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Meet our Lean Six Sigma Facilitators

Meet Kent State's Lean Six Sigma Facilitators
John Novak


John Novak, CQA, is an industrial engineer and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who has provided consultation and training to improve work flow and methods for clients. He has experience as a software developer and in internal auditing, serving as a senior management consultant for Planmetics, Inc. and an Industrial Engineer for General Motors (Terex Division). Novak’s areas of expertise include internal auditing, decision support systems, software documentation and packaging, Lean concepts, industrial and process engineering productivity improvements and Six Sigma project implementation. Novak received his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Bowling Green State University and his Master’s in Business Administration from Kent State University.






John Potkalitsky

John Potkalitsky recently retired from Eaton Corporation after 20 years of successfully deploying Lean in manufacturing and office environments, at both domestic and international plant sites.  During the last eight years, Potkalitsky was part of a corporate group of experienced Lean practitioners who developed and delivered training on Lean tools deployment and assessment.  Potkalitsky has provided office professionals and frontline supervisors with essential skills and tools they need to make Lean efforts self-sustaining. Potkalitsky has personally trained over 1200 office professionals

Prior to Eaton, Potkalitsky spent 18 years in manufacturing and materials organizations improving productivity.  He has held various positions in shop supervision, manufacturing, engineering and materials management at Goodyear Aerospace, Johnson & Johnson (Technicare) and Warner & Swasey. Potkalitsky holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Technology from Kent State University. 

Bob Skillman
Kent State lead Lean Six Sigma Green, Black and Master Black Belt training and certification facilitator, Robert Skillman, is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and a Lean Master Sensei, who has been training and certifying Black Belts in Six Sigma and Lean methods since 1997. Skillman received his Lean Master certification from the Shingijutsu Limited Group, the founders of the Toyota Production System. Skillman is an engineer with 35 years of experience.  He is also currently a Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Quality Auditor and RAB Certified.  His background includes extensive experience in automotive, aerospace, nuclear and service industries.  Skillman has held quality, Master Black Belt and metallurgical engineering, as well as senior management director and vice president-level positions with organizations such as TRW, RB&W, Cleveland Container and SPS Technologies.   Skillman facilitates Kent State’s public offerings of the Lean Six Sigma Certifications, as well as many of the contracted Lean Six Sigma training and certifications.



Steve Skillman
Stephen Skillman
is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, currently serving as an Associate Facilitator, training Lean Six Sigma Black Belts at Kent State University. Skillman received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Lake Erie College.  He has worked in the automotive, government ballistics and electrical insulation industries. Skillman has held Production Scheduler, Purchasing Manager, Shipping Manager and Quality and Continuous Improvement Manager positions with Nescor Plastics and Iten Industries.