Keith Deibert - Keith Deibert is a Business Advisor for South Dakota Manufacturing & Technology Solutions (MTS) providing consulting services for South Dakota's Manufacturers. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Throughout his career he has been an electronic design engineer, Plant Manager, Vice President of Operations, Corporate Director of Lean, President and has done consulting. He has focused his efforts in helping organization become Lean Enterprises. Keith spear heads MTS’ automation lab to help small to medium sized manufactures to evaluate the risks and rewards of collaborative robots and related technologies.
Reza Maleki - Dr. Reza Maleki is a Senior Business Advisor with Impact Dakota. He has more than 30 years of professional experience which includes serving in four universities in the US and working as a consultant with diverse manufacturing companies in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Kentucky. He also has worked with other businesses such as health care, distribution and warehousing, insurance, library services and food processing. Reza’s major focus of work and activities are on the development and delivery of high value services to client companies. Reza’s experience with manufacturing companies also includes serving on the Board of Directors of an electronic company, working as Director of Allied Manufacturing Center, and Technology Transfer Director. He is currently serving as the president of Minn-Dak Manufacturers Association. In addition to his work in the US, Reza’s international experiences include serving as a visiting professor of operations and project management at Kazakh British Technical University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He has made presentations in Brazil, Korea and Vietnam. He has conducted workshops in Iran and most recently in Mexico where he was invited as an Academic Leader to present to faculty in two universities and to members of business and industry.
Sharon May - Sharon May, Licensed U.S. Customs Broker, CITE®, has more than 25 years' experience in international transportation and logistics, working with Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders and importers and exporters in her career. Sharon received her Customs Brokers License in 1993, has a degree in International Trade Management, and is a Certified International Trade Educator. Sharon presently works with the North Dakota Trade Office, counseling small to mediums sized businesses with customized solutions and nuts and bolts export and import compliance knowledge. Sharon has a strong background in compliance, foreign trade zones and global logistical solutions. Her communication skills and ability to communicate complex international trade topics into easy to understand language has resulted in many of the education and training programs on subject such as NAFTA, classification, rules of origin, export compliance and strategic export planning to corporate and trade audiences. Additionally, Sharon teaches online export and import classes at the International Import Export Institute since 2002.
Eric Newell - Eric Newell is the CEO and Founder of Stoneridge Software, a Microsoft Gold ERP Partner. In the five years since founding the company, he has led Stoneridge Software through explosive growth in team members, customers, services and product offerings. The company has accomplished many challenging and successful software implementations during this time. With a combined passion for technology and business excellence, Eric has taken on many internal initiatives to grow in operational excellence as a professional services consulting firm. This pursuit has benefited in being able to pass on best practices to clients and has resulted in many awards, such as ChamberChoice Entrepreneur of the Year, a ranking on the Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies, Accounting Today’s Top 100 VARs, SPI Research’s Best-of-the-Best Professional Consulting Firms and numerous Best Place to Work Awards. Prior to founding Stoneridge Software, Eric spent 13 years at Microsoft and Great Plains Software. Eric is a frequent speaker on business technology. One of his favorite things to talk about is the company’s scorecard and how the use of a scorecard can make a difference in operations at any business.
Paul Palmes - Paul Palmes is principal consultant with Business Systems Architects, Inc., of Fargo, North Dakota, and Prescott, Wisconsin. Working as a specialist in quality management and world-class quality systems over the past 27 years, he has enabled many organizations to attain ISO 9001 registration and many others to improve profitability and culture. He is a Certified Quality Manager and a BSI Certified Lead Auditor. His many publications include three books, "Process-Driven Comprehensive Auditing", and "The Magic of Self-Directed Work Teams", published by ASQ Quality Press and "ISO 9001: 2015: Understand, Implement, Succeed!" (Prentice Hall). He has also written many articles for ASQ’s Quality Progress magazine and the Auditor Newsletter, published by Paton Press. He is currently chairman of ISO TC 176 SC 1, responsible for the revision of ISO 9000 and chairman of the US TAG to TC 176.
Jeffon Seely - Jeffon Seely is a senior consultant, transformational speaker and workshop facilitator. Mr. Seely is a highly recognized leading resource in the field of Diversity and Inclusion, Millennials, Mindfulness and Leadership. Although rather young, a Millennial, he has had his own consulting firm for more than 10 years, specializing in programs involving mindfulness, meditation and the evolving role of Millennials and the 2020 Generation. He has assisted major corporations, non-profit organizations, and government and academic institutions with innovative strategies to integrate mindfulness and the evolving generations into management and leadership roles. Mr. Seely has facilitated diversity, inclusion, empowerment, mindfulness, meditation, generations, and engagement training courses to all levels of organizations across several industries. He also presents transformational speeches to audiences through keynotes, leadership seminars, retreats and open forums.
