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PDMA Board of Directors
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PDMA Board of Directors: Biographies

Executive Committee

Chair Ernie Harris

Ernie Harris, Chair 

Ernie Harris is the Founder of Interesting Blazer, a consulting agency focusing on product management and strategy, go-to-market analytics and interim leadership staffing. A veteran of both the enterprise and the startup community, Ernie has spent his career helping drive growth for the organizations he has had the privilege of working with.

Prior to starting Interesting Blazer, Ernie worked with companies like TDAmeritrade where his product team built one of the first real-time streaming data platforms delivered via the Internet and Baltimore Gas and Electric where he built and deployed one of the first automated software distribution and version control systems for the enterprise.

Ernie’s history with PDMA started in 2008 while at Raymond James Financial where he joined a local chapter to enrich his understanding of Product Management. Since then he has held positions at all levels within the organization from chapter President, VP of Events and Board Member.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Ernie holds a degree in Computer Science and numerous certifications including PDMA’s NPDP. He currently resides in Florida with his wife BriAnna.


Vice Chair Mark Adkins

Mark Adkins, Vice Chair 

Mark Adkins is the CEO of LeanMed, a medical device company dedicated to bringing essential treatment to remote, underserved regions through innovative technologies. Lean Med's first product, the O2 CUBE, delivers vital supplemental oxygen to patients of rural health clinics in developing nations. With respiratory infections killing millions of patients each year, the O2 CUBE is a landmark step in improving care and saving lives.

Mark is also the founder & president of Smart Hammer Innovation, a management consulting business that helps companies apply best practices to Innovation Management. During his career, Mark and his teams have led development projects that have launched numerous new products with lifetime sales of over $1B.

Mark is an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/CMI/. Professor Adkins teaches on Innovation Management to educate the next generation of innovators in the design, development, and commercialization of medical technologies.

Before founding Turnkey Marketing, Mr. Adkins was a Director at Cincinnati Machine where he spearheaded the design of their new product development process that was recognized in 1998 as the best in the world by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA). Mark was also a director at Kennametal where he successfully integrated independent development teams from Europe, Asia and North America and launched three new next generation product lines.

Mark has a degree in Business Administration from Xavier University and is certified by the PDMA as a New Product Development Professional (NPDP). Mark currently serves on the PDMA board of directors and in 2010 founded PDMA Pittsburgh.


Secretary-Treasurer Susan Penta

Susan Penta, Secretary-Treasurer
Susan is an engineer, entrepreneur, educator and consultant with a passion for products, technology and teams that has underscored her 33-year career. In her capacity as Co-Founder and Managing Partner at MIDIOR, Susan oversees the delivery of professional services and MIDIOR’s operations. For her clients, Susan is uniquely able to cross organizational and cultural boundaries to facilitate a common product and technology perspective, inspire innovative thinking, optimize organization output and improve financial performance. For 18 years, Susan has also served as an Executive Professor on the adjunct faculty at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business as well as in Northeastern’s Corporate Education programs where she teaches graduate courses in entrepreneurship and innovation. Susan is a frequent speaker on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship and product organizations.

Susan is an active supporter of non-profit organizations in the Boston area with a particular focus at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship and disadvantaged populations. Susan currently serves as a Director and immediate past Chairman of the Board for the Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE), as Trustee and past Chairman of the Board for Schools for Children, as an active member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network Advisory Board, as a trustee with the Children’s Trust, as the Chair of PDMA’s Webcast Committee and as a Program Committee member for The Possible Project. Susan is a founding member of WPI’s Women’s Impact Network (WIN), was a founding board member for WPI’s Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and has served on the Management Executive Council for WPI’s Foisie Business School and the Technology Advisors Network. Susan also serves as an advisor to The Third Piece, a retail store and internet property focused on women’s high end accessories and fashion. In the past, Susan served as Treasurer, Chair of Finance and Trustee for Belmont Day School, as Director on the International Board of Directors for the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), as President of the New England Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) and as a Trustee for the Healthworks Foundation.

Susan has received multiple awards including, in 2017, the Center for Women & Enterprise Advocate of the Year award and in 2016, the prestigious Pinnacle Award for Achievement in Entrepreneurship from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Other past awards include in 2004, being named to the Boston Business Journal’s “40 under 40” and in 2001, receiving the Ichabod Washburn Young Alumni Award for Professional Achievement from WPI.

