LEAN SIX SIGMA WORLD CONFERENCE SPEAKER
Mark D. Brown
Director of Quality, Elbit Systems America, Pflugerville, TX, USA
During Mark’s formative years, he was inspired by his father’s career as a research Physicist at Western Electric/Bell labs. Early success competing in the International Science and Engineering Fair gave Mark further inspiration to pursue a technical career. Mark worked a variety of jobs to pay his way through college, completing his BSEE at the College of New Jersey. Experience highlights included work for Plasma Physics Fusion Laboratory, and Physical Acoustics Corporation in Princeton, NJ. Mark’s background in music allowed him to provide private music lessons, earning much-needed funds for his daily commutes.
Upon graduation, Mark accepted a position with Texas Instruments Defense and Electronics Group (DSEG) in Dallas as an advanced Automation Engineer. He was interested in TI due to their long track record for innovation and design. The position intrigued Mark because of the multidisciplinary elements of automation design (electrical, mechanical, software and process engineering). Key programs he supported at TI included the High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) and Paveway Laser Missile Programs. This work exposed Mark to stringent product quality and performance requirements and quickly earned him a promotion to Lead Engineer after developing an automated inspection system that helped mitigate a top Navy Quality Concern - Component Solderability Inspection. Mark’s exposure to project management inspired him to pursue an MBA in Engineering Management at the University of Dallas. He finished the program in two years while supporting his full time position at TI.
Facing the realities of funding reductions in the defense market, Mark pursued opportunities outside the defense industry. His search led to a position with Energizer Power Systems in Gainesville, Florida. Energizer’s recently acquired General Electric rechargeable battery division needed an automation specialist to reduce product non-conformities, as well as positively impact ergonomic and efficiency initiatives. Mark’s background proved to be an excellent match, where he provided an important consulting role and implemented a number of high impact projects.
In 1996, Mark was recruited to work for Dell Computer Corporation in Austin, Texas. Dell was experiencing dramatic growth and needed new factories around the world. Intense competitive pressures necessitated the factories provide significant cost, quality and speed advantages, while adhering to the principles of Dell’s Mass Customization Business Model. Leveraging the principles of CFM, JIT, and Lean Manufacturing, Mark was awarded five patents for his innovative design work. Many of his concepts and designs were implemented in Dell’s “Factory of the Future.” This factory exceeded all design requirements and was awarded “Top 10 Plants in the World” by Industry Week.
In 2001 Mark accepted a position with BAE Systems and the tragedy of 9/11 shortly followed. Mark was assigned to a number of company critical programs which aided in the protection of our armed service men and women. Recognizing Mark’s hard work, the site Quality Director recruited him for a leadership position in a new quality initiative titled “Mission Success.” The Mission Success organization was chartered to provide early warning on risks throughout the program lifecycle. This initiative was performed in close partnership with program management and significantly reduced the number of red programs. Through the development of a number of special processes, Mark enhanced communication with senior management, facilitating faster and more effective responses to program issues.
In 2006, Mark was promoted to site Quality Director. In this role he assumed responsibility for the Quality Engineering Team and Quality Management System. Mark leveraged his past experience to form a lean, high performing quality team, which stands today with the majority of its core members in place. Through various organization constructs, Mark has experience managing multiple site quality organizations as well as borderless engineers across the United States. Mark pioneered a successful employee suggestion program, titled IDEA (Innovate, Design, Empower, Act). Working from a $25K budget, the program recorded over $1M in savings by its third year.
In 2014 Mark was nominated to serve as Site Executive. This role is restricted to the site’s top leaders and spans two years. Responsibilities include: Site events, Diversity and Inclusion, Employee Wellness, Safety Health and Environment, Charitable Giving, Site Budget and Capital Management. Mark found this to be a very rewarding role, and expanded his ability to positively affect site operations and employee morale.
Today Mark is helping to mentor the next generation of quality professionals, and continues to tackle problems and take on continuous improvement initiatives.