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Our Staff

Joyce La Padula
Managing Director


Joyce La Padula first began working with the Maryland World Class Consortia (MWCC) in 1998, ultimately managing the operation as the Program Director when she departed in 2008. During her ten years with the MWCC, she worked closely with Maryland companies and consortia members in the pursuit of sustainable lean business practices. While with the MWCC, Joyce developed and leveraged relationships across the state and nationally.

For over 20 years, Ms. La Padula served with the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development (now Commerce) in areas that served to coordinate, support and collaborate with industry stakeholders, trade associations, and educational institutions as they related to the manufacturing industry. Additionally, her mission included facilitating the creation and growth of partnerships with industry-facing organizations and associations in Maryland. During this time, Joyce also served on the Board of Directors for the MWCC in addition to several manufacturing related advisory boards.

Joyce returned to the MWCC as Managing Director in 2018.

Dave Rizzardo
Associate Director


Dave Rizzardo received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 1982. He worked in industry for 17 years in various positions focusing on quality/productivity improvement and the application of Lean principles and techniques.

In 1999 Dave joined Mtech, a program within the University of Maryland in the Baltimore Office. As the Lean Services Manager for 15 years, his area of concentration was the development of Lean training and implementation services. He assisted a diverse range of organizations in applying Lean/Continuous Improvement principles to effectively address each company’s unique situation and challenges. In 2012, he was co developer of the Lean Peer Group program and has been facilitating multiple groups since that time. The focus of these groups is to help organizations develop a true Lean Culture of Continuous Improvement.

Dave has lectured at the University of Maryland, and as adjunct faculty member for the Community College of Baltimore County he has taught “Introduction to Lean” and “Advanced Lean” courses. In 2014, Dave joined the Maryland World Class Consortia (MWCC) and founded Lean Peer Groups & Consulting LLC. He continues facilitating the Lean Peer Groups and working directly with organizations in helping them on their Lean journeys.

Board of Directors

Philip Tulkoff

Philip Tulkoff is the President of Tulkoff Food Products. He joined the family business in January 2005 as President/CEO. He is the third generation to run the business started by his grandparents in the 1930’s. Phil brings project and business management skills to the firm as well as an extensive knowledge of computer systems and manufacturer technology.

He earned his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University in 1983 and was employed by NASA and later a NASA contractor for the following eleven years. Phil worked as a thermal engineer designing temperature control systems for space shuttle payloads and satellites for the first five years and then transitioned into project and business management roles.

He earned his Masters in Business Administration at Loyola College in Baltimore in 1990 and co founded a computer consulting firm a short time later. Specializing in computer networking and custom database development, the firm provided services to small to medium sized businesses throughout the Baltimore Washington area. In early 2000, the firm was merged with a large accounting firm where his role as a partner was to provide enterprise software solutions to the non-profit industry.

Tulkoff Food Products has strong local name recognition for its horseradish and horseradish products because of their 85 year history in Baltimore. The company’s business is in the food service sector where they sell to all the major distributors who in turn sell to restaurants, hotels and caterers. The product breadth includes horseradish, garlic items, cocktail sauce, pesto, chipotle aioli, garlic spreads and a host of other items. Tulkoff also copacks for numerous national brands in the retail marketplace.

Carl Livesay

Carl Livesay is the General Manager for Mercury Plastics, a custom thermoformer of plastic components, parts, packaging for various industries including but not limited to Unmanned Vehicles, Aerospace, Defense, Industrial, Electronics, Medical, Food, Cosmetics, blister packaging, Heavy Gauge Thermoforming, Packaging, Light Gauge Thermoforming, Plastic Fabrication.

Carl is an advocate for operational excellence and a lean practitioner for nearly thirty years. In addition to his role as Treasurer for MWCC, Carl is appointed by Maryland’s Governor to the Governor's Workforce Development Board as an advisor to Maryland’s Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, he is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the Maryland District Export Council and he serves on several advisory boards for training organizations across the State. Carl is one of the founders of MDMFG.org and the Maryland Manufacturers COOP. Carl is a passionate supporter of U.S. manufacturing and reshoring initiatives.