Prior to founding MIDIOR, Susan held founding, executive, product management and engineering roles at companies including MODA Systems, IDEAssociates, Alcatel and Sprague Electric Company. Susan holds a BSEE degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and an MBA from The CASS Business School in London, England. When not supporting a MIDIOR client or one of her favorite non-profits, Susan can be found outside, in an exercise class or in her kitchen, testing and optimizing recipes.


Directors

Gloria Barczak

Gloria Barczak , Director
Gloria Barczak is Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Innovation in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. She received her PhD in Marketing and Innovation from Syracuse University. Prior to joining Northeastern, she was an Assistant Professor at Georgia State University for 2 years.

Dr. Barczak is former Editor of the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM), a Senior Advisor to Creativity and Innovation Management and a member of the Editorial Board of IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. She has been a Visiting Professor at RMIT University in Melbourne, University of Technology Sydney, University of Bath, and Delft University of Technology.

Dr. Barczak has published over 30 academically refereed journal articles in numerous journals including the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, British Journal of Management, Information and Management, and Business Horizons, among others.

As Editor of JPIM, Dr. Barczak was invited to be a keynote speaker at six conferences, participated in approximately 25 doctoral workshops/consortiums, and was an invited speaker at 40 universities. Due to her Editor role, she also served on the IPDMC Board and Scientific Committee and the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA) Board and Publications Committee.

Dr. Barczak was an academic co-organizer of the ISPIM Boston Innovation Forum in 2016 and 2018. She has been actively involved in the PDMA serving twice as Chair of the PDMA Research Forum, twice as Chair of the PDMA Research Competition, twice as a member of the PDMA Academic Committee, and as a member of the PDMA Nominations Committee.

At Northeastern University, Dr. Barczak served on the Faculty Senate for 3 years, was Co-Chair of the Enrollment and Admissions Policy Committee for 2 years, Co-Director of the Institute for Global Innovation Management, Chair of the Marketing Group, Co-Director of the Executive MBA Program, and Co-Chair of the Dean Search Committee for the School of Business.

Over her career, Dr. Barczak has taught courses in Marketing and Innovation primarily at the Masters’ level. She has taught in the Executive MBA, High Tech MBA, Evening MBA, and MBA in Accounting programs. She has also taught in the MS in Innovation program, both on-the-ground and online versions and in numerous executive education programs.


Karen Dworaczyk

Karen Dworaczyk, NPDP, Director
Ms. Dworaczyk, the Principal of INSIGHTOVATION® Consulting, is an experienced product development professional consultant, supporting clients’ transformation of their new product development processes to improve productivity. Her background and experience includes 15 years of consumer and B2B ingredient sales and marketing in various positions with Procter & Gamble, Sr. Product Marketing Manager with Birds Eye Foods, Director of Product Marketing with SentrySafe (Master Lock) and Director of Marketing at LiDestri Food and Drink.   She began her career as a Chemical Engineer, Manufacturing Manager, for Nestle Foods. Ms. Dworaczyk, is highly skilled in NPD portfolio management, product line road mapping, and NPD risk assessment and forecasting. She has developed a branded insight-driven innovation process that supports sustainable, profitable growth and the development strategic plans. 

Over the course of more than 30 years in sales, product marketing and new product development, Karen has led and participated in the product development efforts of numerous Fortune 500 companies, in consumer packaged goods, the chemical industry, consumer durables, ingredient brands and software development. 

She received executive training at The Kellogg School of Business, James L. Allen Center for Executive Training and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University. She has received many awards and scholarships including Kodak Scholar, Conrail Scholar, Regents Scholar, Society of Women Engineers Scholar, Chemical Engineering Honor Society, and the prestigious Emersonian Award from Procter & Gamble’s Global Oleo Chemical Group. She is an active member of PDMA, Product Development and Management Association since 2013 and a PDMA registered Education Provider since 2017.


Wayne Fisher

Wayne Fisher, Ph.D., Director
Wayne Fisher, Ph.D., founded Rockdale Innovation after spending 27 years as an R&D manager at Procter & Gamble. While at P&G, Wayne created a series of popular innovation workshops for all phases of new product development, training thousands of managers across P&G’s diverse business units and regions. These workshops and related tools provide a common language and framework for innovation, fostering collaboration across P&G’s diverse business units and regions. He served as a full-time innovation consultant and Creative Problem Solving facilitator at The GYM, an IDEO-inspired design studio that remains a key enabler of P&G’s innovation capability.

