Conference Agenda

Continuous Improvement Nebraska


Wed, Sept 1

The Living Room

6:00-7:30pm Networking & Trivia Night

Join us for an evening of fun and fellowship! Get to know your fellow continuous improvers and process improvers while competing for the title of Trivia Night Champion. It’s a great way to build your connections and network in a fun atmosphere. Light refreshments, beer and wine will be served.

Thurs, Sept 2

The Living Room

8:30-9:00am Check-In

Grab a cup of coffee and a muffin or banana and make friends with the person sitting next to you. Get ready for an engaging day!

9:00-9:45am The Opening & Killer Keynote

Keynote speakers set the tone for the day! Get excited, get inspired.

Keynote speaker announcement coming soon!

Opening Speaker: Allison Greco, Founder, CII

9:45-10:30am When Everything's a Priority

Speaker: Crystal Austin, Director of Corporate Planning, Black Hills Energy

We’ve all heard the phrase “when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority” but how do we break free? How do we overcome being “over-initiated”? How do we deal with “multiple priorities?”

Crystal Austin will share her real-life strategies  (and real-life struggles) to drive her company to focus on their true priority.

10:30-10:45am Morning Break

Stretch those legs, grab a bit of sunshine or refill your coffee cup. Or just keep talking to those new friends you made during speed networking.

10:45-11:30am Speed Networking

Rapidly and efficiently grow your network of continuous and process improvers. Let’s build our relationships so we can continue to connect long after the conference is over.

11:30-12:15pm Seeing the Invisible - What Can Be Seen Gets Done

Speaker: Kyle Kumpf, PMO Manager, AVP, HTLF

He’ll show you how he took back his work week with his Work Authorization Board.

12:15-12:45pm The Power Lunch

Refuel with some yummy lunch. And yes, we want to maximize this time too, so each table will unlock the Power of CI during a engaging exercise.

You should still have a few minutes to check your email or take a walk outside.

12:45-2:00pm Leadership in Continuous Improvement Panel

Hear from Nebraska’s incredible continuous improvement and Lean leaders. They’ll share their insider perspectives in our leadership panel discussion. Plus, they’ll answer YOUR questions.

Expert Panelists 

  • Gina Langel, Director of Continuous Improvement, Omaha Public Power District
  • Matthew Singh, Director & Master Black Belt, Center of Operational Excellence, State of Nebraska
  • Rachel Prudhomme, Project Manager III, Global Center for Health Security, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Jim Lloyd, AVP Enterprise Continuous Improvement, Lincoln Financial Group

Moderated by Jesse DePriest, Director of Operational Excellence, First National Bank of Omaha

2:00-2:15pm Bio Break

Take a couple of laps around the room, step out for bit of sunshine or grab a sweet treat. Or just keep talking to your new friends!

2:15-3:00pm Improvement at Pandemic Speed

We made powerful changes during COVID19 and we made them with unbelievable speed. How do “improve at pandemic speed” even after the pandemic is over?

Melissa Maday, CHI Health, will share her experiences and best practices. 

3:00-4:00pm CI Cafe

By now, your head is swimming with ideas and inspiration! But we often leave conferences with inspiration and not enough action. Let’s expand upon those ideas and turn them into action plans.

We’ll break into small, collaborative discussion groups for brainstorming and best practice sharing.

4:00pm-4:30pm Closing Celebration

It’s going to be hard to say good-bye so we’re going to make it fun! We’ll have some cool announcements and cool giveaways. Plus, we’ll show you how to keep the momentum going.

About Our Incredible Speakers

Crystal Austin

Crystal Austin

Director of Corporate Planning, Black Hills Energy

Crystal Austin is the Director of Corporate Planning for Black Hills Energy. Crystal is responsible for helping leaders establish an executable long-term strategy that aligns the organization to the company’s vision. Crystal has spent the last 14 years in the utility industry working in operations, continuous improvement, strategic initiatives and corporate strategic planning. She leverages her continuous improvement skills in every role and everyday – they are the bedrock of planning and implementing solutions that drive value for customers, coworkers and shareholders.

Crystal holds a BS in Business Analytics and is currently helping her three teen and tween aged children build emotional intelligence and change management skills for life.

Matthew Singh

Matthew Singh

Director & Master Black Belt, Center of Excellence, State of Nebraska

Matthew Singh is the Director of Operational Excellence and Master Black Belt for the Department of Administrative Services in Nebraska. Over the last 20 years his roles have included sales & service, operations, and supply chain. Before joining The State of Nebraska, Singh worked for Gordmans as a Sr. Process Manager. He is a graduate of University of Nebraska- Lincoln earning both a bachelor’s of arts in sociology and a master’s of science in leadership. He holds an M.B.A from Doane University.

