NWHPEC Executive Director
Jennifer Ayers is the Executive Director for the Northwest High Performance Enterprise Consortium (NWHPEC) in Portland, OR. In this role, Jennifer is responsible for promoting the vision, mission, and purpose of the consortium, planning and organizing continuous improvement learning experiences, and coordinating benchmarking and sharing between consortium members. In this role, she also provides mentoring and coaching to individuals within the NWHPEC membership. Jennifer enjoys collaborating with others to develop a better understanding of the purpose and direction for their organization.
Her passion for Lean and creating efficiency in everything she touched started at a young age. When she entered Oregon State University and found out she could create a career out of improving processes she immediately embarked on her journey to major in Manufacturing Engineering and Industrial Engineering. Throughout her career, she has held roles as a Manufacturing/Process Engineer, Engineering Design Manager, Project Manager, and Operational Excellence Manager. Jennifer enjoys being part of NWHPEC because of the far reaching influence it has on shaping the future of continuous improvement in the Northwest by giving members exposure to key resources, talent, and networking opportunities.
General Manager @WEIR Esco
Theresa Mills (NWHPEC President) is the General Manager of North American Foundries at Weir ESCO in Portland, OR. She supports the ESCO Business System (EBS), which is at the heart of the ESCO culture; it guides the behaviors and actions that drive strategic planning and deployment, connects improvement efforts to business priorities, and guides daily work.
Theresa has over 30 years of manufacturing experience in multiple industries serving primarily in Operations, Supply Chain, and Continuous Improvement roles. At ESCO, Theresa was introduced to Lean in the early 2000s. As a result, her work principles are guided by a passion for improvement and an ongoing desire to grow people.
Theresa is a graduate of Oregon State University with a B.S. in Business Administration; she also is a certified Six Sigma Black belt.
NWHPEC VP of Finance & Administration
VP of Operations @Myers Container
Cody Stavig (NWHPEC VP of Finance & Adminstration) is the Vice President of Operations for Stavig Group. He has served in various operational roles with the Stavig Group for over a decade, including finance and accounting, information systems, and facility management. His current responsibilities include P&L management for Stavig Group’s entire network of factories nationwide consisting of 300+ team members as well as contributing at the board level to the strategic planning of the company.
Cody is a Pacific Northwest native and is passionate about learning more about continuous improvement methodologies. He holds a B.B.A. and B.A. from the University of Texas, an M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, and an M.Sc. from the University of Oxford.
CEO/President @AllMed Healthcare Management
Maridy McGinnis is the CEO / President of AllMed Healthcare Management in Portland, OR. This role is responsible for executing AllMed’s mission, ensuring that the company continues to use its clinical expertise, technology, and innovation to drive value in health care. Prior experience includes operational leadership roles in medical device and aerospace manufacturing businesses.
Maridy was introduced to Lean very early in her career and has been incorporating continuous improvement methodologies and utilizing the Lean toolbox throughout her 25+ year career. Seeing the positive impact these principles can have on people and business regardless of industry is very rewarding to her.
Maridy is originally from the Portland area and graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in Economics and earned her MBA from the University of Oregon.
Performance Improvement Manager @OHSU
Lia Mills is the Performance Improvement Manager in the Quality Management Department at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, OR. Lia has been involved in quality improvement work at OHSU since 2017, striving to improve system processes throughout the hospital and university. Lia manages a team of seven performance improvement consultants and together they are guiding, coaching, and training OHSU staff to become capable problem solvers, using OPEx methods and tools (OPEx is OHSU's Performance Excellence System – based in Lean management principles).
Prior to OHSU, Lia was the Engineering Operations Manager at Benson Industries Inc., an international custom exterior façade construction company located in Portland, OR. During her seventeen-year tenure there, Lia managed a team of over fifty drafters, who helped expand her problem-solving skills on a daily basis.
Lia is a graduate of Colorado College with a B.A. in Art History. She grew up in Maine and after living in Colorado, Chicago, Santa Fe, and San Francisco, she is happy to call the West Coast her home. Lia lives in southeast Portland with her husband and two sons.
Operational Excellence Principal @Genentech
Randy O’Donnell (he/him/his) is a performance improvement leader who is passionate about creating an environment and system that helps people and teams be their best. He believes that developing and empowering people are the way to achieve extraordinary results. He is an engineer by education, has certifications in Six Sigma and Lean, and has worked with teams in manufacturing and healthcare for the past twenty-six years. Randy is currently at Roche/Genentech, helping to manufacture life-saving medicines for patients; prior to that, at OHSU, he helped bring Lean to their healthcare delivery system, and at Kyocera Corporation leading a division's global sales and application engineering team.
Originally from Wisconsin and growing up on a dairy farm, he met his wife, Andrea, in Minnesota while at Winona State University; they moved out to Oregon in 1998 and live in northeast Portland. Andrea is a nurse practitioner at OHSU, working in women’s health research; Mira, their daughter, is soon to head off to college to explore new adventures. Xavier, their son, is in high school and loves live theater and dance.
Plant Manager @Elkhorn Plastics
Frank Twardoch has been a NWHPEC board member since 2016 and is LECP certified through Impact Washington. Frank caught the Lean bug as a self-study student back in early 1990 when, as a set up tech, was frustrated with how long it took to change injection molds and found what he would describe as his “AHA” moment with the discovery of Shingo’s “A Revolution in Manufacturing: The SMED System”. This book he credits with literally changing his outlook on manufacturing and his professional life. From there his thirst for Lean knowledge led him to continue his personal study of methods and the Toyota Production System philosophy. His next career path took him to an organization that employed former NUMMI employees in its CI department, and as a General Manager embraced the teachings and benefits it afforded his plant. Soon he was advocating for his plant to host the annual 8 Step Problem Solving convention, which led to a Best in the Company designation out of the 10 plants in the organization.
Frank is currently the Plant Manager at Elkhart Plastics, a division of Myers Industries. He was the Sr. Director of Operations at Glen Dimplex Americas (Cadet Heat) for 17 years where he supported their Lean transformation, with special emphasis on the use of SMED in changing dies in the Fabrication department as well as utilizing these tools in the production line changeover and the Paint department for color changes.
Frank lives in Gresham, OR with his wife Beth and Geddy, their Golden Retriever. They have two grown daughters, one a Registered Nurse and one a CPA, with both showing an understanding and appreciation for Lean in both the Healthcare industry as well as the financial auditing sector, having both been exposed to the power of 6S in the family kitchen. Where they once thought Dad was a bit over the top with the organization of the silverware drawer, both understand the value and benefit and both have bought into the use of the tool in their own lives. Lean has impacted Frank’s life in so many ways and he is passionate about the future of American manufacturing with a focus on waste elimination.
VP of Operations @Woodfold
Rick Alvarado is VP of Operations for Woodfold Manufacturing. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing manufacturing, maintenance, facilities and also leads the organization’s Continuous Improvement efforts.
Woodfold is one of the nation’s leading suppliers of custom-crafted Accordion Door, Rollup Door, and Hardwood Shutters for both residential and commercial installations. Woodfold is a 100% employee-owned company.
Rick has spent his entire 30+ year career in manufacturing and at Woodfold. He has held various positions within the company including: Packaging/Shipping Lead, Hardwoods Division Manager, and Continuous Improvement Manager. Working his way up from the shop floor has allowed him to build relationships throughout the organization and better understand the needs of the employee-owners he serves. He is passionate about change and strives for self-improvement and the development of others.