In March 2022, Markel Food Group celebrated the graduation of the first class of 14 students from the Markel Business System Leadership University. The university was started with the intention of developing a pipeline of senior management professionals that would be both ambassadors and practitioners of the Markel Business System.
This 15-month journey provides online courses and real-life problem solving in groups, as students work alongside teammates from their own company to identify and solve prevailing problems within their own facilities. The program focused on leadership skills in the areas of collaboration, communication, and genuine leadership as well as lean skills such as daily management, value stream mapping, problem solving and other continuous improvement measures.
“I want to thank our dedicated instructors, John Segan and Susan Stokes, for their dedication and enthusiasm throughout the classroom teaching and 1:1 coaching,” noted Cindy Yao, chief financial officer for Markel Food Group. “I also want to thank each of our students for their commitment and their managers’ support throughout the past 15 months. I look forward to my gemba at each site as an opportunity to listen and to observe our graduates leading Kaizens and facilitating problem solving sessions.”
The 14 graduates consisted of a diverse, cross-functional and cross-cultural group of teammates from all three of the Markel Food Group companies, including the following:
- Jimmy Belval, AMF Bakery Systems – Sherbrooke, Quebec
- Brandon Brilliant, AMF Bakery Systems – Tucker, Georgia
- Sheryl Bryan, AMF Bakery Systems – Richmond, Virginia
- Chip Czulada, Reading Bakery Systems – Robesonia, Pennsylvania
- Tony Fox, AMF Bakery Systems – Richmond, Virginia
- Dulcie Freymoyer, Reading Bakery Systems – Robesonia, Pennsylvania
- Travis Getz, Reading Bakery Systems – Robesonia, Pennsylvania
- Lauren McFadyen, AMF Bakery Systems – Leeds, United Kingdom
- Nicolas Nadeau, AMF Bakery Systems – Sherbrooke, Quebec
- Leo Petrantuono, Solbern – Fairfield, New Jersey
- Harry Piekema, Solbern – Fairfield, New Jersey
- Edward Tromp, AMF Bakery Systems – Gorinchem, The Netherlands
- Bert Schoondermark, AMF Bakery Systems – Gorinchem, The Netherlands
- Bob Wall, Solbern – Fairfield, New Jersey
“Together, we are creating a lean culture and an army of problem solvers!” added Yao.