MISSION VIEJO, Calif., May 1st, 2018 – Beacon Quality announced the three winners for the first annual Champions for Quality awards, the only awards program that’s nominated by and voted on by their quality professional peers.

Beacon Quality developed the program this year to recognize those in the quality profession who have advocated for exceptional quality at their plants, company, and on a global scale. Open to all, we invited the quality industry to submit their nominees and the inspiring stories of the positive impact these individuals made.

“The response was more than we could have hoped for, with over 20 submissions,” says Eric Stoop, Chief Executive Officer, “but the real excitement was when we opened our site up to the top 12 finalists, in which we had over 1,000 votes by peers and colleagues, well above our expectations.”

Champions for Quality 2018 was presented in three categories: Ambassador, Influencer, and Catalyst. Deborah Klafter, Quality Manager of Okamoto Sandusky Manufacturing, LLC has won the Ambassador award; Sheronda Jeffries, Program Manager of Cisco has won the Influencer award; and Thomas Sholty, EQHS Manager for Girtz Industries has won Catalyst award.

Deborah Klafter has been in quality for the manufacturing industry for nearly 30 years, currently the Quality Manager for Okamoto Sandusky Manufacturing, LLC. As a winner of the Ambassador award, she needed to demonstrate that she took the reins of implementing a strong culture of quality at their plant. Her nomination from a colleague stated that, “Deb has developed awareness at our company for quality…I have witnessed a dramatic difference in our company, as to her involvement in creating an effective manufacturing organization.”

Sheronda Jeffries is a Technical Leader with Cisco Systems since 2008 and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from NC A&T State University. As an award winner of the Influencer award, Sheronda needed to have dedicated her life to training, educating, and influencing quality on a global scale. With over 20 years’ experience serving as a third-party quality auditor, a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and representative of Cisco Systems at TIA/QuEST Forum, Sheronda was a highlight of the Influencer category. Her nomination from another quality professional stated, “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.”

As winner of the Catalyst award, Thomas Sholty needed to be a ‘catalyst for change’ within their company by starting programs, implementing change, and creating real results. Thomas began his “second career” as a QA Technician with Girtz Industries in June of 2014. With no previous Industrial Quality experience, Tom has made amazing changes within the company, as his nomination from a colleague explains: “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 has been promoted a number of times due to his work, and in March of 2018, with the retirement of another long-term Girtz Manager, Tom was given the additional responsibilities of the Girtz Environmental and Health and Safety Systems.

“We are very excited to have our first Champions for Quality award winners at our 2018 Beacon User Summit,” Stoop says, continuing, “this is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on quality and the people that really make a difference.” Eric will be hosting a panel discussion with the three award winners to hear more about the journey each of them have taken to increase quality.

The 2018 Beacon User Summit is a complimentary user summit at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit, MI on May 8, 2018. The conference runs from 8 AM to 7 PM local time, and features high-profile speakers, hands-on Beacon Quality training, networking, and the Champions for Quality awards. To learn more, or to RSVP for this year’s Beacon User Summit, please visit www.ease.io

About Beacon Quality: Founded in 1986, Beacon Quality is the leading provider of cloud-based and on-premise layered process audit (LPA) software for the automotive and aerospace industries.

We have decades of experience helping companies improve visibility and control at every stage of production, with tools that promote company-wide engagement and operational excellence. Our mission: empowering businesses to deliver higher quality products better, faster and at lower cost.

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