Member Profile: Nam Tran Wants to Know Why

By Elizabeth Grever

“Why is it designed like this?”

“If small changes were made, how would that affect things?”

For one of our founders, Nam Tran, those are his favorite questions to ask. Whether it’s while he’s at work, on vacation, or when trying out a new recipe at home, discovering how things work and applying a continuous improvement mindset are his passions. This mindset brings Nam plenty of success in his career, streamlining and ironing out processes to create efficiencies and improve results.

Outside of work, Nam realized there are ways he can apply his operational excellence skillset to make the world a better place. There are plenty of global issues that could be solved, in part, by systemic improvements. He believes there are also others who want to rise to the challenge and help the world work better.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, if Nam could have waved a magic wand to fix a global problem, it would be to eliminate childhood hunger. Studies show that children who have access to proper nutrition during the school week focus easier and learn better, leading to long-term success in the classroom and beyond. During his time living in Orange County, CA, he remembers a particular local restaurant trying to solve this problem by offering 150 meals after school every single day for kids who might not otherwise have access to basic sustenance. If one restaurant could take a stab at solving this issue, why couldn’t Nam use his network, compassion, and skills to help tackle this problem nationwide? It was this kind of thinking that led him to join in co-founding the Gordian Knot Society.

Now, with the Covid-19 vaccine at the forefront of most people’s minds, he’d love to help with the issue of vaccine distribution. He sees a few untapped opportunities and operational improvements that could allow the vaccine to be distributed more efficiently, allowing more humans to become immune quicker, helping bring life and the economy to normalcy faster. (If you’re reading this, and have the power to affect or change its distribution, shoot Nam a message for his ideas!)

Besides working and brainstorming ways to help others, you can find Nam tinkering with electronics, laser cutting, 3D printing - anything that allows him to stretch his knowledge and be innovative. If you can’t find him there, then you’ll be sure to find him in his favorite place in the world: an airplane, probably the window seat.

Photo courtesy of Nam Tran

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