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Dave O’Connor and George Trachilis

The AI Engineers

Welcome to our website. Dave said to me, “George, if presidents of manufacturing companies only knew what I know about AI, they would jump into this technology now!” This piqued my interest and I suggested we collaboration to develop solutions for manufacturers. 

AI applications are a missing component of leadership excellence in manufacturing. Book a conversation with either George or Dave by connecting with us.

Dave O'Connor is a respected manufacturing executive, having worked in the Aerospace sector for over 30 years. In 2019 he retired as the Division Manager for Space, Rockets, and Helicopter Wire Strike Protection Systems at Magellan Aerospace Corporation in Winnipeg. During his time with the company, he also served as the Directors of Operations, Engineering, Marketing, Finance, and Quality.

Upon his retirement he was hired by the University of Manitoba to develop and teach a course in advanced manufacturing, focusing on artificial intelligence. He has also taught a course in Aerospace Life Cycle Management.
Dave holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration, both from the University of Manitoba.  In addition, he has served on the boards of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada, Winnipeg, the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), Montreal, the Composites Innovation Center (CIC), Winnipeg, Winnipeg, the Assiniboine Park Hockey Association, Winnipeg. He has also served as the President of the River Heights Community Center, Winnipeg.

George Trachilis, P.Eng. lives in Winnipeg, Canada and speaks and consults on leadership excellence globally.

He started his career at Motor Coach Industries in 1994 where he received Lean coaching by the best consultants in ERP systems, Just-in-Time manufacturing, and Total Quality Management. Having lead change for over 10 years, he later started a successful consulting practice in 2003. It grew to become one of Canada’s Fastest Growth Companies by 2006. George later partnered with Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker, best-selling author of the Toyota Way, and Norman Bodek, known as the Godfather of Lean. George is now one of the most knowledgeable people on the topic of Lean and more importantly, a practitioner and learner. George worked with Dave at Magellan Aerospace both as a consultant and a colleague.


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To implement AI applications you must start with a good core of leaders understanding how to problem solve. This book will get you there.

The Lean Leadership Development Model (LLDM) presented in this book is intuitive, and aligns well with accepted principles of operational excellence. It expands significantly on the elements of Lean, structuring them in a more specific way that can be operationalized by lean practitioners.

In Developing Lean Leaders at all Levels we build on the theory in the original book, The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership, and answer the questions: How can I apply this in my organization? What concrete actions can I take to begin the journey of becoming a lean leader? How can I spread this learning to all parts of the organization? What critical tools are needed to turn the theory to practice? TThe book treats you as a student who will be actively engaged in developing lean leader skills as you read. It acts as a tutorial for beginning the journey!


An introduction course is available free on Udemy


Dave O’Connor also created a course on AI applications for the University of Manitoba

Artificial Intelligence as a Powerful Tool to Improve Manufacturing


Course Description

Applications of AI are rapidly expanding through all industry sectors.  This course focuses on the how AI can improve a manufacturing company’s competitiveness.  The course will consist of twenty video sessions, some of which are core and others optional.  The courses will be available through direct subscription to XYZ Consulting, the University of Manitoba Continuing Education, or online education sites such as UDEMY.


Learning outcomes

  1. Understanding principles of manufacturing and quality processes
  2. Understanding applications of digital manufacturing
  3. Understanding the Industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), and their applications in manufacturing.
  4. Learn how to manage the implementation of AI systems to improve manufacturing

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI is moving forward in several distinct areas, such as computer vision, natural language processing, robotics, and automated speech recognition. Participants will learn the differences between these applications and how advances in these areas can be employed to solve a range of real-world business and organizational problems. In addition, participants will understand and explore the ethics, social impact, and responsibility of building AI solutions by learning how to keep AI safe from adversaries, detecting and protecting against the unintended consequences of AI, addressing and preventing AI bias, safeguarding against mistakes made by AI, and approaching human-AI interactions with a critical lens.

Online course with a coach

Online course is led by certified instructors who follow your journey

Today, George and Dave dedicate time to coaching high-level executives as well as teaching the next generation of leaders a better way to lead. They call this leadership excellence. These virtual master classes in leadership cover over twenty-seven topics and stretch through 10-weeks of learning with the masters. You will receive a certificate in “Leadership Excellence.”

