The Next Step: Continuous Improvement to Retirement

Michigan Department of Treasury
3 min readMar 24, 2022
Cole stands in the Hall of Treasurers which contains portraits of current and previous treasurers for the state of Michigan. Austin Building, Lansing, MI.
Cole served under previous treasurer, Nick Khouri and current treasurer, Rachael Eubanks.

Please join the Department of Treasury in congratulating R Cole Bouck on his retirement from the state of Michigan (SOM) on March 31, after more than 36 years of service. Cole currently serves as administrator of the Michigan Department of Treasury’s Continuous Improvement and Engagement Division (CIED).

In August 1985, Cole hired into the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) as a correctional officer shortly after graduating from Michigan State University. He was a member of the George L. Kropp Corrections Academy Class, and went on to experience a well-rounded and distinguished career with MDOC.

Earning his Master of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University in 1991, Cole continued advancing his career within the Correctional Facilities Administration (CFA). In 2010 he was selected to serve as the department’s legislative liaison for what Cole recalls as “one heck of a year” — comparing it to an internship few people have the privilege of experiencing. In this role, Cole was successful in seeing two bills important to MDOC’s Michigan State Industries program signed into law.

Continuous Improvement

The state of Michigan began initiating performance measurement tools across agencies in 2011, solidifying its continuous improvement (CI) and engagement practices as an enterprise. With a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt™ from Oakland University, Cole took on leading CI efforts for MDOC; it was this work that led him to the Michigan Department of Treasury and to the second half of his career. Cole later attained certification as a Lean Process Improvement (LPI) facilitator through the State of Michigan’s Office of Continuous Improvement (OCI).

After more than 31 years with MDOC, Cole accepted a continuous improvement opportunity to lead and grow Treasury’s performance measurement, employee engagement, culture of service, and strategic planning and alignment. One of his proudest accomplishments has been refining and broadly institutionalizing Treasury’s Problem-Solving A3 Framework as an agency CI methodology.

Cole can be equally proud of his impact on workplace culture. Throughout his tenure at both MDOC and Treasury, Cole has been a consistent advocate and voice on matters of diversity and inclusion — particularly those impacting LGBT persons.


Inspiring his own service-based career with SOM, Cole’s stepmom, Josephine H. Tomancik retired from the Michigan Department of Transportation in 1992, having served MDOT for 50 years and 26 days. Josephine’s life’s work for the residents of Michigan was a legacy to emulate, and Cole honors the integrity and dedication his stepmom demonstrated.

In retirement, Cole shares that he expects more trips between Lansing and New Orleans, where his husband, Tiong Gim Aw, Ph.D., is a microbiologist and serves as a professor and researcher at Tulane University.

We extend our very best wishes to Cole, along with sincere appreciation for all he has accomplished for Treasury and the state of Michigan. ~

Cole is pretending to open a vault at MI Treasury
Sorry, no souvenirs!

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Michigan Department of Treasury

The Department of Treasury is committed to maintaining Michigan’s financial integrity. Contact: 517-335-7508