VMEC News Release – VMEC Staff Receive New Certifications


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Contact: Robynn Albert, VMEC Marketing & Training Manager
Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) 
P.O. Box 12, Randolph Center, VT  05061
Cell: (802) 793-2078 / [email protected]

VMEC Staff Receive New Certifications 

Randolph, VT – The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) is pleased to announce that Professional Manufacturing & Business Growth Advisors Jon Bates, Karl Swanke and Carla Wuthrich have completed the requirements necessary to be named Innovation Engineering® Blue Belts. Additionally, Jon Bates has recently been certified as a Kata Trainer by the TWI Institute, qualifying him to deliver a unique, 10-hour Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata program designed to help companies learn Kata concepts and patterns and develop a Kata culture in their organizations.  

Innovation Engineering® (IE) is a scientific system and mindset that enables never-ending innovation, resulting in increased speed to market with decreased risk. It enables a culture where everyone works together on “innovation”. An early pioneer of Innovation Engineering® since 2006 and a licensed member of the global Innovation Engineering® Network of practitioners, VMEC has worked with many manufacturers and organizations to help them accelerate profitable growth in new customers, meaningfully unique new products and services, new business models, and improved processes.  IE provides a systematic approach to align strategy, create innovative ideas when needed, persuasively communicate ideas, rapidly test ideas with quantitative research, patent ideas, and take ideas to market quickly with decreased risk. The IE Blue Belt certification achieved by Jon, Karl and Carla enables them to deliver the proven Innovation Engineering® System to VMEC clients across the state.

“Kata” is a Japanese word meaning “way of doing” and a pattern that you practice to develop a skill, the ability to do something well.  Kata represents two fundamental patterns that initially Toyota, and now growing numbers of other enterprises worldwide, have very successfully applied to their operations. The first is the “Improvement Kata” that involves learning and goal-directed work to improve, adapt and innovate.  The second is the “Coaching Kata,” the coaching or engine behind the Improvement Kata that ultimately leads to achieving desired results and meeting a target challenge.

According to VMEC Director & CEO Bob Zider, “The VMEC Team is very proud of Jon, Karl and Carla’s noteworthy accomplishments in Innovation Engineering® and Kata. Achieving these professional milestones, with the deep learning, broad knowledge and proficiency they represent, will benefit many of the Vermont companies that VMEC assists.  Further, all VMEC field staff have now attained either Black Belt or Blue Belt level certifications in Innovation Engineering®, representing a new record within the nationwide MEP National Network. And at the end of March,  the entire VMEC Team completed the Kata 10-hour Training Program, taught by our own team member, Jon Bates.”

About VMEC: Part of the nationwide MEP National Network and hosted by Vermont Technical College (VTC) since 1995, VMEC operates as a not-for-profit with a primary Mission, “To strengthen and empower Vermont manufacturers.” A local resource and trusted adviser to enterprises of all sizes, the VMEC team brings world-class expertise in consulting, coaching, hands-on implementation support, training and education for leaders and workers.  Through the VMEC PSG business unit established in 2006, on a selected basis VMEC also brings its process, strategy and innovation experience and expertise to non-manufacturing business, non-profit, healthcare and government sectors in Vermont. VMEC provides proven Systems and Solutions focused on Strategies, Processes, Products, Technologies and People.