Our team works
to ensure your sales success
"We help our clients bridge the gap between strategy and results. They engage us to drive speed, momentum, and growth within your selling organizations." - Ken Evans
Ken Evans is managing partner for Critical Path Strategies. In addition to Ken's overall responsibilities, he consults with General and Sales Management as well as develops and delivers sales training. Ken developed CPS’ Chief Sales Officer Agenda consulting practice, which helps CSOs come to conclusions on ways to take their sales organizations to higher levels of performance.
Ken joined Critical Path Strategies in 2001 and has since worked with more than 70 clients leading consulting and sales training engagements in large and small businesses. He has directly impacted over 10,000 salespeople in these businesses. Ken also co-authored Building a Successful Selling Organization. Using real-world examples, this book imparts what sales leaders need to know to galvanize sales teams to improve customer relationships, sales productivity, and profits. Ken recently commented, "Clearly, this has been the most professionally rewarding experience of my career."
Ken has over 25 years of diverse industry experience in sales, sales management, and executive management. His career began in sales at IBM. During his 15 years with IBM, he held various sales management positions. He was instrumental in helping launch IBM's consulting and services business in Chicago. Ken's last IBM assignment was Midwestern Industrial Sector region manager, with responsibility for the $1-billion sales and service organization.
Subsequently, Ken joined Waste Management as senior vice president of sales and marketing for U.S. and Canadian operations. He re-engineered the company’s sales and service organization to focus more on customers and sustainable growth. Identifying significant market opportunity with large enterprises, Ken designed and implemented a national accounts program resulting in $650 million in annualized revenues from a select group of industrial and commercial clients.
As president of SunSource Technology Services, a $250-million industrial distribution company, Ken brought together six independently operated fluid power and motion control distribution companies into a single enterprise with one brand and go-to-market strategy. Again, he installed a sales and service culture focused on the critical business needs of customers with an account management and customer service system.
Ken earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and an MBA from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. He regularly speaks to MBA candidates at SMU’s Cox School of Business to help them understand the importance of sales and the best practices involved in running a sales organization.
“Customers expect sales teams to know their business and provide them with solutions that lead to better results. CPS’ proven methodologies enable sales teams to deliver on these expectations.” - Elaine Schmitt
Critical Path Strategies principal Elaine Schmitt has extensive experience in executive management, sales, and sales-based business consulting and coaching. Her areas of expertise include sales strategy, planning, pipeline management, and leadership governance. Elaine’s responsibilities include account management, coaching, facilitation, and consulting. She has worked with major clients in the technology, communications, services, manufacturing, and healthcare industries.
After a highly successful business career, Elaine formed her own consulting company to assist clients with the implementation of sales initiatives, including sales processes, cross selling, and sales training. During an engagement for Waste Management, she led a team effort to develop the company’s first sales university, which included the creation of company-wide sales processes, sales recruiting, curriculum development, and logistics coordination.
Elaine worked in various sales and executive management positions during her 15-year career with ROLM, IBM, and Siemens. As vice president and general manager for the Midwestern Area for Siemens Business Communications, she had P&L responsibility for sales, installation, service, and administration. Elaine played an instrumental role in returning the company to profitability.
Elaine received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in education from Southern Illinois University and Associate Certified Coach accreditation from the International Coach Federation. She was named to “Who’s Who in Professional and Executive Women” early in her career. An active community leader and volunteer, Elaine has served on the boards of Special Olympics Illinois and the Advocate Charitable Foundation and currently serves on the board of directors for her church.
“Using customer outcomes as targets, sellers can identify critical actions that will move them steadily toward reaching those outcomes—the defining situation that tells them that they have moved a step ahead in closing that opportunity.” - Daniel Bettens
An experienced sales executive, Daniel serves as Critical Path Strategies lead in Europe, where he is a client executive, consultant, and facilitator. Daniel’s 35 years of diverse industry experience in global sales and sales management is a valuable resource in helping clients in the international deal-making arena.
Daniel’s career, much of which was spent in the information technology industry, comprises senior positions in relationship management, business development, product management and sales, marketing, and technical support. A global transaction leader, his experience spans numerous international companies in multiple industries, including banking, distribution, pharmaceuticals, and consumer package goods.
His business development consulting practice emphasizes best practices in account planning, account management execution, and opportunity and relationship management around critical selling initiatives. A highly sought-after speaker at professional forums, Daniel counsels deal makers on developing skills to significantly expand their business, increase their success quotient, and maximize their chances of closing deals.
