Meet our team

Different from any other lean healthcare consultancy, RCG is the only assembly of senior healthcare executives who have implemented lean methods in complex healthcare settings with a demonstrated record of success. RCG has an in-depth understanding of authentic lean methodology and philosophy, with many team members having been students of John Black and Chihiro Nakao of Shingijutsu, Japan. The principals at RCG bring leadership experience from Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis and Sutter Health in Northern California — early adopters in the country that have fully adopted and implemented the Toyota Management System. The RCG team also brings extensive knowledge in developing and advising on large-scale transformation programs for companies outside of healthcare, including Boeing, Ford and Toyota.


Grace Bourke MBA

Grace is an experienced health care professional with a 20-year track record of successfully implementing lean, six sigma, and total quality management (TQM). She works with clients to develop processes to improve quality, meet strategic goals, and reduce waste. Grace has coached frontline staff and executives in standard work, kaizen, daily management, and PDSA (plan-do-study-act) with sustained results and continued improvement. Her experience includes ambulatory care, hospital services, manufacturing, and health care insurance.

Brenda Peterson Bublitz BSN, MSN, NEA-BC

Brenda has been working with lean methodology since 2006. She helps clients achieve financial and operational results through executive coaching, vision and strategy planning, interdepartmental collaboration, and strong physician partnerships to deliver the highest quality patient care. She builds cross-functional partnerships to connect diverse groups to a common goal and is a leader in planning and facilitating the execution of organizational strategy and operational performance.

Joanie Ching RN, DNP, CPHQ

Joanie has been working with lean methodology since 2007 and has extensive experience in patient safety, data analytics, quality improvement, and compliance. A doctoral-level nurse, she began her clinical practice specializing in complex pain management, which prompted a deep passion around patient advocacy, incident reporting, and event investigation. Joanie’s commitment to quality and patient safety led to progressive leadership roles across ambulatory care systems, including at University of Washington Medical Center, where she implemented incident reporting systems, event investigations, and pain management campaigns, among other clinical and outreach initiatives.

Shirl Diaz MA

Shirl is a certified lean leader with more than 30 years of operational experience in primary care, specialty care, and satellite facilities. She has deep experience in many facets of lean, including implementing new models of care focused on a team-based approach to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. Her expertise includes the 3P lean method (Production Preparation Process) and she has trained management teams in the reduction of waste through 5S, kanban, standard work, and flow production.

Jon Felton MHA

Jonathan has been in the health care industry for over 15 years. As a lean certified health care executive, he focuses on helping clients with leadership, team, and cultural development. Through his extensive experience working for health care organizations, Jonathan possesses a deep understanding of hospital and health care operations, physician services and program development, and strategic planning and deployment. Jonathan has led lean implementation and has expertise in creating alignment through the use of leader standard work and daily management systems.

Dana Foley
Senior Manager - Kaizen Communications

Dana is a senior internal communications leader with more than twenty years of experience in scientific and health care communications, including ten years within integrated health care delivery systems. She creates and produces integrated communications approaches, plans, and products through innovative editorial and content solutions. She is a results‐driven, intuitive, customer service‐oriented consensus builder who is able to reach across business sectors to encourage implementation and performance optimization through communications infrastructure solutions. Dana is able to translate complex information into accessible stories, compelling messages, and effective tactical plans across multiple channels to targeted audiences. She does so as a collaborative communications strategist who ensures alignment with clinical and operations goals, manages brand identity, and develops reputation across the enterprise and among key stakeholders.

Beth Frisken

Beth has served as an accounting consultant to business owners and management teams for more than 25 years. Her experience includes full-cycle accounting and bookkeeping services (including financial statement preparation, presentation, and analysis) and implementation and training for accounting software and processes. She has a diverse background in small business operations, accounting, technology, customer service, sales, and banking.

Heidi Gehris

Certified lean leader with professional expertise in lean transformation, strategy deployment (hoshin kanri) and the President’s Diagnosis, a lean enterprise maturity assessment model. An innovative thinker and creative problem solver with experience directing marketing and communications campaigns for academic institutions; hospitals and healthcare systems; management consulting, pharma/IP law and financial firms; and golf and wine industries.

