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Predictive Analytics Instructors

Chris Christensen, PMP

Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen specializes in project management, quality improvement, product development, futures research and strategic planning. He assists manufacturing and service organizations in forecasting their future, developing successful products and developing and deploying practical strategic plans. Mr. Christensen offers coaching and assessment services in project management, problem solving, process improvement, product development, executive teambuilding, organizational performance measurement, and technology forecasting. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Quality Engineer, and Certified Quality Manager, a certified Project Management Professional, and a Certified Management Consultant.

Mr. Christensen has over thirty years of experience as a project and program manager in the high technology electronic component manufacturing and systems integration industries. His projects developed air defense, intelligence data fusion, radar imaging, and satellite communication systems.

He has worked with 3M Medical Products, Albemarle Chemical, Ablestik Adhesives, The Aerospace Corporation, Amgen, Baxter Pharmaceuticals, The Boeing Company, BP-Arco Service Stations, Courtaulds Aircraft Lacquers, Delco Machine and Gear, The Disney Store, Dow Chemical Advanced Materials, Glendale Memorial Hospital, Havas Software Development (Vivendi Universal), HRI Research, Hughes Aircraft Company, the Keck Institute and USC Hospitals, Livermore National Laboratories, Los Angeles Times, Martin-Marietta Aerospace, Medtronic Diabetes (MiniMed), Pilkington Aerospace Transparencies, RAND Corporation, Raytheon, Schlumberger, Southern California Edison, Southwest Research Institute, Tosco Petroleum Refineries and Pipelines (Phillips Petroleum), Toshiba, TRW Space Systems Group, and Unified Western Grocers.

Mr. Christensen is the author of Solving Organizational Problems and is a co-author of the American Society for Quality’s Certified Process Analyst Handbook. He holds an MBA from Pepperdine, an MS in systems engineering from West Coast University, and a BS in physics from the University of Utah.


Rick Hefner, PhD

Rick Hefner

Rick Hefner, PhD, specializes in systems development and maintenance; project management; Lean Six Sigma; process improvement, technology transfer; and risk management. His experience spans over 35 years.

Dr. Hefner recently served as director of process management at Northrop Grumman Corporation, where he managed corporate process initiatives related to Lean Six Sigma and program management. Previous positions at Northrop Grumman (formerly TRW) included managing technology process initiatives and helping to establish the corporate engineering and program management processes. Previously, at Aerospace Corporation, Dr. Hefner was the director of their software development department. He served as an engineer, technical specialist, project manager, and section manager.

Dr. Hefner has also worked with companies in the communications, electronics, and health sciences industries, including Applied Physics Laboratory, Ares Management, Boeing, DRS Technologies, Herbalife, Honeywell, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, John Deere, L-3 WESCAM, Maytag, Motorola, Pacific Bell, Raytheon, Schlumberger, Southern California Edison, St. Jude Medical, Toshiba, U.S. Navy, and Xerox.

Dr. Hefner is credited with over 200 publications and presentations. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, in applied dynamic systems control. He received his MS and BS from Purdue University in interdisciplinary engineering.


Carol Jacoby, PHD

Carol Jacoby

Carol Jacoby, PhD, specializes in mission analysis, systems engineering, decision analysis, and mathematical techniques. She has 28 years of experience in systems engineering at Hughes Electronics and Rockwell International. She led Hughes' Mission Analysis Center of Excellence in developing, simulating, and analyzing complex systems of systems for defense, transportation, and other areas. She was one of the first people to apply systems engineering and analytical techniques to highway transportation. As a member of the National Automated Highway Systems Consortium, she led the development and evaluation of alternative concepts for driverless vehicles. She has recently worked with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Federal Highway Administration, Raytheon, and Boeing.

She co-authored the Systems Engineering Guidebook for the Federal Highway Administration and authored Simple Spreadsheets for Hard Decisions which brings many of the decision techniques of mission analysis to a general audience. Dr. Jacoby has been honored through the District One Toastmasters’ elite Speakers Bureau, multiple Hughes and Raytheon Achievement Awards, the Hughes Doctoral Fellowship, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Jacoby is an internationally recognized research mathematician, with several recent publications in peer-reviewed journals and a forthcoming book written for advanced graduate students and researchers. She earned her PhD at the University of California, Irvine, her MS at Northeastern University, and her BA at UCLA, all in mathematics.


Kenneth Preston, DBA

Kenneth Preston

Kenneth Preston, DBA has 28 years of aerospace and defense industry experience with over 20 years in project management. He is currently a project engineer/project focal/technical lead engineer/control account manager in the systems engineering and integration organization for the Boeing C-17 Program. He leads the technical oversight of the parts management/obsolescence function and Predictive Obsolescence Analytics, manages special projects, and is responsible for Earned Value Management (EVM). He was an engineering project manager of special projects in the Design Integration Office and project manager for supplier diversity for the C-17 Program.

Previously, Dr. Preston served as a project functional manager in the program office responsible for Problem Reporting and Corrective Action (PRACA), the Problem Action Center, system safety, reliability and maintainability, quality, and configuration management. He led the Bell Warehouse Project Proposal Team, transitioning Orbiter hardware from Southern California warehouses to the Michoud Facility in New Orleans. He served as the program focal for SR&QA assessments of laser fiber optic integrated systems and probability and statistical analyses for cargo integration. He was also project lead for the Return-to-Flight Safety team, conducting integrated hazard analyses between the Orbiter and the International Space Station (ISS). He served as project lead for the return to flight engineering team, in support of a computational foam fracture mechanics assessment.

Dr. Preston was selected Manager of the Year by the National Management Association (NMA) Southern California Area Council. He is a recipient of the NASA/American Society for Engineering Education Faculty Fellowship Program via Langley Air Force Base and served on the faculty at Hampton University. He holds a California Community College Lifetime Teaching Credential in physics.

Dr. Preston received his DBA in business administration and MBA in project management from Columbia Southern University, and his M.S. and B.A from Hampton University/Institute in physics.