Meet the Experts


Scott Curtis
Owner, CEO & President

Scott brings 25 years of manufacturing experience and leadership to the TWI Institute. As Plant Manager of Albany International in Homer, NY, for 7 years Scott was not only able to keep the business viable, but thrive in the face of rapidly escalating raw material costs and stiff competition from overseas markets. Much of the improvements achieved, such as an operating income increase of 375% over 4 years, were the result of a successful Lean implementation and the development of a world class TWI program. The achievements from the TWI implementation were featured as a case study in Bob Wrona and Patrick Graupp’s book Implementing TWI: Creating and Managing a Skills Based Culture, published by Productivity Press in November 2010.

Scott began his career with Mobil Chemical as a project engineer responsible for large capital project installations. He also held positions as a Process Engineer, Maintenance Manager, Plant Superintendent and Plant Manager in his 13-year career with Mobil/Pactiv. Scott moved on to Huhtamaki Consumer Packaging in Fulton, NY, and spent 5 years as Operations Manager. During his time there, the business experienced significant expansion, successful negotiation of a four year union contract and the beginning implementation of their Lean systems.

Scott has training in Six Sigma from the University Of Tennessee Knoxville, earned a bachelor’s from the Rochester Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Patrick Graupp
Owner, Vice President & Senior Master Trainer

Patrick began his training career at the SANYO Electric Corporate Training Center in Japan after graduating with Highest Honors from Drexel University in 1980. There he learned to deliver TWI from his mentor Kazuhiko Shibuya. Mr. Shibuya was trained by Kenji Ogawa who was trained by the four TWI Inc. trainers sent from the US to help Japan rebuild industry in 1951. Patrick earned an MBA from Boston University while heading Sanyo’s global training effort. He was later promoted to the head of Human Resources for SANYO North America Corp. in San Diego, CA where he settled.

Patrick partnered with Bob Wrona in 2001 to conduct TWI pilot projects in Syracuse, NY that became the foundation for the TWI Institute which has since trained a rapidly expanding global network of thousands of certified trainers who are now delivering TWI training in the manufacturing, healthcare, construction, energy, and service industries in the US and around the globe. These efforts were outlined in their book The TWI Workbook: Essential Skills for Supervisors, a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Prize Recipient for 2007 now in its Second Edition. Patrick is also the author of Implementing TWI: Creating and Managing a Skills-Based Culture published in 2010, Getting to Standard Work in Health Care: Using TWI to Create a Foundation for Quality Care published in 2012 and now in its Second Edition, and Building a Global Learning Organization: Using TWI to Succeed with Strategic Workforce Expansion in the LEGO Group, a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Prize Recipient for 2015. His latest work is Creating an Effective Management System: Integrating Policy Deployment, TWI, and Kata published in 2020.

Master Trainers

Imrich “Berci” Papp
Master Trainer JI

Berci has almost 20 years of active experience in Lean implementation. He started his career at Swedwood (IKEA Industry) as a professional trainer both in Slovakia and Hungary, followed by a position of Process Engineer where he was responsible for standardized work based on creating, keeping and daily usage of actual standards. He further deepened his expertise in KOAM Electronic, one of the leading suppliers of plastic parts for the automotive industry. His key role was focused on making purchasing processes more lean. In 2016 Berci joined TWI Institute Central Europe (founded by DMC management consulting in the Czech Republic) and established its branch in Slovakia, followed by extending the activities to Hungary (2018), Serbia (2020) and Romania (2023). Berci is a certified Master Trainer of TWI JI and a trainer of JR, JM. Since his start with TWI Institute Central Europe, he has been successfully implementing TWI principles in dozens of companies in various fields of business and operations (automotive, medical, manufacturing, shared services etc.).

Denny Hall
Master Trainer JI, JR

Denny Hall earned his undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management from Union University in 1998, and later completed his MBA in 2004. He began his training and development career as a Quality & Training Specialist at Teknor Apex where he developed over fifty e-learning courses and designed the first Learning Management System (LMS) within the organization in 2001.

