OUR PEOPLE – SENIOR TEAM, DELIVERING RESULTS
Serving our clients effectively in today’s economic environment requires experienced staff to lead, manage and deliver on projects. In both assessment and implementation, a key Whitehall differentiator is our ability to actively assume operating roles inside the client organization until the business issues are addressed.
Our senior professionals have decades of experience and are credentialized as Lean and Six Sigma practitioners, CPAs and CVAs. All have assumed financial and operational roles as CEOs, Presidents, General Managers and CFOs. This senior team is augmented with staff consultants and analysts with proven financial skills and shop-floor savvy; “doers” who take command of projects and deliver results.
Joseph Bione is President and founder of the Whitehall Group with over 35+ years of experience in manufacturing and restructuring. Mr. Bione’s expertise includes the areas of operations, finance, reengineering, enterprise lean, continuous improvement and supply chain management. The Whitehall Group provides services to companies in transition or trouble.
In industry, Mr. Bione has served as Interim CEO/President for many clients during transition and return to profitability, including CMI Holdings, Venture Industries, Talon Automotive Group, Como Plastics, Detroit Plastic Molding and Kuhlman Automotive Group. He is currently serving as Interim President/CEO for American Special Vehicle Cars, (ASC) where he has won the 2016 Manufacturing Leadership Award (ML100) for Visionary Leadership. He was recently engaged as EVP of Operations at Constar, Inc. a $500MM manufacturing company, working with a team on restructuring the company, where he won the 2012 Manufacturing Leadership 100 (ML 100) Award for Turnarounds. Mr. Bione is on the Governors’ list of potential Emergency Managers and Whitehall has been approved by the State of Michigan as an approved “Turnaround and Restructuring” resource. (Contract # 271B4300019)
Mr. Bione started his manufacturing career at Johnson Controls, where he served as VP & General Manager for both the Automotive Group and Beverage Bottle Division and at the American Sterilizer Company, as Director of Operations for the Medical Products Division. Mr. Bione was also a Partner at Deloitte Consulting in the Automotive, Supply Chain and Restructuring Practices with Global Account Responsibility for DaimlerChrysler and co-leadership of the Global Automotive Practice.
Mr. Bione is a frequent speaker at industry events, including the MICPA Management and Information Business Show, the Automotive News APD Motor Vehicle Metal Resins Conference and the OESA “Best Practices” Regional Meetings. He also contributed two guest columns in both the TMA newsletter and at the OESA Annual Outlook Conference. He participated in Powerplex as a guest speaker, the Automotive Supplier Finance Summit, and Eastern Michigan’s College of Business’ Ethos Week. Besides speaking, Mr. Bione has authored a series of four (4) articles in addressing the “Business Transition Issues” that companies are facing today featured in Business Management Magazine.
Mr. Bione is an Advisory Board Member of Gannon University’s Business & Engineering Programs, University of Detroit Mercy’s Turnaround Management M.B.A. program, Eastern Michigan University’s Supply Chain Management program and the Erie Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Bione earned his B.S. in Business Management with a minor in Engineering, an M.B.A. in Organizational Behavior, and the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from Gannon University in Erie, PA. His certifications include the CPM (Purchasing), CPIM (Production Control & Inventory), and is a longtime member of the Turnaround Management Association. (TMA)Email Joe
Bill Wiechec is an experienced operations executive with 45+ years in the automotive industry. His expertise includes a strong knowledge of manufacturing and quality systems, with a documented ability to improve overall performance at the operations level. He has assisted clients in launch, operational improvement, and return to profitability by instituting process controls, lean manufacturing, and implementing management accountability systems.
At Whitehall, Bill has worked with several clients in both an advisory and team leader capacity, as well as assuming key leadership positions in the client organization. Client business processes includes injection molding, blow molding, metal stamping, die manufacturing, automotive trim, component assembly, aerospace plating, and product inspection / qualification services.
Prior to joining Whitehall Group, Bill completed a full career with General Motors. Executive positions included Director of Manufacturing Quality Systems with responsibility for implementation of lean manufacturing quality processes within GM’s North American assembly plants; Director of Supplier Quality with responsibility for advanced quality planning, production part approval, production capacity confirmation, problem solving, and supplier development; and Director of Quality – GM de Mexico, with responsibility for the quality function at the Ramos Arizpe Engine and Assembly Plants.
