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PQ Systems

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Noted Quality Management Authority Michael J. Cleary Dies at Age 75

Authority on quality management and charter member of Education Division of ASQ

Published: Monday, September 15, 2014 - 08:29

Michael J. Cleary, Ph.D., founder and president of PQ Systems Inc. and a professor emeritus at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, died suddenly on September 10, 2014.

Cleary was born June 3, 1939, in Dumont, New Jersey. He was a graduate of Norwich University and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He earned his Ph.D. in economics and business management from the University of Nebraska. He was a member of the Partridge Society of Norwich University, and he was also elected to its Board of Fellows.

Michael J. Cleary, Ph.D., founder and president of PQ Systems Inc.

Cleary, a noted authority in the field of quality management and a charter member of the Education Division of the American Society for Quality Control (now ASQ), opened PQ Systems in 1984 with headquarters in Dayton, later opening PQ Systems Pty Ltd. in Frankston, Australia, serving the Pacific Rim, and PQ Systems Europe, with sales in continental Europe and the Middle East. The company’s products help organizations demonstrate proof of the quality of products and services, using statistical process control and problem-solving tools. PQ Systems was named among the top 25 Best Places to Work in Dayton in 2014.

Cleary played a principal role in developing the “Transformation of American Industry” national training project as well as the “Total Quality Transformation” training system.  He served on the planning committee for the U.S.-Japanese Business Conference in Tokyo, and presented papers on statistical process control and the applications of quality management principles to a variety of audiences in Korea, China, France, Great Britain, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. He was author of Data Analysis Handbook Using SPSS (Advocate, 1980) as well as co-author of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement (PQ Systems, 2000) and Total Quality Transformation (ASQ Quality Press, 1995).

Cleary was a professor of management science at Wright State University from 1971–1996, where he was awarded the Business College Associates Alumni Teaching Award. His 25-year professorship in management science enabled him to conduct extensive research and garner valuable experience in expanding quality management methods. He was a leader in bringing quality management into the curriculum of the College of Business, and published articles and papers on issues related to quality management, statistical applications, and decision sciences in a variety of academic and professional journals. He was a frequent speaker on issues related to quality management and statistical methods.

Cleary was a member of the Miami Valley School Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2014, and of the St. Leonard Faith Community, where he was an usher and sacristan for many years. He also served as a member of the board of directors for Eagle Registrations in Dayton, Ohio.

Cleary had stepped away from the direct operations of PQ Systems several years ago to focus his energy on giving back–working tirelessly on the board of the Miami Valley School, and forwarding the growth of his alma mater Norwich University, among other endeavors. While still an integral part of the culture of PQ, and a daily fixture in the office, Cleary had turned over the operations of the company to managing director Beth Savage. Although Mike’s absence will be felt for a long time to come, his legacy of quality improvement will live on at PQ, and the company will continue to operate much the same.

Cleary is survived by Barbara A. Cleary, Ph.D., his wife of 50 years, and their four sons: Sean, Timothy, Matthew, and Dennis; grandsons Michael Wyatt Cleary, Harmon Hempstead Cleary, Daniel St. John Cleary, and Victor Thomas Cleary; granddaughter Johanna Sol Cleary; sister Joan Buckman; brother-in-law John Rathman; and nieces and nephews. 

Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Tues., Sept. 16, 2014, at the Tobias Funeral Home–Far Hills Chapel, 5471 Far Hills Ave., Dayton, Ohio, 45429. Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 a.m. Wed., Sept. 17, 2014, at St. Leonard Church, 8100 Clyo Rd., Centerville, Ohio 45458. Father Lawrence Mick officiating. Burial will be in David’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Miami Valley School Faculty Endowment Fund or the St. Leonard Benevolent Fund. Condolences may be made to sales@pqsystems.com.  

A personal remembrance of Michael Cleary from professor David Schwinn can be viewed here.


About The Author

PQ Systems’s picture

PQ Systems

PQ Systems www.pqsystems.com is a privately-held company headquartered in Dayton, OH, with representation in Europe, Australia, Central and South America, Asia, and Africa and customers in more than 60 countries. For more than 30 years, the company has been helping businesses drive strategic quality outcomes by providing intuitive solutions to help manufacturers optimize process performance, improve product quality, and mitigate supply chain risk. The company’s scalable solutions include SQCpack® for data analysis and statistical process control and GAGEpack® for system management. PQ Systems’ world-class consulting, training, and support services ensure that clients receive the maximum return on their software implementations


Michael Cleary

The staff at Quality Digest worked with Michael for many years when he wrote a column for us. Not only was he a delight to work with but his funny columns (or should we say "punny") helped make statistics not only easier to understand but a joy to read.

Our condolences to Barb Cleary and the folks at PQ.

The staff at QD
Mike, Dirk, Laurel, Taran, Ryan, April, Christopher, Jeff, Kristine

Michael Cleary

We have lost a good friend and colleague in Michael Cleary. We had positive business dealing with Mike and PQ Systems for many years, and we always respected and appreciated their business ethics.  Beyond business, Mike was a valued compadre in the profession. 

Fran Wheeler,

SPC Press