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“Our mid-managers are working with and designing value streams to help with our space and capacity expansion, and our Kata efforts are expanding pretty organically.  We owe you great “thanks” for that.  It’s remarkable seeing how it moves things forward.”
– Bill Church, President, Green Mountain Antibodies (referring to his company’s 2022 training and implementation of Improvement and Coaching Kata)

“There are many things that surprised me about this course, and about taking the tools back to my product development group. I found when using the blue and yellow card process for projects both big and small, we ended up with ideas that people were really excited about, because they knew the mission, and they understood how each idea could solve a problem. I was surprised at every turn that what seemed like more structure actually gave us more freedom. We all had fun mind mapping, and learned a lot from stimulus mining in unexpected and unrelated fields. It gave these projects a sense of purpose and helped everyone understand our goals better. Thank you for a great class!”
– Kate Brown, Innovation + Product Development Manager, Lake Champlain Chocolate Company (referring to her December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience)

“In my day-to-day work and personal life, I would consider myself a thinker. I am constantly thinking about how to make something simpler or easier to use, or how to improve something. My brain is often just a mess of ideas and thoughts.  Since the Innovation Engineering course, I have begun to write some of these further developed ideas and thoughts down on paper, a sticky note, or even a note on my phone. I think I really got the most out of the Mind Mapping portion of the course. To be able to take one simple idea and sit down and brainstorm other ideas and watch that initial idea grow and become something unique is rather eye opening. Even if this initial idea is not the idea you run with in the end, it plays into that end goal of a wildly unique idea.  In the engineering world, more things remain ideas and thoughts than become a reality. With these tools, I hope to be able to push more of these ideas to become wildly unique reality.”
– Colin Derby, Manufacturing Engineer, Mack Molding (referring to his December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience)

“What I found surprising is that there are environments, which not only allow, but also encourage “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap”. In my engineering schooling and work experience, it has always been the mission to be slow and methodical in our approach to solving problems. Speed was seldom the end goal. I see now that just because we were going slowly, it did not necessarily mean we were going to get the correct answer right every time. Instead, with the “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap” methodology, we are able to have multiple rounds of learning and stimulus mining to come up with the best idea sooner than traditional methods.”
– Tyler Wright, Manufacturing Engineer, Mack Molding (referring to his December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience) 

“When I was told about this class by my boss, I was skeptical at first. I had never heard of Innovation Engineering before. Once I showed up to the first class, I did not know what to expect. After completing the class, I was more than surprised.  The Plan, Do, Study, Act section of the class was what stayed with me the most. Before, I would tend to act first on things without actually planning out what I was going to do. I would act, and then plan out what to do once I saw what my actions had done. Now, I plan out what I want to do before anything else, which helps me with the bigger picture of the problem.  All in all, this class has helped me take a different approach on things in life, whether it be planning out a project that I am working on at work, or even what my upcoming weekend plans look like.”
– Caleb White, Manufacturing Engineer, Mack Molding (referring to his December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience)

“I really appreciate VMEC having these classes and picking instructors with great subject expertise as David. These standards are so interpretive sometimes it can feel like a foreign language. It’s exciting to learn but can be overwhelming without guidance.  Thank you again for this class. It’s been paramount to my QMS already!  I encourage others to discover how essential these skills are to thriving within the standard.”
– Ryan Gregorek, Quality Control Manager, Flex-A-Seal (referring to his winter 2022 ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor course experience) 

“Thank you so much for extending to me the offer to participate yesterday.  I loved every bit of it!  The presenters were great, talked to me at my level and I walked away completely energized about how Kata can help my teams leapfrog into the future. I rarely find myself engaged for 8 hours in professional development; they typically lose me at lunch. However, the Kata workshop had me from the start and kept me in the moment the entire time.  Kata is how we can develop our team and our culture!”
– Michael Allan, Director of Operations, American Meadows (referring to his summer 2021 Kata training experience) 

“This is one of the better courses I’ve taken. In some ways, the online format was better than in-person (more convenient, no travel). The instructor was very knowledgeable and the pace was fast enough to cover lots of material and keep me engaged. I enjoyed meeting the other participants – a great group!”
– Ben Wallace, Director of Supply Chain and Continuous Improvement, IVEK Corporation (referring to his spring 2021 Process Improvement and Quality Fundamentals training experience) 