Bill holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute), and is a graduate of the Executive Program, University of Michigan.Email Bill
Stephen C. Findlay has a private consulting practice for middle market companies based out of Erie, PA that does extensive work with The Whitehall Group.
Prior to starting his consulting practice, Mr. Findlay was a 31-year veteran of the banking industry, both in Erie, PA and Cleveland, Ohio. Most recently, he was with U.S. Bank as Senior Vice President, Northeast Ohio commercial banking division manager. He managed a team of relationship managers servicing the financial needs of middle market companies in the Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania marketplace. Prior to US Bank, Mr. Findlay spent the last ten years of his 29 year banking career with National City Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania, overseeing its commercial banking division and servicing middle market and upper middle market clients and prospects in Northwestern PA, Western and Upstate New York, and Eastern Ohio. Prior to moving to Erie, PA for National City, he was the division manager of National City’s business credit division in Cleveland servicing small business, lower middle market clients, and the dealer business for automobiles, boats, and recreational vehicles.
During his career, Mr. Findlay has been instrumental in facilitating in excess of $3 billion of public and private capital needs transactions, satisfying the commercial client’s financial service needs. These capital needs transactions have taken the form of both direct financing and/or syndicated transactions.
Mr. Findlay earned his business and economics degree from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana and is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware. He has committed many volunteer hours to community organizations such as the United Way, where he led the leadership giving drive to record levels, and the Boys Scouts of America, as a member of its board of directors, both in Erie, PA and Cleveland, Ohio. He is also a comparator for both Hamot Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital. Steve resides with his wife Kathy in Erie, PA and has four grown daughters. He enjoys golf, curling, and ballroom dancing. He is a FINRA registered representative. (Series 63 and 79)
Located at our Erie, PA office.Email Steve
Gregory A. Bryen Sr. is a senior professional with over 40 years of experience including executive and leadership roles in general management, finance and operations with a background including professional services and industry experience.
Mr. Bryen has extensive consultative and industry experience working within domestic and international enterprises in the Americas, Europe and Asia, including: mergers and acquisitions; long-term agreements with customers, partners, and joint ventures; as well as strategic and tactical initiatives supporting operational and financial results improvement.
While affiliated with Whitehall, Mr. Bryen has served multiple clients in navigating though financial and operational distress. In these assignments he has developed and implemented plans of refinancing, operational improvement and organizational alignment. He has additionally served as interim COO of a Heavy Vehicle Assembler, performed operational and financial due diligence for, and in participation with, lenders and private equity funds.
Mr. Bryen has also served as Co-chair of a citizen advisory/study committee challenged with evaluating potential facility consolidation for a local school system within the Detroit metropolitan area. The results of such study were accepted as a basis for not only closure considerations but also the framework and guidelines for future maintenance and capital improvements and financing strategies related thereto.
Prior to his affiliation with Whitehall, Mr. Bryen was the principal member of G. A. Bryen Company LLC, where client work included cost reduction programs (such as a $40 million savings program within a $1.6 Billion operation) and financial and operational due diligence for enterprises ranging from $50 million up to $2 Billion. In addition, while working with Conway MacKenzie & Dunleavy, Mr. Bryen focused on financial, operational and management advisory services to enterprises primarily focused upon manufacturing, assembly and distribution of products.
In industry, Mr. Bryen held roles at a Tier I automotive supplier including Vice President-Corporate Development, Managing Director of a vehicle assembly joint venture with a domestic automobile company, Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Finance. Prior positions included Controller, Vice President and General Manager of Automotive Operations, Director of Operations and Finance, and Director of Finance-Operation for a regional automotive hauler as well as a Manager /CPA within a Big-8 Accounting firm.Email Greg
Jim Lenhardt has over 40 years of manufacturing experience in a multitude of assignments. His expertise includes roles as Vice President of Operations for an electronics company, Lean Implementation Manager, Supplier Development Manager and Manager of Plant Materials Management and most recently a focus on helping companies create robust Quality Systems and increase thru put.
Jim’s greatest skills are in Lean Manufacturing, problem solving and analyzing and assessing Quality Systems in manufacturing plants. In regard to Lean, Jim was responsible for delivering lean training for Delphi which included a concentrated focus on Value Stream Mapping. Throughout Jim’s career, the application of lean principles have produced double digit improvements in cost reductions and quality improvements in locations around the world.
