Charles Brandon has always been interested in math and puzzles.As a young boy, he enjoyed puzzles and then developed an interest in Sudoku and crossword. That interest eventually led him to the field of process improvement and business transformation.“It’s the perfect marriage of solving problems with science, math and statistics,” he said.Brandon, now the Army’s director of continuous process improvement, has been selected as “business transformation leader of the year” by the Process Excellence Network.Each year the PEX Network issues OPEX awards for operational excellence in eight different categories to honor, recognize and celebrate individuals and teams who have made a commitment to driving superior operational excellence and business transformation.Brandon received the award for the second time (the first was in 2018) during the network's annual summit in Orlando in January. The summit, which draws more than 1,200 people annually, is the world's largest operational excellence and business transformation event, and is known by some as the Oscars for process improvement programs across the free world."This was validation that we are truly best in class -- not just across the DOD, but across the free world," Brandon said."It also confirms that the last three years spent redesigning and refocusing the Army program was worth the significant effort."A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Brandon was naturally attracted to the field from an early age."I've always been interested in math and puzzles, and I’ve always been good at both," he said. "So the area of process improvement was a natural draw for me.”Since 2015, Brandon has served as CPI director in the Office of Business Transformation at the Pentagon, where he is tasked with revitalizing process improvement across the Army.He created the Army Business Process Improvement Strategy, which aims to create "an Army workforce who understands and is able to codify their critical processes ... and identify and reduce costs associated with process waste and variation as a function of their daily assigned work."Prior to that, Brandon served as an Army officer for 20 years, most of which was spent as an operations research systems analyst. That experience taught him the importance of leadership and of being able to inform leaders on how to improve, he said."Sometimes the greatest challenge is getting leaders to see the opportunities associated with improving their processes," he said."The military has always been able to throw more money or people at any problem. As a result, many leaders do not see the ROI in focusing their most valuable resource (people) on process improvement. But once they do, they get it and the light comes on and they become champions of process improvement."In addition to Brandon's award, the Army's Business Process Improvement Program Office received an honorable mention in the category for Best Operational Excellence Transformation Program Over Two Years -- an award that it won in 2018.Brandon and his team, who see process improvement as a never-ending activity, will continue their problem-solving efforts in the future."We are on a great path to continually meet the program vision -- a workforce that thinks 'in' process improvement, not 'about it,'" he said. "In the Army, process improvement is not a program, it's a fundamental expectation of all leaders at all levels."