"Selling organizations face unprecedented challenges in today’s rapidly changing business environment. CPS’ customer-focused strategies keep sales teams grounded and focused on long-term goals for more effective use of resources, increased accountability, and extraordinary results.” - Peggy Besand
A dynamic, innovative marketing and sales professional, Peggy is a Critical Path Strategies consultant with responsibilities spanning account management, consulting, facilitation, and coaching. She has extensive experience in win strategies, deal structure, proposal development, and pricing approaches in large information technology and business processing outsourcing transactions. A highly sought-after facilitator, Peggy has led high-value engagements for CPS clients across many industries, including information technology, telecommunications, services, and consumer goods.
Prior to joining CPS, Peggy held senior management positions at EDS and served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Communications at CDI Corporation. At CDI, Peggy focused on creating effective customer-centric organization processes and systems, with responsibilities that included organizational design, employee engagement, talent development, and change management, as well as responsibility for corporate communications.
While at EDS, she led teams responsible for serving clients in multiple industries, including consumer packaged goods, healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, communications, energy, finance, and transportation. Well versed in market positioning and competitive and business value propositions, she managed large sales pursuits to Fortune 500 companies.
Peggy also was responsible for linking international customer requirements to offerings in support of international sales teams. She taught leadership skills and corporate culture across Europe and Northern Asia and supported the Latin America team in sales and training efforts. She also has significant experience in transition management of staff from customers’ organizations into business partner relationships in the U.S. and Europe. Her responsibilities included orientation development, new staff assignments, and acclimation processes.
Peggy holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Kansas State University. Active in her community, she has served on the board of the Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University, as president of the YMCA board of management in Plano, Texas, and on the executive board of Leadership Plano.
Based in Santiago, Chile Rich Buckley is a Critical Path Strategies lead facilitator with expertise in English and Spanish. In addition to his CPS facilitation responsibilities, Rich has been associated with Caterpillar for over 40 years.
Buckley’s experience includes positions in sales, marketing, and management functions. After his initial training with Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois, he moved to South America where he held positions as a Caterpillar sales representative for engines and earthmoving equipment in Venezuela and Chile. In 1979, Rich moved to Asunción, Paraguay, to work for the Caterpillar dealer, SACI H. Petersen, where he was responsible for coverage of international customers on major hydroelectric projects like Itaipú and Yacyretá-Apipé as well as functioning as Marketing Manager for the dealership. In 1981, Rich returned to Chile to work for the then-Caterpillar dealer, Gildemeister SAC, as General Sales Manager for the earthmoving, mining, forest products, power systems, and used equipment sectors. In 1992, he returned to work with Caterpillar in sales training for Latin America, and was a team member for the design and implementation of the Masters and Pro2000 initiatives that evolved into highly successful Power of People professional development programs.
Rich is a Certified Performance Technologist of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), an accredited Caterpillar instructor, and a certified CPS facilitator. He has trained hundreds of sales professionals and sales managers. Rich holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio, and also completed undergraduate studies at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico.
“By utilizing the CPS process and tools, my sales teams were able to fully integrate into the client organization and were better positioned to provide proactive sole-source solutions.” - Anna Marie Cwieka
Anna Marie Cwieka is a Critical Path Strategies consultant and facilitator. With over 25 years of sales, marketing, planning, and analytical expertise across a wide array of industries, Anna Marie brings a broad base of skills to the account management process.
Anna Marie has 20 years of sales management experience, which has included cross-SBU management of internal resources from multiple lines of business to address the global needs of individual Fortune 100 clients. Communication of client needs to a broad base of local sales and operations teams and coordination of service delivery are two areas of particular expertise. Further experience in alliance development and management has allowed Anna Marie to work alongside her clients and gain valuable first-hand experience in best practice capture and application.
Prior to forming her own company, Optimum Results, Inc., in 1998, Anna Marie served as both manager of Business Development and national account manager for WMX Technologies. As national account manager for both the Brand companies and the WMX family of companies, she was responsible for negotiating national agreements, identifying major projects, leading strategy development, and directing local and regional sales and operations teams.
Before joining WMX Technologies, Anna Marie worked with Fluor Corporation and Global Marine Development in various marketing roles, including market analysis, business development, and research and strategic planning.
Anna Marie received an undergraduate degree in business administration from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, and a concentration in international economics from the University of Bath, England. Beyond facilitation, Anna Marie works with clients to activate their strategies as well as in specific initiative activation.