He was first introduced to TWI in 2006 while working as a Training Manager at Marvin Windows and Doors of Tennessee.  Within just two years, he and his training team had developed a world-class new hire orientation program using TWI.  Marvin’s training system was recognized in 2008 by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) when it received the BEST award for excellence in training system design.

Upon leaving Marvin, Denny worked as an internal Training Consultant at Kohler, and over the next five years helped company leadership to develop an e-learning system as well as a sustainable training program based on TWI.  The Kohler Operational Training System (OTS) was recognized in 2015 by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and received a Citation for excellence in system design and deployment.

Since leaving Kohler in 2016, he has worked as an independent Training Consultant for several organizations in setting up training programs using TWI, and has also worked with the TWI Institute in delivering TWI training at dozens of other companies. Denny is certified as a Master Trainer in both JI and JR, and is a TWI Institute-certified Trainer in JM.

Virginia Purvis
Master Trainer JI

Virginia (Ginger) Purvis, RN, BSN earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Union University in 1994.

She has served as a Registered Nurse for over three decades, providing high-quality care to patients in various settings, including inpatient acute care, ambulatory care, and oncology/hospice. Currently, she works as an RN at Baptist Memorial Health Care, where she coordinates Baptist Management System reviews, serves as a Baptist Management System ambassador, and collaborates in building the Baptist Management System.

Since 2015, she became a Certified Instructor at TWI Institute, teaching and coaching clients on how to apply the Training Within Industry (TWI) methods to improve their performance, quality, and safety. She is a TWI Certified Master Trainer in Job Instruction and is a Certified Trainer in Job Relations. and Job Methods.  She is passionate about helping others learn and grow, and is committed to delivering high-quality training and care to her clients and patients.


Jitka Tejnorová
Master Trainer JI, JM

Jitka has more than 20 years of experience in project management and education and has been working for DMC management consulting in the Czech Republic since 2002 when she co-founded the company. She began her career in the field of human resources in 1994, later she worked as an HR Manager of PPF, the largest Czech investment group, and a Member of the Board of Directors of Home Credit. Jitka is an experienced trainer, lecturer and consultant and also a co-author of the FunnelMind learning-by-experience methodology.

Jitka is certified by TWI Institute USA as a Job Instruction Master Trainer and a certified trainer in the Job Instruction, Job Relations, Job Methods, Problem Solving and Standardized Work courses. Since 2010, DMC management consulting has been a holder of TWI Institute license for the region of Central Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and former Yugoslavia. Since then, more than 3,800 people in more than 120 companies in the region were trained in TWI methods.

Markéta Šimáková
Master Trainer JI, JR

Markéta graduated from The College of Sociology and Psychology and has been working in the field of human resources management consulting since 1997. She worked for the Accord Group as a consultant and later as Head of the Group in Solutions HRS subsidiary focusing on special projects in HR outsourcing services in greenfield manufacturing projects. Since 2002, she has been co-owner of DMC management consulting and continues to outsource HR services and implement the HR Business Partners model. Markéta is an experienced trainer, lecturer and consultant with more than 20 years of practice in various business sectors. She is also a co-author of the FunnelMind learning-by-experience methodology.

Markéta is certified by TWI Institute USA as a Job Instruction and Job Relations Master Trainer and she is a certified trainer in the Job Instruction, Job Relations, Job Methods and Problem Solving courses. Since 2010, DMC management consulting has been a holder of TWI Institute license for the region of Central Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and former Yugoslavia. Since then, more than 3,800 people in more than 120 companies in the region were trained in TWI methods.

Fabrizio Paolin
Master Trainer JI, JR

After graduating in Business Economics from Cà Foscari University of Venice, Fabrizio worked in the foreign commercial office of a medium-sized Italian company producing capital goods. Following that early experience, he worked on support activities for the development of Venetian mechatronic companies where he carried out numerous projects in process innovation and development of new markets for operations in Italy and abroad.

For almost 10 years, Fabrizio was a staff member of the Veneto Productivity Center Foundation of Vicenza where he acted as a TWI Institute Certified Trainer. In 2018, he founded TWI Academy Italia and became the Global Partner of TWI Institute, reintroducing the Training Within Industry methodology in Italy.

