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The Lean Associates Team has been personally selected for the skills necessary to support any organization in the lean transformation. Our senior associates have all been trained by Toyota trainers and have deep skills in The Toyota Production System and are able to guide your leaders and team members along the lean journey. Excellent people are the key to success in any organization and Lean Associates has the most capable and best people available.

David Meier

david-meierDavid Meier is an internationally recognized authority on Lean Manufacturing and The Toyota Production System (TPS). David is the co-author of the best selling books, The Toyota Way Fieldbook, (McGraw-Hill, 2005), and Toyota Talent, (McGraw-Hill, 2007) with Jeffrey Liker. In these hands-on books David and Jeff detail the language, concepts, and tools that managers need to bring Toyota’s success-proven practices to life in any organization.

David had the opportunity to learn the Toyota Production System as one of the first group leaders hired at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky facility in the plastics molding department. He was trained and mentored in Japan and Kentucky over a ten-year period by TPS experts including full-time coaching by several Japanese coordinators. In 2001, David founded Lean Associates, Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to supporting companies that are pursuing implementation of the Toyota Production System.

David has been a trainer and speaker for over ten years and he has presented training workshops in North America, Russia, Europe, and Asia for many groups including: the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, AME, The University of Michigan, the Montreal Board of Trade, ORGPROM Russia, Made In China, Inc., The Window and Door Manufacturers Association, AIM Inlines Thailand, Continuous Quality Improvement Network, and the Shingo Prize Conference. David has supported many companies in a variety of industries including healthcare, food, automotive, aerospace, wood and plastic products, chemical processing, metal machining, fabricating, welding, and assembly operations in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing work areas. He specializes in developing TPS expertise within organizations so that they become capable of achieving lean transformation.

Publications by David Meier

April, 2007

Toyota Talent” with Jeffery K. Liker
Published by: McGraw Hill

Sept, 2005

The Toyota Way Fieldbook,” with Jeffery K. Liker
Published by: McGraw Hill

June, 2001

Chapter 3 “Lean Measurements and Their Use”
Chapter 5 “Business Case Development” Lean Manufacturing: A Plant Floor Guide
Published by: Society of Manufacturing Engineers

March, 2001

“The Reality of Lean Manufacturing”
Automotive Manufacturing & Production

June, 2000

“Make Lean Manufacturing Work for You”
Manufacturing Engineering (Co-author)

David James

David James has worked in the automotive industry for over ten years, with experience in both production management and process and project engineering. The greatest percentage of this time was spent in the paint process, with acquired knowledge in both solvent and waterborne primers and topcoats, application equipment, and many other facets of the automotive painting process.

David has developed his technical and lean manufacturing (TPS) skills on projects such as two Toyota plant launches, the introduction of waterborne paint technology for both Toyota (TMMK #2) and Ford Motor Company (KY Truck CLT Paint), and the responsibility for numerous new product and project launches, including the Avalon and Camry. Interaction with suppliers, support departments, union and non-union personnel, and daily production support and continuous improvement activities continue to be commonplace.

David’s work experience prior to the consulting field includes Toyota KY as a supervisor, project and process engineer, and engineering assistant manager; Ford Motor Company KY Truck as a Team Manager (9th level manager); and General Motors of Europe (Opel-Eisenach GmbH) as a Lean Manufacturing Advisor for overseas manufacturing. David is currently assisting the US Navy with efforts to develop a quicker turnaround for military aircraft repairs, and a major US sports apparel company with operations in Southeast Asia.

Bill Costantino

Mr. Costantino is an independent Lean Manufacturing consultant. He provides training, consulting services, and shop-floor implementation support to companies making the transition to lean principles. For 4 years, he worked intimately with the development and implementation of Ford’s global lean manufacturing system. He also has direct experience with large injection molding operations, Tier 1 auto suppliers, woodworking, and cabinetry manufacturing.

Bill was one of the first 200 employees at Toyota’s Georgetown auto plant and for 7 years was heavily involved in the start up and training of team members in their plastics operations. Bill’s first-hand knowledge and direct working experience in Toyota plants makes him a highly sought-after resource. His focus is oriented to the shop floor, with emphasis on the development and transfer of practical lean manufacturing skills leading to bottom-line results. Bill is experienced with Visual Factory, 5-S, Kanban, Problem Solving, Continuous Improvement, 1-piece flow, Standardized Work, Job Instruction Training, Value Stream Mapping, and Developing and Leading workgroups. His 5-year effort converting Cedar Works to lean manufacturing is summarized in a chapter of Productivity’s recent book “Becoming Lean.”

Bill is also a long-term instructor for the University of Michigan’s Lean Manufacturing Certification Program where he teaches “Standardized Work”, “Developing and Leading Workgroups”, “Job Instruction Training”, and “Leading the Change to Lean.” His expertise lies in his ability to teach an integrated, total systems approach to manufacturing as embodied in the Toyota Production System. He is effective working at all levels in the organization from president to shop floor operators. His strengths include customized awareness and skills training, simulation exercises, floor coaching to support skill transfer, and measurable improvement in target areas.

Jodee Bock

Jodee Bock is a certified Life Purpose and Career Coach, keynote speaker, facilitator, trainer and author in Fargo, North Dakota. Jodee works together with people who want to practice “riskful” thinking, as opposed to merely “wishful” thinking, by offering a safe environment to explore new ideas and discuss what really matters. She then works together with those individuals and organizations to develop a plan, which transforms that knowledge into action.

