New Cumberland, PA -- A United States Security Assistance Command, employee recently became the organization's first person to achieve the Army's highest Lean Six Sigma certification.

Michael P. Fisher, a continuous process improvement specialist, received Army Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification Oct. 11 from the Army Office of Business Transformation.

As USASAC's MBB, Fisher provides direction and guidance on the application of Lean Six Sigma methods to the organization's continuous improvement processes.

"The wonderful thing about being a Master Black Belt is that it gives me an opportunity to view organizational processes," Fisher said. "Not, informally, but MBB gives me a formal position to serve as an adviser to the organization and to be a real catalyst for change. Most corporate organizations, to include the government, realize that to remain relevant and good stewards of the taxpayer's money, we have to look at business processes and continually improve them."

Fisher's achievement of Master Black Belt certification was the culmination of a 4 year journey that saw him first earn the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and then complete several projects while having his sights set on earning a Master Black Belt.

Along with completing Black Belt projects, the path to Master Black Belt included coaching four other Black Belts to successful completion of their projects, teaching the entire curriculum of the four-week Department of the Army Black Belt program of instruction, and then conducting an LSS Project Identification and Selection workshop.

Two of Fisher's protégés were recently recognized for receiving their Black Belts. Logistics Management Specialist Steve Forster and Program Analyst David Nicola each earned the prestigious credential by completing the required four weeks of training and successfully leading a project using the concepts, techniques, and tools taught by Fisher during the certification course.

A central case manager at USASAC, Forster's project involved improving the Security Assistance Executive Management Reporting Process (SAEMR). Applying LSS methodologies and tools and mentored by Fisher, Forster was able to increase the process cycle efficiency from 1.7 percent to 50.3 percent, while decreasing defects from 41.5 percent to 4.2 percent. The pilot for the SAEMR reduced defects by 90 percent and the process now provides a common operating picture for the Foreign Military Sales community

Program analyst, David Nicola's project focused on the balancing of regional operation's workload with resources between the headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. and the facility at New Cumberland, Pa. As a result of his project, USASAC is able to more effectively balance regional workload by personnel along the number of case lines managed at USASAC, New Cumberland and letters of acceptance (LOAs) at USASAC headquarters on Redstone Arsenal.

"It truly is a privilege to work with them [USASAC personnel] on projects and see their passion and dedication to making a positive difference," Fisher said of his work as a former Black Belt and now Master Black Belt. "The continuous improvement community throughout the Army has a place with the end of two wars, substantial budget cuts and organizational rightsizing," Fisher said. "Hopefully, I, along with the other Black Belts can help USASAC to do it well. We're developing a team the organization can trust that surely has the organization's best interest at hand."