Empowering. Performance.

We’re roll-up-our-sleeves operations management consultants. Whether it’s in the front office, the back office, or anywhere in-between. We’ll be there before, during and after the project. We implement our recommendations. We train your employees. And we make sure your results are sustainable. Because we know from over 50 years’ experience, that’s the only way to empower performance.


Our Mission

To provide real value by improving financial performance. We help companies reach their highest potential through greater operating excellence across their entire supply chain.


How we do it

We don’t believe in “standard templates.” Every situation is unique. Process improvement starts with digging into what truly makes your company tick. We’ll handpick a team uniquely qualified to address your specific challenges. We’ll observe how you do things. Talk to the people on the frontlines. Then we’ll turn our findings into a detailed, workable plan, complete with tools from our well-rounded toolkit:


  • Business Intelligence
  • Lean
  • Six Sigma
  • Statistical Process Control


  • Asset Performance Management
  • Process Improvement
  • Strategic Sourcing
  • Supply Chain Optimization

Then things get interesting. Because we don’t just deliver a strategy document. We stick around. We implement. We put ideas (both yours and ours) into action. And we help deliver on your goals by empowering your performance. In fact, we’ll help you audit, verify, and sustain results for years to come.



the technology we use

Knowing where information lives and putting it to good use is essential to a project’s success. We use proprietary, enabling technology to first achieve, and then sustain the desired outcomes. Our Client Technology Solutions can enhance your existing Management Operating System (MOS) or implement our LINCS® Lean Information Control System, to help smooth the change process–providing timely feedback on KPIs to process owners and business intelligence to decision makers. We openly share the results of our collaboration to increase and maintain operating excellence.


A Proven Process

Over the years, we’ve developed a detailed, step-by-step process that delivers exactly the results you need.



We investigate areas of opportunity, set priorities and define the scope of our engagement.


This is where we narrow in. We look at which business units, plants or facilities to target, and develop a detailed implementation plan.


This is the point when most consultants leave you with a binder and walk out the door. Instead, we’re developing a project plan, organizing work breakdown structure, developing performance goals, determining measurement metrics and making sure our strategies get the desired results.



The overall satisfaction rating expressed by clients of USC Consulting Group.

through June 2024


The People Who Get It Done

senior partners

David W. Shouldice

Chief Executive Officer

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David started with USC Consulting Group in 1986. He was promoted to senior regional manager in 1999, made a partner in the firm in 2001 and executive partner in 2014, and assumed his current duties in 2024. Prior to his current role, David was SVP and Managing Director of USC’s Mining & Metals practice.

David is a strategic thinker with a talent for proactively optimizing operational efficiencies through Business Process Redesign and Change Management. As CEO, David is responsible for all aspects of the firm.

Ted Buckles


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Ted began his career in operations with USC Consulting Group in 1988. After progressing through the ranks from project consultant to senior operations manager, he was made a partner in the firm in 2005 and made executive partner in 2010. Ted was promoted to senior vice president and director of operations in 2020 and assumed his current role as President in 2024. 

Ted handles USCCG’s planning and staffing. He’s also the one responsible for on-time, on-budget delivery of products and services to our clients.


Susan Wickware

Vice President of Global Sales Management

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Susan joined USC Consulting Group in 2007 and was made a partner in 2018.

As VP of Global Sales Management, Susan has successfully built a track record developing and maintaining USCCG’s long-term client relationships both in North America and globally. Susan’s clients have benefited from her extensive experience in management operating systems, lean manufacturing, asset performance management, inventory control, cost reduction and project management, especially in the mining and metals industry.

Ron Tinder

Vice President of Global Analysis Management

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Ron joined USC Consulting Group in 2006 as a Project Consultant in Operations.  Ron was promoted to Senior Operations Manager in 2015, made Partner in the firm in 2018, and elevated to Vice President Operations in 2019. Ron assumed his current role in 2024.

As Vice President of Global Analysis Management, Ron is responsible for insuring delivery of projected operational and financial improvements in the course of managing multiple client engagements across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.  Additional responsibilities include attracting and retaining new clients across the globe.

vice presidents

Charlie Payne

Vice President Operations

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During his 30 years with USC Consulting Group, Charlie has led many successful projects for clients in industries ranging from mining, both underground and open pit as well as subsequent smelting and refining processes, food, bottling, warehousing & distribution, general manufacturing, and the regulated fuel industry.