Dr. Minerva Devera


Dr. Minerva Devera has worked for over 30 years in Quality Control/Quality Assurance and Operational Excellence at various companies in the Pharmaceutical Industry. She has been in leadership roles for over 25 years. She currently holds a position at Emergent BioSolutions as the Director of Operational Excellence (OE) and is a member of the global OE Leadership team implementing OE at multiple sites.

Dr. Devera has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology; a Master of Science in Quality Systems Management and a Doctorate degree in Business Administration focused in Quality Systems Management. She is a member of Parenteral Drug Association (PDA), Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), International Toastmasters Club and Maryland World Class Consortia.

She has been a member of MWCC since 2010. She is an active participant of the MWCC Lean Peer Group for over 4 years.  Dr. Devera is active in facilitating Lean Workshops, facility tours and speaks at seminars.

She is a proud mom of two boys, Ronald (Doctor of Medicine) and Joseph (Doctor of Physical Therapy student).

Lauri Shropshire

Lauri Shropshire is senior level leader with over 20 years of global experience in strategy, continuous improvement change management. She is currently the head of Change Management and Communications for Pearson in the Online and Blended Learning Division, where she is leading the company in developing the change management framework and strategic plan as they move into new operating models and systems for their business and schools.

As a business owner and management consultant for MLS Enterprises, she works with companies to identify complex issues and provide employees with the tools and strategies needed to adapt and solve problems at work and align teams to meet business goals. With her expertise with strategic planning, developing continuous improvement and project management infrastructures, she trains and mentors employees to become better problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and fully engaged team members.

Lauri started as an MWCC member back in 2006 when she was the Operational Excellence Manager with Baxter Healthcare International in their BioScience Division. During her time leading the continuous improvement program, the plant’s overall performance turned around with significant improvements to their success rates, yields, cycle times and COGS. In addition, as a member of their Senior Leadership Team, she led the strategic planning process for the plant which led to improved business results, and established better alignment and communication of the goals to employees throughout the company.

In 2010 Lauri was selected to receive the MWCC “Volunteer of the Year” award. In addition, she served as the Associate Director for the MWCC from 2013-2016, where she supported member companies and served as a liaison to the MEP.

Lauri is a certified Lean practitioner, Six Sigma Green Belt, and Prosci Change Manager. She also has a B.S. in Communications from North Dakota State University.

Dr. Shawn Wolf, DSL

Shawn is an experienced executive leader with more than 25 years in leadership positions spanning industries such as higher education, manufacturing, and service-related businesses.

In 2001, Shawn was first introduced to the MWCC while he was a leader in a manufacturing firm in Frederick, MD. Shawn joined the board in 2012. He remains very active in the operational excellence world through his coaching, consulting, and training practices.

Today, as a Principal in the partnership (Outside-Force.com) Shawn supplies training, business coaching, lean coaching, executive coaching, and organizational development engagements to a variety of industries. He is also an adjunct faculty member at UMBC in Baltimore, MD and a Senior Facilitator at the UMBC Training Centers where he was a founding member of the Center for Leadership and Innovation.

Shawn holds a BS in Business Administration, an MS in Management, a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Leadership Coaching, and a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership.

Robert Barnes

Bob Barnes retired from Northrop Grumman after 41 years of service and was the Manager of Lean Initiatives and Best Manufacturing Practices for Northrop's Electronics Systems Sector. With over 30 years experience in the electronics industry, he has worked in numerous technical and managerial roles stressing innovation in manufacturing competitiveness.

Bob previously served as the Chairman of the Governor's Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness for the State of Maryland. The commission completed a detailed broad-based analysis of Maryland manufacturing and submitted its report including recommendations for the future.

