Toyota Experience Matters!
True Lean™ Instructors and Coaches include former Toyota leadership, many of whom were among Toyota’s first North American management. Toyota has dedicated an Executive-in-Residence to our program as we maintain a strong relationship with Toyota to teach the true essence of the Toyota Production System. Our Instructors and Coaches have supported numerous organizations through their successful transitions to True Lean™. We put the right team together to deliver, coach and support you toward the development of your System.
Nelson Akafuah is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering Technology and Director of the Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD) at the University of Kentucky.
Kozo learned TPS directly from the current Toyota Honorary Chairman, Fujio Cho. Dr. Saito is the founding director of the UK Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD), which houses both R&D and True Lean. Both were initiated by the sponsorship from Toyota in 1994 under his ambassador’s role.
Glenn served 27 years as a Toyota executive during its rapid North American development and expansion. In addition to being a leader on the startup team (1987) of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK), Glenn continuously learned and applied TPS and Toyota Way through Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Administration.
Richard retired from Toyota in 2012, after 25 years with the company. Richard was a member of the original management team responsible for bringing the Toyota Production System (TPS) from Japan to the US during the construction, start-up and subsequent expansion of Toyota’s operations in North America.
Pete was Toyota's ninth manufacturing hire in the US. During his 22-year tenure, Pete served in numerous positions, eventually retiring as the VP of Human Resources for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing of North America for over 22,000 team members at Toyota's North American assembly and parts manufacturing and engineering sites.
Eric Freeman retired after a 25-year career at Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America as Manager of Manufacturing People Development, where he focused on teaching the Toyota Production System. Recognized for his expertise, Eric has built strong everlasting relationships with members of all of Toyota North America plants and Japans Toyota Training and Development Center. While at Toyota, Eric established, trained and executed many people development programs with Japan and Toyota North America.
Cheryl began her 22-year Toyota career in 1987. Starting as a supervisor in manufacturing, Cheryl advanced through Toyota, eventually achieving VP of Manufacturing. She has extensive TPS and Toyota Way knowledge and experience in both manufacturing and administration. This encompasses: final vehicle assembly; robotic painting; and, parts delivery from supplier to final vehicle assembly.
Gary joined the True Lean Program upon retiring in 2021 after a 40-year career in engineering and manufacturing. While the first seven years of his career were in non-lean environments, Gary received his Lean training during his 33 years at Link-Belt Cranes and implemented True Lean concepts as he advanced to positions of greater scope and responsibility within the company.
Ken joined Toyota in 1987. During his distinguished 31 years with Toyota, Ken was the chief production engineer for the new generation Avalon, and worked closely with the Toyota North American Manufacturing Companies (NAMC’s), Toyota Technical Center (TTC) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) to ensure success of the North American vehicle launches.
David is the Toyota Executive in Residence at UK. He started at Toyota in 2000, as Assistant Manager in Die Manufacturing. After nine years, David transferred to Operations Management Development Division (OMDD). While at UK, David has been focused on supporting TPS deployment in undergraduate & graduate level education.
Sandra has served for over 30 years with the True Lean program. As the True Lean Manager, she is most often a client’s initial contact with True Lean. She also manages many of the True Lean campus onsite functions and the support teams.
Tom Kennelly joined the UK Institute of Research for Technology Development in 2022. Tom is the Assistant Director of Operations and responsibilities include Philanthropic Engagement, Marketing and Communication, Operations Management, and Strategic Planning and Development.
Tony retired from Toyota after a 20-year career, serving in multiple roles. During his time with Toyota, Tony gained deep TPS and Toyota Way knowledge and experience, developing standardized work, setting up work stations, and applying practical problem solving. He also coached Quality Circles, Jidoka, and on and applied Kaizen.
Bill has been a member of the True Lean Systems Group since 2000 , joining the team following 19 years in industry. During his tenure with the University, Bill has worked with other team members on the creation, delivery, and continuous improvement of True Lean Certification and other training offerings.
Steve has been working with True Lean since 2000, as an Ergonomics education provider. He supports clients as they improve conditions for team members at all levels. His focus is to systematically identify the true root cause in order to prevent the problem from recurring.
Crit retired from Toyota with 16 years of experience as an Assistant Manager in Quality Engineering. He also advised and supported new project launch management, planned & had oversight of investigations, and planned & introduced new equipment. Crit joined True Lean™ in 2009 as an instructor, while also supporting Toyota suppliers’ Quality departments onsite.
Abbot serves as the Academic Coordinator for True Lean, to develop knowledgeable and workplace-ready students for Toyota and other organizations. These students gain a deep understanding of True Lean principles and practices, and the true essence of TPS. Abbot collaborates with True Lean instructors to lead transformational and problem solving activities.
David Parsley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology. Before this role, David was a member of the True Lean team as an Industry Extension Specialist from 2008 to 2021. During this time at the University, he has assisted in the delivery and facilitation of standardization, 8 Step problem solving, and model area development within various manufacturing organizations. He was also part of the team responsible for the facilitation(facilitates) and continuous improvement of the Lean Systems Certification, a core offering of the True Lean Systems Program.
John Raymer began his 28-year Toyota career on-line in skilled trades at TMMK in Georgetown, Ky. He advanced into managerial and executive roles in Engineering/Skilled Trades/Tool & Die, Manufacturing Production, New Model/Plant Introduction and Environmental. John also played key new project roles in both Toyota’s joint venture with Subaru at SIA and in serving as an original start up Manufacturing Department Head at Toyota’s greenfield assembly plant TMMMS in Mississippi.
Carol retired from Toyota after a 26-year career as an executive where she led the North American employee relations, security, internal communications, labor, and supplier support function. She successfully implemented lean Human Resources programs that ensured stable and positive employee relations at Toyota’s North American manufacturing facilities.
Melanie serves as a True Lean Administrative Support Associate and Conference Coordinator. She has been with the program since 2016. In this role, Melanie ensures on-campus and client onsite participants have the necessary materials and appropriate environment to learn True Lean elements, and to interact with both the practitioners and the participants from other organizations on the True Lean journey
Paul’s 31-year career at Toyota culminated in six years at Toyota’s Engineering Headquarters serving as the North American Engineering Manager for Body Weld Production Engineering - New Technology and Manufacturing Innovation Group. This group develops, refines, installs, then issues Engineering Memos to release the technology to the 14 North American Manufacturing Companies.
Edward retired from a distinguished 26-year career at Toyota where he focused on Maintenance, Engineering, and Quality. At Toyota, Ed led numerous North American Maintenance Best Practice Initiatives and Self-Reliance Initiative. He set standards for TPM, Bronze, Silver and Gold Level, and he co-authored TPM Global Standard with TMC Japan Maintenance Leaders.