Kelly Weeks, Ph.D., is a business development consultant specializing in the industrial operations sector.
Kelly began his professional development 25 years ago throughopportunities in a grocery store retail environment. Over the following 10 years, he worked in different areas as department manager. After obtaining a B.B.A., he moved to the industry sector, more specifically manufacturing. He was initially in operations then, over time, moved into a more supervisory role at the completion of his M.B.A. Routine tasks involved decision-making in fields of production, operations, logistics, and supply chain.
Kelly is qualified in most areas of management. Kelly is a native of Mississippi where he earned his Ph.D. in Operations Management. He has gone on to further his business credentials by obtaining a Six Sigma Black Belt in 2008. In 2010, he completed certification requirements for a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB). Kelly is a reviewer for several academic journals and an active member of numerous academic organizations.
Kelly initially became involved in consulting through companies directly soliciting his advice and expertise. Kelly has assisted various firms in revenue generation improvement, daily operations optimization, transportation, supply chain analysis, workforce development, turnaround evaluation and economic analysis. He has worked in a variety of fields such as ports, manufacturing, education, retail, energy, oil and gas, and construction.
He regularly writes academic articles in his capacity as a university professor and faculty member. He has published over a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles in various journals. He has also published two chapters in research-oriented textbooks. Kelly has in-depth experience in grant writing and submissions. He has also submitted external grants at state and federal agencies alike.
Kelly is an active faculty member and professor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, USA. He facilitates a number of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level of curriculum. Kelly has been instrumental in developing numerous graduate courses, particularly in the fields of operations and supply chain.
Kelly is married and the proud father of one girl and two boys. He has been a Beaumont area resident since 2014 and is a member of the Westgate Memorial Baptist Church. He delights in taking his family to the beach and enjoys water activities. Kelly is an animal advocate and has an Alaskan malamute named Ember.
KELLY WEEKS, President
Mahdi Safa, Ph.D., is a project management consultant specializing in planning, budgeting, organizing, and controlling resources, procedures and protocols.
Mahdi has over 20 years of experience in academia and industry with extensive project portfolios as well as experience managing large, complex multi-use development projects. He began his career as an Assistant Project Manager and evolved into positions including Director of Planning Department, and Project Executive for notable Firms. Mahdi is well known for his ability to make decisions quickly and under pressure while maintaining the best interest of the client and proving fairness to contractors to maintain schedule and quality. He is well recognized for his cross cultural expertise, which he leverages during all of his client engagements.
Mahdi is qualified in most areas of project management. Mahdi has a unique combination of engineering and business development expertise by focusing Ph.D. and Masters in Construction Management, Industrial Engineering, and Business Administration. He has received several research and teaching awards and has numerous publications.
Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Mahdi started his professional life as an engineer and progressed tothe level of Senior Manager.His success in conducting original research and translating it into practical applications. Mahdi has a 20 year history of work with individuals, teams and organizations helpingthem clarify what they want and focus on getting it. Mahdi has dedicated his career to implementing pragmatic solutions based on the best practices and research available. Mahdi brings years of experience in designing, implementing, delivering, and leading a broad range of training and development initiatives that support business strategies and objectives.
Mahdi has an extensive list of publications on project management, leadership, global business skills, and supply chain management. He has published in his high quality journals and attended at highly rated conferences. His research has been cited internationally, and he has received awards recognizing the impact of his research. His research is innovative and his unique methods have gained substantial attention within several fields as demonstrated by this impressive track record of success for a researcher. Through his professional life and research experience, Mahdi has grown to value exceptional communication among technical disciplines, and has focused on taking an interdisciplinary approach in his research. Tomorrow’s technology will be shaped by such applications and academia will evolve around institutions that facilitate interdisciplinary research.Mahdi has also served as a reviewer for several key journals in the project management field, as he is internationally recognized as an authoritative researcher.He also has strong background in publishing scientific research results as well as proposal writing.
Dr. Mahdi Safa is an active faculty member and professor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, USA. Mahdi has worked in the field of technical project management in both academia and industry. This perspective has provided him with a broad view of this contemporary topic.He facilitates a number of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level of curriculum. Mahdi is a skilled instructor and program developer who consistently receives exceptional reviews for his engaging, high energy classes and workshops. He specializes in teaching practical skills using interactive learning methods. Mahdi’s passion is working with intact work teams to improve group effectiveness, whether it is teaching new techniques to improve interpersonal dynamics, or using process tools to improve critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making.
Mahdi lives in Beaumont, TX with his wife Maryam, and they have two children: Parsa and Sara.He enjoys numerous sports, including judo, soccer, cycling, swimming, walking and golf.
