Mark Paradies, President
Mark Paradies brings knowledge of human factors and equipment reliability to the field of root cause analysis. After receiving a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Mark served in Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Navy where he received NAVSEA 08’s Engineer Certification; learned Rickover’s equipment reliability best practices, and participated in Rickover’s culture of operational excellence. Mark then studied Human Factors at the University of Illinois while completing a Masters Degree in Nuclear Engineering. Mark was the 85th person to achieve certification as a Certified Professional Ergonomist by the BPCE.
Mark brought this knowledge of operation excellence, human factors, and equipment reliability to the development of effective root cause analysis practices while working at Du Pont. His work there led him to start System Improvements and bring advanced root cause analysis concepts to the world.
Mark’s understanding of human factor concepts is foundational to TapRooT®. He incorporated advanced human performance technology into TapRooT®, without complicated Ph.D. jargon, so that managers, supervisors, engineers, and shop floor personnel can effectively solve problems.
With the development of TapRooT®, Mark and TapRooT® co-developer Linda Unger have changed the way the world solves problems through advanced root cause analysis tools, training, and software, assisting in designing and improving performance improvement programs, and in investigating the root causes of accidents, sentinel events, equipment failures, and quality issues. Mark has taught thousands of students around the world in a variety of industries, including: oil exploration and production, refining chemicals, plastics, and petrochemicals; mining, metals, and fertilizer; utilities, airlines, shipping, railroads, and light rail; pharmaceutical and consumer products; and manufacturing, telecommunications, network reliability, and government.
Linda Unger, Vice President
Linda Unger, co-developer of the TapRooT® System, has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and Human Factors training from the University of Michigan. She gained experience investigating incidents as a field engineer at Du Pont. She then joined System Improvements to create the TapRooT® System and change the way the world solves problems. Linda is the co-author of the TapRooT® Books.
Linda is known as the heart of TapRooT® for her ability to listen, communicate and create connections at every level. Currently, Linda helps clients use TapRooT® as part of their performance improvement program by developing client road maps for the implementation of the TapRooT® System, Training, and Software.
Attend the annual Global TapRooT® Summit, meet and hear Linda speak, and get a bird’s-eye view of why Summit is so spectacular—from its kickoff session to the Reception. As Linda says, “Be ready to meet industry leaders and share best practices to achieve operational excellence!”
Ken Reed, Vice President
Ken Reed’s expertise covers a wide range of topics, with a particular emphasis on equipment failure analysis and troubleshooting. Ken’s 21 years in Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Navy (serving on board fast attack, ballistic missile, and research submarines) helps him understand the secrets of achieving high-reliability operation and exceptional equipment reliability. Ken has a B.S. in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University.
At System Improvements, Ken is responsible for the development of TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis and Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting Training. Also, Ken manages instructor certification and course quality control, working with over 50 instructors worldwide.
Ken has also trained thousands of people around the world to use the TapRooT® System to analyze safety, quality, equipment failure, and environmental incidents. As a TapRooT® Expert, Ken has worked with numerous companies to analyze their safety and equipment reliability improvement needs and develop road maps to achieve excellence.
Ken enjoys traveling to interesting destinations with his wife, Debbie and spending time with his family. He is an automobile enthusiast and has a special affinity for his Ford Mustangs (including a 1967 model) and his Ford Raptor.
Dan Verlinde, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Dan has been with System Improvements since 2006. Before joining SI, Dan was a business systems analyst for an international third-party certification company where he oversaw the implementation, development, and support of business software used for performing audits to international standards. Along with his education at the University of Michigan, Dan has had formal training in SQL, Crystal, Software Administration, Human Factors, and Lean principles.
Dan brings his expertise to TapRooT® Software development, the TapRooT® Blog, as well as to being a TapRooT® Instructor. Dan oversees the development and technical support of the TapRooT® Software, as well as leading the support of all IT operations at System Improvement.
Marcus Miller, Vice President of Business Development
Marcus Miller is a TapRooT® Instructor® teaching a wide range of industries to apply root cause analysis both reactively and proactively. He leads System Improvements efforts to bring advanced root cause analysis to the healthcare industry including developing the TapRooT® Patient Safety Root Cause Analysis Training and working with the US Military Healthcare System to implement TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis.
