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1 August 2016 No Comment
Ron Snee


Ronald Snee was honored with the American Society for Quality’s (ASQ) Distinguished Service Medal, the highest distinction for contributions to the quality profession from the ASQ. He was recognized on May 15 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, prior to ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement.

The Distinguished Service Medal honors the lifetime contribution of any person who has been recognized as a long-term enabler, catalyst, or prime mover in the quality movement. Snee was awarded the medal for “creation of advanced experimental methodologies in statistical analysis and graphical representation of data, developing the concepts of statistical thinking and engineering for application as approaches to structured process development and analytical problem solving, and sustained contributions to the advancement of the body of knowledge for both business excellence and Lean Six Sigma initiatives.”

Snee is founder and president of Snee Associates LLC, a firm dedicated to the successful implementation of process and organizational improvement initiatives. Prior to entering the consulting field, he worked at DuPont for 24 years in a variety of assignments including pharmaceuticals, statistical studies, manager of statistical software and engineering consultants, and process improvement. Snee also serves as adjunct professor in the pharmaceutical programs at Temple and Rutgers universities.

Snee earned his BA from Washington and Jefferson College and MS and PhD degrees from Rutgers University. He is a fellow of the ASQ and American Statistical Association and has been honored with the ASA’s Deming Lecture and Dixon Statistical Consulting awards. Snee is an academician in the International Academy for Quality and has been awarded ASQ’s Shewhart and Grant medals, as well as numerous other awards and honors. He is a frequent speaker and has published five books and more than 280 papers in the fields of statistics, quality, performance improvement, and management.

Thesia I. Garner and Kathleen S. Short

The 2016 recipients of the Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics are Thesia I. Garner and Kathleen S. Short. They are being recognized for their important and extensive work in developing and refining alternative measures of poverty used to better understand the nature and scope of poverty in America.

Garner and Short have been calculating improved poverty measurements together for more than 20 years. Since 1995, Garner—working for the Bureau of Labor Statistics—and Short—working for the U.S. Census Bureau—have conducted joint research to develop new expenditure-based poverty calculations. To measure expenditures necessary to meet an economic threshold, Garner used BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey data. To measure the amount of income necessary to purchase those expenditures, Short used data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Their first set of thresholds and poverty statistics for 1990 through 1995 were published in the March 1998 Monthly Labor Review. Over the years, they have continued to research and implement additional components and improvements to their alternative methods and measures.

Their Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), though not intended to replace the official poverty measure, provides answers to essential policy questions about the impact government programs have on reducing poverty rates. The SPM is based on a more comprehensive set of expenses that show how the cost of purchasing basic needs contributes to poverty. Instead of being based on food costs in the 1950s as a budget share adjusted by the CPI inflation rate (as the official rate does), the SPM includes the costs of food, clothing, shelter, and utilities and adjusts for regional differences. Instead of using gross untaxed income, the measure adjusts for paid taxes, work and child care expenses, the Earned Income Tax Credit, cash-aid welfare, SNAP food assistance, and near-cash support.

Time series data from 2005 to 2010 measuring SPM were first published by Garner and Short in 2011, with annual results being published every year since. In 2015, the results were published at the same time as the official U.S. poverty measure. These most recent results of the SPM were published in September 2015.

Roger Herriot was the associate commissioner of statistical standards and methodology at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) when he died in 1994. Soon after his death, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics sections of the American Statistical Association, along with the Washington Statistical Society, established the award, which is intended to recognize individuals or teams who, like Herriot, develop unique and innovative approaches to the solution of statistical problems in federal data-collection programs.

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