About Me

I began my career as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy in 1969. Since leaving the Navy in 1978 I have worked as a Manufacturing Engineer, Field Service Manager, Equipment Engineer, Equipment Maintenance Manager,Technical Writer, Technical Trainer, and Equipment Technician.

Each of these positions have provided ample opportunity to identify good and bad management practices. Many of the mistakes made were my own. I have become an advocate of Quality Assurance. I am skilled in Six Sigma and Project Management. I am also a very good troubleshooter who can see the bigger picture. I am a competent Root Cause Analysis practitioner who knows that there is never only one cause for failure.

My greatest passion is workforce development. I have experienced first hand what happens when people are not afforded structured guidance in their development. I am an advocate of providing tools, training and motivation in developing competent teams

You can expect from me a thorough analysis of your areas of most concern. I will perform staff interviews, review existing documentation and training plans, and will make recommendations that will provide options for solutions. I will follow these recommendations with support in training, training development, and documentation.

I am an advocate of permanent solutions that become part of your culture. As a partnership, we will work together to make reasonable adjustments that will help your company's culture evolve to a capability of sustained improvement. No more "initiative of the day".

Business Description

Process Improvement Consulting delivers substantive training, leadership guidance, and documentation aimed at improving productivity. Deliverable include:

Leadership team development through analysis, problem solving, and training
Utilization of the DMAIC process
Initial audit and review to research and discover biggest potential improvement areas
Interviews and candid reports of staff perspectives
Thorough evaluation reporting
Scenario development and deployment
Problem solving assistance
Follow-up audits for results analysis
Return on investment analysis
Troubleshooting assistance
Troubleshooting training
Targeted process improvement planning
Site-specific plans for continuous improvement
Follow-up on improvement plan performance
Ongoing consultation
Customized training of staff to support ongoing improvement processes
Risk assessment and mitigation as part of the improvement process

My Skills


Profile Questions

What do you like most about your profession?

My business leverages my many years in manufacturing, in which I have learned a great deal about how to organize and develop efficient production teams. Any opportunity to use this experience and help others make adjustment for sustained improvements, no matter how small, is a great pleasure to me. As a practical matter, most worthwhile knowledge transfer includes a great deal of hands-on learning. In a hands-on setting, you can literally see that light bulb come on as a student grasps the concept and applies it. It is at this point that you know you have made a difference in that person's life, and that is what I like most about my profession.

What are 3 attributes you need to be successful in your industry?

Number one is good active listening skills. Consider a scenario where a manager is at his wit's end, because his operators and technicians cannot seem to keep things running smoothly. You ask the manager to describe his view of what is going on.You may repeat some of the words as he pauses, but you must not interrupt or try to correct.. Then, when you have an opportunity to feedback, you must be sure to have the bigger picture in mind as you offer to research and analyze the situation he has shared. You must be very careful to not have any preconceptions of what you will find in your investigation.. Third, you must be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, and get to the root of the problem in a way that allows a workable, sustainable solution. It will not be good enough to say, "Yup, it looks like you have a problem here." Your communication of both the problem analysis and the solution must be organized in a way that does not confuse separate issues. The solutions must address specific individual problems, and they must have expected outcomes.. In short, listening skills, analysis skills, problem solving skills, and communication skills are four significant attributes needed in my industry.

What are the most important things to consider when hiring a service provider in your field?

The service provider (consultant) in my field must be an experienced person who can see both sides of the issue. A consultant who has never worked on the production line and has not heard the stories and complaints from the production floor will be poorly suited to assist management in developing culture changing processes for sustained improvement. The consultant must be flexible, willing to go wherever and whenever it takes to identify problems and present solutions. He may even go places and times that the management customer has never gone. The consultant must be able to blend into the production floor, so he can see what others have not been able to see. The consultant must have troubleshooting expertise, and must be able to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing to all levels in the organization.

How are you different than others in your profession?

I am different because I am very hands on at every level. I don the PPE, qualify in plant safety requirements, and work side by side with operators, technicians, engineers, supervisors and managers to get to the heart of what is needed for productivity improvement. I spend very little time in conference rooms.

What are your biggest professional influences (books, mentors, events)?

My mentors are the quality gurus of the fifties, sixties and seventies. They are Philip B. Crosby, W. Edwards Deming, and Joseph Juran.

How do you typically handle disagreements with clients?

Disagreements can best be handled and avoided with thorough and honest communications. No surprises. Nothing held back. If the customer does not want to hear the truth, then there may come a parting. However, the potential for painful truths is something that must be shared very early in the relationship. The consultant is there to develop sustainable improvement in the customer's processes. This means identifying sensitive problem areas that may be difficult to accept. When this happens, the customer should not be surprised with it like a smack in the face. The information should be shared tactfully, and it will go down easier if the customer is told up front that something like this might happen. A simple question may be all it takes to diffuse a explosive situation. I ask the customer what would it take to solve your concerns?


Owner at Process Improvement Consulting

July 2013 - Present
Process Improvement Consultng is a sole proprietor company owned by Ernie Marks. The company's mission is to help companies identify and solve waste problems. Ernie is an expert in equipment maintenance technology. He is a very good troubleshooter that takes the big picture to see what the long term implications are, and what long term solutions should be.

Ernie has many years of experience as an equipment engineer, technical trainer, and equipment maintenance manager. He understands the need for motivation, tools and training for the proper development of a capable work force. He is proficient at setting expectations and developing resources to provide results.

Ernie is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), a certified Six Sigma Green Belt, a certified Industrial Electronics Technician, and a certified ASE Parts Specialist. Ernie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a Project Management specialty at Capella University.

Ernie is easy to talk to. He can communicate workplace scenarios in simple terms. He has strong powers of observation, and can communicate his observations clearly and directly.