Marcus has a strong background in both operations and business development. He served as the VP of Operations in the healthcare industry and has extensive training in client/employee engagement and management/leadership philosophies. Marcus helps clients design plans to improve performance by implementing TapRooT® as part of continuous improvement programs. He is passionate about client success and building partnerships that exceed goals and achieve lasting financial and operational success.
Marcus has a B.S. in Athletic Training from Lincoln Memorial University and is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. Marcus also has received training in Human Factors from the University of Michigan. Marcus is an active member of Vistage, a global leader in the growth and development of business leaders.
He loves to travel with his wife, two kids, extended family, and friends to enjoy experiences that will create long-lasting memories. Soccer, tennis, and volleyball are passions for his whole family.
Dave Janney, Senior Associate
With a knack for proactive improvement, Dave Janney teaches TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis to clients around the world. He often shares his knowledge of TapRooT®’s high degree of effectiveness and how it can be used BEFORE an accident or incident by the application of targeted audits. He quips, “I believe it is much more fun to solve problems before you have to do an investigation!”
A natural in the role of instructor, the ten-year TapRooT@ veteran has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Business, a Master’s in Safety, and 36 years’ industry experience in customer service, operations, quality, and safety. Dave underscores that “Anyone who needs to solve problems can use TapRooT®!” while explaining, “our proven method for investigating an incident is applicable when something goes wrong at a refinery, in a mine, at a hospital, on an oil rig, or anywhere else!” In class, Dave encourages students to have fun while learning and is invested in the value of being an ongoing resource after the class concludes. Dave puts a lot of miles into sharing TapRooT® in the classroom around the world, including the US, Canada, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
When he is not teaching how TapRooT® helps companies improve operations and save lives, Dave spends time with his wife and their Boston terrier. He savors travel, watching football, and listening to rock ‘n’ roll.
Chris Vallee, Senior Associate
As a TaprooT® Instructor, Chris Vallee specializes in working with customers through onsite and public courses. He explains, “TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis helps companies solve problems ranging from defects to fatalities in every industry you can imagine.” Chris wryly observes, “The funny thing is, most laypeople often respond, ‘So you work for insurance companies?’ I explain that we teach companies to solve problems for themselves so that the insurance companies don’t get involved.”
Chris’ eleven years of teaching TapRooT® around the globe have included travel to Saudi Arabia, Singapore, England, Scotland, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Greece, Iceland, India, and, of course, the U.S. His passion for what he does is fired through “seeing people go home safely and companies stay in business by using what we teach.”
Chris has a Masters Degree in Human Factors from Wichita State University and served in the US Air Force before working at Raytheon Aircraft as a Six Sigma Black Belt.
Chris cherishes family time, spent with his wife, two daughters, a son, and a granddaughter and a grandson. He’s a “cheer dad,” on the go with a daughter who’s a competitive cheerleader as they travel to competitions.
Barbara Carr, Editorial Director & Instructor
Barb a TapRooT® Instructor and System Improvements Editorial Director She writes about root cause analysis and investigative interviewing in System Improvements’ newsletters, website, and blog. Also, Barb is responsible for the development of the TapRooT® Evidence Collection and Investigative Interviewing Training. Barb is the co-author of TapRooT® Evidence Collection and Interviewing Techniques to Sharpen Investigation Skills (2017).
It’s gratifying for Barb when she watches students “get it” in the training room “because I know they’ll take the skills back to their facilities and create positive change that is far-reaching.” Teaching TapRooT® is a positive for instructors as well as students “as we learn to delve deeper into problems and base our analysis on facts.” After classes are over, Barb and her students keep in touch via email or through LinkedIn connections.
Barb has a background in legal and a B.S. in Psychology as well as marketing and social media certifications from the University of Tennessee, plus she trained with the National Forensic Science Technology Center.
Barb’s experience as a yoga instructor translates into the TapRooT® classroom as she encourages students to stand up and stretch to maintain focus. For fun, Barb enjoys hiking and exploring waterfalls in the Appalachian Mountains, and relaxing on her Stardust Cruiser houseboat on Watts Bar Lake with friends and family.