AIM Team

Advanced Innovation & Marketing for B2B

Most AIM product development training team members have spent 2-3 decades working in Fortune 500 corporations and understand your challenge: driving long-term growth while managing the “tyranny of the urgent.” You’ll find us helpful–even cheerful–partners eager to see you succeed.

Contact our product development training team to find out how we can help you.

Dan Adams

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Dan Adams

President

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Dan Adams is the president of The AIM Institute and author of New Product Blueprinting: The Handbook for B2B Organic Growth. He founded AIM in 2005, and has delivered hundreds of Blueprinting and LaunchStar workshops around the world. Dan coaches ~200 client-team web-conferences annually, continually learning and refreshing his teaching. He enjoys meeting with company executives, helping them chart their course for sustainable organic growth. His weekly blog, www.AwkwardRealities.com, discusses today’s B2B innovation foibles that are destined to change.

Prior to founding AIM, Dan worked in the chemical industry–at Lubrizol, Noveon, and BFGoodrich–where he built the Blueprinting framework from the “ground up”. He is a chemical engineer and holder of many patents and innovation awards, including a listing in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Adams was also head of strategic planning and held numerous roles in marketing, manufacturing, finance, business development and management.

Dan received a BS in Chemical Engineering and MBA in Finance. Dan's work with DuPont (as a lead client) led to a novel online training/implementation model, for which he and his co-author received the “best article of the year” award from the Product Development and Management Association. An award-winning speaker, he has been a frequent guest lecturer at Wharton’s Executive MBA program and similar programs in the US and Europe.

In 36 years of marriage, Dan and his wife, Carol, started many projects that took longer than expected. These included publishing a set of 300 children’s science activities, writing a book on parenting, and building a large home addition… by reading books on framing. Dan and Carol have three married daughters, three granddaughters and one grandson. Dan enjoys backpacking, running, indoor rock-climbing–with substantial padding below–and spending time with his family.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

I can’t understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I’m frightened by old ones.”

John Cage

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Scott Burleson

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Scott Burleson

Senior Vice President

As Senior Vice President for AIM, Scott’s charge is to help the New Product Blueprinting community to enjoy profitable and outrageous business growth. He enjoys the process of seeing client objectives accomplished using the New Product Blueprinting approach. Scott’s mantra is “Everything begins with what the customer is trying to do.”

Throughout his career, Scott has sought to distill innovation into a repeatable process. His first breakthrough in this quest came as a product manager for John Deere’s compact tractor segment. Faced with the challenge of building new generations of complex machines, he discovered Anthony Ulwick’s Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) process. It turns out that “beginning with what the customer is trying to do” from the ODI model delivers market wins. Scott’s greatest triumph was the John Deere 1-Family series. These models outsold the previous line by over 100% while increasing margins.

In the wake of this success, he joined Ulwick’s firm as Director of the Strategyn Institute. While there, he learned from the world’s top ODI experts while working with companies such as Intel, McDonald’s, and Johnson & Johnson, among many others. After Strategyn, Scott led the growth efforts for Actuant Corporation by training and consulting internal clients in the US, Europe and Asia. While at Actuant, he learned the unique facets of the B2B world but also discovered a new problem: “How do we distill innovation into a process that is not just repeatable but also teachable?” The answer, of course, was the New Product Blueprinting system from AIM.

Scott has a BS in Electrical Engineering and a MS in Management from North Carolina State University. In addition to Outcome-Driven Innovation and New Product Blueprinting certifications, Scott is a certified New Product Professional from PDMA (Product Development and Management Association), a Certified Professional Market Researcher by the Marketing Research Association, is Pragmatic Marketing Certified, is a Certified ScrumMaster (agile software development), and a Certified Product Owner (agile software development). Scott has lectured on innovation topics at the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and at conferences in the US and Europe.

Scott, his wife Elizabeth and two daughters live near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. When not at work, he enjoys playing guitar, fishing, and watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show.

Snapshot Interview with Scott

Favorite Innovation Quote:

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Sun-Tzu
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Deborah Hensley

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Deborah Hensley

Vice President, Client Coaching

Deborah Hensley, Vice President of Client Coaching, has been a certified New Product Blueprinting Trainer and Coach for The AIM Institute since the company’s first anniversary in 2006. In this role, she delivers New Product Blueprinting workshops and provides individual coaching to participants. She is passionate about New Product Blueprinting and LaunchStar principles and tools and applying them to new product development projects. Debbi leads many of the post-workshop client-team web-conferences and provides individual team coaching. She is committed to the success of her teams!

