See the latest footage from World Conference Speakers.
Adm. Thad Allen
Click here to listen to interview with Thad Allen
On May 1, 2010, President Barack Obama selected Adm. Thad Allen to serve as the National Incident Commander (NIC) for the unified response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a position he held concurrently while finishing his tenure as the Commandant of the Coast Guard.
In this position, Allen was charged with oversight of all ongoing response efforts to cease the flow of oil and mitigate the effects of the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.
Working closely with the federal on-scene coordinator and numerous other organizations, he sought to bring a global unity of effort to response endeavors. As the government’s accountable party, Allen was also in charge of coordinating with various federal, state, and local organizations and directing the efforts of BP, the responsible party in the spill.
In May 2010, Allen completed his duties as the 23rd commandant of the USCG, the most senior post in that service. Continuing to serve his nation as the national incident commander in lieu of retiring at that time, he officially retired from active duty service June 30, 2010, after 39 years of service. Prior to his assignments as commandant and the Coast Guard chief of staff, Allen served as commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, VA, where he led the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area response forces following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2005, Allen was designated the principal federal official (PFO) for Hurricane Katrina.
In 1968 J.J. Irani joined The Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd. (TISCO), now Tata Steel, as assistant to the director of research and development. He went on to hold the positions of general superintendent, general manager, president, and managing director. After holding the CEO’s office for almost a decade, he retired as managing director of Tata Steel in 2001. Presently, he continues to be a director on the board of Tata Steel.
Irani is the chairman of the Society and Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, council member of the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), member of the United Nation’s Global Compact Board, and a trustee of the World Wild Fund for Nature—India. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C) Government of India, the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), and also of the Expert Group constituted by the Planning Commission, Government of India, to prepare a strategy for a low carbon economy for India.
In 1997, Queen Elizabeth II conferred on him an honorary knighthood (KBE) for his contributions to Indo-British trade and cooperation. In 2007 he was honored by the president of India who conferred on him the award of “Padma Bhushan” for his services to trade and industry in the country.
The Corcoran Group
Click here to listen to interview with Barbara Corcoran
Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight Ds in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1,000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed the loan into a $5 billion real estate business and sold it in 2001 for $70 million.
Corcoran is the real estate contributor for NBC’s “Today” show where she comments weekly on trends in the real estate market. She’s also an investor/shark on ABC’s reality hit “Shark Tank.” In the first season, Corcoran bought eight young businesses that she’s shepherding to success. “Shark Tank” returns to ABC for eight new episodes this season.
Corcoran is the author of Use What You’ve Got, an entertaining business book that has become a national best-seller, as well as Nextville, Amazing Places to Live Your Life. Her latest book, Shark Tales, is due out in January 2011.
As a speaker, Corcoran brings her front-line experience and infectious energy to every group she addresses. Motivational, inspirational, and sometimes outrageous, Corcoran’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude is a refreshing approach to success.
“Recognition is so much more powerful than money.” Entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran spoke about excellence in innovation and leadership as part of her keynote address at ASQ’s 2011 World Conference. To purchase a full recording, please see this page.
Co-founder and President, Sustain Dane
Brian Joiner has since 1997 been a full-time community volunteer working toward helping to create a just and sustainable society. He is co-founder and president of Sustain Dane.
Prior to his early retirement, Joiner was chairman and co-owner of Joiner Associates, a nationally recognized management consulting firm. Prior to Joiner Associates, he was a UW professor. He is author of Fourth Generation Management: The New Business Consciousness (McGraw Hill) and co-author with Peter Scholtes of The Team Handbook, published by Joiner Associates and one of the best-selling business books of all time, having now sold more than one-and-a-half million copies.
He was one of the original nine judges of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and, 30 years ago, was one of the originators of the Minitab statistical software system, which is still in widespread use by corporations today.
Senior Vice President of Quality and Lean Six Sigma, Computer Sciences Corporation
Rob Bryant is a Master Black Belt for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). Bryant is responsible for CSC’s Six Sigma program; he has established GB, BB, and MBB training, as well as a Six Sigma award program; conducts Six Sigma analysis; and markets Six Sigma services to clients. He supervises more than 200 Six Sigma projects annually, which has resulted in more than $200 million in reduced costs and increased revenue for CSC in the last seven years.
Bryant is a renowned motivational speaker and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who draws from his personal triumph of overcoming paralysis after a 55-foot fall in 1982 and subsequently achieving two world records: longest walk by a paraplegic (24 miles) and rowing 3,280 miles on a row machine (Guinness Book of World Records, 1992-2000).
Bryant’s fall, due to a design change in a pulley that removed a 49-cent cotter pin, is one of the reasons he refocused his life’s work on quality and safety and wrote the book Walking Through Adversity: 7 Steps to Overcoming Life’s Challenges. He integrates his motivational messages into lean and Six Sigma practices.
Group Vice President of Quality and New Model Launch, Ford Motor Company
Bennie Fowler is group vice president for quality and new model launch at Ford Motor Company. In this role, he reports directly to Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally. Fowler is responsible for driving quality processes and discipline throughout the design and production of Ford vehicles. He is also responsible for new model launches globally and ensuring alignment with product development, manufacturing, purchasing, and marketing. Fowler directly influences the quality of Ford's newest model, current model, and future model vehicles.
With more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, Fowler has held key positions in the heart of Ford’s business operations and began serving in leadership roles very early in his career. Prior to his quality and launch leadership role, Fowler served as vice president of advanced and manufacturing engineering, chief operating officer of Jaguar Land Rover, executive director of North American product development, director of North American manufacturing operations, and vice president of global quality.
He joined Ford as a superintendent at St. Thomas Assembly Plant in 1990 from Chrysler Corp., where he held various manufacturing management assignments. From 1978 through 1986, he worked for General Motors.
He is the founder of Powerstroke Athletic Club, an after-school youth organization based in Southfield, Michigan. Under Fowler's leadership, Powerstroke's mission is to develop positive characteristics and values in youths through hard work, discipline, education and relationships. He continues to be involved in the club’s day-to-day operations.
Fowler is also a member of the Board of Directors for Beaumont Hospitals. Beaumont Hospitals is a Michigan regional health care provider in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.
Fowler, a native of Augusta, Ga., holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and an MBA in operations management from Indiana University.