The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) has four special honorary awards that recognize outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to human performance technology (HPT) and to the Society itself. Those awards are the Honorary Life Member Award, Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Geary Rummler Award for the Advancement of Performance Improvement. ISPI is pleased to announce this year’s recipients: Mariano Bernardez, CPT, PhD; Allison Rossett, CPT, EdD, and Ken Silber, CPT, PhD; Charline Wells, CPT; and Klaus Wittkuhn, CPT. The awards will be bestowed at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2011, April 10-13.

Honorary Life Member

Mario Bernardez

ISPI’s Honorary Life Member Award honors one of our colleagues for the totality of his or her contributions to both ISPI and the field of HPT over the course of his or her career to date. This award is not necessarily awarded every year, as it requires the unanimous agreement of two consecutive ISPI Boards. ISPI is pleased to announce this year’s Honorary Life Member is Mariano Bernardez, CPT, PhD.

Mariano joined ISPI in 1993 and has continually made significant contributions to the Society. He is a founding member of ISPI chapters in Argentina, Spain, and Mexico. He also helped found and then became the chapter president of one of the first ISPI virtual chapters, the Performance Improvement Global Network.

In 1998, Mariano received a Chapter Leadership Award for Transitioning HPT into the 21st Century. In 2003, he earned his Certified Performance Technologist designation. In 2004, the membership elected Mariano to serve as a Director on the 2004-2005 ISPI Board of Directors. Since 1993, he has presented at every annual conference, as well as the ISPI Europe Conference.

In Mariano’s professional career, he has published four HPT books in Spanish, the first ones in that language. He has also published numerous HPT articles in English in a wide variety of professional journals and books, including Performance Improvement and Performance Improvement Quarterly. Mariano has been a consultant to the United Nations Development program, a partner for Andersen Consulting, and a managing partner for MBC Consulting, and is currently research professor, as well as the director of the Performance Improvement Institute at Sonora (Mexico) Institute of Technology. Mariano’s range of professional expertise and interests include:

  • E-performance (1998-2002): Model to design and integrate virtual performance systems and organizations, which was implemented on three continents
  • Knowledge factory (1999-2003): Virtual performance system to produce and deliver intellectual capital, which was implemented on three continents
  • Mega-planning application (1996- 2002): Nine-year success and application case for Salta, Argentina, region, Refinor refineries, and the creation of 120 new companies
  • Performance-centered university (2005): New model for graduating organizations and contributing to social improvement; 1,200 jobs created in 24 companies throughout Mexico
  • Double-bottom-line business case (2007): Methodology and tools to measure mega, macro, and micro results and return on investment

Given his contributions to the field and ISPI, Mariano truly is the tangible expression of ISPI’s Honorary Life Member.

Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award

Named after a foundational contributor to the field of HPT, this award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of HPT. This year the award is bestowed on two longtime members Allison Rossett, CPT, EdD, and Ken Silber, CPT, PhD.

Allison Rossett, CPT, EdD
Allison RossettThe pinnacle of good engineering is the elegant solution. Scientists, engineers, and mathematicians devote their careers to explaining and expressing vastly complex concepts in the simplest possible terms. In other words, they strive to be pithy.

Allison’s contributions to HPT take the familiar forms of publications, presentations, and positions of influence–too many to mention here. Yet most would agree what sets Allison apart from her peers is her ability to communicate and capture the attention of her audience. She is one of our profession’s most inspirational champions. Her presentations are relevant, her examples vivid, and her books are practical.

In this age of information overload, the ability to communicate and capture attention is the next big thing. Allison has long recognized complexity does not necessarily impress and simplicity does not necessarily compromise. In short, she understands the importance of engineering elegance and the value of being pithy. Allison’s ability to communicate has inspired thousands of people around the globe to be passionate about discovering root causes and designing the correct solutions to systemically improve performance. Her presentations are typically standing room only and her messages transfer to the workplace.

Allison’s First Things Fast and A Handbook of Job Aids have greatly influenced the U.S. Coast Guard. Dave Hartt, CDR, USCG (Ret.), who studied under her, reports her work directly and dramatically influenced the Coast Guard’s approach to front-end analysis and the integration of job aids to ensure good stewardship of tax dollars while carrying out Coast Guard missions around the globe.

Allison’s former students are helping to create the future of ISPI, and they count her as both a mentor and friend. Colleen Cunningham, Department of Defense, shares that Allison has “the uncanny ability to foster a greater understanding of the intersection of training and HPT.” And Chris Voelkl, head of advisory services at E&E Information Consultants in Germany, shares that Allison “opened doors for many of us and by doing so has generated a vivid stream of fresh talent, ideas, and volunteer support without which the field of HPT could not endure.”

Ken Silber, CPT, PhD
Ken SilberKen is an associate professor emeritus of Northern Illinois University, a part-time faculty member in Capella University’s Training and Performance Improvement Program, and president of Silber Performance Consulting. He is also co-editor of ISPI’s Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace: Volume 1: Instructional Design and Training Delivery, and a contributing author to the first and third editions of ISPI’s Handbook of Human Performance Technology. Ken has been an active member of the HPT profession and of ISPI for 30+ years.

