A Technology & International Marketing Consultant with a Track Record of Success

Noulan Bowker, P. Eng., CMC

2136 Lockehaven Road
North Vancouver, BC, Canada
V7G 1X6
www.strategynavigator.com
noulan@strategynavigator.com

Tel +1-604-980-4494
Fax +1-604-638-9881


A Certified Management Consultant and Professional Engineer, Noulan Bowker has had a continuous independent management consulting practice in Vancouver, BC since 1990, specializing in Technology Marketing for clients who develop products for international markets.

Noulan's clients range from pure start-ups to large companies, including BC Hydro and the University-Industry Liaison Offices of the local universities. Typically, Noulan's start-up clients invent an innovative technology and he helps them invent the business. With going concern companies, he helps management to re-invent their businesses to renew growth and profitability or to research, strategize, plan and implement new product and market development initiatives.

He has assisted a significant number of his clients to obtain financial assistance to retain his services
from either the NRC IRAP program or the NSERC program for "Market Assessment" projects. A summary of Canadian Federal Government Funding Programs for Technology Startups can be downloaded here. The MAS (Management Advisory Services) program operated by CMC Canada for NRC will fully fund a week's worth of consulting to small technology firms. This program allows a company to quickly, easily and very economically access Noulan's help. He has performed a number of MAS projects, in which his objective feedback and advice have helped the clients in several ways, including accessing additional government funding for follow-on projects. Details on the MAS program, including forms for applying to it can be accessed by clicking here.

The greater volume of his consulting work, however, has been repeat work for past clients.

In total he has a 40-year track record of success in engineering, industrial marketing, international sales, channel development, management, product development, consulting to management and training. Over his career, he has worked for over 70 organizations, as either an employee or as a consultant. His business experience spans 27 countries in North America, Europe and Asia and he has a working knowledge of over 70 industries.

Although most of Noulan's clients have been in the Greater Vancouver area, he has also had clients on Vancouver Island, in the Okanagan, in Calgary and in California

Typical Consulting Assignments
  • Diagnostic Review Project
  • Market Assessment Project
  • Strategy Development Project
  • Customer Feedback Project
  • Complete Business Plan Development
  • On-going Coaching and Mentoring for CEOs and Senior Managers

For a detailed explanation of how Noulan approaches many consulting assignments, you can download a copy of a document describing a typical Market Assesssment project by clicking here.

 

Success Stories

The following consulting assignments or jobs as an employee have resulted in significant public successes for Noulan's clients or employers. They also illustrate the broad range of technologies, markets, companies and assignments comprising Noulan's background.

ClearVision
ClearVision Technologies' founders invented a novel video based technique for quality control in cardboard box manufacturing plants. After first assisting this start-up firm on a mentoring basis through two volunteer programs, Noulan was invited to serve on the company's Advisory Board. Seven years later the firm's market success resulted in its being acquired by Valco, a large American company, its major competitor. Additional details can be found through this link.

Ostara
Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies started as a research project at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The technology transforms a compound called struvite from being a nuisance material that clogs up wastewater (sewage) treatment plants to a valuable phosphorous based fertilizer product. Noulan was introduced to the prospective licensees by the University-Industry Liaison Office and was retained in 2005 to perform a Market Assessment of the technology, to evaluate its practical and commercial feasibility and to map out a product and marketing strategy for the potential start-up company. Noulan's project received funding assistance from the NRC IRAP program.

The result was positive and the company has been very successful. A press release from NRC IRAP of January 19, 2012 acknowledges the importance of the Market Assessment project and report, first for assuring the licensees that the technology had excellent commercial potential and second for helping the new firm to acquire outside investment. A copy of the press release highlighting the role of the Market Assessment is provided for download as a pdf file here and the original may still be available on the NRC IRAP website here.

Statpower
Statpower had reached about $20 million in revenues through developing and selling advanced DC to AC power inverters and battery chargers for a wide variety of industrial and consumer applications and markets. However, its sales were stalling and a new president was brought in to accelerate growth. He retained Noulan to investigate the marketing and sales program and organization and to lead a strategy development exercise, which involved re-focusing onto the best opportunties and re-structuring the distribution channels.

As a result, revenues almost doubled within 2 years. Noulan also played an active role in the development of a novel portable battery-inverter emergency power system product, of which 100,000 units were sold within 6 months of product launch. This was the first product of what would become known to Canadian Tire customers as its line of power back-up products sold under the "Eliminator" Brand. Shortly afterward in 1999, Statpower was acquired by a smaller company Xantrex, which simultaneously completed a $50 million financing. Xantrex in turn was acquired in 2008 by electrical equipment giant, Schneider Electric.

Techware
Techware had invented a novel software platform for rapidly developing the complex control systems used to operate the million dollar thin film deposition and etch systems ("tools") used in semiconductor production. After some early success, the company's revenues had leveled off at around $3 million. By intensively researching the problem by interviewing the company's customers, Noulan facilitated the development of a new product and marketing strategy that helped the company go to $14 million in sales and within 3 years to be acquired by Brooks Automation, a major firm in the industry

MDA
In 1977, Noulan joined MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) as a marketing representative, where he was responsible for pioneering the sale of its LANDSAT and meteorological satellite receiving stations in Asia and the Pacific, mainly to the governments of developing countries. Just before Noulan arrived, the company had just had its first year of a million dollars in revenue. He established a network of manufacturers' representatives in the region and was responsible for about $25 million total in sales over the following three years.

