Paul Akers

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Paul Akers
Born (1960-05-07) May 7, 1960 (age 58)
San Diego, California, U.S
Other namesPaul A. Akers
Alma materBiola University
OccupationAuthor, Speaker, Inventor, Management Consultant, Business Owner
Notable work2 Second Lean, Lean Health, Lean Travel

Paul Akers is an American author, businessman and internationally recognized expert on lean manufacturing principles.[1] Paul was listed among the "Top 3 Industry Thought Leaders" in the world along with Elon Musk and Richard Branson by the Business Transformation and Operational Excellence World Summit Report on November 20, 2017 (page 31).[2]


Paul is the founder and president of FastCap, a product development company that specializes in woodworking tools, innovations, and hardware for professional builders and wood artisans.[3] FastCap has thousands of distributors worldwide in over 40 countries. Paul’s interest in continuous improvement paved the way for him to become a prolific inventor and business innovator. He holds several U.S. and International patents himself and his company also launches approximately 20 to 30 new products by additional inventors each year. FastCap has won Business of the Year for its region[4] and Paul has also won Seattle Business Magazine’s prestigious Business Executive of the Year Award.[5]

Akers’ started building guitars with his mentor Bob Taylor at Taylor Guitars and Musical Instruments in California right out of high school. He then graduated with a degree in education from Biola University and started his career in inner-city ministry in the Los Angeles area as a Pastor with his wife Leanne. A few years later Paul took his degree, skills, and influence into the classroom as a teacher.[6] Still searching for his passion, he went back to working and building with his hands as a furniture, cabinet, and home builder. That's when he devised the invention that completely changed the trajectory of his career. In his garage in 1997, Paul developed his first product: the FastCap. It's a quick and simplified solution to cover and hide screw holes with a tiny adhesive cap that blends in with the wood around it.

That idea turned into a manufacturing business that required employees, products, equipment, inventory, and space to make it all happen. Overwhelmed with a multitude of tasks, personnel, and major financial decisions he faced on a daily basis that could either make or break the business, Paul realized the need for another solution. That search led to the concept of Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System (TPS). It had an immediate and positive impact and was instrumental in propelling FastCap forward.[7]

Today, FastCap is followed by thousands of companies around the world. Leaders from a wide variety of industries including healthcare,[8] education,[9] government,[10] business,[11] and manufacturing learn through their resources and often visit FastCap to actually see the concepts of how "Lean" can help their own organizations thrive. Akers is also an author, lean teacher, host of The American Innovator show,[12][13] and travels the world as a speaker/consultant offering advice to companies and organizations seeking to create a more positive and effective atmosphere as part of their own unique culture.[7]

(Additional references),[14][15][16]

Personal life[edit]

The grandchild of Greek immigrants, Paul was born and raised in San Diego, California. He became an Eagle Scout at 14,[17][18] and began innovating as a child, cobbling bike and motorcycle parts together. In 7th-grade wood shop, Paul started learning the tools of the trade that would later turn into a career, a company, and eventually a corporation. His artistry with woodworking caught the attention of famed Taylor Guitars co-founder and lead designer Bob Taylor. Akers watched and learned from Taylor and gained inspiration and respect for Taylor's attention to skill and detail while following his creative passion.[19] Two years later, Akers entered college at Biola University where he met northwest native, Leanne Kolbe. Paul graduated with honors, in 1983, with a degree in education.

That same year Leanne and Paul got married. Summertime visits to Leanne’s parents near Bellingham gave Paul glimpses of what he described as “the most beautiful place in the world,”[20] and the couple moved to Bellingham, Washington in 1993 to raise their son and daughter. With experience as a developer and contractor, Akers built their family home near Bellingham, along with much of the furniture in it.

Paul's experience with Lean Manufacturing transferred beyond just business. It inspired him to apply lean to everything from government and politics to education and exercise. As part of his physical lean journey, Paul competed in and finished two Ironman Triathlon competitions just a month apart during the summer of 2017.,[21][22]

The "lean" living concept also led Paul to author a series of books on leading a lean lifestyle in both the office and at home.

