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“"Houston, we've had a problem!” The jolting declaration of astronaut Jack Swigert from aboard the ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft crackled on the speaker in Tom Taormina’s office in the Mission Control Center. Tom, a young quality control engineer with Ford Aerospace and a member of the Project Apollo team at the Johnson Space Center, was still in shock that day in 1970 when Frank Borman, one of the original seven Apollo program astronauts, collared him with instructions to get a Polaroid camera and “all the film you can find and report back to me.” Everything we know about the effort to rescue Lovell, Swigert and Haise, the three Apollo 13 astronauts — shown and retold in the media countless times and in Ron Howard’s award-winning movie — was painstakingly documented that night by Tom and his Polaroid camera. Ground controllers had to write and test completely new procedures in the simulator before passing them up to the crew. For his part, Tom captured every calculation and diagram on the blackboard of the room designated as the Mission Control tactical center. He documented the rescue plan that astronauts and engineers invented on the fly, in real time, as the world watched on in nervous anticipation. According to Tom, the lessons to management and the quality community today are profound and form the basis of his life’s work. For over 30 years since then, the once junior quality engineer who hunted down defects in Mission Control ground support hardware has evolved a new way of thinking about quality and business processes. After NASA, Tom spent almost a decade at oil field service companies as a quality and manufacturing manager and business leader, putting into practice the lessons he learned in the space program. The Apollo 13 experience burned in Tom an urgent sense to “document what you do, do what you document, and check that you did it.” The capstone of that experience is a process he developed for turning basic quality tools into breakthrough productivity and profitability methods. His innovation: a system of defect avoidance and business management strategy that turns any business quality initiative from an often-adversarial expense into a profit center. Tom’s innovation and ideas are laid out in his sixth book, “ISO 9001:2000 — The Journey From Conformance to Performance,” and showcased in the book’s centerpiece, a case study of Dell Computer’s Asset Recovery Business (Prentice Hall, ©2002. ISO 9000 is the international standard for quality in business processes).