About

Lack of organizational focus, excessive expenses, rework, over-processing, unnecessary wait times, and underutilized work forces. More than three decades ago, Karen Martin developed a skill for identifying and eliminating performance-sapping problems. In 1993, after building and managing the operational infrastructure for several rapid growth organizations, she launched her firm to help other organizations deliver on the key tenet for outstanding business performance: utilize the minimum resources necessary to deliver high levels of customer value, while creating work environments that attract and retain top talent.

In 2000, the firm began introducing Lean management practices to clients around the globe in industry sectors from construction to healthcare. Today, The Karen Martin Group, Inc. helps organizations—from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, government agencies and non-profits—deliver higher quality goods and services faster and at lower cost, while creating safe and stimulating work environments. Clients typically hire The Karen Martin Group when they seek expertise, objectivity, and/or additional bandwidth.

Law EnforcementConstruction and ManufacturingCorporate and EnterpriseGovernment, Military, Space and DefenceScience and BiotechnologyHealthcare and MedicalInformation Technology, Legal and Financial ServicesEducation

Our mission: To improve the well-being of individuals, organizations, and the planet through the adoption of Lean management practices.

Rather than entering into client engagements with a pre-determined “program” for improvement, Karen and her team tailor transformation approaches that fit your organization’s unique needs. Your previous experience with improvement approaches, level of urgency, culture, and leadership readiness all matter.

We help you achieve rapid results, while simultaneously developing deep problem solving and continuous improvement capabilities at all levels of the organization, which enables you to become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.

Whether you need assistance in undertaking a full organization transformation, jump-start a stalled program, or merely developing a core capability or two, The Karen Martin Group can help your organization achieve its business performance goals and profit through simplicity.

Read more about our approach to Lean management and business performance improvement.

Our Team

Karen Martin

Karen MartinKaren Martin and her team provide Lean transformation and business performance improvement support to industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector. Karen’s broad understanding of operations design and business management stems from her experience building the operational infrastructure for several rapid-growth operations that each grew into multi-billion dollar companies. Her expertise also includes a keen understanding of customer value, which she honed while serving in sales and marketing roles—and extensive experience with legal and regulatory issues. She has provided support to organizations in a broad range of industries including construction, distribution, energy, financial services, government, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, military, publishing, research and development, and technology.

Karen’s quality and process orientation evolved from her early career as a scientist (B.S. Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University) and was formally developed while serving as the Director of Quality Improvement for an organization that managed the healthcare for 22 million Americans, and the Director of the Institute for Quality and Productivity at San Diego State University, where she oversaw the university’s sell-out Lean Enterprise and Quality Business Practices programs.  Her passion for organizational learning and workforce development led her to a graduate program in adult learning (M.A. Education), California State University, Bakersfield).

As a consultant, Karen is known for her keen diagnostic skills and rapid-results approach to meeting client needs. A skilled change agent, Karen builds energy within work teams by helping them focus an organization’s key performance goals—faster delivery of higher quality products and services at lower cost—while simultaneously building organization-wide problem-solving capabilities and boosting employee engagement. Clients also give Karen high marks for teaching them to fish for themselves so that they become self-sustaining as quickly as possible.

Karen’s healthcare-rich background includes clinical, administrative, and regulatory work in hospitals, post-acute care settings, payer services, medical research, clinical laboratories, physician practices, integrative medicine and behavioral healthcare.

Karen is a highly-rated speaker who wows her audiences with high-energy presentations containing practical takeaways. She’s also an instructor for the University of California, San Diego’s Lean Enterprise program and an Industry Advisor for the University of San Diego’s Industrial and Systems Engineering program.

She’s the author of The Outstanding Organizationwhich addresses the missing fundamentals that are key success factors in organizational transformation (McGraw-Hill, 2012), and co-author of Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation, The Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service and Technical Environments and Metrics-Based Process Mapping: An Excel-Based Solution (both by Productivity Press).

Karen MartinKaren Martin and her team provide Lean transformation and business performance improvement support to industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector. Karen’s broad understanding of operations design and business management stems from her experience building the operational infrastructure for several rapid growth start-up operations that each grew into multi-billion dollar companies.
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Mark Graban


Mark Graban largeMark Graban has specialized in Lean Healthcare since 2005, after ten years working in manufacturing and software startup settings. He has coached and led executives and improvement teams in hospitals, primary care settings, medical laboratories, and outpatient clinics, across North America and in Europe, including an extended engagement with a division of Johnson & Johnson.

He’s a two-time Shingo Research Award recipient for his books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book, The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen, is the first book to focus solely on the senior leader’s role in creating continuous improvement cultures.