Bob has served on the board of directors of Xetron Corporation, Norden Systems, the Baltimore Museum of Industry and is involved in many organizations benefiting Maryland's youth, such as Junior Achievement, and the engineering profession, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Bob is a Mechanical Engineering grad of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and completed the Executive Program at the Darden Business School of the University of Virginia. Bob is active in a number of local and national industry associations, which enable him to benchmark many facilities throughout the U.S. and other countries.

Thomas H. Dahbura

Thomas Dahbura is the President of Hub Labels, Inc., a Hagerstown, Maryland manufacturing company. Thomas is a second generation label converter, growing up amongst the ink, gears and grease of a narrow web operation his father founded in 1978 dating back earlier to El Salvador. Directly following his graduation from college, Thomas worked in Hub's customer service department and then moved on to operations, his area of true passion. Over the past 3 decades, Thomas' commitment to emerging production and application technologies has been instrumental in positioning Hub as a progressive and innovative prime label company in the North American marketplace.

Thomas graduated from Mount Saint Mary's College with a BS degree in Economics, Business and Finance. He serves on numerous boards, is a 30 year veteran of the national ski patrol and is an avid mountain biker. Thomas lives on a horse farm in Maryland with his wife and daughter just south of the Mason Dixon line.

John P. King

John King is the Continuous Improvement Manager for Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, responsible for training continuous improvement techniques including LEAN and 6 Sigma processes, and for implementation of large scale improvement projects.  

John graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering and from Loyola University of Maryland with an Executive MBA.  Mr. King is a 6 Sigma Master Black Belt and a licensed Professional Engineer. 

Mr. King is an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience in manufacturing, operations, supply chain, and quality management in a number of industries including consumer products, automobiles, aerospace, communications, and capital equipment manufacturing.  Much of this experience has been in the areas of cost reduction and process improvement.  John has made several presentations of the results of his work in process improvement and lead time management at both regional and national conferences. 

Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller is the founder and principal of Critical Functions, an operational risk and resilience advisory firm that helps organizations protect their critical business functions from disruption and disaster and build their enterprise risk management program. Ryan previously served as the appointed Emergency Management Director for Howard County, MD.

During his tenure, Ryan managed numerous emergencies and disasters and was most recently responsible for response and recovery to the back-to-back disastrous flash floods in Ellicott City, Maryland. Committed to continuous quality improvement, Ryan and his entire team became certified to the green belt level in Lean Six Sigma - the only local emergency management office in Maryland to do so. The concepts were used extensively as the team systematically overhauled traditional and inefficient portions of their program from the layout of their Emergency Operations Center, to their post-disaster After Action Review (AAR) process.

Ryan is an Associate in Risk Management (ARM-E) and holds business continuity planning and audit certifications. He also teaches graduate-level disaster management courses at his alma mater The George Washington University and serves on the Governor of Maryland's Emergency Management Advisory Committee.

Bob Jirsa

Bob recently retired from RSM US LLP after 43 years serving closely-held and private equity owned portfolio companies. He counseled owners and management in the develop and implementation of operational, growth and succession strategies. He currently is a board member of several closely held companies and not-for-profit institutions.

He was RSM’s Mid-Atlantic Consumer and Industrial Products Sector services practice leader, serving manufacturing, wholesale and commercial distribution, transportation and logistics and services industries with multi-state and international operations. He served on RSM’s National Steering Committee for Manufacturing and Distribution and the AICPA’s Global Manufacturing Conference Steering Committee.

In 2012, seeking to help a client reignite their Lean journey, he worked with Dave Rizzardo to establish the Lean Peer Group program and engaged his client companies as first program participants. Over the years, Bob has been involved with the World Trade Center Institute, Association for Corporate Growth, Regional Manufacturing Institute, Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Wholesale-Distributors, Maryland Distribution Council, Greater Baltimore Committee, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants.

His volunteer board experiences include Loyola University Maryland Sellinger School of Business Board of Sponsors, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Bob graduated with a BA in Accounting from Loyola University Maryland and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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