Jodee has extensive experience in corporate communications and has designed and facilitated training and development sessions and classes in areas such as leadership, change/transition, communication, accountability, business grammar and writing, teambuilding, and customer service. She has worked in many facets of Corporate America including newspaper editor, sports information director, corporate communicator, PR manager, corporate trainer, and management consultant. Jodee is also a certified master trainer and innovation coach for SolutionPeople in Chicago ( She is a co-author of the book Don’t Miss Your Boat: Living Your Life with Purpose in the Real World.

Jodee is the coordinator of the Fargo chapter of Fast Company magazine’s Company of Friends, a self-organizing local discussion group which offers mentoring and networking organization and creative problem solving. In addition, Jodee is one of the founders of the Fargo-Moorhead Women’s Business Exchange, a not-for-profit organization that connects women who want to take their businesses or careers to the next level of success through networking, conversation and mentorship. She is also one of the charter members of IntraAssets, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to creating “wholeness” programs for women business executives. She is on the board of directors of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, and the Concordia College Alumni Letterwinners Association.

Jodee is an active member of the VocalMotion and City of Lakes Sweet Adeline choruses in Fargo, North Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. She also facilitates leadership and marketing classes for the University of Mary and is a statistician for Concordia College and North Dakota State University basketball teams.

Jodee is a graduate of Landmark Education’s Curriculum for Living, and received a bachelor’s degree in English writing and communications from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and a master’s degree in business management from the University of Mary, Bismarck, North Dakota. She received her coaching certification from the Life Purpose Institute, San Diego, California.

Tracey Richardson

tracey_richardsonToyota Veteran and Lean Trainer Tracey Richardson brings over 21 years of experience in Toyota Business Practices (8 Step Problem Solving), Practical Problem Solving, Meeting Facilitation/Teamwork, Quality Circle Methodologies, Lean Manufacturing methodologies, Value Stream Mapping, Standardized Work, Job Instruction, Toyota Way Values, Culture Development, Visualization (Workplace Management Systems), and Continuous Improvement (Kaizen), and Manufacturing Simulations.

Tracey is one of only a few people to be certified by The Toyota Institute in Japan to teach Toyota Business Practices within Toyota facilities. Tracey currently works within Toyota Motor Manufacturing plants and their suppliers across North America where she supports the development of team members and leaders and aligns their role with the company business plan (Hoshin). These capabilities are vital to sustain a positive relationship between leadership and team members ensuring mutual trust and respect within the company (Positive culture).

Tracey also works with other interested companies who are on the Lean journey and seek support in the implementation of key elements for success. Tracey began her career with Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Kentucky in 1988 as a Team Member in the Plastics Department. She was one of the first team members hired, and was fortunate to learn TPS directly from several Toyota trainers.

Tracey was promoted from Team Member to Team Leader, and then to the position of Group Leader. As a Group Leader, her responsibilities included responsibility for training and developing all Team Members and achieving goals in the areas of safety, quality, productivity, and cost for the groups. Tracey grew up in Lexington, KY and currently lives there with her husband Ernie who is a Manager at Toyota Motor Manufacturing KY. She attended Eastern Kentucky University, and University of Kentucky, studying Business Marketing, and Education.

Kora Sanchez

Kora Sanchez is an independent lean consultant fluent in both English and Spanish. She has extensive experience in the transition of both American and Latin American companies to a lean culture. Her major focus has been to support lean transitions in American companies that have factories in Latin America. She has helped to create exceptional results in the aerospace, electronics, sporting goods, electrical enclosures, shoe, clothing and window and door industries. Her implementation strategy is hands on and focuses on the purpose of the lean tools in addition to the methodology. Her objective is to transfer knowledge throughout the organization by creating a shared vision and commitment with the client, and continuously advancing towards that vision at a desirable pace. Developing a true understanding of the lean philosophy and achieving the correct focus and confidence in the client is key to successful results.

Training and implementation includes Value Stream Mapping, Visual Work Place, Standardized Work Process and Line Balancing, Problem Solving, Error Proofing, Quick Changeover, Total Productive Maintenance, Pull Systems, Job Instruction Training, Role of the Supervisor, and Change Management. Kora is also certified as a Lean/Six Sigma Expert and as a Six Sigma Black Belt. She has worked with high volume as well as custom/high mix environments. She believes in managing projects with clear goals and expectations that are reviewed regularly during implementation. She also believes value to the client is both, achieving bottom line results, and minimizing resistance to change by achieving a smooth cultural transformation.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis was a key factor in the launch of Toyota’s assembly plant in Kentucky. Brad has over 27 years of manufacturing experience with the last 21 years devoted to learning The Toyota Production System and helping to teach other companies about lean. Like all of the Lean Associates Team, Brad has many years of practical, hands-on experience at Toyota as well as years of leadership responsibility and he is able to work well with all members of your organization..

Brad is well versed in all aspects of lean and was certified by Toyota to teach Problem Solving, Job Instruction Training, and Standardized Work. Brad has had the opportunity to work internationally as well as in many unique workplaces such as a bauxite mining operation in the heart of Australia.