Gary P. Cox


iSixSigma Membership


Gary P. Cox


Gary P. Cox, Creator of The Cox-Box

It started in the small English town of Woolwich on the edge of London. That’s where Gary Peter Cox was born. At age 10, his parents decided that to give their sons greater opportunities in life, the family would emigrate to Canada. They settled in Nova Scotia.

That’s how the story of the creator of The Cox-Box cartoon begins. But perhaps it is better to let Gary, in his own words, pick up the story a little closer to the present, where he still lives in Nova Scotia and works for Canada Post.

Toward the end of a grueling process that was to result in my certification as a Six Sigma Black Belt in 2005, I was thinking; ‘How can I put this training to use without actually having to do any regression analysis or hypothesis testing?’

The training had almost killed me, especially multiple curvilinear regression. I think my brain was clinically dead, but the instructor would not stop teaching.So I did the only thing I could — I kept trying to learn…and kept drawing. Drawing is about the most natural thing I do, next to breathing. (Six Sigma is somewhere down the list of the top 100.) Every morning in the class, I would draw a cartoon on the flip chart based on the material taught the day before. It was all I could do to give myself some sense of accomplishment. Plus it made me review the coursework during the evenings.

Well, after five weeks of cartoons during a six-month training period, one instructor said she knew the publisher of a Six Sigma magazine who might like my artwork. This led someone in the class (who had obviously paid attention during the lesson about Box-Cox transformation) to suggest that if I were going to be transforming Six Sigma into a cartoon strip, I needed to call it “The Cox-Box”…. The rest is pretty much reflected in regular cartoons in iSixSigma Magazine and here on’s Blogosphere.

In Aug 07 I will have been with Canada Post for 29 years, and I’ve had a diverse experience of service. The latest is in the role of director of process design and improvement. That title is much easier to explain than my last title, which was ‘process excellence advisor.’ At least director of PD&I (which I have come to think of as Pretty Darn Important) is self-explanatory. Although, now Canada Post has created a Lean Sigma Center and a few of use are in pursuit of a Master Black Belt certification, so the title will again change. It’ll require even more explainationthan Process Excellene Advisor to those who inquire, for once I say I’m a “Master Black Belt”, I can hear their response now, “I didn’t know you knew Karate, what happened to your job at the Post Office?”

As for my education, I treat it as I do processes…always looking for continuous improvement. In addition to my Black Belt training, I have received several certifications from St. Mary’s University. I’ve attended countless courses and programs, and try to make it a goal to read a book a month, on average, and as mentioned I’m now in pursuit of certification as a Master Black Belt — the bright side of that is I can always use new cartoon material.

I also get inspiration and encouragement from my wife, Heather, to whom I have been married for 29 years this coming August, and our two daughters, Danielle, 21, and Chelsea, 17. In fact, Heather has heard enough about my Six Sigma training and project woes to be certified as a Black Belt counselor – she’s really looking forward to me taking Master Black Belt training.

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