Faculty Spotlight: David Patrishkoff

David Patrishkoff
David Patrishkoff
David Patrishkoff

Faculty Spotlight: David Patrishkoff

As Kettering University Online’s (KUO) Program Development Manager, I have the pleasure of working with Contributing Faculty members. Coming from a wide range of educational, career, and geographical backgrounds, KUO faculty unite in the effort to link transformative experiential education to rigorous academic standards, with real-world applications for learning that lasts a lifetime.

This time, we are happy to shine the Faculty Spotlight on David Patrishkoff, who teaches courses in KUO’s MS Lean Manufacturing program. This program, the only one of its kind, was developed in partnership with General Motors leadership. The faculty in this program are experts in their field, having both Black Belts and Master Black Belts, and collectively have saved millions of dollars for companies across various industries.

Following are excerpts from our conversation:

JL: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat!

DP: My pleasure. Thanks for inviting me!

JL: The first question I typically ask is where did you grow up?

DP: Most of my youth was spent in Warren, Michigan, which was half a mile from the General Motors Technical Center where my father worked as a Manufacturing Engineering Manager.

JL: Which degrees do you have and from where?

DP: I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a major in Automotive Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences – Cologne, Germany. At that time, Germany was one of the very few countries where you could study and major in Automotive Engineering.

JL: That is so interesting. I am always curious about why people choose their field of study. Why did you choose engineering?

DP: My father's work as an engineer at General Motors was always fascinating and inspiring to me, and it sparked my interest in automotive engineering. I started working as a designer, at a young age, after completing mechanical drawing classes in high school. At the age of 21, I had a unique opportunity to move to Germany and work at the Ford Motor Company Engineering Center in Cologne, where I continued my work as an automotive designer.

JL: In brief, what would you say is your teaching philosophy?

DP: I help professionals move from a basic understanding of Lean to becoming Lean change agents. My student-centered approach greatly emphasizes critical thinking and creativity to produce extraordinary results. I emphasize the fact that superficial Lean efforts just create superficial results that do not make a big impact on an organization’s performance. I encourage and train students with the help of detailed examples that apply to their situations and that are drawn from my many successful Lean and Six Sigma experiences in over 60 different industries worldwide. I teach students to think big and to make a big impact in whatever they pursue.

JL: You currently teach in the MS Lean Manufacturing Program – can you talk a bit about what you see as the value of the program?

DP: A 2007 Industry Week survey found that 70% of manufacturers in the USA were using Lean in their organizations. However, only 2% of those survey respondents said that they fully achieved their objectives and only 24% of those companies reported achieving significant results. Most students who come into the KUO program have had some experience with Lean, but they often find that they are not able to achieve the results they want because they are stuck in a superficial, check-the-box style of Lean. This program changes that by teaching students how to create high-impact Lean ratnsformations within their organizations. As a result, students leave the program with the ability to not only improve their own organizations but also to help other organizations achieve the same level of success.

JL: How would you describe your Kettering students?

DP: Kettering students are some of the most driven and successful people I know. They are constantly juggling the demands of their profession, Kettering studies, and their personal life and they always seem to come out on top. They are always looking to learn new skills and apply them to their work in order to benefit their companies and their careers.

JL: How do you think graduating from this program will help Kettering students with their future careers?

DP: This program offers students the opportunity to be successful Lean champions, innovators, better communicators, and rapid problem-solvers. Companies usually greatly reward professionals who are consistently capable of solving mission-critical issues. The job market is full of companies looking for professionals with proven Lean skills and experiences.

JL: What are a few of your favorite aspects of this program?

DP: My favorite aspects of this program are the classes and assignments that require students to actually apply the Lean and Six Sigma concepts to solve real problems at the student’s place of work.

JL: It seems that anyone can apply the concepts of lean - even in their own homes! Can you share a few examples of how using lean in interesting ways can lead to a more efficient and less stressful lifestyle? 

DP: I like to use personal Kanban project boards to keep track of my ongoing projects. This helps me to limit the number of projects in the same category of work. The application of the Lean 5S tool in my home office and garage helps to eliminate waste in my daily routines, which reduces stress and required time when searching for things.

JL: Tell us one interesting fact about yourself!

DP: For the past 4+ years, I have been conducting machine learning/AI research on large home healthcare and other databases. My home healthcare research is important because it has the potential to improve the quality of life for aging individuals by helping them to stay in their homes longer and avoiding the need to move to an assisted living facility. I speak at various international conferences on this topic. I also show students and professionals how to use no-code free open-source machine learning/AI tools to be better problem-solvers and researchers.

KUO honors and appreciates David Patrishkoff for his contributions and highly regarded work with learners.

If you are interested in becoming a student, visit Kettering University Online and connect with an Enrollment Advisor for information about our graduate degree programs. Our programs are 100% online, ideal for busy working professionals! Learn how you can customize your degree with a choice of Graduate Certificates in Management & Leadership, Lean Principles for Healthcare, Operations Management, Global Leadership, or Supply Chain Management.

If you are interested in becoming a member of our award-winning faculty, or a subject matter expert for course development, please send your curriculum vitae and cover letter to Dr. Christine Wallace at cwallace@kettering.edu

If you are interested in corporate, professional and/or continuing education opportunities through Kettering Global X, please consult our catalog at https://globalx.kettering.edu/pages/course-catalog-print