Spring 2013 Distinguished Speaker Series
Gordon Program

On Thursday, March 21st, our Distinguished Speaker will be Michael Beck P.E., VP Operational Excellence, Harvest Power, Inc.                                                  

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Time: 7:00pm-8:00pm
Location: 431 Stearns Center

RSVP: Please contact Marlys Vaughan at for additional information.

After earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University, Mike Beck started his career in the auto industry, working for General Motors, initially at the Oldsmobile Division.  His early roles were in new product development, reliability and test engineering.  After winning a GM Fellowship, he attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and returned to GM, joining the Powertrain Division, assuming engineering and project management roles in new engine development; a notable early success was the introduction of the ground-breaking Quad-4 engine.

At GM Mike met and worked with Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a consultant to the Division.  Mike was selected to become an internal consultant in quality and continuous improvement, spent one year in training with Dr. Deming, and transitioned from Engineering Management to a position co-leading the Powertrain Statistical Network from 1987 through 1992.  Strongly influenced by Deming, Mike obtained a second masters degree during these years, an M.S. in Applied Statistics from Oakland University.  In this period Mike developed deep expertise in continual improvement, quality, statistical methods and organizational transformation, with successful applications in casting, machining, and assembly operations.  He became very active in collaborating across organizational boundaries, and was a key contributor to the quality renaissance of GM Powertrain.

The next step in Mike’s career led him to join Toyota, where he assisted in organizing the new Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America headquarters in Erlanger, KY.  Mike recruited the HQ quality team members, provided initial training, and served as the Assistant General Manager of the Quality Division.  He led the Hoshin Kanri process for the division, learned Lean from the inventors, and considers his biggest accomplishment publication of the Toyota Supplier Quality Assurance Manual, still in use today.

In 1998 Mike was recruited by United Technologies to lead the deployment of a new quality and lean approach for the Otis Elevator Company, where he served as the VP Quality and Continuous Improvement.  Mike’s contributions to the development and implementation of the ACE process at Otis, rigorous applications to factory, supply chain and field process improvements, and the development of the revolutionary Gen2 elevator system led to ROS growth of 6% during Mike’s tenure.

Ford Motor Company recruited Mike to become the Quality Director for North American Car in 2001.  Changes in leadership at Ford led Mike to return in 2003 to UTC, to the newly established Fire & Security Division as VP Quality and CI.  Mike led establishment of the quality function, implementation of Policy Deployment and Phase Gate processes, and application of ACE and Lean to factory and field operations.  Focus areas were new product development, manufacturing, and acquisition integration.

In 2007 Mike joined Terex Corporation, where he was recruited by a former UTC colleague to become VP Manufacturing for the Construction Division, responsible for Lean Manufacturing Deployment, Quality, Sales and Operations Planning, with P&L responsibility for all operations of the division, producing excavators, backhoe loaders, articulated and rigid trucks, and earth moving equipment.

Since 2009 Mike has provided consulting and leadership for applications of lean manufacturing, quality, engineering, and continuous improvement to a range of organizations, including the gaming industry, aerospace manufacturing, and construction firms.  He is presently serving as VP Operational Excellence for Harvest Power, Inc., a startup green energy and recycling company based in Watham, MA, with operations at 28 sites across the US and Canada.

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The National Academy of Engineering awarded the Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership the prestigious 2015 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education.

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