Convergent Performers

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Partners

The four partners of Convergent Performance, LLC founded the company with one simple goal in mind: to combine their unique ideas and diverse experience to create rigorous human factors programs which would be years ahead of their contemporaries in any given high-risk industry and would create lasting improvements in human performance.


Tony KernTony Kern, Ed.D., (CEO) is one of the world’s leading authorities on human performance in time-constrained, error-intolerant environments, and has written and lectured on the subject around the globe for nearly two decades.

Dr. Kern has received multiple awards for his work, including Aviation Week & Space Technology 2002 Laurels Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government and Military, the University Aviation Association’s John K. Lauber Safety Award (2015), and the Flight Safety Foundation-Airbus Human Factors in Aviation Safety Award (2015). While Tony is grateful to have won these and other awards, it’s a completely different honor to have an award named after you. In 2015, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) announced the creation of the Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation award, and at the NBAA National Safety Forum in 2016, NBAA President Ed Bolan announced the first 19 award recipients.

Dr. Kern has authored eight books on human performance, and is a featured columnist and contributing editor for Canadian Skies, Vertical, and Vertical 911 magazines. Over the past decade, he has broadened his approach beyond aviation. In his latest book, The Ghost of Nathan Hale (North Slope Publications, 2016) he details how declining public trust in government is an existential threat to America and the world itself, and provides strong motivation and a step-by-step path for restoring the integrity of government.

Dr. Kern served in the U.S. Air Force as a command pilot and flight examiner in the B-1B bomber, in diverse senior staff and leadership roles, and as Chairman of the U.S. Air Force Human Factors Steering Group. He is also a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and the U.S. Federal Government Senior Executive Service Development Program.

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Pat DailyPat Daily, M.S., (Founding Partner) spent 12 years of active duty service and 18 years as a reserve officer in the US Air Force, where he flew as an operational pilot in F-4 and F-16 aircraft. He is a graduate of, and later instructed at, the USAF Test Pilot School, has flown and evaluated over 60 types of aircraft, instructed US and allied pilots in upset recovery techniques in a variety of aircraft, and is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. In addition to teaching cadets how to fly T-41s, Mr. Daily taught aeronautical engineering at the US Air Force Academy.

Mr. Daily has flown for American Airlines, Texas Air Aces, and Aviation Safety Training and holds an ATP and a CFI. Prior to founding Convergent Performance, he was the director of Honeywell’s Defense and Space Electronics Systems at Johnson Space Center where he managed the steam to glass program for the Space Shuttle, as well as guidance, navigation and control projects for the International Space Station and the space shuttle. He is also a Six Sigma Black Belt and has led quality improvement projects in aerospace and education.

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Chris LutatChristopher J. Lutat, B.S., (President of Government and Aerospace) is a graduate of the U. S. Coast Guard Academy and served the Coast Guard as a Search and Rescue Pilot and Instructor Pilot. Prior to his designation as a Coast Guard aviator, he served aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Evergreen as a Deck Watch Officer, Communications Officer and Boarding Officer. He served as a Falcon 20G “Guardian” Aircraft Commander and instructor and was among the initial cadre of U. S. Coast Guard human factors facilitators. He holds an Air Transport Pilot certificate and type ratings in several commercial aircraft, and currently operates the Boeing MD11 family of aircraft. He has been a pioneer in bringing advanced technology procedures, interfaces, CRM and airmanship to organizations around the world.

Chris has led Convergent’s Advanced and Emerging Technology team for over ten years. He has been guiding organizations of all sizes through the transition from legacy aircraft to advanced fleets through developing policies, procedures and practices associated with safe, smooth, efficient operation of advanced aircraft. Both his extensive field work and research have made him a popular speaker on the subject of human-machine interface, and he has addressed military and civilian audiences at a variety of forums around the world.
 
Chris is the co-author of “Automation Airmanship: Nine Principles for Operating Glass Cockpit Aircraft” (in press, McGraw-Hill Professional). Chris is also a Captain, Check Airman and Instructor Pilot for a major global airline, operating wide-bodied, glass cockpit aircraft on world-wide routes. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.
 