Mark earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University, and an MS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the MIT Sloan Leaders for Global Operations Program (previously known as Leaders for Manufacturing). Mark has worked in the automotive industry (GM), the PC industry (Dell), and industrial products (Honeywell). At Honeywell, Mark was certified as a Lean Expert.

Mark is a faculty member of the Lean Enterprise Institute and the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Excellence and is based in San Antonio, TX.

Mark Graban 100x130Mark Graban has specialized in Lean Healthcare since 2005, after ten years working in manufacturing and software startup settings. He has coached and led executives and improvement teams in hospitals, primary care settings, medical laboratories, and outpatient clinics, across North America and in Europe, including an extended engagement with a division of Johnson & Johnson.
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Tina Jackson


tina-jackson_jmTina Jackson has over 20 years of experience as an organization development (OD) consultant, trainer, and coach. When wearing the OD consultant hat, Tina works collaboratively with clients as a thought partner to design and implement interventions that will achieve desired culture change. As a skilled trainer, Tina delivers high-energy, high-impact programs, such as presentation skills for leaders and managers, coaching for development, and leading with emotional intelligence. As a coach, she helps executives, managers, and high-potential employees reach their fullest potential, and trains leaders/managers how to effectively coach others.

Tina holds an M.A. in Organization Development from the Fielding Graduate University and is co-author of A Practical Guide to Working with Diversity (AMACOM, 1995).  She holds certifications in BarOn’s Emotional Quotient Inventory, Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and the Strength Deployment Inventory, and is a Certified Master Coach, the highest certification level available from the International Coach Federation.

tina.jackson_jmTina Jackson has over 20 years of experience as an organization development (OD) consultant, trainer, and coach. When wearing the OD consultant hat, Tina works collaboratively with clients as a thought partner to design and implement interventions that will achieve desired culture change. As a skilled trainer, Tina delivers high-energy, high-impact programs, such as presentation skills for leaders and managers, coaching for development, and leading with emotional intelligence.
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Tony Manos


tony-manos_jmTony Manos has provided support to over 150 companies on their Lean journey. His diverse knowledge of business, manufacturing, and performance improvement includes expertise in work standardization, 5S workplace organization, visual workplace, quick changeover, plant layout, cellular, kanban, total productive maintenance, kaizen events, value stream management, team building, and hoshin planning.

Tony is a faculty member for the American Society for Quality and played a pivotal role in developing the only industry-sanctioned Lean certification (a joint venture between the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Association for Manufacturing Excellence, the Shingo Prize, and the American Society for Quality). He’s co-author of Lean Kaizen: A Simplified Approach to Process Improvement, and co-editor and contributing author for The Lean Handbook: A Guide to the Bronze Certification Body of Knowledge.

Tony served in the United States Navy nuclear propulsion program, holds an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is an internationally recognized speaker.

tony.manos_jmTony Manos has provided support to over 150 companies on their Lean journey. His diverse knowledge of business, manufacturing, and performance improvement includes expertise in work standardization, 5S workplace organization, visual workplace, quick changeover, plant layout, cellular, kanban, total productive maintenance, kaizen events, value stream management, team building, and hoshin planning.
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Dan Markovitz


Dan MarkovitzDan Markovitz specializes in applying the principles of Lean management and traditional time management practices to enhance personal productivity, enhance one’s ability to deliver results, and create more fulfilling work experiences. He is a faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute, and regularly teaches at the Stanford University Continuing Studies Program. He also leads a problem solving workshop at the Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business.
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In addition to his consulting, Dan regularly speaks and leads workshops at national and regional conferences, capped most recently by his keynote address at the 2011 Lean Product & Process Development Exchange.

Dan is quoted regularly in many of the McClatchy newspapers, as well as a variety of trade publications such as California Lawyer, The Hospitalist, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, and Industry Week. He also writes frequently for the Amex OPEN Forum. His new book, A Factory of One, was published by Productivity Press in late 2011.

Dan holds an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a BA from Wesleyan University. He’s the author of A Factory of One (Productivity Press, 2012).

Dan MarkovitzDan Markovitz specializes in applying the principles of Lean management and traditional time management practices to enhance personal productivity, enhance one’s ability to deliver results, and create more fulfilling work experiences. He is a faculty member at the Lean Enterprise Institute, and regularly teaches at the Stanford University Continuing Studies Program. He also leads a problem solving workshop at the Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business.
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Jason McVay


Jason McVay Jason McVay has over 15 years of experience in business transformation and product development. He helps organizations continuously improve their goods, services, and systems by eliminating all forms of waste (energy, time, resources, money, and human potential) and drawing on his diverse experience working with a broad range of organizational types and industry sectors.

