Our Team

Ron Slee is a third-generation educator and it is easy to say that teaching and training are in his blood. From his beginnings as a coach, through his time at McGill University, Ron developed a foundation for the work he does today.

Ron began his work in the Capital Goods Industry in Canada, finally establishing his consulting business, R.J. Slee and Associates, in 1980. The company moved to the United States in 1983, and has continued worldwide ever since. Ron has been known as the industry expert for years, and has brought this expertise to bear through his training programs.

Today, Ron provides specialized, job function based online training classes, skills assessments, seminars and webinars. These courses are designed for manufacturers and their dealers, as well as independent businesses in the construction equipment, light industrial, on-highway, engine, and agricultural industries through Learning Without Scars. This platform is a continuation of the work begun by Quest, Learning Centers which was established in 1996. This training is aimed at improving dealer parts and service operations through qualified people that are knowledgeable in using operational metrics and current market and operational best practice methods. There are more than one dozen different Skills Assessments and more than 90 individual classes available today. These courses and assessments cover the many job functions and leadership roles within the Capital Goods Industry, designed with the highest of standards. Learning Without Scars will continue the legacy provided by Quest which has conducted parts and service training for parts and service management and supervision for Komatsu, Volvo and Charles Machine Works (Ditch Witch), to name just a few.

Ron has appeared as a keynote speaker for Caterpillar, John Deere (Industrial and Agriculture), various agricultural associations and construction equipment associations, as well as the National Trailer Dealers Association and the National Truck Equipment Association.

Ron also conducts market research for the Industry and has written numerous articles on pertinent subjects relating to market penetration, productivity and dealer profitability, including monthly columns in the Construction Equipment Distribution magazine and Water Well Journal and other manufacturers publications, i.e. “The Supporter” at Volvo. Sitting on advisory and fiduciary boards round out Ron’s business activities.

Ron and his wife Marlene call Hawaii home today, with many visits to family in California.

Caroline Slee-Poulos is a fourth-generation educator and brings her deep love of lifelong learning to everything she does.

In addition to being the Curriculum Designer for Learning Without Scars, Caroline teaches AVID and English to Middle School students. She is also the rising AVID Coordinator for her school site, which is a new role for her. She says that she gets to experience the best of both worlds: teaching students in the traditional classroom, and using technology to develop classes for students in the virtual classroom. Building success for students is the aspect of teaching that brings her the most joy.

A mom, a wife, and a writer, Caroline spends her free time writing fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She enjoys getting outdoors for hiking, running, and swimming. A triathlete, Caroline is the most indefatigable member of the team at Learning Without Scars.

Steven Johnson retired from Associated Equipment Distributors in 2020 as Vice President of Academic Accreditation. While there, he grew the number of AED Accredited college programs to forty, and established AED Recognition of equipment programs for high schools. These include CAT ThinkBIG, John Deere Construction and Forestry and Komatsu ACT technical college programs. A robust online technical assessment and system were also created to measure students’ technical knowledge prior to matriculation and upon graduation. Established in 1919, AED is an international trade association based in Schaumburg, IL, representing over 500 construction equipment distributors, manufacturers and industry-service firms in North America. Established in 1991 and directed by AED members, The AED Foundation addresses school partnerships, career promotion and research in the industry. This includes AED Foundation Accreditation of college diesel-equipment technology programs. Steve earned his MBA degree from Northern Illinois University. Prior to AED, he was Director of Marketing & Customer Service at I-CAR, a large not-for-profit collision industry training organization. Before ICAR, he was Director of Marketing and Manager, Market Analysis & Planning at Chicago Rawhide, a business unit of AB SKF, a global bearings manufacturer based in Sweden. Steve is currently an independent contractor and advisor to Learning Without Scars.

Ross Atkinson spent his entire 33+ year career in the Heavy Equipment software marketplace with PFW/ADP/CDK before retiring in 2020. He was the architect and UI designer for most of the applications in the rewrite of the core Dealer Management System called IntelliDealer. Having been in many roles with the company from installation to ownership, he has first-hand knowledge of the system requirements of dealerships and the people who use it. His specialty was the ability to design and create solutions to ensure the best user software experience possible.

Ross has now brought his IT skills to help Ron improve the Learning Without Scars website in addition to launching podcasts, quarterly newsletters and other related resources.

Ross is an avid volunteer and has helped various organizations since 1999.  His real passion is for hiking and is the Chair of Operations for an organization which maintains 40 km (25 mi) of trails.  Ross enjoys developing and enhancing the trails to inspire people to explore nature.  He spearheads improvements and beautification projects with the help of a large volunteer pool who give selflessly of their time.