Thank you to our Sponsors: 

Keynote Speakers:

Teresa Hay McMahon is the Executive Director of the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC), a non-profit consortium of businesses, government, education and healthcare working to drive competitive performance improvements in Iowa organizations by expanding Lean culture and sharing lessons learned. She was the Founder and first President of the ILC while she served in Iowa state government for 25 years, including as Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development and as Performance Results Director of the Iowa Department of Management. She was responsible for performance management in the executive branch of Iowa state government, including implementing Lean, enterprise strategic planning, performance audits and organizational development. She was co-lead for the State of Iowa for implementation of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. She began implementing Lean throughout the executive branch of state government in 2004 and established the Office of Lean Enterprise. For eight years she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in the area of Policy and Organizational Performance. She also taught Environmental Policy in a graduate college at the University of Iowa.

Teresa served ten years as Administrator of the Waste Management Assistance Division of the IDNR, leading Iowa's first state-wide recycling, composting, and environmental education activities. During that tenure she represented Iowa on the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact and numerous working groups with the National Governors' Association and federal agencies. She worked previously on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and also lobbied for two trade associations in Washington. She is an attorney.

Betty Gratopp is the lead production manager at Zingerman’s Mail Order, an online gourmet food shop located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Zingerman’s Mail Order has annual sales of $18 million and offers about 1,000 different products ranging from fresh bread to aged cheese to estate-bottled olive oils. Orders are shipped five days per week via courier all across America. Daily order volumes are highly variable, ranging from 100 to 15,000 boxes and there is extreme seasonal variability as well, with over 50% of the year’s revenue happening in the last six weeks of the year. Betty oversees a crew of 50 and a part-time seasonal crew of 400. Betty has been the lead implementer and developer of Zingerman’s Mail Order’s lean transformation, now in its 11th year. She runs several kata storyboards, creates and steers all long term planning, and teaches regular classes to her crew and outside organizations.

Karen Ruedinger

During much of Karen’s career, she has had the good fortune of being allowed to spend time thinking about market trends and where they might lead. While at Steelcase, she was part of a team of researchers, marketers and designers who were charged with redefining the company’s storage product offering. This led her to work with some of the best minds in investigative research, ideation and design from IDEO to Doblin Group. She then went on to work in R&D for the office furniture leader where she developed business models for new products and services. One of her great pleasures was attending the annual Ten Year Forecast visioning events put on by the Institute for the Future where Steelcase was a member.

While at Northwestern Michigan College, Karen has continued her work at the intersection of research, analysis and planning in order to help frame decisions such as how best to grow or make more sustainable, existing programs and services. She has had the pleasure of developing and leading the environmental scanning process at the College where a team of faculty and staff survey the external environment and seek to identify key trends that inform NMC’s strategic planning assumptions.

Karen earned a BA in business and art from Alma College and her MBA from the University of Michigan. While she’s not sure she’s a futurist yet, she understands that it is increasingly critical that we all develop the skills of envisioning our desired future.


Transforming the Future NOW! #MLCNOW - August 12-14, 2015
Thank you to our amazing sponsors:

Click each link to read up on the past Keynote Speakers:



2014 Conference Agenda

Click here to see more photos from Day 1 and Day 2.


Theme: People: The Heart of Lean
Date: August 7-8, 2014
Place: Traverse City, Michigan





Theme: Lean: Past, Present, Future

Date: August 8-9, 2013

Place: Traverse City, Michigan

2013 Annual Conference Agenda

Breakout Sessions


Theme: Establishing a Winning Culture
Date: August 8-10, 2012
Place: Traverse City, Michigan

View the Conference Agenda

View the Breakout Session Descriptions

More than 140 people from throughout Michigan and

from as far away as Arizona participated in MLC’s

second annual conference held at the Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

Participants came from a wide range of industries

including health care, automotive, aerospace, energy, and

government. All rallied around their common interest in learning more about lean, sharing their knowledge, and

forming strong connections that will continue beyond the conference.

Hear what participants and speakers had to say:

"This has been a fantastic experience. It's given me an

opportunity to step outside my industry, meet new

people, and think outside the box." 

Amelia Stephens, Consumers Energy

“Reinventing Michigan requires a lasting cultural shift

in how we conduct business. The single most important

element of this shift is empowering our employees

through mutual trust.” 

Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley, in his keynote address

 "I have enjoyed the amount of intensity and cohesiveness

in the participants and presentations."

John Boulahanis, JAMA Consulting

“Health care is fragmented and one of our biggest

problems is the mindset – ‘I have to do something

unique for it to have value.’  What we need to do instead

is embrace and celebrate the adoption of best practices

from other organizations and other industries.”

Robert Riney, President and COO of Henry Ford

Health System, in his keynote address

“Education used to be like a ladder using one pathway,

involving memorization of facts, with everyone going

to the same destination.  It’s now more like a climbing

wall with multiple pathways that requires divergent

thinking, problem-solving, agility, and constant


Steve Cousins, Superintendent, Traverse City Area

Public Schools, in his keynote address


Read the summary and view photos and video


View more photos from the 2012 conference:

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