As a professor, Ken has helped shape the careers of hundreds of practitioners of learning and performance. He has also operated his own consulting firm, working with many clients including Amway, Walgreens, McDonalds, the National Restaurant Association, Chicago Board of Trade, CNA Insurance, and many more. His successful interventions for these clients run the entire gamut of HPT. Ken has also worked as an internal consultant at AT&T, Amoco, and Applied Learning, as well as an external consultant for Hale Associates and Clarity Performance Alliance.

He has won numerous awards: 12 from ISPI, one from ASTD, and two from AECT. These awards recognized his writing, presentations, and professional leadership. Ken has served ISPI at the local and national level as a book editor for ISPI’s series From Training to Performance in the 21st Century, as a committee member, as a committee chair, as Chicago chapter president twice, and as consulting editor for Performance Improvement Quarterly. He has written books (including co-authoring his most recent, Organizational Intelligence), monographs, book chapters, and many, many articles. Ken has been a regular presenter at NSPI/ISPI conferences year after year. He is a Certified Performance Technologist and holds a PhD in instructional technology from USC.

Ken has provided the Society, its members, and the profession with continual scholarly insights, and ISPI is proud to award him one of this year’s Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Awards.

Distinguished Service Award

Charline Wells

This award, determined by a vote of the ISPI Board of Directors, recognizes long-term, outstanding, and significant contributions to the betterment of ISPI. This year’s award goes to Charline Wells, CPT.

Charline has been active professionally in ISPI since 1982 and served as President of ISPI from 1997-1998. She has presented at ISPI conferences, has been a Track chair three times, developed and built local chapters, mentored new chapter leaders, and received more than 10 Presidential and Leadership citations. Charline was the founding chair for the Management of Organizational Performance (MOP) Professional Community of Practice, has chaired the Nominations Committee, served on the Certified Performance Technologists Board of Governance, was a key player and advocate for the successful Revenue Sharing Pilot Study, and has held numerous other volunteer leadership positions in ISPI. She has also served on the ASTD Council of Governors and was president of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTPI).

Charline is a performance technologist and manager. Her qualifications provide a balance between a strong academic foundation and extensive management experience. She has a master’s degree in educational psychological studies–instructional design and maintains three teaching certificates. Charline is well known for her ability to build coalitions, her low-key style, and her reputation for getting things done. Her business skills were developed over 20+ years of managing both small and large organizations in government and the private sector. She has been responsible for managing program budgets in excess of $3 million, contributing to the growth of two corporate training organizations, and authoring over 50 successful training programs.

Charline is currently the program manager of the Corporate Learning and Professional Development Organization at Sandia National Laboratories. In this position, she has responsibility for all business, leadership, and management education and training programs, as well as training operations. She has been responsible for developing and implementing strategic plans, working with numerous customers, and ultimately being accountable for program success. Charline’s work as a performance technologist focuses not only on instructional design but also organizational design issues. In each of these areas, she has not only performed the job, but also supervised, managed, and consulted with company management. Charline has been recognized by Sandia for professional excellence and received more than six Sandia President’s Quality Awards, in addition to many other awards.

Geary Rummler Award for the Advancement of Performance Improvement

Klaus Wittkuhn

This award was established in honor of Geary Rummler, a lifetime member, significant supporter, and valued contributor to ISPI and the profession. It is awarded to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated and reflect the work and life of Geary. The award honors his legacy and advancement of both HPT and ISPI’s principles and practices. This year, ISPI is proud to recognize Klaus Wittkuhn, CPT.

Klaus has been an active thought leader and practitioner of HPT for more than 15 years. During this time, he has worked on countless HPT projects around the globe; however, there are two accomplishments that are key contributions to the field and that Geary Rummler mentored and valued:

  • The Performance System Optimizer, Mapper, Supporter, a toolkit that shows the steps to be taken, the questions to be asked, and the results to aim for, given any organization’s constraints and potential. His recent work introducing and adapting the methodology of HPT to countries in the Eastern European and Caucasus area

Klaus has been actively involved with ISPI since 1996, bringing a combination of management and systems thinking to the performance community. In 2007, he was awarded ISPI’s highest honor, Honorary Life Member. He has a special blend of insight and experience with HPT that enhances international recognition for our field. In 2006, Klaus was awarded an HPT project, through a competitive bid for World Learning for Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD), in the Republic of Macedonia. The project consisted of an assessment and intervention package for the State Education Inspectorate. As part of the contract, the employees of World Learning Macedonia were trained in the HPT methodology. With his toolkits and methodology that firmly rest on Rummler’s developments and his experience in other organizations, Klaus began work in a country that had limited resources and plenty of political interference from the country’s top officials. Most assumptions from working in industrialized countries had to be questioned and reframed. The basic HPT methodology, though, was as useful there as anywhere. The project proved a success, Geary’s ideas began to spread in new and different contexts, and many other HICD projects followed with World Learning in Macedonia and in other countries.

Currently, Klaus is working on training and coaching HPT consultants in the Republic of Georgia. The adaptation of HPT principles to completely different cultural and economic conditions, as well as toolkits that allow organizations fast and structured applications of HPT principles, is his most innovative and unique contribution to HPT.