The original co-founders of Air Academy Associates, Dr. Mark Kiemele and Dr. Steve Schmidt, were professors in the math and computer science departments at the U.S. Air Force Academy. When they formed a consulting and publishing firm (after having consulting and training experience with defense contractors while on active duty), they chose Air Academy Press & Associates as the company name. (Textbooks are still published under the Air Academy Press & Associates name, though the company now does business as Air Academy Associates, LLC.) Many company names in the north Colorado Springs area include a reference to the Academy. In fact, one of the major north/south routes through the city is named Academy Boulevard.
Air Academy Associates and Digital Computations (www.sigmazone.com) are co-developers and co-copyright holders on multiple software packages used in our training services and available for sale to the general public through our Customer Service function. The two companies have worked together since 1992.
Our pioneering “Keep It Simple Statistically” (KISS) approach makes the material very easy to understand, and the training valuable but enjoyable. This strategy is world-renowned for minimizing statistical complexity to obtain the maximum amount of knowledge and ROI. Our simple yet effective “Rules of Thumb” make it easy to think statistically, while our knowledge-based pull system uses tools to achieve an even finer level of granularity than DMAIC project methodology.
At the conclusion of each training session, class participants complete an evaluation form which rates us on a scale of 1 to 5 in a number of areas, including Course Objectives, Instructor Delivery, Covered Topics, Training Manuals, Group Exercises and Overall Class Value. We review the evaluations from each session and input the responses into a database that allows us to review stats by such categories as Course, Consultant, and Client, among others. We use this data to help improve our materials and our performance, as instructor scores are part of our consultant evaluation process.
Our experience tells us that the best way to move an organization forward is through simple, easy-to-use software that the students are already familiar with. We also believe that if special training is required to use a software package, then that software is too complicated. Since most everyone is already familiar with Microsoft® Excel, it provided a great base upon which to build our suite of Six Sigma software. Of course, ease-of-use, cost, complexity, capability and the culture of the organization are also factors to consider when selecting software. We have no objection to students using whatever software packages their company has licensed for their work outside of the classroom. In fact, many of our customers have Minitab licenses. (For a more detailed explanation of our position on software, please Click here for our KISS Software Rationale)
Only individuals who have successfully satisfied our “Train the Trainer” requirements are eligible to teach from our guides inside their employer company. Customers who have licensed our materials for unlimited use inside their organization are also restricted to utilizing trainers who have met our “Train the Trainer” requirements. The specific requirements are a function of the training materials the customer wishes to use and may include such qualifications as a Black Belt, passing score on a knowledge assessment, completion of our 7-Day “Train the Trainer” course, and co-instruction with one of our consultants. However, satisfying these requirements does NOT constitute an authorization to teach from our materials as an independent consultant. (For complete details, contact an Air Academy University staff member.)
In addition to meeting the requirements outlined in the prior question, Air Academy consultants must have a minimum of five years of successful teaching and consulting experience, preferably from within an organization committed to continuous process improvement, and a demonstrated commitment to our KISS philosophy, software, and materials. For those interested in purchasing and utilizing Air Academy’s training manuals as part of their own consulting business, you must meet the requirements outlined above and also execute an Independent Contractor agreement which details the royalties due to Air Academy Associates for the use of our name.
For additional information about becoming an Air Academy consultant or using our training manuals in your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.