Consulting Team

Joan WellmanJoan Wellman pioneered the application of Toyota principles in healthcare in 1995. In 2010, she published, with Pat Hagan and Dr. Howard Jeffries, Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey, chronicling over a decade of healthcare improvement work at Seattle Children’s, Memorial Care, The Everett Clinic, and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. She founded Seattle-based Joan Wellman and Associates (JWA) in 2000 to bring Lean consulting talent from industry to healthcare. Previously, Joan was a Partner at Deltapoint Corporation, consulting on implementation of Toyota Production System principles in the aerospace, telecommunications, high technology, pharmaceutical and energy industries. She was Director of Training and Leadership Development at Pacific Gas and Electric, and held key positions in executive selection and development at Transamerica and 3Com Corporations.

Darin AabyDarin Aaby has been a practitioner and consultant on Lean transformation for over twenty years. Currently he is focused on implementing the tenets of advanced Lean in healthcare settings. Previously, he was senior Lean sensei of the Worldwide Amazon Customer Excellence Systems, where he and his team of Lean experts were responsible for complete Lean transformations of their fulfillment center operations. Prior to his Amazon role, Darin had positions of increasing responsibility at Genie/Terex, where he served as Lean Transformation Director for their operations worldwide. Darin has studied at Toyota domestically and in Japan. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in mechanical engineering. He and his wife reside in the Seattle area.

BreskoMike Bresko has focused on leading or guiding Lean transformations since 1985 in both management and consulting roles. His specialties include Lean Management Systems: strategy deployment, daily management, and cross-functional management; Lean transformations, Six Sigma, and training within industry (TWI); change management; and leadership coaching. Mike’s healthcare clients include PeaceHealth, OHSU Healthcare, Stanford Children’s Health, John C. Lincoln Health Network, Cigna, and MicroSurgical Technology. Other clients include Boeing, Verigy, Agilent, the U.S. Army, Rolls-Royce, Ford, Mercedes, Proton (Malaysia), and others. Mike has conducted seminars for Shingo Prize, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Noria Lean, the American Society of Quality, and the National Association of Purchasing Managers; authored 14 articles on Lean transformations; and contributed to the book Driving Operational Excellence. Prior to starting consulting in 1996, Mike was President of Alcoa-Zepf and Global Manager for Alcoa Packaging Equipment, where he applied Lean methods and management to improve profitability and customer satisfaction. Mike holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

DulinDoug Dulin has an exemplary track record of over 20 plus years experience in cross-functional Lean deployment transforming both in healthcare and manufacturing related organizations. Early in his career he learned and deployed the Toyota Production System at Aoyama Seisakusho, a tier one supplier to Toyota Motor Manufacturing. As an Engagement Leader within JWA, he works strategically with clients both domestically and internationally. He has led Model Line deployments, Daily Management Implementation, Executive Coaching sessions, and Integrated Facility Design engagements for JWA clients.  Recently, Doug was the leader of a large-scale clinic system re-design at one of our clients. He is responsible for building the global integrated facility design market strategy, offerings and capabilities for the growing healthcare and commercial segments.  Before joining JWA, Doug was the Senior Director for the Mark A. Watson Center of Operation Excellence at Akron Children’s Hospital.  He led the hospital’s lean design process where integrated teams from the hospital departments, architecture firms, construction manager and local trade partners designed a critical care tower.  The integrated lean work completed at Akron Children’s Hospital has been highlighted by various healthcare and lean industry publications.  Prior to working at Akron Children’s, Doug has held such positions as Business Unit Manager, Plant Manager, Lean Site Leader and Lean Master. His healthcare clients include Oregon Health and Science University, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Allina Health Clinics, Children’s of Michigan, St. Charles Hospital, Northeast Georgia Physician Group, and IU Health. Doug earned a BA in Political Science from Anderson University.

