The role of the Edison Awards Steering Committee is two-fold. Senior executives with diverse marketing, scientific, and business backgrounds serve on the Edison Awards Steering Committee to monitor the development and successful launch of innovative products each year.
The Steering Committee is responsible for selecting the Edison Achievement Award winners. They review biographies, practices and impact of nominees and select individuals who are on the cutting edge of innovation in an attempt to nominate distinguished innovators.
For the Edison Awards, the Steering Committee receives and reviews each nomination, selecting only those they believe merit consideration for the Edison Awards. The applicants that are approved are put on a comprehensive ballot and sent to over 3,000 experienced senior business executives throughout the nation. The ballots are tabulated and the finalists are notified.
The 2012-2013 Steering Committee members are:
In his role at the Science Channel, Dexter oversees the programming strategy for the network and is responsible for securing acquisitions to fuel the network's programming pipeline. Since his time at Science, the network has experienced three consecutive years of audience growth. He returned to Discovery Communications in 2010 after a two-year term as Vice President of Research for TV One, where he led the network in the areas of programming and consumer research. Prior to his role at TV One, Dexter spent ten years at Discovery Communications. During his tenure there, he managed research for each of the five major Discovery networks: Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and Discovery Health Channel. He was instrumental in the launch of successful TLC series such as Little People, Big World, Miami Ink, Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear. Dexter received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Howard University, with a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, in Journalism and a MBA.
Harry Epstein is currently the President of Quadrant Management Consulting and Managing Director of Quadrant Management Inc. based in New York. His focus at Quadrant is in the areas of strategic consulting, innovation, IP commercialization and the building of strategic alliances.
Harry is actively involved with a variety of organizations across many industries. In addition, Harry serves on innovation and advisory councils for several major brand organizations. Harry frequently speaks in public in the areas of innovation, sustainability, renewable energy and packaging, and serves as a guest lecturer in academia.
Harry has numerous published articles in peer-reviewed international theoretical physics journals and is an accomplished classical pianist. He was educated at Dawson College and McGill University in Montreal in math, physics, business and chemistry. He is married, has four children and is based in Chicago.
Dr. Gary Fischman is a materials scientist whose career has been on the nexus of academia, government and industry. He is the owner and principal of Future Strategy Solutions, and an active part-owner of Covalent Coating Technologies. Prior to his current activities, Gary spent five years at the National Research Council, where he was the Director of three boards: The National Materials Advisory Board, the Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, and the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment.
Earlier, Gary was the Director of Biomaterials and Technology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, holding three joint academic appointments (Restorative Dentistry, Orthopaedic Survey and Bioengineering). Previous to his activities at UIC, Gary was at the US Food and Drug Administration.
Gary was also a tenured faculty member at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, has served as President of the National Institute of Ceramic Engineers, as a Director for the American Ceramic Society, and as a Governor for the American Association of Engineering Societies. He has a B.S., M.S. and PhD. in Ceramic Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. She is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range of corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis. Through consulting, speaking and training, Joyce helps clients position themselves for future success. Joyce is also CEO of Employer of Choice International, Inc., the organization that certifies employers as Employers of Choice®.
An early entrepreneur, she founded her first company at the age of 14. Later at the age of 28, she was the youngest magazine publisher in the country, publishing a successful buyers' guide for audiophiles.
A respected professional speaker and management consultant, Joyce has earned the designation of Certified Management Consultant, as well as the coveted Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association; she is one of only a handful of people in the world to hold both designations. Joyce earned an MBA from Fordham University and pioneered strategic syndications between magazines and catalogs.
Joyce distributes the weekly Herman Trend Alert to 29,000 people in 87 countries in four languages. She also has authored five books, including three business bestsellers. Her book, How to Become an Employer of Choice was runner-up for the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award for the Best Business Book of the Year. She is often quoted in media, including Industry Week, Entrepreneur magazine, The Economist, and others.