MAHDI SAFA, Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Price is a scientist, businessman and entrepreneur, with more than 30 years in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Price is currently Executive Vice President of Business Development at Nascent Biotech and, with Dr. Fernando Larios, has formed Biogenin. Dr. Price has been CEO of GalenBio, Inc., President and CEO of Goodwin Biotechnology, and he was the first CEO of CropTech Corporation. Formerly, he worked for Cardinal Health, a Fortune 16 company, where he was Vice President of Biotechnology Services.
Dr. Price has also held senior- level management positions at BioReliance, Damon Biotech in the U.K. and Ortho Diagnostic Systems. In addition, he co-founded the Institute for Cell Analysis at the University of Miami (FL), the International Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Guadalajara, and Quality Biotech. He has served as Board Chairman of the Virginia Biotechnology Association and Maryland’s counterpart, MdBIO.
In early 2016, Dr. Price was appointed the Ben J. Rogers Chair in Entrepreneurism of the College of Business at Lamar University (Beaumont, TX). Presently, he is Adjunct Professor in the Business School at Virginia Commonwealth University, Visiting Professor at the University of Guadalajara School of Business (CUCEA), and Professor of Business at Universidad Panamericana (Guadalajara) – where he teaches a course entitled “Entrepreneurism and Business Planning for Innovation Driven Companies”. He holds the B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biophysics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and is the author of more than 50 articles in the scientific and business literature.
BRANDON PRICE, Lead Consultant
We are committed to providing customers with solutions that are both timely and effective. We achieve this by employing highly skilled academic and industry team members, as well as utilizing cutting edge equipment and software. Above all, we are dedicated to providing a positive experience and quality product to customers.
OAKMONT'S CORE VALUES
Your organization’s senior leaders should set directions and create a customer focus, clear and visible values, and high expectations. The directions, values, and expectations should balance the needs of all your stakeholders. Your leaders should ensure the creation of strategies, systems, and methods for achieving performance excellence, stimulating innovation, building knowledge and capabilities, and ensuring organizational sustainability. The values and strategies should help guide all of your organization’s activities and decisions. Senior leaders should inspire and motivate your entire workforce and should encourage all employees, including any volunteers, to contribute, to develop and learn, to be innovative, and to be creative. Senior leaders should be responsible to your organization’s governance body for their actions and performance. The governance body should be responsible ultimately to all your stakeholders for the ethics, actions, and performance of your organization and its senior leaders.
Senior leaders should serve as role models through their ethical behavior and their personal involvement in planning, communications, coaching, development of future leaders, review of organizational performance, and employee recognition. As role models, they can reinforce ethics, values, and expectations while building leadership, commitment, and initiative throughout your organization.
Quality and performance are judged by an organization’s customers. Thus, your organization must take into account all product and service features and characteristics and all modes of customer access that contribute value to your customers. Such behavior leads to customer acquisition, satisfaction, preference, referral, retention and loyalty, and to business expansion. Customer-driven excellence has both current and future components: understanding today’s customer desires and anticipating future customer desires and marketplace potential.
Value and satisfaction may be influenced by many factors throughout your customers’ overall experience with your organization. These factors include your organization’s customer relationships, which help to build trust, confidence, and loyalty.
Customer-driven excellence means much more than reducing defects and errors, merely meeting specifications, or reducing complaints. Nevertheless, these factors contribute to your customers’ view of your organization and thus also are important parts of customer-driven excellence. In addition, your organization’s success in recovering from defects, service errors, and mistakes is crucial to retaining customers and building customer relationships.
Customer-driven organizations address not only the product and service characteristics that meet basic customer requirements but also those features and characteristics that differentiate products and services from competing offerings. Such differentiation may be based on new or modified offerings, combinations of product and service offerings, customization of offerings, multiple access mechanisms, rapid response, or special relationships.
Customer-driven excellence is thus a strategic concept. It is directed toward customer retention and loyalty, market share gain, and growth. It demands constant sensitivity to changing and emerging customer and market requirements and to the factors that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. It demands listening to your customers. It demands anticipating changes in the marketplace. Therefore, customer- driven excellence demands awareness of developments in technology and competitors’ offerings, as well as rapid and flexible responses to customer, environmental, and market changes.
Achieving the highest levels of organizational performance requires a well-executed approach to organizational and personal learning. Organizational learning includes both continuous improvement of existing approaches and significant change, leading to new goals and approaches. Learning needs to be embedded in the way your organization operates. This means that learning
- is a regular part of daily work;
- is practiced at personal, work unit, and organizational levels;
- results in solving problems at their source (“root cause”);
- is focused on building and sharing knowledge throughout your organization; and
- is driven by opportunities to effect significant, meaningful change.
Sources for learning include employees’ and volunteers’ ideas, research and development (R&D), customers’ input, best practice sharing, and benchmarking.
