STEM-Friendly U.S. Cities Ranked

Seattle, Boston and Pittsburgh are the best U.S. metro areas for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals to grow their careers, according to WalletHub, a personal finance website.

Using 20 key metrics across three dimensions—professional opportunities, STEM-friendliness and quality of life—WalletHub evaluated and compared the 100 largest metro areas in the United States and graded each on the performance metrics using a 100-point scale.

WalletHub then determined each metro area’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the sample. Rounding out the top 10 best U.S. metro areas are:

  • Austin, TX
  • San Francisco
  • Madison, WI
  • Atlanta
  • Salt Lake City
  • Minneapolis
  • Cincinnati

For more on the rankings and methodology used, visit https://tinyurl.com/wallet-hub-STEM.


Report: Hospital-Acquired Conditions Drop

Reductions in hospital-acquired conditions—such as adverse drug events and healthcare-associated infections—helped prevent 20,500 hospital deaths and save $7.7 billion in healthcare costs from 2014 to 2017, a new study showed.

New data and analysis by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimated that hospital-acquired conditions were reduced by 910,000 from 2014 to 2017. The estimated rate of hospital-acquired conditions dropped 13%—from 99 per 1,000 acute-care discharges to 86 per 1,000 during the same timeframe.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is delivering on improving quality and safety at America’s hospitals,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Our work isn’t done and we will continue our efforts to hold providers accountable for delivering results.”

The agency’s new report quantifies trends for several hospital-acquired conditions, including adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central-line associated bloodstream infections, Clostridioides difficile infections, pressure injuries (pressure ulcers) and surgical site infections.

The report showed that harms decreased in several categories, such as adverse drug events, which dropped 28% from 2014 to 2017. However, opportunities for improvement exist in other harm categories, such as pressure ulcers. 

To see the 27-page report, visit https://tinyurl.com/ydh3jat6.

New @ ASQ

Deedra Hughes is the recipient of the ANSI National Accreditation Board’s (ANAB) second annual Terry Burgess Assessor of the Year Award. She was honored at ANAB’s assessor development sessions earlier this year in Nashville, TN. Hughes has been a contract assessor with ANAB since 2010 and has 18-plus years of experience with the Mississippi Crime Lab, examining items of physical evidence for biological fluids, performing DNA analyses and conducting statistical analyses on DNA profiles. Hughes also serves as the DNA technical leader and the administrator of the lab’s Combined DNA Indexing System, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s program of support for criminal justice DNA databases. The program enables federal, state and local forensic labs to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically to link violent crimes to each other and to known offenders.

Open enrollment for ASQ’s 2019-2020 Emerging Quality Leaders Program ends March 15. The 12-month program accelerates the transfer of executive knowledge, soft skills and leadership experience to high-potential, mid-level quality professionals through on-site and virtual learning. Mentorship opportunities are also available to support the program participants. For more information and to apply to the program, visit asq.org/emerging-quality-leaders.

Applications for the 2019-2020 Ellis R. Ott Scholarship—available through ASQ’s Statistics Division—are due April 1. The $7,500 scholarships are awarded to students in master’s degree or higher programs with concentrations in applied statistics or quality management. The 2018-2019 scholarship recipients were: Victoria Kennerley, University of Florida, and Jill Lundell, Utah State University. Since the scholarship was started 21 years ago, the division has awarded more than $315,000 to 56 students. For more information and an application form, visit asq.org/statistics/about/awards-statistics.html.


Survey: Managers Say They Need More Training

Nearly 100% of managers said they feel they could benefit from training, according to a recent survey conducted by an IT technology consulting organization.

Specifically, 98% of managers believe that managers at their organization need more training to deal effectively with “important issues such as professional development, conflict resolution, employee turnover, time management and project management.” In short, a great deal of what middle management entails.

“Rapidly growing companies often have an abundance of new managers,” said Jeff Temple, a senior manager at San Francisco-based Appirio. “This is both an incredible opportunity for new perspective and ideas, and a challenge for training; what makes someone a great consultant or salesperson doesn’t necessarily make them a great manager—at least not initially.

“Finding training solutions that are engaging, provide flexibility in delivery, and provide relevant content for all of our global audiences is critical,” Temple said.

