March 2, 2021 | Susan Napier-Sewell

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

Mark Paradies

Facts About Mark Paradies

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As a TapRooT® User, you probably know that Mark is one of the co-creators 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 master’s 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 Inc., he worked at Du Pont 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.

Once he started his own company, 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 first hand 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 the 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’s understanding of process safety. See part of his Summit talk in 2012 below…

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 wrote a book about performance measurement and trending titled: Performance Measures and Trending for Safety, Quality, and Business Management and a trending course.

Mark is a TV Celebrity

Well, not exactly. He has appeared on two different shows (one recorded out in Hollywood, next to the studio that Johhny Carson used to use) to talk about successful advanced root cause analysis (TapRooT®). Here are videos of the two appearances…

Of course, Mark has appeared in dozens of TapRooT® TV episodes (recorded in our offices in Knoxville, TN).

Mark has Practical Experience

Mark Paradies Bulldozer

In his spare time between working for high-reliability organizations (the Nuclear Navy and DuPont) 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 repairman. While still in high school, Mark worked in agricultural jobs, construction, retail, and ran his own lawn-mowing and landscape business.

Those are the lesser-known facts about Mark’s experience and expertise.

If you have questions for Mark or would like to consult with him about your improvement efforts, contact him at this LINK, or call 865-539-2139.

Human Performance, Root Cause Analysis
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