Railroad Tracks – A Historic Story of Standards  by Frances Blosser                                                

The historic facts of this story arrived in my email just as I was looking for an article for the ASQ drawing from an egyptian relief, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)1212 newsletter.  Be sure to read the final paragraph, though your understanding of the story will depend on the earlier content.  This is something to think about as we Quality Professionals live our professional lives “by the standards.”  You may have seen MOST of this before, but it should still garner a smile.  We should remember that humor is necessary for survival.

The next time you have to explain 5 Why or Root Cause Analysis to someone, try this example.  They may “get” it.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

  1. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US railroads.
  2. Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.
  3. Why did “they” use that gauge then?  Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. 
  4. Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?  Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England.
  5. Why?  Because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions.  The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?

1) Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.  Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Bureaucracies live forever.  So the next time you are handed a Specification/ Procedure/ Process and wonder “What horse’s ass came up with that?”  you may be exactly right.

2) Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses’ asses.)

Now, the twist to the story:  When you saw a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there were two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank.  These were solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.  The SRBs were made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.

  • The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter,
  • But the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.
  • The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains.
  • And the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel.
  • The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.

And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important?

Ancient horse’s asses control almost everything.

What’s controlling YOUR current processes?!!

FrancisFrances is an active member of ASQ Section 1212.  She attended Cleveland Institute of Technology and has over 25 years of experience in the quality field, as, among other positions, she’s acted as a Quality Engineer, a Manager, and an Auditor. Frances’s career portfolio includes Zebra Technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Cole-Palmer. She opened her own consulting firm, Blosser Consulting L.L.C., and seeking new opportunities. Of ASQ certification, Blosser says, “the certifications are priceless.”

June 2016 Message from the Chair

Ahh….. June.

School is out, and we’re planning our family vacations.

Before you go on that road trip, please join us for our last Section meeting before our summer hiatus.  Section 1212 has the time-honored tradition of hosting a putting contest, followed by buffet dinner and a Main Presentation on the topic of Statistics.

This June, back by popular demand, we are hosting Dr. Wayne Taylor, who will give us some pointers on Statistical Process Control.

Oh, and did I tell you we always have fun at our June meetings?  You don’t have to be a golfer to take part.  In fact, past statistics show that novices do just as well as some of our more seasoned golfers!

Dress casual and be ready for a fun picnic-type dinner.

We have prizes too!

If you have golf clubs, remember to bring your putter.

After that, enjoy the summer.

  We won’t meet again until September!

See you on the green!

golf ball

Come on, no tees on the green!



June 16, 2016 Putting Contest, Picnic and Acceptance Criteria


The June 16, 2016 ASQ Section 1212 meeting is at the Arboretum Club in Buffalo Grove, IL, on Route 22

The Arboretum Club | 401 Half Day Road | Buffalo Grove, Illinois 60089 | Phone 847.913.9112 | Fax 847.913.1344 | info@ArboretumClub.com
Eventbrite - ASQ Section 1212 June 2016 Meeting and Dinner

Putting Contest (anytime between 5:00 and 5:45 P.M.): 

Dinner and Networking (6:00 – 7:00):  

Understanding the Role of Acceptance Sampling in Validation and Manufacturing (7:00  – 8:00 P.M.)

Join us for some networking fun, and learn something too! Enjoy an exciting Pre-Clinic featuring a Putting Contest at the Buffalo Grove Arboretum Club’s golf course; with lots of fun and networking opportunities, all in support of a little data analysis. Our meeting room doors open to the practice green where we’ve set out mini-putting contest. The green will be open at 5:00, so feel free to start your “official” try anytime before 5:45. Bring your own putter – or use one provided.  We furnish the balls.  Plan to cheer for your ASQ buddies and enjoy the time together. Continue reading

ASQ Section 1212 Newsletter, May 2016

 Our next meeting is May 19, 2016

The May meeting is at Arboretum, Buffalo Grove

Members and non-members are always welcomed.

Pre-Meeting Presentation  5:30 – 6:00 pm 

Dinner, Networking, and Main Meeting: 6:00-7:00 pm 

Main Presentation Only: 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Register using the Eventbrite button below or on the website.


There is no charge for people who wish to listen to the speakers and forego dinner.

Although walk-ins are welcome, we strongly urge you to pre-register.

Door prizes of wine, books and other great gifts are given out every month.

April Raffle Prize winners were:

lan Glasby

Janet Gust

Geroge Chemers


Our meeting venue changes from time to time, so be sure to check

the Meeting Announcements each month.

Register using the Eventbrite button below or on the website.