Charlie is certified by the American Production & Inventory Control Society and is well versed in traditional and emerging tools and methodologies.

Dean Carrier

Vice President Operations

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Dean joined USC Consulting Group in 1987 and speaks English and French.  He is MSHA certified as well as CPIM certified from APICS.  His career with USCCG has included assignments in North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

Dean has led many successful projects for clients in industries ranging from manufacturing, metals and mining, forest products, and food.

Dean is the leader of USCCG’s Forest Products practice.

Eric Clerk

Vice President Operations & Analysis

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Eric has been with the firm since 1986. He is responsible for the business analysis and development of improvement project proposals for USCCG clients in North America, Latin America, Africa and other selected assignments.

Eric’s experience in operations spans all elements of diagnostic, development and implementation of process improvement. In 1992, he took on the responsibilities as a Regional Manager and Business Analyst.  He was promoted to Senior Regional Manager in 2000. Much of his knowledge is derived from international experiences globally.

Eric speaks English, French and Spanish fluently.

Lorrie Stuart

Vice President Finance & Administration

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Lorrie has been with USC Consulting Group since 2016. She manages the Human Resources and Administrative staff at USC.

Lorrie handles the management of general ledger, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, financial and management reporting, annual financial and 401k audits, travel program, and credit card program. She is adept at project management accounting for US and international engagements with multiple currency transactions and all related tax issues.

Paul Harker

Vice President Operations

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Paul Harker started with USC in 1988. In his role, Paul delivers operational and financial improvements while managing multiple client engagements.

Paul has been successful in implementing continuous improvement programs with emphases on Effective Resource Utilization, Equipment Uptime, Shutdown / Outage Effectiveness, Cycle Time Reduction, Continuous Flow, Inventory Management, Customer Service, Demand Flow Processing, Logistics, Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning, Plant Relocation, and Project Management.

mining and metals leadership

JJ Van Pletzen

Managing Director Global Mining & Metals

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JJ is an operations executive with global management experience in leading business improvement projects in North America, South America, United Kingdom, Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.

As managing director of USC’s Global Mining and Metals practice, JJ is responsible for managing the team charged with attracting, growing, and retaining new mining and metals clients across the globe. His group identifies and reliably delivers operational improvements at targeted ROIs.

Hratch Jabrayan

Director of Mining & Metals

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Hratch is a values-driven seasoned executive focused on leadership and operational excellence in global mining. ​

Hratch has led teams of mining executives and contractors around the world, through which he has implemented excellence in execution in leading development and operational stage organizations, while implementing step change to achieve and exceed operational and financial targets.

Stephen Hamilton

Senior Executive, Mining & Metals

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Stephen works with Company Boards, C-Suite executives and senior executive leaders to solve business problems and deliver sustained operational improvements across the Energy and Mining & Metals industry sectors.

Stephen has almost 40 years of experience as a steadfast, performance-focused operations leader and change architect.

His career is hallmarked by direct leadership of over 100+ operational performance transformations across North America, EMEA and the Asia Pacific Rim.

account executives

Kevin Bushroe

Automotive Account Executive

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Kevin leads USC’s Automotive practice.

Kevin has over 23 years of experience in Business Development, Operations Management, and Marketing. He founded a CPG corporation and served as its CEO. His experiences includes 19 years in the industrial construction products industry. 12 years of which he specialized in the automotive industry working with GM, Ford & Chrysler, Tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers, mechanical engineers, national industrial distributors and industrial construction contractors of all sizes.

Len Cramer

Senior Account Executive

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Len is an internationally accomplished Executive with 35 years of experience and success in management, strategy and operational consulting. A loyal and visionary leader with a highly successful track record of revenue generation, business development and sales management, with sales of more than $200 million. A strong and diverse client experience base of more than 140 client organizations in 23 countries, across most major industries, has equipped Len with a unique combination of intuitive and analytical skills.

Len’s expertise is cultivating improvement opportunities with CEOs and conducting deep analytics on organizations to identify gaps, quantify a business case, design the implementation roadmap and deliver transformative results.

