Andy 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.
Jay Dankoff - Senior Instructor, Maintenance Human Factors
Jay has ten years of aviation experience, holds an A&P license, and is a senior Dean’s list Aviation Management graduate from Eastern Michigan University.
Jay served in the Navy as an F/A-18 Egress Technician in the Iraq war. Regularly ranked as the number one technician in his command, Jay became known as the “go-to guy” with respect to aircraft inspection and the training of sailors for inspection certification.
Moved by the number of injuries experienced by aircraft technicians, Jay has focused his career and education on improving safety standards and programs in aviation through the study of human factors, maintenance resource management, and safety management systems.
Jay is on the NBAA Maintenance Committee, listed on the IS-BAH Standards Board, and has recently been honored as one of the 2015 winners of the AMT magazine’s NextGen 40 under 40 Aircraft Maintenance Professionals.
In his personal life, Jay enjoys hiking and golfing and lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, daughter, and Great Dane.
Kacy Schwartz – Director of Strategic Partnerships
Kacy started with Convergent Performance as a research intern in 2008, transitioned to the first full-time sales role in 2009, and by 2011 was managing all Customer Care and Business Development. Her sunny personality and ability to build instant and lasting rapport with people is a major reason why clients continue to work with us year after year. Kacy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology from the University of Texas, and has spent the last 12 years volunteering for Destination Imagination. Kacy and her husband enjoy all facets of Colorado's outdoor amenities in their free time (snowboarding, hiking, camping, fishing) and take their Chihuahuas Jackie and Charlie with them as often as possible.
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 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.
Doug Downey - Project Manager, Senior Instructor, Subject Matter Expert
Doug is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and served over 21 years Active Duty as a Combat Logistician, Commander, and 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, Root Cause Analysis, and accident investigations, with experience as an Investigator, Analyst, and Aircraft Mishap Board President. He also served as an Advance Agent for Air Force One and the President for five years, and later as a Diplomat to Pakistan. 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 recently teaching cadets how to fly T-52s and T-53s, he was the Deputy Director of Cadet Training & Education responsible for all curriculum development and strategic planning of tactical training with over 4,000 cadets. Doug lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with his wife and their three children. They enjoy the Colorado outdoors: little league sports, hunting, hiking, camping, and skiing.
Vanessa Shawver - Operations Manager
Vanessa joined Convergent Performance in September 2016, with 23 years military experience and a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia. She actively served in the US Army for ten years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, 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 now also currently serves as an Aerial Event Coordinator at 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 five dogs and four kids, as well as volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children of the Pikes Peak Region. In her spare time, she loves to run and organize events alongside her husband and the local Pikes Peak Road Runners organization.
Kerry 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.
Cherissa Will - Sales Associate
Cherissa came to Convergent with over ten years of experience in business development and sales. Her passion for the industries we serve, coupled with her experience, makes her a great asset to the sales team. She studied Communications at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and feels that this has helped her abilities to understand many facets of the marketing aspect of sales. In her free time, her and her fiancé enjoy taking advantage of the Colorado outdoors with their three dogs, as well as traveling, surfing, sailing, flying, skydiving and scuba diving, in addition to her involvement in the local community through CASA and CAP.
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.
Mike Gould, Lt Gen USAF (ret) - Executive Consultant
A 1976 graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Lt Gen Mike Gould, USAF (ret) served in a wide variety of operational flying, command and staff assignments throughout a 38-year Air Force career. Highlights include serving as a commander of seven different organizations, culminating with a four-year assignment as Superintendent of the USAF Academy. He also had three tours at HQ USAF in the Pentagon, including duty as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force and as Air Force Aide to President George H.W. Bush. Gould earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science from the AF Academy and he holds a Master of Arts degree in Human Resource Development from Webster University.
At Convergent Performance, Lt Gen Mike Gould serves as a teammate and consultant for new business development and assists with strategic planning for entering new markets. General Gould brings a host of experience to our company, and bringing him on board has opened new opportunities for growth in existing and new markets.
Greg Biscone, Lt Gen USAF (ret) - Executive Consultant
A 1981 Air Force Academy distinguished graduate and successful leader and problem-solver in the Air Force for over 35 years, Lt Gen Greg Biscone offers our clients and team his broad experience in aerospace operations, leadership, individual and organizational development, strategic planning, and execution. He served twice as wing and installation commander and commanded strike forces in combat in Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Recent senior leadership roles included: directing the 2010 Air Force Quadrennial Defense Review during the second of three Pentagon assignments; directing global cyber, space, and nuclear operations for United States Strategic Command; and rebuilding the U.S.-Pakistan relationship to improve counter-terrorism efforts as the Senior Defense Official to our Ambassador in Pakistan. He earned Master’s Degrees in National Security Strategy and Business Administration and is a Harvard leadership fellow. Lt Gen Biscone’s military career culminated in serving as the Air Force’s Inspector General.