“The SEWBIZ™ simulation training was an important reminder that many of the challenges we face are not unique to our organization. The simulation did an incredible job mirroring many of the hurdles we face on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to take a step back and see this in a learning environment with your teammates was invaluable. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when tightening processes up with Lean 101 concepts.”
– Gregory Morris, CTO, Commando LLC (referring to his winter 2021 “Lean 101 with SEWBIZ™ simulation” training experience) 

“VMEC has brought expertise to us that has helped to start us on the continuous improvement journey, including  EXCELLENT resources like Jack Mastrianni for leadership development at all levels of the organization.  With their “Leading in a Learning/ Lean Management System” training, we utilized a “see, do, teach” approach as we developed internal leaders.  VMEC understands that we are trying to run a business at the same time as learning new skills.  They customize to our needs at an affordable price.”
– Jeannette Cole, VP Plant Operations, Agri-Mark Cabot Creamery 

“I just passed my CQIA exam! The course references were great, as well as the class handouts and presentations.  With a little brushing up, I really went into this exam with a feeling of confidence. Thank you for all the hard work you and the VMEC/ASQ team put into the class, I will highly recommend it to others!”
– Matt DeAngelis, Safety & Quality Manager, LEDdynamics Inc. (referring to his fall 2020 training course experience) 

“The Process Improvement and Quality Fundamentals course hosted by VMEC had a positive impact on our organization.  The materials and tools presented within the class enabled us to refine key processes as well as adequately prepare for, and pass, the ASQ certification exam. I would recommend it to other organizations looking to further the capabilities of their quality system and staff.”
– Justin Worth, VP of Operations, LEDdynamics Inc. and sponsor to Matt DeAngelis 

“The Process Improvement and Quality Fundamentals course was extremely useful.  Not only was I able to gather the knowledge to obtain the certification for ASQ’s CQIA,  but I was also able to learn many different tools to help me lead continuous improvement projects and corrective actions.  Being able to learn the tools but also apply them to a real project was extremely helpful in understanding what the course was really about.”
– Stacey Reeve, Quality Engineer, Chroma Technology

“Thank you all for putting together the virtual training. Timmi and I really enjoyed working with you all, and look forward to using the tools we learned as we work toward continuous improvement at Olivia’s.”
– Francie Caccavo, President, Olivia’s Crouton Co. Inc. (referring to her July/ August 2020 Food and Beverage training course experience) 

“I wanted to let you know that we had another successful ISO audit this year.  The auditor made special mention of the Strategy A3 and the A3 process for problem solving and resolution as strong evidence of continuous improvement, management engagement, and risk management.  Thank you again for the work you have done with us over the last couple of years.”
– Jeffrey Paquet, CEO, Mobile Medical International Corporation

“The training for TWI JI was clear and concise and while it was delivered remotely, that did not impede the learning process. We have long felt our in-house training processes needed improvement, and the VMEC team effectively taught us a great methodology which we will implement.”
– John Mullen, CEO, Vermont MicroTechnologies (referring to his June 2020 Health Officer Training course experience) 

“ExporTech™ certainly gave us confidence to sell our products outside the United States and information for the best way to do it. In addition to the US and Canada, we now sell to the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Italy, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.  It also connected us with other Vermont companies trying to grow and expand into other markets.  International sales were $300,000 in 2018 and we expect that will more than double in 2019.”
– Kevin Coleman, CFO, Ann Clark 

“This project was a great way for me to work on/ hone my presentation skills. It was very much like taking a class with an application project to complete. Application projects really drive true learning and improvement.   I made some wonderful contacts and some folks have already reached out to me. The forum provided me with a great networking opportunity.  Thanks for this wonderful experience!!!!  Hope to connect with you again real soon!!”
– Dan Gleason, Training Coordinator, Hazelett Corporation (
referring to his October 2018 TWI forum hosting experience) 

“My overall thought is that the concepts in IE were familiar to me, but the IE training tied them all together in a systematic way that seems very helpful to consistently achieving success. I despise systems that are burdensome and add no value. Thank you for putting together a great system, teaching method, and tools. I am looking forward to putting my knowledge to work.”
– Keith Epstein, Owner, Forecast LLC (referring to his July 2018 Innovation Engineering Quick Start course)