Rick Nazaruk

Senior Account Executive

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With 42 years of experience in the industry, Rick initiates multi-million dollar consulting engagement acquisitions, focusing on change management, operational improvement and continuous improvement projects. Charged with managing the sales process to senior management through delivery based on extensive financial, operational and management analysis.

operations managers

Chris Smith

Operations Manager

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Chris Smith is a Subject Matter Expert with 20 years of combined consulting and operations leadership experience. In his role, he leads teams of consultants and functions as the project technical leader for USC client projects in a partnership to achieve measurable results in process flow, productivity improvement as well as performance management.

Chris’ experience includes a broad range of applications across aviation, financial institutions, manufacturing, oil and gas, and city government to include award-winning manufacturing practices, just-in-time, lean manufacturing, high performance teams, talent management and organizational development.

Chris is certified in Organizational Change Management by ProSci, Green Belt in Lean methodologies, and holds certifications in Leadership Development and Team Development.

David Newman

Supply Chain Practice Leader

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David Newman is the Manager of Supply Chain Practice at USC. In this role he delivers analytical studies and oversees operational and financial improvements in the course of managing multiple client engagements.

David earned an MBA from Indiana University, is a Certified Supply Chain Professional with the American Production and Inventory Control Society and completed advanced courses in Operational Leadership Development through Duke University.

David has applied his multi-disciplinary skill set as a thought leader and process improvement specialist on business transformation and operations improvement projects with both mining and industrial manufacturing clients.

David is fluent in English and Spanish.

Frank Esposto

Senior Director of Quality

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Dr. Frank Esposto, PhD, has been with USC for over 20 years. As Senior Director of Quality and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Frank is responsible for organizing and leading Lean/Six Sigma engagements for USC’s diverse group of clients.

Frank has trained many Black Belts and Green Belts across numerous industries, where he has implemented Six Sigma initiatives in combination with Lean.

Frank has published several white papers on the topic of using Six Sigma disciplines, in conjunction with Lean methodologies, to reduce process variation in mining, pharmaceutical and food processing industries.

Frank Ruscitti

Operations Manager

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Frank has been with USC since 1998. He implements continuous improvement programs with emphasis on Resource Utilization, Equipment Uptime, Maintenance, Management Operating System Standardization, Mergers and Acquisitions, Cycle Time Reduction, Inventory Management, Customer Service, Logistics, Sales & Operations Planning, and Quality/Yield Improvement.

Frank’s knowledge and experience includes World-Class Manufacturing, Business Process Reengineering, Just-in-Time, Lean Manufacturing, Inventory Control, Reliability Centered Maintenance and other manufacturing and maintenance management technologies.

Frank is certified by the American Production & Inventory Control Society (APICS) and Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and is well versed in traditional and emerging tools and methodologies.

Ryan Pizzuti

Operations Manager

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With a background in Supply and Operations management, Ryan has applied his skills in a variety of industries that include mining & metals, food & beverage, and manufacturing. In each case he has utilized tools such as Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), SMED, 5S, Lean Manufacturing, optimal stocking strategies, and project management in the implementations of the MOS.

Ryan leads project teams to deliver sustained operational improvements across multiple projects in various locations.

Ryan is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).


Sabina Janik

Analysis Manager

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Sabina is detail oriented with highly developed analytical skills that she honed through practical experiences gained in operations, both at sites and at the corporate level. These abilities span all elements of finance, from budgeting and forecasting to implementation of process improvement and cost savings identification.

Sabina holds a Bachelors in Managerial and Organizational Studies, with a Specialization in Finance and Administration.

home office leadership

Christin Haywood

Director of Human Resources

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As Director of Human Resources, Christin is responsible for recruitment and retention, performance management, learning and development, compensation and benefits, human resources information systems, HR data and analytics, and organizational compliance.

Christin collaborates with senior leadership on company initiatives and strategic planning to ensure USC is compliant with all applicable HR laws.

Christin holds a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  She also earned a Senior Professional in Human Resource (SPHR) designation from HRCI.

Marcus Hammel

Marketing Manager

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Marcus has been with USC since 2014. He is responsible for all aspects of marketing at USC, including strategy, brand identity and awareness, website management and SEO, lead generation, content creation, email marketing, and social media management.

Marcus curates and publishes all internal and external company communications. He also leads USC’s marketing research and development efforts.