"Critical Path Strategies creates value by listening to what our client’s most pressing business-impacting issues are and then jointly creating a winning solution. We help our clients “move the needle” faster and more dramatically than current course and speed to achieve incremental revenue growth that exceeds their expectations." - Ted Gurevitz
As a Critical Path Strategies client executive, Ted Gurevitz's proven ability to successfully analyze an organi-zation’s critical business requirements and spear-head innovative solutions to enhance competitiveness and increase revenues makes him a highly sought-after consultant for CPS clients. At CPS, he uses his experience and sales acumen to provide insight to help clients frame multi-dimensional training programs to increase sales productivity, opportunity identification, and successful sales pursuits. His work with CPS clients has spanned industries from engineering/construction to information technology.
During his 30-year career with IBM, Ted led customer-facing teams in software, services, and consulting engagements in the healthcare, energy, and telecommunications industries. His global sales and marketing management experience spans direct sales, national accounts, business partners, channel marketing, and OEM sales.
Successful in identifying opportunities for accelerated growth, Ted designed partner programs, developed marketing campaigns, and introduced new lines of business, which resulted in customer conversions and competitive winbacks. As an IBM sales director, he masterfully created and launched IBM’s eLearning software sales and services organization, and successfully grew the middleware software and services business, consistently trumping the competition to expand market share and surpass revenue objectives.
Prior to joining CPS, Ted worked for Dow Jones Enterprise Media Group, where he directed sales activities for a new product launch, including customer targeting and sales training curricula development.
Ted earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management information systems from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
“We help organizations elevate sales results and trajectory. By leveraging CPS’ tools, framework, and experienced resources, our clients accelerate execution of their strategy. The performance improvement of the “middle 60-65%” of sales teams drives sustained sales results.” - Mark Harada
Mark Harada is a Critical Path Strategies client executive and facilitator with over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and general management positions. Mark works with projects focused on deal velocity improvement, go-to-market strategy development, market segmentation strategy, and strategic account management implementation. He also facilitates CPS’ sales workshops that focus on improving prospecting traction, pipeline growth, enhancing questioning skills, improving quality of proposals, and increasing deal close rates. Mark’s extensive experience with complex B2B sell cycles provides critical insight to the challenges of CPS clients and results in skillful facilitation of CPS’ training curriculum.
Mark began his career with IBM where he excelled in new business sales. He moved on to increasing respon-sible sales and leadership roles with companies in the technology and energy industries, most recently as a Regional Vice President and General Manager for Constellation, the commercial retail business of Exelon Corporation. At Constellation, Mark co-architected and rolled out the company-wide account management organization, including job descriptions and competencies, compensation plan, goals/measurements of success, organizational structure, and people selection. The new organization resulted in an increase to the company’s renewal revenue of over $44M in the first year alone, a 10+% improvement in customer retention rates to 90%, higher customer satisfaction/net promoter scores, higher renewal unit margins, and increased new business selling time by salespeople.
Mark graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a B.A. in Economics. He and his wife live in the Chicago area and have two grown children. They also mentor several “surrogate children and grand-children” after coaching them in a Chicago housing project little league during the mid-1990s that was the subject of a book and Hollywood movie.
"Companies are looking for business partners who can add value and challenge their thinking. CPS’ proven methodologies up-level sales teams’ skills, enable meaningful conversations, and accelerate results.” - Joanie Kulschbach
Joanie Kulschbach is a Critical Path Strategies client executive and facilitator with over 30 years of experience in B2B technology sales. With expertise in lead generation, opportunity qualification, account planning, value-based selling and negotiation, she excels at identifying strengths and weaknesses in the sales process. In a consulting role, Joanie leverages her extensive experience in sales and sales management to provide expert insight and guidance for CPS clients. As a facilitator, she leads workshops focused on increasing qualified prospects, establishing trusted advisor relationships, discovering business imperatives, and improving deal velocity and close rates. Her hands-on experience blended with CPS’ training curriculum results in effective and relatable content that helps her clients achieve their goals.
Prior to joining Critical Path Strategies, Joanie held sales, sales leadership, and management roles with software and software implementation firms ranging from start-ups to SAP, IBM, and Oracle. She began her career in Human Resource and Payroll applications, including co-founding a consulting company that did custom development, implementation, and training.
As a global account executive and sales director at SAP, Joanie was responsible for driving business with global accounts to compete with a market leader. She then led a team to focus on new business within the services industry sector.
