Meet the Team
After receiving his Master's Degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, Ben started his career at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics in the lab purifying antibodies and antigens for use in in-vitro diagnostics. He earned a promotion to product developer and started his Six Sigma journey training to become a Design for Six Sigma Black Belt. Next, Ben transitioned to Beckman Coulter working in production and R&D. Shortly after starting, Beckman was acquired by Danaher Corporation enabling him to learn the deep concepts of LEAN and the Danaher Business System. This experience led him to take a full time Continuous Improvement role as a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Black Belt. He became a certified LSS Black Belt at Ecolab and then received his LSS Master Black Belt certification from MoreSteam and The Ohio State University.
His experience goes beyond Research and Development and Supply Chain. He has managed and coached projects in Human Resources, Legal, Regulatory Affairs, Quality, Environmental Health and Safety, Marketing, and IT. He has deployed Continuous Improvement Programs to organizations and also lead Quality organizations through ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 deployments as a Director of Quality. He has deep experience with Fortune 500 companies like Bayer, Siemens, Danaher, Ecolab, and Medtronic.
Personally, Ben has overcome significant obstacles to be where he is today. In Feb 2020, Ben contracted COVID-19 on a business trip and ended up in the hospital. He was the first critical COVID patient in the state of MN and the first in the United States to survive ECMO treatment while fighting COVID. Not only did he survive COVID-19, but he completed an Ironman Triathlon in Nov 2020 while raising funds for COVID-19 research. His motto of "Don't Stop, Don't Quit, Keep Moving forward" translates perfectly to our motto of being Better Tomorrow.
Deanna O'Donnell, PhD
Deanna earned her doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in physical chemistry with a focus in spectroscopy and radiation chemistry. Her postdoctoral position took her research in a different direction through a joint appointment at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the City College of New York on a project developing analytical chemistry technologies for art conservation and forensic sciences applications. She taught briefly at John Jay College for Criminal Justice before joining the faculty at Hamline University in the Department of Chemistry. Her one-year sabbatical was spent at Ecolab developing analytical testing methods to determine cleanliness of different environments. In 2018, Deanna was honored with the Faculty of the Year award from Hamline's Alumni Association.
Empowering students, peers, and colleagues to engage in their professional development has been a theme throughout Deanna's career. The best example of this was the four-year professional development program she developed for natural science student called Hamline's Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons (HIPAL). Since 2012, over a hundred students have engaged in HIPAL programming, learning from and interacting with professionals in industry through workshops, seminars, and networking events to prepare them to be first-day ready for career or graduate/professional school. Deanna was the first faculty member to use Clifton StrengthsFinder in her courses at Hamline to improve students' self awareness and set on a path for self improvement. Another unique approach Deanna took was incorporating project management principles into her college-level team-based analytical chemistry courses. Most PM skills are not taught in undergraduate curriculum, which enabled her students to develop good habits early and empower them to collaboratively solve customer-based problems efficiently while consciously developing their emotional intelligence.
When Deanna is not working, she enjoys painting, running, yoga, getting out into nature, and spending time with her family.
Heather holds three degrees from the University of New Brunswick; a BEd in Elementary Education, a BA in Political Science, and a MEd in Curricular Studies. With 13 years of experience as an elementary school teacher, she has perfected her method of curriculum delivery so learning and growth happen through play. As a lifelong learner, she is constantly consuming the latest research on child brain development and social emotional learning. Heather adapts that information, creating innovative programming to better support the students she serves. Students of all backgrounds and abilities have flourished in her classroom, where she assess their abilities when they enter her classroom and finds ways to support their individual needs and cultivate growth. She has developed a number of innovated programs such Alphabet Steps and Passport to Literacy. Thinking outside-the-box, she has been awarded for the entrepreneurial projects she integrates into her curriculum to support children's cognitive, emotional, and social development and has been recognized for bringing stationary bikes into the classroom to help children' burn off energy so they are able to focus and be more efficient in their work.
Heather is has been a regional leader in the international organization CISV, which is dedicated to educating and inspiring for peace through building inter-cultural friendship, cooperation, and understanding. In 2012 and 2014, she served as guardian to fifteen teenagers travelling with them across Canada on the CISV westbound Peace Bus, conducting service projects along the way. Outside of her work and service she is devoted to her family. She a fabulous mother, wife, sister, and friend. Heather loves reading and has recently taken up running.
Photo credit: Kristin Jensen