Eventbrite - ASQ Section 1212 May 2016 Meeting and Dinner

Continue reading

Invitation from ASQ Chicago Section

Click Here to Register Online


Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Doors Open at 5:30 PM

Registration & Check-in: 5:30 PM

Networking: 6:00 – 6:15 PM

Pre-Dinner Session: 6:15 – 7:00 PM

Dinner Starts 7:00 PM
Post Dinner Session: ~ 8.00p

Adjourn: ~ 9.00pm


Pescatore Palace, 3400 N. River Road, Franklin Park, Illinois 60631


Menu – Focaccio Bruschetta
                Mostaccolay/Marianna sauce


                Chicken Breast Vesuvius

                Beef Medallion

                Roast Potatoes

                Green Beans

                Ice Cream

Pre-dinner Synopsis- FDA Inspections and “GO” 101
Speaker – Karen Masley-Joseph 


Synopsis: This presentation will provide an overview of FDA’s Office of Global Regulatory Operations and Policy (GO) and FDA’s interaction with industry through inspections. It will describe how GO operations impact you as a consumer and provide some helpful references for when and how FDA interacts with the industries it regulates.

Presenter: Karen Masley-Joseph is a Case Review Expert in the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this role, Karen leads enterprise-wide improvements of FDA compliance processes and provides consults to the Department of Justice on enforcement actions of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. In her 14 years at FDA, Karen has held many positions including the Director of the ORA Quality Management System Staff (QMSS), Regional Quality System Manager, Medical Device Investigator, and Compliance Officer. As QMSS Director, Karen managed successful audits with international regulatory partners, led the development of the first QMSS outcomes based strategic plan, and successfully led a team to achieve ISO 17025 laboratory accreditation within 6 months. In other roles, Karen contributed to joint FDA/industry initiatives to advance the quality of medical devices and has conducted numerous FDA inspections of domestic and foreign medical device manufacturers. Karen is an ASQ Certified Biomedical Auditor (CBA) and Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE). Karen earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and holds a BS in Chemical Engineering, also from Northwestern.  

Post Dinner Synopsis:

Topic: Developing Talent – Developing Quality Competencies of First and Early Career Individuals.

 Speaker – Daryl Bechdolt

Daryl Bechdolt will provide an overview of Schneider Electric’s Continuous Improvement Development program branded “El CID”. The targeted three-year program offers early career and college graduates a chance to develop quality and continuous improvement competencies and learn from experienced continuous improvement belts. Daryl will review the structured process which provides the participants a roadmap and toolkit to advance their careers while adding value to Schneider Electric.


Thoughts from the Chair

It is now the “Merry Merry Month of May,” and I look forward to the weather improving. May is traditionally, in ASQ a month when people get ready for certifications in June, or prepare their Recertification Journals.
In even bigger news, this month marks the World Quality Conference on Improvement (WQCI), ASQ’s annual conference, from May 16 through 18. We are fortunate this year to have the conference in nearby Milwaukee. Many of you have yet to experience this grand affair, and it is close enough to take a peek. Did you know that you can networking in the conference Exhibit Hall for free? Follow the instructions on the link if you’re interested.  


I look forward to seeing you soon!Regina

May 19, 2016: The Value of Recertification and On-site Recertification Reviews

We had 2 presentations and 46 people in attendance:

  1.  Benefits of Certification and Recertification by Sandra Stroli and James Schlichting
  2. Recertification Process by Merle Goddard and Don Gatz
  3. Raffle Prize winners were:

Janet Gust

Kelly Rodkey

Alan Glasby

Click the link below to see the slides from the presentations.

2016 – ASQ1212 – Recertification – 2016-05-19

ASQ offers 17 different certifications


Eventbrite - ASQ Section 1212 May 2016 Meeting and Dinner

Click the Eventbrite logo, above, to register for the event at Dover Straits in Mundelien.

5:30 – 6:00 PM Sandra Stroli and James Schlichting will explain the benefits of certification and why re-certification is important.

We’ll break for networking and dinner from 6:00 – 7:00 PM.

 7:00 – 8:00 Merle Goddard and Don Gatza will explain the recertification process. They look forward assisting you with your customized package for submission. Bring your packages to be reviewed!   Recertification only takes a minimum of time to
do ‘on the spot’.

Plan to join us to gain knowledge on how to develop a personal process improvement for your recertification efforts. All of these people have decades of experience.

IMG_0334Sandra Stroli  offers 30 years of experience working with corporate organizations in quality and regulatory compliance.    Sandra has raised the voice of quality in her community, ASQ and all those who understand that quality is critically important and benefit from her dedicated involvement. She is a regional councilor for the FDC division, membership chair for the local ASQ section 1212 and work with ASQ Learning Offering teaching the CQA auditing class.

Sandra has held various managerial, supervisory, project management and individual contributor positions with Abbott, Kellogg Company and Zimmer Biomet.