Other results from the survey include:

  • Mid-level managers said more than two out of five of their organization’s managers, on average, were unprepared for management when they assumed their role, and that less than half of managers are highly effective.
  • More than three-quarters of those surveyed said ineffec-tive managers are frequently rewarded or promoted, while according to 84% of managers themselves, organizations need a better way to evaluate manager ability.
  • Nearly 90% of middle managers wish they had received more management training when they first became a manager.
  • About 80% of managers who change their behavior after training maintain those changes for just six months or less before going back to their old ways.

“When ineffective managers are moving in and up, companies should consider that a development red flag. Quality of management is one of the biggest predictors of employee engagement, productivity and company culture,” said Joris Luijke, a vice president at Grovo. “Organizations can shorten the learning curve by identifying the specific behaviors of their best managers and delivering bite-sized, engaging learning experiences that turn that knowledge into action.”

For more on the survey, visit www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13719059.htm.


Survey: Quality Training Limited at Healthcare Organizations

Only 33% of healthcare quality professionals said that all staff in their organization have received training and education on quality within their healthcare organization, according to an inaugural survey published last month by the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ).

NAHQ pointed out that discipline or specialty-specific training “can unintentionally create vertical silos that don’t optimize team-based, patient care delivery,” said Stephanie Mercado, the association’s executive director and CEO.

The survey, conducted last November and December, also asked respondents the one thing they would do to improve quality at their organi-zation. Nearly half, or 47%, said their healthcare organizations need to align all healthcare professionals.

Respondents to the survey were 26 healthcare quality professionals in the United States, the majority of whom work in hospitals and quality improvement is their day-to-day work. 

For more from the survey, visit http://tinyurl.com/NAHQ-workplace-survey.


Thought Leaders To Be Honored

At its upcoming World Conference on Quality and Improvement, ASQ will present its society medals and awards to 14 thought leaders in the quality community. They are:

  • Brumbaugh Award: Chen Zhang, Hao Yan, Jianjun Shi and Seungho Lee.
  • Gryna Award: Charles Rollin Gowen III, Jung Young Lee and Kathleen L. McFadden.
  • Deming Medal: Alan Winlow.
  • Feigenbaum Medal: Kaibo Liu.
  • Shewhart Medal: Ronald J.M.M. Does.
  • Shainin Medal: Judson B. Estes.
  • Lancaster Medal: Willy Vandenbrande.
  • Hromi Medal: Gregory S. Gay.
  • Hutchens Medal: Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

Visit asq.org/conferences/wcqi to find out more information about the medal and award recipients, as well as details about the three-day event to be held May 20-22 in Fort Worth, TX.

Quality-Related News From Around the World

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Toyota Recalls Another 1.3M U.S. Vehicles for Takata Airbags

After years of recalls due to defective airbags made by Japanese company Takata, Toyota Motor Corp. has added another 1.3 million U.S. vehicles to its recall list. The automaker said the affected vehicles were equipped with a phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant that could degrade and explode without being triggered by a crash. For more on the recall, visit https://tinyurl.com/toyota-takata-recall.

Top Trends to Watch for in Software Testing and QA Jobs

The job profile of a quality assurance (QA) engineer has changed dramatically over the past few years because they must master emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and blockchain. A recent report highlights the criteria tech organizations follow to hire QA and software testing professionals. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/qa-job-criteria.

Changes to Flu Vaccine Supply Chain Could Save Thousands of U.S. Lives

Problems with flu vaccine distribution in the United States may cost lives and pose a serious threat in the event of a flu pandemic, researchers warn. A computer model, however, shows that proposed changes to the current distribution system could save thousands of lives. Learn more at https://tinyurl.com/vaccine-supply-chain.

To get a roundup of the week’s most noteworthy stories delivered to your inbox every Friday, subscribe to the QNT Weekly e-newsletter at asq.org/newsletters.

Getting to Know…

Linda Westfall

Current position: President of Westfall Team Inc.

Education: MBA from the University of Texas, Dallas.

What was your introduction to quality? I started my software career more than 40 years ago handling software under a military contract with strict quality requirements. Next, I moved into commercial software development and worked for years to move the small organizations I worked for toward high-quality software engineering practices I learned during my first job.

