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She Wears Steel-Toed Boots:


Lynn Kelley, Senior Vice President and Supply Chain & Continuous Improvement at Union Pacific Railroad


March 2018


Lynn Kelley is no stranger to the extraordinary. Born and raised in Michigan, this adventurous executive has always forged a path of her own. Ask her about her life and career, and you’ll soon discover, this is no ordinary railroader.


Kelley is Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Continuous Improvement at Union Pacific Railroad. She is responsible for sourcing, logistics, warehouse operations, fuel sourcing, fuel infrastructure, industrial engineering, and continuous improvement.


Applying her background in statistics and business improvement with Lean methodology, Lynn examines the relationship between company and customer in order to develop more efficient systems that provide the “best quality and the best value.”


“At the root of continuous improvement,” Lynn explained, “is change.”


Both her work at Union Pacific and her journey to the railroad industry characterize the idea of change as a constant.

Prior to joining Union Pacific in 2011, Kelley's career path followed a somewhat unusual trajectory, from touring in a band, to working as the administrative assistant and eventually Chief Operating Officer of a hospital, to traveling around the world as Vice President of Operational Excellence at Textron. Her unique journey even took her through academia, for a time, where she served as a professor, department chair, and director of the Master's Degree program in Quality and Operations Management at Madonna University, School of Business, in Livonia, Michigan.

Kelley holds a Ph. D. from Wayne State University in Evaluational Research and has published books in the fields of statistics and operational excellence. She also holds an M.B.A. from Michigan State University and a bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Guided by her commitment to continuously improve herself, and everything she touches, Lynn Kelley’s story is a testament to the ways in which women are inspiring, innovating, and effecting change across the railroad industry today.

To read full interview transcript, click here.
Watch the full interview below.
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