Podcast #198 – Harry Kenworthy, Lean in Government (Local, State, and Federal Levels)




Episode #198 is a discussion with Harry Kenworthy about his work bringing Lean into local and state governments. We had a great conversation that touches on the influence of Dr. W. Edwards Deming and many other concepts that might be of interest even if you're not interested in “Lean Government” and the work happening there.

Harry is Principal and Manager of the Quality and Productivity Improvement Center (QPIC, LLC), a consulting organization he founded in 1984 and has been with full time since 2004. He worked with Dr. Deming in 1983-85 on a series of 2 day seminars throughout the US, sponsored by MIT. He has spoken at over 90 conferences on quality, productivity, Lean, and Six Sigma, and has been published several magazines including Quality Progress and Purchasing. He also had working relationships with Dr. Joseph Juran and Dorian Shainin.

He was one of the first practitioners to apply LEAN in the Government sector in the mid-90s.

Here is an article by Harry, shared with permission (PDF link): Getting Started on a Lean Government Journey

Harry was also a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner from 1989-1991, a licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Quality Engineer.

He worked at a NYSE listed, global manufacturer, for 26 years in a variety of capacities: Operations Manager, Division Manager, Group VP and, for his last 3 years, as Corporate VP, Manufacturing. He was the Executive Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Champion: leading the LSS effort and developing the LSS training program, which incorporated the best of traditional Six Sigma (DMAIC), Lean, and a series of Specialized Problem Solving Techniques. He provided LSS training in the US, Europe, Japan and China. 

For 9 years, he was on the Board of Directors of a Japanese Joint Venture based in Nagoya, Japan. The JV was a key supplier to Toyota and Harry was able to learn about Lean through Toyota. He also had a long term relationship with JUSE (Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers) which administered the Deming Prize in Japan and had the honor of visiting several Deming Prize-winning companies.

Harry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA in Finance from Syracuse University. 

For a link to this episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/198.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple Podcasts.  You can also listen via Stitcher.

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If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Totally agree – Lean is not an acronym. We created The Northeast L.E.A.N. Conference where L.E.A.N. stands for “Lead, Enable And Nurture” as an ongoing theme for our conferences. Management must be involved, employees need to be given the skills to succeed and in order to sustain the gains, people have be respected. Harry is an awesome presenter. Great podcast.

    • Hi Lela –

      Thanks for the comment. It’s just a long-term pet peeve of mine that people think Lean, as in Lean Production or Lean Healthcare, is an acronym… the conference name perhaps causes a bit confusion that way for people who are new to Lean… but it’s a great event and I hope it goes well this year!

      Tomorrow, I’m interviewing Steve Spear, one of your fantastic keynote speakers and I’ll be publishing that soon as a podcast.



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