Rockdale Innovation guides have successfully reapplied these innovation best practices across diverse industries including consumer products, business-to-business, manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare. Wayne is a sought after trainer, speaker, and writer on the topic of innovation best practices, including the chapter, “Applying the Creative Problem Solving Process to Open Innovation”, published by Oxford University Press.

Wayne is also active in the Product Development and Management Association, where he serves on the Outstanding Corporate Innovator award selection committee. He is Past President of the Tri-State Chapter. Wayne received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and has been granted 18 US patents


VP of Certification Sudhi Gulur

Sudhi Gulur, NPDP, Director, Ex-Officio
Sudhi Gulur is the Solutions Manager in the Digital Aviation organization at The Boeing Company, leading a variety of digital solutions through the new product development lifecycle and enabling innovation and operational efficiency for aviation customers across commercial, military, business and general aviation segments.

Sudhi’s skills and experiences include leading, coaching, and managing teams, partnering with internal and external customers across various domains to understand their needs, leading innovation, product discovery, product strategy and planning, software product management, and new product development.

Prior to joining Boeing, Sudhi worked for Dassault Systèmes and led new product development of product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for the aerospace, automotive, structure, shipbuilding and architecture and engineering construction (AEC) industries.

Sudhi has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in industrial and manufacturing engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Sudhi is a continuous learner and is actively learning through books, blogs, courses and new assignments.


PDMA Director Robert Johnston

Michael O'Connor, Director
Michael O'Connor is the Director Strategy and Project Management with Medtronic Corporate Science and Technology in Minneapolis, Minnesota (17 years of Medtronic experience). He has over 34 years of professional work experience and 29 years of professional experience (mainly in project, program and portfolio management) in the Medical Device Industry. O'Connor received his B.A. and minor in Project Management from Metropolitan State University. He holds Graduate degrees in Project Management, Technology Management and Business Administration. O'Connor earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, majoring in Project Management, from the University of Maryland, College Park, A. James School of Engineering. He was selected as an American Society for Quality Fellow (ASQ), selected as a Medtronic Technical Fellow, selected as an American Academy of Project Management Fellow (AAPM), selected as an Association for Project Management Fellow (APM) and selected as a Biomedical Engineering Society Fellow (BMES). He is a (PDMA) NPDP, (PMI) PMP®️, PgMP®️, (IPMA) IPMA-B certified, (IPM) CPD, (AAPM) MPM, CIPM and CPRM. He is currently on the Board of Directors as a Director at large for the Minnesota PMI chapter and he is the Medtronic liaison for the Minnesota PMI chapter. He is also the representative for Medtronic on the PMI Global Executive Council. He will be a Director at large with the Product Development and Management Association in 2020-2023 and is a former Director at Large for the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA). He is a Community Faculty Member at Metropolitan State University and an Adjunct Faculty instructor at the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Wisconsin, Platteville that is teaching Graduate level Project Management, Portfolio Management, Project Capstone, Procurement, and Culture / Organizational course(s).


PDMA Director Suzanne Thompson

Suzanne Thompson, Director
Suzanne is the Chief Technology Officer at Diversey. In this role, she leads all Research & Development, and Regulatory for Diversey including their innovation pipeline and project management.

Prior to Diversey, she worked in Research & Development at the Clorox Company for 29 years. Clorox roles included Vice President R&D, Growth labs where Suzanne led a cross-functional team to help identify, assess and create pipelines for potential adjacencies as well as led global technology, design, and open innovation. Suzanne also had roles leading Cleaning and Speciality Division R&D teams for Clorox. She has had experience in process development, product development and packaging development for divisions such as Kingsford Charcoal, Laundry, Home Care, Auto, Foods, Litter and Professional products. In addition to leading the Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award Selection Committee, Suzanne is on PDMA’s board of directors.



PDMA JPIM Co-Editors

PDMA JPIM Co-Editor Jelena Spanjol

Jelena Spanjol, Ph.D., PDMA JPIM Co-Editor
Jelena Spanjol, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Marketing in the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research investigates marketing and innovation strategy and decision making, as well as managerial and consumer goal-striving dynamics. Jelena’s research has been published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Marketing Letters, Journal of Business Ethics, Health Psychology, and in various book chapters. She is an editorial board member at the Journal of Product Innovation Management and the Creativity and Innovation Management journal.


