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Our Spotlight on Quality

Creating a culture of quality is crucial for any manufacturing plant, so it is especially surprising that the people who help to implement it are usually overlooked and underappreciated. Beacon Quality is proud to announce our first annual Champions for Quality awards, which works to recognize those in the quality profession who have advocated for exceptional quality at their plant(s). 


We invited you to nominate yourself, team members, suppliers you work with, or anyone else you know that has an inspiring story about making a positive impact on quality in manufacturing. Entries were open to all, and could be anything from a single project, to driving a plant-wide turnaround. In March we launched requested for nominees and we received over 20 submissions, which we narrowed down to the top 12 with three categories. We then opened it up to voting, and with over 1,000 votes we have our winners! 

Nominees, finalists, and winners helped:

  • Celebrate Quality. Recognition that they have made a difference.
  • Share Ideas. Give others ideas on how to hold the gains and continue to improve quality, and develop a Culture of Quality.
  • Create Awareness. Build awareness and support with others in the quality community, and all levels of the organization through regional and national news.
  • Win. The winner(s) will receive a Champions for Quality award package, which includes:
    • One VIP ticket to the Beacon User Summit (Motor City Casino, Detroit, MI, May 8th, 2018)
    • 2 night stay at the Motor City Casino Hotel (May 7-8th, 2018)
    • Airfare travel voucher (up to $250)
    • Champions for Quality gift basket
    • Opportunity to share your story during the #ChampionsWanted session of the Beacon User Summit
    • Featured story on Beacon Quality website
    • Public recognition through media outlets

Our winners are:

Ambassador : Deborah Klafter of Okamoto Sandusky
Manufacturing LLC

The Ambassador winner took the reigns of implementing a strong culture of quality at their plant. Below is Deborah's nominating submission:

Deb has developed awareness at our company for quality. She strives to improve our corrective actions and is developing our quality department into a productive continuous improvement team. I have witnessed a dramatic difference in our company, as to her involvement in creating an effective manufacturing organization. She has implemented QMS tools that were neglected previously. 

Influencer : Sheronda Jeffries of Cisco

The Influencer winner dedicate their lives to training, educating, and influencing quality on a global scale. Below is Sheaonda's nominating submission:

Sheronda works in a global capacity for Cisco wherein she influences quality at the plant and contract manufacturer level in all she does. Moreover, through her work on global and national committees for Accreditation Bodies and international standards, she has had a profound voice into the standards, and certification to those standards, that affect plants all over the world. She takes that responsibility seriously and draws on over 30 years of experience as a quality engineer, CB auditor, consultant, global industry committee member / liaison, and corporate employee. What follows is a bio that explains much of the above: Sheronda is an engaged industry advocate. As a Technical Leader with Cisco, her impact upon quality is not only within Cisco but also globally. As Cisco’s representative, Sheronda participates at TIA/QuEST Forum. Sheronda represents TIA/QuEST Forum at the IAF, where she serves as the IAF Liaison to ISO/TC 176, was elected current IAF Director representing End-users and Industry and was elected the IAF User Advisory Committee (UAC) Chair. Sheronda has encouraged other industry representatives to join and engage with the IAF and under her leadership, the UAC has grown to 15 members, with 3 new association members joining after the April 2017 meeting. Sheronda has increased the influence of end-users and industry within the IAF. As a direct result of her efforts, a key resolution was approved at the IAF 31st General Assembly in Vancouver, Canada in October 2017.

Catalyst : Thomas Sholty of Girtz Industries

The Catalyst winner is a 'catalysts for change' within their company by starting programs, implementing change, and creating real results. Below is Thomas' nominating submission:

Thomas has many roles and responsibilities here at Girtz Industries. His leadership in the area of Quality is outstanding. Tom was instrumental in getting our company registered to ISO 9001:2015. We were the 1st company in our area to obtain this certification. Tom gave great effort and leadership during the certification process. In 2017, our Warranty rate was .26% of sales dollars and Nonconformance rate was .89% of sales dollars. These were record lows for our company. Tom is also an active member ASQ Local # 0917 Lafayette chapter with a leadership role as the Vice President. As with most leaders, Tom is a life-long learner. Most recently, our company was named in Quality Magazine’s 2018 Quality Leadership 100 list. There were a few other companies listed from the state of Indiana. Girtz Industries was awarded the 2nd highest listing among those in the state. This is due, in large part, to Thomas Sholty’s leadership. He is a Champion of Quality.

We hope that you'll join us and our Champions for Quality award winners at our Beacon User Summit#ChampionsWanted!

Sign-up to learn when we're open for nominations next year!


How long does my 'inspiring story' have to be?

The length of the story does not determine if you will win. It's the actions that were taken, the way you motivated your team, and the real results that came from it. Please keep stories to 500 words or less, which is about a full page typed. The best stories can be shared within 150 - 250 words, which is about a paragraph to a 1/2 page.


Can I nominate my plant, not just one person?

Yes! Just enter the plant location for the 'Nominee's Name' and the company under 'Company'. Then share your inspiring story of how your plant came together to make quality a top priority. However, if your plant wins, you will need to choose 1 person to represent the plant as the winner that will receive the award and go to the Beacon User Summit. 

How will winners be chosen?

We'll launch a voting page with our top finalists in April, in which you and your peers will vote on your favorite stories. Winners will be announced towards the end of April.

Will all nominees be open to voting?

After our submission process closes on March 30th, 2018, our team will select the finalists. Finalists will be then be placed on our website for you and your team of friends, family, and coworkers to vote on! The nominee's name, company name, and inspirational story will be posted. One vote per email address will be accepted. Entry to Champions for Quality awards does not guarantee winning. 

What if I can't attend the Beacon User Summit on May 8th, can I still apply for a Champions for Quality award?

Yes, you can still apply to win a Champions for Quality award even if you are not able to attend the Beacon User Summit. We'll mail you the award and gift basket, however, you will forfeit the 2-night stay at the Motor City Casino Hotel.

Why are you hosting a Champions for Quality awards?

The quality department in a manufacturing plant is one that doesn't get a lot of attention until something goes wrong: a rise in defects, scrap or re-work, or a customer complaint. We want to recognize the people who are behind building a culture of quality, who have helped customer complaints decrease, and who built long-lasting quality processes which make a big impact on the bottom line. We want to recognize you: a Champion for Quality!