Ken StahlKenneth D. Stahl, M.D., F.A.C.S., (President of Healthcare) is an internationally recognized expert in adapting principles of aviation safety to the healthcare industry to increase patient safety. Dr. Stahl is board-certified in cardiothoracic surgery as well as surgical critical care and general surgery. He has been involved in many aspects of clinical medicine and medical research for over 20 years. He is also an FAA certified airline transport pilot (ATP) and has logged thousands of hours in the cockpit. He is the author of over 75 text book chapters, peer reviewed publications and presentations on a variety of clinical and systems topics that include surgical teamwork and team training, patient safety and the High Reliability Mindset.

Dr. Stahl has been one of the pioneers in the role of robotics and computer-assisted surgery in modern operating rooms and has taught numerous courses on robotic-assisted surgery as well as performed surgical procedures all over the world. He has developed simulator models to teach surgeons robotic and endoscopic techniques. As a pilot he has type ratings in various complex, high performance aircraft and has additional experience in acrobatic flying. He continues to practice surgery full-time.


 

Home Team

AndyAndy Kay - Instructional Media Developer, Leading Edge Program Manager

Andy has been with Convergent Performance since November 2006 when he helped set up the Quantico, Virginia office with Tony Kern, specifically to manage the eLearning portion of the successful U.S. Marine Corps G-WOE program. Originally from England, Andy came to us with a background in eLearning development and web design, and brings with him his own aviation experience serving in the British Royal Air Force, followed by a number of years with the Air Force of the Sultanate of Oman. Andy continues to manage our Learning Management System and develop eLearning courses, and also handles our video projects, both shooting and editing. He met and married his wife in London where she was stationed at the American Embassy with the U.S. Navy, and they have one son currently attending college in Kentucky. They made the move out to Colorado Springs in 2011 to be part of the Convergent family here.


 

Marcie

Marcie Miller - Graphic Designer

Marcie is a team-oriented, self-directed executive support professional with over 20 years of experience, and has been with Convergent Performance since November 2009. In 2007, Marcie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Buffalo State University of New York College with a B.A. degree in Communications and a writing minor. During her time there, she received the Academic Excellence Award, Outstanding Student in Communication Studies Award, and was a member of the Student Honor Society of the National Communication Association. She also holds an A.A. in Interior Design from Bryant & Stratton College. Since graduating, Marcie has developed her skills in graphic design, offering her creative eye and software skills to Convergent Performance’s growing design needs. She conceptualizes, designs, and produces most of our marketing and workshop materials, along with designing custom content for our clients. During her free time, Marcie enjoys photography, volunteering with local animal shelters, and spending time with her family.


Paul

Paul Miller – Technical Writer/Editor, IT Department Lead

Paul has been writing and editing documents for Convergent Performance since 2010. His love for—and innate ability with—all things technology quickly made him the “IT guy” at the company. As lead technical writer, he was instrumental on the C-27J aircraft flight manual rewrite project. Paul graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he also minored in communication. In his free time, Paul enjoys playing mini golf with his family, writing fiction, and reading anything he can get his hands on.

 


DougDoug Downey - President, Project Manager, Senior Instructor

Doug Downey is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and served over 24 years as a college instructor, Combat Logistician, Commander, and as a Fighter Pilot qualified in the F-16 Viper and F-117 Stealth. He served as an instructor pilot, functional check pilot, and air show demonstration pilot. He is a career Safety Officer qualified in Crew Resource Management, Safety Management Systems, Root Cause Analysis and accident investigations with experience as an Investigator, Analyst, Chief of Safety, and Aircraft Mishap Board President. He also served as a as an Advance Agent for Air Force One and President G.W. Bush for five years, and later as a Diplomat to Pakistan. In Pakistan he directly consulted the Government on the redesign of F-16 tactical operations, national airspace use, and safety program management and enterprise risk management for the entire Pakistani Air Force.

Doug joined the Convergent Performance team in 2014, and brought with him a breadth of experience in leadership, training, risk mitigation, safety management systems, and process improvement. He has a Bachelor's Degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master's Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In addition to instructing cadets how to fly T-52s (Diamond) and T-53s (Cirrus), he was the Deputy Director of Cadet Training & Education responsible for all curriculum development and strategic planning of assessment and tactical training of over 4,000 cadets.

Doug is recognized as an industry expert in Risk Management, Safety Management Systems, Safety Program Management, and Aviation Accident and Mishap Investigations. He is a successful author of industry research studies and periodical columns. He also is certified by the International Society of Safety Professionals (ISSP) as a Registered Safety Professional. 


