloch
Consulting Engineer, Process Machinery Consulting

Heinz Bloch

Westminster, Colorado USA

Heinz Bloch is a graduate of New Jersey Institute of Technology (BSME, MSME, Cum Laude). After his retirement from Exxon Chemical Central Engineering (in Baytown, TX), he worked as a consulting engineer and author of 17 books. He is the equipment/reliability editor of Houston-based Hydrocarbon Processing and has published over 460 papers and articles on reliability improvement subjects. For several decades, he has advised industry on maintenance cost reduction and reliability improvement issues and has taught over 500 equipment uptime improvement courses on all six continents.

Presenting:

Amy Bratkovic
Project Manager, PNM Resources

Amy Bratkovic

Albuquerque, NM USA

Amy Bratkovic is a Project Manager for PNM Resources, an electric utility company,  in Albuquerque, NM. She has worked at PNMR for 11 years. Amy received her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University in 2011, and her BA in Finance from Western Governors University in 2010. At PNMR, she leads the training initiative for Continuous Process Improvement.  Most recently, Amy lead a team through the selection and deployment of TapRooT®.  The focus of this team is to utilize TapRooT® methodology for investigating safety, environmental, reliability, and IT incidences. 

Presenting:

Ralph Brickey
Consultant

Ralph Brickey

Kingston, Tennessee USA

Ralph Brickey’s experience in facilitating individuals and teams through insight-based learning experiences and working with teams to enhance effectiveness and performance has given him an appreciation for the potential for sustainable high performance within every organization. His work with exceptional leaders, from executives to first line workers in different organizations, has confirmed the importance of developing the spirit of leaders to enable them to inspire organizations to achieve excellent results.

Ralph worked for twenty-eight years with the Tennessee Valley Authority in multiple roles including Nuclear I&C Maintenance and Training, Training Accreditation Manager, and Program Manager for a major culture change initiative. Ralph holds a Doctor of Education in Collaborative Learning from the University of Tennessee and multiple technical undergraduate degrees. His research interests are dialogue, reflective practice and problem solving. Ralph is curious about almost everything and interested in the rest.

Ralph currently facilitates root cause analysis, equipment troubleshooting and train-the-trainer courses in North America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the South Pacific.

“I am excited about partnering with organizations to explore and appreciate together what I believe is the unlimited potential for growth and excellence of performance in both individuals and teams to create healthy high performance safety cultures.”

Presenting:

Dr. Beverly Chiodo
Professor, Texas State University

Dr. Beverly Chiodo

San Marcos, Texas USA

Dr. Chiodo is a professor in the Department of Management at Texas State University.  Dr. Jerry Supple, former President of Texas State, said she has won every teaching award the university offers, and she's been recognized for her teaching effectiveness at the state and national levels as well.  In 1996, she was featured as "Hero of the Day" by CBS national TV program -- This Morning.  In 1997, Beverly was named "The Best Business Professor in the Nation" by the National Business Education Association.  She has published widely in her field and is a frequent presenter at seminars and conferences.

Beverly earned her BBA degree from Baylor University, her MBA from Texas Tech, and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M.  She is known by her students as the "Doctor of Encouragement."  Beverly says that her teaching philosophy can be summed up in the proverb which says, "A wise teacher makes learning a joy."

Presenting:

Carl Dixon
Musician

Carl Dixon

Haliburton, Ontario CANADA

“Omniscience is denied us mortals; we can never know all the factors which lead to the outcomes of our journey through this life. However, I do believe now that the important ones are revealed to us at the right time; to wit, my own tale of blindness, neediness and stubborn adherence to a tired belief system which could only have led to my own destruction. My story would have a different ending had it not been for the love of a good woman, a supportive family, a caring community and the determination to endure.”

Carl Dixon is a Canadian rock musician who has been a part of such bands as Coney Hatch, April Wine and The Guess Who. In 2008 he was involved in a near fatal car crash that could have cost him everything. His story is more than a tale of “had it all and almost lost it”; for Carl the story became, “What now?”

“Our human minds are the single greatest power on earth. What we generate from our thoughts can be as great as the greatest things ever seen. Our thoughts determine our path; if we find ourselves on a bad path it’s never too late to substitute better thoughts in place of unsatisfactory ones. We can always choose strength over weakness, courage over fear, stoicism over complaint. Sure, it’s not always easy, but it can become a habit if you’re determined to have a good life”.

The threads from which the fabric of Carl’s life were woven are indeed a "Strange Way To Live."

Presenting:

Benna Dortch
Implementation Strategist, System Improvements, Inc.

Benna Dortch

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Benna Dortch has been with System Improvements since 2006.  Her background prior to coming to System Improvements was in finance and marketing, as well as being the Assistant to the Chairman of the Board of a Fortune 500 company.   As Implementation Strategist at System Improvements, Benna enjoys working with companies around the world to help determine the right path they need to take to successfully utilize TapRooT® and help them organize onsite TapRooT® courses.  

