Montana State University

MMEC announces 100 percent first time pass rate on rigorous certification exam

July 13, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Subscribe to MSU Newsletters

Bobcat Bulletin is a weekly e-newsletter designed to bring the most recent and relevant news about Montana State University directly to friends and neighbors via email. Visit Bobcat Bulletin.

MSU Today e-mail brings you news and events on campus thrice weekly during the academic year. Visit the MSU Today calendar.

MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center’s entire spring class of manufacturing professionals has passed the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Lean Bronze Certification exam on the first attempt.

Lean manufacturing is a business model that emphasizes the elimination of non-value-added activities across the organization. The bronze level topics include identifying and eliminating waste in processes, expanding capacity by reducing costs and shortening cycle times and understanding what is important to the customer. Bronze certification also covers how to apply the principles, concepts and methods within a work cell, work group or value stream.

The exam is given following 80 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on learning, led by MMEC Senior Business Adviser Alistair Stewart.

“Certification can be a definite advantage for job advancement,” according to Jenni West, associate director of MMEC.  “The fact that 15 individuals involved in the manufacturing industry in the Gallatin Valley are now certified in lean principles is a testament to the fact that our (local) manufacturing industry strives to be world-class and is investing in their employees to ensure they remain competitive in the global business environment.  With very tough competition from around the world, our manufacturers have to find ways to constantly improve and eliminate waste, two of the major goals of lean principles.”

The class, listed by company and position, is as follows:

  • ILX Lightwave/Newport Corporation: Jerad Corbin, materials supervisor; Deb Chard, operations manager/division controller; Kory Graham, production supervisor
  • Lattice Materials: John Ashley, production manager
  • MSU Miltech: Alix Byrd, program liaison; Chris Hergett, project manager; Nikki Tuss, operations manager; August Uhl, external resources manager
  • MSU MMEC: Jenni West, associate director
  • Plastic Design & Manufacturing: Pawan Kumar, quality manager
  • Reliable Granite and Tile: Shane Cantrell, operations manager
  • Simms Fishing Products: Donna Crask, senior production manager
  • West Paw Design: Chris Chase, production systems owner; Dan Eslinger, production manager

The recent graduates, joined by Kirstin Baker, operations manager at Montana Instruments, plan to meet monthly as the Gallatin Valley Lean Leaders, solving problems at participants’ manufacturing facilities in Gallatin Valley.

MMEC is a statewide manufacturing outreach and assistance center staffed by full-time professionals with degrees in engineering and management, and extensive experience in manufacturing and business in a variety of industries. The center helps clients innovate, accelerate growth and increase profits.

SME has a heritage spanning more than 80 years. The society serves the manufacturing industry as a nonprofit by promoting advanced manufacturing technology and developing a skilled workforce. SME works closely with manufacturers to share knowledge and resources that generate solutions meeting industry demands.

For more information on MMEC, see:

For more information on SME, see:    

Contact: Jenni West, MMEC, (406) 994-3812 or