Brion Hurley, lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Rockwell Collins
Where do you work?
Rockwell Collins Inc. in Wilsonville, OR. It’s an aerospace and defense company focused on communication and navigation solutions.
What do you do, and what’s your title?
Lean Six Sigma black belt. My role is within our corporate lean electronics organization. I am the lean and Six Sigma internal consultant at the Wilsonville facility. I drive improvements through lean events, green belt training and projects, and one-on-one mentoring with employees within manufacturing, engineering and program management. I’m also focused on using lean and Six Sigma methods to address environmental issues within the company, such as energy and solid waste reduction.
What’s your educational background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in statistics and a master’s degree in quality management from the University of Iowa.
How long have you been an ASQ member?
Since Nov. 1998.
What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
The project charter is critical to success. When it’s completely filled out on projects I mentor, I see much greater success rates. This is due to stronger management support and team accountability for getting the results they signed up for.
Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
It provides a data-driven approach to problem solving—which gets us away from expert opinions that may or may not work.
Why do you think quality is important?
Quality is becoming the barrier for entry into a market. If a product doesn't do what the customer expects, they won't care about cost or delivery speed.
What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
The reduction of negative costs to the business.
Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
I was studying applied statistics and wanted to attend grad school, but wasn't sure what to study. My department had a quality management track that I didn't know existed. When I researched it further, it seemed interesting. When I graduated, I was most prepared to take a quality engineering or quality manager role, and I've been in a quality or lean Six Sigma role ever since.
What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
You should act like a teacher, not a cop. Help people solve their own problems, and don't try to catch them making a mistake.