Our Team

Scott Curtis

Scott Curtis

CEO - CNYTDO, President - TWI Institute

Scott brings 25 years of manufacturing experience and leadership to the TWI Institute. As Plant Manager of Albany International in Homer, NY for 7 years Scott was not only able to keep the business viable, but thrive in the face of rapidly escalating raw material costs and stiff competition from overseas markets. Much of the improvements achieved, such as an operating income increase of 375% over 4 years, were the result of a successful Lean implementation and the development of a world class TWI program. The achievements from the TWI implementation were featured as a case study in Bob Wrona and Patrick Graupp’s book Implementing TWI: Creating and Managing a Skills Based Culture, published by Productivity Press in November 2010. 

Scott began his career with Mobil Chemical as a project engineer responsible for large capital project installations. He also held positions as a Process Engineer, Maintenance Manager, Plant Superintendent and Plant Manager in his 13 year career with Mobil/Pactiv. Scott moved on to Huhtamaki Consumer Packaging in Fulton, NY and spent 5 years as Operations Manager. During his time there the business experienced significant expansion, successful negotiation of a four year union contract, and the beginning implementation of their Lean systems. 

Scott has training in Six Sigma from the University Of Tennessee Knoxville, and earned a bachelor’s from the Rochester Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Dick Jackson

Dick Jackson

Director & Master Trainer

Dick began his manufacturing career at Remington Arms Company in Ilion, NY as a machine operator. Since 1982 Dick was employed in various management positions at Remington that included Quality Engineer, Engineering Supervisor, Organization Development Resource, and as the Group Leader of the Continuous Improvement Group. 

He left Remington in 1996 to become President of Revival Industries in Herkimer, NY where he directed all daily activities as the majority owner until 2007. Dick decided then to put his lean experiences to work as a consultant to help local manufacturers compete in the global market. Soon after discovering the TWI Program he became a TWI Institute Certified Trainer for JI, JR, and JM delivering numerous training classes, coaching and implementation guidance at companies around the globe before joining the TWI Institute in 2011. 

Dick completed his JI Master Trainer training in January 2012 and his JR Master Training in July 2012. His strong engineering and management experiences are now put to good use for the TWI Institute when introducing TWI to companies, when providing follow-on coaching during the implementation process, and also when training new TWI trainers. 

Dick earned an AS Engineering Science degree from Mohawk Valley Community College, and a BS Mechanical Engineering and MBA from Syracuse University.

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

Trainer and Program Facilitator

After completing his education in diesel mechanics and heavy equipment, Jamie began his manufacturing career at the Buckbee Mears Corporation plant in Cortland, NY where they produced TV and monitor aperture masks using a chemical etching process. His primary responsibilities as Technician/Supervisor were to train and coach line personnel how to troubleshoot production line conditions by focusing on defect evaluation to improve quality and productivity to reduce cost. 

After Buckbee Mears closed in 2004, Jamie joined Albany International in Homer, NY where he quickly advanced to the key position of Set-Up Operator. Jamie was selected to become the TWI JI Trainer in 2007 and he became the TWI Champion after six months of mentoring by the TWI Institute. His key roles were delivering training, developing timetables and tracking training that led him to develop an audit system to monitor the effectiveness of the training. When Corporate recognized the TWI JI program was credited for a 70% reduction in Human Errors associated with machine changeover, Jamie was given the additional responsibility to spread Job Instruction to other Albany plants in America. 

Jamie’s passion for TWI led him to take advantage of an opportunity to join the TWI Institute as a TWI Trainer and Program Facilitator in 2013 where he now delivers TWI training and coordinates TWI program deliveries around the globe. Certified as a Trainer in Job Instruction and Job Relations, Jamie has completed the 10 hour classes to become a Job Safety and Job Methods trainer in the near future.

Lynne Harding

Lynne Harding

Program Administrator

Lynne manages the inside operations for the TWI program, TWI Institute staff, and its trainers. She manages the website, program scheduling, training logistics, contracts, vendors, inventory management, documentation and translations. 