Dr. Matthew Heim most recently served as President of NineSigma - the world's premier open innovation service provider. He has more than 25 years of global executive management experience in the areas of strategic planning, innovation, corporate turnarounds and large-scale systems change. Matthew served on the faculty of the University of Maryland and Dominican University of California. He is a prolific author of journal articles and white papers; his publications include the book, Breaking the Musashi Code: Transcending Competition Through Visionary Strategy, as well as his contribution to the bestselling book, A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing.
Prior to his work at NineSigman, Matthew was Managing Partner at Clarkston Consulting, responsible for Strategic Services. He has also served as Managing Director at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, with global practice leadership. Additionally, he spent several years as a Principal with KPMG in Germany, where he served the banking, telecommunications, government and aerospace industries.
Matthew holds a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems, an M.A. in Developmental Psychology, an M.S. in Systems Management and a B.S. in Computer Science.
Walter Herbst, in 1962, founded what became Herbst LaZar Bell Inc. The firm grew under his leadership to be one of the three largest independently owned product design and development firms in the country. He left that firm after transferring it into an employee owned firm (ESOP) and is a partner in Herbst Produkt, headquartered in Silicon Valley. Professor Herbst holds a courtesy appointment in the Kellogg School of Management where he brings his expertise for product development into the classroom with a course he designed dealing with the Management of Product Development. For the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, he created the Master of Product Design and Development Program. The program is the only program in the country that deals with the totality of issues related to product development and includes all the standard MBA courses as well as advanced concepts in PD&D. Professor Herbst is a Fellow in Industrial Design; IDEA, the Institute of Design Engineering and Applications program; as well as the Segal Design Institute and is a NCEER Scholar (Northwestern Center for Education Research) for Northwestern University. Professor Herbst also serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Material Sciences at Arizona State University and on the Advisory Board for Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana. Walter holds over 80 patents in hardware, houseware and medical products. He is listed in "Who's Who of American Inventors", as well as other "Who's Who" publications, and is a frequent contributor of articles in various trade journals. An expert in his field, he is frequently invited to speak at national and international industry trade shows and events. In addition, he was a recipient of the "Design of the Decade" award from the Industrial Design Society of America for his work with Gillette in the spring of 2001.
Calvin L. Hodock is former Chairman of the Board of the American Marketing Association, the world’s largest professional marketing society. He is a nationally recognized authority on marketing and product innovation. His marketing credentials were earned at the Gillette Company, Bayer, and Johnson & Johnson in senior management positions. He was also partner at Comart/KLP, one of the country’s largest marketing service agencies at the time. Hodock currently is on the Board of Directors of NuVim, Inc, a startup company marketing a line of healthy beverages to Wal-Mart and major supermarket accounts on the East Coast.
Hodock is a full time faculty member at Berkeley College teaching marketing courses at their Middlesex and Garrett Mountain campuses. He also teaches an advertising course at New York University and has been a guest lecturer at several colleges, including the Wharton School. During his stewardship of the American Marketing Association, Hodock created the prestigious AMA EDISON AWARD presented annually to American corporations for product innovation excellence. During a twelve-year period, he reviewed Edison submissions for literally thousands of new products and services from America’s elite corporations. Some of this material, not available in the public domain, was used in his new book Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things. He became a heralded new product guru widely quoted in the press as a result of the Edison experience.
Hodock’s involvement with the EDISON AWARDS and his book on product innovation have resulted in appearances on Fox Business News CBS, CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg, numerous radio stations in local markets, and print media, including publications like The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Jose Mercury. Brandweek, Advertising Age, Promo Magazine, and Marketing News. Numerous universities and professional organizations throughout the country, such as 3M and American Gas Association Financial Forum, have heard his thought-provoking lectures on marketing and innovation strategies. He is now working on another book The Brainwashing of America which focuses on branding.
Dirk Hondmann, Ph.D., is senior vice president Research & Development for Mead Johnson Nutrition, with responsibility for Discovery, Technology Development, Clinical Research and Medical Affairs, Regulatory and Nutrition Science, Quality Compliance and Product & Process Development. Dr. Hondmann is a member of the Executive Committee of Mead Johnson Nutrition.
