Maria Elena StopherPresident, Ultimate Lean, Inc.
Maria Elena is an award-winning lean practitioner with demonstrated results in private business and government. Besides achieving dramatic gains in business performance, she breaks down barriers among team members at all levels, creating continuous improvement work cultures that support the open exchange of new ideas and elevate employee and customer satisfaction.
She started her career in continuous improvement in the late 1980’s at Xerox Corporation and Danaher Motion (formerly American Precision Industries). Later, as director of National Lean Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, she established the first nation-wide, government-sponsored program to make manufacturers more competitive globally through lean management. Her vision to provide lean training nationally to businesses trained over 2,000 field engineers in 50 states and Puerto Rico. For this, she earned the Commerce Department’s Bronze Medal.
Maria Elena also served as a senior advisor to the Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, where she advised senior leaders on establishing strategic performance goals and implementing continuous improvement initiatives, earning her the Air Force’s Meritorious Service Award.
Maria Elena has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is the president and owner of Ultimate Lean, Inc.