Jim is also an expert in Toyota’s Problem Solving process commonly described as the 3 Legged 5 Why approach. This method is one of the differentiators that makes Toyota such a successful company. In the approach, the problem is analyzed from three perspectives, (1) How was a bad part made? (2) How did the bad part escape the inspection process and get to a customer and (3) How is the system of management weak such that an operator was placed in a position to fail? This “3 leg” review process enables a company to fix the problem and increase profitability, better protect their customers to increase customer satisfaction and strengthen their approach to copy the benefits companywide thereby leveraging the gains.
In the past, Jim has conducted over 50 Supplier plant Quality Systems assessments to ascertain their effectiveness and if required, assisted in implementing system improvements. His support in this process has included training and workshops that allow companies to change their Quality approach with a bias for system sustainability and reliability of their basic Quality Systems.
Recent assignments have included material flow improvements in a machining factory, setting up a containment activity to reduce labor and eliminate the cost of using a third party for inspection, and thru put improvements to increase output on the plant floor.
James Kadunc is an experienced Operations and Quality Manager with over 40 years of experience in the Automotive and Truck Industry. Mr. Kadunc has held leadership positions in Operations, Quality, Material Control, Purchasing, Sales, Finance and Supplier Development. His experience includes 10 years of hands-on lean assessments and major continuous improvement projects in the areas of quality, through-put, and supply chain management.
At Whitehall, and previously at GM and Delphi Automotive, Jim was focused primarily on Continuous Improvement in the areas of Quality, Operations and Delivery (Material Control). He is experienced in a wide variety of operational processes including assembly, plastic molding, metal stamping and forming, aftermarket (assembly, packaging, and delivery) appearance items / trim, plating, automotive interiors and rubber molding. Jim claims one of his most interesting projects involved food processing quality improvements in a potato chip factory. Although well versed in the three major Quality Strategies he finds that he is not typically involved with a client in (1) Quality Planning – which is often not done well. Instead he is called in to improve the operation requiring a focus on (2) Quality Control and (3) Quality Improvement because quality at the source is implemented after SOP, not before.
During his career at GM / Delphi Jim had a three year assignment in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he was Commercial Manager of his Division and was responsible for Sales, Marketing and Strategic Planning. He has headed up Lean and Quality Workshops throughout the world including Canada, Mexico, 8 countries in Eastern and Western Europe, N. Africa, China and S. America. When he left Delphi he was involved in the implementation of the “Lean Enterprise” at his home division while also heading up the Purchasing Department’s Supplier Development Program.
Jim holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio and an M.B.A. from Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He believes in “Continuous Education” and besides attending Quality and Lean Workshops has trained at NUMMI and under 2 Japanese Toyota Sensei’s. He also holds a 6 Sigma Green Belt.Email James
Stephanie O’Brien manages all day to day running of Whitehall’s Web and Social Media presence. She develops, designs and writes copy for outside distribution marketing materials as well as our press releases. In addition, she handles much of the development of our presentations, special events and contracts.
Stephanie attended Oakland University School of Business studying International Affairs and Relations with minor study in Japanese.
Much of her time outside of work is spent volunteering her time for different bicycle related and animal groups. She is the Chairperson for her local Cool City Committee and does special event planning for them.Email Stephanie
Joe Klimaski is a global executive with more than 20 years’ experience in the Automotive and Information Technology (IT) industries. His expertise includes program/project management, procurement, supplier contracting, IT technology such as CAD/CAM and EDI, strategic planning, and IT and telecom consolidation.
While working for Electronic Data Systems (EDS), Joe served in management positions in Business Operations, Business Strategies, National Accounts, and New Product Sales and Development. With a strong presence on the GM account, Joe made significant strategic and tactical contributions, supporting the GM supply base with new products for the integration of CAD and CAM processes, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and internal performance metrics.
Joe served as a key leader in GM’s Global Y2K Supplier Readiness Program. He helped create the $27 million budget for the program and managed the global network of consulting companies providing services for Y2K compliance and readiness. Later he served as the Global Supplier Consolidation and Transition Manager for Dow Chemical’s, ‘DowNet’. Joe reduced the supply base from 1,850 suppliers to 650 and reduced a $127 million budget by over 30%, delivering $43 million in savings.
In recognition of his expertise in delivering results in supplier management, Joe was appointed as the “Loaned Executive” to the Automotive Industry Action Group for two years as an Associate Director. While in this position, Joe assisted in the management of the association, chaired national committees on EDI and barcoding, helped create new document standards for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and represented the AIAG to its counterpart organizations in Europe.