Fabrizio has participated in numerous study trips to the US and Japan, where he had the opportunity to learn more about TWI, Toyota Kata and Standardized Work under the guidance of Patrick Graupp, Mike Rother and Isao Kato. He teaches Training Within Industry and Toyota Kata in many courses and masters held at major training centers and universities. He is a TWI Institute Master Trainer of Job Instruction and a certified trainer for TWI Job Instruction, Job Relations, Job Methods, Problem Solving, Standardized Work and Toyota Kata Simulation.

Oscar Roche
Master Trainer Toyota Kata (TK)

Oscar Roche believes strongly that excellence in business lies in the development of people capability. It is this belief, combined with extensive operations management experience, that permits him to add value to any organization he works with.

Oscar specializes in developing the:
• 3 Training Within Industry (TWI) frontline leadership skills of Leading, Instructing and Improving.
• Improvement and Coaching Kata patterns outlined in “Toyota Kata” (Mike Rother).

Oscar began his work with TWI in 2009 after reading an article in Target Magazine and thinking “this is one of the missing pieces.” He has been trained by the TWI Institute in Job Relations, Job Instruction, Job Methods and TWI Problem Solving. Oscar and Ben Chopping’s TWI Institute Global Partnership was formed in 2011 which leads to work in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the US, helping individuals and organizations develop the leadership capabilities of their people.

Oscar, now a TWI Institute Toyota Kata Master Trainer, has made developing his skills in assisting companies reach their business improvement goals his main focus. Oscar believes passionately that frontline leaders have been ignored for many years, and now is the time to support their development in order for businesses to survive and develop. The practical nature of the TWI and Toyota Kata programs makes them the ideal vehicle to build leader capability development. So much so, that Oscar practices the skills in his everyday working life.

Oscar is a regular speaker at TWI and Toyota Kata summits and conferences in the US and Europe and a frequent presenter of webinars through Lean Frontiers.

Agata Pawlukojc
Master Trainer JI, JR

Agata is TWI Institute Master Trainer in Job Instruction and Job Relations. She is a co-founder and managing partner of Instituto TWI, Global Partner for Iberia, Spain and Portugal. Agata holds a degree in Spanish Philology by Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. She has a background in operations at Agilent Technologies International Distribution Organization in Barcelona, where she participated in and led process improvement projects and learned about Lean.

Since 2006 Agata has dedicated to TWI Program, becoming trainer and implementer, a trailblazer in TWI Program field in Europe. Agata participated in numerous study trips in US and Japan, developing her knowledge under Patrick Graupp and Isao Kato mentoring. As a trainer, coach and advisor, she has supported many organizations across different businesses around the world allowing her to gain experience in TWI implementations in different business environments.

Agata speaks 5 languages: Spanish, Polish, English, Portuguese and Catalan, enabling her to support TWI Global implementations across different countries and cultures. Agata has a special interest in human learning, and she continues exploring and implementing the most effective instructional strategies to enable learning. TWI JI “If the worker hasn’t learned, the instructor hasn’t taught” + TWI JR “Make best use of each person’s ability” are her mottos. Agata is convinced that organizations can achieve outstanding results by creating environments that promote learning for all team members.

Carla Latijinhouwers
Master Trainer JI, JR

Carla Latijinhouwers is Co-founder and a Certified TWI Trainer of TWI Institute Netherlands and Germany. Carla studied Operational Technology and Policy, Communications & Organization and she has been working in Continuous Improvement for many years. Since 2001, she has worked as a Lean consultant and trainer/coach and has extensive experience in implementing and managing Continuous Improvement projects in the Netherlands and Germany. In 2013, she founded TWI Instituut Nederland BV and TWI Institut Deutschland GmbH with Gerard Berendsen. Her goal is to make the TWI methods more accessible for companies, which she does through her different roles as a TWI Implementer, TWI Trainer and Master Trainer.

“TWI really helps supervisors within companies, facilitating them to make structural changes in their own organization.”

Gerard Berendsen
Master Trainer JI, JR

Gerard Berendsen is Co-founder and Certified Master Trainer of the TWI Institute in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria. Gerard studied Electrical Engineering, Business Administration, General Management and has an MSc in Lean Operations.

