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If you’re looking for inspiration in your career—or a nickname like Mr. or Ms. Metrology—these individuals from California State University Dominguez Hills have made their mark on quality.

Ali Ghazi, Dr. Rochelle Cook, and Emil Hazarian showcase the many routes to quality—whether you start in Iran, Romania or the United States, quality has universal impact.

A Recent Graduate with 20 Years of Experience in Quality

Ali Ghazi, a recent graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills, with a master of science degree in quality assurance (MSQA), serves as the quality manager at Apollo Machine & Welding Ltd., a large-prominent manufacturing firm in Alberta, Canada. Ghazi’s journey into quality management began over two decades ago when he earned his degree in industrial engineering in Iran and subsequently ventured into the automotive and oil and gas industries.

He progressed from a quality department role to achieving lead auditor certifications in ISO 9001:2015 and ISO/TS 16949 standards. His expertise includes being a certified Lead Auditor from BSI in ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100 rev D, and API Q1 10th edition from API-U. He’s also implemented a quality management system (QMS) per requirements of ISO 9001:2015 and API Q1 in several manufacturing companies.

“The QMS standards are changing every few years and new quality tools and techniques are being introduced,” Ghazi says. “Therefore, experienced quality professionals need to update their knowledge and skills through different available courses in ASQ or universities. One of the best programs I have found was the MSQA at California State University Dominguez Hills because they have programs for both manufacturing and healthcare.”

Reflecting on his academic pursuits, Ghazi emphasizes the integration of his master’s program insights into real-world applications. Despite juggling family responsibilities and a full-time job, Ghazi pursued one to two courses per semester, culminating in a comprehensive thesis completed within nine months. “The students can utilize their actual work experience in the majority of the courses and for writing their thesis,” he says. “There is a lot of support from the MSQA faculty while enrolled in the master’s program. I have also made several connections with the students, who all had high-level positions in quality departments in different industries.”

Ghazi’s expertise extends beyond the confines of his workplace, as evidenced by his involvement in shaping industry standards. His pivotal role as a vote committee member in ISO/TC 176 for ISO 9001:2015 underscores his commitment to driving quality initiatives at a global level. However, Ghazi remains grounded, acknowledging the ever-evolving nature of the quality profession and the necessity for ongoing skill enhancement to excel as a leader in the field. “Though updating my skills was a difficult process, it was necessary,” Ghazi says. “You need to if you have a goal to be one of the good leaders in quality.”

Recognizing the significance of knowledge sharing, Ghazi actively seeks to share his experience. He presented at the 2023 Industrial Engineering and Operations Management Society (IEOM) Conference in Detroit, at Lawrence Technological University, delivering a talk titled “Factors Impacting Dimensional Deviations with Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) Machining Processes: Solutions to Reduce the Product Nonconformities.,” and subsequently published a paper through IEOM. He remains steadfast in his mission to mentor emerging talent, particularly recent graduates aspiring to make their mark in quality departments.

Ghazi epitomizes the essence of a lifelong learner and mentor and is currently working on a book. Ghazi says, “I’m writing a book related to how to implement a QMS in manufacturing companies regarding the new API Q1 10th edition certifications, to be published later this year. My company was one of the first in the world to have earned no findings with the new API Q1 10 edition audits.”

Ali Ghazi
Image courtesy of Ali Ghazi

Mr. Metrology

Emil Hazarian, “Mr. Metrology,” has over 55 years of experience in metrology, accreditation, quality assurance, standardization, engineering, and manufacturing upper management, in both national and regional metrology organizations, and places like NIST and NASA.

It all started with a colleague.

In his native Romania, his mother had a colleague with a metrology connection. After graduating, he had an opportunity to work at the national institute. Acquiring a Mechanical Dipl. Engineering degree, Hazarian worked for the National Institute of Metrology, Bucharest, Romania, with R&D responsibilities. His teaching experience began at the Technical School of Metrology in Romania.

With that experience he came to the United States. “I didn’t need another master’s degree,” He says. “Someone left a brochure on my desk.”

Later the Weights and Measure Director noticed his aptitude for quality. “Later on, he’s the one that put the brochure on my desk,” Hazarian says.

This led to a master’s degree in quality from California State University-Dominguez Hills and a teaching position there in 1997.

Previously he was asked to teach but wasn’t comfortable in English yet—he speaks Romanian, French, Russian, and English—and of course “the universal language of mathematics.”

