ASQConnEx Credentials & Certifications


ASQConnEx is an education delivery system and network that vets, designates, and connects quality subject matter experts with organizations to advance their excellence journey. Organizations can build competencies needed to achieve strategic objectives by engaging our ASQ-authorized subject matter experts in the field of quality.  Our experts gain a professional advantage by aligning with the world’s leading quality association and gaining access to ASQ-licensed education and certification preparation content. The end result? Empowering individuals, organizations, and communities to achieve excellence through quality.

Meet our Experts / Team



Professional Experience

Chad Smith applies continuous improvement methodologies to help organizations leverage their scarce human and material resources through breakthrough improvements. 

Chad has 21 years of Continuous Improvement experience in retail, manufacturing, refining, high-tech, and food. He has led and guided process and product improvements for Wal-Mart, Gates, ExxonMobil, and Black+Decker. Chad’s leadership experience includes quality management for Black+Decker utilizing Continuous Improvement tools to enable breakthrough improvements. This experience is underpinned with an in-depth application of strategy deployment and metrics to drive and measure progress. As a seasoned Continuous Improvement practitioner, Chad has helped many companies drive breakthroughs by assisting organizations in finding their TruNorth through strategy deployment, uncovering the major constraints through Value Stream Mapping, and focusing on the vital few improvements needed. One example is a Fortune 100 company that drove a 60% reduction in worker's compensation costs through Kaizen (an $8MM annual spend on litigation--a series of bunts and singles to win the game). In addition, an emissions tester we serve in Northeast Oklahoma has eliminated waste approaching nearly 10% of their annual revenue. 

Chad continues to leverage his passion for helping people through adult facilitation and executive coaching. He utilizes the adult learning model to engage, transfer knowledge, and give confidence to the participants, whether it be the most basic tool training or the most advanced Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Curriculum. 

Chad is an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (#8), an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (# 4615),and was an ASQ Fellow in 2016. Chad is the Chair of ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum advisory council and the pastchair of the Master Black Belt Exam Review Committee. 



Professional Experience

Richard Maclin has over 25 years of quality assurance and continuous improvement experience. He has served various industries in roles specializing in Quality Assurance, Supplier Development, Continuous Improvement, and Operations. Richard has helped companies grow their bottom line by identifying and eliminating variation and other non-value-added activity. His success results from strategic process improvement techniques like Lean Six Sigma, Process Automation, and Strategy Deployment. Other notable accomplishments include improved Customer Relationships and Management Systems registrations like ISO-9001 and IATF 16949.

Richard has held quality leadership positions with Toyoda Gosei, United Technologies, ArvinMeritor, Trelleborg, Superior Industries, and Gates Corporation. He has, most recently, served clients in the automotive, aerospace, consumer products, food service, industrial, health care, and nuclear industries for CI Solutions, LLC, where he is an instructor and Managing Master Black Belt.

His career includes proven results for employers and clients. He is an adjunct instructor at Northwest Arkansas Community College, Tulsa Technology Center, and Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City.

Richard is a member of his local ASQ section, the ASQ Six Sigma Forum Leadership Team, and participated in the ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt examination committee. He has also spoken at multiple ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conferences and the World Conference for Quality Improvement.



Professional Experience

Brian Karp is a hands-on leader who strives to do change with people and not to people. His teaching and coaching style allows teams to understand their processes better and identify sustainable ideas that deliver breakthrough improvements.

Brian earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University and received Lean Six Sigma training at Pentair and Black+Decker. He is an ASQ certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, holds two U.S. design patents, and has received the Nugent Innovation Award from Pentair, Inc.

For 20 years, Brian worked for several companies ranging from small family-owned businesses to large global companies. He gathered a variety of experience that has prepared him to share his process improvement expertise with people in a wide variety of industries. Since 2014, he has served as a full-time Continuous Improvement Coach and Trainer, serving clients like Tyson Foods, Chart Industries, Rockline, Harrel Eyecare, Stanley B&D, Baptist Memorial Hospital, Sentara Healthcare, Google, and Apple. Brian has successfully coached teams through improvement projects in areas such as:

In addition to being a seasoned project facilitator, Brian is also a passionate teacher and speaker. He is a Lean Six Sigma instructor for the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and was a featured speaker at the 2017 HFMA Washington/Alaska Chapter Conference.

Brian resides in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, with his wife and four children. He is active in his church, is an avid golf fan, enjoys making music, and driving race cars.



Professional Experience

Corey Rathburn is a seasoned Process Improvement and Operations Excellence professional with over 15 years of experience driving effective and positive change in various industries spanning from Healthcare to Consumer Goods. He has served in various leadership and Operational Excellence roles with companies like HCA, Providence St. Joseph Health, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Quest Diagnostics, and Avery Dennison.

