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The World’s Leading Conference on ISO 9000 & Audits

Running the Race with Patience: The Story of the ISO 9001 Marathon

Industry: All Industries

Keywords: Knowledge, Leadership, Empowerment, ISO 9001

Level: Basic


In anticipation of new or evolving requirements coming from customers and other key stakeholders, one of the challenges that an organization must plan for is getting the necessary knowledge out to the employees that are doing the work. Part of the challenge is understanding what needs to be disseminated to each part of the organization to equip and empower management and staff to do their work effectively while meeting and surpassing relevant requirements and expectations. This was a challenge facing Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) in late 2015 as it prepared to transition its quality management system to be compliant with the new 2015 requirements.

After engaging in initial tasks evaluating the requirements of the new standard and providing informational briefings to senior and program leadership, the focus then shifted to getting the new and revised requirements out to the rest of the organization—to the folks that do the work daily. The solution eventually decided upon became known internally as “The ISO 9001 Marathon. “The ISO 9001 Marathon is a process used to communicate relevant aspects of the ISO 9001:2015 standard to managers and employees from various programs and support groups across ORAU. Its goal is to develop ISO 9001 Champions that can serve as key points of contact within a program or support unit who can provide information and guidance on how to ensure that products, services, and processes comply with relevant ISO 9001 requirements.

The Marathon is divided into a series of “Sprints”, with each Sprint focused on training participants on a specific ISO 9001 clause or series of clauses. Each Sprint includes a presentation, a group discussion, and the provision of documented information summarizing key information about covered clauses.

Key aspects of this presentation will include a brief overview of:

1. The ISO 9001 Marathon history

2. The preplanning that goes into structuring a Marathon

3. How Sprint sessions are typically planned and carried out.

4. How the effectiveness of each Sprint session as well as the overall Marathon is measured

5. The importance of lessons learned in the overall process

6. The role that ISO 9001 Champions play in future Marathons.

The presentation will also include excerpts of past Sprint presentations and copies of Champion Information Worksheets and Vital Information Worksheets.


Mike Gregory

Quality Assurance Specialist, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Stearns, KY, USA

Mike Gregory serves as a Quality Assurance Specialist within the Resource Center for Performance Excellence (RCPE) at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) located in Oak Ridge, TN. RCPE provides value to internal and external customers through assessing performance; implementing consistent work methodologies, tools, and frameworks; advancing project execution; and improving processes.

Mike is responsible for performing internal audits of programs and support groups to verify compliance with ISO 9001:2015 requirements. Mike also performs process assessments to verify compliance with specified requirements and identify opportunities for improvement in areas related to process, product, and service conformity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Mike also assists organizations with other special projects that may include root cause analysis, process mapping, and risk identification. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from the University of the Cumberlands located in Williamsburg, KY.

His certifications include ISO 9001:2015 Certified Lead Auditor, ISO 14001:2015 Certified Lead Auditor, ISO 45001:2018 Certified Lead Auditor, and Certified Quality Auditor and Certified Supplier Quality Professional (American Society for Quality). Mike has over 35 years of experience in both manufacturing and government service, working as a Quality Assurance Specialist, Quality Manager, Quality Engineer, and Operations Manager.

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