  • BS in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin
    MS in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin,
  • MBA in International Business from Franklin University
  • Graduate Certificate in Regulatory and Compliance.
  • Reviewer for the Certified Quality Auditor and The Certified Pharmaceutical GMP”handbooks , written 2 technical articles, and a co-author for the technical standard “Best Practices for Biomedical Research in Drug Development.

Sandy also holds several certifications including:ASQ CMQOE, CQA, CBA, CHA, Exemplar Global (RABQSA-LA) and Certified Trainer for the CQA refresher course.

Sandy has worked with several of ASQ Division in promoting Quality as a regional councilor for Region 12 for the Quality Management Division -QMD, Audit Division-AD, Health Care Division HCD and Food, Drug and Cosmetic Divisions (FD&C).

Sandy is also a member of the Technical Program Committee (TPC) for the World Conference in St. Louis. She will work with several of the  key speakers of the conference reviewing and assisting them with their presentation material for the conference.

James Schlichting has 37 years of engineering and management experience.

  • 12 years at IBM in a semiconductor pilot plant as a manufacturing and development engineer.
  • 8 years at Valspar in resin and coatings plants as a process development and vSchlichting_James-05 reducealidation manager.
  • 16 years at Abbott in engineering, product and quality assurance for diagnostic devices
  • BS Chemistry, U of Minnesota
  • MS Chemical Engineering, U of Wisconsin
  • MBA Northern Illinois University (NIU)
  • MS Management Information Systems NIU
  • Licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois.
  • Through ASQ Mr. Schlichting is a
  • Published through ASQ “The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing Lean Six Sigma”, 6 IBM technical disclosures, 4 technical articles, and a chapter of the ASQ’s Certified Quality Manager Handbook.

James is actively involved in technical organizations:

  • The American Society for Quality’s (ASQ); past chair NE Illinois section 1212, senior member
  • Chapter Representative for Lake County chapter of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE, NSPE)
  • Board Member of the Illinois State Board of Professional Engineers



Save the Date for ASQ Section 1304 St. Louis Conference

November 3, 2016

ASQ St. Louis Section 1304 Conference
November 3,  2016

Kick off World Quality Month by participating in our one-day Conference
Quality – Today to Tomorrow

Hosted at:
Millennium Student Center
University of Missouri – St. Louis
1 University Blvd.
St. Louis Missouri, MO 63121

Questions:  conference@asqstl.org or Mark Lynch 636.541.3196
Futher information:  www.asqstl.org


RAPS Chicago Chapter: Second Annual Midwest Regulatory Career Day

Register by clicking Here

7 May 2016
10:00 am-3:30 pm
Hilton Garden Inn
Mettawa, IL 60045

Are you looking to transition into regulatory affairs? Are you an experienced regulatory professional exploring new career opportunities? Perhaps you’re considering an advanced degree or certificate in the field? Or are you a student looking for a new and exciting career?

If so, come join the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) for the second annual Midwest Region Regulatory Career Day. This interactive workshop will include presentations and panel discussions from seasoned professionals on how best to advance your career in regulatory.

Scheduled presentations include:

  • How to Deal With Difficult People and Maintain Credibility, Sanity and Professionalism
  • Working for the FDA
  • Working for Industry
  • What it’s Like to be a Consultant
  • How ASQ and RAPS Certifications Complement One Another

You’ll also learn about certificate and advanced degree programs in regulatory from:

  • Purdue University, School of Pharmacy, Masters Program in Technology, Leadership and Innovation
  • Temple University, School of Pharmacy, RA/QA Graduate Program
  • Northwestern University

View program agenda

Hilton Garden Inn
26225 North Riverwoods Boulevard
Lake Forest, Il 60045

Find directions online or call +1 847 735 8374

RAPS Members: $45 Nonmembers: $60

» Registration Form (PDF) – for registration by mail or fax, or call +1 301 770 2920 ext. 200.

Local Contact:
Carol Cooper, RAC, RAPS Chicago Chapter Chair

RAPS Contact:
Wesley Carr, senior manager, chapter and volunteer relations, RAPS, +1 301 770 2920

April 2016 Newsletter


 Our next meeting is April 21, 2016

The April meeting is at Dover Straits in Mundelein.

Members and non-members are always welcomed.

Pre-Meeting Presentation  5:30 – 6:00 pm 

Dinner, Networking, and Main Meeting: 6:00-7:00 pm 

Main Presentation Only: 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Register using the Eventbrite button below or on the website.


There is no charge for people who wish to listen to the speakers and forego dinner.

Although walk-ins are welcome, we strongly urge you to pre-register.

Door prizes of wine, books and other great gifts are given out every month.

March Raffle Prize winners were:

Karen Spiezia

Joan Chibe

Monica Rydzinski

Frances Blosser

Our meeting venue changes from time to time, so be sure to check

the Meeting Announcements each month.

