Expert Spotlight: Steve Ouellette

Take a background in engineering and higher education, combine with expertise in ethical decision making, statistical design and analysis, survey design, process management, strategic planning, policy deployment, and business performance excellence, add a touch of humor and irreverence…the result? Steve Ouellette, the Six Sigma Heretic™, who helps facilitate fundamental change within organizations to help them greatly improve their profitability.

What’s your favorite topic(s) to present on? Why?

Applied research tools (like Six Sigma), because I love to see “unsolvable” problems get solved (and because I love it when people say that they finally “get” statistics). Strategic planning and policy deployment, because it is great to show people a logical way to successfully deploy a plan.

Three words to describe your presentation style:

Vibrant, funny, interactive.

What are your favorite groups of people to work with?

I like working with different groups for different reasons. Upper-level management because they can initiate fundamental improvements in a business, middle-management because they are the ones who support that change, and front-line supervisors and hourly workers, who are the ones who actually make change for the better happen.

What’s the most unusual location (or circumstances) you’ve presented in?

I taught a couple of classes at Eglin Air Force Base to the Energetic Materials Division (energetic materials are explosives). Every day I got to drive onto the base and across the landing strip with F-16s doing touch-and-go landings, which was tons of fun. Though we did have to pause during class as they screamed by on full afterburner…

Are you involved in any community projects/issues?

I am working with local public schools to improve their strategic planning as well as to understand their school performance data and use that to drive improvements.

Do you have any pets? Kids? Unusual hobbies?

We have two girls, a Siamese cat, and a Shiba Inu puppy. After my undergrad engineering degree, I was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow during which I spent a year living in Europe studying, “The Evolution, Fabrication, and Impact of the European Sword.”