About our staff


Advanced Quality Engineering, Inc. is an independently owned and operated training and consulting firm. It includes associates, who support clients with a full spectrum of training and consulting services related to quality management.


Associate                                                      Primary area of expertise

Tom Buchner......................TQM service sector, performance measurement, problem solving, HR

Sara Braziller.....................Lean Manufacturing & service

Wayne Corrigan..................Quality control systems, FMEA, statistics and DOE

Don Darrah.........................ISO & QS9000, quality control systems

Mike Fedock.......................Supplier Quality

Thomas Humphreys....... ....Lean Mfg, Six Sigma, ISO 9000  & QS9000, ISO/TS 16949, FMEA

James Loeffler....................Medical Device Quality Systems, ISO 13485:2003 (medical), FDA QSR, Japanese RPAL

Rita Maehling......................Recognition systems, performance management, and team facilitation

Dale K. Mize........................TQM, ISO, statistics, Six Sigma, SPC, FMEA, leadership, problem solving

Lynn Moline........................TQM, leadership, strategic planning, problem solving, team building

John Moorhouse................Quality control systems, ISO & QS9000, FMEA, statistics, ISO/TS 16949, problem solving, project mgnt, Auditing

Bob Ryan .......................... TQM service sector, problem solving, leadership, team building

Ashweni (Ash) Sahni..........ISO (medical), statistics, FMEA, GMP, DOE

Mary Slack.........................Project Management

Dan Sommers.....................Six Sigma master black belt, statistics


Staff  Bios

Dale K. Mize, president of Advanced Quality Engineering, Inc. has more than 19 years of experience consulting and training and 21 years of technical and managerial experience comprised of 4 years in customer service, 7 years in product engineering, and 10 years in manufacturing as a quality engineer, quality manager, and corporate director of quality assurance.  The majority of his career was spent with the General Electric Lighting Business Group, where he designed products, developed manufacturing processes and designed quality systems for high technology lighting products. During the five years he spent with Wagner Spray Tech Corp., he designed and implemented a comprehensive quality system based upon Total Quality Management principles.

He began implementing SPC in glass forming operations at General Electric in 1976 and has since implemented SPC into a multitude of processes, both manufacturing and service.  Since 1988, he has consulted and taught for more than one hundred companies and has trained more than 10,000 persons in various quality management topics. From 1991 through 2007 he was adjunct faculty at The Center for Business Excellence, University of St. Thomas, where he was also the Chair, Six Sigma Programs. He also provides seminars regularly through the South Dakota Technical Institutes and the Iowa Technical Colleges.  He is a senior member of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Engineer and Certified Quality Auditor. He has presented papers and workshops on SPC at the Minnesota Quality Conference, at the Second International Applied Statistics in Industry Conference in Wichita, Kansas and the 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2001 TQM/ISO Symposia sponsored by South Dakota State University. He is co-author of the SPC training workbook, An Ounce of Prevention. He holds an AAS in Electronic Engineering Technology and a BS in Quality Management from the University of Minnesota.

Sarah Braziller has over 20 years of demonstrated experience in successfully leading and managing projects, establishing high performing organizations and problem solving in over 75 product and service companies.  Sara is currently an independent consultant, specifically working with companies to improve utilization of people and assets (i.e., business processes and systems).   Previous positions include:


Vice President and CIO for Jenny Craig International in San Diego, California. Major accomplishments included national implementation of the first company intranet and ADP’s time and attendance system, establishing a data warehouse for marketing and customer relationship management,  relocation of the Company’s headquarters including main data center, and implementation of JDEdwards in Australia.


Director of Consulting for the local office of Virchow Krause, a regional accounting and consulting firm, where she led the start-up and development of a management consulting practice for this 150-person office


Director of Business Transformation and Information Systems for MVE, a $200M international manufacturing company, where she built and maintained an effective information systems infrastructure and established an organization-wide framework for business change


She has also held three other consulting leadership positions in both Big 5 consulting organizations as well as a national information technology firm.

Sara holds a BA in Production Operations Management with a minor in Information Systems from North Texas State University, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Sara is currently the Director of Volunteer Resources for WAMSO – the Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer Association in support of music education programs.  She has also held board positions at such organizations as the Minnesota Hearing and Service Dog Program, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and APICS.  Through APICS, she is certified in Resource Management (CIRM) and is also a Certified Practitioner in Inventory Management (CPIM).

