History of CQI

Early CQI Steering Committee

Early CQI Steering Committee
Russell Hicks, Pat Wightman, James Hile, Joann Neuroth, Tom Coens, Linda Cowes, Frank Manning, Everett Beemer
Olga Holden, Ed Souders, Lil Souders, Ray Tadgerson

Capital Quality Initiative was founded in early 1991 as a non-profit, private organization dedicated to the advancement of quality in the Lansing area. It was started by Ed Souders, President of Entré Computer Services; Jane Muzi Lucas, a Program Director at Lansing Community College; and Joann Neuroth, a consultant with On-Purpose Associates as a response to a need in the community for a quality initiative. Their hope was to establish a network to help businesses promote quality management within their organizations. Such a network, ideally, would then lead to the use of quality management in improving community groups and solving community problems.

A steering committee was formed of community leaders to develop a vision and work plan for establishing such an initiative. Lansing Community College became an immediate partner in CQI since the beginning. The College supported the effort by ‘loaning staff time’ for the administration of this endeavor. The Erie Pennsylvania Quality Initiative, the Madison Area Quality Improvement Network (MAQIN), and the Jackson Area Quality Initiative (JAQI) have all served as models and for benchmarking as CQI has evolved and grown.


2016 Board – Dennis Sergent, Adrian Bass, Frank Murdock, Eric Budd, Paige Thompson, Terry Terry, Cathy Adcock, Pam Burke, Justin King, not shown – Tonya Fountain and Christopher Bell

Through quality leadership planning, CQI enjoyed a high degree of success in many of its endeavors. CQI experienced significant and continuous growth since its 1991 inception. Increasing attendance at our CQI Breakfasts was one of the first indicators of growth and success. CQI added special interest networking groups and seminars to its offerings.

With the continuing growth, a proposal to merge Capital Quality Initiative into Lansing Community College was submitted to the President of the College, and on July 1, 1996, Capital Quality Initiative officially became a part of the College. This merger fully integrated CQI into the College structure and lent support and resources for its operation. The merger was prompted by the rapid growth of CQI and the ability of the College to expand CQI’s scope in the community.

CQI’s first director, Jane Lucas and support specialist, Carol Towl continued to build on the organization’s successes in the community. During Jane’s tenure as director, the CQI Academy for Quality Management Fundamentals was developed to provide training in quality management based on Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge.

In 1999 Capital Quality Initiative became a part of Lansing Community College’s Business and Community Institute (BCI). Adrian Bass became director of BCI, in Spring 2000, and worked with the assistance of Support Specialist Carol Towl.   Strategic planning became a task of the staff and steering committee.  All members of the steering committee, standing committees and task groups were volunteers from local business, government, education or non-profit organizations.

CQI made history in April 2002 with the first Midwest Conference co hosted by CQI and the W. Edwards Deming Institute®. The conference was a huge success and we hope to be able to do something like this again in the future.

In the 2004 Capital Quality Initiative moved new West Campus and M-Tech.  Carol Towl retired as CQI Specialist in December 2004, and Jean Tennis stepped into the position.

In February of 2005, CQI began holding breakfast programs at Lansing Community College’s West Campus Conference Center. In March we welcomed Margaret Wheatley as our presenter to a sold-out audience. In June CQI offered the first lunch program featuring learning and music with Three Men and a Tenor®.

CQI celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2006 with special anniversary event in September and October. In the summer of 2007 CQI became a part of the new Quality, Planning and Economic Development Division of the college, and then in 2008 returned home to be part of the Business & Community Institute at LCC. With the continued support of Lansing Community College, CQI’s mission and vision was always in the forefront of what we did.

In June of 2009, LCC ended the previous level of support for CQI and it prepared for a new chapter and new opportunities as a stand alone organization. With the help of the steering committee, program committee and sponsors, it launched a new website and revived an effort to find other sponsors for the unique programs and learning opportunities it provides to the region.  The collaboration with Dennis Sergent’s Learning Lunch program became a new mainstay success for CQI programming.

In 2010, CQI incorporated and then became an official 501.3c  not-for-profit. The board adopted a new name for CQI – Capital Quality and Innovation, that better reflects the need for both continuous improvement and innovation.

Dennis Sergent relinquished his position as board President to become volunteer manager of CQI in 2011.  Fall of 2012 marked the introduction of a newly revised and much improved CQI Academy for Quality Management Fundamentals.   The next four years proved the value to the community of a strong CQI.  Monthly Learning Lunches, twice a year Academies and opportunities to take programs on-the-road all across the state continue to the present.

CQI is celebrating 25 years of learning through teaching in 2016.  As part of the 25th year celebration we are partnering with The Deming Institute Annual Fall Conference in Lansing, Michigan.

To inspire learning, share successes and spark the energy and courage to lead our organizations to continually improve and innovate.

In 2020, CQI is recognized as a catalyst, bringing together leaders, thinkers and doers from Michigan and the world, to expand knowledge and increase the capacity to serve and innovate.