Katie Hahnel holding her Six Sigma Green Belt CertificateKatie Hahnel, a master’s student in retailing and tourism management, recently completed the LEAN Six Sigma Training program, earning Green Belt Certification. The LEAN Six Sigma program is a strategic problem-solving system that uses statistical analysis to generate efficiency and reduce waste in your business’s process of doing things.

In Six Sigma, there are four levels of certification individuals can achieve - basic level (yellow or white belt), intermediate level (green belt), and expert level (black belt). Katie said, “I wanted to earn my green belt certification because it is viewed positively by many companies in today's work force. It helped me learn how to make a process more efficient in various work environments and will give me a competitive edge in the work force. Large companies like GE are requiring all of their engineers to become green belt certified.”

To earn her green belt certification, Katie completed a two-week training at North Carolina State University and applied the concepts from the program to a project here at UK. As a research assistant in the Textile Testing Laboratory, Katie elected to implement the strategies she learned in her LEAN Six Sigma training to a project within the lab. Through a partnership with International Electrotechnical Commission based in Germany, GE Appliances based in Louisville, and additional companies, the Textile Testing Lab is evaluating performance measurement processes in clothes washers through a round-robin style test. After analyzing the data she collected from this study, Katie utilized her problem-solving skills gained through Six Sigma to create a plan to cut the amount of labor time in half for this project. In February, she presented her findings to the clothes care team of engineers at GE Appliance Park in Louisville.

To complete her Green Belt Certification, Katie took a final exam and presented her project to the Master Black Belt at North Carolina State University.

Katie is pursuing a career in textiles and has accepted a position as a global sourcing agent with Standard Textile in Cincinnati, OH. She is excited to take what she learned during her training and certification and apply it to her career. Katie stated, “Through the LEAN Six Sigma Green Belt training, I learned how to strategically problem-solve using a proven system that works! This is a broad way of solving problems that can be applied to all industries and job positions. I plan to utilize these concepts to solve problems while ensuring that our processes are as efficient and consistent as possible.”

The challenges she faced during training and project completion prepared her for her new job and will take her skills to the next level. Katie highly recommends the program in order to set yourself apart when entering the job market.

Author: Michaela Mineer
Terms: RTM