Prior to joining AIM, Debbi worked 23 years in the chemical industry, starting at the Monsanto Company, later joining BFGoodrich which became Noveon, Inc. and then was purchased by Lubrizol. She has held management roles in technical service, sales, new business development and business management; primarily in the plastics, process chemical and coatings industries. End-use applications include: Automotive, Electrical/Electronics, Small Appliances, Medical, Residential Construction, Paints and Coatings, Wire and Cable and Consumer Products. She has enjoyed learning about the business models in each one.

Debbi received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, where she was also a two-year starter at the point guard position on the women’s Division I basketball team. Debbi has attended the Management Development Program at the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. She has been recognized as an award-winning speaker and her professional emphasis is in the area of business-to-business customer interviewing techniques. Naturally inquisitive, Debbi has always liked to learn how almost anything works.

Debbi and her husband Dana Devereux have three grown daughters (and one son-in-law) spread out across the country in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. Debbi and Dana both enjoy travel and sports, with golf being their primary leisure activity. Originally from Oklahoma City, Debbi has learned to speak in the native dialect of the American Midwest, with a few exceptions. Her pronunciation of the word “zero” still needs work and feel free to ask her about the “yella brick road.”

Snapshot Interview with Debbi

Favorite Innovation Quote:

A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.”

Albert Einstein
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Nick Sakakibara

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Nick Sakakibara

Blueprinting and LaunchStar Trainer and Coach

Nick Sakakibara is a certified coach for “New Product Blueprinting” and “ LaunchStar.” Before joining AIM, he provided training for employees at a 60 billion dollar global chemical company. He is also the founder of Strategild LLC, in Tokyo, Japan. The company offers various marketing programs and consultation for strategy development for B2B clients, especially American and European companies operating in the Pacific area and managing the investments in place…

Nick was instrumental in building Dow Chemical’s innovation capabilities in the Pacific for more than 30 years and active in Dow’s Marketing Excellence group for more than 10 years. In these roles he helped Dow marketers improve their skills and helped the business develop its strategy.

Before he retired from Dow, he held the additional role of investment manager for Dow Venture Capital, identifying various investment opportunities and also managed the investments in place in the Pacific for 4 years. Nick served as Global Strategy Development Manager and guided Dow businesses in developing strategies using the VBM (Value Based Management, EVA) concept from his Area Marketing Manager role in Hong Kong. He held various roles at Dow, such as Technical Service, R&D, Sales and Country Marketing in Gotemba, Tokyo and the USA.

Nick started his career as an application development engineer at Sumitomo Envirotech Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) and Envirotech Corporation, Menlo Park, CA, USA before joining Dow Chemical in Japan.

Nick Sakakibara holds a MS (Master of Science) and ME (Master of Engineering) in Chemical Engineering from Nagoya University, Japan and University of Utah, USA, respectively, and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Nagoya University, Japan. He also studied at the Berean Bible College, San Diego, CA, USA when he was 19. He received an oversea study fund from Murata Oversea Scholarship Foundations, Kyoto, Japan.

He lives with his wife and a son who has been seeking his life-time job, residing in Tokyo, Japan.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn't work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.”

Roger Von Oech
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Duncan Cathcart

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Duncan Cathcart

Blueprinting and LaunchStar Trainer and Coach

Duncan Cathcart is a certified trainer and coach for both New Product Blueprinting and LaunchStar® B2B Product Launch methodologies. He joined AIM in 2013 after a 33+ year career at Dow Chemical.

His contributions at Dow included technical and leadership positions across multiple functions -- manufacturing, R&D, quality, supply chain, and marketing. He is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt and has spent the last 14 years training and coaching project leaders, project teams, and leadership teams on process improvement, project management, marketing, new product/service development, and commercialization/launch.

Duncan has been teaching Blueprinting at Dow since 2006, and Product Launch Planning since 2009. During this time, he provided workshop training for over 1000 Dow employees all around the world, gaining a reputation as a skilled trainer and subject matter expert.

Duncan earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Rice University and a MBA from University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Duncan and his wife Cindy live on the Gulf Coast of Texas. They have three grown sons, grand-children, and many grand-dogs. In his spare time, Duncan likes to read and occasionally make furniture.

Snapshot Interview with Duncan

Favorite Innovation Quote:

By innovation, I mean something quite different from invention. To me, innovation means invention implemented and taken to market.”

John Seely Brown
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Richard Tait

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Richard Tait

Blueprinting coach and product development process consultant

Richard Tait joined AIM in 2010 as a Blueprinting coach and product development process consultant. He is certified by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) as a New Product Development Professional and has been an active product innovation practitioner and consultant for more than 20 years.

