My connection to W. Edwards Deming is both professional and personal-one-step-removed…
I was first exposed to Deming and Quality PROFESSIONALLY at Motorola’s Training & Education Center (MTEC), the predecessor organization to Motorola University, both started and headed by Bill Wiggenhorn, who hired me into MTEC.
Of particular note from those days…1981 – was our initial astonishment when we at MTEC heard that Deming refused to visit with us at Motorola, even being paid, unless the CEO would also be attendance.
Later that stance made a great deal of sense. But not right then.
I followed the TQM movement in the 1980s and 1990s and in particular Deming and Juran and Crosby and Dewar. Plus tools/techniques in SPC, ABC, Pareto, QFD and a host of others….
Then…PERSONALLY…my brother, who had heard me talk about ISD and HPT and TQM numerous times despite the distance between Chicago IL and Powell WY – remembered the name Deming when he saw this article in his school’s newspaper, The Northwest Trail, of Northwest College in Powell Wyoming…
…that Deming would be talking on campus that week…look closely at the headline at “the fold.”
Note- Click on each picture for a larger view.
Brother Garry Wallace, a professor at Northwest College, attended the talk in Cody and afterwards acquired this – one of my “most prized professional possessions”…
And..at Northwest College, there outside the building door that my brother enters every day that school is in session to access his office, is a small Plaza dedicated to Deming…
Note- I could not find mention of this Plaza’s existance today online via Google.
Hmmm. A secret outside of Powell WY? These photos are from June of 2003.
Then – the view “back toward the College entrance” from the Deming Plaza dedication marker…
Northwest College is located in Powell, Wyoming, about 75 miles from the east entrance to world famous Yellowstone National Park; 94 miles south of Billings, Montana; 517 miles from Denver, Colorado; and 25 miles from Cody, Wyoming, a popular tourist attraction providing daily commercial air service.
W. Edwards Deming and Wyoming
William Edwards Deming was born in Sioux City, Iowa on 14 October 1900 to William Albert Deming and Pluma Irene Edwards. As an adult, he used the name W. Edwards Deming.
The family lived at 121 Bluff Street in Sioux City. In 1904, they moved to the Edwards farm located in Polk City, between Ames and Des Moines. The farm was owned by Pluma’s father, Henry Coffin Edwards (Pluma’s mother, Elizabeth Grant, died when Pluma was young).
In an effort to encourage settlement in the West, the United States government granted parcels of land (usually 40 or 80 acres) to citizens who agreed to settle, farm or develop the land.
William Albert Deming filed on 40 acres in Camp Coulter, later named Powell, Wyoming.
The family moved to Wyoming in 1907. They rented a house in Cody until they could build on their own land. William Albert learned that his parcel was poor, useless for farming.
Their first dwelling was a shelter, rectangular in shape (like a railroad box car), covered with tar paper, often referred to as a tar paper shack. Water was pumped from a well. There was little protection from the harsh weather. The family was often cold, hungry and in debt.
80 years later, on a visit to Powell, Dr. Deming learned that the 40 acres was still referred to as the Deming Addition.
Irene and William Albert Deming were well-educated and emphasized the importance of education to their children. Pluma had studied in San Francisco and was a musician. William Albert had studied mathematics and law. Young Ed Deming attended school in Powell and held odd jobs to help support the family.
In 1917, he enrolled in the University of Wyoming at Laramie. In 1921 he graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering. In 1925, he received an M.S. from the University of Colorado and in 1928, a Ph.D. from Yale University. Both graduate degrees were in mathematics and mathematical physics.
Deming studied music theory, played several instruments and composed two masses, several canticles and an easily sung version of the Star Spangled Banner.
Dr. Deming married Agnes Bell in 1922 in Wyoming. Agnes and Ed had a daughter, Dorothy. Agnes died in 1930. Dr. Deming married Lola Elizabeth Shupe in 1932. They had two daughters, Diana and Linda. Dorothy died in 1984.
Dr. and Mrs. Deming lived in Washington, D. C. for the remainder of their lives in the house that they bought in 1936. With her family at her side, Mrs. Deming died on 25 June 1986. Dr. Deming, surrounded by his family, died at his home on 20 December 1993.