Gerard has over 30 years of experience in Operational, Engineering and Maintenance management at global companies. His focus was the development of people capabilities for improving business results. During his master’s program at Cardiff University, Gerard learned about TWI and started to practice. Through the training, implementation and development of TWI methods in Industry, Service and Healthcare, he became a certified TWI Master Trainer.

Gerard’s motto: “A day not learned, is a day not improved.”

Mike Braml
Master Trainer JI, JR, JS, JM

Mike has a double major in Biology and Scientific Land Management and then earned an MBA from Kennedy Western University. With more than 30 years of manufacturing and service industry experience in manufacturing management and continuous improvement efforts, he has a history of success helping diverse enterprises gain competitive advantage and to position themselves for robust futures.

Mike’s broad continuous improvement experience includes Lean, Six Sigma and TOC Implementations. Mike is certified in Production and Inventory Management through APICS and he is a senior member in the Society of Industrial Engineers. He holds certifications with NIST MEP as a Lean Instructor for Lean 101, Value Stream Mapping, 5S, Setup Reduction, Plant Layout, Kaizen Events, Cell Design, Kanban Systems and Standard Work. Mike has extensive experience implementing Lean for many small and medium sized companies.

Mike became a TWI Institute Certified Instructor for JI in 2005 and then systematically was trained and certified by the TWI Institute to deliver the JR, JM, JS and PS programs. While working for the Enterprise Minnesota, Mike delivered hundreds of TWI classes before being trained as a Certified Master Trainer for the TWI Institute. Mike left Enterprise Minnesota in 2012 to invest his passion for the TWI program by introducing TWI to companies and especially by training new trainers for companies around the globe.

Richard Abercrombie
Master Trainer JI, JR, JS, JM

Richard has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, most of it with the Boeing Company in Washington State. There, Richard became involved in Boeing’s Lean Manufacturing initiative as a member of the Boeing Supplier Support Center which assisted key Boeing suppliers, both domestic and international, with beginning a continuous improvement program based on the Toyota Production System. To fulfill this role, Richard received training in TPS from the Shingijutsu Company both in Japan and at Boeing.

Since retiring from the Boeing Company in 2000, Richard has continued to consult independently as President of Lean Promotions. Recognizing that TWI is one of the fundamentals of daily work routine management that support the Toyota Production System, Richard was one of the first consultant trainers trained and certified by the TWI Institute in 2003. In 2006 he was trained as the first TWI Institute Master Trainer to conduct train-the-trainer sessions for the TWI Institute. Richard also continues to deliver Job Instruction, Job Relations, Job Methods, Job Safety and Problem Solving for TWI Institute for clients around the globe in manufacturing, aerospace, steel, food, banking, construction and the healthcare industries.

Dick Jackson
Master Trainer JI, JR

Dick began his manufacturing career at Remington Arms Company in Ilion, NY, as a machine operator. Since 1982, Dick was employed in various management positions at Remington that included Quality Engineer, Engineering Supervisor, Organization Development Resource and as the Group Leader of the Continuous Improvement Group.

He left Remington in 1996 to become President of Revival Industries in Herkimer, NY, where he directed all daily activities as the majority owner until 2007. Dick decided then to put his Lean experiences to work as a consultant to help local manufacturers compete in the global market. Soon after discovering the TWI Program, he became a TWI Institute Certified Trainer for JI, JR and JM delivering numerous training classes, coaching and implementation guidance at companies around the globe before joining the TWI Institute in 2011.

Dick completed his JI Master Trainer training in January 2012 and his JR Master Training in July 2012. His strong engineering and management experiences are now put to good use for the TWI Institute when introducing TWI to companies, when providing follow-on coaching during the implementation process and when training new TWI trainers.

Dick earned an AS Engineering Science degree from Mohawk Valley Community College, a BS Mechanical Engineering and MBA from Syracuse University.

Jamie Smith
Master Trainer JI, JR Program Facilitator

After completing his education in diesel mechanics and heavy equipment, Jamie began his manufacturing career at the Buckbee Mears Corporation plant in Cortland, NY, where they produced TV and monitor aperture masks using a chemical etching process. His primary responsibilities as Technician/Supervisor were to train and coach line personnel on how to troubleshoot production line conditions by focusing on defect evaluation to improve quality and productivity to reduce cost.

