Latest Posts

Is the Answer in the Shiny Box

Growing up, one of my grandmother’s favorite shows was The Price is Right. Throughout the show, contestants are offered an opportunity to trade the prize they have in hand for the unknown prize behind door No. 1, 2 or 3,…

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How to Cultivate Resilience in Changing Times

Webster defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” So often change isn’t planned and we’re suddenly operating in a reactive mode. We might get stuck, dig in our heels, resist, deny, or…

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The Lean Approach – 5 Principles of Lean

Organizations can utilize the Five Principles of Lean to drive a culture of continuous improvement resulting in improved processes and the elimination of waste.  Below is an overview of those five principles and how you can apply them in your work! IDENTIFY…

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Six Sigma Overview

What is Six Sigma? The textbook definition of Six Sigma refers to a step-by-step approach designed to reduce the number of errors in a process or product.  Anything that produces a result is considered a process. This can mean everything…

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Common Sense Approach to Risk Management

Risk management is one of the elements of project management that tends to get left out when time is crunched.  If you are skipping risk management, or only doing it at the beginning of your project, you are setting yourself…

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Our Experts

John Newquist

OSHA-Authorized Outreach Trainer

John has over 30 years of experience as a safety trainer. Since 1987 John has trained over 50,000 people including OSHA compliance officers and Fortune 500 Clients. His areas of expertise include Incident Investigation, Confined Space, Excavation Safety, Cranes Signaling, Rigging Safety, Fall Protection, Scaffold Competent Person, Silica Competent Person, CHST Prep, Lockout, Machine Guarding, OSHA Recordkeeping, and Safety Management. Services: Mock OSHA Inspections, Site Safety Audits, Expert Witness 

Don Bartalone

OSHA-Authorized General Industry and Construction Outreach Trainer

Don Bartalone is the lead instructor at the National Safety Education Center. He has 35 years of transportation and warehouse industry experience, serving on the safety team and committee for 20 of those years. Don also spent five years as a facility manager/safety coordinator for an oil refinery and has recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to assist in safety program development for the world’s largest oil company. He holds National Safety Council certificates in Fork Lift Truck Operator Training, Incident Investigation, Safety Inspections and Advanced Safety. Services: 10- and 30-hour General Industry OSHA training, OSHA 511, 501 and 503 instruction.

Brent Bryden

OSHA-Authorized Outreach Trainer

Brent Bryden has 35 years of manufacturing safety and environmental health experience. Brent specializes in facilitating training for small, medium and large employers with a wide range of needs. He is passionate about using basic safety education and training to form strong safety foundations within an organization. Continuous improvement in safety training is his vision and providing results-oriented, quality products and services is his goal. Services: Training, Inspection Audits, Abatement Assistance, Safety Program Development, Implementation & Management.

Allencia Ballard, MPM

OSHA-Authorized General Industry Outreach Trainer

Allencia Ballard has been designing and delivering curriculum and learning materials to teach adults in the business and education sectors for over 10 years.  She is an OSHA-authorized General Industry Outreach Trainer with 6 years of manufacturing safety and environmental health experience, specializing in hazard recognition and machine guarding safety.  She also holds a master's degree in Project Management.

Ericka Westgard

Sr. Facilities Leader

Ericka Westgard is an experienced senior facilities leader and outsourcing expert, having worked with several Fortune 500 clients across many industries developing and implementing integrated facilities strategies.  She has successfully led complex operational workforces across multi-site client portfolios occupying upwards of 100M square feet within the Americas. Ericka balances her operational account leadership experience by having successfully led a number of global support teams, serving more than 10,000 internal facilities associates across the Americas, APAC and EMEA. Ericka has held a number of instructor positions across the US and is a qualified instructor for CFM, FMP and ProFM through Northern Illinois University.