Prior to joining the TWI Institute, Lynne was a Project Manager with Wells Fargo and a Senior Business Analyst and Lease Portfolio Manager with Telmark LLC. Her areas of expertise include training, documentation, project management, information technology and quality control. 

Lynne attended SUNY Canton and is trained and proficient in MS Office products, Dreamweaver, and PhotoShop.

Patrick Graupp

Patrick Graupp

Senior Master Trainer JI, JR, JM, JS, PS

Patrick began his training career at the SANYO Electric Corporate Training Center in Japan after graduating with Highest Honors from Drexel University in 1980. There he learned to deliver TWI from his mentor Kazuhiko Shibuya. Mr. Shibuya was trained by Kenji Ogawa who was trained by the four TWI Inc. trainers sent from the US to help Japan rebuild industry in 1951. Patrick earned an MBA from Boston University while heading Sanyo's global training effort. He was later promoted to the head of Human Resources for SANYO North America Corp. in San Diego, CA where he settled. 

Patrick partnered with Bob Wrona in 2001 to conduct TWI pilot projects in Syracuse, NY that became the foundation for the TWI Institute which has since trained a rapidly expanding global network of over 1100 certified trainers who are now delivering TWI training in the manufacturing, health care, construction, energy, and service industries in the US and around the globe. These efforts were outlined in their book The TWI Workbook: Essential Skills for Supervisors, a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Prize Recipient for 2007. Patrick is also the author of Implementing TWI: Creating and Managing a Skills-Based Culture which was published by Productivity Press in 2010 and Getting to Standard Work in Health Care: Using TWI to Create a Foundation for Quality Care published by CRC Press in 2012.

Dr. Jorge A. Sias

Dr. Jorge A. Sias

Director of Operations, Mexico

Jorge is a Human Resource and Training Professional with over 25 years of experience in global and multicultural organizations. Jorge was one of the very first to implement TWI in Mexico in the early 2000’s during his time at Robert Bosch. Jorge led several key initiatives including the successful reorganization of an automotive electronics plant in Cd. Juarez - El Paso Texas enabling him to drive human capital growth from 700 to 1,200. He also managed post-merger integrations of automotive, health and industrial acquisitions. As HR Director for Bosch Mexico, Jorge implemented SAP (P59) and centralized payroll for 7 manufacturing plants, a corporate organization and 8 sales and service divisions. In addition, he oversaw the centralization of leadership and technical training programs, competence management, compensation, succession planning and standardization of benefits.

Most recently, with the increasing demand in Mexico and Hispanic American Countries for the TWI Institute training services, Jorge is currently working to build capacity and a physical presence in México for the TWI Institute.

In addition to his professional Human Resource and Training experience, Jorge is educated as an MD and was a practicing physician from 1979 – 1994 providing health care services in rural and urban communities in Mexico. Jorge is also an accomplished artist and has participated in individual and group exhibitions at schools, plazas, galleries and art workshops in Mexico and the United States where he has met and been inspired by some of the icons of the art world.

 

Richard Abercrombie

Richard Abercrombie

Master Trainer JI, JR, JM, JS

Richard has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, most of it with the Boeing Company in Washington State. There, Richard became involved in Boeing’s Lean Manufacturing initiative as a member of the Boeing Supplier Support Center which assisted key Boeing suppliers, both domestic and international, with beginning a continuous improvement program based on the Toyota Production System. To fulfill this role, Richard received training in TPS from the Shingijutsu Company both in Japan and at Boeing.

Since retiring from the Boeing Company in 2000, Richard has continued to consult independently as President of Lean Promotions. Recognizing that TWI is one of the fundamentals of daily work routine management that support the Toyota Production System, Richard was one of the first consultant trainer trained and certified by the TWI Institute in 2003. In 2006 he was trained as the first TWI Institute Master Trainer to conduct train-the-trainer sessions for the TWI Institute. Richard also continues to deliver Job Instruction, Job Relations, Job Methods, Job Safety and Problem Solving for TWI Institute for clients around the globe in manufacturing, aerospace, steel, food, banking, construction, and the healthcare industries.