Before joining Mead Johnson Nutrition in 2005, Dr. Hondmann worked for Unilever, an international manufacturer of food, home-care and personal-care products. His last position at Unilever was vice president of International Development for Slim-Fast. Prior to that, Dr. Hondmann served in a variety of roles, including head of Development for Unilever Foods in South Africa and head of the Lipton Innovation & Technology Center in California, USA.
Dr. Hondmann is an adjunct associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and gives guest lectures on business and innovation at various business schools. Born and raised in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Dr. Hondmann earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry/molecular biology from Groningen University, Netherlands, an M.S. in molecular science from Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands; and an MBA from Heerlen University, Netherlands.
Dr. Jennie C. Hunter-Cevera is the founder of Hunter and Associates, a consulting company specializing in the life sciences. Before that she was the Executive Vice President of RTI International, a non-profit research institution. She brings 22 years of research leadership in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry, five with the Department of Energy, ten with academia and three with a government contract research non-profit institution. She has performed basic, applied and translational research, published scientific papers, and has more than 15 patents focused on screening for microbial products and processes.
At RTI, Dr. Cevera was responsible for directing R&D activities for its Discovery and Analytical Sciences Division, which has six key areas of focus: Drug Discovery, Environmental and Industrial Sciences, Advanced Analytical Science, Forensic Science, Microbial Systems, and Molecular, Epigenetics, Genomics, Environment and Health and the Center for Agriculture and Environmental Biotechnology. Her current research focus is on microbial forensics, chemical signaling and metabolomics of microbial communities.
Prior to joining RTI, Dr. Cevera served for ten years as President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, which focused on applied research in medical, agriculture, biocatalysis, structural biology and marine biology. She received her undergraduate (biology) and Master's degrees (microbiology) from West Virginia University and earned her Ph.D. in microbiology from Rutgers University.
University of Illinois
Philip T. Krein received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering and the A.B. degree in economics and business from Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana. He was an engineer with Tektronix in Beaverton, Oregon, then returned to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At present, he holds the Grainger Endowed Director’s Chair in Electric Machinery and Electromechanics as Professor and Director of the Grainger Center for Electric Machinery and Electromechanics. His research interests address all aspects of power electronics, machines, drives, and electrical energy, with emphasis on nonlinear control and distributed systems. He published an undergraduate textbook, Elements of Power Electronics (Oxford University Press, 1998). In 2001, he helped initiate the International Future Energy Challenge, a major student competition involving fuel cell power conversion and energy efficiency. He holds fifteen U.S. patents with additional patents pending.
Dr. Krein is a registered professional engineer in Illinois and in Oregon. He was a senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom in 1997-98, and was recognized as a University Scholar in 1999, the highest research award at the University of Illinois. He serves as Academic Advisor for the Department of Electronic and Information Engineering at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 2003, he received the IEEE William E. Newell Award in Power Electronics. He is a past President of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, and served as a member of the IEEE Board of Directors. In 2005-2007, he was a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Power Electronics Society. In 2008, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE Power Electronics Society. He is Chairman of the Board of SolarBridge Technologies, a developer of long-life integrated solar energy systems.
Since 2007, Bret Lewis has been the Director of Fulton Innovation, where he is responsible for overseeing all operational aspects of the organization and providing value-driven strategic direction for the Fulton Innovation team.
Having successfully owned and operated seven different companies (domestic & international) in diverse industries including component manufacturing, specialized equipment and real estate investments since 1993, Bret brings unique insights, leadership and a strong entrepreneurial background to the team. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Bret held senior executive positions in finance, sales, and marketing at a number of public and privately held companies.
Bret and his wife, Rebecca, have two sons and make their home in West Michigan.
Hari Nair is currently serving as the Global Managing Director for Kimberly-Clark's Innovation Center, based in Seoul, South Korea. In this role, Hari is responsible for the overall site-wide leadership and several global innovation programs. Hari is a thought-leader and expert in applying disruptive innovation in emerging markets, having advised several Fortune 500 companies as well as several Asian firms.