After Buckbee Mears closed in 2004, Jamie joined Albany International in Homer, NY, where he quickly advanced to the key position of Set-Up Operator. Jamie was selected to become the TWI JI Trainer in 2007, and he became the TWI Champion after six months of mentoring by the TWI Institute. His key roles were delivering training, developing timetables and tracking training that led him to develop an audit system to monitor the effectiveness of the training. When Corporate recognized the TWI JI program was credited for a 70% reduction in human errors associated with machine changeover, Jamie was given the additional responsibility to spread Job Instruction to other Albany plants in America.

Jamie’s passion for TWI led him to take advantage of an opportunity to join the TWI Institute as a TWI Master Trainer and Program Facilitator in 2013 where he now delivers TWI training and coordinates TWI program deliveries around the globe. He is certified as a Master Trainer in Job Instruction and Job Relations and a Trainer in Job Methods and Toyota Kata.

Susanne Slenders
Master Trainer JI

Susanne graduated from Tilburg University with a degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. For several years she worked as a Communications Officer at a consulting firm in the field of Continuous Improvement and as a Social Researcher at Utrecht University. In 2014 Susanne made the switch to the TWI Institute in the Netherlands, where as a TWI trainer for Job Relations and Master Trainer for Job Instruction she uses her sociological knowledge and her experience with continuous improvement to train and coach people. She speaks Dutch and English. Susanne believes that facilitating employees to develop their capabilities increases their loyalty and well-being.


Advisory Group

Dave Hyem
Advisor, Vice President, Metals (Retired), Boeing Fabrication, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Dave Hyem served as Vice President of Metals for Boeing Fabrication, which produces parts and assemblies for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Defense and Space and Boeing Global Services. In this role, Hyem was responsible for strategy and operations of Fabrication metals production at several factories employing more than 6,000 people. He oversaw manufacturing business units throughout the US and Europe.

Hyem held several leadership assignments across the company in Engineering, Operations and Supply chain during a 35 year career at Boeing. These assignments ranged from Business Unit leader to Enterprise Functional optimization. Hyem also led the startup of Boeing Additive Manufacturing.

Hyem received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at Montana State University and has completed programs through the Advanced Management Program at Duke University. He is also a certified Job Relations instructor.

Brad Schmidt
Advisor, President of Makoto Investments, Ltd.

Brad has been a Lean / Toyota Production System Consultant in Manufacturing, Logistics, Finance and Service functions since 1998. He has worked in Japan, Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East on implementing Lean and making a corporate culture change in many different settings.

Brad and his team help develop global operations improvement strategies and deploy them locally in a way that is effective and uses local strengths. He is well versed in operations strategy and setting up operational improvement programs that build on the strengths of the organization.

Skip Steward
Vice President & Chief Improvement Officer, Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corp.

Skip Steward shares lessons from the “Baptist Management System,” including reflections from his 25+ year continuous improvement journey. Guided by his introduction to Dr. Deming’s vision of continuous improvement, Skip “migrated” from an early career in manufacturing to his current career in healthcare. One year ago, he was promoted from System Director for Continuous Improvement to serve as Baptist Health Care’s first-ever “CIO”, with an “I” for Improvement.

In addition to his explanation of the Baptist Management System (“a holistic approach to managing that puts a focus on purpose, people and process. We care about the purpose, how to improve the process, and how we develop the people to improve the process.”), Skip emphasizes his “infant stages” role in leading the shift in thinking within Baptist Health Care. In doing so, Skip explains the holistic nature he captured and distilled from Dr. Deming’s management method and what he is doing with this wisdom to challenge and limit the otherwise “business as usual” tendency towards event-driven and episodic improvements.

While crediting the tools of Hoshin Planning, Design of Experiments, Statistical Process Control, Value Stream Mapping and Pareto charts in both clinical and non-clinical settings, Skip is quick to acknowledge the role of placing a priority on being guided by a Deming lens before proceeding to the “faster-better-cheaper” efficiency of tools.