“I’m really looking forward to learning new ways of managing and leading. I think Carla is the perfect coach and has an endless amount of knowledge and experience to offer. I can already see that this opportunity will give my job new meaning, purpose, and motivation.”
– Kaitlyn Begins, Research Project Manager, Green Mountain Antibodies

“VMEC is an awesome organization with great talent.”
– Lloyd Grunvald, VP, Preci-Manufacturing

“Thank goodness we did the program when we did. Our original collective thinking was that we were not ready to start doing international sales. Even while we were completing the program and the follow-up, we were asking ourselves if we were getting ahead of ourselves. However, there came a moment when we did start to export, following the program, and suddenly we needed all of the information that we had received during the courses and conversations with the other businesses and resources that were provided. We were very thankful to have the resources available. If we had not completed the program, we would have been driving blind, not knowing which issues we were going to face and what was important in regard to international trade. For example, we might not have known the best and most effective way to register our trademark internationally, which is very important for our growth, whether we are trading in all countries or not. I recommend that companies learn and prepare for international expansion before they think they are ready.”
– Abbott Stark, Co-founder, Ogee (referring to their ExporTech experience) 

“I don’t think we’ve ever done a training program that has been so universally well received as TWI Job Instruction.”
– Angela Earle Gray, Director of Human Resources, Chroma Technology Corporation 

“The Lean Accounting training with Jerry Solomon was very beneficial to me and my team due to Jerry’s credibility and real world examples as well as his facilitation skills and enthusiasm.”
– Bryan Lund, Manufacturing Manager, Edlund Company, LLC 

“The Cybersecurity workshop was great, worth the several hours of driving. I’m glad I went!”
– Jonathan Grant, Vice President, Battenkill Technologies

“VMEC is a reliable and trusted partner for Rhino Foods. Innovation Engineering is a perfect example of where VMEC is helping  Vermont manufacturers lead and compete on a global scale.”
– Dan Kiniry, Director of Marketing, Rhino Foods Inc.  

“Rutland has invested in a new, multi-million dollar automated cold forming line.  One of our Apprentice grads is working the project through to completion.  He was selected because of the Apprentice Program training (6,000 Hours OJT, 950 Hours of Classes from VT Technical College and the VMEC courses) and having a Mechanical Engineering Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Vermont.  There are other investments that have been made in the last year where past Apprentice grads are currently working the implementation part of the project. It is one thing to invest the money in projects.  It is another to implement the projects.  Our Apprentice Program continues to graduate individuals that have the knowledge and skills to make this happen.”
– Randall Ouellette, Senior Product/Process Specialist, GE – Aviation, Rutland Operation

“I learned a lot in the IE Quick Start course and I am using many of the IE skills.  I’ve changed how I brainstorm ideas with my students, and I hope to teach the skills to my engineering class as they start to create solutions to a variety of challenges. ”
– Vickie Johnson, Science and Math Teacher, Orange Southwest Supervisory Union 

“I would recommend VMEC & EA to anyone considering updating their ERP system.  The cost of contracting these two helped eliminate the risk of this large decision by focusing us on the ERP packages that best met our needs.  The results of the program was Ai ended up with a painless transition from our old system, and continuous improvement opportunities since implementation.”
– Joseph Smith, Director of Operations, Advanced illumination Inc. 

“Without the assistance of VMEC, we would have chosen a different software solution that may have not met our needs as effectively as the one we secured. We are pleased with the process and outcome.”
– Kim Danforth, Office Supervisor, Vermont Creamery Inc. 

“I can’t even begin to thank you enough for all of the wonderful learning experiences that I have had through VMEC. As a young engineer getting his start in the world, I would say my time working with your company has been some of the most beneficial to my professional development.”
– Travis Russell, Plant Engineer and EHS Manager, Isovolta Inc. 

I really enjoyed the day. It was an eye-opener! I thought I had understood most of the concepts of Lean Manufacturing, but the hands-on experience made it “real”. Clearly you have done this many times and it was obvious.   You had the characters and sequence down pat, very enjoyable.”
– Brian Haas, President, VIS Construction Consultants

“I had a great time at the Lean Manufacturing Class and will certainly recommend it to people I am working with as well as employers.  It was well worth the time and very well presented.”
– Christine Longmore, Workforce Development Specialist, VABIR/Community Justice Center