Register using the Eventbrite button below or on the website.


Eventbrite - ASQ Section 1212 April 2016 Meeting and Dinner

April 21, 2016, Main Speaker: Illinois Global Scholar, Seth Brady


This month only, ASQ 1212 will treat your executive to dinner. So please invite a senior member of your organization to come and discover the value ASQ offers your company.

5:30 – 6:00 Pre-Dinner Speaker: Mike Moutrie, ASQ Focus on Education

6:00 – 7:00 Dinner and Networking

7:00 – 8:00  Post- Dinner Speaker: Seth Brady, Illinois Global Scholarship Initiative


Click the Eventbrite logo, above, to register for the event.

Seth3Illinois Global Scholar aims to create a certificate that awards merit, on the Illinois transcript, to students who demonstrate Global Competence.The purpose of the certificate is to recognize students who have attained the skills, knowledge and disposition necessary to successfully compete and collaborate in an increasingly globalized world. The primary requirements for this certificate include globally-focused coursework, service-learning, global collaboration, and a capstone project tied to a global issue or concern.  A vast coalition of stakeholders including leaders of business and higher education, members of Illinois Title VI centers, non-profit organizations, and educators created the requirements for the certificate.  Those who support the creation of the Global Scholar Certificate believe that increased emphasis on technical skills must be matched with increased emphasis on cultural competencies. Brady will explain how the working group developed the metrics for measuring Global Competence and what it means to Illinois high school scholars.

Seth Brady is an educator at Naperville Central High School where he teaches anthropology, comparative religions, and world cultures for the past 12 years.  In 2013, Seth was named a Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow by the US Department of State.  After a year of specific training and a field experience in Indonesia, Mr. Brady organized a coalition of stakeholders to create a Global Education Certificate for Illinois High School Students.  In March legislation (SB 2469,) creating the certificate, passed unanimously through the Senate Education Committee and is due to be called to the Senate floor in April.  In addition to serving as Project Director for Illinois Global Scholar, Mr. Brady has been published in a variety of venues including EdWeek and has presented at both national and international conferences.  In 2014, Mr. Brady was named Naperville District 203 Teacher of the Year and subsequently became one of ten finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year in 2015.  Seth lives in Naperville, Illinois, with his wife and three children.


Read more.

G Chemers

April 21, 2016 Pre-Dinner Speakers: Lean Six Sigma and Chicago Public Schools

George Chemers and Michael Moutrie applied  Lean Six Sigma at Chicago Public Schools. Together, they explain how the six sigma framework was applied to a public school procurement process to improve efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction, while at the same time reducing its cost. Application of some of the well-known six sigma tools is highlighted along with key constraints on …

Read more.


April Thoughts from the Chair, by Regina Fullin

It’s April and April brings us so many things to anticipate! We expect Springtime and better weather in our climate. We also look forward to the coming of World Conference in Milwaukee, from May 15 through May 18.  I also have good news: Section 1212 will be honored at the conference! ASQ’s Performance Awards & Recognition (PAR) committee has awarded Section …

Read more.

C harbeck

Shifting the Audit Process Paradigm by Chris Harbeck  

The current paradigm is that auditing is a process of deficiency: “What are the non-conformances?”  Audit summary reports rare;u provide much information beyond that. In the performance of a Quality Management System audit, the auditor reviews a company’s various processes and assesses compliance to the applicable Standard, as well as the internally documented procedures.  The documented procedures themselves are also reviewed …

Read more.


RAPS Chicago Chapter: The Shifting Risk Landscape for BioPharma and What’s Next for Pricing and Patient Access

The RAPS Chicago Chapter invites you to kick off the spring by joining us for a double header. We’ll be conducting two programs on 5 and 6 April, and are offering a discounted registration if you attend both. Early Preparation is Key to Successful FDA Panel Reviews 5 April 2016 5:30-8:30 pm AbbVie Abbott Park, IL Understand the process …

Read more.


Announcing ASQ Human Development & Leadership Webinar

Quality Leadership… The Legacy of a Lifetime! Each of us will leave a legacy…In our work and with our families. The only question is…will it be the one that we want? The new ISO 2001:2015 Standard addresses Quality Leadership both directly and indirectly. We will explore these changes and what they mean to us and how we can use these to …

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Your Publicity Chair, Donna Nash

Standard Study Group

We changed the ISO Support Group to Standards Study Group. The new name brings new direction, allowing us to expand our areas of study. Dave Taylor decided to retire from leading the group. Many, many thanks for his years of time and devotion to the group. The new leader of the group will be Donna Nash.   Donna Nash Left …

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Your Section Leadership

Please click below to see your leadership and their contact information:

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