Damian Smith - Damian Smith is the founder of Total Energy Concepts, Inc. (TEC), a company that helps businesses save money through sustainability improvements and optimization. Upon graduating from NDSU in 1999, Damian began his professional career as a Flight Test Engineer for the Department of Defense at Edwards Air Force Base in California. After serving in that position for several years, an opportunity arose in the Structures Engineering Department at Northwest Airlines, which allowed Damian to move back to MN to be closer to family and friends. Seeing the need for businesses to save money and become more sustainable, Damian left the corporate world and started TEC in 2003 and has continued to convey his passion about helping people since. In his free time, Damian loves to enjoy the outdoors with his wife and daughters and serves as the board President for Precious Years Learning Center, a pre-school facility where both of his daughters attended as students.
Aaron Sorenson - Aaron Sorenson is an Engineering and Software Services Executive at Applied Engineering and has been helping manufacturing clients in this role since 2014. Aaron focuses on understanding his clients’ systems and processes, uncovering potential, and filling the gaps that enable manufacturers to excel. As a software developer, Aaron helped develop and launch new products at Great Plains Software and Microsoft including Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM. Aaron currently is working with several large and small manufacturers to leverage Applied’s expertise and enhance his client’s engineering and software capabilities.
Applied Engineering is an employee-owned engineering and software services company with offices in Fargo, Bismarck and Minneapolis and experience in a wide variety of industries. Applied has nearly 100 mechanical, manufacturing, electrical and software engineers who support or lead our clients’ product development, manufacturing and technology processes.
Ryan Steinman - Ryan Steinman born and raised in Bismarck-Mandan. He has been with KAT Marketing since June of 2016 to help grow their small business portfolio and expand their client base all across North Dakota. He brings with him 13 years of sales and marketing experience. In his free time, Ryan loves to snowboard in the mountains of Colorado and Montana, ride the trails on his mountain bike, diehard fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and loves spending time with his wife and two young daughters. He also is actively involved throughout the Bismarck-Mandan community by serving on Leadership Bismarck Mandan Alumni Association’s Board and is a part of Bismarck-Mandan Chamber’s Ambassador Committee.
Steve Thompson - Steve Thompson has a diverse background in product development and manufacturing. Steve’s twenty+ years of engineering experience includes design, manufacturing, and testing. His experience includes plastic and metal components for multiple industries including construction, agriculture, off-highway, office equipment and packaging. Currently, Steve serves as the Professional Services Director for Applied Engineering. Applied Engineering is a firm located in Fargo, ND that serves customers with Engineering and IT programing. Applied has over 80 engineers and 15 programmers consulting with regional organizations supporting product development and manufacturing.
For the past 18 years Steve has been with Applied. During that tenure he has worked with many customers with a variety of sophistication in leveraging technology, from manual operations to “lights-out” 24/7 manufacturing. These experiences have forged a vision for optimizing the use of data and technology into all available areas of an organization.
Mark Volesky - Mark is Chief Operating Officer with Impact Dakota. Since 2003, he has been assisting companies from a wide variety of industries increase profits and create and retain jobs. He has conducted more than 150 Kaizen events, including co-facilitating continuous improvement efforts with Shingijutsu Consulting and Norman Bodek. His emphasis is facilitating the design, development and implementation of lean strategies on an enterprise-wide basis. Along with proctoring the SME-AME-ASQ-Shingo Prize Lean Bronze certification exam, he developed the supporting Impact Dakota Lean Enterprise Certification course curriculum and has taught it to more than 500 individuals from nearly 60 companies. For this work, he was selected as MEP Practitioner of the Year at the 2007 national MEP conference. In 2007, he received his certifications in Leadership and People Development related programs and he has been SME-AME-ASQ-Shingo Prize Lean Bronze certified since 2008. He is a member of the Board of Examiners for the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, and was named to the national Lean Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee. In addition, he currently serves on the board of the Minn-Dak Manufacturers Association.
Kostas Voutsas - Kostas has been teaching Management and Human Resource courses for 18+ years. He is a tenured Professor of Business at Dickinson State University (DSU) at the Bismarck campus. He is also an author, a corporate trainer and keynote motivational speaker. Kostas, the 2013 educator of the year Bismarck Chamber award recipient, also received the distinguished teacher of the year award at DSU, the highest faculty award, the outstanding teacher of the year award, as well as the TRIO outstanding faculty award from DSU. He also received two outstanding presenter awards from Eastern Michigan University and the Clute Institute of Academic Research. Kostas delivers humorous dynamic presentations at national and state conferences and publishes his research in scholarly journals. He also serves as a consultant conducting individualized training/professional development seminars. His book “Secrets to Making Diversity Work” also discusses gender, cultural, and generational differences. Kostas has a Master of Science degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development and a MBA in General Business.