“It used to be that product development was a one person show, me. I took in ideas and suggestions but ultimately all designs and decisions were up to me. At the same time I was, as typical, wearing many other hats. Therefore, product development was uneven and often hurried. Through my experiences with Innovation Engineering I realized I needed to respect the creative process more. We needed more ideas, more input to filter them properly, and more time to polish the good ones. Our most practical move was the creation about four years ago of a production development team, made up of internal people with enough varied skills to work on ideas without me. We have probably doubled our idea generation and doubled our new product introductions, often with greater success than we’ve seen in previous years. We are able to make more profitable judgments about what products we keep in our line because we know there is a solid pipeline of additional products coming. The continuous push of IE in the back of my mind keeps us moving along.”
– Mike Rainville, President, Maple Landmark Woodcraft

“It [VMEC] is an invaluable resource for Vermont businesses.”
– Tony Dunne, Sales Manager, Absolute Precision, Morrisville, VT

“There is a certain value of having an outside expert involved in the process to lend legitimacy.”
– Ben Wallace, Continuous Improvement Director, Sonnax, Bellows Falls, VT

“VMEC continues to be a great educational resource for NRG Systems. We utilize programs like Lean 101, Value Stream Mapping, and 5S to enhance our team’s ability to succeed. By aligning with VMEC, our company has consistently improved its processes, and more importantly, has committed to best-practice philosophies. VMEC has helped NRG Systems become a leader in wind measurement worldwide.”
– Louis Prue, Logistics Manager, NRG Systems, Hinesburg, VT

“By identifying the various components of materials waste on the machines during set up, we were able to systematically reduce our materials usage overall.”
– Robert Hibbert, Operations Manager, Questech, Rutland, VT

“Outstanding services resulting in efficiency gains, material savings, and improvement of business processes.”
– Jeff Dezotell, Product Manager, Dynapower, South Burlington, VT

“Going through this process we learned a different way to look at our business as a whole. The most immediate effect was that it freed up a lot of cash for us. But more than that, now that we have started our transition we know exactly how we need to change our relationships with our suppliers and our customers so everyone benefits. It is the next logical step for a company which is growing as fast as we are.”
– Paul Laderoute, CFO/VP Finance, Questech Metals, Rutland, VT

“As a small Vermont manufacturer competing on a global basis, we need to capitalize on every advantage and resource available to us, in order to accomplish our goals. VMEC has become a strategic and beneficial partner in a very short time. With the direct assistance of the VMEC team of consultants we partnered with, we have recently accomplished our new ISO 13485:2003 certification.”
– Scott Andrews, VP Sales, Cutting Edge Instruments, Bridgewater Corners, VT

“None of this would have happened without VMEC and Paul Demers’ passion for Lean. Our clients are interested in getting their wafers processed as quickly as possible, reducing their manufacturing cycle time. With VMEC’s assistance, we’re studying everything that feeds into the process to identify and trim waste. The faster we get new products into our clients’ hands, the more successful they will be, and that’s the value we can offer. The VMEC team has made an incredible difference at IBM.”
– Jeff Maling, STI Etch Manufacturing Engineer, IBM, Burlington, VT

“The Soft Select process enabled us to determine what was important to us in looking for a new software package and clarified the areas where our current software package was falling short. The functional questionnaire forced us to look at the specifics of how we wanted to use information technology in our business and what software features were important to us. Once we had identified these important features, we could ensure that we were shown these features during the software demos. The functional database feature saved us a lot of time in weeding out software packages that didn’t meet our functional requirements. VMEC’s Information Technology Specialist worked closely with us throughout the project and was extremely knowledgeable and helpful in guiding us through the process of picking the best ERP software package to meet our needs. VMEC’s guidance and skills saved us considerable time and money on this project.”
– Bruce Bove, IS Manager, Autumn Harp, Inc., Bristol, VT

“Using the SoftSelect process made my job in managing the selection process easy and provided a methodology that supported our culture of keeping everyone informed of the what’s and why’s of the project. Getting necessary information and feedback from key users regarding system requirements, and then the packages presented, was critical and left those who participated feeling enrolled in the final vendor selection. Users are excited and happily anticipating our “Go Live” date – while this is a huge endeavor and lots of extra work for most, the benefits of completing the project are well understood by all.”
– Jayne Magnant, Director of IT, Rhino Foods, Inc., South Burlington, VT

“Before we started this project, some employees would ‘do it all’ and others were in the dark about how to help. Now we have developed a culture of continuous improvement, and everyone participates.”
– Tommy Harmon, CEO / Owner, Sonnax Industries, Bellows Falls, VT