AbermanisJennifer Abermanis has been in healthcare leadership since 1990. She was Vice President at Seattle Children’s Hospital for sixteen of those years. Her principal focus has been on shaping and leading essential clinical services. Her responsibilities have included a diversity of functions including Laboratory, Radiology, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Respiratory Care, Home Health, Engineering Services and Supply Chain all in the context of applying their Continuous Performance Improvement (CPI) philosophy including three study trips to Japan. Jennifer also led Lean implementation projects with external suppliers of clinical services including the Puget Sound Blood Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Jennifer has been an active teacher of Lean leaders. She has led workshops and teams in applying Integrated Facility Design and value stream improvement. Jennifer holds a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis and a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology from Nicholls State University. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

BeckMike Beck has been applying Continuous Improvement methods and the Toyota Production System (TPS) since 1986 in multiple executive and consulting roles. Mike began his career as an engineer, and early on transitioned to a continuous improvement specialist under the guidance of W. Edwards Deming at the GM Powertrain Division. Working directly with Deming for 7 years, he developed a deep understanding of the Deming management method, and led the division in manufacturing, supply chain, and engineering applications. Mike departed GM to apply CI at the Henry Ford Health System, where he participated in early work with clinical pathways and balanced scorecards. Next Mike was recruited to join Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, as an executive at the TMMNA headquarters responsible for strategic quality. He led the Hoshin Kanri (Strategy Deployment) process for the division, learned Lean from the inventors, and applied TPS both internally and with Toyota suppliers. Subsequent to Toyota, Mike has held VP positions in Manufacturing, Lean, and Operational Excellence at UTC, Terex, and Caesars Entertainment, and has most recently provided consulting in applications of TPS for aerospace, construction, green energy, and business services organizations. Mike’s specialties include Strategy Deployment, Daily Management, 3P, Problem Solving, Advanced Statistical Methods, Executive Coaching, and Organizational Transformation. Mike holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University, a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, and an M.S. in Applied Statistics from Oakland University.

Walter Bilgram portrait picWalter Bilgram has 20 plus years applying Lean thinking to improve operations and create the environment for innovation in healthcare, manufacturing and construction. Prior to joining JWA, Walter held the position of Vice President – Operational Performance at Mercy (a 35 hospital, 350 clinic system), where he designed and executed the system-wide, multi-year Lean transformation strategy that achieved broad adoption by the front line and local leadership. Walter delivered Lean Leadership training for 645 leaders along with follow-up assessments and coaching. His responsibilities and accomplishments include: instituting over 500 teams performing huddles using visual management and leadership behavior modification; leading a matrixed team to achieve significant flow, quality, and safety improvements in key service lines; and collaborating with physician leadership to increase capacity in primary-care offices without further investment. As a change agent, he effectively leverages expertise in Lean methods, leadership practices, organizational development, and project management. Walter has international work experience consulting on strategic planning, effective use of technology, engineering, quality, and product development. He has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and a Master of Business Administration.

BoyerMichael Boyer brings years of business experience in engineering, management, and consulting. Since 1983, his experience and counsel have focused on the implementation of Lean principles in service of organizational performance through large system change, strategic planning and alignment, value chain management, and continuous process improvement. Michael has engaged with large and small organizations in various industries, including the Boeing Company, Rockwell International, Hewlett Packard, Lockheed Martin, The U.S. Navy, General Dynamics, PPG Industries, Northrop Grumman, Precision CastParts Corp., The U.S. Coast Guard, and Bath Iron Works. Michael has led seminars for Industry Week, AME, National Manufacturing Week, NSRP, and The University of Kentucky. Prior to consulting, Michael held senior positions in operations, engineering, strategic planning, quality, human resources, and finance. Michael holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, an M.B.A. in Engineering Management, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Management. His healthcare clients include MemorialCare Medical Centers, The Everett Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Kadlec Health System, Stanford Children’s Health, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard, BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital (PHSA), John C. Lincoln Health Network, and the University of Washington Medical Center.

ConleyLainie Conley has been leading change in organizations for over fifteen years. Her expertise includes Lean process improvement, strategic planning, and internal organization training and coaching. Trained with Shingijutsu Co., Ltd, Lainie began her Lean work in manufacturing with Genie Industries and has traveled around the world studying Lean operations. Her passion is team coaching, competitive collaboration, and integrating the needs of people into the change process. She has provided Lean consultation and strategic planning guidance to Swedish Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, MemorialCare Health System, John C. Lincoln Health Network, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Kindred Hospital, and Microsoft Corporation. Lainie holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Psychology.

