4 Minutes with…James Iademarco, President, Strategic Avalanche Consulting

February 13, 2018 |

Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Strategic Avalanche is a global consulting firm delivering powerful ideas with impact. We work with emerging and large Ag and industrial biotech players assisting with strategy, innovation, market intelligence and collaborations. I partner with Context Network who has 12 principals and 85+ consultants who are the premier firm in all Ag sectors

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

As President of Strategic Avalanche, I am focused on interfacing and exchanging ideas with senior management of chemical and industrial biotech companies.

I spend time listening to their challenges of advancing technology to commercial scale, and evaluate how our team can add value to their strategic and operational activities.

We leverage the experience and skill-set of consultants who have worked in multiple and relevant industries allowing us to hit the ground running for the client and offer new perspective

My role spans identifying new business, assembling the best team, and contributing to that team to ensure a differentiated client deliverable.

Projects span from strategy development, pipeline prioritization, identifying the best partners for diverse types of collaboration, to understanding new markets for product expansion or new product launch.

We have had a strong year and working with both large and small companies and want to help them be successful.
What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?   

We need to see a six or so “drop in chemicals” reach the 30-50 kt scale in the next 5 years and compete on relative economics but also be sold in products with a consistent sustainability message

We need to have viable and economic feedstock alternatives (2nd gen) get to scale

We need to find a simple and consistent long-term tax on carbon

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

Agreement on climate change globally and a mandated recognition of the value for more sustainable solutions translated into the final economic price comparison of fossil-fuel alternatives. To have an easy tracking system that penalizes “green washing” and informs the consumer accurately on the more sustainable product/service choice

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?   

That the suite of technology and its promise are not only interesting but cutting edge, fast paced and powerful. And the single reason is that I do believe that the evolving biotechnology will be the driver to create a more sustainable planet in the next 20-30 years.

Where are you from?

I am from a suburb 20 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. I spent my entire childhood there and went to William Penn Charter high-school which has produced some famous people and athletes. And we are all known to love Philly cheese steaks and can finally brag about having won a Super Bowl. Fly Eagles Fly. And BIO is there again this year!

What was your subject focus (e.g. major) in university (undergraduate and/or graduate, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

I attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. I elected to go there because it sounded foreign yet exciting and was an elite southern school. Being from the north this was a choice “against the grain” if you will. I studied Biomedical and Chemical Eng because I loved the science but fainted at the sight of blood…ruled out medical school!

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?  

My father and mother who are deceased but reinforced a competitive spirit, and a strong work ethic to be your best with the faith that it eventually pays dividends. My high-school biology professor who is 76 years old and was a strong mentor and advocate of nature and curiosity. We remain friends and in touch today. Through my early career, I always admired Zig Zigler whom I had the pleasure of meeting was a motivational speaker and author Two of my favorites were, See You at the TOP and Over the Top. Zig certainly walked the talk and dedicated his life to bringing out the best in people. Another favorite read was the Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. Peck melded love, science, and religion into a primer on personal growth and this book propelled his own career. Having played high-school football and collegiate rugby was not only alot of fun, but an education in discipline and team cohesiveness. This experience has been a guiding light for me and I enjoy sharing it with others

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?   

It has been said that adversity can kill you or make you stronger. And upon reflection, I think there is truth in that statement. I have learned that adversity has served as the biggest test of ones skill sets (especially leadership), but also strengthened skills that I did not know I possessed. The biggest lesson I learned is that during a period of adversity, is that everyone has different fears and motivators. And to be a leader, one must understand your own doubts as well as those of others. So, that when you speak and address others, they can relate and identify with what not only what you are saying but what they are experiencing from you. And this helps a team, family, or group of people survive and come through during these difficult times. I have also come to realize that our time on the planet is relatively short and therefore what once seemed like a crisis is now something to embrace and help others see a path forward.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?   

I have enjoyed learning and performing magic for people of all ages since my early 20’s. And still enjoy the mystery of talented performers where I am fooled.

I love to watch football and have several teams I follow since I have moved 13 times and lived in 6 major cities including Philly.

And enjoy various charity events with Catalina!

What books or articles (excluding The Digest) are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?   

Leading with Honor by Lee Ellis (Prisoner of war)

The Originals by Adam Grant

The Loudest Duck by Laura Liswood (Senior Advisor at Goldman Sachs)and a new subscription of Barron’s ! Also, enjoy Fortune magazine

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?  

There are many. Croatia probably one of the best. Still enjoy visiting Amsterdam where we lived for 5 years. Prague is right up there too

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Million Minds

Thank you for visting the Digest.