Mike Braml

Mike Braml

Master Trainer JI, JR, JM, JS

Mike has a double major in Biology and Scientific Land Management and then earned an MBA from Kennedy Western University. With more than 30 years of manufacturing and service industry experience in manufacturing management and continuous improvement efforts he has a history of success helping diverse enterprises gain competitive advantage and to position themselves for robust futures.

Mike’s broad continuous improvement experience includes Lean, Six Sigma, and TOC Implementations. Mike is certified in Production and Inventory Management through APICS, he is a senior member in the Society of Industrial Engineers, and he was Certified by NIST MEP as Lean Instructor for Lean 101, Value Stream Mapping, 5S, Setup Reduction, Plant Layout, Kaizen Events, Cell Design, Kanban Systems, and Standard Work with extensive experience implemented Lean for many small and medium sized companies.

Mike became a TWI Institute Certified Instructor for JI in 2005 and then systematically was trained and certified by the TWI Institute to deliver the JR, JM, JS and PS programs. While working for the Enterprise Minnesota Mike delivered hundreds of TWI classes before being trained as a Certified Master Trainer for the TWI Institute. Mike left Enterprise Minnesota in 2012 to invest his passion for the TWI program by introducing TWI to companies and especially by training new trainers for companies around the globe.

John Vellema

John Vellema

Master Trainer JI

John started his career as a toolmaker within injection molding. This deeply rooted hands-on knowledge working and understanding life on the shop floor developed an appreciation for what was needed for good employee development and supervisory – employee relations.

John served in the Danish Army where his last position was First Class Sergeant for a recon section stationed in Kosovo. After his army career John earned an engineering degree in Manufacturing and Management, at the University of Southern Denmark.

John joined the LEGO Group in 2007 participating in the Supply Chain Graduate Program. In combination with years of coaching teams under the Danish Association of Rowing, the obvious choice was to start as project leader and concept developer. Starting in 2009 and throughout the following three years, time was spent on the development and implementation of the Global Job Training Organization at LEGO. This TWI JI project was extremely successful and generated so much global acclaim, John co-authored the book ”Building a Global Learning Organization: Using TWI to Succeed with Strategic Workforce Expansion in the LEGO Group”.

In 2012 John choose to leave the LEGO group, in order to work as an external advisor and coach within TWI, Lean and HR. He has quickly developed a reputation as a well-liked and thoughtful trusted advisor to many companies, helping them reach their business objectives through their people. In 2013 John and his organization, BusinessThroughPeople, became an official Global Partner of the TWI Institute known as the TWI Institute – Scandinavia covering Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland and the TWI Institute Switzerland. John is trained in Job Instruction and Job Relations and completed his Job Instruction Master Trainer training in January 2015

Susan (Kuhns) Wisniewski

Susan (Kuhns) Wisniewski

Director of Marketing and Communications

Sue brings 30 years of multi-disciplinary experience to the TWI Institute and TDO. She has been with the TWI Institute since its inception and manages the Institute’s marketing initiatives.

Prior to joining the TWI Institute Sue's career experiences with General Electric, Inficon, and the Directions Group spanned diverse industries such as semiconductors, electronics, heat treating, instrumentation, optics, and thin films. Her expertise is in Global Marketing, Product Management, Strategic Planning, Product Development, Continuous Improvement, and Team Building.

Sue has a BS in Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management from Clarkson University and has performed graduate studies in the MBA program at Syracuse University with a concentration in Marketing. She is a graduate of the General Electric Technical Marketing Program (TMP) and is a MEP certified Growth Coach.

Clara Scherfner

Clara Scherfner

Finance Administrator

Clara has over 30 years of accounting experience; 21 of which are in the non-profit sector.  Clara manages all the TWI Institute’s accounting and finances including invoicing, accounts receivables, accounts payables and international banking relations.   Prior to joining TDO Clara spent 10 years raising her family and held many volunteer positions in the School District that her children attended. Clara is still an active community member in her school district and church. She is also a Notary Public.