Organizational learning can result in
- enhancing value to customers through new and improved products and services;
- developing new business opportunities;
- reducing errors, defects, waste, and related costs;
- improving responsiveness and cycle time performance;
- increasing productivity and effectiveness in the use of all your resources; and
- enhancing your organization’s performance in fulfilling its societal responsibilities and its service to your community.
Employees’ success depends increasingly on having opportunities for personal learning and on practicing new skills. In organizations that rely on volunteers, the volunteers’ personal learning also is important, and their learning and skill development should be considered with employees’. Organizations invest in employees’ personal learning through education, training, and other opportunities for continuing growth and development. Such opportunities might include job rotation and increased pay for demonstrated knowledge and skills. On-the-job training offers a cost-effective way to train and to better link training to your organizational needs and priorities. Education and training programs may benefit from advanced technologies, such as computer- and Internet- based learning and satellite broadcasts.
Personal learning can result in
- more satisfied and versatile employees who stay with your organization,
- organizational cross-functional learning,
- the building of your organization’s knowledge assets, and
- an improved environment for innovation.
Thus, learning is directed not only toward better products and services but also toward being more responsive, adaptive, innovative, and efficient—giving your organization market- place sustainability and performance advantages and giving your employees satisfaction and motivation to excel.
An organization’s success depends increasingly on the diverse backgrounds, knowledge, skills, creativity, and motivation of all its employees and partners, including both paid employees and volunteers, as appropriate.
Valuing employees means committing to their satisfaction, development, and well-being. Increasingly, this involves more flexible, high-performance work practices tailored to employees with varying workplace and home life needs. Major challenges in the area of valuing employees include
- demonstrating your leaders’ commitment to your employees’ success,
- providing recognition that goes beyond the regular compensation system,
- offering development and progression within your organization,
- sharing your organization’s knowledge so your employees can better serve your customers and contribute to achieving your strategic objectives,
- creating an environment that encourages risk taking and innovation, and
- creating a supportive environ- ment for a diverse workforce.
Organizations need to build internal and external partner- ships to better accomplish overall goals. Internal partnerships might include labor-management cooperation. Partnerships with employees might entail employee development, cross-training, or new work organizations, such as high- performance work teams. Internal partnerships also might involve creating network relationships among your work units to improve flexibility, responsiveness, and knowledge sharing.
External partnerships might be with customers, suppliers, and nonprofit or education organizations. Strategic partner- ships or alliances are increasingly important kinds of exter- nal partnerships. Such partnerships might offer entry into new markets or a basis for new products or services. Also, partnerships might permit the blending of your organiza- tion’s core competencies or leadership capabilities with the complementary strengths and capabilities of partners to address common issues.
Successful internal and external partnerships develop longer- term objectives, thereby creating a basis for mutual investments and respect. Partners should address the key requirements for success, means for regular communication, approaches to evaluating progress, and means for adapting to changing conditions. In some cases, joint education and training could offer a cost-effective method for employee development.
Success in today’s ever-changing, globally competitive environment demands agility—a capacity for rapid change and flexibility. E-business requires and enables more rapid, flexible, and customized responses. Organizations face ever-shorter cycles for the introduction of new/improved products and services, and nonprofit and governmental organizations are increasingly being asked to respond rapidly to new or emerging social issues. Major improvements in response times often require simplification of work units and processes or the ability for rapid changeover from one process to another. Cross-trained and empowered employees are vital assets in such a demanding environment.
A major success factor in meeting competitive challenges is the design-to-introduction (product or service initiation) or innovation cycle time. To meet the demands of rapidly changing markets, organizations need to carry out stage-to- stage integration (such as concurrent engineering) of activities from research or concept to commercialization or implementation.
All aspects of time performance now are more critical, and cycle time has become a key process measure. Other important benefits can be derived from this focus on time; time improvements often drive simultaneous improvements in organization, quality, cost, and productivity.
Your organization’s planning should anticipate many factors, such as customers’ expectations, new business and partnering opportunities, employee development and hiring needs, the increasingly global marketplace, technological developments, the evolving e-business environment, changes in customer and market segments, evolving regulatory requirements, changes in community and societal expectations and needs, and strategic moves by competitors. Strategic objectives and resource allocations need to accommodate these influences. A focus on the future includes developing employees and suppliers, accomplishing effective succession planning, creating opportunities for innovation, and anticipating public responsibilities and concerns.
In today’s competitive environment, creating a sustainable organization requires understanding the short- and longer- term factors that affect your organization and marketplace. Pursuit of sustainable growth and market leadership requires a strong future orientation and a willingness to make long- term commitments to key stakeholders—your customers, employees, suppliers, partners, stockholders, the public, and your community.
