Dean Christolear, senior quality engineer, Norwood Medical
Dean Christolear, an ASQ member since 1989 and currently a senior member, is a senior quality engineer for Norwood Medical in Dayton, OH. There, he manages the company’s Six Sigma program, as well as the quality system for a portion of its sustaining production.
Christolear earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Wright State University in Dayton, OH. He is an ASQ certified quality auditor, engineer and Six Sigma Black Belt. Additionally, he has earned a Delphi Automotive Six Sigma Black Belt and is a Shainin Red X Master.
Recently, Christolear answered questions as to the importance of Six Sigma and shared his favorite benefit of quality.
What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
The most important part of a Six Sigma project is confirmation using a sound hypothesis test. An investigation may identify a strong root cause candidate, but before money is spent on a fix, it should stand up to an independent confirmation test.
Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
Six Sigma has brought statistical thinking into the management ranks. Most managers now embrace some level of the define, measure, analyze, improve and control method. Before Six Sigma, statistical thinking was relegated to a small group of individuals.
Why do you think quality is important?
For most of my career there have been three business targets that continue to drive success in the marketplace: cost, quality and delivery. To compete with low cost products, the United States must excel in quality and delivery. Because delivery is actually focused on the quality of delivery, it becomes clear why quality is so important.
What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
The quality community is growing. Early in my career, quality meant quality control with lots of inspections and not much control of the process. I remember my surprise the first time a manufacturing engineer wasn’t happy with a capability study, even though it passed all the quality requirements. Almost every engineer now understands and embraces fundamental quality requirements.
Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
When I was in college, I landed a job as a quality technician. I enjoyed the challenges, and eventually my management thought I should be allowed to function as an acting quality engineer. After graduation, it was a natural fit to continue in the quality field.
What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
I have two recommendations: First, find a good mentor—someone established in quality who is willing to coach and mentor others. Second, pursue the certified quality engineer certification as soon as possible. It is the best all-around certification you can obtain.
Christolear has contributed more than 15 tools and templates for the Six Sigma Forum, making him the top contributor. His most recent contributions are Virtual Factory, Gage R and R with ANOVA and XbarR Analysis and Box and Whisker Plot. The rest of his contributions can be found on the forum’s ASQ Six Sigma Forum Tools and Templates Exchange page. Other templates Christolear has written can be found on ASQ’s Tools and Templates page.