Alan Robinson
Advisor, Professor at University of Massachusetts

Professor Alan Robinson is a wearer of many hats; he is an innovator, but more specifically a professor, consultant, author and orator. Robinson has been a member of the UMass community for almost 30 years, and is now the faculty advisor for the Isenberg Undergraduate Consulting Group.

After receiving his BA and MBA in mathematics from Cambridge University, Robinson’s interest in the consulting field was piqued during his studies at John’s Hopkins University, where he received both his PhD in applied mathematics and his MSE. Professor Robinson now takes on between 10-15 consulting projects per year, and has assisted over 200 organizations in 25 countries.

As a consultant, Robinson aims to give his clients the necessary insight and intellectual resources required to have long-term success. With a focus on high performance organizations, creativity and innovation, Professor Robinson specializes in what he calls “thought leadership consulting.” He thinks about a client’s problem and applies his experience and knowledge to help find the optimal solution. The projects he enjoys most, and finds most valuable, are those that scare him. For Robinson, consulting is a medium where he can combine his love of learning, his passion for business and his interest in research.


April Schmidt
Senior Manager of Strategy and Customer Success

April brings a deep and passionate focus on organizational transformation and employee development. Her career experience includes roles in healthcare as Social Worker,  Medical and Behavioral Health Coordinator, Team Lead, Quality Coordinator, Clinical Improvement Specialist, Quality Manager and Director Strategic Initiatives, in Higher Education as Program Chair and Adjunct Faculty,  and with Consulting firms as a Project Manager III and Organizational Development Practice Manager. As her career advanced, she implemented Lean and Six Sigma principles across a variety of industries to support change management and process improvement initiatives that engaged employees resulting in high-performing teams. April holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, Masters Social Work, Masters in Management & Organizational Behavior and Master Science Strategic Management with an emphasis in Human Resources. Her education combined with skills in Lean, Six Sigma, and TWI, April provides the Institute clients with unmatched knowledge and skills. April is also very active as Board member and Vice Chair of Strategy for SPQA Virginia & DC, Board member for AME-Southeast Region as well as Board member and Co-Chair for Professional Development for ASQ Lean Enterprise Division.

Lynne Harding
Program Administrator

Lynne manages the inside operations for the TWI program, TWI Institute staff and its trainers. She manages the website, program scheduling, training logistics, contracts, vendors, inventory management, documentation and translations.

Prior to joining the TWI Institute, Lynne was a Project Manager with Wells Fargo and a Senior Business Analyst and Lease Portfolio Manager with Telmark LLC. Her areas of expertise include training, documentation, project management, information technology and quality control.

Lynne attended SUNY Canton and is trained and proficient in MS Office products, Dreamweaver and PhotoShop.

Dr. Jorge A. Sias
Director of Operations, Mexico

Jorge is a Human Resource and Training Professional with over 25 years of experience in global and multicultural organizations. Jorge was one of the very first to implement TWI in Mexico in the early 2000s during his time at Robert Bosch. Jorge led several key initiatives including the successful reorganization of an automotive electronics plant in Cd. Juárez – El Paso, Texas, enabling him to drive human capital growth from 700 to 1,200. He also managed post-merger integrations of automotive, health and industrial acquisitions. As HR Director for Bosch Mexico, Jorge implemented SAP (P59) and centralized payroll for seven manufacturing plants, a corporate organization and eight sales and service divisions. In addition, he oversaw the centralization of leadership and technical training programs, competence management, compensation, succession planning and standardization of benefits.

Most recently, with the increasing demand in Mexico and Hispanic American Countries for the TWI Institute training services, Jorge is currently working to build capacity and a physical presence in Mexico for the TWI Institute.

In addition to his professional Human Resource and Training experience, Jorge is educated as an MD and was a practicing physician from 1979 – 1994 providing health care services in rural and urban communities in Mexico. Jorge is also an accomplished artist and has participated in individual and group exhibitions at schools, plazas, galleries and art workshops in Mexico and the United States where he has met and been inspired by some of the icons of the art world.

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Training Within Industry (TWI), Kata & Standardized Work