Innovation means making meaningful change to improve an organization’s products, services, programs, processes, and operations and to create new value for the organization’s stakeholders. Innovation should lead your organization to new dimensions of performance. Innovation is no longer strictly the purview of research and development departments; innovation is important for all aspects of your operations and all processes. Organizations should be led and managed so that innovation becomes part of the learning culture. Innovation should be integrated into daily work and should be supported by your performance improvement system.
Innovation builds on the accumulated knowledge of your organization and its employees. Therefore, the ability to rapidly disseminate and capitalize on this knowledge is critical to driving organizational innovation.
Organizations depend on the measurement and analysis of performance. Such measurements should derive from business needs and strategy, and they should provide critical data and information about key processes, outputs, and results. Many types of data and information are needed for performance management. Performance measurement should include customer, product, and service performance; comparisons of operational, market, and competitive performance; supplier, employee, cost, and financial performance; and governance and compliance. Data should be segmented by, for example, markets, product lines, and employee groups to facilitate analysis.
Analysis refers to extracting larger meaning from data and information to support evaluation, decision making, and improvement. Analysis entails using data to determine trends, projections, and cause and effect that might not otherwise be evident. Analysis supports a variety of purposes, such as planning, reviewing your overall performance, improving operations, accomplishing change management, and com- paring your performance with competitors’ or with “best practices” benchmarks.
A major consideration in performance improvement and change management involves the selection and use of performance measures or indicators. The measures or indicators you select should best represent the factors that lead to improved customer, operational, financial, and ethical performance. A comprehensive set of measures or indicators tied to customer and organizational performance requirements represents a clear basis for aligning all processes with your organization’s goals. Through the analysis of data from your tracking processes, your measures or indicators themselves may be evaluated and changed to better support your goals.
An organization’s leaders should stress responsibilities to the public, ethical behavior, and the need to practice good citizenship. Leaders should be role models for your organization in focusing on ethics and protection of public health, safety, and the environment. Protection of health, safety, and the environment includes your organization’s operations, as well as the life cycles of your products and services. Also, organizations should emphasize resource conservation and waste reduction at the source. Planning should anticipate adverse impacts from production, distribution, transportation, use, and disposal of your products. Effective planning should prevent problems, provide for a forthright response if problems occur, and make available information and support needed to maintain public awareness, safety, and confidence.
For many organizations, the product or service design stage is critical from the point of view of public responsibility. Design decisions impact your production processes and often the content of municipal and industrial waste. Effective design strategies should anticipate growing environmental concerns and responsibilities.
Organizations should not only meet all local, state, and federal laws and regulatory requirements, but they should treat these and related requirements as opportunities for improvement “beyond mere compliance.” Organizations should stress ethical behavior in all stakeholder transactions and interactions. Highly ethical conduct should be a requirement of and should be monitored by the organization’s governance body.
Practicing good citizenship refers to leadership and support within the limits of an organization’s resources of publicly important purposes. Such purposes might include improving education and health care in your community, pursuing environmental excellence, practicing resource conservation, performing community service, improving industry and business practices, and sharing nonproprietary information. Leadership as a corporate citizen also entails influencing other organizations, private and public, to partner for these purposes.
Managing social responsibility requires the use of appropriate measures and leadership responsibility for those measures.
An organization’s performance measurements need to focus on key results. Results should be used to create and balance value for your key stakeholders—customers, employees, stock- holders, suppliers, partners, the public, and the community. By creating value for your key stakeholders, your organization builds loyalty, contributes to growing the economy, and contributes to society. To meet the sometimes conflicting and changing aims that balancing value implies, organizational strategy explicitly should include key stakeholder requirements. This will help ensure that plans and actions meet differing stakeholder needs and avoid adverse impacts on any stakeholders. The use of a balanced composite of leading and lagging performance measures offers an effective means to communicate short- and longer-term priorities, monitor actual performance, and provide a clear basis for improving results.
This provide a systems perspective for managing your organization and its key processes to achieve results—performance excellence. These seven Categories and the Core Values form the building blocks and the integrating mechanism for the system. However, successful management of overall performance requires organization- specific synthesis, alignment, and integration. Synthesis means looking at your organization as a whole and builds on key business requirements, including your strategic objectives and action plans. Alignment means using the key linkages among requirements to ensure consistency of plans, processes, measures, and actions. Integration builds on alignment, so that the individual components of your performance management system operate in a fully interconnected manner.
A systems perspective includes your senior leaders’ focus on strategic directions and on your customers. It means that your senior leaders monitor, respond to, and manage performance based on your results. A systems perspective also includes using your measures, indicators, and organizational knowledge to build your key strategies. It means linking these strategies with your key processes and aligning your resources to improve overall performance and satisfy customers and stakeholders.
Thus, a systems perspective means managing your whole organization, as well as its components, to achieve success.