As a proven and consistent top performer, she was brought on by a Canadian firm (Enverus) to open up the U.S. market for the Oil and Gas industry. Other industry experience includes healthcare payer, professional services, and media and entertainment.
Joanie holds a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing from Iowa State University. Based in Denver, Colorado, she is an active community leader and volunteer and has served on the boards of Archdiocese Youth Employment and Metro Volunteers, and as a coach for Girls on the Run.
“Helping clients to align the company’s strategy with its ability to execute for results is what CPS is about. CPS’ differentiators are exceptional resources and accelerated processes that deliver speed to value for our clients.” - Bob Noe
Robert (Bob) Noe, a CPS client executive, consultant, and facilitator, is a highly sought-after consultant with an extensive resume as a senior executive and corporate officer directing corporate operations and technology groups. His focus on strategic planning to help companies achieve their goals, including developing highly effective sales organizations, employs Critical Path Strategies’ (CPS) Chief Sales Officer Agenda model. The CSO Agenda model has served sales leaders across many industries well to help them focus on their sales organizations’ critical needs and develop a path to sales success. In his CPS role, Bob provides expertise in the areas of business development, executive-level consulting and coaching, and facilitation for developing top-level sales organizations.
Bob’s consulting practice (Noe & Associates) helps companies develop strategy and achieve their goals. Prior
to forming Noe & Associates, Bob worked for iControl Systems, serving as President of the Regulated Payments Division and Executive Vice President of the company’s Sales & Marketing group. As a Board Director and leadership team member, he helped guide the growth of the company as their customer based grew to include many industry-leading companies such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Target, and Walgreens.
During a consulting project for Teradata, he was asked to join the company to launch a Consulting Practice covering Business and IT strategy for the CPG & Retail industries business unit. As the company moved from a technology to a business-driven approach, Bob and other industry veterans liaised with the Account Management and Sales functions to lead these business development efforts.
After Y2K, Bob played a key role in the Retail & CPG Industry's efforts to create an electronic trading platform
for use by its constituents. He helped launch the pilot for the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) initiative. In 2005, he assumed leadership for Transora and UCCnet, which he merged to form 1Sync. He assembled an exceptional board of directors including CEOs and presidents from companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, JM Smucker, and Colgate. Within four years, 1Sync represented about 85% of the industry's worldwide data for B2B commerce.
In the late 1990s, Bob was CEO of viaLink, a software and service company providing scan-based trading services to trading partners in the Grocery, Convenience, Mass, and DIY sectors. This leading-edge process \
was gradually understood and accepted as valuable to both trading partners and later became the foundational product offering for iControl Systems.
Bob received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in business from Central Michigan University where he has returned to speak at the College of Business Administration functions. He was named to Supermarket News Power 50 in 2006 for his contributions in influencing and transforming the food distribution industry. Bob continues to influence the next generation of leaders through his executive coaching efforts.
“At CPS, we use our comprehensive sales consulting framework to enable our clients to deliver sustainable sales growth.” - Sue Shaner
Sue Shaner is a Critical Path Strategies senior consultant with extensive experience in sales strategy, sales consulting, sales training development, and planning and financial positions supporting sales and marketing organizations. Sue’s strong analytical, communication, and project management skills allow her to quickly assimilate challenging client situations and to develop effective resolutions and implementation plans.
An expert in sales effectiveness consulting, Sue leads a wide range of strategic consulting projects at CPS, including both Chief Sales Officer Agenda Assessment and Sales Process Optimization engagements. In addition, leveraging her broad knowledge of best practice enterprise sales business models and sales training methodologies, Sue customizes CPS’ sales training programs, developing content, examples, and exercises that introduce and reinforce key processes and skills.
Prior to joining CPS, Sue was Director Sales, Plans and Controls at Waste Management. In this role, she directed planning, measurement, research, and financial projects to improve cost, service, and sales effective-ness in support of the sales and marketing strategy. In her last assignment, her scope was $6 billion of revenue, 27 operating regions, and 2,500 sales and customer service representatives.
Sue’s experience in industry also includes time at IBM, where she began her career as a sales representative and soon advanced to business and financial planning positions within the IBM sales organization, first as a financial analyst followed by assignments as a business operations manager, finance and planning manager, and pro-gram manager for strategic planning. At IBM she was responsible for financial and market planning and administration of budgets between $180 million and $2 billion.
Sue received a master of business administration in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an undergraduate degree in mathematics and economics from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.