Celebrate Marketing
In 1999 Noulan was invited by a publisher in Silicon Valley to contribute a chapter to a book entitled Celebrate Marketing, which is an anthology of articles on marketing. You can download a pdf copy of the chapter Noulan provided, which is called "What is Your Customer Really Buying" by clicking on this link. It provides some insight into how Noulan uses intensive research through interviewing and his "Whole Product Model" to develop useful business strategies.

Success Factors in BC's Wireless Industry - A Report by Noulan, commissioned by NRC IRAP

In 2004 the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) commissioned NouIan to research and report on the key factors that have led to commercial success among companies in BC's Wireless Industry. Noulan visited 17 successful founders and CEOs in the industry and conducted in-depth interviews with them to get the input for this project.

A key point is almost all of these success factors are equally applicable to most sectors of the advanced technology industry.The goal of the project was to assist technology entrepreneurs by giving them actionable strategic ideas that have proven to be useful.

The report entitled "Commercialization Success Factors in BC's Wireless Industry" can be downloaded as a pdf file by clicking on this link.

 

CUSO - Thailand
After graduation in electrical engineering in 1971, Noulan went to Thailand as a CUSO volunteer (CUSO = Canadian University Service Overseas - similar to the US Peace Corps) , where he developed and taught electronics engineering courses for two years at a degree-granting technical institute that is similar to BCIT. In addition to his teaching activities, he was successful in setting up a computer lab with a Digital Equipment PDP-8 minicomputer that had been donated by the UN and in establishing an instrument repair program. You can access an audio interview of Noulan about his CUSO-Thailand experience by clicking here.

Additional Highlights of Noulan's Work History and Interests:

Amateur Radio, Flying
and SCUBA Diving

Noulan got his Amateur Radio License at 15 years of age while in High School. While an engineering student, Noulan also acquired certification in SCUBA diving and a Private Pilot License

Sailing and Boating

Noulan has been certified for coastal sailboat cruising and owned a 30 foot sailboat for 6 years. With this and also from chartering, he has cruised extensively on the coast of BC.

Surveying in the Arctic

For two four-month summers while a student in 1965 and 1966, he served as an Instrument Man on a geodetic primary triangulation survey crew that worked its way down the west coast of Hudson Bay and west along the 60th parallel. Most of the time was spent in 2-man "fly camps" on different hill-tops every 4 days, to perform the actual surveying. About once a week he would get a day's break in the current base camp at the time, some of which were located in Eskimo villages. Travel from campsite to campsite across the tundra was by small helicopter.

Languages

Noulan obtained first year university level training in French, Spanish and German. On arriving for his volunteer assignment in Thailand he had intensive training in Thai, followed by the two years of practical experience while living and working there on a local salary. He has conducted technical business in French in Quebec and in France.The practical result is he has had at least limited functional capability in each of these languages for periods of time during his career and this has been particularly helpful for his overall sensitivity to and understanding of cross-cultural factors in all his international business activities.

International Travel

Noulan has visited 40 countries in total and done some sort of business in 27 of them. He took a 6 month break in 1966-67 to travel around Europe on a motorcycle and then in 1973-74 did a 6 month back-packing trip through several countries in Asia to return home from his 2 years of teaching in Thailand.

Residential Real Estate

From 1978 to the present time Noulan has bought, renovated and re-sold a number of residential properties in BC in the Vancouver area and in Whistler.

Teaching

Noulan taught electronics engineering in while living in Thailand for 2 years from 1971 to 1973. As a part-time sideline to his consulting practice from 1991 to 1995, he developed and taught Technology Marketing courses in the continuing studies programs of Simon Fraser University and the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT).
He is currently serving as a volunteer member of the Program Advisory Committee for the BCIT Bachelor of Technology in Technology Management Program. Over the last 10 years, he has also been volunteering through the Junior Achievement program to conduct sessions in high schools

Volunteer Mentoring

Over the last 12 years, Noulan has done a lot of mentoring on a volunteer basis, through programs run by Simon Fraser University, the University of BC, the BC New Ventures Competition and the BC Innovation Council (BCIC) and independently to a number of entrepreneurs.

Lockehaven Waterfront
Bed and Breakfast

Ever since doing a massive renovation (rebuild) of their new waterfront home in Deep Cove in North Vancouver during 2004-2006, Noulan and his wife Denise have been operating the resulting two independent one-bedroom suites that occupy about half the house as a "bed and breakfast"/ "vacation rental" business. Denise, Noulan's wife, actually runs this business. Noulan's main contribution has been to create and maintain the website at www.lockehaven.ca. Noulan's conducts the "Strategy Navigator" consulting business from his home office at the same location.