The excitement generated from the session is still going strong. We are looking forward to each step of the process. Your company was outstanding in the presentation and facilitating of the meeting. It was truly a wonderful experience for me.
~ Project Manager / Mortgage Credit, US Department of Housing and Urban Development





Our Team

Maria Elena Stopher

President, Ultimate Lean, Inc.
Senior Advisor, United States Air Force (download USAF bio)
Vice Chairman, Associate for Manufacturing Excellence

Ms. Maria Elena Stopher is a leading expert on Lean Enterprise who has led numerous business process reengineering engagements for a wide variety of federal government and private sector clients.

She has been recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in Lean Thinking and who has taken concepts and tools from Fortune 500 companies and demystified them and made them accessible so they can be applied in small companies, and in government. She has delivered numerous presentations and training classes on the subject of Lean Enterprise, as well as publishing several articles in the field. In addition to facilitating Lean Events herself, Ms.Stopher led the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Lean Initiative and delivered training to more than 2000 employees of Manufacturing Extension Centers around the country enabling them to deliver Lean Events to their clients.

She founded Ultimate Lean Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to bringing Lean Enterprise methodologies to industry and state and federal government agencies, in 2005.  Clients include the United States Housing and Urban Development (USHUD), The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the United States Air Force (USAF).  Other representative projects include business process reengineering for Commercial clients such as Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Astra Zeneca, Perdue Farms, State Farm Insurance, and others.

Prior to founding Ultimate Lean, Ms. Stopher worked at the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology for a total of 10 years and served in numerous roles helping to build the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. In 2001, she left the federal government to serve as Director of Product Development for the Lean Enterprise Institute.  Before government service, she worked as Engineering Manager in several manufacturing companies, both large (Xerox Corp.) and small (Danaher Motion, formerly American Precision Industries). She has an MBA with a focus in Operations Management from SUNY-Buffalo where she also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Ultimate Lean, Inc draws on the talents of many associates who are recognized experts in the field of Lean and Six Sigma.