Team Biographies

HamsaHamsa Thota

  • Sr. Consultant, experienced in R&D and product development
  • Focused on innovation performance management

Hamsa Thota is a Past-President and Chairman of the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA). He is co-author of “Key Concepts in Innovation,” a fundamental reference book for innovation professionals. Dr. Thota has published many scholarly articles on the implementation of product development best practices. He is also a contributing author to Innova Food Market Trends.

Hamsa worked for Rich Products Corporation in R&D for over twenty years. His primary focus was new product development, the creation of new manufacturing methods, apparatus and processes (Intellectual Property) and the commercialization of IP. Throughout his R&D career, Hamsa made many unique contributions to food product development leadership practices by applying rigorous thinking in the practice of dynamic food business development. He also obtained and commercialized 10 US patents.

Hamsa has over a decade experience of consulting and training product development and innovation management. He has conducted workshops and in-depth seminars on New Product Development, and the Front End of Innovation in Asia and North America. A frequent visitor to Asia, Dr. Thota has guided more than 25 Chinese companies in Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou at the invitation of Chinese government. He was also a visiting professor at the Management School of the Zhejiang University in China where he taught technology innovation management.

Hamsa received a Ph.D. in Food Science and Dairy Manufacturing from the University of Georgia and is certified NPDP from PDMA.

Abbie Griffen BioAbbie Griffin

  • Named  a Crawford Fellow in 2003—the highest individual award in NPD
  • Groundbreaking researcher in improving the process of new product development
  • Chair of marketing at the University of Utah’s Business School

Abbie Griffin is one of the most creative and original experts in the field of new product development (NPD) and has produced groundbreaking work in many areas of NPD. She has the distinction of being only the fourth person and first woman to be named a Crawford Fellow by the Product Management and Development Association (PDMA)—the highest individual award in the field of NPD.

Currently, Griffin holds the Royal L. Garff Presidential Chair at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, where she teaches business-to-business marketing. In addition, Griffin is a member of the Board of Directors of Navistar International, a $13 billion manufacturing company.

She was editor of the Journal of Product Innovation Management, the leading academic journal in NPD, from 1998-2003. Griffin also was the author and lead researcher for PDMA’s first study of product development: “Drivers of NPD Success: The 1997 PDMA Report.”  In addition, Griffin has written and published many papers based on research for measuring and improving the process of new product development.

She holds a number of degrees in NPD and related fields: a Ph.D in management of technology and marketing from the MIT Sloan School of Management, an MBA from Harvard University, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Purdue University. She has worked for Polaroid Corporation and Corning Glass Works and has consulted for Booz, Allen and Hamilton.

Ken Kahn BioKen Kahn

  • Director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center
  • Expert in new product development analysis and market forecasting

Ken Kahn is a well-recognized expert and top scholar in the field of innovation management and market forecasting. Now a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, he is also Director of the University’s da Vinci Center, which offers a variety of programs in product innovation and venture enterprise creation.

Over the years, Kahn has specialized in new product development analysis and sales forecasting. His articles have been published widely in peer-reviewed journals ranging from The Journal of Business Forecasting to R&D Management.

Kahn built up his analytic expertise during his early years as an industrial engineer and project engineer for the Weyerhaeuser Company, and as a manufacturing engineer for Respironics Inc. More recently, he has applied that expertise and his research skills to consulting and facilitating benchmarking sessions with numerous companies, including Acco Brands, Coca-Cola, ConAgra, HAVI Global Solutions, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, John Deere, Lego, and Procter & Gamble.

Kahn served as editor of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the PDMA Handbook on New Product Development (Wiley & Sons, 2004 and 2012). He is also the author of New Product Forecasting: An Applied Approach (M.E. Sharpe, 2006) and Product Planning Essentials (Sage Publications, 2006 and 2nd edition, M.E. Sharpe 2011).

Kahn started his academic career as an associate professor at the University of Tennessee. He moved to Purdue University to become Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, as well as a professor of marketing.  Kahn earned both his MSIE and his Ph.D at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his Bachelor of Engineering degree at Georgia Institute of Technology.

John Salladay BioJohn Salladay

  • Sr. Consultant, experienced in technology planning and roadmap execution.
  • Top technology and business development expert

John Salladay had a twenty-seven year career at Dow Chemical Company, which included numerous positions in Research & Development and Marketing. It culminated in the position of Innovations Director where he led the establishment of processes for new business identification for the Plastics and Ventures business units. As Business Development Director in Plastics, John and his teams pioneered the use of new business analysis methods for defining the impact of environmental performance requirements on the business and led the development of an environmental strategy for the overall Plastics business. The innovative programs on plastics and the environment received national recognition and provided a basis for a revised industry positioning of plastics in the environment

John held positions in Specialty Plastics as Market Development Director for new products and markets and was Laboratory Director for the Films and Coated Metals Development organization. He led the Development group for the Styrofoam® (a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company) brand insulation business and headed the Styrofoam business team during the high growth years. He was heavily involved in application and market development for new residential insulation systems.

Mr. Salladay, along with his colleague Mr. John Stevens, founded NBID Associates in the mid-1990’s. Using their own skills and capabilities, along with their personally developed network of hundreds of leading experts, NBID Associates successfully created new opportunities for clients for over eighteen years.  NBID was engaged in technology and business development activities for clients such as Hoechst AG, WL Gore, McKinsey & Co., Appleton, Cargill, Equistar Chemical, Dow Corning, Dow Chemical, Diageo (Guinness Beer), NewPage Paper, Valmet, DSM , Novamer, Kimberly-Clark and Elevance Renewable Sciences.  In 2011, John joined with The Adept Group to complement our firm’s strong capabilities in product line strategies and road mapping.

Mr. Salladay leads The Adept Group’s services for detailed technology searches and development focused on technology acquisitions, licensing and joint ventures.  John’s educational background includes a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University


John Stevens BioJohn Stevens

  • Sr. Consultant focused on identifying critical-to-roadmap technologies
  • Chief integrator of technology-to-market thinking

John Stevens possesses a broad background in plastics, chemicals, and materials product development and has served as a highly-effective bridge between technical and marketing communities in the materials industry.

At The Dow Chemical Company John was Senior Innovations Manager, responsible for leading numerous breakthrough research projects from ideation through market introduction. In that role John assisted in the crafting of new products and businesses for the building & construction, automotive, packaging, agriculture, electronics, and aerospace industries. His combination of insightful technical understanding with state-of-the-art market and business development principles and practices provides John with a unique capability for finding and developing new business opportunities.

John has very broad technical education and experience. After receiving a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Arkansas, he worked in the chemical industry while studying chemical engineering through Texas A&M University and polymer science through Case Western Reserve University. John’s experiences include process development for a broad range of chemicals and plastics.

John also has extensive experience in technical and management training. He led the development of the management training curriculum for a major research organization and was a founding member of both Dow’s U.S. Quality Board and their U.S. Technical Training Committee. Each of these bodies gained widespread recognition for accelerating cultural changes in the organization.

Mr. Stevens joined The Adept Group in 2011.  His talents and experience provide strong augmentation to our services in innovation management, product development, platform leverage and the building of impactful technology strategies. John leads The Adept Group’s services for technology identification and evaluations in the context of product line and business strategies.