Episode 020: Jeff Lemonds, Casappa Corporation

We are joined this month by DePaul MBA alumnus, Jeff Lemonds.

Jeff is the Managing Director at Casappa Corporation, which is a firm that specializes in hydraulic systems. Hydraulics are a very old technology that is inside almost all machinery with moving mechanical parts.

Jeff talks with us about his industry’s dynamics, how COVID has disrupted the supply chain, and how his firm views the next step of innovation for this very established technology. He also offers insight on how a mechanical engineer might become a strategist and business leader.

Episode 019: Lauren Lipovic, Esri

In this episode, Lauren Lipovic speaks with us about the GIS industry and how her experience as an economist aids her in her current role as a marketer. 

Lauren is a Lead Product Marketing Manager at Esri, where she manages a team of product marketers focused on delivering situational awareness and operational intelligence to government, non-governmental, and commercial customers. Lauren joined the Product Marketing team after spending four years on Esri’s Global Business Development team, where she led the development of the company’s digital sales and public policy practices.

Prior to joining Esri, Lauren served as a top advisor for economic affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce where she worked with a team of fellow open data enthusiasts to create the department’s first data strategic plan and establish the Commerce Data Advisory Council. Her 10 years of experience spans across strategic planning, policymaking, and business development in government, NGO, and software industries. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and industry news on the topics of international trade, government data, and innovation. 

Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in economics and policy analysis from DePaul University.


Episode: 018: Carlie Frisch, SPINS

In this episode, we are joined by Carlie Frisch, DePaul MBA Alumnus and Client Insights Manager at SPINS, a wellness-focused data technology company.

Carlie talks with us about the growth of the Naturals industry within consumer packaged goods, or CPG’s. The CPG industry is a very crowded and competitive space that simultaneously must respond to short-run changes in consumer preferences while leveraging massive economies of scale to keep costs low. Yet in the face of those challenges, Natural products successfully find more and more ways to innovate and disrupt.

Episode 017: Louise Anderson, Blue Cross of Illinois

This month we joined by Senior Manager of Corporate Development at Blue Cross of Illinois and DePaul MBA Alumnus, Louise Anderson.

Health Insurance in the US is a quagmire of complex interactions with lots of moving parts between providers, insurers, governments, and patients. Inside of this intricate dance, healthcare costs have been increasing a fairly intense rate and has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Louise talks with me how an aging population and the very recent influx of telehealth technology are factors in the industry’s response to inflationary healthcare spending and public policy.

This is a great conversation about how the healthcare industry is organized and the factors that make it complex. Have a listen and let us know what you think!

Episode 016: Bob Schiller, National General Insurance

In this episode, we speak with DePaul MBA alumnus, Bob Schiller. Bob is the Countrywide Product Manager at National General Insurance (an Allstate Company).

Insurance is at the foundation of de-risking many other activities, making them more accessible and fueling economic development. That also means that insurance can inherently be a slow-moving industry in terms of its own innovation. However, technology and consumer preferences have drastically changed in the past decade, which is forcing some relatively quick changes for insurance in the forms of M&A, technology adoption, and product development.

Curious what those changes are? Well Bob’s got you covered, so have a listen!

Episode 015: Marty Friel, Ameriprise Financial Services

This month we speak with DePaul MS-EPA Alumnus, Marty Friel. Marty has been a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services for nearly 16 years.

Financial advising is a highly competitive industry for two reasons. Firstly, its largely non-differentiated. The service is usually only differentiated by the way products are packaged and the relationships built by individual advisors. But in the end, all a consumer wants is to make sure their savings will be there for retirement.

The second reason is the industry can be considered a credence good, meaning its hard to judge the quality of an investment strategy even after years of being a client. Marty talks with us about how using economics and strategy frameworks has super charged his ability to differentiate himself from competitors and demonstrate his quality to his clients.

Episode 014: Bradley Lerner, Equipment International

This month we are joined by DePaul MBA Alumnus and COO of Equipment International, Bradley Lerner.

In February 2020, Bradley had recently stepped into his role as the operations leader for a Chicago based firm that sells and services industrial laundry solutions. As you might expect, this is a mature and competitive industry with established relationships across verticals like hospitality and health care. 

Bradley began surveying the lay of the land and developing a strategic plan… and then the lockdowns began. One year later, Bradley talks with us about his experience balancing the responsibilities of crisis manager and strategic leader. Curious about his journey? Keep on listening to learn more.

Episode 013: Tom Lubinski, adidas

In this episode we are joined by DePaul Triple Demon Tom Lubinski, Product Manager at adidas.

As you might expect from the competitive nature of sports, the sports apparel industry is similarly competitive. Jobs at firms are coveted by sports lovers, so high performance expectations tend to be intrinsically built into company cultures. This permeates into the everlasting chase of identifying new trends across cultures, sports, and market segments, which must be drilled down into the products Tom builds. 

There’s a lot to consider, so we hope you’ll listen to find out more!

Episode 012: Kirsten Ahlen, Ahlen Consulting

In this last episode of 2020, we speak with DePaul Double Demon, Kirsten Ahlen. Kirsten is a musician turned consultant that specializes in strategic management for Associations.

Associations are a specific kind of nonprofit that usually represents a trade or professional group to communicate industry standards, avenues for continuing education, and policy considerations. Kirsten talks with us about the interesting industry landscape for Associations as well as the challenges of creating differentiated value. 

Associations have been forced to adopt technology solutions a much quicker pace as the industry begins to accept that our definition of normal from pre-COVID times is quickly becoming thing of the past.

Episode 011: Brian Raff, American Institute of Steel Construction

This month we speak with DePaul MBA Alumnus, Brian Raff. He is the Vice President of Market Development at the American Institute of Steel Construction.

The Steel Construction industry is at the heart of large scale and infrastructure level construction projects, with notable rivals like Concrete and Wood. Brian speaks with me about how Steel Construction works with representative firms and government organizations to advocate for legislation that achieves its intended purpose while still encouraging a level playing field.

Brian talks with us about the growing environmental awareness that has led to a more regulated steel construction industry. He describes how his industry is supportive of legislative goals, some misconceptions about steel, and about some areas of innovation.

It’s a great conversation, so we hope you’ll listen in!