James Hanson MD FAAP

James has been in the health care industry for more than 30 years. He is a respected physician executive who has held progressive management responsibility for quality and performance improvement, medical staff affairs, clinical education, electronic health records implementation, and medical group operations. He has a strong clinical background with expertise in patient safety, Toyota Management System, telehealth, and clinical outcomes management.

Marnee Pierson Iseman MHA

Marnee has been consulting with health care organizations on the application of the Toyota Management System since 2014. She serves a wide range of health care clients, from those with ambulatory services to large integrated systems, guiding them on leadership development, kaizen, innovation, and access services. Marnee has received several health care awards and has presented to the health care community nationwide on topics including lean and the Toyota Production System as it applies to ambulatory care, process improvement, patient access, supply and demand, and quality.

Thomas L. Jackson JD MBA PhD

Tom has more than 30 years of experience in lean management. He has helped numerous global companies implement the Toyota Management System to improve cost, quality, delivery, and overall organizational health. A recognized authority on hoshin kanri (strategic deployment) and lean business systems, Tom’s expertise is based on the method of policy management that combines the balanced scorecard, evidence-based problem solving, and leadership development. He’s knowledgeable in the A3 and PDCA (plan-do-check-act) process pioneered at Toyota, and implements lean production, lean management, total quality, and total productive maintenance in organizations—both large and small—in health care and other industries.

Bonnie Jacobson LCSW

Bonnie began her career in 1997 as a clinical social worker in the state of California. She became immersed in lean in 2010 while working at California Pacific Medical Center, where she was selected for the inaugural class within the Quality Delivery Promotion Office. She worked with the medical center to plan, implement, and facilitate kaizen workshops and events for emergency departments on four campuses to align with A3-T objectives, and to support executive leadership goals. As a member of the Quality Delivery System faculty, she also taught lean modules and developed QDPO promotional materials.

Ryan Joyner MPH PhD

Ryan has been driving quality improvement within health care organizations since 2013. He develops innovative tools to model health care operations and capture the value of improvement work, while also facilitating improvement events and hoshin kanri strategy sessions. While completing his PhD, Ryan volunteered at a local diabetes center where he leveraged his proficiency with data analytics to help improve patient engagement and operations. He then went on to complete a masters of public health focusing on health care operations and the application of health information technology to improve patient care.

Ann Kernan RTRMCT

Ann began her career in health care in 1983. She is an accomplished lean leader with a proven track record for implementation and change management. A skilled facilitator who organizes and coordinates disparate and cross-functional teams, Ann is recognized for her follow-through, integrity, and commitment to excellence.

Shaunté Kinch ME

Shaunté has worked in the health care industry since 2010. She is trained in lean and Six Sigma, and assists clients in building problem solving capability through the development of people. Shaunté began her career as a mechanical engineer before beginning her career in health care as a performance excellence specialist at UCLA Health System. In this role, she led significant improvements in patient satisfaction, call bell response, missing and incorrect orders, discharge times, patient and staff communications, and scheduling and charges. In addition, she worked on the performance excellence team at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics and served as Kaizen Promotion Office manager of the cancer and cardiovascular service lines. In this role she led improvements of clinical pathways, reduced unnecessary variation of cancer treatments, improved clinic scheduling, and designed a new patient-centered cancer center and processes.

Miwa Kudo MSW MHA

Miwa has practiced lean consulting since 2004. As a kaizen leader, Miwa works with organizations to empower their employees to make improvements that will impact the quality of their daily work. She helps clients identify procedural problems and find solutions to improve efficiency and quality. Her focus areas include lean promotion office operation and competency development, change management, 3P design facilitation, and lean technical coaching.

A native Japanese speaker, Miwa has an in-depth understanding of authentic kaizen methodology and philosophy as taught by Toyota lean Senseis. With her clinical and lean practice background, Miwa has worked with health care practices in Asia and was director of lean promotion for a large medical center in Kyusyu, Japan.