Previous noteworthy jobs? I worked as a senior manager of quality, metrics and analysis for DSC Communications, a telecommunications organization.

Are you active in ASQ? I chaired the ASQ Software Division for six years to help get the software quality engineer certification up and going. That included a stint on the ASQ Certification Committee. I also have served as the division’s chair, certification chair and programs chair. I am currently the newsletter chair. I also spent three years on the ASQ fellow nominating committee. In addition, I have served as the newsletter chair for the ASQ Dallas Section. I teach multiple open enrollment and on-site software classes through ASQ Learning Offerings.

What noteworthy activities or achievements outside of ASQ do you participate in? I am listed as a significant contributor to the third and fourth editions of the Project Management Institute Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide. I’m also a member of the exam development committee for the Professional Engineering exam for software. I’m a founding member and past chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth Association for Software Engineering Excellence. In addition, I co-chaired the Software Engineering Process Group National meeting, sponsored by the Software Engineering Institute. I am the web content chair for the Florida Pyrotechnic Arts Guild, and I taught National Management Association Supervisory and Management Skills program classes at DSC Communications for six years.

Have you had anything published? The Certified Software Quality Engineer Handbook (first edition, 2009, and second edition, 2017, ASQ Quality Press). “Software Requirements Engineering: What, Why, Who, When & How,” Software Quality Professional, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2018. The article was reprinted in Fundamental Concepts for the Software Quality Engineer Volume 2 (ASQ Quality Press, 2007). Several other articles in Software Quality Professional.

Recent awards or honors? Recipient of ASQ Edwards Medal, 2018; Grand Master of the Pyrotechnic Guild International (PGI), 2012—the only woman in the guild’s 50-year history to win Grand Master.

Personal: Married 45 years; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

What are your favorite ways to relax? My husband and I build and shoot fireworks as our hobby. We are active, lifetime members of the PGI, the Florida Pyrotechnic Arts Guild and the Western Pyrotechnic Association. I also love to travel. Luckily, my job in quality has taken me all over the world.

Quality quote: The future of software is high-quality, risk-based engineering practices.


ASQ Announces 2020 Board of Directors Candidates

ASQ has announced the candidates for the 2020 board of directors. This year, multiple candidates are vying for each of three positions:

  • For chair-elect—one candidate nominated by the ASQ Nominating Committee and one candidate by petition.
  • For treasurer—one candidate nominated by the ASQ Nominating Committee and one candidate by petition.
  • For director at large—two candidates nominated by the ASQ Nominating Committee and one candidate by petition.

Here is the complete list of candidates:

  • Past chair: Benito Flores, dean, school of engineering and technologies, Universidad de Monterrey, San Pedro Garza García, Mexico.
  • Chair: Austin S. Lin, technical program manager—cloud datacenters, Google, Mountain View, CA.
  • Chair-elect (through the ASQ Nominating Committee): Janet Raddatz, former vice president of quality and food safety systems (retired 2018), Sargento Foods, Plymouth, WI.
  • Chair-elect (through petition): Dan Burrows, director of quality and reliability, Oceanside, CA.
  • Treasurer (through the ASQ Nominating Committee): Steven Schuelka, associate professor/adjunct professor, California State University/Ivy Tech Community College, Crown Point, IN.
  • Treasurer (through petition): Don Brecken, director of quality and safety, Commercial Tool Group, Comstock Park, MI; adjunct instructor, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, MI; third-party quality management system lead auditor, Intertek Inc., Kentwood, MI; owner/consulting business improvement auditor, Quality Consulting Services LLC, Caledonia, MI.
  • Director at large (through the ASQ Nominating Committee): Glenn Walters, self-employed/small business development network, Santa Fe Community College, Rio Rancho, NM.
  • Director at large (through the ASQ Nominating Committee): Linda Andrade Gonzalez, quality and organizational excellence manager, KSR Internacional, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.
  • Director at large (through petition): Trevor Craney, associate director of statistics, Collins Aerospace, Windsor Locks, CT.

Election rules do not allow candidates to campaign or have others campaign for them, but proxies and position statements for each candidate running for a contested office will be sent to all regular members by March 15. The results of the election will be announced on May 19 during ASQ’s annual business meeting, to be held in conjunction with ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Fort Worth, TX.

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