The Edges of Lean — Ep 100 Continuous Improvement and Engineering the Life of Your Dreams with Zach White


Hey, this is The Edges of Lean’s 100th episode!  So I’m starting today with a message of gratitude to all of my listeners. Thank you for your support of the Edges of Lean! And if you are a listener who would like to tell your story on the Edges of Lean, reach out to me on LinkedIn! 

Zach White is an engineer, like many lean and continuous improvement professionals. He is here to share his story of discovering that his technical engineering knowledge was insufficient to help him have a successful career and a fulfilling lifestyle. Zach learned a lot in his journey from burnout to happiness, and now coaches engineering leaders in engineering their jobs and lifestyles. 

Zach White 

Zach White, is the Founder & CEO of OACO, a career coaching firm for engineering leaders, since July 2019. He is also the host of The Happy Engineer, the #1 podcast for engineering leadership. Previously, Zach spent over 11 years at Whirlpool Corporation in various roles, such as Senior Product Marketing Manager. Zach graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2008. He went on to do his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2011. 



00:02:31 – Creating success in a balanced way.
00:03:50 – Coaching is a leadership skill.
00:09:10 – The people side of engineering.
00:13:01 – Work-life balance
00:18:20 – The Women’s challenges in the workforce.
00:20:11 – Authenticity and self-discovery.
00:24:00 – Coaching vs. therapy.
00:27:45 – Stepping into the unknown.
00:32:09 – Ongoing support beyond 90 days.
00:35:00 – Sleep and nutrition importance.
00:39:10 – Disability and success perspectives.
00:44:50 – Mentorship for young professionals.
00:46:22 – Finding Your Happy Engineering Path.



  • The educational system in engineering focuses on technical knowledge but often neglects the people side of the profession. 
  • Coaching is a valuable tool for engineering leaders and professionals to help them build successful careers and fulfilling lifestyles. 
  • Coaching is about helping individuals achieve their goals and become better leaders and engineers. 
  • Coaching is a skill set that focuses on understanding how to help people step into their best and become their top performers. 
  • Work and life are interconnected, and it is crucial to take a whole-life perspective when considering success and fulfillment. 
  • Coaching can help individuals uncover their values, vision, and goals across all aspects of their lives. 
  • Coaching can be a deep and sometimes painful process. It contains facing fears, challenging old habits, and taking risks. 
  • Ongoing coaching support can be beneficial for maintaining momentum and executing new plans for personal and professional growth. 
  • Please note that these takeaways are based on the provided transcript and may not encompass all the information discussed in the full podcast episode.


Memorable Quotes From Zach White


“Coaching is looking forward, and it’s all about progress.”