He is passionate about helping companies drive Operational Excellence and Performance Improvement while focusing on positive culture and empowerment. Corey has worked on hundreds of events with companies in different industries and is a certified trainer and event facilitator for ASQ. He has Lean Six Sigma courses for ASQ, including Yellow, Green, and Black Belt training. Corey has also led train/apply sessions ranging from Value Stream Mapping to Strategy Deployment.

Corey received his degree in Industrial Engineering Technology and Logistics at Purdue University and his MBA in Healthcare Administration at the New York Institute of Technology. He is a certified ASQ Black Belt and a Master Black Belt with Oriel Stat A Matrix.

Richard has held quality leadership positions with Toyoda Gosei, United Technologies, ArvinMeritor, Trelleborg, Superior Industries, and Gates Corporation. He has, most recently, served clients in the automotive, aerospace, consumer products, food service, industrial, health care, and nuclear industries for CI Solutions, LLC, where he is an instructor and Managing Master Black Belt.

His career includes proven results for employers and clients. He is an adjunct instructor at Northwest Arkansas Community College, Tulsa Technology Center, and Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City.

Richard is a member of his local ASQ section, the ASQ Six Sigma Forum Leadership Team, and participated in the ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt examination committee. He has also spoken at multiple ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conferences and the World Conference for Quality Improvement.



Professional Experience

Bob Kollm delivers value at every opportunity. Bob’s a tenacious and methodical problem solver who is passionate about people. Utilizing Quality tools and continuous improvement methodologies to help organizations realize breakthrough improvements in resource-constrained, outcome-oriented environments is the hallmark of Bob’s success.

Bob has 10+ years of Continuous Improvement experience in various roles throughout multiple industries, including furnishings, retail, food service, aviation, healthcare, and government. Before joining CI Solutions, Bob directed a customer service department responsible for multiple brands and business channels with annual sales of $225M. With experience working with small non-profits, Fortune 500 companies, and private equity holdings Bob rarely finds himself in an unfamiliar environment. Through skilled facilitation Bob helps organizations identify their purpose and best position within the marketplace, constraints and opportunities, and goals and action plan. Critical to Bob’s success has been the result of his application of process improvement techniques like Strategy Development & Deployment, Hoshi Kanri, Process Mapping, Root Cause Analysis, VOC & CTQ, and project scoping. Bob is an adept facilitator and communicator who makes complex situations and problems understandable and solvable.

Bob delivers doses of hope to people and organizations in situations large and small. From saving a non-profit from dissolving to helping a corporation pivot within a changing marketplace to teaching adult learners Lean Six Sigma, Bob is at home serving others.

Bob is an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (#8698). Bob also serves on the ASQ Technical Program Committee, which sets the technical program for the annual World Conference on Quality and Improvement, and on the leadership team of the ASQ Six Sigma Forum advisory council.


Professional Experience

Will has over 20 years of experience in continuous improvement across industries such as Technology, Consumer Products (CPG), Finance, Healthcare, Entertainment, Energy, Real Estate, Pharmaceuticals, and Logistics.   At EY, Will served his clients in their continuous improvement strategies, including transformation projects, training, cost optimization, and automation protocols.  He’s led engagements for large multinational corporations resulting in over 100 million in client results.  The scope of projects has been strategic in nature and also at the deployment level and execution with complex operational components across business functions.  Will has helped build a Continuous Improvement (CI) program from the ground up at several internal and external clients in the Fortune 100.  At ABI, Will’s organization was responsible for translating strategic plans into a solution portfolio that delivered over 500 Million to the global company, utilizing training, coaching and project management of 1,000s of people.  Will has over 4,000 hours of front of room training and presentation experience in the fields of Operational Excellence, Lean & Six Sigma, Design Thinking, Innovation, Project Management and Agile over the last 10+ years.  Scaling Success and sharing Best Practices has been his focus for the duration of his career.  Will is a certified Master Black Belt and completed his MBA at the Ohio State University while working full time.  He is also Agile SPC trained and PMP certified.  With this knowledge, he has personally built World Class Blended-Learning Model Curriculum for every level of Lean Six Sigma Program, from White to Yellow to Green to Black Belt, Agile Scrum courses, Design Thinking/Innovation Courses in addition to Operational Excellence Program Deployments in every area of the business 


Professional Experience

R. Kirk Rice has over 30 years of leadership, project/program management, and continuous improvement experience across both private and public sector market spaces. Kirk’s work experiences and responsibilities range from 23+ years serving as an active-duty U.S. Marine Corps Officer to 16+ years as Senior Program Manager with one of America’s oldest professional management consulting and technology innovation firms.