In January 2004, Sara was honored by ComputerWorld as one of the 100 premier IT leaders in the world.

Tom Buchner, PhD, MBA, CMC, is a full-time Senior Lecturer in Operations Management at the Carlson School of Management – University of Minnesota. He received his doctorate and masters degrees from the University of Minnesota. He is also is a Certified Management Consultant and has been a member of the Institute of Management Consultants for more than 20 years.

As a Methods and Measurement Analyst with Minnesota Mutual Life, Tom spent his early career years helping lead the company’s quality/productivity improvement efforts. In 1987, he launched an independent consulting practice specializing in performance measurement and quality improvement for service organizations. Also in 1987, Tom joined the University of St. Thomas as an adjunct faculty member in the Center for Business Excellence.

Tom’s professional focus is performance improvement with emphasis on helping managers lead the drive for continuous quality improvement. He has designed and delivered hundreds of training sessions related to quality/performance improvement, problem solving tools, measurement, and creating successful process improvement teams. His clients include financial service organizations, law firms, not-for-profits, human service organizations, government units, engineering firms, health care organizations, and many other professional service providers.  On occasion he can be talked into working with manufacturers, but he is known for borrowing ideas from them to take back to his service clients.

He earned an MBA from the University of Minnesotan 1987 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Human Resource and Organizational Development. Tom is an active member of the American Society for Quality, the Minnesota Council for Quality, the Twin Cities Human Resource Association, and the Institute of Management Consultants.

Wayne Corrigan has spent 28 years in industry as a manufacturing engineer, quality engineer, quality assurance manager, and trainer for three Fortune 500 companies: General Electric, Litton Microwave and Alliant Techsystems/Honeywell. He has been responsible for quality in the production, design and development of high technology products and for product reliability testing.  He has authored extensive quality documentation for manufacturing processes in accordance with Mil-Q-9858a and ISO 9000. He has extensive experience applying statistical quality control techniques in manufacturing and is highly proficient with Design of Experiments techniques including Taguchi methods. Another important area of his expertise is Quality Function Deployment (QFD) with which he has taught classes and completed numerous projects for clients. He has been providing instruction in these topics at the Management Center, University of St. Thomas for 9 years. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is a Certified Quality Auditor by the American Society for Quality.

Don Darrah is an associate of Advanced Quality Engineering and a successful independent Consultant/Trainer/Registration Auditor, an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor and an RAB Certified Auditor, and qualified for his RAB Lead Assessor auditing requirements. He has consulted with several companies in Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin areas and assisted them to successful registrations to the ISO9000 and QS9000 quality standards. He is also experienced in instructing an RAB accredited 36-hour Lead Assessor, Internal Auditor, ISO9000 Implementation, ISO9000 Overview, and Documentation courses, and works with 3 different course providers. He has developed his own Basic Process Mapping course, and holds a BS Degree from Pillsbury College in Owatonna , MN.

Don worked for a major Tier I supplier to the automotive industry for almost 10 years and became familiar with the QS9000 standard. He was Team Leader for the process auditing function. One of his charges was to facilitate a cross-functional team for the setup and implementation of a company-wide (2 facilities) QS9000 compliant on-line documentation system. He facilitated several teams in the implementation of several of the QS9000 elements, including Nonconforming Material, Corrective/Preventive Action, Inspection/Testing, and the creation of several control plans. Other fields of hands-on experience include Calibration, Material Review Board Team Leader, and development of a welder certification program. Prior to entering the quality field, Don was a machinist, with both traditional and the setup, programming, and operation of CNC horizontal and vertical machining centers, and turning centers.

Mike Fedock, former Assistant Director of the Quality/Productivity Institute, University of  St. Thomas has over 15 years of experience in quality engineering and quality management with several military, industrial and consumer product manufacturing organizations. His work is primarily in the areas of supplier quality management, process improvement, quality systems development and reliability engineering. He is a member of the American Society for Quality Control. He is both a Certified Quality Engineer and Certified Reliability Engineer and holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology.