Jerry DiCola

Sr. Director Real Estate and Facilities Operations

Jerry DiCola is the Senior Director, Real Estate and Facilities Operations for Horizon Therapeutics, Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on improving patients’ lives by identifying, developing, acquiring and commercializing differentiated products that address unmet medical needs.  As an IFMA, certified instructor Jerry has been facilitating IFMA courses at Northern Illinois University since 2008.  Most recently, board member for Disability Inclusion, an organization which commitment is, “To collaborate with purpose to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities, to inspire accessible innovation for all, and to foster cultures of inclusion”.   In addition, an active member of the Aspire Facility Committee.  He was a chapter president for the Chicago Chapter of IFMA from 2013 to 2015.

Ronette Kersting

Lean Project Manager

A highly motivated, passionate and accomplished leader with 25+ years of successful experience in a Fortune 500 company.  Ronette creates value by delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to drive bottom line results to help organizations and customers prosper today and tomorrow.  She is a proven leader with a solid background in Project Management, Continuous Improvement, Product Development, Six Sigma, Lean, Supply Chain, Logistics, and Manufacturing coupled with a strong customer design focus.  Ronette received her BS Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University and MBA from Northern Illinois University.

Karen Brown

Director of Human Resources, Highland Community College

Karen Brown has held a number of senior executive positions in healthcare and human resources. She currently serves as the Director of Human Resources, Highland Community College, Freeport, IL. Prior to this, she served as Vice President, Operations, at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford, IL.  Karen has a Master of Business Administration degree from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. She holds professional certifications: through the American College of Healthcare Executives, Fellow (FACHE); Society for Human Resource Management, Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP); and Human Resources (SPHR).  

Stephanie Gambro

Director of Business Transformation for a Large Fortune 500 Company

Stephanie is a Director of Transformation for a large Fortune 500 Company. She has over twenty years of experience driving strategic transformational programs within large multi-functional organizations. Working with Executive Leadership teams, she helps set the strategic objectives and efforts that will drive an organization towards success. Stephanie also teaches with the NIU Outreach Program, preparing professional learners to sit for the PMP and the SHRM S-CP and CP exams.

John Newton

Human Resources and Learning and Development Professional

John Newton is a Human Resources and Learning and Development professional. He is a coach, consultant, trainer, teacher and public speaker who specializes in helping people and organizations reach their ultimate potential. His company, John Newton and Associates, provides people-development services to a multitude of industries in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. John’s philosophy is “Kindness is the bottom line.” Be kind to your employees and they will reward you with hard work and commitment. John has been an Instructor for Northern Illinois University for over 15 years.

Amy Baugh

President of Milestones Project Management, Inc. and Vice President of Technology Program Management for a Major Fortune 500 Company

Amy Baugh is a Program Management executive with over 20 years of experience spanning program management, project management, change management, technology, and human resources.  Amy is President of Milestones Project Management, Inc. and Vice President of Technology Program Management for a major Fortune 500 company.  Amy is an expert in her field, with particular expertise in Stakeholder Engagement.  Amy holds her MBA from DePaul University with a concentration in Change Management, and a BA from Illinois Wesleyan University in Business Administration and Sociology.  She also has her PMP and PgMP certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), and has published a book, "Stakeholder Engagement: The Game Changer for Program Management" (CRC Press 2015)

Eric Hermonson

Director of Human Resources for OSM Worldwide

Eric Hermonson is the Director of Human Resources for OSM Worldwide.  He is responsible for overseeing the entire human resources department, which includes everything from strategic planning to overseeing the day-to-day operations within the HR Department.  Prior to his years at OSM, Eric has a diverse industry experience having worked in healthcare, higher education, governmental, and consulting.  Eric has been working in the Human Resources profession since 2003 with expertise in strategic HR, talent management, employee engagement, organizational development and effectiveness, employment law and compensation and benefits. Eric has previously been a guest speaker at local colleges on developing a career in the field of human resources, as well as a guest speaker for the American Cancer Society.  He currently holds his SHRM-SCP and SPHR certifications.  He also possesses his Bachelor of Science, with an emphasis in Human Resources from Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, IL.
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