Quality is gearing up for the The Quality Show South in Nashville, TN, in early May. We've got a lot on tap, but nothing more exciting than our learning theater sessions. Editorial Director Darryl Seland and Managing editor Michelle Bangert of Quality sat down to talk about it.

Darryl: I think there is no better place to start than a whistleblower's story.

Michelle: Yes, this presentation will be from Dale Norwood. Dale is the author of a recent book, Diary of an Aerospace Whistleblower. I just read it and it's a fascinating story about a Texas company during the 1990s. And of course, even though it's a kind of story that took place a while ago, the topic still resonates today, unfortunately, and it's something to think about every time you get on a plane. So he'll share his story and tell us more about his experiences in NDT. His session is titled Ethics in NDT, an aerospace whistleblower shares his story.

Darryl: And we have plenty of perspectives on the manufacturing process and culture that will directly speak to everyone's day to day as well. Jim Spichiger will be talking about process maps and the difference between them and flow charts and some of the other mapping tools or processes. In his words, it's going to be a discussion for those interested in lean or novice lean practitioners or even those who have no familiarity with Lean to get some basic understanding of what Lean is and how it can help them. And speaking along the same lines as Lean, we also have Saso talking about Six Sigma methodology.

Michelle: Yes, that's right. So Saso Krstovski, he's our 2023 Quality Professional of the Year, and he'll be giving a talk on the magic of problem solving. So he's a long time veteran of Ford and he also teaches at several Michigan universities. For those who were at the quality show last October in Rosemont, you may remember his presentation on how to win over skeptical workers. I think it was very well received, very interesting. And so I'm looking forward to this session as well. And since he's a professor, I think he knows how to deliver information and get his message across in an interesting way. So it should be great.

Darryl: Absolutely. And again, there's a lot of an educational feel to a lot of these learning sessions, as we'll touch upon in a little bit. But it is interesting how many of these sort of process control methodologies kind of expand out or expand around sort of before and after the traditional manufacturing floor, as Praveen Gupta will describe in his presentation. It's about the significance of manufacturing insight in R&D, in product development, and even the very seeds of innovation. And it is very much a cerebral approach, if you will, not much different from Paul Critchley's thoughts on using lean to engage your workforce. And I absolutely love the very New England way that he begins the title of his presentation.

Michelle: Yeah, definitely. So it's called wicked good leadership and leveraging lean to engage people and grow your business. So Paul's a great speaker. I talked to him earlier for a podcast and he has hit a lot of interesting stories to share from his many years working in lean. He told me when people ask what he does for a living, he explains it. It's like some of those restaurant TV shows where someone comes in and transforms a restaurant, but he will do this for manufacturing companies and other businesses. So I just love hearing information shared through stories and his session should have several interesting anecdotes based on what we talked about earlier. So it should be pretty fun.

Darryl: And as our industry and the larger manufacturing sector continues to grapple with the idea of the skilled labor shortages and being able to attract that next generation workforce, we have a number of presentations that do have that educational focus, whether it's directly or indirectly. Lara Threet will be a part of a panel discussion with a group of industry experts on educating that next generation of quality professionals with some particular insight into Mississippi State University's program, as well as perspective on the quality industry as it exists today. We also have Dr. Milton. He's our Quality Magazine Quality Professional of the Year and he's also the interim program coordinator for the Master of Science in Quality Assurance Program at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He'll be discussing data science, various types of analytics, and the emerging of unstructured data that, in his words, can be confusing and intimidating for leaders faced with the challenge of, “where do we begin?” And this idea of data management, if you will, kind of also the topic of the presentation by Mark and Frony.

Michelle: That's right, Mark Nash and Sophronia Ward will kick off our Learning Theaters on Wednesday at 10.30 a.m. with a session on using data to drive organizational action. And I think that's really what it's all about, using information to actually get results. So they both have a lot of experience helping companies get the most out of their data and improve their processes. And I think this presentation will be very valuable for our audience.

Darryl: Well, we very much hope that you can join us in Nashville to attend all these great sessions and more. Watch this year's winners receive their awards during our awards presentation, or just catch up and network with colleagues from the quality industry. The show runs May 1st through the 2nd with workshops and events the day before at Music City Center in Nashville. You can find more specific information about the show at qualitymag.com/quality-show-south. We hope to see you there!

Michelle: Definitely sounds great!

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