SQA News | Fall 2016


SQA Wins & Challenges


Dear Friends,


I’m excited to update you all on some key things going on within the world of SQA! It’s been an adventurous 2016 for our firm in many ways. As usual, we’ve had our fair share of surprises, wins, and challenges.


Personal Growth
During SQA’s infancy 21 years ago, when I got home from work and my wife Carrie would ask me about my day, my answer usually was contingent on our sales efforts. While that will always be important, things have changed for me in how I answer that question. Now I find my best days to be when I’m driving home and I think about a key team member growing in some significant capacity—growing in confidence, leadership ability, or maybe acquiring a new skill or certification. It may sound corny, but this is really how I judge the success of my day at this stage in my life. We’ve worked hard and achieved some cool milestones, but nothing beats starting a company where you get to create something that helps allow others to feel better about themselves by growing. SQA depends on its members’ growth in each department and I’m getting a real kick seeing it happen with greater frequency. That’s kind of what SQA is all about.

A ‘Moment’
Like many companies at the time, SQA went through a rocky period post-9/11, and I was pretty concerned about our company. Sales had dropped about 30%, primarily due to economic uncertainty. Many happy clients used us less; it was nothing personal, mostly the result of cautious spending until things stabilized. When we started getting little wins along the way, chipping away at our lost business, my worries started to wane. At this critical time, each small success actually felt like more of an accomplishment than the larger successes of the past. It made me realize how lucky I was to have a team that was capable of doing whatever it took to keep going. Each time we hit a new level of success that would make me feel the best I had ever felt about SQA, I called it a “Moment”, to be cherished and celebrated. One rule we had in declaring a “Moment” is that by definition, it must be better overall than the previous “Moment”, so it was inherently harder and harder to achieve this awesome status. Numerous “Moments” still occur, but more and more of them involve success of a different kind, like the personal growth mentioned above, or our team getting together to help the community.



Our “Elevator Pitch”
I’m so passionate about what we do. There’s one problem—it’s hard to quickly tell someone everything we do in an “Elevator Pitch”, which is a brief description given in the time it takes for a typical elevator ride. Not only are our awesome people typically working with complex technologies, they are also dealing with issues ranging from the tactical to the visionary.

I have two versions of how I explain our services: a ‘long version’—usually over a flight, dinner, or golf—for a person not familiar with our industry, and another that is more conducive to a listener with a quality assurance background. The longer version is something like “Our manufacturing clients outsource the management of their suppliers to our firm. We have thousands of quality assurance professionals located near client suppliers to perform audits, inspections, or quality engineering assignments to alleviate long-distance travel.” My other version, for an audience from the quality world, is much more technical but it’s a mouthful nonetheless. We constantly discuss how to make our service offering simpler for people to quickly grasp, like “We help companies make better and safer products.” While we continue to work on this, I’m always keen to hear from our people on their perspectives on ‘what we do’.

This topic has been mentioned in previous articles and remains a big obstacle for us. During our continued growth mode, it is imperative that we continue to find the very best talent available in industry. At lunch with a client recently, he made it abundantly clear that we are doing very well, but we can only add members to the team that meet their high technical, cultural, and even philosophical criteria, and can hit the ground running. While we are often measured by clients in a very analytical way, we are always mindful of maintaining the human side. We need to bring professionals aboard that constantly ask for ways they can improve. They bring positivity and passion every day, are reliable, humble, and understand the importance of people skills in tandem with their technical skills. We also need to spawn leaders in different capacities and will ALWAYS be on the lookout for the very best people available.

As usual, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts, ideas, questions, or comments. My email is mmckay@sqaservices.com and I love hearing from our audience of 10,000+ members out there!

Yours in Quality,

Mike McKay


Dear SQA Associates,

By now you should have received an email welcoming you to the Associate Medal Program. This email contains important information regarding your current medal status. Keep an eye out for Swag Bags that are headed your way soon! In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give me a call at (310) 802-4438, or email me at timl@sqaservices.com.


Best regards,

Tim Lebetsamer
Director of Associate Development

Out & About With Team SQA

We’ve been keeping busy! Take a look at some of our adventures so far this fall:


On Saturday October 1st, members of Team SQA spent the morning volunteering at the Food Bank of Southern California. We had a fantastic time soaking up the California sun and helping sort donations! There’s nothing better than giving back to our community while spending quality time together.


Howdy, partner! We had a roarin’ good time at the PDA Southern California 6th Annual Industry Summit and Expo on October 6th. Congratulations to SQA’s Gerard Pearce, who won the award for best costume of the night!


Did you know that Amazon names its Fulfillment Centers after the nearest airport? We learned so much about Amazon’s incredible fulfillment and distribution process on a tour of their ONT-2 Facility. Thanks, ISM-LA, for inviting us to join in!


Associate Spotlight


Tom Welch has been a member of Team SQA since 1999. Initially, he was contracted to inspect the quality of a problematic part for submarine, ocean-bound cables. If he had missed something, a ship would have had to pull up the cable for repair at a cost of one million dollars. More recently, Tom was the go-to NASA Supplier Quality Engineer for OSIRUS-Rex. Tom inspected all printed circuit board assemblies used on the spacecraft, and was a mentor to MIT students on the Regolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) project. REXIS was successfully built, tested, and delivered to NASA, and is now mounted on the OSIRUS-Rex spacecraft.

Tom’s role of supplier quality engineering support on NASA’s Neutron Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) project resulted in his name appearing on a plaque, along with 40 other system engineers, that will be permanently mounted on the NICER vessel aboard the International Space Station.

SQA Vice President J.B. Dowd (pictured on left) recently met up with Tom to congratulate him for his accomplishments. Great work, Tom!