161: What is Six Sigma and How Does it Lead to Operational Excellence? A Masterclass with Dr. Frank Barsi


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Back in the early ‘70s, Dr. Frank Barsi escaped communist Hungary in the cover of night. He swam his way to Austria and eventually arrived in America with literally just the clothes on his back. Determined to start a new life, he quickly joined the U.S. Army. He would later go on to earn multiple engineering degrees. It was at his first job out of college that he was introduced to Six Sigma. At that time, the quality framework was well received in Asia, but not in America.

In this episode, Dr. Barsi reflects on his 40-year career in the aerospace industry. It’s a fascinating account of his journey in applying Six Sigma to improve a variety of production processes. That work spans developing flight controls for fighter jets and revolutionizing the casting industry.

Not sure what Six Sigma is or how you can apply it to your small business? Get ready to take notes as Dr. Barsi explains the framework, its key principles, and how you can apply some of its tools to dramatically increase profitability.

Special Guest: Frank Barsi, Ph.D. – Retired Aerospace Quality Engineer & Technical Lead

Location: Corona, CA USA

Air Date: Aug. 8, 2021



  • U.S. Department of Defense: the Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war and ensure America’s national security. It consists of the following branches of military: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard.
  • Lockheed Martin: a global security and aerospace company that “…is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.”
  • Boeing: “…the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and service provider of aftermarket support. [They] support airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 countries. [Their] products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training.”
  • Parker Hannifin: a Fortune 250 global leader specializing in motion and control technologies. “For more than 100 years the company has engineered the success of its customers in a wide range of diversified industrial and aerospace markets. Parker’s engineering expertise and broad range of core technologies uniquely positions the company to help solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges.”
  • Alcoa: the company that invented the aluminum industry in 1888. Their name is “…synonymous with operational excellence and leadership in the production of Bauxite, Alumina and Aluminum products.”


          Professional Organizations:

Videos & Online Courses:

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking & Communication: a MasterClass course taught by popular astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. In this class, you’ll learn how to “…think like a skeptic, open your own mind through scientific literacy, distill data, and navigate bias to discover objective truths—and deliver your ideas in ways that engage, excite, and inspire.”
  • Learn What 5S is and How it Applies to Any Industry:
  • What is a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)?

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  • Writer, Producer & Host: Alicia Butler Pierre
  • Podcast Editor: Olanrewaju Adeyemo
  • Video Editor: Gladys Jimenez
  • Transcription: Outsource Global
  • Sponsors: HubSpot, ThinkSmart Whiteboard


More About Guest, Dr. Frank Barsi:
Frank Barsi, Ph.D. was born and raised in communist Hungary and emigrated to the US in 1972. He quickly joined the U.S Army and served three years of active duty and three years of reserve. His professional career started shortly thereafter which led him to a career in aerospace for the expanse of forty years in various technical leadership positions at companies like Boeing Aircraft, Lockheed Martin, and Parker Hannifin Aerospace Group. He helped develop projects like the F22 (Raptor) and the F35 (JSF) Primary Flight Controls.

He also served as the Technical Lead on Corporate Continuous Improvement Programs including the introduction and implementation of various Six Sigma training programs. This included Six Sigma process control concepts that resulted in production improvements of over two hundred different aerospace parts to a 100% first-pass yield (which historically had a 100% failure rate for the previous twenty years). Since then, these manufacturing processes achieved a Six Sigma production output and have maintained this status, to date.

Dr. Barsi holds a Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering and another Ph.D. in Theoretical Particle Physics. He also has a Master’s degree in Metallurgy, a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, and certifications in Six Sigma Master Black Belt ( Motorola Solutions DMAIC system) and Statistical Process Control Trainer. He’s also an expert in the concept of the Prior Production Approval Process (PPAP). Dr. Barsi now enjoys a life of retirement that includes exploring hobbies like welding, machine milling, cooking, and gardening.


More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working as an engineer in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu™ framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success.  It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 53 countries.



More About Sponsor, HubSpot:
HubSpot offers a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software — plus the methodology, resources, and support — to help businesses. Their CRM platform is powered by the same database, so everyone in your organization — Marketing, Sales, Service & Operations — is working off the same system of record. This allows for a smoother handoff between teams and results in a more delightful experience for your customers.



More About Sponsor, ThinkSmart Whiteboard:
Thinksmart Whiteboard is a Windows App that turns your Tablet PC into a shared whiteboard. It allows you to create a whiteboard on your computer screen, then allows other people to write onto your whiteboard, even if they are in another location! Learn more.

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