Press Release|

HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Manufacturers Association (MMA) and the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) announces 100% success for the first-ever Montana cohort to sit for the nationally recognized Lean Certification Alliance’s Lean Silver Certification examination. The cohort includes Scott Sehnert, MMA Board President and Vice President and Senior Commercial Lender, First Security Bank.

The Lean Certification Alliance is a partnership of The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, and the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing. The examination was the culmination of an Operational Excellence Professional Development Program provided by the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center at Montana State University and sponsored by First Security Bank.

Lean manufacturing is an Operational Excellence methodology that helps manufacturers maximize productivity and minimize waste in their production processes. The Lean Certification Alliance offers three levels of Lean Manufacturing Certification: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. To achieve certification at each level, participants must complete an extensive curriculum of study, pass a rigorous exam, and complete a portfolio of projects that demonstrates their learning.

MMEC has offered Lean Bronze training in Montana for several years, leading to a growing demand among manufacturers and other business leaders for more advanced training and certification opportunities. In addition to Sehnert, the only finance professional in Montana to pass the Silver exam, the cohort comprises Jonathan Dupea (Production Manager, Penta Machine), Steve Dybdal (Business Advisor, MMEC), Lane Gobbs (Business Advisor, MMEC), Tiphani Lynn (Manufacturing Specialist, MMEC), Daniel Pollard (Brewmaster and Director of Operations, Bridger Brewing and Manufacturing Specialist, MMEC), and Miguel Strunk (Chair of the Operational Excellence Collective of the Southwest Montana Manufacturing Partnership). Alistair Stewart (MMEC Senior Business Advisor) was the Program’s instructor.

According to Sehnert, “The Lean Silver Body of Knowledge builds on that of the Bronze level, and broadens out into finance and accounting, product design, and office operations. It helped me become a stronger value stream thinker and has equipped me to better help manufacturing leaders throughout the state understand and improve the financial and operational performance of their businesses.”

Miguel Strunk adds “As an Operational Excellence Leader focused on transforming manufacturing here in Gallatin Valley, MMEC’s Program has helped me see a clear pathway towards world-class practices and performance. Our regional Operational Excellence Collective is comprised of individuals who have successfully passed the Bronze level examination, and I’m excited to help participating companies move beyond tactical implementation of lean tools, and into value stream management.”

“We’re excited to add this advanced training opportunity to our program offerings,” says MMEC Director Paddy Fleming; “all of the Centers in the NIST/MEP system (there’s one like ours in every state plus Puerto Rico) have a strong focus on Lean and Process Improvement because manufacturers tell us it works – it results in valuable, long-term improvements. With Lean Silver certification, we can partner with Montana’s manufacturers to develop more Lean capacity and capability, and further their growth and success.”


Media Contacts:

Candace Carr Strauss – VP, Marketing & Communications
Montana Chamber of Commerce
406-640-1331 | [email protected]

Carla Little – Marketing Communications Lead
Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC)
406-9947273 | [email protected]




About the Montana Manufacturing Association | Montana Chamber of Commerce

Established in 1931, the Montana Chamber of Commerce is the state’s largest business advocacy organization serving its 2,000 members, from sole proprietors to publicly traded companies across all industry sectors throughout the Treasure State. The Montana Manufacturing Association (MMA) was created under the Chamber to serve Montana’s manufacturing sector that in 2022 saw output of $3.8B. Our goal is to connect manufacturers, advocate for supportive legislation, promote international trade, and educate Montanans about employment opportunities and the contributions of the sector.

The Montana Chamber is guided by Envision 2026, a 10-year strategic plan which aims to grow Montana’s economy by improving the business climate, ensuring appropriate infrastructure investment, developing a skilled workforce, and promoting entrepreneurship. 

To learn more, go to /montana-manufacturing-association/

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