Electrical Maintenance Technician at Nestle Nutrition North America

February 2013 - May 2013
Nestle PowerBar manufactures nutrition bars at their Boise, Idaho manufacturing facility. The electrical Maintenance Technician is partly responsible for electro-mechanical preventive and corrective maintenance of all equipment from the delivery and mixing and cooking of raw ingredients to the packaging and palletizing of boxes of PowerBar nutrition bars. This includes PLC, VFD, robotics, and conveyors.

Systems Service Technician at J.R. Simplot Company

March 2008 - February 2013
•Reduced sorter nose roll bearing failure to zero through improved maintenance practices.
•Reduced catenary belt maintenance turnaround from eight hours to two hours.
•Introduced use of redundant load cell for backup operation and increased uptime on main line weigh belt.
•Introduced online sorting system conveyor belt and camera window cleaning practices that improved system performance without taking the systems down for cleaning.

Technical Instructor at KLA-Tencor

August 2004 - July 2007
•Taught operation, corrective and preventive maintenance of the RAPID 5XX Reticle Inspection System.
•Taught Archer overlay inspection applications in the facility and via distance learning.
•Taught HRP high resolution stylus profiler applications and corrective and preventive maintenance.
•Developed platform and web-based curriculum.
•Acting applications training group manager Jan – 2007 to Jul 2007.

Technical Writer at KLA-Tencor

January 2003 - August 2004
•Streamlined a 1200 page used guide to 400 pages.
•Created many “mini-docs” for K-T’s VFI - Virtual Field Replaceable Unit Interface.
•Proficient in Adobe Frame Maker, MS Word, Acrobat.

Technical Instructor at Applied Materials

September 2000 - December 2002
On-site instructor for Applied Materials' Centura Platform and Rapid Thermal Processing Tool. Previous assignments include IBM at Burlington VT., Infineon at Richmond, VA., Wafertech at Camas, WA., CSP at Singapore, Motorola MOS 12 at Phoenix, AZ., Motorola MOS 13 at Austin, TX., and ST Microelectronics and SSMC in Singapore. Provided assistance in process development.

Taught Preventive Maintenance, Corrective Maintenance, and Customer Engineer Certification for the Applied Materials 300 mm Cu iECP copper plating tool and Centura 200 mm RTP tool. Developed training materials for Applied’s “Workmanship Essentials” training program.

Technical Instructor at General Physics Corporation

January 2000 - January 2003
Developed and delivered preventive and corrective maintenance and operational training to customer technicians and service engineers for semiconductor processing equipment.

Maintenance Manager at Micron Technology

October 1983 - October 1995
Managed Off-line Module Repair (Bench and Bench Techs) for spinners, etchers, gas delivery, vacuum pumps, rinser dryers, RF generators, outside the constraints of the production environment. The Bench supported equipment uptime and supplied trained technicians to the start up of FAB 3 in 1986. Full Shift coverage of three FABs, with 80 technicians, and 10 supervisors.

Developed and managed the Gas Delivery Systems group, which exclusively performed gas cylinder changes, and gas line and gas cabinet installation and maintenance. Reduced cylinder change-out time from four hours to one hour.

Managed the FAB Projects Group. Fabricated parts documentation, Spare part inventory reduction, second sourcing, material enhancement, problem solving, equipment design improvements. Reduced cost of consumables, such as etch electrodes by as much as 80%, while increasing availability and design flexibility. Named on seven U.S. Patents from 1989-1994.

Supported Inventory Control reduction of duplicated and obsolete parts. Reduced inventory costs from $7 million to $4 million in the period from 1990 to 1993.

Managed Mass Flow Controller repair/calibration. Significant reduction of atmospheric reaction within MFCs carrying high vapor pressure, liquid source reactive gases. Short turn around for Process Tool changes and repairs. This reduced system downtime for MFCs to one hour versus days.

Developed and taught helium mass spectrometer maintenance and leak checking procedures. This brought leak fail analysis capabilities to 100%, and brought leak checker uptime to 80% versus 10%. Developed and taught Basic Electronics course for FAB operators aspiring to become technicians.

Field Service Manager at Technics

March 1983 - September 1983
Field Service of table top etchers, ion milling equipment, p.c. board etchers, resist strippers. Brought a languishing 35 CM Ion Mill up and running at Control Data in Minneapolis.

Manufacturing Test Engineer at Eaton Vacuum Systems Division

April 1980 - March 1983
Final test qualification and customer buy-off of the D&W 425, a batch etcher. Discovered and corrected 24 design flaws on the D&W 425. Field Service Manager and Project Engineer for the D&W 425, 5000, and split chamber E-beam evaporators. Taught on-site customer maintenance classes on the D&W 425. Three trips to Europe in 1982, solving startup problems in Semiconductor FABs.


Capella University

Degree: Bachelor of Science
Field of Study: Project Management

Cleveland Institute of Electronics

Degree: Electronics Technician
Field of Study: Electronics Technology

Glasgow High School

Degree: High School Diploma
Field of Study: College/University Preparatory and Advanced High School/Secondary Diploma Program


Customer Service Specialist

Authority: ETA International
License: CSS132628
Start Date: Apr 01, 2012

Certified Electronics Technician -IND

Authority: ETA International
License: IND131485
Start Date: Mar 01, 2012
End Date: Mar 01, 2016

Six Sigma Green Belt

Authority: Juran Institute
Start Date: May 01, 2011

Certified Associate in Project Management

Authority: Project Management Institute
License: 1355236
Start Date: Aug 01, 2010
End Date: Aug 01, 2015


Contact Information

1904 Sunflower Ln
Homedale, ID
Phone: 208-598-5197

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