VanessaVanessa Shawver - Operations Manager

Vanessa is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where she majored in Journalism and Public Relations. She joined Convergent Performance in September 2016 with 24 years military experience, including ten years in the US Army where she served as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot and commander, followed by five years in the Georgia and Colorado Army National Guards as an Officer Candidate School instructor and commander. She transitioned into the US Air Force Reserves in 2008, where she worked extensively in electronic warfare and served as an Aerial Event Coordinator for the US Air Force Academy. Vanessa’s enthusiasm and boundless energy ensures the day-to-day continuity of Convergent Operations including production, delivery, and quality control. Vanessa also manages to juggle six dogs and four kids, as well as volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children of the Pikes Peak Region and facilitator for the local Food for Thought organization working to encourage respectful dialogue in the community regarding important local issues. In her spare time, she loves to run, swim, and read, as well as organizing events alongside her husband and the local Pikes Peak Road Runners organization.


KerryKerry Ciulla - Executive Assistant

Kerry is a motivated executive support professional with over 15 years of diverse experience, and has been with Convergent Performance since February 2017. Kerry has held administrative support roles in investment banking, web design, property management, medical and law fields. She also has 4 years of experience working in Human Resources.

Kerry is a native of Massachusetts and moved to Colorado with her 3 teenage boys 8 years ago. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, watching her boys play hockey, hiking, camping, exploring Colorado by motorcycle, and attending concerts.


GaryGary Cedeno - Instructor, Maintenance Human Factors

Gary has sixteen years of aviation experience working as a technician and service manager. Gary served in the US Army where he was responsible for ensuring the operations and readiness of Blackhawk and UH-72A Lakota helicopters. Additionally, Gary served with the US Army - Multinational Forces in Sinai, Egypt where he performed duties as a Spanish interpreter between the US Forces and Uruguayan and Columbian Armies. Gary is passionate about improving aviation safety and standards and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in Applied Science. He is also a small business owner that enjoys restoring cars and spending time with his family.


ShaeShae Comstock - Marketing, Customer Service

Shae is originally from Bemus Point, NY, and is a 1996 graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, where she majored in Communications. She moved to Colorado Springs in 2003 and worked in local radio, television and internet marketing & sales. Her early career was on air in both television and as a radio DJ. In her spare time you can find her with her husband and kids doing many running races across El Paso County with the Pikes Peak Road Runners. For the past 12 years she has been the President of the Colorado Springs Buffalo Bills Backers chapter and a member of the school PTO.


 

Away Team

Ryan

S. Ryan Swah, BSAE, MSAE, MSAS - Senior Automation SME - Advanced & Emerging Technology, Content Manager

Ryan is a retired U.S. Navy Captain with experience in attack, fighter, and transport aircraft. He is also a retired FedEx Express Captain where he flew the MD-11 and held positions as an FAA Aircraft Program Designee, Line Check Airman, Proficiency Check Airman, Standards Check Airman, Aircraft Technical Pilot, Flight Standards Manager, and Senior Flight Standards Manager. Captain Swah leverages his expertise in glass cockpit, automation checklists, procedures, and flight manuals as the Content Manager of Convergent Performance, LLC. Ryan holds the following degrees: a BSAE from the United States Naval Academy, an MSAE from Princeton and an MSAS from The University of West Florida.

 


Dan

Dan Boedigheimer, Ph.D. - Senior Instructor, Aviation Human Factors

Dan joined the Convergent Performance team in 2009 while working on his doctoral dissertation. Dan’s project was to research the effectiveness of the Pilot Reliability Certification (PRC) Program. The results of that research were published in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board in December, 2010. Dan currently is a Lead Human Factors Facilitator for Convergent Performance. Dan has held positions as an FAA Aircraft Program Designee, Pilot Proficiency Examiner, Check Airman, Instructor Pilot, Flight Standards Manager, Training Manager, and Captain for Part 135 Air Carriers and Part 91 corporate flight departments. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with over 5,000 hours of flight experience in business jets, as well as a Gold Seal Certified Flight Instructor certificate. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Minnesota State University, a Master’s Degree in Aviation Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Science from North Central University. He is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Academic Honor Society. A native from Minnesota, Dan lives near Monument, CO, with his wife Jodie and their two children. They enjoy the Colorado outdoors: hiking, camping, and snowboarding.


