Back fo school
Instead of abc's it is "ats"
Yet another alphabet word has been added
to Piedmont’s vocabulary recently. It is ATS
and means analytic trouble shooting. Training
is its ammunition for teaching people to solve
problems using only facts, not guesses.
The ATS course was introduced at Piedmont
in early 1975. It is a maintenance oriented
program designed to give employees the mental
tools to improve their job performance. After a
forced economic recess last year the ATS classes
were resumed in June of 1976.
So far about 85 employees have gone ‘back
to school’ to become analytical trouble shooters.
Probably 225 employees will take the course
before its planned completion early next year.
Though it is designed primarily for main
tenance personnel, employees from other areas
of the Company are also being included in the
classes. All of the chief pilots have or will take
the course. Airline, business aircraft and fixed
base employees are involved. Winston people as
well as others from outside stations are on the
ATS is basically a way for key people to
learn a problem analysis process and then pass
on the good word to their fellow workers.
Participants are selected. They are usually
people in a position to see day-to-day problems,
identify possible causes and either suggest or
The course involves 32 hours of classroom
training and about eight hours of homework.
Each student is asked to bring to class an actual
problem he currently has in his work. Nearly
half of the classroom hours are spent seeking
solutions to real problems.
Mechanic Bob Wall is the ATS course leader.
In preparation for teaching the course he spent
an intensive period in a leadership training
program offered by Kepner-Tregoe, the man
agement training company which developed
ATS as one of its methods for improving the
think abilities of employees. Ground school
instructor Bill Fleming is also a qualified ATS
Gene Sharp is Piedmont’s course adminis
trator. Formerly chief pilot at Knoxville, Gene
also took a Kepner-Tregoe course, APEX. It was
management training to teach the habit of
systematically analyzing problems and making
The creators of ATS say the program helps
a company make the best use of its prime asset;
the talents and experience of some of its most
valuable men. In addition to developing leader
ship ability and managerial/supervisory poten
tial within Piedmont the ATS course also has
obvious benefits for individual employees.
Those who have taken the course say it has
definitely improved or refined their thinking
abilities. One even noted that he became more
aware of the fact that he was being paid to
think as well as act. In receiving training in
logic and systematic thought processes he ac
knowledged his awareness that the company
values him for his ability to think.
At the end of their classes the ATS students
grade their course. Incidentally, the grades they
give the program are the only grades. There are
no tests or grades of the students’ performances
Course participants from all areas have
enthusiastically given ATS very high marks.
They’ve recommended more people take it.
They’ve predicted substantial savings in time
and money. They’ve made very favorable com
ments about the instruction and the presenta
tion of material. And one ATS graduate has
requested additional and/or more advanced
Out of a possible perfect rating of 5, the
participants have given ATS an average rating
of 4.7. In other words, as Sharp said, “ATS is
working. It is providing a good communications
tool. The individuals began to recognize prob
lems other than their own. They cooperate with
other departments in seeking the best solutions.
This enthusiasm for co-operation results in
greatly increased overall productivity. ATS is
not only its own best critic, it is also its own
One class included, from left, Bob Alley of accessory
overhaul, Charlie Moorefield from ground equipment
and Al Chitty of maintenance.
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Bob Wall starts the classes with traditional first questions.
Who is a trouble shooter? What does a good trouble
Jim Walker, from avionics, describes a proposed change,
installation of data link system on 737.
Participants pondering the problems include, from left, David Martin of ground equipment, Don Priddy from line
maintenance, Capt. Ralph Griffith, Marvin Holt of line maintenance and David Rimel from avionics.
Gene Sharp, standing, looks in on one of the classes.
Bill Neal, from engine build-up, is the attentive student.