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Project Experience

In my consulting and business career, I've had the opportunity to work on projects in a diverse range of fields and industries.  Here are some project descriptions.

Residential Heating Systems (Internet Distribution):  A Seattle-based manufacturer of in-floor radiant heating systems wanted to sell a portion of his business so that he could finance growth to the next level of sales.  Tom worked with the owner to develop a marketing and operations strategy and then prepared a comprehensive business plan with detailed financial projections.  He facilitated the search for capital and assisted the owner in structuring a $1.5 million angel investment. 

Online Distribution of Construction Bid Sets:  A Seattle-based software development company wanted to build on its success with electronic distribution of large-scale construction drawings by introducing an online plan room for construction subcontractors.  Tom developed a comprehensive business plan, which included website development specifications, marketing and distribution strategies, and detailed financial projections.  He led the search for capital, which resulted in term sheets for a $3.5 million venture capital investment.

Wireless Broadband Services:  Tom played a lead role in the startup of a Seattle-based company that planned to deploy broadband wireless services in second and third-tier markets using license exempt (WiFi) spectrum.  He developed a comprehensive business plan and financial projections and personally made nearly 100 presentations to venture capital, strategic and angel investors.  The company raised approximately $500,000 from strategic investors but, due to a collapse of the telecom capital markets, was unable to raise the $3.5 million in venture capital needed to launch full-scale operations.

Tournament Card Game:  Tom helped the founders of a new tournament card develop their business plan and funding strategy.  The plan described the business model for selling card decks and "booster" packs and promoting sales by sponsoring nationwide tournaments.  The model was very similar to that employed by Wizards of the Coast in their very successful startup and eventual sale to Hasbro Toy Company.   The business plan, executive summary and PowerPoint presentation were very effective the founders' campaign to raise $2.5 million in Angel financing.

Online Poker Room:  Tom developed a comprehensive business plan for a leading online poker company.  The plan described the company's business model and how televised celebrity poker tournaments are fueling rampant growth.  The plan also provided detailed competitive information for the industries largest participants and described the legislative environment that governs Internet gambling in general and online poker in specific.  The business plan has been a key tool used by the company in its campaign to raise more than $20 million in private equity.

Online Micro-payments Company:  Tom served as advisor to the founder and CEO of this leading-edge developer of systems to transact micro-payments (i.e., $.25 to $3.00) cost-effectively and securely over the Internet.  He provided advice and counsel regarding the business plan, deployment of a pilot system and a funding campaign to raise several million from venture capital and angel investors. 

Internet Marketing Research Company:  Tom coached the founder and president of this company that delivered market research and website development services to small and medium-size businesses.  The founder was very experienced and proficient in her field, but wanted independent advice on how to position her company and market her services.  Tom advised her on how to “productize” her services and coached her through the development of a comprehensive marketing plan. 

Interim Management/Acquisition - Consumer Products:  A Seattle-based consumer products company acquired the brands and other assets of a 75-year-old Midwest manufacturing company.  Tom led the due diligence process and then worked with the client to develop and implement a strategy to open a new division and close the acquired company.  The new division was operational within 45 days after the sale closed and was profitable in the first month.  The acquired company operated for another six months while a client team moved production to factories in the Far East.  The project duration was approximately nine months. 

Operations Improvement -- Retail Chain:   A large regional drugstore chain wanted to reduce its in-store inventories and implement better inventory control procedures.  Tom led an in-house inventory reduction team that collected information from the company's point-of-sale database, defined categories and classes of inventory, and profiled the existing inventory within each.  The team identified and marked thousands of slow-moving stock keeping units for liquidation.  Then they established target inventory levels for each category and developed a reporting system to allow management to monitor actual versus target inventory performance. 

Interim Management/Operations Improvement -- Audio Cable Products:  A private equity investment firm acquired a mid-sized Midwest manufacturing company.  Shortly after the transaction closed, several key executives left to start a competing company.  Tom stepped in to manage the business, implement operational improvements, and fend off competition from a new company formed by the departed executives.  He led the successful effort to reduce operating costs by 30 percent and maintain sales at pre-transaction levels, while the Board recruited a new executive team.  The project lasted approximately six months. 

Interim Management/Operations Improvement -- Optical Scanning Products:  A California-based manufacturer of computer products ran into problems starting production on a new product line.  The Board of this venture capital-backed company brought in Tom to take over operations.  He brought together a team that quickly resolved the manufacturing problems and implemented new purchasing and materials management procedures.  Excess inventories dropped, providing vitally needed cash for the company.   

Operations Improvement/Divestiture -- High Frequency Microwave Products:  The Board of a large Northwest test and measurement instruments company decided to spinout an under-performing division.  The business unit had its own sales, R&D and manufacturing operations but relied on other corporate groups for business systems, financial management and other support.  Tom led the effort to make this division a stand-alone company.  Over a six-month period, he reorganized and implemented multiple new systems and procedures.  The improved operational performance resulting from this effort caused the Board to reconsider their spinout decision and retain the division as a separate business unit. 

Interim Management/Divestiture-- Streaming Tape Drive Products:  The Board of a Fortune 500 holding company wanted to divest an under-performing business unit.  The company had encountered problems ramping up production on a new product line and was bleeding cash at an increasing rate.  Tom came in to run operations.  He led a team that resolved the technical problems with the new products and got manufacturing on track.  He also cut expenses and renegotiated purchase contracts with major component suppliers.  He ran operations for seven months until a competitor purchased the company. 

Operations Management -- Consumer Electronics:  A Fortune 100 company decided to close a under-performing start-up division.  The business unit had developed a line of cutting-edge consumer electronic products for the home and established manufacturing operations in the Far East.  Unfortunately the products were too costly to manufacture and too complex for consumer to adopt.  Tom led an orderly shutdown of operations that included negotiating contract terminations with Asian manufacturers and destroying all production tooling. 

Interim Management/Operations Improvement -- Audio Products:  A leading Northwest manufacturer of high-performance consumer and professional audio equipment encountered problems with the introduction of several new products.  The Board of this publicly owned company brought in Tom to lead manufacturing and get production moving again.  Over a seven-month period, he outsourced non-critical assembly operations, implemented new manufacturing control systems, and introduced lean manufacturing to the assembly floor.  Defect rates plunged and production rates rose substantially.



Tom Eckmann

Absolute Business Services Inc.

PO Box 19860 ● Seattle, Washington 98109

Phone: 206-441-2067 ● Fax: 206-350-5235


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