PDMA JPIM Co-Editor Charlie Noble

Charlie Noble, PDMA JPIM Co-Editor, Ex-Officio
Charlie Noble is currently the Proffitt's Professor of Marketing at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Previously, he was on the faculties of Boston College and The University of Mississippi. His research interests focus generally on design and development processes, as applied to both products and services. He has published in many leading journals including the Journal of Marketing, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and many others. He is currently in his second term on the editorial board of the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Charles has consulted for many organizations, primarily in the airline, retailing, consumer goods, and commercial real estate sectors. He has won several awards for both research and teaching.



PDMA Operations Committee

VP of Academics Minu Kumar

Minu Kumar, Vice President of Academics 
Minu Kumar is an Associate Professor of Marketing at San Francisco State University where he engages companies and multidisciplinary groups of students in innovation efforts. He received a B.S. in Pharmacy, M.B.A., and a Ph.D. in marketing. His primary scholarly interest lies in areas relating to design-thinking, new product design and development, entrepreneurship, knowledge management, acquisition and licensing innovation, and statistical techniques such as structural equation modeling and multilevel modeling. Professor Kumar has published in journals such as the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal Business Research, and Journal of Business Ethics among others. He serves on the Editorial Review Board of Journal of Product Innovation Management and is also an ad hoc reviewer for journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Business Ethics. He has won several awards for his research and has also worked with firms such as Barilla, SAP, Daiichi Sankyo, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Merck, Medtronic, Glaxo Smithkline, among others on several product development and marketing projects.


VP of  of Events Ernie Harris

Ernie Harris, Vice President of Events
Ernie Harris is the founding principal at Interesting Blazer, a consulting agency focusing on product management and strategy, business process optimization and competitive intelligence.  A veteran of both the enterprise and the startup community, Ernie has spent his career helping drive growth for the organizations he has had the privilege of working with.

Prior to starting Interesting Blazer, Ernie worked with companies like TDAmeritrade where his product team built one of the first real-time streaming data platforms delivered via the Internet and Baltimore Gas and Electric where he built and deployed one of the first automated software distribution and version control systems for the enterprise.

Ernie’s history with PDMA started in 2008 while at Raymond James Financial where he joined a local chapter to enrich his understanding of Product Management. Since then he has held positions at all levels within the organization from chapter President to Conference Planning Committee Member to Treasurer for the PDMA Board of Directors.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Ernie holds a degree in Computer Science and numerous certifications including PDMA’s NPDP.  He currently resides in Arizona with his wife BriAnna.


VP of Asia-Pacific Global Affiliates Aruna Shekar

Aruna Shekar, Ph.D., Vice President of Global Affiliates – Asia-Pacific
Aruna Shekar, Ph.D., is a Senior Lecturer in Product Development at Massey University’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Aruna received her PhD in Product Development from Massey University in 2003, and has supervised several postgraduate students in the field.  Her research interests are in product development methods and best practices, consumer research and product innovation in humanitarian engineering contexts.  She has published in international journals and written chapters for the PDMA’s books on NPD Essentials. She established the New Zealand Affiliate of Product Development & Management Association in 2007, and continues to be a Board member.

She has taught at Massey for more than twenty years and coordinated the final year product development projects with industry. Her educational focus is on teaching product development through project-based learning experiences and fostering creative thinking.  She has led the re-designed first year humanitarian engineering course in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a non-profit social organization, for four years, and every year her students have won National and International awards.  She has been nominated by students as ‘lecturer of the year’ in 2015 and 2016, as part of a recent initiative by students.


VP of European Global Affiliates Egbert-Jan van Dijck

Egbert-Jan van Dijck,  VP of Global Affiliates - Europe
Egbert-Jan van Dijck is currently the Coordinator of the Graduation Program Innovation Management at The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) in The Netherlands. He is a lecturer on innovation and new business development and researcher at Faculty of Engineering (AUAS). In this capacity, he is involved in a innovation program to innovate their Engineering education. In addition he acts as Faculty Advisor for Enactus, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action. Enactus provides a platform for teams of outstanding University students to create sustainable solutions to society's biggest challenges. He also serves as Faculty Advisor for the PDMA Student Chapter at the AUAS, the first PDMA Student Chapter outside the USA. Egbert-Jan’s current research is focused in three areas: Urban Technology and Smart Cities, Energy Transition and Stakeholder Management.

Alongside his position as VP of Global Affiliates – Europe, he serves as Acting Chairman of PDMA Netherlands since 2015 and Treasurer since 2013. He has earned degrees from two Dutch universities: Erasmus University (MBA, Finance), Leiden University (BA, Law), and York St. John University in the United Kingdom (MA, Leading Innovation and Change). In his corporate life, Egbert-Jan has worked for more than 30 years in new business development, innovation management for leading organisations in the profit and (semi-) public sector.