Jason holds an M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. His early work in product design, as both an engineer and design researcher, has given him a unique understanding of the behavioral and technical aspects of work systems and has formed his ability to bridge the gaps between the various functions in an organization and help them learn to see work from a holistic perspective, with a primary focus on providing value to customers.

Jason also possesses the unique ability to break down complex concepts, and explain them clearly and simply to others. In addition to leading improvement activities, he also develops and delivers highly effective continuous improvement-based leadership and staff development programs.

Jason McVayJason McVay has over 15 years of experience in business transformation and product development. He helps organizations continuously improve their goods, services, and systems by eliminating all forms of waste (energy, time, resources, money, and human potential) and drawing on his diverse experience working with a broad range of organizational types and industry sectors.
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Mark Minukas


IMG_0103Mark Minukas is a Lean expert and business performance improvement consultant with over 15 years of experience. A former strategy and operations consultant and senior engagement manager at McKinsey & Co., Mark leads large-scale organizational transformation using Lean management practices and helps clients deliver targeted improvements.

Mark holds a Master of Engineering degree in Ocean Engineering (with a focus on Human Factors) from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Systems Engineering from the US Naval Academy. While in the Navy, Mark oversaw construction and logistics projects.


IMG_0103Mark Minukas is a Lean expert and business performance improvement consultant with over 15 years of experience. A former strategy and operations consultant and senior engagement manager at Kinsey & Co., Mark leads large-scale organizational transformation using Lean management practices and helps clients deliver targeted operational improvements.
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Tiffany Mock Holton


Tiffany HoltonTiffany Mock Holton is a Personal Productivity Coach who works one-on-one with managers and senior leaders to adopt systems and behaviors that produce marked gains in their personal productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. Her work addresses the 6 systems in everyone’s office: email, action items, the calendar, paper files, computer files, and short/long term goals. She also trains clients to combat procrastination and delegate effectively.

Tiffany’s clients have included Wells Fargo, Deloitte, Clif Bar, M Squared Consulting, McGuire Real Estate, Paramount Theater, Pacific Southwest Container, Landis Communications, Three Sticks, Environmental Science Associates, Hanson Bridgett, and The Raiser Organization. Tiffany’s known for her rapid diagnostic skills and ability to tailor productivity solutions that meet her clients’ unique personalities and work needs. In 2004, she received San Francisco Magazine’s Best of the Bay award for organizational services.

Tiffany earned her bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management (SCM) at Arizona State University. She worked in the Silicon Valley high tech industry at Applied Materials, Amdahl, and Oracle in SCM and Marketing capacities. She holds prior American Production & Inventory Control Society (APICS) and Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) certifications, as well as Certified Business Communicator (CBC) and Marketing Communications certifications.

Click here for details about our personal productivity coaching options. Click here for a blog post by Tiffany, “3 Ways to Tame Email Chaos.”

Tiffany HoltonTiffany Mock Holton is a Personal Productivity Coach who works one-on-one with managers and senior leaders to adopt systems and behaviors that produce marked gains in their personal productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. Her work addresses the 6 systems in everyone’s office: email, action items, the calendar, paper files, computer files, and short/long term goals.
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Tracy O’Rourke


Tracy O’RourkeTracy O’Rourke is a Lean Facilitator and Six Sigma Master Black Belt who leads complex improvement projects and works with companies to develop their own internal resources. Tracy has trained thousands of people, mentored hundreds of Green Belts and Black Belts and helped them to close Lean Six Sigma projects ranging from $50,000 to $8 million dollars in savings.

Tracy began her business performance improvement career at GE Appliances as a Six Sigma Field Black Belt. Her primary role was to educate GE Appliance customers on Six Sigma and help to complete Six Sigma projects. Tracy also supported GE sales reps and managers in the western United States to complete six sigma projects. Since leaving GE, Tracy’s experience with and passion for Lean management has grown. She’s worked with companies, such as Callaway Golf, Charles Schwab, Yum! Brand Foods, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Motorola, Sears & Roebuck, Shea Homes, Trustmark Insurance, Alberta Health Systems, LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, the State of Oregon, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Tracy is a people person who possesses deep data analysis skills, which combine to create a highly effective improvement facilitator. She has trained over 1,000 people, mentored 200+ green belts and black belts, and has helped complete 200+ projects with results that range between $50,000 and $8 million dollars in savings.

