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2007 FIN – Perspective: Training Complaint Yields 168 Titles and Counting

December 29
00:00 2012

2007 FIN – Perspective: Training Complaint Yields 168 Titles and Counting

February 27, 2007 FIN – A total of 168 people in the fastener industry have earned the right to use “CFS” behind their names.
Certified Fastener Specialist is the advanced technical training program created by the Los Angeles Fastener Association in 1998 to fill what was seen as a critical training gap for the industry.
Two of the program’s three instructors – Industrial Fasteners Institute technology director Joe Greenslade and Carmen Vertullo of SimplyBetter –  describe themselves as “self-taught.”
Vertullo recalled for FIN how the program began.
He was working at fastener distributor Ababa QA in the late 1990s when he noticed that there were few fastener-specific training opportunities in the industry. A member of the LAFA board at the time, Vertullo’s “complaint” eventually landed him on a technical committee that created the CFS program.
Vertullo credits Ababa owners Jim Law and Cathleen Law for supporting his effort in putting the program together.
Vertullo said instructor Bengt Blendulf started off the first class “with a joke about Noah’s ark.”
It was unclear at the time exactly what LAFA had created.
“I honestly thought it was going to be a single series of classes, Vertullo noted.
Nine years and more than 550 students later, it seems clear that the CFS program plays a meaningful role in the industry.
The series of six full day training sessions include specifications & terminology, dimensional & material specifications, quality assurance, fastener testing and fastener manufacturing and secondary process plant tours. After completing the series students must pass a test.
The CFS program’s success has been achieved through the work of LAFA executive director Vickie Lester and member services manager Jeannine Christensen, who handle the numerous details – binders full of handouts, scheduling and all the other duties.
Employers have paid to fly personnel across the country to attend classes in Southern California. LAFA also has conducted classes in Chicago, Las Vegas and elsewhere in conjunction with industry events such as Fastener Week, the National Industrial Fastener Shows and the upcoming Fastener Tech 07.
The program’s success can also be credited to the student-focused approach adopted by Greenslade and Vertullo. Both men encourage questions during the sessions and engage students in active learning, and both share an innate curiosity that drives most self-taught people. Greenslade recalls his first few years in the fastener industry when he worked for Camcar during the early 1970s.
“It was all OJT,” Greenslade explained.
Greenslade drove his manager crazy with questions about fastener technology. Eventually he was handed the voluminous IFI Fastener Standards. Greenslade read the entire text.
“It was absolutely Greek to me at that point,” he explained. Within a year, Greenslade synthesized all the information he’d learned about fasteners into a book that Camcar used for the next 20 years.
He said he realized the value of training early in his career.
“We went more than 20 more years with people in the industry learning the way I did.”
The CFS program has evolved over the years, as scribbled overheads have been replaced by PowerPoint presentations and eventually 3-D modeling.
Whatever the method, Vertullo and Greenslade strive to teach a basic understanding of fastener technology, along with the knowledge of how to read specifications and where to find the information they need to help ensure customers order the right fastener. It’s a process they hope will stick with Certified Fastener Specialists long after they graduate. “Learning isn’t over when the classes are done,” Vertullo pointed out. “You have to put it to work to really learn it.”
Editor’s Note: FIN contributing editor Jason Sandefur graduated from the CFS program in December 2006. ©2007/2012 Fastener Industry News
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