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Celebrating 17 Years of Intelligence Excellence by Remembering Jim Mathews

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In today's video above with Aurora's Chief Learning Officer, Dr. Craig S. Fleisher and Founder & Chairman, Arik Johnson, I am joined by special guest Dan Mulligan from the Mercyhurst Department of Intelligence Studies to discuss the Jim Mathews Award for Intelligence Excellence Aurora is announcing below.

Celebrating 17 Years of Intelligence Excellence by
Remembering Jim Mathews

Last Friday, February 3rd, 2012 Aurora celebrated 17 years in the Market, Industry, and Competitive Intelligence business. The vision of the company my brother Arik dreamed of building on that day way back in 1995 is something I enjoy reflecting on this time each year as we consider how Aurora can give back to the community of professionals that has given us all so much.

While I was not working at Aurora on that day, I recall helping Arik set up his first office on the 12 feet on the east side of our Mom's original beauty salon in our hometown of Chetek, Wisconsin. Aurora is still headquartered in Wisconsin (Madison these days), and we have been privileged ever since to attract some of the world's most talented intelligence colleagues who have navigated countless client projects over the years together, strengthened by our shared culture of humility and perspective.

Thanks to the diversity of our clients and the hundreds of program and research engagements we have been called on to support, Aurora has been blessed with an outlook on the field's future that has always been positive and enthusiastic. We build relationships with our clients based on a foundation of trust and ethics, and this commitment has been the source of our long-term business success.

For all these reasons, I could not be more proud of what we have built together. And, on behalf of everyone at Aurora WDC, thank you for your ongoing trust and the enduring privilege we are given to serve.

When I arrived at SCIP’s annual conference in Orlando this past May, I met again with an old friend and true gentleman named Jim Mathews. Considered by all who knew him as the professional gold standard in Intelligence work, Jim had a profound impact on my Aurora colleagues and me over the past 10 years. Jim’s influence on my career shaped much of my thinking about the intersection of strategic and tactical intelligence, and also strongly influenced the ethical standards by which Aurora goes about our daily work.

Because of Jim’s example, we announced at SCIP 2011 Orlando an award – the Jim Mathews Award for Intelligence Excellence– to celebrate Jim's legacy as a long-time contributor in the Competitive Intelligence field. Sadly, Jim passed away in early November before we could unveil the details of this annual award in his honor, but, we know Jim’s memory will be celebrated through the students competing for the award each year.

Aurora has partnered with Mercyhurst College, one of the pioneering higher-ed institutions offering degree programs for students seeking careers in Intelligence, to bring this memorial to life. We hope that this award in Jim's honor will impact the careers and education of many in the years to come as a Jim Mathews award winner. We are underway now with the review process of Mercyhurst students – undergraduate and graduate level alike – who will be competing for two (2) awards which, this year, will fund a fellowship to attend SCIP’s annual conference in Philadelphia (May 2012).

To all our clients and partners, thank you again for the trust you have enduringly invested in Aurora WDC. If we have not yet worked together, we would enjoy the opportunity to introduce our services to you in a way that creates value for your organization. If there is one thing that my friend Jim believed in, it was the power of networking with colleagues to help us all learn how to do our critical work in intelligence even better.

I hope you will join me and more than 2,000 of your colleagues from more than 85 countries around the world on the Competitive Intelligence 2020 community at to discuss and learn along with us what intelligence excellence really means.

Best wishes,

Derek L. Johnson

Derek L. Johnson, CFA
Chief Executive Officer
Aurora WDC
Phone: 608-850-4869

Aurora WDC Celebrates 17 Years of Intelligence Excellence, Announces Jim Mathews Award for Students Pursuing Intelligence Careers in Business

From humble origins in the western Wisconsin resort town of Chetek, Aurora WDC shared a vision of how better intelligence could enable organizations to make more effective decisions. Aurora commemorates its 17th anniversary this week with the announcement of the Jim Mathews Award for Intelligence Excellence.

Dr. Craig S. Fleisher

Madison, Wisconsin - February 2, 2012

In celebration of its founding on February 3rd 1995, Aurora WDC is proud to announce the Jim Mathews Award for Intelligence Excellence.

The inaugural 2012 award will be offered to two (2) students from the Mercyhurst College Department of Intelligence Studies to support their participation in the annual Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) conference, this year held in Philadelphia in May. Special guest Dan Mulligan from Mercyhurst spoke recently with Aurora's Derek Johnson, Craig Fleisher and Arik Johnson to talk about Jim's legacy and the example of intelligence professionalism he left for all of us, as well as, to share details of the award and how to apply.

"Jim Mathews was a real example of everything Aurora stands for," said Aurora CEO Derek Johnson. "Jim was such a great mentor to Aurora and so many others in our journey toward intelligence professionalism that we really felt his memory would be far more meaningful than remembering Aurora's own humble beginnings."

Aurora WDC was founded in 1995 by current Chairman Arik Johnson in a small portion of the space formerly occupied by the Johnson brothers' mother Gladys "Honey" Johnson's beauty salon in the small, rural town of Chetek, Wisconsin. In the 17 years since, the firm has gone on to serve dozens of the largest companies in the world, providing strategic, operational and tactical counsel on competitive matters of all kinds and serve many more of the world's fastest-growing innovators.

In support of Aurora's ongoing needs to attract the best talent in the field to furnish clients with services of this caliber, investments in the development of the field of competitive intelligence itself have been directed at strengthening the professional education of new career practitioners. Aurora has considered this the best way to ensure a new stream of professionals are always entering the field and can quickly become qualified to operate at the highest levels of effectiveness and performance. Aurora is sponsoring the Jim Mathews Award as an even more concrete incentive designed to attract the best and brightest students to careers in the field of intelligence in business.

Dan Mulligan from Mercyhurst added, "I first met Jim at a SCIP conference and I was very impressed immediately upon meeting him at his enthusiasm to share his knowledge with young people and people entering into the industry."

Dr. Craig Fleisher, Aurora's Chief Learning Officer, former SCIP President and noted scholar on intelligence analysis added, "Students find it a key element of their professional development to go to those meetings, to learn, to network, to grow, to meet new people, which Mercyhurst has been able to help young professionals do better than any other college."

This year the award will fund the participation of two students from Mercyhurst in the field's largest and most important annual conference, SCIP 2012 in Philadelphia.

About Aurora WDC

Since 1995 Aurora WDC has provided clients in diverse industries with the intelligence that drives their business, including global research, competitive analysis, market monitoring, training and program consulting, as well as, intelligence systems and software support to elevate decision effectiveness. For more information visit or call 800-924-4249 to arrange to speak with a reference client who can describe the intelligence results Aurora has produced for their organization.

Aurora WDC | 800-924-4249 |
137 East Wilson Street | Madison Wisconsin USA 53703


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