Erica Lorie PT MS

Erica has worked in the health care industry for over 20 years. She is a lean transformation leader and executive coach passionate about developing problem solving and leadership capabilities to catalyze organizational improvement. Erica consistently delivers results to achieve exceptional patient experience through collaboration, facilitation, and strategic planning through lean consulting.

Dahlia Mak MHA

Dahlia has been in the health care industry for over 20 years, and has been working with lean application in health care since 2002. She oversees lean practice groups and product development and guides health care systems with her expertise in quality and patient safety, process improvement, and strategic planning. Certified in lean from Shingijutsu Global, Dahlia coaches leaders in improvement methods, leadership development, and change management, delivering tangible, sustainable improvements. She serves a wide range of clients from large integrated delivery systems and academic medical centers to public health systems. She engages organizations at all levels, bringing together executives, boards, providers, frontline caregivers, and staff, to apply lean methodology and solve complex problems.

Steve Mattson MBA

Steve has over 25 years of experience in the health care industry. He is trained in lean and Six Sigma and works with clients to improve quality, patient experience, and process and facility design. His background in finance helps him connect quality and cost while assisting clients in their pursuit of high quality health care.

In his former position as senior director of quality improvement and care innovation at Park Nicollet Health Services, Steve was involved in one of the early implementations of the Toyota Production System in health care. He studied under Katsuya Koide and Takeshi Iwata of Shingijutsu Global and has experience leading and guiding kaizen and 3P (production preparation process) teams in hospital and clinic settings.

Maura May

Maura has been publishing works on lean and the Toyota Management System since 1989. She directs internal and external publishing initiatives designed to support clients’ lean transformations. These publications educate clients and the health care community on strategies for providing safe, high-quality, cost-effective health care. In addition to her extensive knowledge of lean methodologies, Maura also has experience directing strategy and operations in both small and large organizations and leading work groups using a team-based, knowledge-driven approach.

Malie Maysilles ME MPT

Malie has provided quality improvement to clients in the health care and consumer products industries since 1993. She is a skilled educator and assists clients in the development and implementation of processes and strategies. Malie began her health care career as a physical therapist at a university-based hospital, where she was selected to participate in the hospital’s Quality Academy for her high quality patient and family care. She also worked as a senior lean specialist at a regional medical center, where she managed the revenue cycle and primary care service lines.

Joanna Omi MPH

Joanna works with organizations to develop systems for sustained improvement, encouraging leaders and staff to implement new approaches to resolve long-standing problems. She has over 10 years of experience leading a large system lean deployment to her work in hoshin kanri/strategy deployment, coaching, daily management systems, and lean operations.

Kim Pittenger MD

Kim began his career in family medicine in 1979. By 2004 he became a strong believer in the Toyota Production System and its ability to improve the ease of delivering quality care and contribute to financial success. Kim left private practice after nearly 40 years to devote his career to medical care innovations inspired by lean methodology.

Kim has firsthand experience implementing kaizen in his prior role as director of quality and innovation for primary care at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. As a result of his work, the medical center experienced quantitative results including positive primary care financial margins, disease management and screening attainments exceeding national averages, and a consistently favorable patient satisfaction rating. Additionally, Kim implemented flow production of indirect care using Toyota Management System principles, contributing to provider satisfaction and sustainability rates that are atypical in today’s primary care practices. He also developed a best practices tactical force which sought to align clinical practice patterns with operational practice patterns to support evidence-based care.

Kim has earned many accolades, including recognition as a top doctor in Seattle Magazine for 10 consecutive years; American Medical Group Association’s Preeminence Award as part of the Virginia Mason team in 2011; and the James Tate Mason Physician of the Year Award from Virginia Mason Medical Center in 2006.

Erin Ressler

Erin has over 25 years of experience in the health care industry and has extensive experience in quality improvement, eliminating waste, and improving efficiencies. She was a founding member of the Kaizen Promotion Office at Virginia Mason Medical Center, and received eight years of extensive kaizen training with Shingijutsu senseis including Chihiro Nakao.

