I normally have been involved in a number of consulting and advisory activities. I thought it might be helpful to provide some information on what I have recently done, updating status from time to time. You can see that there is a broad scope of interests represented. Please click through the list below to get a sense of my involvements.
Please note that as of 2014, I have retired from actively teaching, as well as from most consulting engagements. I will continue to mentor those with whom I have had a working or teaching relationship in their startup buiness development.
Some recent activities include:
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Ursinus College, under the leadership of its president, Bobby Fong, has created an initiative called “U-Innovat!”. It is a team competition encouraging entrepreneurial thinkers to create and present “big ideas’ for a series of substantial cash prizes and campus housing credits. I am mentoring one of the teams, and will keep this site posted with the results of the competition.
Through 2014, I have also worked with a group of Ursinus professors to secure a National Science Foundation grant to pursue the commercialization of anti-cyberbulling and anti-predation technology. See here for more on that activity.
2015 update: Recently and unexpectedly, Bobby Fong passed away. His passing is a great loss to Ursinus and to all who had the pleasure to know him and to work with him. He is missed.
HealthEHabitats is a startup founded by Tony Graziano with the goal of franchising a service to provide homes with total environmental protection system. These systems include water, air, and surface cleaning and protection. Tony's master franchise operation is run by his partner, Toomas Niemann, and they have on board their marketing and admin personnel, and have added their Wellness Counselor. Here is their first franchise service vehicle. Tony has successfully created other related business throughout his career. I am acting as an advisor to the business.
I have been participating as an advisor on the Management Divisions’s Board of Advisors. We are making significant updates to the degree requirements and course structures to maintain the highest quality of education and preparation of our next generation business leaders.
Over recent years, dozens of my current and former students have asked me for advice in their entrepreneurial quests. I try to provide as much assistance as they need and that I can provide, all on a pro bono basis. I help them with their concepts, their business plans, their networking, their strategy, and their financing. See also the Start–Up Showcase that Rich Whitfield and I ran through 2012.
Chuck Thomas, LLC has conducted a number of engagements in support of legal actions or law firm strategy. Several of the more recent engagements are briefly described below.
Below are several of the recent engagements:
2011-2013 - As the plaintiff's attorney expert, I researched and providing analysis regarding an intellectual property lawsuit. The plaintiffs were entities owned by the world's largest advertising conglomerate, and the financial impact was potentially huge. I wrote the expert's report, rebutted the defense rebuttal, was deposed, and wrote the declaration for the summary judgement. The judge found in our favor on all of the intellectual property issues that I pursued. See this posting for more information.
2011 - As a consultant to the firm, I developed a strategic plan for the creation of a new entity that will create and market risk management software, and for the use of that new entity by the risk management practice of the law firm.
2008 - As the plaintiff attorney's expert, I researched the materials regarding a large software development project and developed the strategy for the pursuit of the claim and packaged materials to support the claim.
Richard Whitfield of Money Matters TV and I are co-sponsoring a new event to put entrepreneurs together with potential investors and advisors with the goal of creating and building new and successful companies. Our Penn State Great Valley students and other entrepreneurs from the Delaware Valley are invited to make a “pitch” for their business and investors are invited to engage with them. The first of our planned series will be held on September 16th from noon to 2:30PM, with networking to continue to 3:30PM. The location is The Conference Center at Penn State Great Valley, 30 E. Swedesford Road, Malvern, PA 19355. The phone number of The Conference Center is 610.648.3278. The second event in the series is scheduled for October 27.
Rich is the driving force behind this event, and has dedicated his energy and talents to promoting entrepreneurship, especially in the Great Valley and surrounding region. It is a privilege for me to work with him on this endeavor.
A brief flyer can be seen here.
The event was sold out and was a rousing success. We had a great mix of private investors/angels, venture investors, advisors, entrepreneurs, and others. Pitches were given by a number of startups, including:
Dr. James Chan gave a very well-received talk on "Secrets of Doing Business in China". His enthusiastic approach and his experiences with the subject matter were both entertaining and informative.