 

RichelleRichelle Heflin – Certified Instructor and QA SME

Richelle Heflin joins the Convergent Performance team as a seasoned professional and aviator with 18 years of experience as an officer and pilot in the United States Air Force. She currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and is active in the reserves at the United States Air Force Academy, where she serves as a flight instructor to cadets in training in the T-53A Cirrus aircraft. Richelle attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, on an AFROTC scholarship and graduated in 1997 with a B.A. in Mathematics. Throughout her career, she has been an active member in her community volunteering at her church, her children’s school, and in local crisis centers providing aid to those in need. She is married to Patrick Heflin, a United Airlines Pilot since 2000, who is currently on military leave. Together they live in Colorado Springs, Colorado with their three children Allison (10), Katherine (7), and Benjamin (3).


 

Mabel

Mabel Rivera, Ph.D. - Senior Associate, Human Factors and Education

Mabel is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, and serves as a consultant for Convergent Performance, LLC. Dr. Rivera has delivered multiple national and international presentations on the instruction and assessment of students with special needs, as well as reducing human error in high-risk industries. She is a former public school teacher with over 15 years of experience, and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in teacher preparation programs focused on characteristics and methods for teaching students with disabilities. As a teacher, she also served as trainer of the Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and the Targeted Aggression Control Training. Her research interests include the prevention and remediation of academic difficulties in children. She is a native Spanish speaker and is currently conducting research in local low-performing schools.


ToddTodd Ring - Senior Instructor, Subject Matter Expert

Todd has a very diverse range of experience, focused on training and team building with over 20 years of diverse aviation experience. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Texas and a Master's Degree in Aeronautical Science with an emphasis in Aviation Human Factors from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He has been an instructor in numerous high-risk environments including shipboard engineering, weapons training and advanced flight instruction leading and evaluating individual and team training. Todd provides us with expertise of Safety Management Systems, Crew Resource Management, Human Factors, CRM Instruction, and Training Audits. He is an IS-BAO certified auditor.


 

Jim Bridwell – Certified Instructor and QA SME

Following military experience as an intelligence case officer in Washington, D.C., Jim taught math and science in a public school while building his flying experience. His aviation career “officially” started as a flight instructor and charter pilot based at Boeing Field in Seattle, and progressed to bank mail pilot and commuter airline pilot in the Pacific Northwest, to Airbus A300 instructor for Eastern Airlines in Miami, and to Director of Training for Ozark Airlines in St. Louis. For the past 4 years Jim has been associated with Convergent Performance and Blue Threat Enterprises, instructing the concepts of the Global War on Error at FedEx, an Alaska Christian missionary aviation department, and the Boeing executive flight department. He has over 20,000 hours of flight experience, and has type ratings in SW4, Be1900, Be300, B727 and B737 aircraft.


Rick Knight – Certified Instructor and QA SME

Rick’s love of flying began when he soloed on his 18th birthday in 1969. The following year he attended Embry Riddle University, where he obtained his Commercial and Instrument ratings. He became a Flight Instructor and charter pilot in 1975, but was looking for more, and found what he was looking for in the Indiana Air National Guard, where he spent 15 years flying the F-100, F4C, and F4E. In 1979, Rick was hired by American Airlines and was there for 35 years. In 2000, he became an S-80 Check Airman, and in 2004 took on the additional assignment of teaching Human Factors. In 2008, he began the job of programming all 5 Human Factors classes for both Qualification and Continuing Qualification training, all while maintaining his job as a 737 Check Airman and Human Factors Instructor. Additionally, Rick was responsible for programming the FAA mandated Fatigue program presented to all AA Pilots. He continued these jobs until his retirement in March 2015. Rick is fully committed to the idea that reducing Human Error and increasing Professionalism is the best defense against the Blue Threat.


Craig Prichard – Certified Instructor and QA SME

Craig is a 20-year military aviator with a primary background as an instructor pilot in the T-6, T-37, B-1B, and T-41/52/53 platforms. He has spent over 3,000 flight hours trying to figure out how to maximize performance in himself and others—from the youngest aviators (Academy Cadets & invincible 2nd Lieuts.) to seasoned combat veterans. Now serving as a flight instructor for the Air Force’s Initial Flight Training School in Pueblo, Colorado, his quest for perfection continues. His five children and beautiful wife have no difficulty in reminding him that he has a very long way to go—in a wide range of areas. But he remains undeterred, and will continue the fight, because the price for giving in, or giving up, is much too high. He is honored and excited to be a part of the United Moving Ahead—As One program.