Lt Gen Biscone is dedicated to strengthening people to lead themselves and others. He assists the Convergent Performance team in positively impacting individuals and organizations by inspiring, developing, and improving professionalism.
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.
Richelle 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).
Nikki Simler Wilcox – Strategy, Sales and Marketing
Nikki is a highly accomplished business and operations executive with over 30 years of experience in risk management. Working in the highly competitive and regulated title insurance industry, she has proven general management success building businesses and teams, implementing strategic and integrated sales models, and streamlining operations. She has consistently elevated financial and team performance and built platforms for sustainable success. Nikki has a Degree in Education from the University of Florida. She has been an educator in both the public and private sector and has worked with community college level students and military personnel working towards a GED. Nikki lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington where she spends time enjoying all the diversity of the Pacific Northwest.
Kaye L. Baron, Ph.D. - Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Kaye Baron has been a licensed clinical psychologist in Colorado Springs, CO, since 1998, and owns Kaye L. Baron, Ph.D. and Associates, LLC. She is a cognitive-behavioral trained practitioner and works extensively with military dependents, soldiers, and retirees, and performs a wide range of psychological services in the civilian and legal communities. In addition, she provides consultation services for the Colorado Springs Veterans Center. As an adjunct professor, Kaye has taught courses in Abnormal Psychology, Motivation, and Social Deviance. Prior to starting her practice, Kaye spent some time in prison. That is, she worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Florence, Colorado, for nearly four years. In addition to her private practice, Kaye has been developing programs for the aviation and medical industry aimed at the prevention of human error. She also provides corporate consultative and coaching services to help individuals and corporations achieve a higher level of performance and professionalism. Currently, Kaye is obtaining executive coaching certification through the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, CO. Kaye earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from San Diego State University. She earned her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia. Her residency was completed at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
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.
Todd 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.
Mike Waters – Certified Instructor and QA SME
Mike Waters is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, and former Air Force pilot. As an operational Air Force pilot, he flew the B-1B Bomber and became a Flight Lead, Instructor Pilot, and Evaluator Pilot. After his operational tours in the B-1, Mike went to the U.S. Air Force Academy and became an Assistant Professor of Political Science, teaching various courses in the Political Science Department. Mike finished his Air Force career as a Military Professor at the U.S. Naval War College teaching Organizational Leadership and Senior Leadership Concepts in the National Security Affairs Department. After his military career, Mike worked as a Business Development Consultant for Career Education Corporation. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Montana State University, a master’s degree in International Relations from Salve Regina University, and a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He is married with three children, and enjoys living in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Scott Bell – Certified Instructor and QA SME
Scott is a Navy veteran who spent his enlisted time on aircraft carriers and at Naval Air Station Fallon, where he found his passion for aviation, which fueled his decision to go for a commission to fly. He spent 14 years flying helicopters and then as a staff officer. He also has a degree in Aviation Management, studying accident investigation, and has worked in safety-related fields in the squadrons where he was assigned. He was the senior member on FENAB Boards, and his last assignment was as the Director of Cadet Development, Center for Character and Leadership Development, at the USAF Academy, where he was responsible for leadership and professional development of the entire Cadet Wing, Staff, and Faculty.
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.
James Fisher – Certified Instructor and QA SME
Jim served over twenty years in the USAF as a KC-135 pilot, instructor, and evaluator. He held the positions of Chief of Training Flight, Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, Squadron Operations Officer, and Squadron Commander. In addition to his flying assignments, he served as a Senior Management Consultant for the Leadership and Management Development Center. Jim was selected to be an instructor and platform speaker for the Squadron Officer School and was then assigned to the United States Transportation Command where he performed duties as a Senior Command Center Controller. After his retirement as an Air Refueling Squadron Commander, Jim held positions as a Senior Management Consultant for a performance improvement company, where he facilitated programs for personal and organizational development. Jim also worked for Atlanta Gas and Light where he designed, developed, and trained curriculum for call center personnel. He was recognized as an outstanding curriculum designer and trainer by JD Power and Associates for his benchmark adult learning concepts four years running.
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.