Today he’s given more than 50 to 60 presentations on many complex topics, here in the U.S. as well as in the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, Spain, Croatia, and Romania, among others.

He appreciates the power and importance of measurement. As Hazarian says, “World trade would not be possible without measurement.”

In 2007 Hazarian was one of the worldwide contenders for the BIPM Director position. His dynamic contribution to his field of expertise and numerous years of involvement in varying professional conferences led him to be elected the President of the 2011 Measurement Science Conference (MSC). His MSC motto was “Quality and Metrology through Education.” He was affiliated with and volunteered for MSC committees and board for 36 years. He was also concurrently the Chairman of the Glossary Committee for the National Conference of Standard Laboratories International (NCSLI).

Last year marked 39 years in U.S. and 39 in Romania. He has worked as a consultant with NIST, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Southern California Edison and others.

He authored and contributed to several metrology books including “The Metrology Handbook” (co-author), “Elements of Measurement Techniques,” “Mechanical Variables Measurement” (co-author), “Handbook of Measuring Instrumentation and Sensors,” (co-author) and “Mass Measurement Techniques.”

He also is the author of more than 50 technical articles, lectures and tutorial workshops on metrology accreditation-standardization-quality related topics delivered at the metrology conferences.

Hazarian is also a Certified Lead ISO 9001 and Lean Six Sigma Assessor, as well as a Lead Quality and Technical Assessor for ISO 17025 accreditation bodies.

Emil Hazarian
Image courtesy of Emil Hazarian
Emil Hazarian seen here during a training session with four uniformed male students.
Image courtesy of Emil Hazarian
Emil Hazarian sitting at table training a group of uniformed men.
Image courtesy of Emil Hazarian

Continuous Improvement for Dr. Cook

Dr. Rochelle Cook
Image courtesy of Dr. Rochelle Cook

Dr. Rochelle Cook was inspired by the continuous improvement philosophy early in her career.

Quality was considered quality an “all hands on deck” endeavor and this changed everything. “It was a cultural change for the whole organization. And so that really captured my attention because I saw quality at that point as not just a concept or even a theory, but it was a way of life, so I really wanted to be a part of that.” Cook says.

She has been in the quality arena for more than 20 years now. Her interests in mentoring and coaching connected her to membership in the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and teaching certification courses, which then lead her to California State University Dominguez Hills.

“It’s been quite a rewarding journey,” Cook says, who has experience in engineering and process improvement in manufacturing and healthcare. “Quality is something that will never go away, because even as we evolve from craftsmanship to mass automation, those core principles, tools, and techniques are still relevant and still needed.”

Today Dr. Cook is a certified professional in healthcare quality (CPHQ®), Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Quality Engineer, and Project Management Professional (PMP®). She is certified in change management (PROSCI®) and obtained her Adjunct Entrepreneurship Educator Certification.

She has authored publications focused on the role of the project manager in various organizational settings, and serves on executive boards at her alma maters Auburn University and North Carolina A&T State University.

Starting off in quality was difficult, as some of the associates viewed the quality role with suspicion, she says. Achieving trust from the frontline staff was challenging and motivating at the same time. “They really held me accountable to have a healthy balance between the interpersonal and the technical aspects of quality,” Cook says. “And there was never a dull moment.”

Dr. Rochelle Cook sitting beside a large ASEF sign
Image courtesy of Dr. Rochelle Cook

Highlights of her career include positive feedback from colleagues, seeing a student progress in their work, or even receiving a thank you note after her work with them. “It’s really a culmination of those little things that motivate you to stay in the field, to do your best, and show up as your best self.”

Dr. Cook also has advice for others in quality. “My advice would be to lean into what you’re passionate about. Quality is such a broad term. There’s so many different layers to quality. But to be your most effective, leverage what you’re passionate about. For example, I’m passionate about professional development and mentoring. With my teaching here in the MSQA program, when those tough times come, when I get a note from a student where they’re saying, I don’t feel like I’m progressing, I’m frustrated, all those things, I suggest that we have a call. And usually in most cases, by the time we’re done with that 15 minute call, they have a different perspective. And it’s not because I told them this is what you’re going to do. I try to find ways - similar to how my mentors do with me - to shine the light on what the real core problem is. And usually it’s something that they can manage and they’re just not seeing it that way.”