Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Spring 2009

New scholarship honors Ross Robson, benefits students

The man who is credited with building the Shingo Prize’s national reputation is still working to give students a competitive edge despite the fact that he is no longer on campus.

Ross Robson

Ross Robson retired from his position as executive director of the organization that is now called the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence in 2008. The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business has established the Ross & DaNece Robson Scholarship in Lean Management to recognize Robson’s contributions. The Shingo Prize and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business contributed $100,000 to get the scholarship started, with the hope that Professor Robson’s many admirers will contribute to its growth and maintenance. The scholarship will be targeted at students who are interested in making “lean” a part of their educational focus.

The lean philosophy was originally articulated by Shigeo Shingo, an industrial engineer in Japan whose teachings have been key to Toyota’s success. In 1988 he came to USU and was recognized with an honorary doctorate in business. The Shingo Prize organization was created not long after that visit.

“I’m pleased to see this scholarship established,” Robson said. “I want to see students have the opportunity to make a study of lean principles part of their curriculum. The application of lean can benefit companies, organizations and government entities by helping them become more efficient and profitable. That’s something this struggling economy desperately needs.”

Robson said that when he was at USU he saw students benefit from their work with the Shingo Prize. Some made high-level connections at Shingo conferences that led to work with major companies such as Toyota, Ford and Boeing. Many students have gained a competitive edge from their lean training at USU.

Since retiring, Robson has founded DnR Lean, LLC, a consulting firm, and is a representative with Autoliv Lean Consulting. He is working on two books with previous Shingo Prize companies about applying lean principles.

Those interested in donating to the Ross & DaNece Robson Scholarship in Lean Management may phone McKenzie Rees at 435-797-2449, or contact her via email at