DeasonTeresa Deason brings over 30 years of business experience in management, marketing, project management, facilitation, training, quality improvement, and Lean management. With a track record of delivering bottom line results, Teresa has led Lean implementations for McCaw Communication enterprises, Cable Plus, Genie Industries, Jefferson Healthcare, The Everett Clinic, John C. Lincoln Health Network, and children’s hospitals and clinics in Minnesota, California, and Florida. Her Lean expertise includes implementation of Lean management systems, value stream improvement, internal consultant development, and executive and management coaching. Teresa’s most recent work implementing daily management systems in healthcare has produced remarkable results, including significant financial performance improvement, key patient indicators moving to the top percentile, and increased staff engagement scores. Prior to consulting, Teresa held executive management positions in quality, operations and marketing.

DeutchkiJohn Deutchki is a Lean Sigma professional who has been leading change in organizations since 1993. With over 30 years of progressive business leadership experience in finance, strategic planning and deployment, and hands-on implementation of Lean and Six Sigma principles in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing environments, John has demonstrated the ability to effectively interact with clients, customers, suppliers, and associates, both domestically and internationally, to build strong teams and use data-driven methods and tools to achieve established goals. John has trained and studied the Toyota Production System under Shingijutsu Co., Ltd., and has led Lean implementations in medical device manufacturing, financial services, construction products, and consumer products manufacturing. He is a proven trainer, facilitator, consultant, coach, and mentor to both individuals and teams. He has held senior positions in finance, strategic planning, and continuous improvement at Hillenbrand Industries, MW Manufacturers, NCR Corporation and Sealy Corporation. John earned a B.S. in Accounting from Waynesburg University and a Masters in Accounting from West Virginia University.

FosseChris Fosse has been a student and practitioner of Lean and quality improvement since 1980, and has held senior positions at two international Fortune 500 corporations. Earlier in his career, he worked in design engineering, manufacturing engineering, plant start-up, marketing, and as a plant manager. He worked on some of the first JIT (Lean) projects at Omark Industries, and as Director of Quality and JIT Systems had the opportunity to work directly with Shigeo Shingo (Toyota Production System) for three years and Dr. Noriaki Kano (Total Quality) for 10 years. He helped build the management system, was responsible for the Hoshin Planning process, and started training teams in QFD and QI Story problem-solving (A3) in 1984. He was a loaned executive to FPL during the Deming Prize challenge; and was appointed a Baldrige examiner in the first years of the award. After Blount, Inc. acquired Omark, he was appointed corporate Vice President of Total Quality. In 1992, he joined Deltapoint consulting, where he developed the “Kaizen Blitz” as a way to involve people to rapidly “learn by doing” and experience improvement. Chris holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado and an MBA from McGill University in Montreal.

FoxColin Fox, Jr. first visited a Toyota plant in Japan in 1982 and hardly understood what he saw. After co-founding a management consulting firm, he subsequently led over 40 study missions to Japan. He is well versed in the Toyota system approaches to achieving high quality, low cost, fast delivery, and accident free outcomes. In 1997, he was asked to join Genie Industries as VP of Operations where over a period of seven years implemented Genie’s version of a Lean system. Then in 2004 he became Senior Vice President of the Terex Corporation reporting to the CEO and responsible for implementation of a customer-centered Lean system across five continents and over 45 locations. He officially retired in January, 2010. He has a PhD in management and has taught at the University of Oregon and at UCLA.

HaganPatrick Hagan was President and Chief Operating Officer of Seattle Children’s Hospital prior to working JWA. He has a Masters degree in Hospital and Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Pat helped develop and led Seattle Children’s Continuous Performance Improvement (CPI) strategy for over 10 years. Modeled on the Toyota Production System, CPI has been instrumental in Children’s success in improving its performance in service quality, clinical access, patient safety, staff engagement, and financial results. He has presented at national meetings on building successful physician/hospital relationships, continuous performance improvement, and the importance of staff and physician engagement. Pat is co-author, with Joan Wellman, and Howard Jeffries of Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey, published in 2010.

