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NEWS | March 12, 2021

First Lean Six Sigma training course held at installation with 19 students

By Scott Sturkol Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

A first-of-its-kind Lean Six Sigma (LSS) course is taking place at Fort McCoy, said Michael Modawell with the Directorate of Human Resources.

Nineteen students completed the first week of LSS training with the support of Army Reserve instructors, Modawell said. A second week of training for the same students takes place later in March. This training is part of a broader garrison initiative to develop its workforce by educating and training them with tools and techniques to improve their project management, process improvement, and problem solving skills.

Lean Six Sigma is a method that improves performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation in work processes.

“Lean Six Sigma not only reduces process defects and waste, but also provides a framework for overall organizational culture change,” states a description about the process by the Lean Six Sigma Institute online. “By introducing Lean Six Sigma, the mindset of employees and managers change to one that focuses on growth and continuous improvement through process optimization. This change in culture and the mindset of an organization maximizes efficiency and increases profitability.”

As people complete the LSS training, they earn different “belts” of accomplishment that mirror karate belts, Modawell said. “There’s white, yellow, green, black, and master black belt,” Modawell said. “Complexity and scope determines what level you’re at.”

Modawell is a certified Army LSS black belt and serves as a mentor to several students in the course. The two instructors, one of which is the Fort McCoy Garrison Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Alexander Carter, are also certified Army LSS black belts but currently pursuing Army master black belt certification.

“In our training, we’re teaching a five-step process to approach problem solving — define, measure, analyze, improve, and control,” Modawell said.

Modawell further defined Lean Six Sigma.

“Six Sigma is a term that originally comes from statistics,” Modawell said. “Statistics help us measure and understand both individual data points, averages, and variation in a process or service. The primary focus is achieving improvements in service quality and cost.

“Lean is the focus of eliminating non-customer, value-added waste in a process or service,” Modawell said. “The result is reducing service lead times, improving on-time delivery performance, and reducing cost. Lean Six Sigma combines the speed and power of both Lean and Six Sigma. It creates a fast and responsive process that is capable of achieving high quality, and only a high-quality process can sustain high velocity.”

Modawell said he and Carter are happy to see the training taking place on post.

“The whole idea is business improvement,” Modawell said. “The Fort McCoy team, which includes many people from so many different areas, can only benefit from this training. It’s definitely worth it.”

Modawell said once this current training session is complete, the 19 students will be required to successfully manage a LSS project to conclusion before becoming an Army certified LSS Green Belt.

For more information about the LSS training, contact Modawell at Mr. Michael Modawell at the Directorate of Human Resources Workforce Development at 608-388-8929.

Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.”

Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.

The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.” Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set "Fort McCoy" or another installation as your preferred base.