Presenting:

Scott Gunderson
Senior Safety and Health Specialist , CIH CSP, Monsanto Company

Scott Gunderson

St. Louis, Missouri USA

Scott Gunderson is a Sr. Safety and Health Specialist working on the Global Safety and Health Team for Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri for the last 22 years.  Prior to that time he worked in a variety of Industrial Hygiene and Safety roles for Armco Steel and Olin Corporation. 

Scott holds a BS in Biology and a MS in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Central Missouri.  He also is a Certified Safety Professional and Certified Industrial Hygienist.

Throughout his work career, Scott has been responsible for work site analysis of safety and health risks including incident investigation and analysis.  Scott’s current responsibilities include providing safety and health support to Monsanto’s North American Seed manufacturing and research operations and the global Biotechnology organization.

In addition, he leads the global Safety and Health Excellence program, Behavior Based Safety process and the root cause analysis process which eventually brought him into the TapRooT® family.  He is a Certified TapRooT® Trainer and is the contact for the global implementation of the TapRooT® process and software.

Presenting:

Joel Haight
Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh

Joel Haight

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

Joel Haight, Ph.D., P.E., teaches traditional Industrial Engineering (productivity, safety, human factors engineering) courses and researches systems engineering and human factors engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to the best practice sessions listed below, Joel is also co-teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course: 
Stopping Human Error.

Presenting:

Jennifer Herget
HSE Manager, AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry

Bridgewater, New Jersey USA

 Coming Soon!

Presenting:

Matthew Irving
Software Manager, Improvement Interactive

Riverside, California USA

 

Presenting:

David Janney
Senior Associate, System Improvements, Inc.

David Janney

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Dave Janney is a Senior Associate for System Improvements, Inc. He is retired from Delta Air Lines where he held positions such as Corporate Safety Manager and Quality Auditor.  Dave is an ASQ certified CMQ/OE (Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence) and CQA (Certified Quality Auditor), and a BCSP certified CSP (Certified Safety Professional).  He has a BS in Business Management, an MBA in International Management, and an MOS in Occupational Safety and Health.

In addition to the Best Practice Sessions listed below, Dave is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
Proactive Use of TapRooT®.

Presenting:

Pat Karol
Account Executive Safety and Risk Control, Aramark

Pat Karol

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

 Coming Soon!

Presenting:

Jonathan Kennedy
CI Manager, Tesco Corporation

Jonathan Kennedy

Calgary, CANADA

Jonathan Kennedy began his Oil and Gas career in January of 2007 at Talisman Energy Inc. starting in with Midstream Operations through to HSE and then the North American Operations Conventional Development group as the Embedded Performance Improvement Team Advisor.

In his time with Talisman, he continuously stretched his exposure to broaden his understanding of the technical aspects of the business. He has been involved in the creation of Provincial regulations as well as business reviews and area reviews with Conventional Development.

He has conducted High Profile Incident investigations for Talisman using TapRooT® which is a process-driven investigatory tool requiring strong attention to detail in addition to strong communication skills and conflict resolution.

He continues this journey of Performance Improvement with Tesco Corporation at their Calgary-based manufacturing facility.

Presenting:

Jason Laws

 

Presenting:

Kevin McManus
President, Great Systems!

Kevin McManus

Rainier, Oregon USA

Kevin McManus is the President of Great Systems! and provides performance improvement coaching from his office in Rainier, Oregon. He is a TapRooT® instructor, and has served as an Industrial Engineer, Training Manager, Production Manager, Plant Manager, and Director of Quality during his 29 year business career. He has served as an Examiner and Senior Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for ten years. Kevin also writes the monthly Performance Improvement column for Industrial Engineer magazine and is a regular speaker at a variety of regional and national events.

In addition to the Best Practice Sessions listed below, Kevin is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
Advanced Trending Techniques.

Presenting:

Mark Olson
Reliability Consultant, MFO Services

Mark Olson

Hibbing, Minnesota USA

Mark Olson is a Reliability Consultant for MFO Services. He is an experienced TapRooT® Instructor and Investigator with an impressive resume of valuable experience including 25 years in the petrochemical industry. Other experience includes facilitating RCFA for safety, environmental and equipment failure incidents, and conducting FMEA to develop equipment reliability improvement strategies; re-engineering a maintenance/reliability business process and providing RCFA facilitation for reliability improvement; and extensive management experience in an industrial setting.

Mark Paradies
President, System Improvements, Inc.

Mark Paradies

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Mark Paradies is President of System Improvements, Inc., a firm specializing in performance improvement and root cause analysis. He has 29 years of experience operating, managing, and improving high reliability systems. Mark started his career as an officer in Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Navy. He also worked for DuPont and Westinghouse before starting System Improvements in 1988. Currently, Mark researches performance improvement strategies and helps senior management understand, plan, and implement performance improvement programs while he manages System Improvements and teaches TapRooT® Courses.