“I feel strongly that if you are in machine trades and you want to be in business five years from now, you have to have these ratings.”
– Harold Torre, President, Whitetail Manufacturing, Williston, VT

“Eureka! Winning Ways gave us a clear path of what to expect from our testing. ‘Fail fast, fail cheap’ has been a liberating motto to live by. There’s comfort in knowing that success can come from failure – try, discover, correct, execute. This has made our current retail test lab successful for this roll-out, and will certainly be invaluable when we’re ready to move on to the next great idea.”
– Gary Marmer, Vice President Marketing, Questech, Rutland, VT

“Overall support from VMEC to BioTek has been outstanding, VMEC’s personnel has been the key to our success. VMEC’s skill base, flexibility to meet our needs, and willingness from its personnel to challenge BioTek’s personnel has maximized our overall success.”
– Briar Alpert, President, BioTek, Winooski, VT

“We were out of floor space and tight on cash. Where was the cash?” inventory. But of course, all good manufacturers know that cutting inventory increases lead times. After taking Lean classes from VMEC, sending my staff through them and continually getting lectured by VMEC, we decided to actually give this “Lean” thing a try.

In short, my life has changed. Our inventory is roughly half what is was, our lead times have remained at “same day shipping” and our backorders have been virtually eliminated. We have freed up tremendous floor space and eliminated numerous non-value-added jobs like scheduling, re-scheduling and then convincing customers to move out their ship dates.

The process is straight forward, but requires dedication from top to bottom. Most importantly, from the top. Every element of the process needs to be thought through, down to the smallest detail, such as determining a re-order level for thank you cards. It takes a tremendous amount of planning time and forces you to think about every part of your business.

In the end, it makes us nimble. We are prepared to make what the customer wants when they want it, no excuses. And isn’t that the point?
– Ben Clark, VP and General Manager, Ann Clark Ltd., Rutland, VT

“We have attended the Lean 101 and Making Sense of Defense workshops. The VMEC staff and workshops are great. More of our staff will be attending. We tried it and it worked for us.”
– Matt Alley, Owner, Absolute Precision, Inc., Morrisville, VT

“VMEC continues to provide tools to support in cost cutting and continuous improvements.” An effect of VMEC assistance is, “Better trained employees to work on our more complex components.”
– Mark Boutin, Facilities Manager, BioTek, Winooski, VT

“As a result of VMEC services, we increased our velocity. This was done by making more robust processes. Robust processes minimize waste and improve efficiency and lower cost. Lower costs, shorter lead times, and higher quality lead to more customers. ”
– John G. Palermo, Production Manager, Huber + Suhner, Inc, Essex Junction, VT

“Because of our work with VMEC, we have seen our gross profit margin double in less than one year. We have much room for improvement, but it now feels like we are operating a real business, not just managing chaos and making pretty bags. We are making ten times as many bags in a much smaller space with the same number of people. Our employees are happy to come to work, are able to find the sources for their own errors, and suggest methods for improvements. We are able to predict turnaround time and volume requirements from our suppliers based on our own order volume. We have built an organized space with clear visual cues and indicators for when an action is necessary. ”
– Alicia Marchildon, Co-Founder, Flashbags, South Burlington, VT

“We began our Lean journey in manufacturing over two years ago. Don Paul, Bill Kuhns, Dick Morse, Paul Demers and the staff at VMEC have been extremely supportive of our Lean initiatives and have always been there to help out along the way. Although we appreciate the compliments and continued support, and good relationship we have with VMEC, half the fun is knowing that we are far from done and still have a lot of work to do. With CHP’s renewed commitment to Lean and support from VMEC, we’re confident that we will continue to improve in the years to come.”
– Jim Fay, Plant Manager, Country Home Products, Winooski, VT

“If the VMEC team had not stepped in with the knowledge and effort that it did, there is no question we would not have passed our ISO 9001 audit.”
– Eric Hounchell, Vice President of Operations, Revision Eyewear, Essex Junction, VT

“In our industry, it’s critical to keep developing new ideas to grow our market position. Eureka! Winning Ways put a structure to our new ideas, giving us a methodology to ask the questions we may have otherwise not taken the time to explore but which are necessary for launching a new idea.”
– Mike Rainville, Owner, Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Middlebury, VT