RIP Ray Svenson

My friend, mentor and former business partner (1982-1997) passed away yesterday Wednesday, September 17, 2015.


Ray at ISPI a few years back.

I met Ray Svenson on the job at MTEC – Motorola’s Training & Education Center (that a few years later became Motorola University – where Six Sigma evolved from a training course) back on July 13th, 1981.

Ray was 3rd in a series of ISD gurus brought to MTEC, a new organization, by Bill Wiggenhorn, our director. The first two gurus were Geary Rummler and Neil Rackham. Ray was doing Strategic Planning for Bill and MTEC – and oriented the new MTEC staff to that – and his concept of Curriculum Architecture. I adapted his ideas in a project initially titled: The ABCs of Supervision for manufacturing, materials and purchasing audiences (my foci at MTEC). That project evolved into the first Quality Training for those audiences (1981) – and was the project that brought the reading skills deficit of those audiences to Motorola’s management’s attention – leading to a cooperative effort with many local community colleges to address that and other basic, incoming skills deficits needs of the company and its workforce.

18 months later I left MTEC and joined Ray’s 3-person consulting organization – and began an expansion in our product offerings: ISD services. Especially CAD – Curriculum Architecture Design – which became my specialty at R. A. Svenson & Associates. A few years later I became his formal business partner as we expanded the organization and grew to 15-25 staff members.

I have written about Ray as one of my many mentors – here – and he truly is in the top 3 of influencers on my professional development, along with Rummler and Rackham.


Ray and I were co-authors on two books:

In 1994 we wrote The Quality Roadmap.

1994 QRM Book Cover

And from 2007 we wrote Performance-based Employee Qualification/Certification Systems…

2008 PB EQCS Book Cover

And he was the instigator of my formalization of the processes and products of Curriculum Architecture – that eventually became the basis for my 1999 lean-ISD book.

1999 lean-ISD Book Cover

Note – two of the above books is available as a free PDF. See the resource tab for that.

Ray told me in May that he wanted me to share some of his materials.

I guess I’ll be doing that over the next few years.

Thanks Ray

RIP Ray.

Thank you for everything you did for me.

Note: I’ll be editing this post over the next few weeks and months – but now my focus is in getting to Montana for the services this Monday.

FYI – From Ray’s Wife

Details for Ray’s Celebration Service
By Pat Ruzich

We are having a service to celebrate Ray’s life on Monday, September 21st, at 4 p.m. at St. Agnes Church, 1 Word Avenue, North, Red Lodge, MT, 59068.

Following the service there will be a potluck dinner. All are welcome. Please bring an entrée, side dish or salad. Dessert, coffee, and water will be provided.

Ray has asked that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the Congo Animal Traction Initiative. This is a program that Ray’s daughter Kris is deeply involved in that teaches people in the Congo to plow and farm using oxen in order to increase their production of food and help to combat hunger. Checks can be mailed to: Congo Animal Traction Initiative, c/o Monty Buhro, 8701 W. Bedford Euless Road, Hurst, TX, 76053.

Please indicate that the contribution is in memory of Ray Svenson on the memo line.

Whether you can attend or not, your love and support is greatly appreciated.



Guy visiting Ray at a Duke outpatient facility on May 29, 2015.


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One comment on “RIP Ray Svenson

  1. Pingback: In Memory of Ray Svenson on the Anniversary of his Birth | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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