After successfully completing three months of learning and application you will receive a Green Belt certification.
After successfully completing six months of learning you will receive a Black Belt certification.

Each certificate will have George and Dave’s Signatures for completing the instructor-led course.


The newly-created online course will be available by June, 2023. If you would like to be featured as a case study in this course, connect with us immediately as we are now taking on clients who wish to implement rather than discover. Connect now!

Shingo Guiding Principles

Respect must become something that is deeply felt for and by every person in an organization. Respect for every individual naturally includes respect for customers, suppliers, the community and society in general. Individuals are energized when this type of respect is demonstrated. Most associates will say that to be respected is the most important thing they want from their employment. When people feel respected, they give far more than their hands—they give their minds and hearts as well. To better understand the principle of respect for every individual simply ask the question “why?” The answer is because we are all human beings with worth and potential. Because this is true, every individual deserves my respect.
Examples of Ideal Behaviors
– Create a development plan for employees including appropriate goals. – Involve employees in improving the work done in their areas. – Continually provide coaching for problem solving.
One common trait among leading practitioners of enterprise excellence is a sense of humility. Humility is an enabling principle that precedes learning and improvement. A leader’s willingness to seek input, listen carefully and continuously learn creates an environment where associates feel respected and energized and give freely of their creative abilities. Improvement is only possible when people are willing to acknowledge their vulnerability and abandon bias and prejudice in their pursuit of a better way.
Examples of Ideal Behavior
– There is consistent, predictable leadership engagement where the work happens. – Employees can report issues with confidence in a positive response.
Perfection is an aspiration not likely to be achieved but the pursuit of which creates a mindset and culture of continuous improvement. The realization of what is possible is only limited by the paradigms through which we see and understand the world.
Examples of Ideal Behaviors
– Create long-term solutions rather than leave temporary fixes in place. – Constantly work toward simplifying work.
Innovation and improvement are the consequence of repeated cycles of experimentation, direct observation and learning. A relentless and systematic exploration of new ideas, including failures, enables us to constantly refine our understanding of reality.
Examples of Ideal Behavior
– Follow a structured approach to solving problems.
– Encourage employees to explore new ideas without fear of failure.
All outcomes are the consequence of a process. It is nearly impossible for even good people to consistently produce ideal results with a poor process both inside and outside the organization. There is natural tendency to blame the people involved when something goes wrong or is less than ideal, when in reality the vast majority of the time the issue is rooted in an imperfect process, not the people.
Examples of Ideal Behaviors
– When an error occurs, focus on improving the process that created the error.
– Ensure that all parts, materials, information and resources are correct and meet specifications before using them in a process.
Perfect quality can only be achieved when every element of work is done right the first time. If an error should occur, it must be detected and corrected at the point and time of its creation.
Examples of Ideal Behaviors
– Organize places of work so potential problems become immediately visible.
– Stop work to fix errors before continuing.
Value for customers is maximized when it is created in response to real demand and a continuous and uninterrupted flow. Although one-piece flow is the ideal, often demand is distorted between and within organizations. Waste is anything that disrupts the continuous flow of value.
Examples of Ideal Behavior
– Avoid creating or having more product or services than are necessary to serve customer demand. – Ensure the resources that are needed are available when required.
Through understanding the relationships and interconnectedness within a system we are able to make better decisions and improvements.
Examples of Ideal Behaviors
– Eliminate any barrier that prevents the flow of ideas, information, decisions, product, etc. – Ensure the goals and issues for each day are understood by those who are affected.
An unwavering clarity of why the organization exists, where it is going, and how it will get there enables people to align their actions, as well as to innovate, adapt and take risks with greater confidence.
Examples of Ideal Behaviors
– Clearly communicate the direction and purpose of the organization to all.
– Set goals that are connected to the organization’s overall goals.
Ultimately, value must be defined through the lens of what a customer wants and is willing to pay for. Organizations that fail to deliver both effectively and efficiently on this most fundamental outcome cannot be sustained over the long-term.
Examples of Ideal Behaviors
– Work to understand customers’ needs and expectations.

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