Egbert-Jan lives with his wife, Nicolette, near the Dutch coast. In his spare time he enjoys taking long walks on the beach, driving their classic car and playing golf. He is based in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).


VP of Marketing Karen Dworaczyk

Karen Dworaczyk, NPDP, Vice President of Marketing 
Ms. Dworaczyk, the Principal of INSIGHTOVATION® Consulting, is an experienced product development professional consultant, supporting clients’ transformation of their new product development processes to improve productivity. Her background and experience includes 15 years of consumer and B2B ingredient sales and marketing in various positions with Procter & Gamble, Sr. Product Marketing Manager with Birds Eye Foods, Director of Product Marketing with SentrySafe (Master Lock) and Director of Marketing at LiDestri Food and Drink.   She began her career as a Chemical Engineer, Manufacturing Manager, for Nestle Foods. Ms. Dworaczyk, is highly skilled in NPD portfolio management, product line road mapping, and NPD risk assessment and forecasting. She has developed a branded insight-driven innovation process that supports sustainable, profitable growth and the development strategic plans. 

Over the course of more than 30 years in sales, product marketing and new product development, Karen has led and participated in the product development efforts of numerous Fortune 500 companies, in consumer packaged goods, the chemical industry, consumer durables, ingredient brands and software development. 

She received executive training at The Kellogg School of Business, James L. Allen Center for Executive Training and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University. She has received many awards and scholarships including Kodak Scholar, Conrail Scholar, Regents Scholar, Society of Women Engineers Scholar, Chemical Engineering Honor Society, and the prestigious Emersonian Award from Procter & Gamble’s Global Oleo Chemical Group. She is an active member of PDMA, Product Development and Management Association since 2013 and a PDMA registered Education Provider since 2017.


VP of Chapter Activity Mark Adkins

Mark Adkins, NPDP, Vice President of Chapter Activity
Mark Adkins is the founder & president of Smart Hammer Innovation, a management consulting business that helps companies apply best practices to Innovation Management. During his career, Mark and his teams have led development projects that have launched numerous new products with lifetime sales of over $1B. 

Smart Hammer Innovation also partners on designing and deploying innovation software programs that provided clients IT systems that support the automation of Stage Gate, Portfolio Management, Resource Planning and the Front End of Innovation business processes improving our client’s Time-to-Market and Product Success Rates.

Mark is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation. Professor Adkins teaches on Innovation Management to educate the next generation of innovators in the design, development, and commercialization of medical technologies. 

Before founding Turnkey Marketing, Mr. Adkins was a Director at Cincinnati Machine where he spearheaded the design of their new product development process that was recognized in 1998 as the best in the world by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA).  Mark was also a director at Kennametal where he successfully integrated independent development teams from Europe, Asia and North America and launched three new next generation product lines.

Mark has a degree in Business Administration from Xavier University and is certified by the PDMA as a New Product Development Professional (NPDP).Mark served on the PDMA board of directors from 2006 – 2013 as VP of Marketing and in 2010 founded PDMA Pittsburgh where he serves as their volunteer executive director. He currently mentors entrepreneurial students in the Pitt Blast Furnace.


Vice President of Publications- Ludwig Bstieler

Ludwig Bstieler, Vice President of Publications

Ludwig Bstieler, Ph.D., is Professor of Marketing at the Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he teaches new product development in the MBA program. Prior to joining UNH, he was on the faculties of the University of Innsbruck, McMaster University, MIT's Sloan School of Management, and the European School of Management (ESCP Europe) in Paris.

Ludwig researches the design and marketing of new products with a particular emphasis on close buyer-supplier collaboration in product development. Specifically, he examines how relational and contractual governance mechanisms can facilitate productive research collaborations between firms and between academia and industry. In his latest research, Ludwig explores the question of whether sustainability-minded firms can achieve better innovation outcomes and the circumstances that lead to these outcomes. His research is published in Journal of Product Innovation Management, Technovation, Journal of Business Research, Journal of World Business, and Asia Pacific Journal of Management, among others.

He served as co-chair of the PDMA Academic Research Forum and the PDMA-UNH Doctoral Consortium. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Product Innovation Management and serves on the Scientific Committee for the Innovation & Product Development Management Conference of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management in Brussels. Ludwig’s industry experience includes work in international marketing research and consulting and conducting executive education with numerous European companies.