Kirk has personally led numerous strategic planning, supply chain, business process reengineering, and continuous improvement process projects and programs for Booz Allen Hamilton and the U.S. Department of Defense (Army, Navy, and Marine Corps). Kirk is perhaps best-known for his purpose-driven, results-oriented, common-sense leadership and ability to teach, coach, mentor, and motivate others through a “Mission First – People Always” leadership style and philosophy.

One of Kirk’s passions is Decision Analytics. In this arena, he has designed and conducted “corporate wargames” and other decision analysis/decision support events senior corporate and DoD/military leadership to guide his client’s strategic planning, process improvement, and other major change management initiatives.

Kirk’s education, training, and certifications include an MBA (Tulane University), M.S. Human Resources Management (Troy University), MMS Advanced Strategic Studies (U.S. Marine Corps Command & Staff College), B.S. Education (University of Mississippi). Several of Kirk’s other certifications include Project Management Profession (Project Management Institute), Strategic Workforce Planner (Human Capital Institute), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO).


Professional Experience

Kevin Keller received a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1984 and a Master’s Degree in Applied Statistics from The Ohio State University in 1989. He is a certified Master Black Belt through Moresteam, Inc in conjunction with The Ohio State University (just by coincidence!!!).

Kevin worked for Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX as a process engineer from 1984 to 1988, making high-end circuit boards (PWB’s) for military equipment. He worked as a statistician from 1989-2004 with MEMC Electronic Materials, making silicon wafers for the semiconductor market. He employed statistical methods and continuous improvement methods not only in manufacturing but also in all support organizations. Kevin holds a patent in the application of statistical methods (US 6,293,139).

His last corporate position from 2004-2017 was with AB-InBev (formerly Anheuser-Busch), supporting the high-speed production of aluminum cans and lids in the Metal Container Division. Notably, Kevin was in charge of all aspects of the quality of the screw cap long neck aluminum bottle from concept design through initial production. Kevin spent a year on the Commercial side developing predictive sales and pricing models. He served as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt in his final years at ABI, training and coaching new yellow, green and black belts while working on large improvement projects. 

Throughout his career at MEMC and AB-InBev, he assisted people in non-traditional areas using continuous improvement tools to solve problems, such as Legal, Corporate Affairs, Human Resources, Finance, etc.

After “retiring” from corporate life, he is Principal of Keller Statistical Consulting, LLC, serving local, domestic, and global companies in Quality, Statistics, Discrete Event Simulations, Training, Continuous Improvement, and Change Management.

He is married to Ann, and they reside in St. Peters, MO, with their two daughters and three grandchildren living nearby.

Justin Plutino

Justin Plutino is an experienced Director of Business Development with over 5 years of experience. He is actively driving results and change for CI Solutions. He achieves data-driven outcomes through advanced strategies in the areas of marketing, project management, learning management systems (LMS), and overall strategy deployment. He has worked for a number of organizations/clients, including Trade-Mark Industrial, Inc., Temple Chamber of Commerce, City of Branson, Opalfoods, and Reeves Tire and Auto.

He is passionate about helping organizations reach their full capacity and potential in implementing a good Continuous Process Improvement Culture. Justin has worked on multiple sessions/events for companies and firms with success.  He is ASQ Greenbelt trained and has applied his Greenbelt skills ranging from 5s to Strategy Development. 

Justin received his BS degree in Environmental Health and Safety at Missouri Southern State University. 

Click here for complete list of courses that we teach. 

The American Society for Quality, formerly the American Society for Quality Control, is a society of quality professionals, with nearly 80,000 members.

In 2020, we were approached by ASQExcellence CEO, Jim Templin and ASQ CEO Ann Jordan to consider being the first member of a preferred provider network.  Needless to say, we were completely humbled and grateful.  And of course we said yes, and the rest as they say is history.​

Throughout the previous 10 years, we have developed a deep relationship with the American Society for Quality and have served many countless ASQ clients across the years.  In addition, we have participated in many content creation and upgrade activities for ASQ’s world-class learning offerings.​

ASQConnEx is now a super exciting extension of our previous work with ASQ.  In essence, we can bring the best ASQ has to offer direct to you through our reciprocal partnership with ASQ.  Within the first year, we have served well over 50 different clients utilizing this approach (combination of both open and closed enrollment courses).  ​

What’s even more exciting is that we can also blend ASQ content into our work to help you develop your CI Culture.  This program provides us the added flexibility you as a client deserve so that learning, development and breakthrough achievement happens easily!​