You may remember SQA Services from our reporting back in June 2019, when we discovered the company was using a fake ISO 9001 certificate issued with logos that look infringingly-similar to that of the International Accreditation Forum. SQA Services became accidentally famous when it was involved in the criminal trial of a former SpaceX employee who was arrested for having forged inspection results. SQA allegedly uncovered the scandal, as it performs contract auditing and inspection services for SpaceX.
Needless to say it was embarrassing for SQA, which alleges to be a subject matter expert in the area of aerospace quality, to learn they had bought a fake ISO 9001 certificate from Alliance International Registrar (AIR), run by Dennis Hughey. AIR claims accreditation by two different organizations, both of which involve Hughey: the World Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (WUSME) and a fake accreditation body known as AIPA. The AIPA logo was designed to look exactly like that of the IAF.
The AIR story just gets more bizarre. Apparently Hughey partnered with one “Dr.” James Omps, who invented his own university called the “International University of Entreprenology,” and then gave himself a doctorate in the field he totally made up. Both Hughey and Omps are involved in the WUSME in some capacity, but WUSME isn’t an ISO accreditation body at all, nor does it actually accredit anything in any form whatsoever. When I contacted a rep at WUSME, they didn’t even know what accreditation was, and had no explanation as to why their logo was appearing on Hughey’s ISO certificates.
Back in 2019, I spoke with the SQA’s Vice President Gerard Pearce, who insisted they had gotten hoodwinked and weren’t aware that AIR was an ISO certificate mill. They said they would correct this, by moving to obtain a new ISO certification from a registrar accredited by an actual IAF member accreditation body.
That never happened. Nearly a year later, SQA still boasts the ISO 9001 mill cert from AIR on their website, and isn’t answering questions about it now.
But SQA can’t play dumb anymore. It knows it is using a fake ISO 9001 certificate to market its services, and it’s not fixing the problem. It knows about Hughey and Omps and his made-up “entreprenology” degree. They know about the IAF logo infringement. This is old news now.
I assume it’s because Hughey’s cert came cheap, and SQA doesn’t want to spend money on an actual accredited ISO cert, even as they claim to be “subject matter experts” in the quality field, offering contract supplier audits.
Worse, SpaceX is still using them, which does little to improve its already tarnished reputation with the supply chain.
[Disclosure statement: Oxebridge worked with SpaceX between 2005 and 2014, but no longer has any role with the company or its QMS.]
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.