Keynote Speakers 

Keynote speakers, distinguished experts in industrial engineering, management and academia, set the tone for the various sections of the conference.

Thursday, Oct. 1

Sam MacPherson

Read this interview with Sam MacPherson


Sam MacPherson
Lean Enterprise Transformation Leader
Lean Leadership Academy
8 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Sam MacPherson is an internationally recognized lean enterprise transformation leader and has dedicated over 28 years to developing organizational leaders and senior leadership teams and designing lean enterprise management systems. MacPherson was introduced to the Toyota Production System and the Shingo method in the mid-1980s while serving as the project leader for Shigeo Shingo. During the 1990s, McPherson studied TPS firsthand at TMMK through a partnership between the University of Alabama and the University of Kentucky. He led industry award-winning lean transformations as a plant manager for Crown Cork and Seal. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he was recalled to active military service to serve as the director of special operations plans for the Elite Task Force Dagger of the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group (the Green Berets) during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. As a marine industry executive vice-president of operations, MacPherson led lean transformations across the enterprise in operations, quality systems, manufacturing engineering, supply chain/logistics and sales.

MacPherson retired in 2004 as the Special Forces director of training and private sector operational leadership in 2007. In 2011, he co-founded the Lean Leadership Academy with TPS experts Art Smalley and retired Toyota vice president and mentor Russ Scaffede to help organizations develop their organizational leadership pipeline and properly implement TPS as a comprehensive system to achieve business and organizational excellence.



Read this interview with Joseph F. Paris Jr.


Joseph F. Paris Jr.
Founder, Operational Excellence Society LLC
Chairman, XONITEK Group of Companies
Noon - 1:15 p.m.

Joseph F. Paris is first and foremost an adventurer, explorer and empath of the human endeavor. He is forever seeking ways to improve the circumstances of others – trying to accomplish this always from their perspective and in their context; considering their dreams and aspirations, their nostalgia, culture, conditions, and life-experience. 

Paris is the Founder of the Operational Excellence Society – which is a "Think Tank" for companies who have the desire to achieve peek-performance across the entire ecosystem of their enterprise and which now has thousands of members belonging to Chapters in several cities around the world.  He is also the owner of the Operational Excellence group on LinkedIn with nearly 40,000 members and where all manner of open discussion and opportunities related to the improvement in the circumstances of the human endeavor are welcome.

Leveraging these passions and his talents and training; Paris also founded XONITEK as an operations management consultancy firm specializing in operational excellence (leadership, culture change, and lean/Six Sigma) – with an emphasis on creating a corporate environment where; true transformational change is pervasive and innovation embraced, sustainable results shall be achieved, the human condition will be elevated, and the significant benefit to the company for attaining this will be realized.  

In addition to these other responsibilities; Paris is a thought-leader and a prolific writer on the subject of operational excellence. He is sought by companies and academia to explore and address the challenges and opportunities of today and illuminate and predict those of tomorrow. He is highly valued for his ability to provide strategic analysis and tactical insight. 

Paris currently serves on the Board of the Systems Science and Industrial Engineering (SSIE) Department at the Watson School of Engineering at Binghamton University - and also on the Board of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) Process Industries Division (PID) and on the Editorial Board of the Lean Management Journal. He is an active member of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) in New York City and in Frankfurt Germany.

Friday, Oct. 2



Read this interview with Dr. Leigh S. Hamby


Dr. Leigh S. Hamby
Chief Medical Officer
Piedmont Healthcare
12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Dr. Leigh S. Hamby is chief medical officer and chief quality officer. His responsibilities include oversight and coordination of medical staff issues at and between Piedmont Healthcare hospitals. He has been responsible for clinical quality initiatives, with a focus on key clinical drivers to reduce mortality, as well as service excellence that exemplifies the Piedmont Promise.

Hamby joined Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in 2001. He served as a physician advisor and was later named the hospital’s first chief quality officer. Prior to joining Piedmont in 2001, Hamby was director of healthcare quality and evaluation for VA Atlanta Network. Currently an associate professor (adjunct) at the School of Public Health, he was a clinical instructor of surgery at Emory University and has held numerous faculty and clinical appointments in Vermont, New Hampshire and Alabama.

An Atlanta native, Hamby earned a B.S. in chemistry and biology from Emory College, an M.D. from Emory Medical School and an M.A. in health administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, as well as a fellowship in healthcare improvement at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire.


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