Stay tuned for information on the next Start-Up Showcase
Another successful showcase was held at the Hilton Homewood Suites in the Great Valley Corporate Center. It was well-attended with a good variety of entrepreneur pitches made. It followed the format of the initial showcase.
I've been more actively engaged in more of the various opportunities to be of service at Penn State Great Valley. These inlcude participation in various of the faculty meetings and the new Sustainability curriculum committee. I've redeveloped the BUSAD 575 course, renaming it “Developing Technology Ventures”. This summer (2011) I taught sixteen talented graduate students New Ventures 1 again (which I love to do), and will teach another class of this course in the Fall. I am scheduled to teach New Ventures 2 again in the Spring.
In February, 2010, I began a long-term project for Kantar Media. The work is for their customer, DIRECTV. I worked with an international group of Kantar Media people, as well as the DIRECTV team. This project is a core part of what DIRECTV calls "ASAP" (Advanced Satellite Advertising Program).
We met face-to-face as needed, but we did a substantial portion of our meetings via web conferencing. The project included a wide array of other vendor partners and the scope of the project is substantial. The list of partners in the project included Invidi (their “Advatar” system), Invision (their “DealMaker” system), Wide Orbit (their traffic systems), NCC Media (their Spot Advertising systems), Experian (their profiling data), and all their content management technology partners.
We all worked to get addressable advertising to DIRECTV's national subscriber base. There are a wide variety of types of advertising, including zoned, aggregation, and ad hoc targeting. My responsibilities involved managing the Kantar Media project. Theirs is the system of record for measuring ad impressions (that is, counting exposures to the ad), and determining when (and if) the advertiser's required threshold of impressions has been met so that they can be billed for the targeted ad. There are challenges involved in obtaining the information sufficient to make these measurements, which is what made this project interesting. That, and the very large multi-subsystem (and multi-vendor) integration aspect, and that the end result is a game-changing innovation for the customer and the industry.
The project was delivered by Kantar on time and within budget to DIRECTV and it is now in production, delivering addressable ads to their customer base.
Kantar Media is a part of Kantar Group, which has more than 20 companies and 27,000 employees working in about 80 countries around the globe. They are, in turn, a part of WPP, the world’s larget media intelligence company and one of the “Big Six” advertising holding companies, with nearly 140,000 employees in 2,000 offices in over 100 countries. Their companies include The Grey Group, Olgivy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, and JWT (formerly J. Walter Thompson Co).
Beginnning in late 2007, I was involved in performing a systems audit, performing project analysis, and preparing strategy and documents in advance of litigation regarding a very large, multi-year, international software development project. I performed this work under contract through a consulting firm for the plaintiff's attorney (KPM Group LLC). This involved reviewing the weekly project plans, status reports, time sheets, memos and other documents to determine how the project got in trouble, costing millions more and producing far less than the contracts and work orders detailed. Project plans typically ran to well over 1,500 tasks at any given time with upwards of dozens of key resources assigned domestically and off-shore. The scope of the analysis required automating some of the analysis. My goal was to tell a top-down story of what happened and how certain decisions resulted in the issues. The reporting providing a starting point of high-level graphic displays, drilling down to successive levels of detail. The result is a clear picture of the evolution of the circumstances and the actions that created the problems.
Dr. Bill Creamer and I teamed up to provide a series of seminars to businesses facing the need to make changes in their strategic direction in order to regain or maintain their competitive advantages. Our topics include:
Stay tuned for more information regarding these seminars and our new venture, SustainEnomics.
While at TargetTV (funded by QVC and Comcast), we developed new measurement technologies, methods, and analysis of television audiences. Without trying to upset the applecart of the current media buy/sell models, we quietly introduced much more precision and accuracy in audience measurement, and broadened the scope of what could be measured. The market is just now, years later, adopting this kind of measurement.
Part of my former team and I are partnering up to create this paradigm shift to yet another venue. I cannot talk about what that is yet, but keep watching to learn more in the future.
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