 Tom Humphreys has over 25 years of experience in the quality field. He has worked in the development of advanced laser machining systems, aerospace, medical, semi-conductor, and automotive quality systems and has designed and managed quality systems compliant to MIL-SPEC, ISO, and QS standards. Tom teaches classes in Lean Manufacturing, Lean Administration and Lean Thinking, Six Sigma, SPC, FMEA, APQP, MSA, PPAP, 8-D problem solving and quality practices in various industries. Tom also consults organizations in Environmental Management Systems compliant to ISO 14001. He has developed business processes for high tech manufacturing companies, telecommunication industries, printing industries, architectural firms, mortgage companies, woodworking companies and distribution service organizations. He was the Quality Assurance Manager at QMR Plastics, River Falls WI, an ISO/TS 16949 registered injection-molding company specializing in high performance materials and assemblies that is a major power-train supplier to the auto industry. He is an instructor at the University of St. Thomas; Center for Business Excellence, Hennepin Technical College, Century College and a staff member at Normandale Community College in the Twin Cities. Tom is a Senior Member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and holds these certificates: Certified Mechanical Inspector (CMI) Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) and ASQ Certified Quality Manager.

James R. Loeffler is a 43 year veteran of manufacturing businesses. His professional career includes 12 years in military electronics manufacturing and environmental testing with IBM Federal Systems Division and Control Data Aerospace.  He spent five years as Outdoor Appliance Division Quality Manager for the Toro Company working with new consumer electrical products in high volume manufacturing.

Jim worked 5 years with Pharmacia Deltec as Director of Manufacturing Engineering, as Supplier Engineering Manager, and as corporate training manager on Total Quality Management.  Jim spent 9 years with Surgical Technologies, Inc. as Director of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs.  Accomplishments in this position include the simultaneous certification of four corporate facilities in the USA and Europe in ISO 9001/EN 46001.  In his 17 years with Medtronic, Inc. Jim has been a Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Design Project Manager and Sr. Principle Regulatory Compliance Specialist.  Unique accomplishments at Medtronic include designing the corporate JIT/World Class Manufacturing system for  Medtronic facilities in the USA, Canada, The Netherlands and Puerto Rico. Jim was awarded the World Class Manufacturing Outstanding Individual Contributor Award and the Medtronic Star of Excellence for Distinguished Quality Performance (four times).  Jim is an expert in the Japanese RPAL regulations, ISO 13485:2003 and associated quality systems.  He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University.

Rita Maehling has 20 years of varied human resources experience.  Rita has a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in Spanish/Education. One who embodies career metamorphosis, Ms Maehling transitioned from high school Spanish teacher/girls' tennis coach into areas of public relations and employee communications, quality/process improvement, training, leadership/organizational development, change management, employee relations, coaching, staffing, and project management.

As a former HR manager, Rita has a practitioner's perspective.  During her employment with a Minneapolis manufacturing company, she led nationally recognized quality and recognition training and special events.  She also provided training and consulting services to such clients as AT&T, American Crystal Sugar, Cargill, Disney World, Martin Marietta, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Rita has given speeches nationally for such groups as the American Society for Quality, Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Institute for International Research, Twin Cities Human Resources Association, and the National Association for Employee Recognition.  She is a member of the Twin Cities Human Resources Association, American Society for Training and Development, and the National Association for Employee Recognition.  Along with former Tennant President Roger Hale, Rita is also co-author of Recognition Redefined:  Building Self-Esteem at Work.

Lynn Moline is a facilitator, consultant, trainer, and motivational speaker. Her career spans more than 20 years in executive leadership and line management positions, as well as in staff professional roles in a variety of functions. Lynn entered private professional practice in 1995 to help executives improve their organizations’ strategic positions through effective leadership, planning, problem solving, and decision making.

Her career began with a role as the “front line” public relations and communications officer for Northern States Power Company, which at that time was engaged in building controversial electric supply facilities. She was promoted through the company, serving in managerial and professional positions in areas including corporate strategy and planning, marketing, business startups and entrepreneurial ventures, and governmental relations, serving finally as director of corporate quality. Lynn left NSP in 1992 to become president and executive director of the nationally acclaimed Minnesota Council for Quality, where she led the creation and administration of Minnesota’s version of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Lynn earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin. She is a certified instructor for Wilson Learning Corporation and she holds a professional certification from the International Association of Facilitators. She is also an experienced Minnesota Quality Award examiner.

