Jim Mathews Award and Fellowship for Intelligence Excellence

The Jim Mathews Award, started in 2012 by Aurora WDC and to celebrate the 7th award year in 2018, was created to remember and acknowledge the lasting professional contributions to the field of Competitive Intelligence (CI) made by Mr. James (Jim) Mathews, who passed away in October 2011.

2017 Jim Mathews Award Winners

2017 Jim Mathews Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2017 Jim Mathews Award for Intelligence Excellence winners, Thomas Hamby of Mercyhurst University and Connor Hamel of James Madison University!  They joined us at RECONVERGE:G2 on April 25-27, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin to network and gave their winning presentations.

About the Jim Mathews Award

Aurora WDC announced its intent of this award in summer 2011, when Jim was still in the industry, with the first awards presented in May 2012 in celebration of Jim’s memory and acknowledgement of his lasting professional contributions to the field of Competitive Intelligence (CI). Sadly, he passed away in October 2011 before the first awards could be bestowed; however, when he heard of Aurora’s intent a few months prior to his passing, he was honored to know Aurora wanted to create a lasting legacy surrounding his industry contributions.

Having known Jim for nearly a decade, we viewed him as exemplifying the “gold standard” in terms of professionalism in the business and competitive intelligence arena. More so, he always loved to speak to students about entering and making a career out of the intelligence profession, and what a noble pursuit it was.

Currently-enrolled university students (undergraduate and graduate level) can compete for one of two (2) awards to allow you to attend the annual RECONVERGE:G2 Intelligence Leadership Symposium as a Jim Mathews Award recipient. As a Mathews medal winner, your registration fee will be covered by Aurora WDC to the Symposium.

Additionally, each of the two award recipients will be allocated a stipend that supports travel-related expenses associated with their participation in the Symposium. Most importantly, students will signify to potential employers their desire to achieve the levels of professionalism in their own careers that Jim Mathews was widely known for.

Thank you for considering this opportunity to advance your Intelligence career and education, and do so in memory and honor of a great and highly-respected professional.

Submission Instructions

The following are the qualifications you must meet to in order to be eligible to apply for the Jim Mathews Award. Your application should have a separate cover page (-s) that clearly indicate how you meet or exceed each of the following:



  1. Be a currently enrolled (full or part-time) student at any accredited post-secondary institution of higher learning (e.g., college, polytechnic, university) – and provide (unofficial or official) student’s proof of registration in either the current semester (Summer or Fall, 2017 and/or Winter/Spring, 2018 term)
  2. Minimum 2.6 GPA (or 75 on a 100 scale) overall – be able to provide the judging committee a student’s copy of the university’s record indicating cumulative GPA

Important additional elements:

  1. Have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in business, competitive, (commercial) economic, and/or market intelligence. Please tell us how you first learned about intelligence careers, why you liked it, and what you have done to make it a reality since that time.
  2. Articulate a strong appreciation for ethics & professional values in intelligence practice. Please share with us why you think these are essential, and what you do to demonstrate them.
  3. Demonstrate leadership qualities within student or extra-curricular, community and/or professional organizations. Please briefly tell us about how you’ve demonstrated leadership, what roles you played, and your most important leadership accomplishment.
  4. Display high levels of curiosity and persistence in your post-secondary coursework and assignments. Please describe at least one important example of how you’ve shown this during your university studies.

A group of between 4-6 highly experienced and veteran CI practitioners from around the globe, all of whom have achieved success and hired practitioners during their careers, will review and rank all of the submissions. Your probability of winning is dependent on the number and quality of applications submitted. The last 3 iterations of this competition have averaged over three dozen applications from students and universities around the globe.

Please select one (1) of the following five (6) essay questions. Prepare a 1000-2000 word essay, which can and also should include any illustrative exhibits you wish to refer to from within your text as your response. If they are not text-based, they will NOT count against your word limit – so use those visuals smartly. You will be judged on writing and presentation quality, as well as your essay’s content and persuasiveness.


As in most post-secondary assignments, please be sure to cite (using endnotes or footnotes) or reference any direct uses of others’ expertise. Past winners have typically had at least ten of these in their responses – and many have had more, which also do NOT count against the word limit. On a separate (cover) sheet submitted with the essay response, please also be sure to note how you meet each of the six qualification criteria above, as well as providing your full contact details, essay word count, & any relevant documentation of your qualifications.