His accomplishments prior to joining AIM are highlighted by a 22 year research, management and consulting career with DuPont that included positions as senior research physicist for DuPont Central Research and Development, planning manager for DuPont Corporate R&D Planning, R&D lab director for DuPont Diagnostic Imaging and Principal Consultant with DuPont Consulting Solutions. He was also a founding member and Innovation Manager for the DuPont Center for Creativity and Innovation and led DuPont’s New Product Network.

Since leaving DuPont, Richard has focused on helping companies dramatically improve their return on new product development efforts. In particular, he has led/co-led a wide range of product innovation projects for numerous small, mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies including implementation of disciplined “voice-of-the-customer” processes and gated new product development frameworks. Richard has also helped companies develop and drive new-product-based strategic growth plans and was a co-developer of the “Institute for Inventive Thinking” for the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Richard has a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University and a B.S. in physics from the University of Virginia. His most recent business publications include the article, “The Story of GreenWorks: In Designing a Winning Green Product Experience Clorox Cracks the Code” (published in the PDMA Visions Magazine March 2009 and co-authored with Robin Karol, David Pilosof, and Sumi Cate) and the book, Value Innovation Portfolio Management (co-authored with Sheila Mello, Wayne Mackey and Ron Lasser and published by J. Ross in 2006.)

Richard and his wife Diane have two grown children, two grandchildren and a Welsh corgi named Roxie whose favorite pastimes are sleeping on the sofa with her head in their lap and pretending to be a fierce defender of the home by chasing squirrels that invade their birdfeeders.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

Innovation is the specific tool… to exploit change as an opportunity. It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned, capable of being practiced.”

Peter Drucker
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Christine Chang

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Christine Chang

Blueprinting and LaunchStar Trainer and Coach

Christine Chang is a certified trainer and coach for both New Product Blueprinting and LaunchStar® B2B Product Launch She joined AIM in 2014 after a 20+ year experience in chemical industry.

Christine started her career as Lab Supervisor at FIRE-TROL® Division of Chemonics Industries in Arizona USA. Her main achievement was the innovation of a patentable new product for wildland fire. On the foundation of her manufacturing and R&D background, she led a Sales/Marketing team and managed new business development during her long career with Dow Chemical Company and BASF Chemical Company. She is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt Leader. At Dow, she was in leadership team and provided coaching to 40+ direct reports when the company established a global IT center in Shanghai.

Christine received her MS in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University.

Being a strong supporter for continuous learning, Christine is currently enrolled in a Life Science Ph.D. program at National Dong-Hua University in Taiwan. She lives in Hualian Taiwan, an area with magnificent natural resources and a diversified culture to explore.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.”

Steve Jobs
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Simon Waddington

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Simon Waddington

Blueprinting Trainer and Coach

Simon Waddington is a European-based coach for New Product Blueprinting. He joined AIM in 2014 after a career spanning over 20 years in the chemical industry, encompassing product development, market management and business development.

Just a few of Simon’s accomplishments throughout his career include inventing the technology for Voranol, leading the team to first sales of Syntegra and leading the strategy for Voramer – all well-known Dow brands. Simon also holds patents for polyurethane packaging foam and for low-emissions polyurethane polymers.

Simon has a BSc degree (with honors) in Material Science and Polymer Chemistry from Brunel University in the UK. He also has a Diploma in Business Development from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland. He speaks French and German, aside from his mother tongue, English.

If Simon’s intellectual credentials were not enough, he may be in the best physical shape of all the AIM coaches. He is an avid biker, having taken part in open stages of the Tour de France, participated in a 7-day race from Geneva to Nice, and rode across India to raise funds for disaster victims. Of course, he also enjoys running and triathalons.

When he’s not on his bike – or helping companies innovate – Simon lives with his wife in Ebertswill, Switzerland, where they raised their two children.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”

Mahatma Gandhi
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Dan Edgar

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Dan Edgar

Blueprinting and LaunchStar Trainer and Coach

Dan serves as a consultant coach with the AIM Institute. Together with Dan Adams, Dan published the story of DuPont’s successful implementation of New Product Blueprinting in the Product Development Management Association’s Visions Magazine, receiving the award for Best of Visions for 2010.

During Dan’s 36 years at the DuPont Company, he helped over 100 DuPont business teams consider different types of business models as they recognized the challenges from limiting their offerings to individual products. This allowed many businesses to reinvent themselves and extend their business and product life cycles.