John Moorhouse brings nearly 20 years experience in quality assurance systems for manufacturing and processing industries. He has worked as a Director of Quality, Quality Manager, and consultant, leading ISO/QS-9000 registrations in single and multiple-site facilities, including hands-on use and instruction of quality tools and methodologies.  His background covers Defense, Automotive, Electronics, Agriculture, and Consumer Products industries.  He holds BS degrees in Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.  He is an RAB approved QMS auditor, and holds ASQ CQ Manager, CQE, and CQA certificates, as well as a Professional Engineer license.

Bob Ryan has made a career out of facilitating more productive and satisfying relationships among people in the work place. He has experience in both public and private sector, for profit and not-for-profit corporations, union and non-union shops, and in urban and rural settings. He has extensive experience in service delivery systems and customer service. He holds a Masters degree in Hospital and Health Care Administration. He has provided consulting services ranging from state-wide systems change projects to one on one coaching for skills improvement. He is acclaimed for his stand-up training techniques and is skilled at needs assessment, curriculum design, and evaluation.  He is co-author of the SPC training workbook, An Ounce of Prevention.

Bob's past clients include various departments of Minnesota state government, various state and national professional associations, urban and rural health delivery systems, hospitals, nursing homes, and small businesses. These include: AccessAbility, American Planners Association of Minnesota, Association of Minnesota Counties, Central Collections Services Government Training Service, League of Minnesota Cities, Metropolitan Mosquito Control District, Minnesota Association of Mental Health Residential Facilities, Minnesota Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Minnesota Department of Human Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Northern States Power, St. Mary's Hospital Depression Unit.

Ashweni (Ash) Sahni with 20 years of experience in quality and compliance, offers a depth of expertise that allows him to formulate high-level quality and compliance implementations and training. He is Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at Minnetronix, Inc. and an associate of AQE. Before joining Minnetronix, Mr. Sahni was the Director of Quality Systems at SIMS Deltec for 5 years and worked in various positions at Medtronic for 12 years.

His experience includes implementation and assessment activities in new product development, as well as manufacturing quality. He is one of the few people in the United States with triple certifications as a quality engineer, reliability engineer, and quality auditor from the American Society for Quality (ASQ). As a Fellow of ASQ, Mr. Sahni has authored and co-authored over 80 papers for state, national, and international conferences. Mr. Sahni holds a BS in Engineering and MBA from the University of St. Thomas, where he is an adjunct faculty member in the Master in Manufacturing Engineering Systems program. Mr. Sahni also serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of MC&DI, a magazine for the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry of the USA.

 Mary Slack is a management consultant in human resource and organizational development.  She specializes in the areas of project management, management development, quality improvement and interpersonal skills.  Mary has over 15 years of corporate experience in training, administration, course development and project management.   Mary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Thomas, University of Minnesota and the College of St. Catherine

Mary has designed, developed and delivered training programs in the following areas:  Project Management, Situational Leadership, Teaming, Group Dynamics, Performance Management, Problem Solving, Effective Meetings, Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Resolution, Change Management, Understanding Personal Preferences (MBTI), Interviewing and Personal Development.  Mary has also consulted with subject matter experts to create development to meet function-specific needs.

Mary’s certifications and qualifications include:


Project Management Professions – Project Management Institute


Myers-Briggs Type Indicator


Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI


Performance Management  (Aubrey Daniels)


LIFO Orientation Training (Stuart Atkins)


Leadership Architect (Lominger Limited, Inc.)

Mary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Iowa State University and a Master of Arts degree in Human Resource Development from Ottawa University

Dan Sommers has 21 years of service at the General Electric Lighting Business Group. He has been a Design for Six Sigma Master Black Belt in Lighting Technology, a Six Sigma Black Belt in a high-volume lamp manufacturing plant, a product-line Quality Manager, a product-line Quality Project Leader, a Quality Manager and Quality Engineer in a high-volume lamp manufacturing plant, a Reliability Engineer, and an Applied Statistician in the Lighting Research Laboratory.

He has taught dozens of waves of Black Belts and Master Black Belts in the tools of Design for Six Sigma, Design of Experiments, Response Surface Methodology, Process Optimization, Basic Statistics, and Reliability Analysis. As a Black Belt, he taught five waves of Black Belts and Green Belts in the M-A-I-C tools of Six Sigma, as well as applying those tools to his own Black Belt projects. Dan holds an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Iowa, and an MS in Statistics and a BS in Actuarial Science from Ball State University.