He’s a certified Master Black Belt in Six Sigma, Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, Certified Lean Sensei, and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. He was a featured stakeholder in a case study that is used by Harvard’s executive education program to teach process improvement throughout the world. 

Singh is involved with his church in Gretna where he lives with his wife Erin and their two children. 

Gina Langel

Gina Langel

Director of Continuous Improvement, Omaha Public Power District

Gina Langel is the Director of Continuous Improvement at the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD). Gina has worked in the electric, natural gas, and water utility industries for 30 years in various positions. Recently, she led her team to set a new strategy and structure for continuous improvement at OPPD. This new direction focuses on continuous improvement leadership using organizational alignment, project management and change management to influence a continuous improvement culture at OPPD.  

Gina is married with four children.  She received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and an MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She is a registered Professional Mechanical Engineer in the State of Nebraska. She is also a Certified Energy Manager, Certified Sustainable Development Professional, and a Certified Measurement and Verification Professional. 

Jesse DePriest

Jesse DePriest

Director of Operational Excellence, First National Bank of Omaha

Jesse is a Lean/SS Black Belt with a passion for lean leadership, problem solving, and process improvement. He has over 25 years executive leadership experience in manufacturing and service industries, holding a variety of roles including Director of Continuous Improvement, General Manager, Sales/Business Development Executive, and Product, Operations, Customer Service, and Product Development Manager. 

He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Science in Operations Management, an MBA, and served in the US Army for eight years as an officer and helicopter pilot. Jesse is an Adjunct Professor for Operations Management at Midland University MBA, a Transformation Coach at First National Bank of Omaha and provides lean coaching / consulting services through his consulting practice.  

Rachel Prudhomme

Rachel Prudhomme

Project Manager III, Global Center for Health Security, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Rachel Prudhomme has 8 years of process improvement experience and works for the Global Center for Health Security at UNMC, which coordinates research, education and clinical care covering bio-preparedness, infectious disease and high-consequence infectious research.  Rachel enjoys applying continuous improvement tools and methodologies to a variety of tasks and projects.  Rachel was asked to help design and coordinate a research clinic with the first use being a COVID-19 vaccine trial. 

Prior to her current position Rachel worked in healthcare process improvement as the Manager of Operational Improvement.  She created a multidisciplinary team of process improvement experts that helped to lead and facilitate numerous improvement projects throughout Nebraska Medicine.    

Rachel received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from the College of St. Benedict and an MBA from Creighton University. 

Kyle Kumpf

Kyle Kumpf

PMO Manager, AVP, HTLF

I get out of bed in the morning to end human suffering as it relates to process. Problems are a direct result of process; however:  

  • People are often the first to get blamed
  • Little to no support is provided to uncover why problems occur
  • Processes are often made more complex in response to problems

We spend most of our lives at work. Our talents and ideas shouldn’t be inhibited by draconian management behavior and poor processes.  When we have simple, visible systems in place, we can accomplish great things at work while having more time with our families, hobbies and interests.  

I have enjoyed 10 years managing projects, solving problems, improving processes and developing people. I spend my days helping people understand we cannot do today’s work with yesterday’s thinking and expect to be in business tomorrow.  

Jim Lloyd

Jim Lloyd

Assistant Vice President, Enterprise Continuous Improvement, Lincoln Financial Group

Jim Lloyd is an AVP of Enterprise Continuous Improvement for Lincoln Financial Group. He brings 25+ years of Enterprise Process Improvement and Performance Measurement experience in Health Care, Insurance, and Financial Services. Jim leads the scoping and management of Re-engineering and Continuous Improvement engagements focused on improving operational efficiencand enhancing the customer experience. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, he also provides internal training and coaching.   

Jim earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska.  He enjoys playing fastpitch softball and spending time with his wife and 3 children. 

Melissa Maday

Melissa Maday

Division Director Performance Excellence, CHI Health

Bio coming soon!

Allison Greco

Allison Greco

Founder, CII

Allison Greco created her foundation with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Master of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Over the past 15 years, she has held Continuous and Process Improvement roles for Black Hills Energy, Williams, the United States Air Force and BNSF Railway. She has started up new CI programs and reinvigorated stale ones. Along the way she earned a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and became a licensed Professional Engineer.  

Allison launched Continuous Improvement International in 2018 to share her passion for continuous improvement, process improvement and change management.