Who is Dr. Jim?
Combining more than 20 years in the automotive industry in the United States and Europe with 42 years of motorcycle riding on three continents, Dr. James (Jim) Heideman joined the MSF in 2006 as the director of licensing. Heideman directs and manages MSF programs for licensing and certification by working with state safety administrators, federal government agencies and national organizations to improve rider safety through the development and implementation of training standards and guidelines for license examiners and safety officers.
Heideman has applied theories in public education and private sector business to meet strategic business needs, through organization development applying Six Sigma methodologies, competency-based instructional design, and delivery, testing and evaluation of organizational performance and research related to human performance improvement.
After learning to ride on a ’63 Ducati 250 Scrambler in 1968, Heideman quickly became involved in the Southwest racing circuit, entering races including Barstow to Vegas and the 1971 Lake Elsinore Grand Prix, featured in the classic film “On Any Sunday,” where he raced with such motorcycle legends as Steve McQueen and Malcolm Smith.
After two years of teaching welding and mechanics in the Peace Corps in Iran, Heideman joined Ford of Europe in 1976 as service director in Tehran for the Middle East trucking market. Heideman went on to join Nissan North America, where he developed and launched Nissan’s Six Sigma initiative, working directly with top management and all levels of staff to insure successful integration and achievement of business and fiscal targets. As network training manager for Nissan Europe, he led the employee development transition of the Nissan-Renault pan-European organization.
Prior to developing training standards with the MSF, Heideman worked to advance teaching practices to better meet student’s needs as an associate professor for Power, Energy and Transportation in the College of Engineering and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles. His three-year strategic development plan led to instructional improvements aimed at helping students attain the skills necessary for employment.
Heideman received his bachelor’s degree in industrial arts in 1978 from California State University, Long Beach and went on to receive his master’s degree in vocational education with department honors in 1984. In 1991, he earned a Ph.D. in instructional technology with a minor in business management from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Having owned 13 motorcycles throughout his career, Heideman currently rides a restored ’72 BSA 650 Thunderbolt and a 2003 100th Anniversary Harley-Davidson Road King.