Michael Hedrick

​Special Adviser

Serving as a financial executive, strategic advisor and board member, Michael has been providing growth-oriented companies with business and financial leadership for over thirty years.  As Managing Director with BMO Capital Markets, he was instrumental in building a nationally recognized corporate finance practice, advising clients on financial strategy, developing investor relationships and leading financing transactions that raised over $13 billion in capital.  In his role as the Chief Financial Officer of IFF, the Midwest’s leading nonprofit lender and real estate consultant, he developed the financial platform from which the firm doubled in size over three years while expanding into four new states.  Currently, Michael provides advisory support for business strategies, financial infrastructure, and capital resources through Austin, Connor and Associates, LLC, a professional services firm.

​Mike Rexford
Special Adviser
Michael Rexford started his personal lean journey in 1997 while with Herman Miller Inc. a multi-billion dollar office furniture manufacturer. Mike trained directly under the Toyota Supplier Support Center for four years while he was with Herman Miller, and has three additional years training with Shingijutsu.  Mike also has lead ergonomics programs and is certified in the DuPont Stop program for managers.  Mike’s industrial experience is in heavy manufacturing,  plastic injection molding, die casting, fabrication, roll forming, various assembly operations, cut & sew, and packaging.  Mike has held leadership positions in Engineering, EH&S, Operations and Supply Chain Management at Herman Miller, ITW, Knoll Inc. Terex, and MAAX Bath Inc. As an executive vice president of lean, EH&S, supply chain management and engineering for MAAX Bath Inc. he led the Strategy Deployment process helping to drive strong results for MAAX despite a market decline of 75% in the past few years as the housing market collapsed. Mike’s work for Illinois Tool Works was leading the operations P&L for two business units, in which he was able to add 10% to the bottom line using lean and ITW’s 80/20 business model.  He was frequently asked to consult other ITW business units. 
Michael E. Ring
Special Adviser
Michael E. Ring has spent the past 22 years progressively managing more significant technical and manufacturing operations including as general manager of a $100MM division of Wabtec.  He is also 50% owner of Ring Engineering, Inc., a model railroad products manufacturing company. Mr. Ring serves on the board of directors for the premier railroad association in Chicago, the Western Railway Club that is responsible for the promotion of dialog and exchange of information in the railway industry.
Mr. Ring has melded his technical and business expertise to grow shareholder value through Lean principles.  He has extensive experience in product design, global sourcing, and negotiations of international business deals.  Mr. Ring has 40 patents granted in his name with US and global exposure, he is an FAA certified private pilot, member of the Air Brake Association and of the Union League Club of Chicago.  Mr. Ring has a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in Engineering Technology and has pursued numerous executive education programs at Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Purdue University Krannert executive education programs.

Tom Stemen
Special Adviser Tom Stemen is a 25-year veteran of the computer software industry. He spent the bulk of his career with Microsoft and Nokia corporations, along with stints at several small startup technology firms. Providing a technology viewpoint to Schilling Ventures, Tom acts as an adviser on product strategies and identification of emerging technologies that can enable portfolio companies to drive new products and services to market. Mr. Stemen has helped world-class companies apply user-centered design and agile development principles to their product strategies across a range of industries. As a Managing Consultant at Microsoft, he helped clients apply technology to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative platforms and business applications. While at Nokia he served as a Global Product Manager. There he led market research and planning, product envisioning, requirements development, pricing, competitive analyses, and release management for new location-based products. Mr. Stemen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in Marketing and a Political Science in-depth study from Indiana University. He has a MBA with focus in Management Information Systems from North Central College.  Mr. Stemen has also pursued additional training and certifications from Harvard, Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Chicago. His certifications include Agile Product Owner (PMI) Certification.