Joe also served Sears/Kmart in managing the transition of their computer services from a third party provider back to their own computer data center, and in the relocation of a design center in NYC. He had previously served as a Director of Purchasing and Material Management for a global manufacturer of Fire and Rescue vehicles.
Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit and has attended post graduate programs at Baldwin Wallace College and Oakland University. He is an active citizen in local politics, is a board member of his homeowners association, and has served as an associate director of the St Thomas Moore Youth Program.Email Joe
Laura Klimaski has over 27 year’s global experience in the automotive industry as a leader and executive. Her expertise is program management as well as supply chain and account management. In her years in the automotive industry Laura has implemented several global programs in support of her customers.
Prior to joining the Whitehall Group, Laura completed her career as Executive Vice President of Program Management for the Tweddle Group. Laura was responsible for creating a centralized program management team of 25 people consisting of program manager, project managers and customer support. She and her team supported the successful implementation of new products and programs. During her career at Tweddle, Laura identified, mapped, developed and implemented the processes and internal groups to support becoming a Tier 1 production supplier to the automotive industry. As a Tier 1 supplier, Laura managed the support supply chain, and negotiated prices and cost reductions with the OEMs. She was instrumental in recovering over $1MM in past due payments from the OEM. In addition to implementing Tier 1 production process in the USA and Mexico, Laura implemented the process in Europe for the Tweddle group.
During her career Laura also worked for Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Laura manager a center of service with a group of 85 people consisting of project managers, customer service and system administrators in support of technical publishing. During her EDS career Laura was lead program manager on several projects for General Motors, Freightliner and TACOM. One of her major challenges at EDS was to transitional GM Photographic to EDS. This project consisted of re-engineering processes, and identifying and redesigning several applications to eliminate waste and increase productivity.
Laura has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Detroit. She also completed management training at EDS and customers’ training in quality and supply chain.Email Laura
Bill has over 40 years experience in the automotive and defense industries working for OEM and tier I supply companies. With a keen focus on quality assurance, customer satisfaction, manufacturing, and product launch in a variety of environments.
Bill was responsible for total quality system design and implementation for a tier–one greenfield manufacturing project. Bill led productivity improvements for a major defense contractor achieving over $300 million in savings and securing a multi–year contract with the U.S. Army. A strong mentor and coach in team–based environments.Email Bill
David Kerns is an experienced operation executive with over 30 years of experience in leading operational improvements in the manufacturing industry. He has served in roles as President, Vice President of Operations, General Manager, Plant Manager, Production Manager, and Plant Controller for a number of entities across the automotive, chemical, and consumer products sectors. He has deep expertise in turnaround/restructuring, lean manufacturing, and utilization of good manufacturing practices, and has a track record of delivering results in both union and non-union environments.
David currently serves as a Plant Manager for Constar, Inc. a $500 MM manufacturing company, working with a team on a restructuring of the company. He previously worked for seven years for a Toyota owned joint venture as a General Manager for a Tier 1, JIT seat and frame plant with sales in excess of $300 million. He also served for five year as Vice President of Operations and led a turnaround of two business divisions through the application of lean manufacturing principles, resulting in a lower cost structure and improvements in quality and safety. Throughout the manufacturing industry, he has worked on a diverse set of processes, including injection molding, blow molding, plating, chemical processing, machining, die casting, stamping, welding, painting and assembly.
David has strong experience in guiding distressed companies through assessment, sale, relocation, or closure, as well as launching new operations and new facilities to match product launch or company growth. As a consultant, David worked with Deloitte Consulting in their automotive manufacturing practice.
David holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Marshall University.Email Dave
Katie Bione is managing the Whitehall marketing and business development efforts, where she is helping develop and maintain the website, brochures, events, as well as building new client relationships to help raise the recognition level of Whitehall Group in the business community.
Katie Bione has extensive experience with marketing and event management. Prior to joining Whitehall Group, Katie worked for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix in Sponsorship Services and marketing. She also has experience at both Wayne State University and The Palace of Auburn Hills in marketing and event management.
In 2005, Katie received her Bachelor of Arts in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. While attending Aquinas College, Katie was a starter for the varsity women’s soccer team. In 2007 Katie received her Master’s Degree in Professional Sports Management from Wayne State University, where she was the Graduate Assistant for the Sports Administration Department.Email Katie