2018 Jim Matthews Award Winners
Micah Uveges and Holly Schnader honored at Reconverge G2

Aurora WDC’s RECONVERGE:G2 gathering continued Tuesday morning with presentation of the 2018 Jim Matthews Award winners by Aurora WDC’s Dr. Craig Fleisher.

The prestigious designation is awarded annually at Reconverge to two outstanding scholars who exemplify the philosophies and work ethic of Jim Matthews, a veteran intelligence officer in the defense and aerospace industry.

This year, Aurora WDC is proud to recognize the achievements of Micah Uveges and Holly Schnader and congratulate them as this year’s award recipients.

There were over 30 applicants for this year’s award. Applicants wrote a paper judged by a panel of CI experts; and Aurora WDC’s Dr. Fleisher conducted four phone interviews of semi-finalists to determine this year’s winners.

Both of this year’s winners spoke to the ethics of practicing competitive intelligence.

Micah Uveges

Micah is working in Afghanistan and was unable to attend the symposium, but he did provide his presentation and award-winning essay for conference participants.

He spoke to defining economic espionage, CI, and their key differences.

Uveges has a degree in international relations with a strategic intelligence speciality.

He began service in the air force in May 2013, and joined air force special operations in 2014. He is pursuing a master’s of applied intelligence at Georgetown University.

Defining CI

Stephen Miller: it encompasses multiple facets of business. Competition between companies can occur without companies even knowing. CI practices allows companies to maximize effectiveness. Jay Liebowitz: CI is similar to sports in that it helps companies to prepare their game plan.

Case Study: Toys ‘R’Us

Declared bankruptcy in 2017 and recently announced it is closing all stores. Reasons for closure are: 1) large debt 2) lack of CI practices.

Uveges believes they failed because they couldn’t predict the ways shoppers change—online purveyors have reshaped business practices and Toys ‘R’ Us did not adapt.

Defining economic espionage

• Theft of trade secrets
• Illegal procurement of data
• Using corporate spies
• Can be foreign agents
• Punishable by law

Case study: Proctor and Gamble and Unilever

• Traditional competitors
• P&G hired two private investigators to scout Unilever
• Obtained shredded documents from Unilever’s dumpsters
• P&G settled with Unilever for over $10 million

Differences between CI and Espionage

• Economic espionage unethical
• Damages economies and livelihoods
• Punishable by law

CI is ethical

• Benefits are many
• Duty of corporations
• CI is legal
• Good for the customer

Why differentiate:

• CI is beneficial
• Adequate knowledge leads to competency
• CI and economic espionage are similar
• Unrestrained CI is economic espionage

Ethical foundation for CI

• Duty of corporations: financial, legal, ethical
• Moral rights theory: every human has value, five basic rights (life, liberty, security, property, privacy)

Recommendations for training employees

• In-house training
• Establish ethical baseline
• Brine in SME’s to teach (FBI DOI, SesC, DOT)
• Invest substantial resources


CI and economic espionage are on opposite ends of the spectrum of information gathering. The case studies of Toys ‘R’ Us and Procter & Gamble provide examples for reflection.

Holly Schnader

Holly is a senior majoring in intelligence analysis at James Madison University. She is taking 29 credit hours in her final semester of school. She has minors in computer info systems, military science, honors information systems, and serves in the ROTC. She is also a national competitor in dressage.

“Ethics in Competitive Intelligence”

Schnader chose this essay because James Madison has a class dedicated to ethics, and it is an area of interest for her on both the national security and business side.

What is CI?

Schnader defines CI as identifying, gathering, and analyzing information to create an intelligence product, and the distribution of it to executives and managers to help with decision making.

CI collects on a variety of scapes like competition, markets, and an industry as a whole. In the process things can go wrong. Schnader provides suggestions on how to prevent issues.

CI vs Spying

Companies can ask themselves questions to determine if they are ethical

• What’s being collected? (open source vs proprietary)
• How was it collected? (theft, etc)
• Who collected it? (representation of individual—who are you?)
• Why was it collected?
• What will it be used for?
• Any previous agreements? (nondisclosures, for example)

Recommendations for ethical practices

• Develop and promote ethics
• Develop internal code
• Organizational ethos
• Standards and expectations
• Share them internally and externally

Educate and support around ethics

• Line between CI and spying defined
• Keep open dialogue and promote participation in professional conferences
• Management drives the process: focus, oversight, feedback
• Examples set from all echelons

Standardize methods

• Find what works best
• Framework for collection and analysis—gives template, provides better actionable information
• Ensure thorough education on different methods

Why ethics are important

• Long term gains
• Consumer confidence
• Asset protection
• Unite people and leadership
• Positive corporate culture
• Improved decision making