It has been my pleasure to work with Ralph Clements over the past five years or so in several business endeavors. As top operations leader in the a key supplier’s organization Ralph was deeply involved not only in the traditional manufacturing arena, but also stepped out to help create outstanding customer service. I found him to have an excellent sense of urgency as well as a practical approach to solving problems.  That having been said, I was especially pleased to ask him to help start our company on the way toward safety excellence ….One of Ralph’s significant attributes is his way of clearly explaining what to do, in a manner that creates confidence that it truly can be done. Having made similar outstanding progress in his leadership role with his company he gave us the confidence that we had the potential to improve as well.  After getting some initial training with Ralph, he was caring enough to continue to follow-up informally and his advice at those times was just as valuable as the initial advice he provided. I strongly believe that a key reason Ralph was willing to go the extra mile with us, was his deep-seated belief in safety and the value it brings to his employees as well as whatever organization he leads or supports. He is an excellent teacher.”

- Senior Vice President for a Large Floor Covering Organization


Ralph is one of the most trustworthy, honest and ethical individuals with whom I have had the pleasure of working.  He is honest and fair in his assessment and dealings with subordinates and peers….  Ralph has a style that welcomes participation and risk taking amongst team members, with a philosophy that “there is no stupid idea except for that unspoken”.  From my perspective, the manufacturing council under Ralph’s leadership (all US and international plant, human resources and engineering leadership) broke new ground in moving from the day to day mundane to addressing the real issues in the manufacturing environment (cost management, productivity, personnel development, etc)…

In the business Leadership Team (senior members of all business functions worldwide), Ralph was a calming influence and voice of reason.  Ralph’s experience covers a number of industries and thus provides him a rather unique perspective especially in an organization built largely from within.  Ralph has the ability to correlate experiences in different environments to the current situation….

Ralph believes that manufacturing success is driven by structured processes… Ralph led a ~4,000 individual manufacturing operation.  This group at 9 locations on 3 continents posted an industry leading safety performance rivaling DuPont and Milliken companies who were internationally recognized leaders in safety performance.  Ralph accomplished this through employment of a structured safety management process that resonated with the employee base…

The business also needed a continuous improvement process and Ralph sought and uncovered a process that was similar to the safety process in style….These efficiency improvements allowed the business to defer capital expenditures as equipment (and manpower) was freed in the US.  The “excess” equipment was then available to the business to “export” to fast growing overseas sites that enabled faster capacity build than buying new equipment thus faster time to market which is critical in hyper growth environments (Brazil) as well as capital expense savings.

One of the truly critical improvements Ralph brought to this business was his concern over staffing and personnel development….  Ralph…spearheaded a succession planning activity for all exempt personnel, with every position from entry to his position charted with immediate and future candidates and the shortcomings of each candidate.  This allowed the business to assess its bench strength and identify critical positions that required significant personnel development or external hiring.”

- Former Chief Executive Officer to whom Ralph Reported



Several years ago, I was fortunate to be a part of Ralph Clements’ team and enjoyed working in the trenches with him. Ralph has outstanding communication skills but one of my favorite of his qualities is his ability to listen. He is always effective in validating what others say by restating his understanding in his own words. Ralph is a versatile strategic thinker: one that is equally adept whether he is laying out a long term “visionary” plan or he is dissecting the intricate details of a problem in order to solve it to root cause. Ralph was the key driver in seeding and developing our company’s Continuous Improvement culture. He led the implementation of Total Productive Maintenance(TPM ), and subsequently drove a problem solving methodology that embedded a new level of analytical skills deep into our manufacturing workforce.”

- Former Colleague



As Vice President of Manufacturing, Ralph Clements provided strong leadership to the Manufacturing Organization in many ways….  Ralph is a very ethical person with a high degree of personal integrity. He demanded that the Manufacturing organization adopt this core value of his and always do the right thing. As a result, all decisions were viewed through the lens of what is right and fair to all stakeholders. He would not tolerate unethical or disingenuous behavior….

When Ralph took over the Manufacturing organization it was a disjointed and dysfunctional group.. Ralph changed that by forming a Manufacturing Council made of up Plant Managers and other Functional managers that supported Manufacturing.. He was adamant that all decisions would be made on the basis of what is best for the System. The Manufacturing Council became a cohesive unit that was able to tackle the difficult issues and perform at a much higher level than before.

Ralph required the Manufacturing organization to use a disciplined approach to run the business. We developed strong processes to manage areas such as Continuous Improvement, Safety, Quality Improvement, Capital Management, Succession and Replacement Planning and Productivity.

Ralph is by a nature a strategic thinker. He led the Manufacturing organization, kicking and screaming, in this direction. We developed long range plans (3-5 years) and continuously updated them and assessed progress in achieving the plans.”

- Former Plant Manager who worked for Ralph


Ralph was the first “modern” manager for Acrilan® manufacturing. Prior to his coming, we had a series of well intentioned, but “old school” managers who ran the business by the seat of their pants and didn’t share much information with those who reported to them. In many cases, I don’t think anyone knew the financial results on a month to month basis.

Ralph brought a disciplined approach to help the organization understand what the financial results were on a monthly basis and shared that information throughout the organization.

He had us develop a quality process which involved Statistical Process Control (SPC) training (down to the operator level) and goals and measures which showed us where to concentrate our efforts for continuous improvement.  He formed quality teams which included not only all levels and disciplines within Acrilan, but also had key customer employees as members. We led the industry in sharing information and processes with customers which led to closer ties and greater market share.

Although the business closed in April 2005, many in the textile world had written the obituary for the Acrilan business 10-15 years earlier. Those extra years allowed many (including myself) to complete a career with Monsanto. I feel that Ralph played a major role in instituting the changes and providing discipline, tools and pride to grow our business and be successful those additional years.”

- Former Production Manager, Monsanto, Decatur, AL who reported to Ralph


I worked closely with Ralph for several years while I was an advisor to John Sheptor, the CEO of Imperial Sugar. Ralph was a unique addition to a turnaround team who was charged with revitalizing a company on life-support after a tragic explosion at one of its plants. He brought a calm persistence and forward thinking in carrying the motivational message of the CEO into action as the plant was re-built and re-opened. Ralph has a unique perspective on the combination of technical knowledge and people skills you do not see very often. He believes in people and they believe in him.
- July 10, 2013, CEO Expert Consultant who worked directly with Ralph at Manufacturing & Engineering Imperial Sugar Company