Eye on Innovation: Program Manager Builds Visual Management Tools to Update Clients in Real Time

By Kerry McGinley

With the swipe of his finger across his smart phone, Bill Mendelsohn knows what’s up, down or offline at the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

Mendelsohn, a Lean Six Sigma master blackbelt, developed interactive digital dashboards that chart the state of facilities for the service academy near Colorado Springs. At a glance he, his staff and the client can see the state of facilities over more than 10 square miles of an installation that’s home to more than 6,000 people. 

“It shows where problems are, how big they are compared to others, and when they happened,” Mendelsohn said. “It can display anything I have data from.”

Using both PowerBI and OpsCheck, Mendelsohn has developed a series of dashboards that give real-time information based on data fields he set up to monitor. The Academy tool is the latest in a set of five dashboards he’s developed to monitor information that enables his team to respond quickly and efficiently to any issues that arise.

“I think they’re important because what gets measured gets managed,” he said. “Making your status, your progress visible and transparent to all just inherently drives better management and better performance.”

The drive to work better and smarter is why John Bennett, director of Continuous Improvement, recommended Mendelsohn be recognized as an example of PAE values.

“Bill constantly looks for ways to make PAE processes better or looks for ways to create visual management methods to allow us to clearly see or performance,” Bennett said. “Bill always employs innovative ways to improve everything around him and definitely displays the PAE value of ‘Be Innovative.’”

PAE CEO John Heller recently announced he’d worked with company leaders to develop a list of eight values that best describe company culture and goals. Values include: Be Customer Focused, Work Smart, Champion Diversity, Be Safe, Be Your Best, Have Integrity, Demonstrate Disciple and Be Innovative. Team members from throughout the company nominated colleagues as Values Champions who set an example for how to embody these values. 

Mendelsohn’s innovation serves as a prototype for future dashboards that will chart the status of the Kirtland BOS and Kennedy Space Center, Bennett said. 

“This example helps strengthen PAE and business development in that it gives us an operational proof in the field rather than a proposal concept,” Bennett said.