In recognition of her outstanding accomplishments and 29 years of service, Becky Bessine, Associate Warden for Ft. Madison and Mt. Pleasant, has been named the winner of the 2017 National Staff Award for the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA).
In receiving the award, Becky was selected ahead of colleagues from all 50 states as well as the federal prison system. The recipient of this prestigious award is recognized as achieving “superior performance and supervisory excellence of a correctional industries staff member who has made a significant and sustained contribution to a correctional industries program.”
Becky began her career as a Temporary Clerk / Typist 2 in Ft. Madison. Today, thanks to her skill, hard work, and dedication, she leads a team of 14 IPI staff providing work training to 130 offenders at ISP and MPCF. During her career, she has transformed these work programs into one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of college dormitory furniture.
Over her 29 years, Becky earned her way into positions with increasing responsibility. She consistently strengthened and improved the work training programs under her, and developed a team of truly dedicated professionals. Her facilities now feature highly trained CAD operators and computer controlled equipment, as well as the latest in safety equipment and environmental controls. Offenders training in her factories work on modern computer driven systems, and are well prepared for re-entry.
Over the past three years, Becky and her team have embarked on a lean manufacturing journey, and helped develop the Prison Industries Manufacturing System (PIMS) for Iowa Prison Industries, a philosophy and set of tools patterned after the Toyota Production System.
In 2014, Becky and her team were awarded the Iowa Partners in Efficiency Award, which recognizes the governmental agency that, “through the use of Lean tools and techniques, significantly and measurably increases productivity and promotes innovation, resulting in the improvement of delivery of public services to the benefit of citizens of Iowa and the private sector”. IPI had received a very large order for a new product line, and Becky’s team utilized lean manufacturing tools such as Value Stream Mapping to achieve a fivefold increase in production output on the new product line.
In 2015, Iowa relocated its maximum security offenders to a brand new prison, one mile away from the Civil War era facility in which Becky and her team had previously worked. Under her leadership, a new Correctional Industries facility was designed and built employing lean manufacturing philosophy. The new facility in Fort Madison is truly a state-of-the-art work training factory.
Becky was nominated by her colleagues, and when informed that she had received the award, she immediately spoke of the many talented and devoted staff and offenders she is blessed to work with at ISP and MPCF. She emphasized that it is because of their dedication and hard work that she is being recognized for the award.