Mark has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering (with emphasis on Human Factors), both from the University of Illinois. Mark is a board certified Professional Ergonomist, and a Certified Hazard Control Manager. He was also Engineer Certified by training, testing, and experience by Navsea 08.

In addition to the best practice sessions listed below, Mark is also co-teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course: 
Stopping Human Error.

Presenting:

Barb Phillips
Editorial Director, System Improvements

Barb Phillips

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Barb Phillips has been with System Improvements since 2006. Her professional background includes experience in legal and human resources. She earned an Associate Degree from Indiana University, and is currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at King University. Barb is a Certified Professional Coach, a Registered Yoga Instructor, and a published writer.

Barb is co-teaching the Pre-Summit Course: 
Interviewing & Investigation Basics.


Ken Reed
Senior Associate and Equifactor® Program Manager, System Improvements, Inc.

Ken Reed

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

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.

In addition to the best practice sessions listed below, Ken is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
TapRooT®/Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting & Root Cause Analysis.

Presenting:

Ken Scott
Independent Consultant

Ken Scott

Beaver, West Virginia USA

Ken Scott worked for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) as an Instructor at the National Mine Health & Safety Academy. He developed MSHA's Accident Investigation Training Program. He has a BS in Agriculture and a MS in Safety (Mining). He is a Certified Mine Safety Professional.

Mhorvan Sherret
Director, Matrix Risk Control

Mhorvan Sherret

UK

 

Presenting:

William Sirois
Senior Vice President & COO, Circadian Technologies

William Sirois

Stoneham, MA USA

Bill Sirois is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Circadian Technologies, a leading research, information and consulting firm specializing in reducing the costs, risks and liabilities of shiftwork and extended hours operations. Bill has a chemical engineering and ergonomics background, with more than three decades of operational management and consulting experience in the areas of health, safety, and productivity.

In addition to teaching the Best Practice Session listed below, Bill is teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
Combating Fatigue.

Ed Skompski
Vice President, System Improvements, Inc.

Ed Skompski

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

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.

In addition to the best practices sessions listed below, Ed is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
Root Cause Analysis for Sentinel Events & Healtcare Quality Improvement.

Presenting:

Clare Solomon
Managing Director, Hill Solomon Ltd

Clare Solomon

Chesham, England UK

Clare Solomon is the Managing Director of Hill Solomon, an internal communications agency that specialises in health and safety messaging.  Clare will be presenting a range of risk communication solutions that demonstrate how to get the message across in environments where multiple languages and cultures are a key challenge.

Joel Solomon

 

Presenting:

Steve Swarthout
President, Performance Improvement of Virginia, Inc.

Steve Swarthout

Mineral, Virginia USA

Steve Swarthout is President and Senior Partner of Performance Improvement of Virginia, Inc. He has 40 years of engineering/equipment troubleshooting experience, and has taught TapRooT® to thousands of people. He has held a Senior Reactor Operator license at a commercial nuclear utility and facilitated over 100 incident investigations.

Presenting:

Brian W. Tink
President, Watershape Safety Analysis

Brian W. Tink

Haliburton, Ontario CANADA

Brian Tink specialized in health, safety and environmental matters during the latter part of Brian Tink's career at Hydro One (starting in 1994). Before pursuing other interests, he held the title of Manager of Health, Safety & Environment Field Support for Hydro One Networks, Inc. This branch of Hydro One delivers electrical service to homes and businesses across the province of Ontario, Canada. Hydro One owns over 90,000 miles of Transmission and Distribution Lines, serves 1.3 million customers with 4,600 regular employees.

In this position, while reporting to the VP HSE, he was called to analyze and investigate safety incidents that occurred. He has facilitated or been part of the action plan development for numerous investigations, approximately 30-40 per year since 2000. The position involved working with and reviewing incident reports and action plans with other Line of Business VP’s and Directors. The lines of business included Construction, Lines, Station Maintenance and Forestry type work activities. He has also been called to lead or participate in investigations where a high level of scrutiny is expected for the results or there is significant need to identify areas of improvement. 

During his career, he had the opportunity to attend an extensive amount of training and seminars. The training resulted in becoming a Certified Registered Safety Professional in Canada and a Certified Utility Safety Administrator through the National Safety Council in the USA. Both of these certifications require safety management theoretical knowledge, testing and several years safety management experience.

In addition to the Best Practice Sessions listed below, Brian is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
TapRooT® Analyzing and Fixing Safety Culture Issues.

Presenting:

Ken Turnbull
President, Ken Turnbull Consulting

Ken Turnbull

Houston, Texas USA

Ken Turnbull has led major accident investigations worldwide using TapRooT® for over a decade. He is the former manager of Texaco Corporate Safety.