Hari has spent nearly half of his 20-year professional career living and working in emerging markets, launching new business and products in China and India. He led the engagement that helped conceive and develop ChotuKool, an innovative refrigerator launched by Godrej Industries. From 2008 to 2010, as part of the leadership team of Innosight Ventures, Hari led the incubation of several disruptive ventures, targeting non-consumers and the emerging middle class in India - notably, Village Laundry Service, a franchised laundry services venture. VLS recently raised its Series A financing and has been featured as one of India's most innovative startups.
Hari received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; he is also an inventor/co-inventor on eight patents.
David Parma is President, Nielsen BASES and Nielsen Consumer Research at Nielsen. In this role, David is responsible for the strategic direction and investment priorities of Nielsen's BASES and Consumer Research businesses globally and to develop solutions that integrate across the Company's broad range of services with a special focus on Product Innovation. David joined Nielsen in 2002, headed BASES offices in Brussels and Milan prior to moving to the U.S. in 2006 to head the BASES NJ office. In 2007, he took on added responsibility as global leader of the BASES Analytical Resources Center located in Mumbai, India. In 2008, David was appointed President, Nielsen Consumer Research and in 2009 President, Nielsen BASES and Nielsen Consumer Research. In 2010, David also became Chair of the Nielsen Product Innovation Practice Group. Prior to joining Nielsen, David held positions with Procter & Gamble and McKinsey & Company working in various European, African and Far East markets. David has a University Degree in Chemistry (Bologna, Italy), and is an accomplished concert violinist. He and his wife and three children reside in New York City.
Colonel John P. (Pierre) Powell (Retired) is currently serving as the President of PAMCO Investments Corp., a family investment holding company, managing assets for Oil & Gas Exploration, Private Equity, Real Estate and other business ventures. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2008 after 21 years of service. He retired as the Vice-Commander of Air Forces in Afghanistan, responsible for 4,500 Airmen stationed at more than 27 locations across that country. His previous assignments included 33rd Maintenance Group Commander, logistics leader for 54 F-15C aircraft, Air Combat Command Chief of Programs, with duties including management of their $180B five-year budget. Colonel Powell has also served as Aide and Executive officer to the Secretary of the Air Force and as country director for procurement support to Saudi Arabia, among others. Pierre has logged over 2,200 hours of flight time in the F-15, F-4, and AT-38 fighter aircraft, having been awarded the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Bronze Star (among others) during Operations Desert Storm, Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Noble Eagle, Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
Pierre recently completed an executive MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; he has attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, as a National Security Fellow, and has additional Master's Degrees from Air Command and Staff College as well as Troy State University. He graduated with an Aerospace Engineering Degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Pierre has been an active member of the Kellogg Innovation Network and Colorado Innovation Network. He also founded a 501(c)(3) supporting military transitions and has membership in other charity, community and leadership activities.
Sheree Speakman works on public and private education projects that support the common goals of social justice and deeper learning. From 2007 to 2011, she was Evaluation Director of the Walton Family Foundation, working with the K-12 Education Reform, Environment and Home Region program teams and grantees on performance analysis. She continues to work with the Walton Family Foundation as an independent consultant on evaluation related to its environmental grantmaking.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Sheree worked in the education sector to develop and implement performance improvement data for school leaders and teachers. She served as COO for British Schools of America between 2005 and 2007. Earlier, she was President of Fox River Learning, a consulting organization specializing in systems that originated and analyzed student performance and school finance records. Sheree received an A.B. from Albion College in Michigan and a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Frank Bonafilia is the Executive Director of the Edison Best New Product Awards and Edison Green Awards. He is the co-founder of Edison Universe, a non-profit organization focused on fostering the next generation of innovators (future Thomas Edisons) in the K-12 grade level and using tools like creativity, collaboration and immersion to prepare students to identify new opportunities and create solutions around the opportunities. Frank is a 15-year marketing executive with an award-winning career in financial services, real time data synchronization, retail software and the successful development and launch of profitable new products and services. Early in his career Frank was involved with the Edison Awards when he managed the Sponsorship and Awards Division of the American Marketing Association. In that capacity, he was responsible for the Division’s overall profitability and extension of the Edison Awards brand, which is manifested in the Edison Awards’ current status as an independent organization. Frank holds an MBA from Saint Xavier University and a BA in International Communications from the University of Kansas.