Piloting Process Improvement: Lessons From the Tarmac Yield a New Destination for Rincon

To be an exceptional organization, you need to do exceptional things. HCDE has done just that by hiring Process Improvement Coordinator Emily Rincon, whose first day with the Department was November 1.

Emily Rincon poses for a photograph, November 17, 2022.

In this newly created role under Information Technology Services (IT), Rincon will be responsible for identifying, planning, and implementing key projects that will improve quality, reduce cost, increase productivity, and improve cycle time.

The projects will ultimately improve HCDE’s business practices as well as employee and customer satisfaction.

“She is essentially what a Fortune 500 company would have on staff, dedicated to process improvement and controls,” said Interim IT Director Christian Hoesel. “She will help us legitimize a lot of our decisions because she will use a structured, scientific approach to finding solutions.”

Rincon, who hails from Panama City, Panama, has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Santa María La Antigua Catholic University, a master’s degree in marketing and sales management from EAE Business School, and is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified.

“I really like to help people, and with process improvement, I can do just that,” said Rincon. “I’m a people person. I’m excited to get to know people. Everybody here seems really friendly, and I’m excited to help the HCDE community with whatever they need.”

Rincon began her career at Copa Airlines, the flag carrier of Panama, as a pricing analyst and continuous improvement senior analyst. She remained at the company for more than six years until the COVID-19 pandemic. To occupy her time, she began working as a florist while she planned her wedding and eventual move to Houston with her now-husband.

At HCDE, one of the first projects Rincon has been tasked with is to help Human Resources streamline the onboarding process and implement a new, all-digital employee records system.

“This is a brand-new position. So brand new that nobody knows what I’m doing,” she laughed. “Everybody is intrigued until I explain it to them. Right now, I’m trying to understand the hiring process, and I already have some ideas about how we can automate and simplify some tasks.”

Of Rincon’s skills, Hoesel says she’s well-versed in Power Apps, automation, and cloud systems.

“When people hear the term ‘process improvement,’ they might think of consultants trying to trim down positions. But it’s absolutely not about that,” said Hoesel. “This is on the systems side of things and how it pertains to IT assisting the divisions in helping them perform their jobs more efficiently. Emily already has plenty of ideas and is putting me to task, making sure that she’s useful to the organization. So, she’s very proactive.”

In this new chapter of her career, Rincon is most looking forward to learning about helping her new colleagues in their efforts to support Harris County learners.

“Process improvement is the same everywhere, but I’m most excited to learn about the world of education,” she said. “The opportunity to have an impact on kids is amazing.”

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