HullingerAllen Hullinger has healthcare management experience with a wide variety of organizations since 2002. Previously, he has been the south region Healthcare Administrator with the Palo Alto VA Health Care System. Allen was involved and consulted with the Executive teams in implementing the first Lean transformation of a VA system. His focus and experience has been in medical group management, strategic planning, facilities planning and construction using Lean tools of goal deployment, value streams, daily engagement systems, 3P integrated Lean design events and standard work development. Allen holds a BS in Behavioral Science and Health Business from the University of Utah and a Masters in Health Policy and Administration from Washington State University. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

KimAaron Kim began his Lean career while participating in the National Shipbuilding Research Program’s Lean implementation initiative at Atlantic Marine.  He led Kaizen events, Model Line deployment and learned Lean shipbuilding best practices from Korea and Japan. Later, Aaron led several high volume manufacturing organizations through large-scale system improvements based on Lean. His healthcare clients include Kadlec Health System and Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. Aaron’s experience with these clients includes Model Line implementation, Rapid Process Improvement Workshops, 5S Workshops, Integrated Facility Design and Discrete Event Simulations. Aaron is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and has released over 30 popular educational Lean videos on the internet. He holds a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MS in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida.

LlewellynColleen Llewellyn worked with the Canadian Health System in the Province of Saskatchewan for four years before joining JWA. Initially she was part of a small team implementing strategy deployment (Hoshin Kanri) across the entire provincial health care system. This included assisting with developing the provincial level strategies, outcomes, metrics, and annual plans and independently leading four health regions in the development of plans linked to the provincial priorities. After the initial strategy deployment implementation, she was engaged in a full lean transformation in the province, initially supporting the largest health region in Saskatoon and then leading a mid-sized region in the city of Moose Jaw, through lean transformation. This included a new lean hospital design with aggressive targets to be addressed in the emergency room and acute inpatient units, mental health clinics and inpatient units, surgical unit, operating theatres, materials management, primary care, and continuing care (home care, rehabilitation care, and long-term care). Her region was successful in meeting those targets enabling a smooth transition into the new facility this October. In addition to leading a region, Colleen coached the provincial (system) kaizen promotion office for the last year of the contract, working through provincial/system challenges to help sustain a lean system. Colleen has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and gained her formative experiences at Hewlett-Packard for 15 years in progressive engineering and management roles. Colleen transitioned from manufacturing to healthcare in 2010 working initially in a small hospital in Oregon, then working in the Peace Health Ambulatory Clinics in Eugene, Oregon. She also worked with the University of Oregon Health Center conducting lean training and improvement events.

LoPrestiJim LoPresti has business and operations experience in Lean operations, management, and consulting since 1988. Jim has held a number of senior leadership positions in medium and large companies, including Vice President and General Manager of Folio, Vice President of Terex Business Systems, General Manager of Terex Concrete Group, Senior Vice President of operations for Terex Utilities, Vice President of operational excellence at RSC Equipment Rental, and president and CEO of Auto Safety House. In all of these positions, Jim championed the conversion to a Lean operating model. His areas of expertise include Lean implementation and operations, large system change, exceptional team development, strategic planning and implementation, value stream mapping and improvement, executive council and development, 3P, and sales and marketing improvement. In addition to his management experience, Jim has provided Lean consultation to a wide variety of healthcare companies, including Stanford Children’s Health, Kadlec Healthcare, The Everett Clinic, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the John C. Lincoln Health Network. He has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology and a Masters degree in Business Administration.

McneilJohn McNeil has been leading and coaching Lean and program management since 1997. He has experience in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, construction, automotive, medical devices, and manufacturing. His focus has been on improving the knowledge, skills, and abilities of front-line staff, first-level leaders, and executives; leveraging information gathering technology; systems design; and process design, stability, and improvement. For a decade he was a consultant for the Deltapoint division of General Physics, addressing client issues worldwide. John has led process, product, and facilities design projects; implemented robust solutions with standard work; and followed up with data analysis to hold gains. He has written hundreds of blog articles on cost, quality, and delivery. John holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Finance from the University of Newcastle in Australia and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt as well as a Certified Management Accountant.