Tracy is a certified instructor for the Six Sigma Green Belt course at Motorola University and co-instructor for the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course at San Diego State University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from San Francisco State University and MBA (with an emphasis in Leadership and Managing Organizational Change) from Pepperdine University.

Tracy O’RourkeTracy O’Rourke is a Lean Facilitator and Six Sigma Master Black Belt who leads complex improvement projects and works with companies to develop their own internal resources. Tracy has trained thousands of people, mentored hundreds of Green Belts and Black Belts and helped them to close Lean Six Sigma projects ranging from $50,000 to $8 million dollars in savings.
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Mike Osterling


Mike OsterlingMike Osterling specializes in Lean Enterprise implementation and training in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing environments. As Lean Manufacturing Manager for Square D Company, he led their six-year transition from traditional production to an operation focused on aggressive continuous improvement. Plant-wide improvements included: 65% reduction in DPMs, 52% reduction in customer complaints, 79% reduction in accident rate, 59% improvement in productivity, 530% improvement in WIP turns, lead time reduction from three days to 15 minutes, 80% scrap reduction and a 93% increase in space utilization.

More than half of Mike’s consulting activities have focused on support and administrative processes. He has supported companies in North America, Europe and Australia in industries such as: electronics, construction, consumer products, capital equipment, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, medical products and oil production.  In addition to coaching companies through their transformation, Mike has certified over 1,000 people on lean principles, tools, and practices.

As a Lean Management Leader in San Diego, Mike led the development of the Lean Enterprise Certificate Program at San Diego State University and has taught in the program since 1999. He is also an instructor in the University of California San Diego’s Lean Enterprise Certificate Program. Mike earned his MBA in International Business (San Diego State University), is APICS certified (CPIM) and holds a Six Sigma Black Belt.  He is also a University of Kentucky Certified Trainer for the Implementation of Lean Manufacturing and is fluent in Spanish.

He’s the co-author of Value Stream Mapping, Metrics-Based Process Mapping (Productivity Press, 2nd edition being released in December 2012) and The Kaizen Event Planner (Productivity Press, 2007).

Mike OsterlingMike Osterling specializes in Lean Enterprise implementation and training in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing environments. As Lean Manufacturing Manager for Square D Company, he led their six-year transition from traditional production to an operation focused on aggressive continuous improvement.
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Jim Silva


Jim Silva headshot l80x234Jim Silva has over 30 years of experience as a front line leader and change agent. He is an excellent facilitator, strategic thinker, and skilled problem solver.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jim Silva headshot 1 l00x130Jim Silva has over 30 years of experience as a front line leader and change agent. He is an excellent facilitator, strategic thinker, and skilled problem solver.
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Doug Thomson


Doug Thomson headshot 1 l80x234Doug Thomson is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience leading and improving operations. As Vice President of Performance Excellence, Doug improved processes and instilled Lean management practices throughout his organization.

Proficient in strategy development, service design and delivery, sales and marketing, information flow, leadership development, revenue cycle management, rapid improvement, value stream performance improvement, and daily kaizen, he’s logged thousands of hours coaching individuals and leading teams—from the frontlines to Board-level stakeholders. Doug’s intentional approach provides clarity and focus, and helps define an efficient path to improvement.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Doug holds an MBA with concentrations in management and entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. In his spare time, you will find Doug living standard work to its fullest while at the controls of a Cessna.

Doug Thomson headshot 1 l00x130Doug Thomson is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience leading and improving operations. As Vice President of Performance Excellence, Doug improved processes and instilled Lean management practices throughout his organization.
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Ric Van Der Linden


VanDerLinden_RicRic Van Der Linden’s career has focused on Continuous Improvement. For the past 22 years he has led and supported business growth including the startup of two large operations which included facilities, equipment and staffing. He managed production operations and, for the past 12 years, has had a full time dedication to Continuous Improvement through the application of Lean Six Sigma and other improvement approaches.

As a Champion of Lean and Six Sigma, he has developed Lean Strategies and Six Sigma programs that have become “best practice.” He has driven results through Lean and Six Sigma in all aspects of business. Along with project leadership, he has also trained, mentored, and certified over 500 Lean/Six Sigma individuals that have resulted in a 5 year accumulation of $50 million savings.

Ric holds a BS in Manufacturing Engineering, a Masters in Organizational Management, is a certified Lean Expert and Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. He currently holds a board position with the American Society for Quality, is past President of the San Diego Chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and is an Instructor at University of California, San Diego.

