Team Member Profile

Tom Hecksel

Process Improvement Specialist

Tom has over thirty-five years of experience in manufacturing operations where he has developed an exceptional understanding of Lean systems, processes, and tools, including their successful implementation in front-line applications. He has worked under outstanding Lean leaders, who have stressed that success is based on a participative environment, where the input of all team members is encouraged - this is a fundamental building block for successful, sustained process improvement.

Tom's mastery of these principles and his leadership skills have been the basis for his long history of success in helping organizations make and sustain substantial measurable improvements in performance. In recent years, Tom has expanded his extensive experience with Lean principles to help achieve substantial operational improvements with clients in government, healthcare, and service industries, in addition to manufacturing

From 2008 through his retirement in 2019, Tom served as President and General Manager of Swoboda Technologies of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a manufacturer of complex hybrid modules, where he successfully developed a continuous improvement culture and implemented Lean systems, processes, and tools throughout the organization.

Tom's nine years at Donnelly Corporation (later MagnaDonnelly) included service when Russ Scaffede, OPS's Board of Advisors Chairman was the senior Operations Executive and drove the implementation of Toyota Production System (TPS) throughout the global organization. Tom's service included the positions of General Manager, Director of Lean Systems, Director of Operations for Interior Mirrors and Electronics and Operations Manager for Interior Mirrors and Trim. His operations supplied many automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM's,) including the most demanding of quality and delivery such as Toyota and Honda.

For three years, Tom chaired the Toyota BAMA (the Bluegrass Automotive Manufacturing Association,) a group of automotive suppliers who worked to further develop and enhance their individual capabilities to implement TPS.

Prior to Donnelly, Tom had four years of experience with ITT automotive as Plant Manager at the Elsie, Michigan plant which manufactured power seat tracking mechanisms for various OEM's plus automotive suppliers Lean and Johnson Controls.

Tom spent ten years at Lescoa, Inc. (now part of Meridian Corporation) as Plant Manager of several plants, including a laiting facility, a stamping and assembly site, and an integrated molding, painting and assembly operation He began his career as a process and development manufacturing engineer with Sealed Power Corporation.

Tom has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Degree from Grand Valley State University.

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