In addition to the Best Practice Sessions listed below, Ken is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
Advanced Causal Factor Development.

Linda Unger
Vice President, System Improvements, Inc.

Linda Unger

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Linda Unger is Vice President of System Improvements, Inc. She first became involved in incident investigation and root cause analysis in 1986 as a field engineer working for DuPont where she performed investigations into operating and maintenance problems. Since that time she has become an expert in root cause analysis, incident investigation, and development of performance improvement programs. Currently, Linda helps clients use TapRooT® as part of their performance improvement program by developing implementation strategies. In addition, Linda is responsible for the development of the 2-Day TapRooT® Training program and licensing of TapRooT® Training and Software to clients. She also teaches TapRooT® Courses.

Presenting:

Chris Vallee
Senior Associate, System Improvements, Inc.

Chris Vallee

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

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.

In addition to the Best Practice Sessions listed below, Chris is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
TapRooT® Quality/Six Sigma/Lean Advanced Root Cause Analysis Training.

Presenting:

Dan Verlinde
Director of Information Technology & Software Deve, System Improvements, Inc.

Dan Verlinde

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Dan Verlinde has been with System Improvements since 2006 overseeing the development and technical support of all TapRooT® software. Prior to joining System Improvements, Dan was a Business Systems Analyst for an international third-party certification company.  There he oversaw the implementation, development and support of a business software used for performing audits to international standards.  In addition to his education at the University of Michigan, Dan has had formal training in SQL, Crystal, Software Administration and Lean principles.

In addition to the Best Practice Sessions listed below, Dan is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit Course
Getting the Most from Your TapRooT® Software.

Presenting:

Frank Verschueren
Labour & Process Safety Inspector, Federal Services for Labor

Frank Verschueren

Schikde BELGIUM

Frank Verschueren has been the Inspector for Labour and Process Safety for Major Hazards Industries under the (European) Seveso Regulation since 2003. He joined the Belgian Federal Government after a 20-year career in the Industry where he had several Management Positions.

One of his competencies is the investigation of accidents and incidents.

As Inspector he is experienced in:
  • executing his own investigations of Major Accidents or Incidents
  • evaluating the investigations of Labour Accidents performed by industrial companies under his enforcement
  • auditing the systems for investigating accidents and incidents implemented by the major hazards industries under the Seveso regulation.
He was introduced to TapRooT® in a two-day formation in Root Cause Analysis by Mark Paradies and Alan Scott.

Presenting:

Jim Whiting
Principal Risk Engineer & MD, R@W - Risk at Workplaces Pty Ltd

Jim Whiting

Indooroopilly, Queensland AUSTRALIA

Jim Whiting is an internationally known risk engineer and HSE expert.
  • 25 Years experience in risk management, safety and performance improvement
  • Former Chief Executive Officer of the National Safety Council of Australia
  • 18 Years experience as a Senior Lecturer in Medical Physics & Bioengineering
In addition to the Best Practice Sessions listed below, Jim is also teaching a 2-Day Pre-Summit CourseRisk Management Best Practices.

Presenting:

Michelle Wishoun
Licensing Paralegal, System Improvements, Inc.

Michelle Wishoun

Knoxville, Tennessee USA

Michelle Wishoun has been with System Improvements since 2007 as the Licensing Paralegal and TapRooT® Implementation Strategist. She writes Licenses for clients and assists with negotiations.  She also maintains and oversees the Certified TapRooT® Instructor database information and helps clients become certified.  Michelle has her BS in Legal Studies and AS in Paralegal Studies as well as some informal training.

Presenting:

Summit Links

Our Guarantee

We know you have only so much time and resources to give to training and conferences in any given year. We are confident that the TapRooT® Summit will be the best conference you attend this year and worth every effort you make to get there.

One way you can judge our commitment to you is our SUMMIT GUARANTEE.

Attend the Summit and go back to work and use what you've learned. If you don't get at least 10 times the return on your investment, simply return the Summit materials and we'll refund the entire Summit fee.

With a guarantee like this one, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Recent Summit News

2014 Global TapRooT® Summit Attendees Share Favorite Aspects from the Summit
2014 Global TapRooT® Summit Attendees Share Favorite Aspects from the Summit
SAVE THE DATE for the 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit
2014 Global TapRooT® Summit Attendees Share Favorite Aspects from the Summit
2014 Global TapRooT® Summit Attendees Share Favorite Aspects of the Summit

Success Stories

Prior to implementing TapRooT in 1993, we performed incident investigations but we often stopped…

ExxonMobil

In 1995, BellSouth Telecommunications noticed an increase in the number of service interruptions or outages…

Bell South

We held our first on-site TapRooT Training in mid-1995. Shortly after the training we had another…

Intel