Erin’s experience includes translating original Toyota Production System teaching material from its manufacturing-based context to health care. In addition, she trained and certified numerous leaders at Virginia Mason in kaizen tools and methods; created training materials and curricula for all levels of kaizen, from introductory courses to certification tracks for executive leadership; and has extensive experience in leading kaizen workshops and events. She has also served in multiple instructor roles of lean concepts and methods for a variety of audiences.

J. Michael Rona MHA

Mike has more than 35 years of transformative health care leadership experience. He guides health care organizations, from major health systems to large medical group affiliations, through the implementation of lean principles via the Toyota Management System. Mike has designed and led groundbreaking applications of lean management, improving critical functions in emergency and operating rooms, labs, revenue cycle, supply chain, clinics, inpatient flow, administrative support, human resources, medical records, group practice management, and credentialing and clinical research. Results have included improved patient safety, reduced lead times, and associated costs.

His prior leadership experience includes serving as president of Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, where he oversaw and directed all management aspects of the medical center. Under Mike’s leadership, Virginia Mason Medical Center became the first major medical facility to adopt the concepts of lean manufacturing and translate them into a health care setting. Mike is certified in lean through the Shingijutsu Corporation, and has participated in nine Gemba Kaizen study trips to Japan.

Ritsuko Sumii Travis

Ritsuko assists clients in implementing processes for continuous improvement that promote efficiency and cut unnecessary waste. Ritsuko began her career as an interpreter and facilitator alongside Shingijutsu consultants from Japan—including Chihiro Nakao, Senji Niwa, and Katsuya Koide—teaching Kaizen to US businesses. Among the various industrial companies, Ritsuko spent an extensive amount of time working with a notable Fortune 500 company to improve the quality and efficiency on their production lines. She also worked with multiple large health systems to implement the kaizen concept and techniques to bring about transformational successes for both workers and patients.

Richard Summers MBA

Rick has been a senior operations leader in manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, QA, distribution/logistics, finance, IT, facilities, and human resources and labor relations since 1996. He has been successful in both turnarounds and rapid scaling environments leading teams from 100 to 1,500 people. Rick is recognized for improving tactics and strategies designed to build cohesive high-performing work teams, improving systems and efficiencies, reaching best-in-class quality, on-time delivery, and collaborative relationships between customers and vendors relationships. He is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and has led successful transformations using lean production and Six Sigma process improvement implementation within nine different organizations.

Jessica Turner PhD

Jessica has provided lean consulting services since 2009. Her expertise includes engagement and contract management, lean quality improvement, project management, and the scientific method (stemming from 11 years of experience in biological research). She helps build client relationships through coaching and problem solving while guiding contract activities, managing client delivery teams, and delivering both lean and technical instruction to diverse audiences across the health care spectrum.

Craig Vercruysse MBA

Craig has over two decades of health care leadership experience. He works with large health systems and medical groups to develop and implement lean management practices, collaborating with senior leadership to identify cross-functional areas for operational improvement and integration of lean principles. His vision is to improve the overall health and performance of health care organizations by achieving zero defects, increased patient satisfaction, staff empowerment, and improved financial performance—all through the application of the Toyota Management System.

Prior to joining RCG, Craig served as chief operating officer at Sutter Health West Bay Region’s California Pacific Medical Center, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the four-campus, tertiary and quaternary care medical center. Concurrently, he was chief process officer for Sutter Health West Bay Region, where he served as a regional executive accountable for deployment of the Toyota Management System. While under his leadership, CPMC won the Sutter Top Hospital in Quality Award; the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Meritorious Award; the AARP Safest Hospitals in America Award; and the Leapfrog Top Hospital. In addition, Craig has held leadership roles in information technology as a healthcare CIO. Prior to healthcare, Craig held leadership roles in financial services IT and marketing as well as serving as an executive at two high-tech ventures.

Pamela Westerlin

Pamela is a quality-driven professional with more than fifteen years of experience working with the highest levels of leadership and board executives. She has a proven track record for making sense of complex projects and innovating new ways to execute and streamline them. Pamela exhibits outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills with the ability to thrive under pressure. And she has experience supporting more than fifteen community boards in multiple states as a program manager.