Dan also served as the key leader for the Knowledge Intensity Program (KIU) aimed at sparking significant growth for the DuPont Company. In 2003 and again in 2004, at the annual meeting of the Institute for the Study of Business Markets at Penn State, Dan gave presentations on the KIU program. Then, in 2006, the Corporate Strategy Board published a case study on the KIU program as part of their annual strategy workshops, using examples from DuPont’s Building Innovations’ success.

During this same time, Dan served as DuPont’s Emerging Markets Innovation Leader, helping businesses in Latin America and Asia to find ways to tap into DuPont’s global network of experts in order to develop solutions targeting needs specific to Emerging Markets. This work was especially successful in Latin America, where DuPont’s growth rates dramatically exceeded the economic growth in the region.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”

Mahatma Gandhi
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Ann Eiden

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Ann Eiden

Director of Operations

Ann Eiden is the Director of Operations of The AIM Institute. As such, Ann is the central point for coordinating whatever needs to be done to keep AIM the smooth-running organization that it is. With AIM since its founding, Ann is ready to answer any question, organize any workshop, or get anything needed to the client (or prospective client) as quickly as possible. She would like your interaction with AIM to be a great experience.

Prior to AIM, Ann worked in the chemical industry at BFGoodrich for 19 years, working with Dan for 10 of those years. She worked in many different areas — with most time spent as a Marketing Manager for a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, personal care and specialty industrial products. She also worked in the Compliance Group, helping to integrate ‘Responsible Care’ within Goodrich, and had key roles in the Business Development and Strategic Planning Group. After leaving Goodrich, Ann was the President of ‘The Strategy Source’, consulting in areas of new business development. She soon realized that it was much more fun to be a part of a larger dynamic organization… so rejoined Dan at AIM after several years on her own.

Ann has a MS in Industrial Administration from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, and a BS in Preprofessional Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Ann loves to keep busy — whether it be walks in the parks or golfing with her husband Bob, or going on beach vacations escaping the snowy Cleveland winters. They also enjoy attending Notre Dame football games.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

Rupert Murdoch
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Bob Littell

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Bob Littell

Director of Business Development

Bob joined The AIM Institute in late 2015 to lead our new business development effort. He is certified to coach New Product Blueprinting and brings a unique perspective, given his broad background, to the kind of value that can be derived from AIM offerings to companies that consider innovation a cultural cornerstone. His passion for innovation is exceeded only by his interest in building differentiated value propositions that distinguish suppliers as recognized leaders in the markets they serve. He believes the skills and tools inherent in the growing menu of AIM deliverables can accelerate customer relationships well beyond what traditional selling can otherwise accomplish. He is highly motivated to assist our valued clients in their pursuit of game-changing initiatives.

Prior to joining AIM, Bob spent 36 years in the chemical industry. Most recently, he was a Sales Director for PolyOne’s Performance Polymers and Solutions business. His career included leadership roles in supply chain, product management, business management, distribution, market development, and sales, all with PolyOne and its heritage companies. Among the roles he enjoyed the most were various National Account Executive sales positions and the considerable time he subsequently spent leading and coaching high performing sales teams. He counts team building, performance coaching, value based selling and relationship management among his most accomplished skills. He was a certified trainer in PolyOne’s Customer Centric Selling Process and remains a firm believer in associated principles that focus on progressive and innovative ways to help customers succeed.

Bob did undergraduate work at Bucknell University where he played varsity football before completing his B.S. Degree from the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University. He later earned an MBA from Cleveland State University. He lives in Solon, OH with his wife Diane and he has two sons. He loves to golf and interact with others who share his passion for value creation and delivery.

Favorite Innovation Quote:

If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.”

Lou Holtz
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Emily Noatch

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Emily Noatch

Systems Manager

Emily Noatch, Systems Manager, has been with Advanced Industrial Marketing since 2007 and specializes in AIM's e-Learning Center. During the development stage, Emily played a large role in the creation, organization, and implementation of AIM's LMS (learner management system), and continues to oversee its maintenance and improvements. Emily also edits the videos contained within training modules, as well as making occasional updates to the modules themselves. In the past, Emily has also been involved with Blueprinter® Software upgrades and the development of AIM's website.

Emily graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance; she also took some classes in Graphic Design which she applies to her job at AIM. Emily continues to study music, perform, and teach piano in her spare time.

Recently married, Emily enjoys life with her husband, Chris, and her horse, Mateo. Emily loves training horses, practicing the piano, and doing anything that will get her outside and into the sunshine!

Favorite Innovation Quote:

The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

William Pollard
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