RED RIVER ARMY DEPOT, Texas - Lean Six Sigma practitioners were recognized Nov. 29 for helping the Army improve business processes. Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal and and Lt. Gen. William T. Grisoli, director of the office of business transformation, presented the 2011 Army Lean Six Sigma Excellence Awards to Red River Army Depot, and other winners, during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

Kimberly Henderson, a RRAD Black Belt practitioner, received the Non- Enterprise Level (Black Belt) Project Team Award on behalf of RRAD during the ceremony. This is the first time RRAD has received a LEAP award, which began in July 2008. The award is intended to recognize individuals and organizations who demonstrate excellence in building, sustaining, and implementing results-driven process improvement projects.

In September, Henderson was chosen as Army Materiel Command's first place selection to advance to the Department of the Army finals.

"I am honored to even have the opportunity to participate at this level," said Henderson. "I would have loved to share the experience with my team members who were awesome people doing this entire process. They put up with me and this could not have been possible without each of them."

Team members for the project are Patricia Haarmeyer, Herbert Jones, Sharon Johnson, Matthew Anderson, Kennith Brumley and Charlean Carroll.

Henderson began her lean journey in 2000 while working in the RRAD Combat Division. Two years later, she received DA certification as a green belt and in June 2011 obtained black belt certification. Over the years she has shared her knowledge as a mentor for other depot employees working to obtain belt certification. In October and November she instructed two green belt classes.

Henderson's project, titled "Improve the Process Cycle Time to complete Green and Black Belt Projects," significantly accelerated completion rate of projects. At the rate RRAD was completing green and black belt projects it would have taken 46 and 27 years, respectively, to complete RRAD's projected goal. Since Henderson completed the project, RRAD has now adopted the "No Belt Left Unbuckled" solution which joins the green belt with a black belt participant to help complete the process. Henderson's project resulted in $11.7 million in cost avoidance.

"I think it's important that RRAD educates the entire workforce on the significance of Lean Six Sigma and the value DA places on the program," she said.

Henderson is continuing her lean journey and will attend classes to obtain master black belt certification.

"I encourage all Lean Six Sigma candidates not to lose heart because it will pay off," she said.

Other winners for the 2011 LEAP awards include:
-- Enterprise Level Project Sponsor Award: Assistant Secretary of the Army Financial Management and Comptroller
-- HQDA Level Organizational Deployment Award: Assistant Secretary of the Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology
-- AR 10-87 Level Organizational Deployment Award: Program Executive Office Ammunition
-- Subordinate Level Organizational Deployment Award: 21st Theater Sustainment Command
-- Enterprise Level Project Team Awards: Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
-- Enterprise Level Project Team Awards: Program Executive Office Army Combat Support and Combat Support Services
-- Non-Enterprise Level (Black Belt) Project Team Award: Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
-- Non-Enterprise Level (Green Belt) Project Team Award: Army Sustainment Command
-- Non-Enterprise Level (Green Belt) Project Team Award: 21st Theater Sustainment Command
-- Non-Gated Project Team Award: Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management
-- Non-Gated Project Team Award: Army Test and Evaluation Command, Electronic Proving Ground
-- Multiple Theater Projects Recognition Award: Third United Stated Army/Army Central Command.