TSS: keeping AFSC scheduled and trained for decades

  • Published
  • By Donovan Potter, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE – The Training Scheduling System, commonly known as TSS has been helping to make the Air Force Sustainment Center more efficient by tracking all aspects of employee training for more than 20 years.

However, what people may not know, is TSS was born at Hill Air Force Base on April 21, 2003.

Zachary Simon, 75th Air Base Wing Information Technology TSS program manager said it’s a versatile system that keeps track of all training and links it with all AFSC employee’s records, taking the burden off individuals and supervisors.

“TSS is a government-owned, contractor-operated application that automates scheduling, notifications, management, graduate assessments, and analytics of depot maintenance training and Production Acceptance Certification (PAC) requirements,” he said. “It’s truly amazing.”

Before TSS, scheduling and tracking employee training was accomplished on paper with spreadsheets.

Back in the early 2000’s, Dan Velasquez, 75th Air Base Wing senior systems engineer and the original TSS architect, partnered with a local training scheduling team and produced the idea for TSS.

“Kenneth Woodard and his team reached out to me over 20 years ago with this idea,” he said. “We reviewed the system requirements and development progress with a group of users every week and continued to go over its design until completion.”

Dan Valasquez said having training specialists participate in the design from the beginning is one of the reasons TSS is usable.

In the beginning, TSS was used exclusively at Hill AFB, but it’s success quickly spread to all AFSC locations bringing multiple training systems together into one for a better user experience.

“TSS has allowed for seamless communication and coordination on all kinds of training events between many organizations,” Dan Velasquez said. “TSS is one-stop shopping for PACs and training completions.”

Missed training was an issue before TSS. However, the system is saving Air Force dollars by keeping classrooms full through automated tracking and scheduling that sends training reminders to employees and their supervisors.

Rick Velasquez, 75th Air Base Wing Information Technology team lead, said keeping up with changing technologies is a continual process that has resulted in some important upgrades over the years.

“Keeping TSS so it is a convenient and beneficial system for the users is our main goal,” he said. “Adding the PACs system, the Civilian Training Plan module and rewriting the system to newer technologies keeps it up to date for a seamless user experience.” 

The next upgrade that happens behind the scenes later this year is migrating TSS to the Azure Cloud, or what the Air Force calls Cloud One, allowing for the latest software version on the servers.

“Moving to the cloud will give us quicker response times for fixing issues and pushing new code,” Rick Velasquez said. “It’s a more modern and agile method of development at a huge cost savings for the Air Force.”

Rick Velasquez said reaching the 20-year milestone is a testament that the development team has done a great job over the years since the system in still being used.

“The TSS team has continued to deliver training and scheduling tools that allow for collaboration, organization and high productivity within AFSC training organizations,” he said. “The usefulness is still solid.”

Simon said the development team is the best he’s ever worked with and their longevity with TSS directly relates to the product’s success.

“My six-person development team that includes the Velasquez brothers, Kevin Bingham, Arutselvam Rajikannu, Spence Woodberry and Avery Lytle are simply the best,” he said. “The fact that they are still on this project for all 20 years, lends itself to their ultimate professionalism and dedication.”

Simon said getting to work with the professionals around him and his mission partners who do such a good job for everyone in AFSC, is what makes him excited about his job.

“We strive daily to improve our mission accomplishment and are working hard to achieve a better user experience for the maintenance community, and ultimately the warfighter, he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”