Paul Akers is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, speaker, Lean maniac!
He is the founder and president of FastCap, a product development company with distribution in over 40 countries. FastCap, based in Ferndale, Washington, launches 30+ new innovative products each year and is regarded as a model Lean manufacturer.
The grandchild of Greek immigrants, Paul was born and raised in Southern California. At the age 14 he became an Eagle Scout, at 16 he built his own guitar and earned the attention of guitar builder Bob Taylor, who mentored and eventually put Paul to work for Taylor Guitars.
Paul graduated with honors from Biola University and then went to work in Pasadena restoring historic homes and teaching High school industrial arts.
In 2000, Paul discovered Lean manufacturing or Toyota Production System (TPS). This newfound knowledge helped him and his wife Leanne take FastCap from a small start up in their garage into the successful product development company it is today.
In 2010 Paul ran for the US Senate in Washington State on a Lean platform of transforming government by developing Lean thinking as a key strategy for all government organizations.
Paul is an avid outdoorsman that surfs, runs, swims, bikes, and has summited many 14,000 foot mountains, including Mt. Kilimanjaro, and trekking to Everest Base Camp. He is also an instrument-rated pilot and has flown his plane all over the world, including 3 North Atlantic crossings in a single engine aircraft.
Paul is an energetic speaker whose core passion is helping people discover their full potential
and showing others how to implement Lean in their business and personal life. Paul’s passion for
Lean has taken him around the world to over 65 countries to work and speak.
Ritsuo Shingo is currently president of Institute of Management Improvement and senior advisor to the Lean Leadership Institute. Ritsuo is former president of Sichuan Toyota, China (a Start-Up), the first joint venture Toyota established in China to produce the Toyota Coaster, a mini bus. Ritsuo had a very unique career at Toyota as he was responsible for start-up projects. He was also involved in NUMMI (California, Kentucky, and United Kingdom) and GAC-Hino (China).
The institute of Management Improvement is a company started by his father, Dr. Shigeo Shingo. Dr. Shingo, distinguished himself as one of the world’s leading experts in improving manufacturing processes. Dr. Shingo has been described as an “engineering genius” who helped create and write about many aspects of the revolutionary manufacturing practices, which are now integrated into the renowned Toyota Production System.
Ritsuo Shingo has followed in his father’s footsteps and has been very successful in the automotive industry. Mr. Shingo started his career with Toyota Motor Company in 1970, after earning a law degree from Waseda University. He worked in Toyota’s legal, public relations and purchasing departments for 13 years before transferring to its purchasing department in Detroit, Michigan. Half of Mr. Shingo’s career was abroad. To this day no one else from Toyota has the uniqueness of a career doing these kinds of Start-Ups, and having the record for paying all debts along with turning a profit within one year.
George Trachilis is a professional engineer living in Canada. He is President and CEO of the Lean Leadership Institute, an online coaching network which he co-founded with Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker. George and Jeff collaborated to produce an online course called The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership which later became a book that has recently won the Shingo Research Award given to both of them in Washington, D.C. on April 26, 2016.
George authored the book OEM Principles of Lean Thinking which was based on an online course he produced for the Government of Canada in 2006. This course and book educated over 300 organizations on the Principles of Lean Thinking. It went on to include over 100,000 students from 60 different countries.
In 2011, George figured out that he was more likely to predict the future by stating a goal and executing towards it. So he ran the experiment. Four years later, his goal was met and he travels the world sharing with others how he did it. Luckily he shared his vision on Youtube; To travel the world consulting over the internet.