Political Life[edit]

In 2010 Akers set his sights on reforming government with his lean ideals.[20] His concept was to essentially put the government on a diet.

The race started well for Akers among the top of the pack.,[23] making national headlines when conservative Fox News Channel commentator Dick Morris,[24] gave a very enthusiastic assessment of Akers potential and encouraged the businessman and political unknown to run.[25]

Republican party leaders had a different vision though, and brought in a candidate that they were already vested in. They eventually convinced former state senator and 2004 candidate for Governor Dino Rossi to join the race May 26, 2010, just in time to get his name on the ballot for the August primary. After having invested several millions in previous high profile state races, top Republican leaders and large donors finally recruited Rossi to challenge Democratic Senator Patty Murray for the US Senate seat and the momentum of the race shifted.[26]

Rossi lost the general election after winning the primary among the republican candidates[27] and Akers moved on from politics to forge ahead toward making the aspirations he spoke of on the campaign trail a reality. He started an initiative called Lean America to follow through with those campaign goals of helping government and business become more lean.[28] Paul's efforts to implement lean effectiveness in government and the private sector continue both domestically and internationally.


Paul's early career as a teacher came full circle, although his classroom is a bit larger now as he speaks to international audiences and consults with businesses all over the world. It starts with morning meetings sharing leadership, and training his team at FastCap to also lead and teach each other. It also includes a mobile classroom on "Lean" and business improvement concepts that Paul shares through his videos, interviews, and books, as well as his global consulting and speaking engagements.[29] He gets approximately 2 to 3 speaking requests a day and is on the road almost as often as he's in the shop at FastCap. The company conducts tours of its facility which is consistently visited by local and international clients alike.[30]

Akers is a frequent guest on radio, television shows, podcasts, vlogs, and blogs,[31][32][33] and has had his own radio show, turned video blog, called The American Innovator.[12] He also has his own YouTube channel featuring inventions, improvements, and innovations along with his world travels to unique destinations.[34]

He's been a TEDx talk featured speaker on innovation,[35][36] and has traveled to over 65 countries as a lean ambassador.[37] Paul has worked with the United States Navy, IDF Israel Defense Forces, major European Banks as well companies and organizations all around the world.[38]


Akers is known in the publishing world as Paul A. Akers.

Looking for a quick and simple way for anyone to succeed at "Lean", Akers wrote his first book, 2 Second Lean in 2011. The tenacity for the "continuous improvement" Paul often talks about in the book, resulted in a second and most recent third edition as well.

2 Second Lean is being implemented in homes, businesses, schools, governments, and organizations worldwide.[39][40][41][8][42]

The book also won the prestigious international Shingo award in 2017[43]


2 Second Lean - 3rd Edition: How to Grow People and Build a Fun Lean Culture. This book has been made in print, eBook, and audio-book in multiple languages.,[44][45]

  • Akers, Paul A. 2 Second Lean - 3rd Ed. (eBook). FastCap Press. ISBN 9780984662296.
  • Akers, Paul A. 2 Second Lean - 3rd Ed. (paperback). FastCap Press. ISBN 978-0984662289.
  • Akers, Paul A. 2 Second Lean - 3rd Ed. (Audible). FastCap Press. ASIN B00TIXVK9A.

Lean Health - Aging in Reverse was then published in 2015. It explores applying the "lean" lifestyle to exercise and eating healthy and was created in print, eBook, and audio-book formats.,[46][47]

Lean Travel: Travel Light With a Full Heart is the third book published by Paul A. Akers. It applies "Lean" to traveling lightly and simply and was created in print, eBook, and audio-book formats.,[48][49]


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  23. ^ Brunner, Jim (August 4, 2010). "Didier and Akers get their shot at Rossi". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
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  25. ^ Durbin, Kathie (July 12, 2010). "Senate hopeful seeks diet for government". The Columbian. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
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  27. ^ "Elections: August 17, 2010 Primary". Washington Secretary of State.
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