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Jeff Dewar

Quality Insider

Juran’s Teachings Live On

Episode One: Leaders Who Follow the Founder

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 14:33

Editor’s note: This four-part video interview with Juran Institute CEO Joseph DeFeo is hosted by Quality Digest’s CEO, Jeff Dewar. The series will run weekly beginning with today’s segment.

You can’t have a conversation about quality management without soon invoking the name “Dr. Juran.” The man was a titan. During the late 1990s, PBS produced An Immigrant’s Gift, a documentary about Joseph M. Juran’s life, where industry heavyweights such as Peter Drucker, Genichi Taguchi, Eizo Watanabe, Steve Jobs, and Robert Galvin profiled the quality pioneer and his effect on worldwide quality.

Our publishers, our editor-in-chief, and our staff editors have all written about Juran. We flew to his Connecticut home to interview him, we attended his 100th birthday celebration, and we honored his life when he passed away in 2008.

A google search of the term “Juran” yields 3.9 million results. A search using the term “Juran” within our website alone returns 651 results. One of my favorite articles was a cover story we ran in August 2002. What a timeless piece!

Quality Digest’s August 2002 interview with Joseph Juran


Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by how knowledge and customs are passed down through “generations”: Genghis Khan through five subsequent leaders to his grandson Kublai Khan (who conquered all of China, brutal though his methods were). Apple’s late and passionate Steve Jobs to the cool and relaxed Tim Cook. Southwest Airlines’ charismatic and playful Herb Kelleher to Jim Parker to current CEO Gary Kelly. The essential question is, can these subsequent leaders carry forth the vision and energy—and success—the founder created?

That question led us to examining the legacy of one of the indisputable founders of the modern quality movement. Joseph Juran passed the torch to A. Blanton Godfrey (who was a regular Quality Digest columnist for several years into 2004), and then to Joseph DeFeo (also a contributor to Quality Digest).

Juran Institute founder Joseph Juran with the institute’s third-generation CEO, Joseph DeFeo

I caught up with DeFeo in Seattle with our cameraman, where we sat down for over an hour and discussed a very wide range of topics. Initially, we were going to cut the video down (as is typical) to a 10-minute interview, but after reviewing the footage, we decided to edit it into four episodes so we could leave it largely intact. The relevance and vision that DeFeo and the Juran Institute contribute to quality management goes far beyond the word “quality.”

I hope you will watch all four episodes, which will run weekly in Quality Digest Daily, beginning with this episode. Among my favorite topics—coming in episode two—is the future of the quality profession.



About The Author

Jeff Dewar’s picture

Jeff Dewar

Jeff Dewar is CEO of Millennium 360 Inc., Quality Digest’s parent company. During his career he has presented quality-related topics to thousands of people on six continents, all but Antarctica.