  1. Social media (sometimes referred to by “intelligence insiders” as SMint) has become an essential element of CI practice. Whether it is the use of Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat or Pinterest and their competing platforms, please describe a) the six most critical things a company’s top executives must understand about social media from a CI perspective, as well as b) what their organizations need to do to capitalize upon this knowledge, in order to perform more successfully.
  2. Effective CI practice is increasingly supported by automated digital processes, particularly specialized software, cloud/internet or web-based applications. a) Describe some of the key ways automation is affecting how CI is practiced – and how this changes what intelligence can deliver today versus what it could be reasonably expected to do in the past. b) Illustrate the key challenges and opportunities that organizations face in trying to balance in practice the advantages and disadvantages that come from employing specialized intelligence “solutions.”
  3. As a field, there is debate (see Reinmoller & Ansari, 2015 at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271207053_The_Persistence_Of_A_Stigmatised_Practice_A_Study_Of_Competitive_Intelligence_Accepted_for_publication_in_British_Journal_of_Management about whether CI delivers enough value to organizations to cover the risk inherent in producing it, whether its benefits are tangible, and whether it is a stigmatized practice. Take either side of the debate, that a) yes it is true about what these authors claim, or b) the authors are wrong — and make your arguments in support of the side you chose. Please be sure to effectively counter the rival arguments.
  4. Some members of the general public believe CI practitioners are “corporate spies.” a) Make an argument for why CI is NOT the same as spying. b) Describe a program, including the steps you would take or recommend to your (current or prospective) organization, to help the organization’s stakeholders overcome this misconception and practice global CI in a highly ethical manner.
  5. Most conference presentations and published examples of CI happen in large, publicly-traded corporations. a) Make a compelling case that CI can and should be used to provide great value to either 1) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), or 2) non-profit/not-for-profit organizations. b) Give examples or illustrations of how CI can help these organizations succeed and the unique value that it can deliver to them.
  6. A surprising number of business executives believe they do not need CI because they already have extensive human networks or can find anything they want by “Googling it”. a) Describe the main shortcomings or deficiencies inherent in these “self-service” approaches to performing CI. b) Comprehensively describe how you would convince a new, well-connected and “Google-obsessed” boss, that an organized approach whereby individuals in the organization have part and/or full-time competitive intelligence roles and resources will produce better results.

As a candidate for a Jim Mathews Award, you are expected to deliver the following to the review committee. Please send all submissions through via the automated submission system, or e-mail them to Dr. Craig Fleisher at Craig.Fleisher@AuroraWDC.com. In either case, you should receive a timely confirmation of our receipt of your application materials.


  • No later than January 23, 2018 (Tuesday): all submissions due by 17:00 EST
  • Week of February 12, 2018: Follow-up interviews (by phone) take place with award finalists
  • March 2, 2018 (Friday): Final selections and notification to award recipients

The winners will be present at G2 Annual Conference, a CI leadership symposium being held this year at the Fluno Executive Center at the University of Wisconsin in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, USA from April 24-26, 2018. Mathews Award winners will have exposure not only to leading CI-related speakers, workshops and practices, but also to interact with a network of veteran CI practitioners. We look forward to seeing all of our applicants, and particularly the two winners, for an outstanding exchange of ideas and time!

Jim Mathews Award and Fellowship

The submission deadline for 2018 is January 16, 2018.

Past Award Winners

2012 JMA Winners


Bridget Finn (Mercyhurst U.) & Shawn Ruminski (Mercyhurst U.)

2013 JMA Winners


Nita Heeg (Algonquin C., Ottawa) & Mary Kate Daley (Mercyhurst U.)

2014 JMA Winners


Sarah Stokes (Mercyhurst U) & Selina Zhang (Algonquin C., Ottawa)

2015 JMA Winners


Lisel Douglas (Algonquin C., Ottawa) & Monica Perez (Mercyhurst U.)

2016 JMA Winners


Nhi Tran (Mercyhurst U.) & Joshua Bailey (James Madison U.)

2017 JMA Winners


Thomas Hamby (Mercyhurst U.) & Connor Hamel (James Madison U.)

Biographical Sketch of James E. Mathews

James E. (Jim) Mathews spent more than 30 years in the Defense Industry, and the last 14 in Competitive Intelligence (CI) and Price-to-Win (PTW). His whole career was centered on winning new business and he was the Lead CI Professional and/or PTW leader/co-leader on some of the largest winning proposals his company had engaged in in his last years of practice. His resume wins included the realignment of NORAD and Cheyenne Mountain (ISC2), the Joint Strike Fighter (The F-35), Coast Guard Deepwater (Recapitalization of all Coast Guard’s assets), High Altitude Airship, the Littoral Combat Ship (fast fighting ship for the shallow waters of the littorals), War Fighter Focus (Live, Virtual, and Constructive Training for the Army for the next 10 Years), and a multitude of Service Jobs and Classified Projects. Jim was medically retired from the US Air Force where, at one time, he was an Airborne Voice Controller for the Apollo program for NASA.

Jim received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida and a Master of Science Degree in Contract and Acquisition Management from the Florida Institute of Technology. Following a successful career at Lockheed Martin, he retired early in 2003, and joined Raytheon for just over three years as Director of Deal-To-Win, followed by Northrop Grumman TASC for 5 years as Director of CI/ Position-To-Win before joining Booz Allen Hamilton in December 2010 as a Principal on their GO Team.

He and his wife Bonnie resided in the McLean, Virginia area, and were die-hard Florida Gators fans. Jim had a passion for seeing young people succeed in their careers, and was always a willing mentor to professionals of any age who had a desire to learn.

Jim Mathews

Jim Mathews Award Application

Prefer to submit via email instead of online? Download our hard copy application.