ReedDr. Mark Reed is a physician with over twenty five years of clinical and leadership experience. Previously, Mark was the Medical Director and a Lean leader at Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center, a leading edge Lean healthcare facility. Mark has a focus on physician engagement and process implementation.  He played a prominent leadership role in the implementation and growth of the nationally recognized Lean management system at Bellevue.  Additionally, he has been a leader in study trips to Japan, Continuous Improvement workshops, and hosted numerous Lean Study tours. Prior to his work at Seattle Children’s, Mark developed wide-ranging experience as a physician leader in both the private and academic setting.  Mark holds a B.S. and an M.D. from the University of South Alabama as well as a Masters in Public and Private Management from Birmingham-Southern College.  Mark is a seasoned educator who has most recently served as a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine with prior teaching appointments at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.


Gail Sausser has been providing consulting and training services in Lean process improvement for healthcare environments for the past 15 years. Gail is certified in Lean and in 3P (Production Preparation Process design) by Virginia Mason Medical Center and has trained with Shingijutsu Co. Ltd. Over the course of her Lean career, Gail has coached or led a large number of Rapid Process Improvement Workshops, Kaizen event workshops, as well as dozens of 3P events to design clinical space. Gail also provided consultation on Lean transformation with John Black and Associates at the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. During this engagement, she provided Lean leadership development via Lean training, application of Hoshin Kanri / Strategy Deployment, and coaching; and she implemented Lean methods via 3P and Lean workshops. Her expertise cuts across the many aspects of Lean including 3P, Hoshin Kanri, Kaizen, and Training Within Industries (TWI). Gail has published a book in collaboration with Sensei Chihiro Nakao, who originated the concept of 3Ps and is the founding sensei of Shingijutsu. Most recently, Gail was the Lean Program Director for NBBJ’s healthcare practice for four years before joining JWA. She provided 3P leadership, Lean leadership training, Lean certification and assisted healthcare clients around the world their Lean transformations and change management. Gail has a Juris Doctor and Master of Art in Psychology degrees, as well as an ARM risk management designation. Her experience also includes Healthcare Finance Administration and Healthcare Law.

Steve_SchindelSteve Schindel has over 20 years of experience in lean transformations in healthcare, operations, supply chain and engineering. His industry segment experience includes healthcare, automotive paint and assembly, metal forming, electronics, coatings, medical device, electrical products and blending & packaging operations. Steve’s Lean journey began in 1989 with Subaru of Indiana, a Japanese automotive joint venture. During this time Steve spent substantial time in Japan studying production systems in companies such as Toyota, Isuzu and Subaru. Steve’s experience in Japanese management philosophy led him to the Wiremold Company. As a student of Shingujitsu Consulting, Steve applied Lean to improve the operations of multiple sites, all in various states of lean transformation. At Shape Electronics, a $40M Wiremold Division, Steve led the Lean transformation reducing direct material cost $1M, reducing warehouse space 50% and improving inventory turns from seven to 30+ per year. As VP of Operations for a specialty lubricants company, Steve implement foundational elements of Lean including Standard Work, 6S, Set Up Reduction and Preventative Maintenance. This resulted in an overall improvement in productivity, reduction in batch mixing errors and higher quality and on-time-delivery. Steve’s clients have included fabrication, LED technology, aerospace and healthcare organizations. His work includes Site Coaching and Rapid Improvement Events, Executive Lean Workshop, Visioning Workshop sessions and Value Stream Assessments. He has delivered Simpler Green, Bronze and Silver certification training, Policy Deployment coaching, Vertical Value Stream and 2P Events in several health systems. He has deployed Lean delivery models for both Simpler and JWA, a Simpler company. Steve is a graduate of Elmhurst College and attended Purdue University where he studied Industrial Technology.

TalbotAlan Talbot has over 25 years of international experience in a wide range of industries, but has always been drawn to the practice of improvement.  His early career was as a Manufacturing Engineer and operations leader in the heavy industry and automotive sectors in England.  He was an early adopter of the emerging Lean movement while working for Boeing in the 1990’s and continued his personal Lean journey while running a factory for Genie Industries.  He transitioned to Healthcare as a Lean consultant with Swedish Hospital in Seattle and then operated his own consulting business in Australia for nine years, mostly serving medical schools and local government.  More recently he has spent 3 years in Canada where he led a team of Lean professionals at the BC Children’s Hospital and Mental Health service. Alan gained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering from Cambridge University in England and an MBA from Harvard Business School.