Montana State University

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

January 24, 2017 -- From MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN — The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center’s entire fall 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 in the workplace.

The exam is given following 80 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on learning, and the fall 2016 class in Bozeman was led by MMEC Senior Business Adviser Alistair Stewart.

“Certification can be a definite advantage for job advancement,” said Paddy Fleming, director of MMEC. “That 10 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 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.”

Class members, who achieved an average passing score on the exam of 90 percent, are listed below by company and position:

  • ILX Lightwave/Newport/MKS, Chris Baldwin, production supervisor
  • ILX Lightwave/Newport/MKS, Trevor Bowman, manufacturing engineer
  • Mesa Labs, Dustin Byrd, mechanical engineer
  • Mesa Labs, Lorrie Fisher, continuous improvement manager
  • Mystery Ranch Ltd., Ray Baker
  • Mystery Ranch Ltd., Jason Klimpke
  • Mystery Ranch Ltd., Sara Mines
  • Rocky Mountain Bank, Bob Gieseke, market president
  • PFL, Justin Dalby, press manager
  • PFL, Keith Jacobik, production/TMA/fulfillment manager

The recent graduates plan to join the Lean Alliance of Gallatin Valley, a peer group of prior SME Lean Bonze graduates. The group meets monthly to solve production 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