Patrick Thomas

Retired Executive Vice President and COO of Hamilton Sundstrand Industrial, a subsidiary of United Technologies.

Patrick Thomas began his career with Sundyne Corporation, the world’s largest producer of zero-leak industrial pumps, high pressure process pumps and compressors. Mr. Thomas subsequently become COO of Hamilton Sundstrand Industrial, a $1 billion division of United Technologies made up of the following business units: Falk Corporation (speed reducing gear boxes and rotating shaft couplings), Sullair Corporation (air and gas compressors and vacuum pumps), Milton Roy Company (metering pumps and mixers), Sundyne Corporation (high speed process pumps and compressors, mag drive and canned motor zero-leak pumps). Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from North Dakota State University and an MBA from Denver University.

Dr. Jeffrey Liker

Professor, Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan

Dr. Jeffrey Liker is Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan, owner of Liker Lean Advisors, LLC. Dr. Liker has authored or co-authored over 75 articles and book chapters and eleven books. He is author of the international best-seller, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer, McGraw-Hill, 2004 which speaks to the underlying philosophy and principles that drive Toyota’s quality and efficiency-obsessed culture. The companion (with David Meier) The Toyota Way Fieldbook, McGraw Hill, 2005 details how companies can learn from the Toyota Way principles. His book with Jim Morgan, The Toyota Product Development System, Productivity Press, 2006, is the first that details the product development side of Toyota. Additional books in The Toyota Way Series are (with David Meier), Toyota Talent: Developing exceptional people the Toyota Way (May, 2007), (with Michael Hoseus) Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way (January, 2008), (with Gary Convis) The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership (2012), (with James Franz) The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement (2012), (with Tim Ogden) Toyota Under Fire (2012), and (with George Trachilis) Developing Lean Leaders The Toyota Way (2014). Dr. Liker is a frequent keynote speaker and consultant. Recent clients include Caterpillar, Applied Materials, Siemens, Dover Industries, Kraft-Oscar Meyer, Alcatel-Lucent, Hertz, Solar Turbine, Art Van Furniture and Henry Ford Health Systems.

Richard Labrecque

Retired Corporate Senior Vice President ITT Industries and CEO of ITT Fluid Technology.

Richard Labrecque built ITT Fluid Technology into the world’s largest pump producer with over $3 billion in yearly revenue. ITT Fluid Technology contains pump businesses including brands such as Flygt, Goulds, Bell & Gossett, A-C Pump, Lowara and Vogel. In addition, ITT Fluid Technology is a leading provider of water treatment equipment under brands like Sanitaire, Aquious and WEDECO. Businesses within this segment also supply mixers, heat exchangers and related products. Mr. Labrecque has spent his entire business career in the machinery industry, starting with the General Electric Company. After 12 years with GE’s Aircraft Engine Group, he joined Colt Industries in 1968, where he was President of the Fairbanks Morse Pump Division and, later, President of the Quincy Compressor Division. Labrecque holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Administration from Union College.

William Blankemeier

President, PeopleFlo Manufacturing, Inc.

William is responsible for PeopleFlo business operations and company strategy. His focus is on building the employee team, developing strategic partners and building the business. William comes to PeopleFlo from a leading pump manufacturer where, as General Manager, he led the change from batch manufacturing to a lean manufacturing system. Prior to general management, William held senior level positions for ITT Industries. He holds a BA degree in Economics from Middlebury College, Vermont and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

John Barkidjija

Executive Vice President, ST Residential, LLC (a joint venture led by Starwood Capital Group and TPG Capital Group.

John Barkidjija is a commercial real estate professional, finance authority, attorney and entrepreneur. He began his career practicing corporate, banking and securities law in New York City before transitioning into commercial real estate and financing of over $2 billion of commercial real estate, primarily in the New York City, Washington DC, Miami and California markets. Mr. Barkidjija currently leads the Commercial Real Estate Lending Group for Byline Bank, a $2.5BB in asset institution with over 90 branches in the Chicago area. Mr. Barkidjija’s prior experience includes founding a commercial real estate advisory firm focused on troubled debt restructurings and investment consulting. He also worked for the Starwood Capital / TPG group (successful bidder for the assets of Corus Bankshares Inc., a Chicago lender seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) to turnaround distressed commercial real estate loan portfolios. Mr. Barkidjija received his B.A. from Columbia University, his J.D. from New York University School of Law, and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

William Taylor

Retired President & SVP ITT Corporation.

William Taylor is a senior executive with 30 years experience leading global manufacturing companies that provide engineered products for aerospace, military, petrochemical, oil refining, chemical, rail, telecom, and medical markets. Mr. Taylor has a deep understanding of Chinese culture and Asian business practices as well as a passion for new technology development and commercialization. Mr. Taylor began his career in aerospace with Sundyne Aviation in Rockford Illinois then rose to become President of Syndyne Corp, a division of Hamilton Sundstrand / United Technologies that produces highly engineered pumps and compressors (brands Sundyne, HMD/Kontro, ANSIMAG) for applications in oil refining and chemical processing. Mr. Taylor subsequently became President of the ITT Industries, Industrial Fluid Group (pumping and valve products for chemical, hydrocarbon processing, pulp & paper and general industrial markets), President of ITT Corp. China / India ($11.0B global multi-industry company that manufacturers products for Fluid Technology, Motion & Flow Control, and Defense markets) and President of ITT Corporation Interconnect Solutions (highly-engineered interconnect devices and cable assemblies for harsh environment applications). Mr. Taylor holds a BS in Technical Management from St. Regis University.