Business & Society

The Shingo Institute Will Induct Five Shingo Academy Members at 35th Annual Shingo Conference

Kim Barnas, Randy Cook, Abel Gomez, Frank Koentgen, and Francisco Ramirez will be inducted as Shingo Academy members in May.

Logan, Utah — The Shingo Institute, a program of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, will induct five Shingo Academy Members: Kim Barnas, Randy Cook, Abel Gomez, Frank Koentgen, and Francisco Ramirez at the 35th Annual Shingo Conference Awards Gala in Provo, Utah, on May 23.

Members of the Shingo Academy exemplify a lifetime commitment to organizational excellence, which is evident by their recognized corporate and thought leadership. These individuals are strong advocates and supporters of the principles of organizational excellence. They have also demonstrated a commitment and willingness to support and promote the Shingo Institute.

When individuals are inducted into the Shingo Academy, they become ambassadors for the Shingo Institute. They speak at conferences, provide resources to the Institute, offer advice, and research topics that are related to the Shingo Model. Inductees are ambassadors of goodwill.

“The Academy is the Shingo Institute’s version of a Hall of Fame. We are very excited to welcome these new members into the Academy during this year’s Annual Shingo Conference,” said Ken Snyder, executive director of the Institute. “These individuals are exceptional members of the Shingo community and are devoted to teaching and practicing the principles of organizational and operational excellence.”

Attendees of the 35th Annual Shingo Conference can look forward to sessions for those just getting started on their Lean journey, sessions highlighting Shingo Award–recipient companies, workshops presented by Shingo Faculty Fellows, and company benchmarking tours to Intermountain Health, US Synthetic, Bullfrog Spas, and O.C. Tanner. To learn more about the event, please visit

About Kim Barnas

Kim Barnas is the CEO of Catalysis in Appleton, Wisconsin, and the author of Beyond Heroes: A Lean Management System for Healthcare. She also co-authored Becoming the Change: Leadership Behaviors Strategies for Continuous Improvement in Healthcare. She has a Master of Science in health care administration.

Prior to her role at Catalysis, Kim served as a senior vice president for ThedaCare and president of Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center. While in that role, she enjoyed the opportunity to learn about operational excellence and she implemented this work in hospital operations.

The ThedaCare Improvement System (LEAN) path started in 2003 with value stream mapping, followed by improvement events and projects. She was involved in leading two of the initial value streams for OB and Cancer Services.

As the journey continued, a new challenge emerged: the need for a systematic method to sustain improvement, clarify daily continuous improvement opportunities, and deliver on strategic deployment. To meet this need, Kim and her team led the development of a management system designed to deliver improved performance through a predictable process that developed leaders, identified defects, solved problems, and developed people.

In 2014, Kim authored Beyond Heroes, which is based on that journey.

Today, Kim is actively teaching, mentoring, and supporting healthcare executive teams around the world.

Her current focus is a principle-based approach to executive management. This system, which is rooted in the Shingo Model, builds a new set of competencies in senior leadership teams who are looking to improve organizational performance.

About Randy Cook

Randy has a lifelong passion for learning, teaching, and practicing operational excellence. Randy has had a varied career focused on operational excellence, beginning at graduate school at Duke University with a dissertation showing that technology adoption driven by improvement (easier, better, faster) is more successful than when the focus is labor cost savings (cheaper).

He has taught production management and continuous improvement at Ivey Business School and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, where he also served as the director of education at the Shingo Institute.

He has also held executive and officer roles at AMI Semiconductor and coaching roles at Discover Financial Services and McKinsey & Company. His connection to the Shingo Institute began in the mid-1990s when he met Shigeo Shingo at a Utah State University Productivity Conference.

After joining the USU faculty in 2004, Randy worked with Jacob Raymer, Shaun Barker, Robert Miller, and others from the Shingo community to emphasize theShingo Guiding Principlesand the importance of developing management systems as core elements of successful operational excellence transformation. He helped develop the Shingo DISCOVER EXCELLENCE workshop and has taught it many times.

About Abel Gomez

Abel Gomez has more than 30 years of industry experience. He worked 20 years as an executive with different roles and left after fulfilling his job as a plant manager.

During his career as a consultant, Abel has trained more than 2,000 top executives, more than 400 Shingo Alumni, and has guided more than 200 large companies in Mexico, Latin America, and around the worldwide through a range of services to help them develop excellence.

Abel is the founder and executive director of Opex Academy, which offered more workshops in Latin America in 2022 than any other Shingo Licensed Affiliate.

As a Shingo Master Coach, he was an adviser to most of the Latin American companies that received Shingo award recognition between 2011 and 2023. He is consistently among the highest ranking facilitators for the Shingo Institute.

Abel has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and an MBA with a specialty in marketing and sales.

About Frank Koentgen

Frank Koentgen is a successful entrepreneur, research scientist and international biotechnology leader with more than 25 years’ experience in research and development in molecular genetics. He is co-founder and CEO of Ozgene, located in Perth, Western Australia.

Ozgene provides contract research services for global markets and prides itself as a research organization managed by scientists, for scientists. Under Frank’s leadership, Ozgene was awarded an “Emerging Exporter Award” by the Premier of Western Australia.

Ozgene has also been a recipient of the “Rising Stars Award,” which recognizes and celebrates the ten fastest growing, private companies in Western Australia. In addition, Frank is a former Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist in Western Australia.

Frank received a Ph.D. from the University of Freiburg, Germany in affiliation with the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for immunobiology and Roche pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland). His work culminated in the establishment of the world’s first successful C57BL/6 knockout mouse.

Frank then went on to complete post-doctoral research at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology (RIMB) located in Nutley, New Jersey, USA. After completing his initial post-doctoral research, Frank was awarded a German DFG research fellowship and moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His research at the WEHI resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious scientific journals and multiple patents granted worldwide.

Today, Frank is very passionate about applying Lean thinking into research environments. He has studied Toyota, and many other Lean practitioners in Japan, as part of the Shingo Study Tour. Within his own research organization, Ozgene’s unique style of Lean transformation drives the company’s new leadership mindset as the very basis for all of its scientific endeavors: “to advance humanity — inspire curiosity."

About Francisco Ramirez

Francisco Ramirez is the founder and executive director of Lensys, a lean consulting firm that dedicates its efforts to providing companies with the tools that will bring higher competitiveness.

Francisco gained a wealth of knowledge to help companies succeed through his 30 years of experience at TREMEC, a Mexican auto parts company and Shingo Prize recipient. As a lean trainer and coach of operational excellence, Francisco has worked with more than 80 Mexican companies and facilitated more than 6,000 people. He is also the author of A3 y Punto.

About the Shingo Institute

The Shingo Institute administers the Shingo Prize, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture of fostering continuous improvement. A program of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer and Toyota adviser, Shigeo Shingo. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in the concepts, systems, and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Production System (TPS).

Drawing from Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations worldwide, the Shingo Institute developed the Shingo Model, which is the basis for its educational offerings, including workshops, study tours, and conferences. Workshops are available in multiple languages through the Institute’s licensed affiliates. For more information on workshops, affiliates, or to register to attend the Shingo Conference, please visit


Mary Price
Events and Marketing Manager
Shingo Institute


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