The Business Center was established in 1988 by Don Barkman to provide consulting and training services in the areas of human resources and organization development. Don helps clients achieve higher levels of organization performance through strategic leadership thinking and workforce education and participation. He is an approved Scanlon Plan consultant and a Scanlon Leadership Network Best Practices Silver Award Winner. Don personally consults on:

  • Open-book management
  • Business education
  • Skill-based pay
  • New plant start-ups
  • Organization change strategies
  • Management development
  • Team design
  • Team building/training

Don has created uniquely practical programs in these areas including: "BIZ WIZ®," "Journey to Excellence," Building Better Meetings," Training Others,"  "Effective Teams" and Team Leadership


Don has also written five books:  Business Basics Bestseller #1 Open Book Management -- Your EZ Intro to OBMSkill-Based Pay: Design & ImplementationStart-up! A Guide to Getting Off on the Right Foot, and MONEY: Make, Manage, & Multiply It!.


Domestic and international users of these materials include: Cargill, Coca-Cola Company, Hill's Pet Nutrition, International Paper, Martin Marietta Materials, Parker Hannifin, TRW, Valpak, and Weatherford International.  


Don's international work experience includes:

  • Pioneering work in Open-Book Management and business education for all employees.
  • Creation of self-directed work team organization and supporting HR systems.
  • Development of skill-based pay systems for both new and existing plants.
  • Design and delivery of training for employee work teams and team leaders.
  • Guidance of Continuous Quality Improvement effort for major division of a hospital.
  • Design of performance appraisal processes and training of managers and supervisors.
  • Survey/feedback on leadership practices for an award winning manufacturing plant.
  • Employee survey design, administration, and feedback.
  • Consultation on the creation of a multi-plant manufacturing network.
  • Redesign of the management system for an old unionized plant.
  • Coaching of managers and employees for presentations on business results.

Clients personally served by Don include:

  • A. E. Staley Mfg. Company — Corn syrup refining
  • AlliedSignal — Polymers manufacturing
  • Amylum Group (Europe) — Grain processing
  • Champion International — Paper and Forest Products
  • Hill's Pet Nutrition (Colgate-Palmolive) — Science Diet pet nutrition
  • Parker Hannifin Corporation — Diversified manufacturing
  • Pohlman Inc. — Aluminum machining
  • St. Mary's Medical Center — Healthcare
  • TRW Fuji Valve Inc. — Engine valves

Prior to establishing The Business Center, Don held a variety of human resources positions. At A. E. Staley Mfg. Co., he was manager of human resources and organization development for their new plant start-up in Loudon, TN. Don designed and implemented a participative team management system for the plant and later served on the corporate HRD staff. Prior to Staley, Don initiated and managed the corporate HRD function for Brown-Forman Corporation. At B-F he created an integrated system of training and administrative programs for objective setting, performance appraisal, career planning, and management development. He also successfully conducted the first corporate attitude survey and follow-up. Before B-F Don designed and conducted development programs for managerial and professional employees at Borg-Warner Chemicals. He was also the internal job design coordinator working with Roy Walters and Assoc.


Don holds a B.A. degree from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Ohio University. He has been a speaker at numerous national conferences including: American Society for Training & Development, Association for Quality & Participation, and the Ecology of Work.