Lean: Driving Engagement, Driving Improvement, Driving Success

Session focus: 

Change leadership, daily problem solving, leading in conflict, trust

Every organization’s greatest assets are the knowledge, experience and ingenuity of its people. Driving engagement – helping people utilize their knowledge, their experiences, and their ingenuity – is what we have been striving to do at two transportation agencies: Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). During this session we will discuss harnessing the powerful and often overlooked abilities of our people to drive improvement – and to drive success. The core principal we employ at CDOT and WSDOT is respect for people: empowering our people and giving them the tools and the knowledge necessary to improve their processes.

Target Audience: 

Employee, Supervisor, Executive


Gary Vansuch
Director of Process Improvement
Colorado Department of Transportation

Gary Vansuch is Director of Process Improvement for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). As a member of the CDOT top executive team, Gary directs efforts to improve the organization's operations, focused on making government more effective, efficient and elegant. He has over 30 years of business improvement and change leadership experience in the energy, financial services, research and governmental services sectors. CDOT's process improvement initiative was recognized in February 2015 with the "Bright Idea in Government" designation from the Innovations in American Government Awards program, which is administered by Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In June 2017, CDOT’s Lean Everyday Ideas initiative received the Employee Engagement Project of the Year Award (Government category) from the 2017 North American Employee Engagement Awards program. 

Amber Sander
Lean Manager
Washington State Department of Transportation

Amber Sander, a black belt trained by both Boeing and Alaska Airlines, currently a Lean Manager at Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). She has been instrumental in developing the strategic plan and key performance indicators for the office, since joining the Lean Office last October. With over 7 years of experience with Lean Six Sigma in both the private and public sector, she brings a portfolio of diverse projects and experiences that are essential to the success of Lean program at WSDOT.