A Coon Rapids man has earned international recognition for the job he does for a Minneapolis company.
Larry McInerny, a senior inspector with Advance Inspection Services (AIS) in Plymouth, has received the 2012 Dr. C.L. (Chuck) Carter International Inspector of the Year Award from the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
McInerny was presented with the award at the society’s world conference on quality and improvement in Anaheim, Calif., last month.
The award recognizes contributions of quality inspectors in the manufacturing sphere.
Criteria for the award as spelled out by ASQ, which draws members from all over the world, include on the job knowledge and abilities, on the job interpersonal relations, training and professional development.
McInerny was nominated for the award by a co-worker at AIS, but was kept in the dark about having won the honor until a lunch at his place of employment about two weeks before the international conference.
However, his wife, Marge, and daughters, Diana McInerny and Sheri Buntrock McInerny, who both work at AIS, had been told, but managed to keep the secret until the lunch.
“I was completely baffled,” McInerny said when he learned he had won the award.
“I was almost speechless.”
According to Marge McInerny, it was very difficult to keep the award a secret.
“But he really had no clue at all,” she said. “It was important to keep it from him.”
Nor is this an award that is presented annually; in some years there has been no international inspector of the year award given.
Indeed, the award, which dates back to 1974, is only presented if the ASQ believes there is a nominee deserving of it and in the years 2006 through 2010, no inspector received the award.
There has to be at least two nominations for the award to be presented and McInerny said he was told there were a lot of nominees this year.
“I am very honored to have been chosen for the award,” McInerny said.
A Minneapolis native who graduated from DeLaSalle High School, McInerny spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring in 1989 as an avionics senior chief.
In his Navy career, he logged nearly 10,000 flight hours as an air crewman working on aircraft electronics systems.
“I repaired electronic systems on aircraft and I flew as a command technician and photographer,” McInerny said.
He flew in such aircraft as P3, C130 and the original C118, a World War II era plane, he said.
“It was a good life,” McInerny said. “I enjoyed the work and very much the camaraderie.”
When he left the Navy, McInerny returned to the Twin Cities with his family and moved to Coon Rapids.
He had hoped to work for Northwest Airlines, but the company was not hiring because of a downturn in its fortunes at that time, so McInerny went to work in manufacturing quality control and found it to his liking.
Indeed, he has been a quality control inspector for more than 20 years and since 2003, he has been a senior inspector for AIS.
According to McInerny, his job at AIS involves programming and operating CMMs (construction measuring machines) and vision inspection systems for inspection of customer parts from a variety of industrial sectors, including medical, aerospace and agricultural equipment companies, including Medtronic and Boston Scientific, that contract with AIS to provide inspection services.
“I measure parts to make sure they match the blueprints,” McInerny said.
“I enjoy the work and I like the fact there is not as much pressure.”
A part is sent to AIS to be measured; the measurement is done and then a report is sent to the company along with the part, pointing out if there are any problems with it and making recommendations, McInerny said.
The parts that McInerny works on range from blood vessel stents to frames for fire trucks, he said.
“They can be very small or very big and everything in between,” McInerny said.
And the equipment that McInerny uses at AIS can measure to one micrometer or 40 millionths of an inch, he said.
For example, McInerny said a human hair measure 0.0035 of an inch and a Staphylococcus bacteria 0.0004 of an inch.
In addition, he serves as a mentor and instructor to less experienced inspectors in the AIS lab and helps instill best practices in everyone in the organization, the American Society for Quality announcement of the Carter Award states.
McInerny has been an ASQ certified quality technician since 1985 and has taught a refresher course for over 10 years, as well as other quality-related courses at colleges in the Twin Cities, outstate Minnesota and North Dakota.
He is a past member of the ASQ, but McInerny said a person does not have to be a member to be nominated for and receive the award.
In addition to his daughters, the McInernys have two grandchildren, Bailey, 20, a graduate of the Minnesota School of Business and a massage therapist, and Celia, 13, a seventh-grader at Anoka Middle School for the Arts.
Outside of work, McInerny enjoys boating, fishing and reading mystery novels.
He and his wife, Marge, also like taking road trips. Last summer they spent 12 days touring the Great Lakes in a Ford Focus and they are planning another road trip this summer.
Advanced Inspection Services (AIS) was founded in 2000 and offers metrology services, CMM inspection and dimensional inspection services. It is also a distributor of assurance measurement equipment.
According to its website, the American Society for Quality “is a global community of people passionate about quality, who use the tools, their ideas and expertise to make our world work better.”
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]