“What are we doing? Where can we improve?” Continuous improvement in action

Adam Rosenthal, Head, Tool Crib/Store Operator

Adam was one of the first people to complete their Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt

VPFO Strategic Direction 2
Advance our culture of service, stewardship and continuous improvement


Adam was one of the first people to complete their Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt when the VPFO-wide training initiative rolled out in July 2021 to establish efficient and effective operational practices. Applying his learnings to changes both big and small, Adam is now on his way to completing his Lean Green Belt — go Adam!

Adam started at UBC as a Warehouse Clerk for UBC Bookstore in 2011 and moved into the role of Storeperson at Stores in UBC Facilities in 2016. Since then, through learning continuously, developing strong relationships and providing leadership, Adam has advanced his career from Acting Storekeeper, to Sub-Head to his current role — Head, Tool Crib/Store Operator.

Operating as part of Municipal Services in Facilities, Stores supplies UBC Facilities, academic and ancillary departments, as well as partners, with goods and equipment essential to campus operations.

This week, Adam sits down with us to talk about the importance of knowledge sharing, and his experience with the Lean Six Sigma training program.

What does continuous improvement mean to you?

I’ve always liked to ask myself: What are we doing? Where can we improve? How can we sustain it and ultimately adapt as time changes?

That’s why I found the Lean Six Sigma program offered by Operational Excellence and UBC Sauder School of Business so valuable. It has equipped me with the tools to identify root causes and come up with data-centric solutions, as well as the vocabulary to package and communicate my thoughts.

I encourage my team to pursue their training because I believe this is how we drive a culture of continuous improvement, just like what we’re doing on a larger scale across the VPFO. Our team has really enjoyed applying what we’ve learned and seeing the benefits in real time, and I’m excited to see this culture strengthen as more of us participate in this training.

Lean Six Sigma is all about eliminating wastes and improving processes.

“There is so much expertise and knowledge you can tap into at UBC — all for free!”

– Adam Rosenthal

What does Strategic Direction 2: Advance our culture of service, stewardship and continuous improvement mean to you?

We are in a unique situation because most of our customers are our coworkers, like UBC Student Housing & Community Services, UBC Facilities’ Project Services Department, UBC Parking and more. It is a tight balance of comfort and professionalism.

As a customer service-based group, integrity is key to our success. So, how do we make our customers as happy as possible? By instilling integrity and holding ourselves accountable. We want our customers to be able to trust us and know that we’ll always be here if they want something.

For you, what makes UBC different?

I’m always amazed by the breadth and variety of talent just within our own team, whether a floor down or a building away. Even people who hold the same position may come from different backgrounds and paths in life.

There is so much expertise and knowledge you can tap into at UBC — all for free! More importantly, most of these people, who likely have been in your shoes at some point in their careers, are happy to help you succeed.

Regardless of our roles, we each bring unique expertise to UBC.

What is one thing that you’re proud of during your time at VPFO?

Being able to guide members of my team in making good decisions in their career and seeing them flourish professionally brings me joy.

I’m a huge fan of knowledge sharing because I know it works — I’ve personally benefited a lot from the guidance and knowledge of others along my journey at UBC. That’s why I always encourage my team to meet people, join committees, gain leadership experience and commit to professional development.

I’m proud to say that we have elevated our team’s profile and enhanced our customer support since I’ve stepped into this position. Two of our Store Operators have been promoted to Sub-Heads (one of them is also Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certified) and will be entering Facilities’ Apprenticeship Program.

Helping each other grow personally and professionally.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be more open to trying out new things. Take the plunge, go for it. Don’t be intimidated by the unexpected, especially in terms of education (which also includes learning from others).

A typical weekend for you is…

My answer will probably be very different a month from now as we prepare for the arrival of our first kid, but right now I enjoy going out on walks with my wife in New West.

Tell us one thing people don’t know about you.

I play guitar and sing in a rock band, and I released two songs last year. You can check out my music on Spotify or follow along on Facebook.