The Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Present Two Best Thesis Awards

FOR RELEASE: April 5, 2004

CONTACT: Jean McHale
  ISM Public Relations
  800/888-6276 ext. 3143

United States Air Force Captains William C. Pike and Carey E. Petit were presented the "ISM/AFIT Best Strategic Purchasing Thesis" award by Major Bryan Hudgens on Thursday, March 18, 2004, in a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Now in its second year, the award was created as part of a partnership between the Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).

AFIT's Graduate School of Engineering and Management, Department of Systems and Engineering Management, offers a master of science (M.S.) with a major in Strategic Purchasing (GSP). The Graduate Strategic Purchasing program is a full-time 18-month master's degree program design to prepare select Air Force officers for high-leverage strategic positions in Air Force procurement. "Our students take a rigorous course load that emphasizes strategic purchasing and supply chain management," says Hudgens. "Additionally, they participate in a 10-week full-time internship in a world-class commercial purchasing organization. Finally, each student completes a formal academic thesis that investigates a problem of interest to the Air Force."

From these theses, ISM selects a yearly honoree to receive the "ISM/AFIT Best Strategic Purchasing Thesis." This year, two theses were selected. Captain Pike's thesis evaluated the impact of acquisition reform on small business participation in Air Force contracting. Contrary to reports on the federal government as a whole that suggest acquisition reforms have had a negative effect on small business participation, Pike's research identified performance measurements for the Air Force small business office and determined that this particular group has increased the number of small businesses receiving contract awards over the past 13 years and has maintained a steady stream of new small business.

Captain Petit's thesis focused on a qualitative approach to developing measures of success for corporate level Air Force acquisition initiatives. Because no list of standard metrics exist to measure corporate level Air Force acquisition initiatives, Petit focused on a review of literature to identify common steps for creating metrics as well as recurrent characteristics of good metrics. She focused on one initiative in particular and interviewed practitioners of the 2002 Lightning Bolt initiative "Focus on results, not process." The Lightning Bolt case study and metrics provide a framework that can be used to develop measures of success for other corporate level Air Force acquisition initiatives.

"Captains Petit and Pike exemplify the goals of our program," says Hudgens. "Each thesis project provided on-target answers to real-world questions for senior leaders in Air Force acquisition."

In addition to a recognition plaque, Captains Pike and Petit receive a one-year ISM membership and a choice of ISM product. To view the theses for all current and previous award recipients, visit the ISM Web site at

The capstone of AFIT's Graduate Strategic Purchasing program is the opportunity to earn Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) certification through ISM, which designates one as a procurement professional. For additional information on the ISM/AFIT Best Strategic Purchasing Thesis program, contact Major Bryan Hudgens, director, Graduate Strategic Purchasing Program, Graduate School of Engineering and Management, AFIT, at 937/255-3636, extension 4574. Or contact Becky Nawrocki, ISM's educational development manager at 800/888-6276, extension 3135.

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