VanDerLinden_Ric (3)Ric Van Der Linden’s career has focused on Continuous Improvement. For the past 22 years he has led and supported business growth including the startup of two large operations which included facilities, equipment and staffing. He managed production operations and, for the past 12 years, has had a full time dedication to Continuous Improvement through the application of Lean Six Sigma and other improvement approaches.
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Brent Wahba


Brent WahbaBrent Wahba began his business performance improvement career over 20 years ago at Delphi, an early adopter of Lean management. While there, he led global systems businesses, strategy creation, product development organizations, operations optimization, and a comprehensive Lean enterprise transformation. For the past 10 years, Brent has consulted and served as an executive coach to global organizations from startups to Fortune 50 firms in nearly every industry sector. He’s considered a thought leader in advancing Lean thinking in R&D, sales & marketing, purchasing, and other non-manufacturing areas.

Dedicated to “improving continuous improvement,” Brent is on the faculty of the Lean Enterprise Institute and is a regular contributor to The Lean Post with articles about value, strategy and leadership. He is also the author of The Fluff Cycle which describes an easier, more holistic approach to business improvement that combines systems problem solving with organizational behavior and customer psychology. Brent holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester, an MS in Materials Science and Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of Rochester. He has also authored 10 patents and serves as a volunteer startup business mentor through SCORE.

Brent Wahba 100x130Brent Wahba began his business performance improvement career over 20 years ago at Delphi, an early adopter of Lean management. While there, he led global systems businesses, strategy creation, product development organizations, operations optimization, and a comprehensive Lean enterprise transformation. For the past 10 years, Brent has consulted and served as an executive coach to global organizations from startups to Fortune 50 firms in nearly every industry sector.
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Chad Walters


Jerry.M.WrightChad Walters is a continuous improvement consultant that has led and facilitated multi-level process improvement initiatives across various industries since 2001. He combines engagement and collaboration with senior leadership to develop strategic vision and planning with hands-on facilitation of tactical improvement initiatives with front line leadership, all with the overarching objective of helping clients serve their customers better while reducing wasted resources. His wide array of industries served using the Kaizen mindset demonstrates the universal applications of continuous improvement and strategic planning for the purposes of operating more effectively no matter the customer or the process.

Chad received his MBA from Indiana University and his BS in Chemical Engineering from Trine University in Angola, Indiana. He has Eaton Lean System certification through Eaton Corporation, is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt through the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and is the Chair for the ASQ Quality in Athletics special interest group.

Chad WaltersChad Walters is a continuous improvement consultant that has led and facilitated multi-level process improvement initiatives across various industries since 2001. He combines engagement and collaboration with senior leadership to develop strategic vision and planning with hands-on facilitation of tactical improvement initiatives with front line leadership, all with the overarching objective of helping clients serve their customers better while reducing wasted resources.
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Jerry Wright


Jerry.M.WrightJerry M. Wright specializes in lean transformations of entire businesses. Effective at manufacturing, materials and office environments, Jerry has personally led over 500 Kaizen Blitzes in multiple industries around the world. He has a broad knowledge of applying lean with the right team approach to not only get excellent results but the team has fun in the process! As Senior Vice President for Lean and Enterprise Excellence at DJO Global for 16 years, Jerry led the lean transformation of more than a dozen merged or acquired businesses. As Director of Operations, Jerry led DJO to win IndustryWeek’s Top Ten Best Plants in North America, receive the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing and earn the Manufacturing Excellence Award from the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.

Jerry is the Vice Chairman of the Board for the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) and has been a Conference Chair, Regional President and Director since joining AME in 2001. He’s the Lead Instructor for the Lean Enterprise Certificate program at UC San Diego, a Shingo Prize Examiner, and a contributing author for The Lean Handbook: A Guide to the Bronze Certification Body of Knowledge.

Jerry is a professional Mechanical Engineer (Arizona State University) and earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix. He’s a frequent industry speaker and a highly respected advisor.

JerryWright 100x130Jerry M. Wright specializes in lean transformations of entire businesses. Effective at manufacturing, materials and office environments, Jerry has personally led over 500 Kaizen Blitzes in multiple industries around the world. He has a broad knowledge of applying lean with the right team approach to not only get excellent results but the team has fun in the process! As Senior Vice President for Lean and Enterprise Excellence at DJO Global for 16 years, Jerry led the lean transformation of more than a dozen merged or acquired businesses.
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Employment Opportunities

The Karen Martin Group offers many opportunities to grow and develop as you help us progress toward our vision of a world filled with Outstanding Organizations that deliver outstanding value to customers, provide deeply fulfilling work environments, and operate with high profit margins to reinvest in the organization.

We are not actively recruiting for any positions at this time.