Quality Progress - November 2014 - (Page 49)

QUALITY IN THE FIRST PERSON BY SCOTT SMITH Slow Burn Despite twists and turns, a passion for quality never cooled AS SOMEONE WHO is passionate about I got involved with my organization's It was time to take control of my quality and experienced in the field, it fledgling ISO 9001 program as an internal quality aspirations, so I founded an LSS seems strange that I have only held a auditor. I enjoyed auditing the plant's consultancy. I also began working in merg- quality title for two years in my 20-plus quality system, and I was offered a posi- ers and acquisitions in a medical benefits year career. Like many, I found quality by tion as quality manager in the Baltimore management organization-an exciting accident. plant. The pay was a modest increase over and dynamic role that builds my project my account manager salary and barely management skills. In the mid-1990s, a previous employer I became more involved with ASQ as pursued ISO 9001 certification. The enough to cover the cost-of-living differ- organization needed help with writing ence between Baltimore and Knoxville, an International Team Excellence Award procedures and work instructions, and TN. To further complicate matters, my preliminary round judge and served as my conducting internal audits. To get in- wife was offered her first job as an at- section's vice chair, chair and treasurer. volved, an individual had to show acumen torney in Knoxville. Moving would have I also served as an internet liaison and for quality by becoming a certified quality meant my wife retaking the bar exam in a member of the publications committee for engineer (CQE) with the incentive of a new state and many financial sacrifices. I the Lean Enterprise Division to satisfy my $5,000 bonus. That was a lot of money to reluctantly declined the job offer, and that newfound love of writing. me back then, so I got right on board. was the right decision at the time. Having a business background and a I kept my hands in quality from the My passion for quality has only grown. At first, I was concerned about the techni- business degree, passing the CQE exam sidelines and maintained my hard-earned cal aspects of using the correct tools to was no easy feat. I took the exam several certifications. I also approached leaders get the optimal answer. I've since learned times before passing on my fourth and of ASQ Section 1105 in Knoxville about there are several suitable approaches and self-proclaimed final attempt. To receive volunteering to earn recertification units. I tools to manage projects. I've realized an additional $1,000 bonus for passing the became a die-hard ASQ volunteer in 1999 the importance of soft skills in building a certified quality auditor exam, I buckled and remain active. culture of improvement and using empow- down harder and passed on my first try. My employer launched a lean Six Sigma erment to gain buy-in at the grass-roots (LSS) program in 2001. I enthusiastically level. I've discovered the necessity of man- served two years as a Green Belt and two agement buy-in and faced the difficulty years as a Black Belt on top of my full- of fighting a culture that does not value time account manager job. Unexpectedly, customers or employees. I was a casualty of downsizing after 18 years with the organization. At times, quality can feel like a thankless pursuit. But you must be persistent Back on the job market, I sought and continue to fight the good fight every quality and accounting jobs. I accepted day. When you reach someone, get them a corporate accountant position near hooked on continual improvement and Savannah, GA, that required Six Sigma watch them grow and better serve cus- experience. A month later, the VP of tomers, it makes it all worth it. QP finance encouraged me to enroll in a Master Black Belt (MBB) course. Within five months, I was a full-time MBB and realized my dream of a full-time quality role. After a couple of successful years, my position was cut during a leadership change. SCOTT SMITH is a senior manager of strategic operations at CareCore National in Bluffton, SC. A senior member of ASQ, he earned a master's degree in operations management from Tusculum College in Knoxville, TN, and ASQ certifications as a quality auditor and quality engineer. November 2014 * QP 49

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - November 2014

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Finding Harmony
Multipronged Approach
Bank on It
The System Is the Solution
Innovation Imperative
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea

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